200 Police and 100 STF Personnel Deployed and Curfew Imposed in Galle After Eruption of Sinhala-Muslim Violence in Gintota Area;7Arrests, 3 Hospitalised,Mosque Attacked, Houses Set Ablaze


Several buildings have been set on fire and damaged in the Gintota area in Galle yesterday, following a commotion among the communities living in the area.

According to the Vice President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Council, the incident had begun on Thursday when a man identified as a Sinhalese had knocked a man who was identified as a Muslim with his bike. Thereafter an alleged gang of Muslims had attacked the Sinhala man.

This was followed with the Sinhalese individual returning with a gang of his own, Ahmed said, which erupted in a scuffle that led to the turmoil that encompassed the Gintota area.

Continue reading ‘200 Police and 100 STF Personnel Deployed and Curfew Imposed in Galle After Eruption of Sinhala-Muslim Violence in Gintota Area;7Arrests, 3 Hospitalised,Mosque Attacked, Houses Set Ablaze’ »

UNP Puttalam District MP Hector Appuhamy Wants The Telephone Logs of all 225 MP’s to be Examined To See Whether They had Communications with Arjun Aloysius.

By Skandha Gunasekara

“All friendships and other relationships must be forgotten when one is a member of a watchdog committee such as the COPE. That is why we all signed the COPE report and agreed with its recommendations. There are those who only attempt to sling mud as politicians. It has become a norm to destroy another’s character with false accusations.”

Meanwhile, UNP Puttalam district MP Hector Appuahamy addressing a hurriedly organised press briefing at the Parliamentary complex told the media that while he may have had phone calls with Aloysius, it was only due to their friendship and the connections made between them during business activities. “Arjun Aloysius and I are friends and we have done some business together. I can safely say that I never spoke of anything that would jeopardise the COPE investigation during my conversations with him.

These phone conversations were mainly social calls.”

He then demanded that the phone call logs of all 225 MPs be investigated.

“The phone logs of all 225 MPs should be investigated. It is likely that Aloysius has called many other MPs. Authorities should carry out an investigation ensuring that the Parliamentary privileges of the MPs are safeguarded.”

When questioned by the media if he was willing to have the recordings of his phone conversation with Aloysius examined, the MP said that he had no qualms with such an initiative.

“As politicians we receive phone calls from various people, including murderers and thieves. I have no problem with my phone call recordings being investigated. It will categorically prove I have done nothing wrong. In fact I propose that phone call recordings of all 225 MPs who have spoken with Aloysius be examined,” he said.

Courtesy:Daily FT

Sri Lankan Buddhist Extremists Abuse British Buddhist Naomi Coleman On Facebook Saying she should Die and Go to Hell

A woman who was deported from Sri Lanka for having a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm says she had to leave Facebook after being abused by extremists.
Naomi Coleman, 41, from Coventry, won compensation on Wednesday after being detained in the country for four days, in April 2014.
Following her deportation, she says she received online messages telling her she should die and burn in hell.
Ms Coleman, a Buddhist herself, said she will not return to Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Buddhist Extremists Abuse British Buddhist Naomi Coleman On Facebook Saying she should Die and Go to Hell’ »

British Practising Buddhist Naomi Coleman Who was Detained in Sri Lanka For Having a Buddha Tattoo Awarded compensation By Supreme Court


A woman who was deported from Sri Lanka for having a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm has won compensation.


Naomi Coleman, from Coventry, was detained for four days in April 2014.


Granting her compensation of 800,000 Sri Lankan rupees – about £4,000 – the country’s Supreme Court said her treatment was “scandalous and horrifying” and ruled her rights had been violated.

Ms Coleman told the BBC Sinhala Service she was “overwhelmed” by the ruling.

Continue reading ‘British Practising Buddhist Naomi Coleman Who was Detained in Sri Lanka For Having a Buddha Tattoo Awarded compensation By Supreme Court’ »

President-Prime Minister Relations Strained as Maithripala Wants Ranil to Step Down as PM Before Testifying At Treasury Bonds Presidential Inquiry Commission On November 20th.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The prevailing political relationship between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has come under heavy strain lately due to the on going Presidential commission of Inquiry into the alleged Treasury Bonds Scam , it is learnt.

pic via: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader/ (Sep 2015)

According to informed sources close to the Coalition Government headed by President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe , the bone of contention in the current crisis is a “strong request amounting to a demand”made by Maithripala that Ranil should “voluntarily” step down as Prime Minister before testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating the Issuance of Treasury Bonds by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who has already submitted replies in the form of an affidavit to a questionnaire sent by the Presidential commission of inquiry is scheduled to testify before the Inquiry commission on November 20th 2017 and provide further clarifications to the Commission. It is understood that the Prime minister would respond to queries by the Commission Chairman Justice K.T. Chitrasiri and Commissioner Justice Prasanna Jayawardane only and would not be questioned by counsel from the Attorney -Generals Department. The Commission of Inquiry is scheduled to wind up on December 8th 2017.

The latest problem that has arisen is the demand couched as a request to the prime minister who is also the leader of the United National Party(UNP) leader from the president who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP)that the PM should step down before appearing before the Inquiry commission. The request was conveyed on behalf of the President to the Prime Minister earlier this week said informed sources. Mr.Wickremesinghe who left for Singapore on Nov 9th night will be away from Sri Lanka for four days.

Continue reading ‘President-Prime Minister Relations Strained as Maithripala Wants Ranil to Step Down as PM Before Testifying At Treasury Bonds Presidential Inquiry Commission On November 20th.’ »

✿ “Roja Malarae Rajakumari” ♛ ♥ ~ Popular Song by PB Sreenivas – P.Susheela Duo ♫

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs -4

“Ruritanian Romance” is a genre consisting of stories, novels, dramas and films set in a fictional country. Anthony Hope’s novel “Prisoner of Zenda” based in the imaginary state of Ruritania was the pioneering novel that spawned this popular genre. Literature, theatre and films of this genre are generally about romances between Royalty and commoners occurring in a fictional country with the melodramatic backdrop of plots, intrigues, action and adventure.Many films have been made in many parts of the world that could be categorised as belonging to the “Ruritanian Romance “genre.

"Veerathirumagan"

“Veerathirumagan Aanandhan ♥ Sachu”

“Veerathirumagan” was a Tamil film belonging to the Ruritanian romance genre, It was released in India on May 3rd 1962.The film was screened some months later in Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon. Even before the film hit the screens , the songs in the movie popularised by Radio became runaway hits. The Tamil commercial service of “Radio Ceylon”played a big role in this. In those days “Radio Ceylon” or “Ceylon Radio “ as it was known in India, was most popular over the air waves in Tamil Nadu.
Continue reading ‘✿ “Roja Malarae Rajakumari” ♛ ♥ ~ Popular Song by PB Sreenivas – P.Susheela Duo ♫’ »

Disclosure of Telephone Calls Between Arjun Aloysius Before Presidential Inquiry Commission: With Ravi Karunanayake-84;Sujeewa Senasinghe-62; Mela Karunanayake -320;Harshana Rajakaruna -23;Hector Appuhamy -23.

By Himal Kotelawala

Testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the controversial bond issuance yesterday, a CID official said that former Director of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. (PTL) Arjun Aloysius had telephoned several members of the second Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) investigating the matter during the period of its tenure in 2016.

According to a report submitted by Sub Inspector Yasanka Jayasinghe attached to the Technical Aid Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), 62 calls had taken place between the mobile phones registered to Aloysius and UNP Parliamentarian Sujeewa Senasinghe. Responding to questions by Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda, Jayasinghe said that 36 of those calls were from Aloysius’s phone to Senasinghe’s. The UNP MP was appointed to the COPE chaired by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti on 7 July 2016.

The breakdown of calls between Aloysius and other COPE members, according to Jayasinghe’s testimony, are as follows:

Sujeewa Senasinghe – 62 calls

Dayasiri Jayasekara – 2 calls

Ajith P. Perera – 2 calls

Hector Appuhamy – 23 calls

Harshana Rajakaruna – 23 calls

According to Jayasinghe, no calls or messages had been exchanged between Aloysius and notable COPE members such as JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake and UNP MPs Dr. Harsha De Silva, Ranjan Ramanayake, et al.


In his testimony, Jayasinghe said that between 1 February 2015 and 31 July 2016, 84 calls had taken place between Aloysius and former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. Responding to ASG Kodagoda, he said this was out of a total of 387 calls that had taken place from 5 February 2015 to 20 June 2017 between the two parties.

A further 320 calls he said had been exchanged by Aloysius and the Minister’s wife Mela Karunanayake, in addition to 18 calls and five calls with his daughters Onella and Shanella Karunanayake respectively.

Continue reading ‘Disclosure of Telephone Calls Between Arjun Aloysius Before Presidential Inquiry Commission: With Ravi Karunanayake-84;Sujeewa Senasinghe-62; Mela Karunanayake -320;Harshana Rajakaruna -23;Hector Appuhamy -23.’ »

Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Asks Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Not to Stir Up Communal Unrest in Order to Come Back to Power.

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan yesterday asked former President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to stir communal unrest in order to come back to power.

Participating in the final day of the second reading debate on Budget proposals in Parliament, the Opposition Leader also requested Rajapaksa to support the new Constitution.

Former President Rajapaksa’s position on national issues promoted disharmony amongst the people, the Opposition Leader said

Sampanthan said that if Rajapaksa was against devolution he should frankly say whether power should only be exercised by Colombo just as he sought to do through 18 Amendment to Constitution. Such arrangements might be beneficial to individuals in power but not to the public, he said.

Continue reading ‘Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Asks Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Not to Stir Up Communal Unrest in Order to Come Back to Power.’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe To Appear Before Presidential Commission Of Inquiry On Issuance of Treasury Bonds on November 20th.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will appear before a panel investigating alleged irregularities in government bond sales, the panel’s chairman said on Thursday.

Appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena after demands from opposition lawmakers, the panel has been looking into a central bank bond deal that some government critics said raised government borrowing costs.

Chairman K.T. Chitrasiri said that the prime minister would appear before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Monday.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe To Appear Before Presidential Commission Of Inquiry On Issuance of Treasury Bonds on November 20th.’ »

For The Referendum To Succeed Advocacy and Practice of Constitutional Reform Must Shift to the Terrain of Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalism.

By
Sanjayan Rajasingham

(The writer is an Attorney-at-Law and a lecturer at the Department of Law, Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna.)

Every country has two Constitutions: a “Legal Constitution” and a “Political Constitution”. To win a referendum and to introduce a new Constitution, Sri Lanka must change both. The focus for the past two years has been on the Legal Constitution. From now, it must be on the Political Constitution.

A Constitution answers a series of questions about the State. Is it ‘unitary’ or ‘federal’? Which is more powerful, Parliament or the Executive? What rights do the minorities have? What principles will guide MPs, Cabinet Ministers and Judges have as they serve the people? The answers decide the type of Constitution, and the type of country, we will have. Sri Lanka’s Legal Constitution is the text of the 1978 Constitution. In the new Constitution, these questions are again at the centre. Will Sri Lanka be an ‘ekeeya rajjya’/’orumiththa naadu’? Will we have an Executive President? Will we change our electoral system?

The Political Constitution, on the other hand, sits behind the legal text. If a Legal Constitution focuses on the structure and form of a Constitution – unitary with an executive presidency, and proportional representation – a Political Constitution explains why the Legal Constitution has its structure and form. It is a set of assumptions and beliefs that provide the rationale, the legitimating force, the reasons, for the structure of the Legal Constitution.
Continue reading ‘For The Referendum To Succeed Advocacy and Practice of Constitutional Reform Must Shift to the Terrain of Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalism.’ »

Southern Skylark Susheela is Uncrowned Empress Of Tamil Film Songs ♫♥


By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(This Article Written in November 2016 is Being Re-posted here to denote the Birthday of P. Susheela on November 13th)


“Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass… how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Ode to a Skylark’

An indispensable feature of Indian language films are the song sequences. The songs are usually picturised on actors or actresses who lip-synch them on screen. The voices we hear belong to off-screen singers known generally as playback singers.

The songs sung by these playback singers are pre-recorded for movies. Fortunately for these playback singers they are given credit in the film titles as well as the soundtrack albums. Film songs therefore are identified by the singer who actually sings them and not the actor who lip synchs on screen. Indian movie playback singers have gained much popularity and many, many fans over the years by their singing.

P Susheela (b: 13 November 1935)

One of the most popular playback singers in this respect is Pulapaka Susheela Mohan, known to millions of her adoring fans as P. Susheela. The octogenarian Susheela was in the news lately for setting a world record in playback singing. The well-known Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged in an official certificate dated 28 January that the Singer has recorded the highest number of songs in films.

“Pulapaka Susheela Mohan (born 1935) has reportedly recorded up to 17,695 solo, duet and chorus-backed songs in over six Indian languages since the 1960s, as verified on 28 January 2016,” said the citation of the Guinness World Records.
Continue reading ‘Southern Skylark Susheela is Uncrowned Empress Of Tamil Film Songs ♫♥’ »

Alleged Misappropriation of Public Funds By Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Former Chief of Staff Gamini Senerath Along With Piyadasa Kudabalage and Neil Hapuhinna


By

Nirmala Kannangara


Forensic audit report had highlighted the alleged fraudulent methodology followed when acquiring three properties; Ranmuthu Hotels Ltd, No: 112, Galle Road, J.C. Ramanayake of 108, Galle Road and Ceylinco Insurance PLC of 134, Galle Road for the expansion of Grand Hyatt Regency in 2013.

________________________________________

Ranmuthu Hotels

• According to the report, 62.77 perches has been acquired from Ranmuthu Hotels and although the Government Chief Valuer in his report dated June 13, 2013 had valued the land at Rs. 303.2 million and the building therein for Rs. 196.8 million where the total reaches Rs. 500 million, once again the property had been valued on July 30, 2013. In the second valuation report, the land value had risen to Rs. 483.2 million and the building therein remained at the same value with the total valuation being Rs. 680 million. However, the property had been purchased for Rs. 689.071 million without giving any reasons
________________________________________

Ceylon Insuarance PLC

• Sino Lanka had acquired 20.1 perches from Ceylon Insurance PLC and the first valuation had been carried out on January 9, 2013 with the valuation for the land being Rs. 100 million and the valuation for the building being Rs. 91.5 million. The total valuation was Rs. 191.5 million. Again on October 22, 2013, the second valuation had been carried out and the value for the land and building value was stated as Rs.252 million. During the third valuation, the land valuation had increased up to Rs.168.5 million and the value of the building therein was the same as the first valuation coming into a total of Rs.260 million. However the final payment had been made to the tune of Rs.270 million
________________________________________

J.C. Ramanayake property

• The J.C. Ramanayake property was 15 perches in extent and only one valuation had been carried out on August 23, 2013. The valuation for the land was Rs.105 million while the land therein had been valued for Rs.15 million with the total being Rs.120 million. However, Sino Lanka Hotels and Spa had paid Rs. 130 million for the property

• The report states how the procurement of steel for the Grand Hyatt project had been carried out violating Government procurement guidelines. The tender had been awarded to the second lowest bidder which was a loss of Rs.16.426 million to the state
________________________________________

It has now surfaced how Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Chief of Staff together with two others were allegedly involved in a misappropriation connected with tax payers’ hard earned money, regarding which the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) has filed a case (‘B’ 788/ 15) in the Colombo Magistrate Court under the Public Property Act No: 12 of 1982.

Continue reading ‘Alleged Misappropriation of Public Funds By Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Former Chief of Staff Gamini Senerath Along With Piyadasa Kudabalage and Neil Hapuhinna’ »

Northern Governor Reginald Cooray Thinks The Northern Provincial Council Has Become a Failure



By
Kelum Bandara


Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray Reginld, in an interview with the “Daily Mirror” spoke about constitution making, social conditions and attitudes of politicians in the north.


Following are excerpts of the interview.


Q: As the Governor of the Northern Province, how do you view the demand for power sharing in this province?

A
It has to be viewed taking into account the history of our country. Mainly as a result of historical events, these constitutional amendments or constitutions were brought about. For example, the 13th Amendment took place because the successive Governments in the past couldn’t resolve the problem through legislative measures. The 13th Amendment provided for the setting up of provincial councils. To a certain extent, power has been devolved to the provincial councils. People are concerned both about the stability or integrity of the country and devolution. The 13th Amendment balances both. On the one hand, there is a demand for power devolution. It’s to be done. On the other hand, integrity, unity and stability of the country are to be preserved. The President has a very important role to play. Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP, in its constitutional proposals, has requested the presidential system to be retained.

Continue reading ‘Northern Governor Reginald Cooray Thinks The Northern Provincial Council Has Become a Failure’ »

Saudi Princess Amira Bint Aidan Bin Nayef Reveals that Children Particularly Orphans From Sri Lanka are Bought and Rented as Sex Slaves in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Princess Amira Bint Aidan Bin Nayef has revealed that children, especially the orphans, from countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Djibouti, Somalia, Nigeria, Romania and Bulgaria had been bought and rented as sex slaves in Saudi, Dhaka Tribune reported on Sunday.

Giving exclusive statements to the French Newspaper Le Monde, she has said slavery in Saudi Arabia had different forms, but it was done in secrecy and permitted only among the primary beneficiaries of the princes of the House of Saud.

Princes Aidan is the ex-wife of the Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, who was recently arrested in scope of the anti-corruption purges in the country.

She said those who accuse others of corruption and money laundering are in fact highly corrupted themselves.

Continue reading ‘Saudi Princess Amira Bint Aidan Bin Nayef Reveals that Children Particularly Orphans From Sri Lanka are Bought and Rented as Sex Slaves in Saudi Arabia.’ »

UNP Steps Up Pressure On President Sirisena to Abolish Executive Presidency without Further Delay or Face the Consequences

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The UNP has stepped up pressure on President Maithripala Sirisena to abolish the executive presidency without further delay or face the consequences.

Key government strategist MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, PC, spearheading the new constitution-making process and Deputy Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ajith Perera yesterday emphasised that their post-presidential election understanding with President Sirisena in respect of the abolition of executive presidency wasn’t negotiable.

UNPers said so at a meeting at the new town hall organised by a trade union collective backing ongoing high profile government project to introduce the new Constitution.

Continue reading ‘UNP Steps Up Pressure On President Sirisena to Abolish Executive Presidency without Further Delay or Face the Consequences’ »

Attempts to Create Trouble Between India and Sri Lanka By Exploiting the Fuel Shortage Issue Thwarted by Mature and Deft Diplomatic Action.

By

P.K.Balachandran

Energy ties between India and Sri Lanka, plagued by controversy right from the time they were mooted in 1987, came under severe stress between the middle of October and the first week of November this year. Had it not been contained by mature and deft diplomatic action by India and a spirit of accommodation at the top most echelons of the Sri Lankan government, the issue of island-wide petrol shortage would have led to a diplomatic showdown between New Delhi and Colombo.

In the first week November, there was a severe shortage of petrol and diesel throughout Sri Lanka for which blame was being thrown about recklessly. The Minister of Petroleum, Arjuna Ranatunga, put most of the blame the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), a wholly owned subsidy of the Indian oil major Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). He also blamed the “fuel mafia” which he said is wanting the petroleum sector to collapse so that it is privatized; and vested interests who sent out SMSs warning of a sudden strike of petroleum workers which led to a run on the petrol stations.

