Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sri Lanka releases 49 Indian fishermen

03rd July 2013 04:38 PM
Forty-nine Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan navy June 5 have been released and will return home in a couple of days, the Tamil Nadu government said Wednesday.
Tamil Nadu officials took up their issue with the Indian high commission in Colombo on the orders of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, an official statement said.
Sri Lankan authorities Tuesday released 24 fishermen and the others Wednesday.
The Sri Lankan navy routinely arrests Indian fishermen, dominantly from Tamil Nadu, on charges of intruding into Sri Lankan waters.
There have also been clashes between Sri Lankan Tamil and Tamil Nadu fishermen in the sea that divides the two countries.

Bora Bora Resources increases footprint in historical graphite region of Sri Lanka

Wednesday, July 03, 2013 by John Phillips
Bora Bora Resources (ASX: BBR) has been granted exploration licences prospective for high grade graphite in Sri Lanka, with the country known to hosts some of the world’s highest grade graphite – averaging 90% total graphitic carbon (TGC).

This compares to the global average grade of 15% TGC.

The new licenses are over the Baduraliya, Neluwa and Paragoda project areas in central and southern Sri Lanka, and cover in total 156 square kilometres. Bora Bora has a plan to fly Airborne Electromagnetics over central projects.

With these additional exploration licences, Bora Bora has secured a significant ground position over and around several known historical producing, high grade graphite regions including the areas directly to the south of the Kahatagaha-Kolongaha Graphite Mine.

This mine has been in production since 1872 and produced more than 300,000 tonnes of graphite at 90% or TGC.

Bora Bora's Matale Project is directly contiguous to the Kahatagaha Kolongaha Graphite, with the project strategically positioned to potentially capitalise on export markets in China, Japan, South Korea and India.

Exploration to commence

Bora Bora now holds close to 200 square kilometres of exploration licences in Sri Lanka, with the new licenses paving the way for the company to commission airborne electromagnetic surveys.

These surveys will determine the graphite potential of the central project areas. The Matale, Paragoda North and Paragoda South projects will be the first areas targeted for airborne EM surveys.

The company said that expects to announce the commissioning of the airborne EM survey imminently.

Bora Bora has around $2.5 million in cash.
Proactive Investors Australia is the market leader in producing news, articles and research reports on ASX “Small and Mid-cap” stocks with distribution in Australia, UK, North America and Hong Kong / China.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bilateral relations on a strong footing − Sri Lankan Ambassador presents Credentials in Cuba

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba, Sarath Dissanayake presented Credentials on 21st March at the Palace of Revolution in Havana to the Deputy President of the Council of State of Cuba, Madam Gladys Maria Bejerano Portela who was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla. For the presentation, Ambassador Dissanayake together with his wife and Attache, Anuruddha left the official residence in a ceremonial motorcade accompanied by Ambassador Luis Castillo Campos of the Protocol Division of the Foreign Ministry and Major Braulio Hernandez Martinez of the Revolution Palace.
Upon arrival at the Palace, the Ambassador and delegation were received by the Chief of Protocol following which they were afforded a Red Carpet welcome and a Guard of Honour by the Palace Guards. Thereafter, the Cuban and Sri Lankan National Anthems were played by the Palace Band.
After presenting Credentials, Ambassador Dissanayake had an exchange of views with the Deputy President Gladys Bejerano during which he conveyed the best wishes of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Cuban President and for the well being and progress of the people of Cuba. He also recalled the long standing friendship between Sri Lanka and Cuba and that Sri Lanka was the first Asian country to recognize the revolutionary Government in February 1959 which followed the establishment of diplomatic relations in July that year. While appreciating Cuba’s grant of scholarships, assistance to combat dengue, malaria etc and its consistent support at the multilateral fora, the Ambassador emphasized the importance attached by Sri Lanka for further promotion of cooperation in such sectors that were broadly discussed at bilateral meetings during President Rajapaksa’s visit to Cuba in June 2012. The Ambassador also reiterated the invitation to President Castro to visit Sri Lanka.
For her part, the Deputy President Gladys Bejerano conveyed the greetings of President Raul Castro to the Sri Lankan President and wished the Ambassador all success. The Deputy President briefed the Ambassador on Cuba’s recent policy initiatives in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation among progressive nations in multifaceted areas of interest. In regard to bilateral relations, she expressed gratitude to Sri Lanka for its support to the Cuban cause and for the removal of embargo against the Cuban people. Speaking further, the Deputy President also praised President Rajapaksa’s   leadership in ushering a new era and noted that bilateral relations are on a strong footing.
After the ceremony, the Ambassador placed a flower bouquet at the monument of Cuba’s National Hero, Josi Marti at the Revolution Square. Upon his return to the official residence, a reception was hosted for the Cuban officials, members of the Sri Lankan community and Embassy staff.
The ceremony received wide coverage in the press, radio and TV.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
24th March 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

