« China’s man-made island takes shape in Sri Lanka » by Channel NewsAsia

« The Ocean seafood restaurant at Colombo’s five-star The Kingsbury was once famous for its magnificent view of the Indian Ocean. Its open-air wooden terrace that runs along the hotel’s western façade used to be so close to the beautiful coastline that waves lapped the rocks, sending sprays of sea foam into the air. Not anymore »

see: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/china-s-man-made-island/2051350.html

« Sri Lanka: New report names torture camps and perpetrators » by Athula Vithanage

« A security force insider has told ITJP researchers that military intelligence officials operating from JOSEF camp ‘were actively looking for any Tamils returning home from abroad in order to interrogate them’, since President Maithripala Sirisena was elected to office in 2015. ITJP has recorded eight accounts of torture and abuse that happened after January 8, 2015, the most recent in July 2015. »

see: http://www.jdslanka.org/index.php/news-features/human-rights/543-sri-lanka-new-report-names-torture-camps-and-perpetrators

« Who rules? » by Ranil Senanayake

The media of the 13th Friday had two very different statements on the fate of the ‘Port City “ project. The Daily Mirror reports The Government of Sri Lanka through its acting cabinet spokesman; Minister Lakshman Kiriella stated, “The Port City Project has been automatically stopped as there were so many shortcomings in the EIA report. We must go through it and rectify those shortcomings before re-start the project,”

Via http://groundviews.org/2015/02/16/who-rules/

The media of the 13th Friday had two very different statements on the fate of the ‘Port City “ project. The Daily Mirror reports The Government of Sri Lanka through its acting cabinet spokesman; Minister Lakshman Kiriella stated, “The Port City Project has been automatically stopped as there were so many shortcomings in the EIA report. We must go through it and rectify those shortcomings before re-start the project,”

Via http://groundviews.org/2015/02/16/who-rules/

« Voting for Lasantha Again, 26 Years Later » by Nalaka Gunawardene

« A quarter century ago, as an eager first time voter, I cast my maiden vote for a young journalist friend who had recently taken to electoral politics. »

via: http://groundviews.org/2015/01/08/voting-for-lasantha-again-26-years-later/

« China, India and the Sri Lanka Elections » by Nitin A. Gokhale

In less than a week, President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka will be facing the toughest political battle of his life as the country votes in the presidential elections on January 8. The Sinhala strongman, credited with ending a 30-year war against the separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009 was expected to have a cakewalk until one of his closest colleagues Maithripala Sirisena walked out of the ruling combine and mounted a credible challenge after the fragmented opposition rallied around him.

via: http://thediplomat.com/2015/01/china-india-and-the-sri-lanka-elections/

« Sri Lanka opposition vows to scrap China port deal if wins election » by Shihar Aneez

A leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition said he would scrap a $1.5 billion deal with China Communications Construction Co Ltd (601800.SS) to build a port city if the challenger to President Mahinda Rajapaksa wins next month’s election.

via: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/12/17/sri-lanka-china-portcity-idINKBN0JV1QA20141217

« A Newly Cosmopolitan Colombo » by Rupert Mellor

Can Sri Lankans guide their capital to an authentic new future? Or will the ambitions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to fast-track the city to world-player status create a corporate megalopolis that loses its soul along the way? Your move, Colombo.

via: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-newly-cosmopolitan-colombo-1418339727

« China Maritime Silk Road Is Sri Lanka’s Boon as Xi Visits » by Anusha Ondaatjie

The Port City will be built by a unit of state-controlled China Communications Construction Co. (1800) on 233 hectares (576 acres) of reclaimed land, an area slightly larger than Monaco. The offices, hotels, apartments and shopping centers will draw as much as $20 billion in investment over about 15 years, according to ports authority chairman Priyath Wickrama.

via: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-15/china-maritime-silk-road-proves-boon-for-sri-lanka-as-xi-arrives.html

« Colombo’s Urban Regeneration Could Rewrite the ‘Socio-economic DNA’ of Entire Communities » by The Curionomist

These are all critical issues that need to have been thought out because urban regeneration is not just about resettlement and freeing up land for development. There is a rewriting of the socio-economic DNA of these communities and there needs to be help to negate the shock to the body that comes from it this rewriting.

via: http://thecurionomist.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/colombos-urban-regeneration-could-rewrite-the-socio-economic-dna-of-entire-communities/

