Stories written by Feizal Samath

SRI LANKA: Hopes High for Fresh Leadership as Election Looms

Political developments are rapidly unfolding as the public eagerly awaits the President’s announcement on Sunday of the date for the next presidential or parliamentary polls—an event widely expected to bring about a new leadership that could bring to fruition the people’s collective yearnings for a return to law and order as well as discipline.

SRI LANKA: IMF’s 2.6-B Dollar Loan Deal in Peril if Opposition Wins

With parliamentary and presidential elections just a few months away, conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an ongoing 2.6-billion U.S. dollar loan facility could be swept aside if Sri Lanka’s opposition captured power.

SRI LANKA: Gov’t, EU in Back-channel Talks Over Fate of Trade Pact

Sri Lanka has reacted strongly to a European Commission (EC) probe on its human rights record, saying it is politically motivated.

Q&A: EU to Sri Lanka on GSP Plus Probe: ‘No Tit for Tat’

Despite acrimonious exchanges between Sri Lanka and the European Union (EU) over human rights violations on which rests the fate of continued tax-free exports to Europe, development assistance continues unhindered to the Indian Ocean island, according to Europe’s top diplomat here.

SRI LANKA: 25 Years On, Women Still Struggle for Their Rights

When Thamalini, leader of the women’s wing of Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger guerrillas, entertained guests at the women’s political wing office in northern areas once controlled by the rebels, the visitors were served tea and other refreshments by male aides.

SRI LANKA: Newly Reopened IMF Office Launches Budget Probe

The International Monetary Fund’s new resident representative in Sri Lankan is likely to receive his baptism of fire once he settles into his new post this week.

SRI LANKA: Right to Travel Under Threat from New Laws

New laws dealing with foreign employment agents and migrant workers, Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign revenue earner, have stirred up a hornet’s nest and concerns over a fundamental issue – the freedom to travel.

Tea workers in Sri Lanka's central region Credit: Feizal Samath

SRI LANKA: Tea Workers’ Demand for Higher Wages Hits a Snag

Tea lovers around the globe may soon have to pay more for every cup of their favorite beverage. That is, assuming tea plantation workers in one of the world’s major tea-producing countries get their demand for a significant increase in their daily wages.

SRI LANKA: Gov’t to Resettle Displaced Tamils Ahead of Monsoon

The Sri Lankan government, accused of keeping the refugees who fled fighting between the military and Tamil rebels against their will, is preparing to resettle these minority civilians ahead of next month’s monsoon period, officials from non-government agencies said Friday.

SRI LANKA: With End of War, Media Shifts Focus

These days, the front pages of mainstream Sri Lankan newspapers are dominated by reports of clashes between two Muslim groups, the drama of two baby elephants separated from their mothers and government efforts to ban porn sites and curb adult-only movies. This shift in news focus is a radical departure from the days when newspapers were choked with war coverage.

RIGHTS-SRI LANKA: Gay Community Takes Heart in Indian Court Ruling

This month, Sri Lanka’s gay and lesbian community, long struggling for acceptance and respect in a conservative, majority-Buddhist country, cheered a landmark court ruling in neighbouring India.

SRI LANKA: Clinching a Crucial IMF Lifeline

After months of being at the receiving end of international criticism for human rights violations, Sri Lanka finally clinched a crucial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday for a standby credit facility of $2.5 billion, which will help bolster the country’s foreign exchange reserves depleted by the sharp impacts of the global economic downturn and an expensive war.

SRI LANKA: Aid Organisations Struggle to Operate in Post-war Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government wants the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to scale down its operations in the country, but is sparing other international nongovernmental organisations amid questions over the post-war role for humanitarian workers.

SRI LANKA: Journalists Laying Aside Pens Once Again

Sri Lankan journalists are laying aside their pens once again and bracing for renewed confrontation with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government after the revival of the repressive Press Council and fresh attacks on the media.

LABOUR: World Leaders, ILO Call For Urgent Reforms

A crisis summit organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to halt millions of job losses across the world due to the global economic slowdown ended Wednesday with a ringing call by its host to act now and put "the workers first before anything else."

LABOUR: ILO Urges Action on Financial Speculation

World leaders, employers and trade unionists, meeting here at a crisis summit on employment, welcomed a new ‘Global Jobs Pact’, but warned that any delay in its implementation would worsen the problems created by financial speculation.

SRI LANKA: Will Tamils Have A Say In Reconstruction?

For people in Sri Lanka’s war-torn North, for many years life has meant virtually living out of a suitcase while moving from place to place to escape the rigours of war and bloody combat.

SRI LANKA: Preparing For a New Chapter of Development

As Sri Lanka prepares for a new chapter of development after ending nearly three decades of conflict, ecologists among other experts here are calling for a ‘green’ revolution against the usual foreign investment, private sector-driven type of progress.

SRI LANKA: Unions Strike Landmark Deal to Protect Migrant Workers

Trade unions from Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait came together with their Sri Lankan counterparts here to strike an unprecedented agreement on the welfare of migrant workers.

DEVELOPMENT: Asian NGOs Must Lead in Asia

In a spirit of South-South Cooperation Asian NGOs must take the lead from international and western NGOs working in war-torn Sri Lanka and across Asia, as they understand the local dynamics and culture much more deeply than anyone else, an experienced Asian NGO leader told IPS.

SRI LANKA: Economic Crisis Ramping Up, As War Winds Down

Government troops are closing in on the last remnants of Tamil Tiger resistance in northern Sri Lanka as an upsurge of more that two years of fighting winds down. But, the country’s economic woes aren’t over. More and more pressure it being put on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cash-strapped administration.

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