Sri Lankan nationalists followed the minister and indulged in India bashing. They called for the abrogation of all energy agreements with India. But others blamed Minister Ranatunga and his brother Dammika Ranatunga, Chairman of the Ceylon Petrolum Corporation (CPC) which controls 84% of the market. The CPC’s stocks had been allowed to run low and the shipment it had ordered was delayed by a week.

Initially, Minister Ranatunga seemed to get away with his contention that the shortage was due to the LIOC’s landing a consignment of impure petrol (with some particles floating in it), and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s having had no option but to reject it. To this he added, the mysterious breakdown of the power supply system in the Sapugaskanda oil refinery and the breakdown of the India-supplied computer system which controls distribution of fuel.

Continue reading ‘Attempts to Create Trouble Between India and Sri Lanka By Exploiting the Fuel Shortage Issue Thwarted by Mature and Deft Diplomatic Action.’ »

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Denies Reports About a Secret Meeting With Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath Wanted By Police for Alleged Embezzlement of Rs4 Billion from Public Funds.

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake today denied reports that he had a secret meeting with former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath who was remanded today.

Minister Ratnayake issuing a media statement in this regard said this was a baseless and malicious allegation as he had no intention of meeting a suspect in a corruption case which involved billions of public funds.

Continue reading ‘Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Denies Reports About a Secret Meeting With Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath Wanted By Police for Alleged Embezzlement of Rs4 Billion from Public Funds.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Ex- Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath and Two Others Allegedly Involved in Illegal 4 Billion Rupee Investment Remanded Till Nov 15th After Surrendering to Court Through Lawyers.


By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Three suspects, including former President’s Chief of Staff, Gamini Sedara Senarath were yesterday ordered to be remanded till November 15 by Colombo Fort Magistrate for allegedly missing public funds by illegally investing Rs.4 billion from the Rs.18.5 billion approved by the Cabinet for a hotel project in 2012.

The Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne made this order in respect of three suspects Gamini Senarath, former Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage and former Samurdhi Commissioner Neil Bandara Hapuwinna, when they surrendered to court, through their lawyers.

The Magistrate announced that she would make an appropriate order on the next inquiry date after inspecting both legal and incidental material relevant to the case.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Ex- Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath and Two Others Allegedly Involved in Illegal 4 Billion Rupee Investment Remanded Till Nov 15th After Surrendering to Court Through Lawyers.’ »

Banning Of Lanka e-News Website Brings Out Simmering Conflict Between President Sirisena and The United National Party Into the Open.

By

C. A. Chandraprema

The banning of the Lanka e News website indicates a new development in the internal politics of the yahapalana coalition government. Lanka e News is foremost among the website that worked to bring Maithripala Sirisena into power. What distinguished Lanka e News from the other websites that also were on the offensive against the Rajapaksa government was that after the yahapalana government came into power it functioned almost like the party paper of the UNP whereas the other websites while being pro-yahapalana, may not have espoused the specific UNP cause in the same manner.

Given the role that LeN played to get Maithripala Sirisena the chosen candidate of the UNP elected President, for Sirisena to order the banning of LeN is equivalent to Ranil Wickremesinghe banning the Sunday Leader after becoming Prime Minister in December 2001. LeN was not by any stretch of imagination a website that practiced ethical journalism. They never hesitated to personally vilify anyone who failed to toe their line.

Continue reading ‘Banning Of Lanka e-News Website Brings Out Simmering Conflict Between President Sirisena and The United National Party Into the Open.’ »

Senior Ministers Mangala,Kabir and Malik Protest to President Sirisena Over Premier Wickremesinghe Testifying Before Presidential Inquiry Commission


By The “Sunday Times”Political Editor

A well-known Sinhala adage refers to the plight of those who went to seek solace at a temple but found the roof collapsing on their heads.

That in essence appeared to be the dilemma of a high-powered three-member United National Party (UNP) delegation which had a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena just last week. It was brief but had the undesired effect.

Their purpose was to convey the party’s deep disappointment that their leader and Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe was being summoned before the Commission of Inquiry probing the bond scandal at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). They opined that the move would give the impression to the country and to followers of the UNP, the main partner in the coalition Government with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), that their leader was being arraigned for some suspicious activity.

The delegation comprised three Cabinet Ministers — UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema, General Secretary Kabir Hashim, and Mangala Samaraweera, now a senior member. The trio told Sirisena that asking Premier Wickremesinghe to testify before the Commission also appeared a witch-hunt by the leadership and created the impression that the Government was targeting its own people. Ahead of the meeting, the Sunday Times learnt that the three ministers had discussed the issues they were to raise with their leader Wickremesinghe.

The UNP trio had pointed out that even before the coalition was formed, they had pledged together to bring to book those in the previous Rajapaksa administration for alleged bribery and corruption. Instead, they pointed out that their leader and Prime Minister had become the focal point. That, they believed, would give a wrong message to the country.

Continue reading ‘Senior Ministers Mangala,Kabir and Malik Protest to President Sirisena Over Premier Wickremesinghe Testifying Before Presidential Inquiry Commission’ »

President Sirisena May Appoint Mangala Samaraweera As Acting Prime Minister If Ranil Wicremesinghe Steps Down as Premier.

by Gagani Weerakoon

Clad in a carefully chosen blue and green tie, Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera entered the Chamber at 3.05p.m. on Thursday (9) to present Budget 2018, which was themed, ‘Blue-Green Budget; the Launch of Enterprise Sri Lanka’. “It is ‘Blue’ because we plan to integrate the full economic potential of ocean related activities in formulating the overall growth strategy. It is ‘Green’ because we build our economy on an environmentally sustainable development strategy. The ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ will reawaken the entrepreneurial spirit, coming from our ancient forefathers, enabling Sri Lanka to be a vibrant trading hub and encouraging all Sri Lankans to become co-owners of a country enriched,” he said.

Even though many expected the Government to come up with an ‘election budget’, the maiden Budget of Minister Samaraweera had focused mainly on policy implementations.

While many view the Budget 2018 as set of proposals that promises nothing major to anyone, yet implementing taxes for almost everything, there are some carefully drafted policy measures, which any other government would have otherwise not paid much attention to. For instance, it had paid attention to the trap of micro credit entities, where rural people, especially those in the North and the East, fall prey to.

Indebtedness in the rural sector targeted by exploitative microfinance schemes has become a serious issue. The small industries in the Northern Province have also not been able to revive due to both the lack of working capital and equity.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena May Appoint Mangala Samaraweera As Acting Prime Minister If Ranil Wicremesinghe Steps Down as Premier.’ »

Minister Responsible for Fuel Crisis Tragi-comedy Should Have Resigned Or Been Asked To Resign Forthwith.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Can sheer bumbling incompetence bring down a Government?

This may be a far from rhetorical question in the months ahead. However what propels this query at this point is not simply the arch tragi-comedy of Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis this week. This had its funny moments with snake charmers and musicians playing at fuel stations where perspiring motorists waited for hours for their rations, beset by equal parts fury and frustration.

Provoking guffaws of laughter

Certainly dark mutterings of Rajapaksa-conspiracies put forward by Government Ministers invites ridicule. Let us not mince our words. If the rejection of one ship-load of sub-standard fuel is all that takes to bring about a national crisis of such magnitude, that reflects more on the idiocy of those in charge rather than on conspiracies. And the anxious charting of the progress on international waters, of the ship bringing the replacement fuel which alleviated the crisis towards the end of the week, provoked guffaws of laughter. Is this what this country is reduced to? It is a pathetic state of affairs without a doubt.

And at the Cabinet briefing, the only excuse put forward by grinning ministerial spokesmen was to ask media personnel if they preferred the situation that arose a few years ago where a consignment of sub-standard fuel was in fact accepted by the Rajapaksa government and several vehicles of consumers were damaged. But the question is not what happened then. Governing a country is not a competition to judge what is more preferable, the bad or the worse. And citing conspiracies or past abuses has now become just plain tiring.

On all accounts, the responsible Minster should have resigned or have been asked to do so forthwith. But pushing the accountability bar to that extent is unthinkable. Instead, we paper over the embarrassment, appoint another interminable committee to inquire into the situation and unsteadily lurch along, until the next crisis occurs.

Continue reading ‘Minister Responsible for Fuel Crisis Tragi-comedy Should Have Resigned Or Been Asked To Resign Forthwith.’ »

Counsel MA Sumanthiran Objects On Conflict of Interest Grounds to ASG Farhana Jameel Appearing for All Respondents in FR Petition Case Filed Against Attorney-General’s Dept by Central Bank Senior Manager

The Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed by a Senior Manager of the Central Bank, complaining about the intimidation, threats and insults he suffered at the hands of senior officials of the Attorney General’s Dept, came up on Friday (10) before a Bench comprising Justices Sisira De Abrew and Vijith Malalgoda.

Previously, two judges including Justice Sisira de Abrew had declined to hear the matter, as they knew some of the Respondents. The Members of the Commission of Inquiry are also named as Respondents in this case.

Continue reading ‘Counsel MA Sumanthiran Objects On Conflict of Interest Grounds to ASG Farhana Jameel Appearing for All Respondents in FR Petition Case Filed Against Attorney-General’s Dept by Central Bank Senior Manager’ »

Vasantha Senanayake Instead of Harsha de Silva Could Have Led Sri Lanka Delegation for Universal Periodic Review At Geneva

By

Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

On Wednesday, 15th of November at 2.30 pm, Sri Lanka will come under review at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and will have to account for its conduct, answer questions posed to it by other countries, and decide which recommendations it accepts.

A sample of questions posed in advance, to be answered on Wednesday, are as follows:

Germany: In September 2017, the parliament of Sri Lanka has taken the bill on enforced disappearances from its agenda. Why was this the case and when does the parliament plan to reconsider the bill?


Belgium:
welcomes Sri Lanka’s efforts regarding transitional justice. What progress has been made regarding the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Estonia: In the national report you mention that a certain mechanism has been created to ensure that the commitments under UN HRC Resolution 30/1 are met. Could you elaborate on the work so far done by that mechanism?