« The Spectre of Evictions and Land Grabs in Colombo » by Bhavani Fonseka

The speed with which evictions are underway in a post war setting with scant regard for rights and obligations should come as no surprise. Nor should we be surprised by the lack of regard shown towards affected communities, by the State, its agents, developers and the larger public. National security and development continue to be good reasons that justify the grabbing of lands in the North and East. Now with Colombo under siege, why would it change?

via: http://groundviews.org/2014/08/26/the-spectre-of-evictions-and-land-grabs-in-colombo/

« I said pray for us to be saved » by Mr. Doole (Moving Images)

“There’s no place quite like Slave Island,” Nizar Doole announced to us within minutes of meeting us for the first time. As an example, he urged us to look to his own community, the Malays, who speak most if not all of the country’s languages: English, Sinhala, Tamil along with their own dialect, Ja. A gentleman in his late 60s, Doole himself spoke all four; conversing easily with us in English, hailing his neighbours in Tamil, addressing his children in Ja but preferring to be interviewed in Sinhala.

###

These are the stories, homes, neighborhoods and lives of people the Ministry of Defence lumps together as slum and shanty dwellers.

See http://groundviews.org/2014/08/08/slums-shanties-or-stories/ for more.

“If they relocated me, I’d be dead against it”, Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne

Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020 says the Ministry of Defence.

To be clear about the terms used, a slum is a squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people or a house or building unfit for human habitation. A shanty is a small, crudely built shack.

A search on defence.lk for ‘slum’ yields 59 results to date, whereas ‘shanty’ brings up 39 results. Not a single of the nearly 100 stories on the site looks at the enforced relocation of those in areas like Slave Island and Java Lane, an inherently violent and traumatic process, from the perspectives of actual inhabitants.

Here’s one.

At 27 years old, Sugeeth Kumar is part of a generation of Slave Island’s young entrepreneurs. Tiring of the long hours his previous job at Pizza Hut required, he decided that if he must work so hard, he would do it on his own time and for his own business: vending prawn vadai – a popular Tamil fried food – out of a cart at the Galle Face Green Promenade.

See his story at http://www.movingimages.asia/2011/04/“if-they-relocated-me-i’d-be-dead-against-it”/

Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, as part of Walkabout: Slave Island. Watch the trailer to this series below, and visit the Moving Images website for more stunning content on Sri Lanka.

“People like us will somehow make a living”, Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne

Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020 says the Ministry of Defence. In doing so, the MoD violently erases those like Nazaruddin.

Nazaruddin speaks with pride about all he has achieved today but assures us that is difficult work, driven forward only by an instinct for survival. “You can’t survive in this place if you can’t make a living” he tells us with all the conviction of first-hand experience. Yet, he is prouder still of his community and his generation – the ones who didn’t have the good fortune of a good education and the opportunities that came with it. Cut from the same tough cloth, they are a people, he says, who will do whatever it takes to ensure their families never have to miss a single meal.

See http://www.movingimages.asia/2011/04/“people-like-us-will-somehow-make-a-living”/
Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, as part of Walkabout: Slave Island. Watch the trailer to this series below, and visit the Moving Images website for more stunning content on Sri Lanka.


Also read http://groundviews.org/2014/08/08/slums-shanties-or-stories/

« Media workshop at SLPI disrupted by mob » by Aanya Wipulasena

A workshop for journalists organised by a non profit organisation that was to be held at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) yesterday was called off abruptly after a mob protested outside the institute in Narahenpita.

via: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/140727/news/media-workshop-at-slpi-disrupted-by-mob-108707.html

« Colombo beautification at a cost of 135,000 families : CPA » by sundaytimes.lk

As many as 135,000 Colombo families, or 500,000 persons, could be forcibly evicted by Sri Lankan authorities, prompted by the country’s Urban Development Authority (UDA), according to a recent report by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), which cited official estimates as its source for these numbers.

Further, a media statement released by the CPA in tandem with the report, titled “Forced Evictions in Colombo – The Ugly Price of Beautification”, also signalled; “Of particular concern are the involvement of the military controlled UDA in forced evictions, the modalities of which are similar to those employed in the North and East of Sri Lanka, and the scale which, according to some estimates, could even dwarf displacement in Northern Sri Lanka during the final two years of the war. The report also argues that viewing the forced evictions in Colombo as part of a development project only serves to hide the enormous social, public and human costs”.

Via http://www.sundaytimes.lk/140420/business-times/colombo-beautification-at-a-cost-of-135000-families-cpa-92800.html