It is a Tuesday afternoon and only a handful of devotees have flocked to the Meera Grand Mosque in Katankuddi, about 300 kms east of the capital Colombo.
Sri Lanka is literally baking these days.
As Sri Lanka readies to begin the grim task of searching for thousands of war missing, those doing the tracing on the ground say that they still face intimidation and threats while doing their work.
The picture could be straight out of a tourist postcard – a sleepy green mountain with misty clouds floating above the canopy – if not for one fatal flaw: the ugly gash running right through the middle.
Sri Lanka is facing the heat from a scorching sun for the past one month. In recent times, the country has imposed power cuts after almost a decade. The main reason was the stoppage at a coal power plant, but engineers at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) admit that the island’s hydro-power generation capacity is at such a critical low that without additional coal, diesel and renewable generation, the country’s full demand for power cannot be met.
Early evening, there is a play of light and shadow over Kathmandu’s famous Durbar Square. The rising monuments, damaged by the April 2015 earthquake, appear as dark silhouettes while large flash lights streak through in between them.
Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, was in her early 20s when she co-founded the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (Cophin), a group that campaigned for the rights of indigenous communities in the Central American nation.
One and half years ago, Johnson, a 20- something youth, hailing from Sri Lanka’s tea plantations, received an unusual request. The caller, someone Johnson knew casually, made an offer for his kidney. “It was for a half a million rupees (around US $3,500),” he said.
Details of a secret detention center, where serious human rights abuses took place, deep inside the sprawling Tricomalee Naval base in the east of Sri Lanka are slowly emerging.
On a late Friday afternoon as choking smog descended on the Indian Capital, Francois Richier, the French ambassador to India , took some hard questions from scores of journalists about the upcoming climate change talks in Paris this month.
Residents in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and outlying areas have been waking up to misty mornings of late. A decade ago, regular mist in this area just above the equator would have been a noteworthy event. These days, it is a regular occurrence in some parts north of the capital.
Thavarasa Utharai’s most treasured belongings are stuck inside several plastic bags and tucked within old traveling bags.
Twice a week, 20-year-old Kulsum Begam, a young mother of two, spends over three hours gossiping with the neighbours.
The new Sri Lankan government that was voted in on Aug. 17 certainly didn’t inherit as much baggage as its predecessors did during the nearly 30 years of conflict that gripped this South Asian island nation.
It is an oasis from the scorching heat outside. The three-storey, centrally air-conditioned Cargills Square, a major mall in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna town, is the latest hangout spot in the former warzone, where everyone from teenagers to families to off-duty military officers converge.