What is the current state of play with regard to the review and repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act in ensuring that it meets international human rights standards?

Continue reading ‘Vasantha Senanayake Instead of Harsha de Silva Could Have Led Sri Lanka Delegation for Universal Periodic Review At Geneva’ »

Twenty-Eight Salient Provisions of Vital Importance in the Budget for 2018 Presented by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

( 28 Salient Provisions in the Budget for 2018 Presented by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.)


1) Legislative Reforms:

The budget has identified the key legislative impediments to the ease of doing business and the efficient utilization of Sri Lanka’s assets. Access to land has been a major hindrance to growth of investment, as is the access to labour, and affordable capital. The legislation governing land, labour, and capital will therefore be amended or enacted to improve access to factors of production to facilitate new investments and expansions. Particularly important are the repeal of the Underperforming Enterprises Act, amendments to the Shop & Office employees Act, Land Restrictions and Alienations Act, and the introduction of new Bankruptcy Laws. These legislative amendments can go a long way towards enabling investment and economic expansion.

2) Vehicle Imports Duties:

Import taxes on vehicles have long been a source of manipulation and graft. This has been due to the complexity of the tax structure, and the significant levels of discretion in administration of taxation. This has resulted in large levels of revenue loss for the government and has led to an uneven playing field in the vehicle market. In this budget a new duty structure has been introduced where the tax is based only on the engine capacity of the vehicle. This eliminates all room for discretion and treats all vehicles on the same basis. The duty brackets are based on a transparent, objective formula. It is positive to note that in this budget there is a broad effort to shift from ad hoc subjective taxation to taxation based on transparent, objective, rule based criteria.


3) Vehicle Luxury Tax:

It is noted that in the process of shifting from an ad-hoc vehicle import tax structure to one based on a rules based criteria, there will be some initial price displacements. Furthermore, there may be some initial price declines for high end vehicles – therefore it is a positive move to include a luxury tax on the super-luxury vehicles in order to capture more government revenue while preserving social equity.


4) Tax declines on smaller vehicles:

The decline in tax of some of the smaller vehicles will be a boost to first time car buyers, young families etc. But at the same time it is essential that we ensure the quality of vehicles imported are maintained – in this context the introduction of minimum emission standards and minimum safety criteria are important.

5) Electric Vehicles:

The reduced duties for electric vehicles is a positive from an environmental perspective. By maintaining a significant tax differential between petrol/diesel vehicles and hybrids and electric vehicles will encourage people to switch to non-fossil fuel vehicles. The Budget ambition to convert Sri Lanka to a non-fossil fuel vehicle country by 2040 is commendable – the government will be taking the lead in this regard by converting to hybrid and electric by 2025.


6) Plastic Tax –

The budget complements HE the President’s pledge to reduce Sri Lanka’s plastic usage by introducing a tariff on plastic raw material imports. This will incentivize the economy to reduce the consumption of plastic based products over time. At the same time, the budget has provided concessionary loans and subsidized machinery/equipment for the development of alternative products such as packaging material using biodegradable material like palm leaves, coir, and bamboo – this will also be a boost to local cottage industries.

Continue reading ‘Twenty-Eight Salient Provisions of Vital Importance in the Budget for 2018 Presented by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.’ »

“Village in the Jungle” Author Leonard Woolf Recommended Swiss Canton Federal System for Ceylon/Sri Lanka in the 30’s of the 20th Century.

By Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

As the political discussion and debate on constitution making gathers momentum, earlier this week, a local English Daily carried two lengthy interviews with two legal luminaries, Dr.Jayatissa de Costa, the former Principal of Sri Lanka Law College and Dr.JayampathyWickramaratne,parliamentarian and constitutional expert playing a vital role in the current constitution drafting process. Both gave insight and details into the current status of the constitution making process, but their views on federalism prompted this writer to share his opinion in this column.

Dr. Costa argued federalism under any garb, was not acceptable for a small country like Sri Lanka and even went to the extent of deeming it ‘dangerous’ When asked why he believed so, he said the federal system was successful in big countries like Canada, United States and Australia and even Malaysia.On being reminded that even small countries such as Switzerland and Belgium have federal system, he argued that Switzerland was an exception and that it had built safeguards for different ethnic groups throughout its history.Sri Lanka on the other hand he said, was too small to have a federal state and added, “You can’t compare the incomparable.”

Dr.Wickramaratnecountered that the argument about Sri Lanka being too small to have a federal structure wastime-worn and cited Switzerland, a country much smaller than Sri Lanka, as having federal structures.However, he pointed out that nobody in Sri Lanka was asking for the powers of Swiss cantons. What was being asked wasonly devolution, not federalism, he said, expounding that devolution doesn’t depend on the size of the state.


It is incongruous that a seasoned politician and legal expert like Dr.Wickramaratne who has been playing an important role in the constitutional reform process, should say nobody is asking for federalism in Sri Lanka now. Especially since the main sections of Tamil polity including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by the leader of the opposition in Parliament, R. Sampanthan, who is cooperating with the National Unity Government in constitution making have been demanding a political solution based on federal lines. However, Dr.Wickramaratne’s utterances fits in with the thinking of the entire Southern polity, which is averse to the demand and regard federalism as an untouchable word.

Continue reading ‘“Village in the Jungle” Author Leonard Woolf Recommended Swiss Canton Federal System for Ceylon/Sri Lanka in the 30’s of the 20th Century.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Balancing Act in Indian Ocean Power Play Between China and India is Going to be Increasingly Difficult in the Future.

By

Col R.Hariharan

It looks like Sri Lanka’s balancing act in the China-India power play in the Indian Ocean is going to get more and more difficult the coming months and years. China’s assertion of economic and military power is poised to grow stronger in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) if we go by President Xi Jinping’s speech at the recently concluded Communist Party of China (CPC) 19th National Congress.

According to Xinhua, President Xi “announced the new era: China has stood up, grown rich and become strong. It will move toward center stage and make greater contributions for mankind. By 2050….China is set to regain its might and re-ascend to the top of the world.”

The Congress has elevated President Xi Jinping’s status on par with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping by adopting “Xism” – Socialism with Chinese characteristics for the New Era – as its creed. With the Congress making Xi to head the country, the party and the PLA for yet another term, he combines enormous power. He is perhaps exemplifying poet William Cowper’s words “I am monarch of all I survey, My right there is none to dispute, From the centre of all round to the sea, I am lord of the fowl and the horde.” In simple terms, Xi now has a free hand to relentlessly push, to make China truly the Middle Kingdom and realise the China dream.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Balancing Act in Indian Ocean Power Play Between China and India is Going to be Increasingly Difficult in the Future.’ »

Lanka E-news Lawyer Kumarapperuma Seeks Answers From Information Dept Acting Director -General About Grounds on Which Website was Banned and on Whose Orders It was Done

( Attorney at Law Upul Kumarapperuma has written a letter to the Acting Director-General of State Information Department Sudharshana Gunawardena on the instructions of Mr. Sandaruwan Senadheera Editor -in chief of Lanka E-news website. In that letter Lawyer Kumarapperuma seeks answers from the Acting D- G about the grounds on which the website was banned in Sri Lanka and on whose orders the ban was imposed. The full text of the letter’s English translation is given below)


To
Sudharshana Gunawardena ,Attorney at law ,
Director General News (Acting)
State information department
Kirulapone Road ,
Polhengoda
Colombo 05

Dear Sir,

Obstruction of www.lankaenews.com news website

I am writing on the instructions of my client , Sandaruwan Senadheera the chief editor of Lanka e news website www.lankaenews.com .

Based on the information conveyed to me by my client , the news website under the name of ‘Lanka e news’ is engaged in publication of news pertaining to the spheres of politics, art, sports and foreign news , and it is the first Sri Lankan news website . Moreover it has earned the reputation as a foremost news website publishing articles in Sinhala, Tamil and English .In addition the news website made a major contribution towards the political upheaval in the country in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Lanka E-news Lawyer Kumarapperuma Seeks Answers From Information Dept Acting Director -General About Grounds on Which Website was Banned and on Whose Orders It was Done’ »

“Dingiri Dingaaley Meenatchi, Dingiri Dingaaley”- Rocking “Baila”-Type Song ♫♥

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs -2

“ Dingiri Dingaale Meenatchi Dingiri Dingaale, Ulagam Poara Poakkaip Paaru Thangamay Chiillaaley” was a song that rocked Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon in 1958-59 and the years after. The rhapsodic song from a Tamil film “Anbu Engey?”was widely popular during my childhood days. It was released in Sri Lanka in 1959.No sing song or dance at a party was complete without it. Even at children’s parties this song would be sung or played with every one dancing. Singing Dingiri Dingaaley and dancing to the song was a regular feature of life in those years

"Music has its own language! Linguistic conflicts cannot undermine the universality of music."

“Music has its own language! Linguistic conflicts cannot undermine the universality of music.”

Years later after I entered journalism I found myself being asked to sing “Dingiri Dingaaley” frequently by my Sinhala colleagues in the media. Ethnic relations had not deteriorated badly in the years before “Black July 1983”. Fellow scribes of all communities had cordial relations with each other. When “spirits” were high the journalistic fraternity would engage in a sing- song whenever possible. At such raucous gatherings where many, many songs were sung there would always be a request from Sinhala friends for two Tamil songs. One was “ Adi Ennadi Raakkammaa” from the film “Pattikkaada Pattanamaa?”. The other was of course “Dingiri Dingaaley”. Both were sung in films by the popular play back singer T. M. Soundararajan known generally as TMS.
Continue reading ‘“Dingiri Dingaaley Meenatchi, Dingiri Dingaaley”- Rocking “Baila”-Type Song ♫♥’ »

Geetha Kumarasinghe, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the UPFA Galle District MP’s

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Popular Sinhala movie actress Geetha Kumarasinghe who was elected member of Parliament from Galle electoral district on the United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA) ticket in August 2015 has been unseated as an MP by rulings of the Sri Lankan judiciary.

