9:46 AM

No rice imports after 2010

The government is planning to stop the import of 23 food crops by 2010, by improving their production here Agricultural Development Minister Maithripala Sirisena says. Among these food crops are paddy, green gram and Cowpea.

9:28 AM

Sri Lanka protests UN statement

In a letter to Louise Arbour, Sri Lanka's minister in charge of the subject Mahinda Samarasinghe says he is 'puzzled' as his government is 'taking definite steps' to address the issues raised by Arbour.

In an exclusive interview with BBC Sandeshaya from Afghanistan, Louise Arbour, said Sri Lanka lacked a 'credible voice' on rights violations as the national Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) was appointed unconstitutionally.

8:31 AM

UK reviews travel warning on Sri Lanka

The British Foreign office has revised its travel advisory on Sri Lanka following the twin bombings this week, says there is "high threat from terrorism".

Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK Press Release:
  • We advise against all travel to the north or east of Sri Lanka. For the purpose of this travel advice we consider the north to be all areas north of the A12 road (which runs from Puttalam in the west to Trincomalee in the east) including the Jaffna peninsula and the east to be the districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa, as well as coastal areas of Ampara district north of Pottuvil and east of the A25 and A27 roads.

  • We advise against all travel to Yala National Park. Since October 2007 there have been a number of incidents there and it is currently closed due to security concerns. See the Terrorism and Local Travel sections of this advice for more details.

  • There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks can be indiscriminate, and have occurred in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. On 28 November 2007, there was a bomb attack in central Colombo targeting a government Minister, and another attack on the outskirts of Colombo that killed at least 16 and injured a number of civilians.

  • There is heightened security in Sri Lanka and you are advised to comply with government and security force instructions. There have been detentions particularly of people of Tamil ethnicity. You should ensure that you carry some form of identification with you at all times. If you are detained, you should ask the authorities to contact the British High Commission.

  • We strongly recommend that all British nationals who are resident and/or working in Sri Lanka, or visiting for over one month, should register with the British High Commission in Colombo.

  • About 90,000 British nationals visit Sri Lanka each year (source: Sri Lanka tourism board). The main type of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Sri Lanka in 2006 was for replacing lost or stolen passports and ill health.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

6:23 AM

Ratwatte Bribery Case Dismissed

Colombo High Court said the Bribery Commission has failed to produce the vital documents related to the case against former senior Minister, Anurudhdha Ratwatte.

General Ratwatte, a former senior leader of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), was accused of illegally earning property over the value of Rs. 400 million during 1994 to 2002.The judiciary noted that the Bribery Commission that made the formal complaint on corruption charges failed to produce the vital certificate saying that the Commission rejects the respondent's statement on the alleged corruption.

The judiciary has no jurisdiction, the judge noted, to continue the case as the Commission has not produced the said certificate.