Cult of personality grows around Sri Lanka’s leader

[Globe and Mail] As the President’s motorcade passed slowly through Colombo Monday, 20-year-old university student Chaturi Waidyasekera pressed her head to the ground, then rose and chanted, “Praise our king” Dozens of others did the same, beneath billboards that pictured Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the white robes of a Buddhist deity. Ms. Waidyasekera […]

Sri Lanka rebels ‘call ceasefire’

[BBC] Tamil rebels trapped in a tiny enclave of northern Sri Lanka have declared a ceasefire, a rebel spokesman says. The Tamil Tigers (LTTE) had given up their fight against a major government offensive and “decided to silence our guns”, he said on a pro-Tamil website. “This battle has reached its bitter end,” said Selvarasa […]

Sri Lanka: Free Journalists Held Illegally

[HRW] President Mahinda Rajapakse should order prosecutors to drop all charges against journalists held on politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the president today. J.S. Tissainayagam, a journalist, and N. Jashiharan, a publisher, and his wife, V. Valamathy, have been in detention since March 2008. The letter identified serious violations […]

Sri Lankan media under fire, entangled in politics

[Reuters] Sri Lanka’s media is paying a heavy price after getting entangled in a political struggle between President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition and an opposition with few means to challenge his leadership. Events in Sri Lanka have grabbed more world headlines than usual so far this year. First, for a string of military victories over […]