According to relevant media reports a five judge bench of the Sri Lankan Supreme court had on November 2nd 2017 ruled unanimously that Galle district Parliamentarian Geetha Kumarasinghe was not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament since she was holding dual citizenship at the time of her election. The country’s apex court upheld a writ of Quo warranto issued by the Court of Appeal that Galle District UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe was not entitled to hold office as a Member of Parliament since she had contested the August 2015 election while holding dual citizenship.
Continue reading ‘Geetha Kumarasinghe, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the UPFA Galle District MP’s’ »

“Neela Vannak Kannaa Vaadaa” – Uplifting Lullaby Sung By Balasaraswathi Devi ♥ ♫

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs -1

This article is the first in an on going series about film songs I have come to love over the years.Watching Tamil movies on screen and listening to Tamil film songs over radio was an integral part of life for me as a child growing up in Colombo. The Tamil ‘Varthaga Oliparappu’ or Commercial service of ‘Radio Ceylon’ was a treasure trove of film songs.

NV

Apart from broadcasting the latest Tamil film songs even before the films concerned were screened in India, the commercial service also aired specific programs about films being currently shown in theatres in the island. Popular radio announcer Mailvaganam conducted these programs where film songs were featured regularly. Thus one was able to keep abreast of contemporary Tamil film music courtesy ‘Radio Ceylon’ in those wonderful days of yore.
Continue reading ‘“Neela Vannak Kannaa Vaadaa” – Uplifting Lullaby Sung By Balasaraswathi Devi ♥ ♫’ »

“Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal”-Magnificient Singing by T.R.Mahalingam ♫♥

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs -3

“Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal”is perhaps the most popular song sung on screen by the magnificient singer and actor of Tamil cinema – Thenkarai Ramakrishnan Mahalingam generally known as T.R.Mahalingam. He sings this number in the film “Maalayitta Mangai”produced in 1958 by poet and film lyricist “Kavignar” Kannadasan who also penned the words of this immortal song. The melody was composed by the “monarchs of light music” Viswanathan – Ramamoorthy. The song is picturised in the film on TR Mahalingam, actress Mainavathi and a troupe of dancing girls. Mainavathi is the sister in real life of actress Pandari Bai who also acts in the film.

TR Mahalingam (1923–1978)

TR Mahalingam (1923–1978)

The song “Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal, Nilaavena Sirikkum Malark Kodiaal” has been one of my favourite film songs since childhood. I first heard it on radio and later saw it being sung on the screen when “Maalayitta Mangai” was screened at the Vel theatre in Chavakachcheri. The Vel theatre was an asbestos, aluminium and tin structure with a single projector. So there were two intervals. The theatre screened old Tamil films every two or three days. I would frequent this theatre regularly when I was home for the school holidays. It was at “Vel” seated on the gallery last bench, munching peanuts that I first saw and heard TR Mahalingam sing “Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal” on screen. In later years I got a DVD of the film and CD of the songs that I watch and listen to very often.
Continue reading ‘“Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal”-Magnificient Singing by T.R.Mahalingam ♫♥’ »

Mangala Samaraweera Presents Budget Proposals to Liberalise Restrictive Laws, Promote Exports, Expand Tourism, Maintain Fiscal Consolidation, Foster Start-ups and open Sri Lanka to Investment to Achieve 5% Growth in 2018.


By the “Daily Financial Times” News Desk

* Mangala lives up to expectations, presents concise Budget, covers all segments of society

*Core proposals on liberalisation, promoting entrepreneurship, attracting FDI, boosting exports, helping SMEs Excise, Customs, Rent, Paddy Lands, Shop and Office acts and bankruptcy laws to be revamped

*Aims for 5% growth, 6% inflation, 4.5% deficit

*Electrical vehicle prices slashed by Rs.1 million, fuel vehicles to be phased out by 2040, carbon tax

*Development Bank for SMEs, angel fund for IT, 1,200 para-tariffs to be phased out

*Restrictions of foreign ownership in shipping to be removed, online travel agents to be charged 1% on
commissions

*VAT refunds for tourists, rationalisation of liquor licenses and taxes

*PPP guidelines to be issued soon, housing, roads and education go rural, urban hub for Colombo

Delivering on his promise to keep the Budget speech concise, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday unveiled a slew of proposals to liberalise restrictive laws, promote exports, expand tourism, maintain fiscal consolidation, foster start-ups and open Sri Lanka to investment to achieve 5% growth in 2018.

Keeping the traditional political and feel good statements short, Minister Samaraweera gave a short recap of economic ills that had beset Sri Lanka since Independence, highlighting short-sighted protectionist policies as one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.

He also limited pot-shots at the previous Government headed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who with his supporters rode a bicycle to parliament to protest the fuel shortage, but only received a wayward comment from the Finance Minister. “I am happy to see that the Opposition has already started greening their modes of transport,” he quipped while announcing plans to phase out all fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera Presents Budget Proposals to Liberalise Restrictive Laws, Promote Exports, Expand Tourism, Maintain Fiscal Consolidation, Foster Start-ups and open Sri Lanka to Investment to Achieve 5% Growth in 2018.’ »

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Presents ” Clean, Lean and Green “Budget for 2018

By Saman Indrajith

Finance and Mass Media Minister Magala Samaraweera yesterday presented what he described as a ‘clean, lean and green’ budget.

Samaraweera proposed a reduction of taxes on the importation of electric vehicles including electric three wheelers, cars and buses while rationalising the import taxes on vehicles powered by fossil fuel. The new formula for import taxes would be based on the engine capacity which will minimize the revenue leakages, he said.

The minister proposed a carbon tax on motor vehicles based on engine capacity.

The import taxes on an electric car would be reduced by at least one million rupees while the import tax on the high end fossil fueled cars would be increased by almost Rs 2.5 million. “We will impose a special tax on super luxury vehicles with an engine capacity exceeding 2500 cc. At the same time the import taxes on a diesel three wheeler will be increased by around Rs. 50,000 to encourage the tansfer into environmentally friendly electric three wheelers.”

The government plans to introduce a project to transform the public transport system by introducing 50 electric buses to the SLTB fleet at a cost of Rs 500 million.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Presents ” Clean, Lean and Green “Budget for 2018’ »

Free Media Movement Urges Govt to Stop Pracyising Informal Censorship by Obstructing Technical Access to Lanka E-news Website.

Media Statement
09 November 2017

E-News shut down should be stopped – Free Media Movement

Free Media Movement observes that an informal censorship is prevalent within the country, by obstructing the technical access to Lanka E News Website.

The efforts by the FMM to obtain information from the Tele Communications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) who is alleged for being responsible for the act.

According to Lanka E News, the website has been obstructed since 08th November 2017 by the interference of the TRCSL. TRCSL has not yet responded to this allegation. This silence has further validated the allegation. We believe that TRCSL should issue a statement immediately, as a responsible government institution.

Continue reading ‘Free Media Movement Urges Govt to Stop Pracyising Informal Censorship by Obstructing Technical Access to Lanka E-news Website.’ »

Some Govt Members Using Media to Attack me for Appointing Commission to Probe Treasury Bond Scam Discloses President Sirisena

By Sandun A. Jayasekera

President Maitripala Sirisena said yesterday that some Government members are using the media to attack him because he appointed a Commission to inquire into the Central Bank Bond issue.

He said this at an event held to mark the second death anniversary of the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera held at the Ape Gama premises in Battaramulla.

“Some in the government blame me for appointing a Commission to inquire into the Central Bank misdeeds. These individuals are making a wrong analysis of me based on that. A very few people in the government are accusing me through websites and running facebook campaigns. I am attacked by spending money on certain media institutions and by reserving pages in weekend newspapers. Some in the government are giving money to media entities operating from abroad to attack me. Why is this? Because I appointed a Commission to look into the Central Bank matter. If Venerable Sobitha Thera was alive he would have approved of what I did. Why did we come here? Why did we change the previous government? What is our objective? Did we come to fill our pockets? Did we come to rob? I did not appoint this Commission targeting anyone in the government or targeting any MP or Minister.

Continue reading ‘Some Govt Members Using Media to Attack me for Appointing Commission to Probe Treasury Bond Scam Discloses President Sirisena’ »

Dozens of men Describe How They Were Raped and Tortured by Sri Lankan Authorities To Associated Press


Associated Press writer Katy Daigle contributed to this report from Colombo, Sri Lanka

LONDON (AP) — One of the men tortured in Sri Lanka said he was held for 21 days in a small dark room where he was raped 12 times, burned with cigarettes, beaten with iron rods and hung upside-down.

Another man described being abducted from home by five men, driven to a prison, and taken to a “torture room” equipped with ropes, iron rods, a bench and buckets of water. There were blood splatters on the wall.

A third man described the prisoners as growing accustomed to the sound of screaming. “It made us really scared the first day but then we got used to it because we heard screaming all the time.”

Raped, branded or beaten repeatedly, more than 50 men from the Tamil ethnic minority seeking political asylum in Europe say they were abducted and tortured under Sri Lanka’s current government. The previously unpublished accounts conjure images of the country’s bloody civil war that ended in 2009 — not the palm-fringed paradise portrayed by the government.

One by one, the men agreed to tell their stories to The Associated Press and to have the extensive scars on their legs, chests and groins photographed in July and August. The AP reviewed 32 medical and psychological evaluations and conducted interviews with 20 men. The strangers say they were accused of trying to revive a rebel group on the losing side of the civil war. Although combat ended 8 years ago, the torture and abuse occurred from early 2016 to as recently as July this year.

Piers Pigou, a South African human rights investigator who has interviewed torture survivors for the past 40 years in the world’s most dire countries, says the sheer scale of brutality is nothing like he has heard before.