No place for religious extremism or racism in Lanka: Rajapaksa

Colombo, March 31, 2013
A file photo of Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Photo: PTI
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that his government would not allow racism or religious extremism in the country and advised the Buddhist majority community to protect the rights of others.
“This is a democratic country with non-Buddhists having equal rights and freedoms. While we safeguard the rights of Buddhists, it is the responsibility of the Buddhists to be exemplary and protect the rights of others,” he told a religious gathering at Weherahena in the south.
Rajapaksa said any attempt to promote religious extremism would supply ammunition to those elements who want to spread false accusations against Sri Lanka.
“All who love the motherland should shoulder the responsibility of safeguarding ethnic and religious harmony,” he said.
His comments came after communal attacks on Muslim-owned businesses that raised religious tensions in the country.
Bodu Bala Sena, a Buddhist nationalist group, is leading a campaign targeting the growing Muslim extremism in the country.
Less than 10 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population of 20 million are Muslims. The majority are Sinhalese Buddhist and Tamils being Hindu.
Rajapaksa said he appreciated the guidance received from the Buddhist clergy and their historical role in correcting the nation’s path.
“Everyone has the responsibility to ensure that Sri Lanka would not be tagged as a racist and extremist nation,” he added.

Can Tamil Nadu unilaterally ban Sri Lankan cricketers?

Dhananjay Mahapatra
More than a month ago, a heart-wrenching video released by Britain's Channel 4 accused the Sri Lankan army of executing Balachandran, the youngest son of slain Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) chief V Prabhakaran, in 2009. The video was part of a documentary about alleged ethnic cleansing by the island nation's forces during the 37-year civil war.

By mid-March, the situation in Tamil Nadu, which shares ethnic roots with the Sri Lankan Tamils, came to a boil. Visiting Sri Lankan Buddhist monks were shamelessly chased and assaulted by goons in Chennai railway station and Tamil Nadu-bound trains.

Sporadic incidents of violence, instead of being quelled through law enforcing machinery, were quickly termed as "surcharged atmosphere". Chief minister J
Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking exclusion of Sri Lankan cricket players from Indian Premier League games in Chennai.
She threatened to stop the matches if her government's wishes were disregarded. She wrote, "We will permit IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu only if the organizers provide an undertaking that no Sri Lankan player, umpire, official or support staff participate in these matches."

India's ties with no other nation are as strong historically and mythically as it is with Sri Lanka. The first mention of Lanka is in Ramayana, which narrates how the ties started with Hanuman's flying visit to Ravana's Ashoka forest to get news of the abducted Sita followed by the building of a bridge 'Ram Sethu" across the Palk Strait by the 'vanara sena'.

In 2005, the PM and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were there for the inauguration of the Rs 25,000 crore Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project, which envisaged dredging the mythological 'Ram Sethu' to allow large ships to sail between India and Sri Lanka, reducing the shipping distance between our western and eastern coast.
It was Jayalalithaa who had petitioned the Supreme Court against the dredging of the Sethu or Adam's Bridge. Quoting extensively from various historical literature and compilations, she said 'Ram Sethu' was a symbol of the might of human will and the construction of the bridge by the 'vanara sena' of Lord Rama was a victory of human endeavour in the face of adversity.

