Sri Lanka’s ruling UPFA in tight race with UNP

mahinda-rajapaksaCOLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), led by President Mahinda Rajpaksa, won Saturday’s provincial polls in the Sinhala-majority Uva Province by a narrow margin, signalling an apparent setback to the ruling alliance despite the victory.

The alliance secured 19 seats, including two bonus seats, six less compared to the 25 it held in its last term. Continue reading

Sri Lanka’s TNA seeks Modi’s help with refugees

modiCOLOMBO: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has sought India’s help in the return of Sri Lankan refugees from India.

“There are over one lakh refugees in Tamil Nadu living in 115 camps. We have requested the Indian government to pressure the Sri Lankan government to release their [refugees’] land in the north which has been taken over by the Army,” said senior TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah, who was part of the six-member TNA delegation that met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Aug 23. Continue reading

South India must not become hub for human trafficking

boat-peopleCHENNAI: Reiterating that Australia was firm on not allowing illegal immigration, Australian High Commissioner to India Patrick Suckling cautioned that South India should not be allowed to become a hub for “people smuggling.”

“If people smuggling gets entrenched in India, it will lead to other forms of crime relating to narcotics and terrorism. Australia and India have a shared interest in ensuring that this does not happen,” said Suckling, on Thursday. Continue reading

Is Rajapakse Sri Lanka’s Modi?

rajapakseCOMMENT, COLOMBO: It is a measure of Sri Lanka’s return to “normal” democratic politics that conspiracy theories are once again resonating in Colombo.

Compared to the situation just three years ago when “politics” continued to centre on the 30-year-long bloody civil war that mercifully came to an end in May 2009, the sub-text of political discussions today is the presidential election, due some time in early-2015. Continue reading

Rajakpakse ropes in ex-UN war crime experts to probe civil strive

rajapakseCOLOMBO: President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday directed a Commission of Inquiry appointed by him to probe the roles of Sri Lankan army and the rebel Tigers, during the nearly 30 year war, for alleged violation of international humanitarian law.

The announcement comes about three months after the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that calls for an international probe into Sri Lanka’s rights record. Continue reading

UN warns Colombo against fanning hatred

muslimCOLOMBO: United Nations experts on Wednesday called on Sri Lanka to adopt urgent measures to stop promotion of racial and faith-based hatred, and violence against Muslim and Christian communities by Buddhist groups with extremist views, and bring perpetrators of such violence to justice.

The UN’s call for religious tolerance from the UN experts comes a fortnight after the hard-line Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) staged a large protest rally in Aluthgama that resulted in inter-communal violence, during which four people died and about 80 were injured. Continue reading

‘Pressured’ Chennai cinemas stop screening Sri Lankan love story

filmlankaCHENNAI: A Sri Lankan movie, portraying the post-war travails in the island-nation, was on Saturday taken off screens after cinemas running the film allegedly received threat calls from pro-Tamil nationalist groups.

The producers of the movie, ‘With You, Without You’ (Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka), an Indo-Sri Lankan collaboration directed by noted Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage, have now written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa seeking her intervention to put the movie back on the screens. (Official Film Trailer inside).

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