“The levels of sexual abuse being perpetuated in Sri Lanka by authorities are the most egregious and perverted that I’ve ever seen.”

Most of the men say they were blindfolded as they were driven to detention sites. They said the majority of their captors identified themselves as members of the Criminal Investigations Department, a police unit that investigates serious crimes. Some, however, said it appeared their captors and interrogators were soldiers based on the types of uniforms and insignia they were wearing. One man reported seeing army uniforms hanging on a clothes line and many of the men wearing army boots.

In an interview last week in Colombo, Sri Lanka Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake denied the torture allegations.

Continue reading ‘Dozens of men Describe How They Were Raped and Tortured by Sri Lankan Authorities To Associated Press’ »

“Sri Lanka does not Condone or Tolerate any form of Torture”-Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam


In a reply to the article titled ‘Dozens of Men Describe Rape, Torture by Sri Lanka Government’ by the Associated Press that was published in the New York Times Sri Lanka government says that it does not condone or tolerate any form of torture, and seeks to work with all, including bilateral partners, as well as international organisations, to seek their assistance in terms of sharing experiences and expertise, as well as technical support, to ensure the elimination of this despicable practice and prosecute anyone responsible.

Although the reply sent by the Government of Sri Lanka describes at length the steps it has taken to combat the torture by the police, it has not acknowledge that the torture is rampant in Sri Lankan police stations and the government has so far failed to change the culture of torture by the police.

Full text of the letter sent to The New York Times;

Continue reading ‘“Sri Lanka does not Condone or Tolerate any form of Torture”-Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam’ »

President Sirisena Indirectly Accuses Some Cabinet Ministers Of Corruption and Defends His Decision To Investigate Alleged Treasury Bond Scam.

President Maithripala Sirisena indirectly accused cabinet ministers of being corrupt and strongly defended his decision to investigate the alleged bond scam under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s watch.

Speaking at the second death anniversary commemoration of Maduluwawe Sobitha thera who spearheaded a citizens’ movement that propelled him to power in 2015, Sirisena said the late monk would have applaud his actions.

“If he was alive, he would have appreciated my appointing a Presidential Commission to probe the bond issue,” the President said adding that he was appalled that such a scandal hit within months of the new government’s election.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Indirectly Accuses Some Cabinet Ministers Of Corruption and Defends His Decision To Investigate Alleged Treasury Bond Scam.’ »

Speeches by Sampanthan and Sumanthiran In Constitutional Assembly Debate Emphasises Need to Resolve The Tamil National Question.

By Manekshaw

The speech made by Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan at the Constitutional Assembly debate on the Steering Committee Interim Report in Parliament was more accommodative and inclusive in his approach with a broader outlook than the stance taken by the first Tamil Leader of the Opposition and Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) the late Appapillai Amirthalingam during his parliamentary days.

Nothing but a separate Tamil state of Eelam had been the ‘manthra’ of the TULF from the time the Vaddukoddai Resolution was adopted in May 1976.

As the only surviving incumbent Tamil parliamentarian of the era of A. Amirthalingam along with his position of national importance as Sampanthan in his speech in Parliament last Wednesday had categorically denounced separatism and emphasized on a new Constitution assuring unity in diversity in the country.

The views expressed by Sampanthan clearly highlighted his statesmanship and made the countrymen realize that if the Tamil question was not found a durable solution during his period it would continue to remain a ‘headache’ in national politics.

Continue reading ‘Speeches by Sampanthan and Sumanthiran In Constitutional Assembly Debate Emphasises Need to Resolve The Tamil National Question.’ »

Implementation of 13th Amendment Minus Police Powers and Plus a Senate is All That Is Feasible.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka


“Balaya bedanna kalin mey aanduwa petrol tika bedanna oney!”
(“Before this Government shares power, it must share the petrol!”)

–Anonymous, irate citizen in petrol queue, on TV news

With shockingly dangerous irresponsibility or sheer nihilism, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe wants the Constitutional Assembly to loosen the centre’s ties with and hugely augment the autonomy of the Northern and Eastern provinces at the very same time that he wants an elephantine Indian footprint in Trincomalee (the oil tank farm, the Port and the Mannar-Trinco highway).

While his Interim Report envisages exceeding the 13th amendment in the matter of the control of land by the Provincial Councils, his ‘Vision 2025’ wants to change the existing land ceiling so that corporate business can snap up large tracts. This would not only mean unrelieved landlessness (which has reappeared in the old ‘colonies’ through subdivision), it would mean that land in the North and East would be acquired by Tamil Nadu based and Tamil diaspora-driven front companies, apart from larger Indian ones with controlling Tamil Nadu –‘Kollywood’ capital–shareholding. Meanwhile anti-Indianism is rising on the streets over the fiasco of the IOC shipment.

A wealth of historical evidence reveals a pattern, the world over. Four factors prove causative in the rise of majoritarian ethnic/ethno-religious nationalism. One is economic pain and inequity generated by uneven and unequal economic development, often resulting in economic crisis. The second is a perceived threat to the nation or ethnic community concerned and/or an assault on the religio-cultural moorings and ethos of the people. The third is the closure or deferment of democratic openings and distortion of democratic representation. The fourth is the alienation of significant social or political power-centres/players at a time of transition,modernization or globalization.

Continue reading ‘Implementation of 13th Amendment Minus Police Powers and Plus a Senate is All That Is Feasible.’ »

Ex-Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake Raises Privilege Issue Against Addl Solicitor-General Yasantha Kodagoda in Parliament


By Saman Indrajith

UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday said in Parliament that his privileges had been breached by Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda, who, he said, had made a false statement before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Treasury bond scams.

Karunanayake, raising a privilege issue, said Kodagoda had misled the Commission with concocted stories to tarnish his image.

The former Finance Minister said that he was not related to Shanil Neththikumara, the individual who had allegedly threatened Anika Wijesooriya. He said he would resign if he was proved wrong.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake Raises Privilege Issue Against Addl Solicitor-General Yasantha Kodagoda in Parliament’ »

Alleged Killing Of 18 Navy and 8 Army Prisoners By LTTE In Jan 2009

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

President Maithripala Sirisena held successive discussions with two Tamil delegations in Colombo on Thursday October 19th 2017. The meetings were about the issue of Tamils detained in various prisons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA) in general and the hunger strike undertaken by three detenues at the Anuradhapura jail in particular. The focus at both discussions was more on the situation regarding the three prisoners on hunger strike as much concern has been expressed about their physical condition.

Meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena, Oct 19-facebook.com/maithripalas

Three Tamil men detained at the Anuradhapura jail commenced a hunger strike on September 25th 2017. They were 30 year old Mathiyarasan Sulakshan from Karanavaai , 40 year old Rasathurai Thiruvarul from Velanai and 28 year old Ganeshan Tharshan from Nawalapitiya. They were all former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). All three had been indicted at the Vavuniya High Courts but the Attorney-General had suddenly transferred the case to the Anuradhapura high court.
Continue reading ‘Alleged Killing Of 18 Navy and 8 Army Prisoners By LTTE In Jan 2009’ »

India to Send Two Ships With Fuel On Nov 9th to Help Sri Lanka Cope With Fuel Shortage Crisis

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that two ships carrying fuel would come from India and reach here tomorrow. “The President and I discussed this with Indian High Commissioner and he promised us that the two ships would be here on Nov. 09. The problem can be sorted out then.”

The Prime Minister said the problem could be sorted out once new shipments reached the country. In 2003, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had found that it could not repair the Trincomalee oil tank farm. Indian companies expressed their willingness to do that. If Indian companies had not agreed, the country would have found some other international companies for the task. There were charges against leasing the oil tank farm to India in 2003. If it had been a wrong move, the successive governments after 2003 could have rectified it, the PM said. “Why didn’t you do so? We won’t heed the calls for shutting down IOC operations here.”

Continue reading ‘India to Send Two Ships With Fuel On Nov 9th to Help Sri Lanka Cope With Fuel Shortage Crisis’ »

Presidential Inquiry Commission Report on SLMC Leader MHM Ashraff’s Death That was Never Released To the Public is Now Reported MISSING:

The unexplained ‘disappearance’ of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Report relating to the death of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress founder leader M.H.M. Ashraff, has surfaced in a recent appeal hearing before the Right to Information (RTI) Commission of Sri Lanka

The disappearance came after it had been kept in a file at the Presidential Secretariat and sent to the National Archives 10 years ago, during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime.

The appeal was filed under the RTI Act No.12 of 2016, by former Deputy Minister of Cooperatives & Internal Trade, Basheer Segu Dawood. The ‘disappearance’ of the Report is expected to fuel conspiracy theories that have swirled around the circumstances that led to the death of the former SLMC Leader and 14 others including party officials, in a helicopter crash in 2000, allegedly due to engine failure.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Inquiry Commission Report on SLMC Leader MHM Ashraff’s Death That was Never Released To the Public is Now Reported MISSING:’ »

Court Ruling on Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Dual Citizenship Jeopardises Political Future of Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Former strongman minister Basil Rajapaksa’s political hopes have been shattered following the Supreme Court confirming the expulsion of his star candidate Geetha Kumarasinghe from Parliament, party sources said yesterday.

Basil Rajapaksa who launched the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) after breaking away from the old-established Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was planning a comeback if Thursday’s court decision went in favour of Kumarasinghe.

Party sources said Basil Rajapaksa’s hopes had been raised on May 15 when a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in a majority decision granted Kumarasinghe more time to remain in parliament. The interim order had raised hopes of SLPP leader Basil Rajapaksa.

The spirit of the Constitution dictates that the fate of any member of parliament should be decided within two months.

Continue reading ‘Court Ruling on Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Dual Citizenship Jeopardises Political Future of Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.’ »

New Anti- Corruption High Courts to be Set up To Hold Day to Day Trials of Major Bribery and Corruptionby Cases by Three Bench Judges


By

Amali Mallawaarachchi

A new Anti-Corruption High Court, among other crucial measures, will soon be introduced as a part of the government’s mission for an expeditious and efficient administration of criminal justice.