Can assault of visiting Sri Lankan Buddhist monks be ever regarded as a victory of human endeavour in the face of adverse situation created in Tamil Nadu by the release of videos of alleged execution of Balachandran four years ago?
The filial links with India started with King Vijaya, an Indian prince who migrated to Sri Lanka with his followers and made it into a monarchy. But there is one link that was planted nearly 2,300 years ago and is still surviving.
When Kalinga war-reformed Ashoka sent his son and daughter to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism, the young princess had taken with her a sapling of the pipal tree at Bodh Gaya, meditating under which prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Gautam Buddha. That sapling was planted at Lanka's ancient capital Anuradhapura. The sapling grew into a huge tree and is still standing, whispering tales of centuries-old human tribulations.

Like the pipal sapling, trade ties between India and Lanka has grown steadily. India exported goods worth $4.3 billion to Lanka in 2011-12, accounting for 22% of the island nation's total imports. Indian majors Tata, Bajaj, Bharti, RPG, Dabur, Ultratech, Ambuja Cements and Ashok Leyland have registered their presence along with state-owned

Given the Tamil Nadu government's decision to ban entry of Sri Lankans into their territory through official diktat and goon violence, would it not spark retaliatory measures from Lankan authorities?
What will happen if they take a decision that no product of an Indian company employing residents of Tamil Nadu is welcome in Sri Lanka? It is hard to imagine any of the above mentioned companies not employing a single Tamilian or any one who has domiciled in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu, as an integral constituent of the union of states called India, had the right to use all its political clout and public pressure on the Indian government for taking whatever steps they collectively deemed fit to deal with Sri Lanka in the international forum or United Nations in the wake of the release of the video about execution of Balachandran.

But it would be rather unfortunate if constituent states take unilateral decisions, like banning entry of Sri Lankans into Tamil Nadu, on issues which are best left to the Union government.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

UN resolution an attempt to divide our country: Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, March 22, 2013
Sri Lankan Minister for Youth Affairs Dullas Alahapperuma on Friday criticized the United Nations resolution that calls on the island-nation to thoroughly investigate war crimes allegedly committed during its civil war, saying that it attempts to divide the country.
Mr. Alahapperuma’s comments came a day after the U.N. Human Rights Commission approved the U.S.-backed resolution. The resolution followed a U.N. report alleging Sri Lanka’s Government may be to blame for tens of thousands of civilian deaths during the military campaign to defeat the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.
Mr. Alahapperuma told reporters that the UNHRC was being misused by “imperialists” to divide Sri Lanka. He did not elaborate, but such comments usually refer to the creation of a separate State for the minority ethnic Tamils.
Rights groups and foreign governments have called for an international probe of the civil war, which ended in 2009 after Government troops crushed the rebels. The rebels fought for a separate State for the Tamils for more than a quarter century.
By a 25-13 vote and with eight abstentions, the 47-nation UNHRC urged the South Asian nation “to initiate credible and independent actions” to ensure justice and accountability in the aftermath of the war. Those in favour included India and Brazil, while those opposed included Pakistan, Venezuela and Indonesia.
A similar resolution in March 2012 called on Sri Lanka to probe allegations of summary executions, kidnappings and other abuses, but stopped short of calling for an international investigation.
Sri Lanka and its allies opposed both resolutions, saying they unduly interfered in the country’s domestic affairs and could hinder its reconciliation process.
The Sri Lankan Government has argued that its own investigation should suffice. A Sri Lankan commission report, released in December 2011, cleared government forces of wrong-doing.
Rights groups and government critics say Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration has ignored previous calls for accountability, including last year’s resolution, and that it has dragged its feet in implementing even the limited recommendations made by its own war panel.
Thursday’s U.N. resolution was watered down before it passed to add language praising Sri Lanka and to remove other passages, such as those calling on the Government to give unfettered access to U.N. special investigators and others. Backers of the resolution argued that credible probes into alleged crimes are an important step to heal the nation.