Power and Renewable Energy Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera yesterday said this new Anti-Corruption High Court will hold day-to-day trials by three Benches, each comprising three judges of the High Court.

Briefing the media at the Power and Renewable Energy Ministry yesterday morning, Perera pointed out that it is extremely important to properly administrate justice with regard to major bribery and corruption cases.

Continue reading ‘New Anti- Corruption High Courts to be Set up To Hold Day to Day Trials of Major Bribery and Corruptionby Cases by Three Bench Judges’ »

Govt Must Probe all MP’s to See Whether They are Dual Citizens or Not Says Dep Minister Ajith Perera.

By
Amali Mallawaarachchi

The Government must probe if there are members in Parliament who have not disclosed their dual citizenship status to the country, Power and Renewable Energy Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said.

He said if the public demand for a probe, the police could do it with the support of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“Many sources has expressed reasonable doubt that more parliamentarians hold dual citizenship. It is the duty of the Government to probe the matter as it is a serious infringement of the Constitution,” he said. The Deputy was addressing a media briefing held at the Ministry, yesterday. He spoke on several matters including the Supreme Court decision to unseating former MP Geetha Kumarasinghe.

Deputy Minister Perera said the information at the Department of Immigration and Emigration with regard to MPs holding dual citizenship may be incomplete.

Continue reading ‘Govt Must Probe all MP’s to See Whether They are Dual Citizens or Not Says Dep Minister Ajith Perera.’ »

Will Maithripala Sirisena Betray Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2018 Just as he Betrayed Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2014?

BY

C.A Chandraprema

The political futures of President Sirisena and the 40+ SLFP parliamentarians hangs in the balance as the LG elections process kicks off. The question that the Sirisena faction of the SLFP has to ask itself is which is worse, being labelled pro-UNP if they decide to cast in their lot with the UNF or risking what could be ignominious defeat. As we write this, the General Secretary of the SLFP Duminda Dissanayake and Mahinda Amaraweera the general secretary of the UPFA have announced that they will not be contesting the upcoming local government election in coalition with the UNP. However, Minister Rajitha Senaratne who is not in the SLFP but who is very much a part of the Sirisena camp has mooted the possibility of the UNP and the SLFP joining hands for the local govt. election.

Every indication that we have got up to now indicates that only the UNP and the Joint Opposition will be left standing after the LG elections and that the Sirisena group will finish a poor third at best if they do contest separately. In this sense the idea mooted by Minister Rajitha Senaratne makes perfect sense – for the UNP and the SLFP groups in each LG institution area to contest together so that they pool all the votes the pro-government groups can command in order to win. It is on this same basis that moves are afoot to get the SLMC and the Mano Ganesan group to contest on the UNP ticket so that no vote is wasted.

The question that the SLFP’s Sirisena faction should ask itself is whether there is any political value in pretending to be not with the UNP when they are actually running a government together. One has to admit that the Sirisena faction has been trying to maintain a separate identity while being in the same government with the UNP. This has taken the form of opposing proposals brought by the UNP and publicly criticizing what the UNP has been doing. Indeed at times the blows directed by the SLFP Sirisena faction at the UNP have been more forceful than the blows directed at them by the Joint Opposition or the JVP. One immediately relevant example would be the Bond Commission and the attacks directed by the SLFP ministers at their UNP colleagues on that account. Will stunts like that convince the public that the UNP and SLFP are two different entities even though they serve in the same government? The highpoint in the bond drama will be the PM’s testimony before the bond commission.

Continue reading ‘Will Maithripala Sirisena Betray Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2018 Just as he Betrayed Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2014?’ »

Govt Must Spearhead Intensive Island-wide Information Campaign On Why we Need a New Constitution and What It Should Contain.

By Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

The constitutional reform debate in Sri Lanka, currently exemplified by the debate on the much delayed Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly is in substantive terms and popularly perceived as such, about the interrelated issues of a) the structure of the State in terms of its unitary character, b) the retention, reform or abolition of the Executive Presidency, b) greater devolution of powers to the provinces and c) a new electoral system. Added to this is the gross distortion that the intention and outcome of the reform process will be that Article 9 giving Buddhism the foremost place will be repealed.

Whilst these issues attract debate over the details of constitutional design, they are loaded with political significance to the extent that as the current popular and parliamentary debate attest, the very need for reform leave aside a new Constitution, is being questioned.

Continue reading ‘Govt Must Spearhead Intensive Island-wide Information Campaign On Why we Need a New Constitution and What It Should Contain.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Ex-Chief of Staff Gamini Sedara Senarath and 3 Others Evade Arrest While Police FCID Want Them for Alleged Fraud.

The Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) is on the lookout for Gamini Sedara Senarath, Chief of Staff of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and three others over a string of alleged fraudulent acts. The three others are Piyadasa Kudabalage, Neil Bandara Hapuwinne and Mohan de Alwis.

FCID detectives said yesterday that the four were evading arrest and hence, they had obtained a court order impounding the passport of the main suspect, Gamini Senarath, to prevent him from leaving Sri Lanka.

The four persons now sought after — together with another two nominated by the Treasury — have been on the board of directors of Sino-Lanka Hotel and Spa (Pvt.) Ltd. It is the owning company of the Hyatt Hotel now nearing completion at Kollupitiya.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Ex-Chief of Staff Gamini Sedara Senarath and 3 Others Evade Arrest While Police FCID Want Them for Alleged Fraud.’ »

Ravi Karunanayake Tries to Form “Power Group” Within UNP By Hosting 20 MP’s for Gathering at Tangalle Luxury Resort

(Excerpts From the “Sunday Times” Political Column of November 5th 2017)

President Sirisena discussed with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe a gamut of issues during a one-on-one meeting last Monday (October 30). The lengthy meeting was joined in later by Minister Malik Samarawickrema, who is also the UNP Chairman. Fuller details of what transpired are not clear. However, a source familiar with the talks said a wide range of issues figured. They included the upcoming local polls, rising cost of living, relations between the two coalition partners among others. Sirisena is on record saying that the SLFP would determine its own political course by December this year. This is in the backdrop of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two coalition partners coming to an end in August. The December dateline being given so that the Budget be passed and the Government has the funds to function for 2018.

Just the day after the meeting, on Tuesday night, Wickremesinghe chaired a poorly attended meeting of the UNP parliamentary group. He frowned on his party MPs for forming ‘power blocs’ within the party and said he would not allow them. If anyone wanted to take part in such meetings or other events as a caucus, he said that they should first obtain his permission.

Continue reading ‘Ravi Karunanayake Tries to Form “Power Group” Within UNP By Hosting 20 MP’s for Gathering at Tangalle Luxury Resort’ »

Wimal Weerawansa’s Brother- in-Law Ajith Kumara Hurled a Hand Grenade At Parliament 30 Years Ago Killing Keerthi Abeywickrema MP and Injuring Lalith Athulathmudali.

By

Spectator

They say, politics makes strange bedfellows. We have seen that many times in this country of ours. Joining that group are the latest pair of unlikely partners: Wimal Weerawansa and Susil Premajayantha. And, judging by what they have said, they must surely be the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Sri Lankan politics.

Weerawansa says, Parliament should be bombed if it approves the new Constitution (which, by the way, is still only a draft), by a two-thirds majority. Some people might approve of that but they might also say, before bombing Parliament, we should just make sure that Weerawansa is also there, when it happens. Just for the record, we don’t agree, even if Weerawansa happens to be there.

Are Weerawansa’s comments disgusting? Yes. Are they surprising? No. We know that Weerasangilige Wimal Weerawansa aka Wimalasiri Gamlath aka Wanshanatha has come a long way from being a small time journalist for the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa’s Brother- in-Law Ajith Kumara Hurled a Hand Grenade At Parliament 30 Years Ago Killing Keerthi Abeywickrema MP and Injuring Lalith Athulathmudali.’ »

Tensions Increase as Reforms Road-map of Govt Unravels in all but a few Areas

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There appears to be a brisk uptick in the tone of visiting European lawmakers to Sri Lanka this week as compared to their sojourns last year.


Has realism dawned, too little, too late?

In November 2016, the delegation of the European Parliament departed the shores of the country saying that they were ‘pleased and impressed’ with the progress evidenced on ‘Human Rights and national reconciliation.’ Apparently among the reasons for this ‘pleasure’, was the issuing of circulars to military and police on respecting rights of detainees and suspects and ‘improvements in freedom of media, absence of censorship and the ability of civil society to operate more freely.’

Certainly only the prejudiced would not hail these as improvements of the Rajapaksa-status quo. That said, the Rajapaksa decade is no standard for measuring. Much more progress than circulars and the absence of white vans should have been evidenced by late 2016.

And let us be clear, the effusiveness indulged in by visiting delegations from the EU, UK or US in response to this Government’s performance has been majorly counter-productive during the past two years. If the assessments had been less uncritically glowing, tough national critiques of governance processes may have had wider space to breathe as it were. Now as the tension unravels in all but a few areas of the reform road-map, the dismay is evident but is this too little, too late?

Continue reading ‘Tensions Increase as Reforms Road-map of Govt Unravels in all but a few Areas’ »

Earlier It Was “Wewai,Dagabai,Gamai” (Tank,Dome Shaped Shrine,Village) But Now It is “Wewak Samaga Gamak” (Tank and Village) Only

by P.G.Punchihewa Ph.D.

(The writer who belonged to the former Ceylon Civil Service has served as Government Agent of Moneragala and Kalutara among other senior public service assignments. He retired as Secretary to the Ministry of Coconut Development and served in Jakarta as Executive Secretary of the Asia Pacific Coconut Community)

Nearly two million people in at least 22 districts out of 25 are reported to be affected by the continuing drought. Among the districts are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Kurunegala, Puttalam , Jaffna ,Kilinochchi, Mullativu ,Matale and Moneragala. Most of the large, medium and small tanks in the dry zone have partially or completely dried up and in certain instances peasants are abandoning their villages for want of water for their daily use. It is a pathetic sight to see thousands and thousands of fish wriggling, struggling for survival in the mud pools of the tank beds. The last drought experienced had been forty years ago but as it is, the present one could be unprecedented. According to the World Food Programme the water levels in reservoirs as reported in September this year was 18% compared with 47% last year.

Following are some of the large reservoirs in some of the affected districts:

Anuradhapura – Padaviya, Mahavilachchiya, Mahakandarawa, Nuwarawewa, Nachchaduwa, Huruluwewa and Rajangana; Polonnaruwa -Kaudulla, Minneriya, Giritale and Parakramasamudraya; Mannar –Yodawewa; Moneragala – Muthukandiyawewa; Mullaitivu -Muthiyankaddu; Trincomalee – Kantale; Puttalam – Inginimitiya; Kurunegala – Magallawewa, Hawatuna Oya; Kilinochchi – Iranamadu

Each of these reservoirs except Muthukandiyawewa in Moneragala District commands an area exceeding 1,000 ha.

In 2015 three districts, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kurunegala alone contributed nearly one third of paddy production of the island. The same year recorded a 129.5 rate of self-sufficiency in paddy production for the country.

Continue reading ‘Earlier It Was “Wewai,Dagabai,Gamai” (Tank,Dome Shaped Shrine,Village) But Now It is “Wewak Samaga Gamak” (Tank and Village) Only’ »

Maestro W. D. Amaradeva Created a Distinctive Genre of Sinhala Music

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This article appeared in the December 2016 issue of ‘Saamagaana – The First Melody,’ a magazine devoted to classical music published in Bengaluru, India. It is being published here to mark the 1st Death Anniversary of maestro Amaradeva on 3 November 2017.)

Renowned Sri Lankan vocalist, violinist and music composer W.D. Amaradeva passed away in a Colombo hospital on 3 November, just one month short of his 89th birthday.

W. D. Amaradeva ~ (5 December 1927 – 3 November 2016)

W. D. Amaradeva ~ (5 December 1927 – 3 November 2016)

Millions of Lankan rasikas scattered throughout the world were saddened by Pandit Amaradeva’s death while the Government declared one week of national mourning in his honour. In an illustrious musical career spanning almost seven decades the maestro had firmly established himself as the most popular singing voice of the Sri Lankan nation.

Wannakuwatte Waduge Don Albert Perera

Born on 5 December 1927 to a Buddhist father and Christian mother in Moratuwa – a coastal town to the south of capital city Colombo – the singer changed his name Wannakuwatta Waduge Don Albert Perera to Amaradeva later on in his twenties. Amaradeva means immortal god or celestial being. To his innumerable fans Amaradeva’s music and singing remain immortal.
Continue reading ‘Maestro W. D. Amaradeva Created a Distinctive Genre of Sinhala Music’ »

Why Another All – Party Conference After the Comprehensive Constitutional Assembly Debate?


By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Even as Parliament met as the Constitutional Assembly last Monday (Oct 30) and began debating the interim report of the Steering Committee on constitutional reforms, President Maithripala Sirisena was announcing at the National Convention on Reconciliation at the Colombo Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium that he would convene an all-party conference to discuss the same issue.

This conference, he said, would be part of three important conferences he intends to initiate, specifically to prevent erroneous information and misconceptions about the proposed new constitution. The other two conferences include one with religious leaders, and one with scholars and intellectuals interested in political reforms.
One cannot help but wonder why the President came out with this three-tier process, especially at a time when constitution making had reached a relatively decisive stage and the Constitutional Assembly was in the process of debating the interim report. What does he intend to achieve from it?

All-party conferences are not new to Sri Lanka, but the crux is, they’ve never been particularly helpful. Leaders of all religions participated in previous all-party conferences, but except for the opinions of the Buddhist prelates, other views never received the serious attention of the politicians, particularly the leaders of previous governments.

The first all-party conference was convened by President J. R. Jayewardene in 1984 in the wake of Black July when his government was under tremendous pressure from India to find a viable political solution to the national problem. Tamil leaders like Appapillai Amirthalingam, Murugesu Sivasithamparam and the present leader of the opposition in Parliament and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Rajavarothayam Sampanthan came from their exile in Tamil Nadu and participated in the conference under the auspices of the Indian government.

Continue reading ‘Why Another All – Party Conference After the Comprehensive Constitutional Assembly Debate?’ »

” The Constitution is the Best Document To Guarantee Rights to the Minorities” – Mangala Samaraweera

(Excerpts in English from the speech made by th Minister of Finance & Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera on the 31st of October 2017 in Parliament during the Constitutional Assembly debate on the interim report of the steering committee)

All of us here in this House are representatives elected by the people of this great country – people from different communities, speaking different languages, holding different religious beliefs, and living in different parts of this great country. People, irrespective of their backgrounds and which part of the country they live in, who have all unfortunately suffered the horrors of violence for long years. People, all of whom, irrespective of whether they have suffered violence or not, have all been sadly deprived, and sadly cheated, of the heights of economic prosperity that this nation could have achieved during the last 70 years.

• To my mind, all the people, all the citizens of this country desire a few fundamental things:
-All of them, irrespective of which part of the country they live in, desire and long for lasting and sustainable peace

-they all want to call this land their home and be recognised by this state equally as its valued and treasured citizens, its sons and its daughters who are all the same

-they all long for equal citizenship, dignity and respect

-they all long for economic prosperity

-they all seek the right to guide their own destiny

-they all seek the equal protection of the law, and

-none of them wants to see our country divided and embroiled in violence. They have all suffered the consequences of conflict, not just once, but on several occasions. Thousands of young lives were lost to us in all parts of the country, north, south, east, west, and centre. In fact it is mostly the poor and the vulnerable in all communities who have suffered the most.

Continue reading ‘” The Constitution is the Best Document To Guarantee Rights to the Minorities” – Mangala Samaraweera’ »

“UNP, TNA,SLFP and JVP Engaged in a “Constitutional Conspiracy” Charges Ex=President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The UNP, the TNA, the SLFP and the JVP were engaged in a ‘constitutional conspiracy’, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Constitutional Assembly yesterday.

Participating in the debate on the interim report of the steering committee of the Constitutional Assembly, the former President said: “Look at the manner in which the debate on this interim report has been conducted during the past three days. First, a UNP minister speaks on behalf of the government. Then, a TNA member speaks on behalf of the Opposition. Once again an SLFP minister speaks on behalf of the government. Then a JVP member speaks on behalf of the Opposition.

All of them are yahapalana stakeholders, they are all in a constitutional conspiracy.”

Full text of Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech at the Constitutional Assembly:

Continue reading ‘“UNP, TNA,SLFP and JVP Engaged in a “Constitutional Conspiracy” Charges Ex=President Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

5 Judge Bench of Supreme Court Upholds Quo Warranto Writ Issued By Appeal Court and Disqualifies Geetha Kumarasinghe as Galle District MP.

By S.S. Selvanayagam

Resolving a question relating to a provision of the historic 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the country’s apex court yesterday upheld a judgment by the Court of Appeal that Galle District UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe was not entitled to hold office as a Member of Parliament since she had contested the August 2015 election while holding dual citizenship.

The Court also directed the Registrar to send the judgment to the Secretary General of Parliament immediately.

The judgment of the divisional bench of five judges, comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justices B.P. Aluvihara, Sisira J. De Abrew, Anil Gooneratne and Nalin Perera, was read in open court by Justice De Abrew.

The Supreme Court Judgment said Kumarasinghe was disqualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament from 17 August 2015 – the day of the election – and on 1 September 2017 when she took oaths as a Parliamentarian.

Continue reading ‘5 Judge Bench of Supreme Court Upholds Quo Warranto Writ Issued By Appeal Court and Disqualifies Geetha Kumarasinghe as Galle District MP.’ »

Treasury Bonds Inquiry Commission Requires Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s Testimony For Clarification Following Submission of Affidavit.

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the controversial Issuance of Bonds today said it requires the testimony of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in order to “obtain a few clarifications and any other evidence which may be necessary”.

Issuing a statement at the commencement of the today’s session, the Commission noted that it had perused the affidavit given to the Commission by the Prime Minister and that the Commission had certain clarifications to be made.

“With regard to the questions forwarded to the Hon. Prime Minister by this Commission of Inquiry, we have received an affidavit affirmed to by the Prime Minister. The Commissioners have carefully perused this affidavit and we would like to obtain a few clarifications and any other evidence which may be necessary. Therefore, we will be requesting the Hon. Prime Minister to attend a Hearing of this Commission of Inquiry for that purpose” the statement said.

Accordingly, the Commission said that the date at which the Prime Minister would be required to attend the hearing would be notified in due course after ascertaining “with the Prime Ministers office the availability of the Hon. Prime Minister”

Continue reading ‘Treasury Bonds Inquiry Commission Requires Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s Testimony For Clarification Following Submission of Affidavit.’ »

Actress-politico Geetha Kumarasinghe Disqualified as Galle District MP; Supreme Court Upholds Earlier Ruling By Appeal Court

The Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court decision that Galle district parliamentarian Geetha Kumarasinghe is not qualified to be elected as a parliamentarian since she holds dual citizenship.

The judgment was delivered by Supreme Court Judge Sisira de Abrew who was a member of five-judge-bench which heard the appeal.
Continue reading ‘Actress-politico Geetha Kumarasinghe Disqualified as Galle District MP; Supreme Court Upholds Earlier Ruling By Appeal Court’ »

Courts Have Jurisdiction To Rule Constitutional Assembly Illegal and Steering Committee Null and Void – Ex-Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

By

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

LFollowing are excerpts of a statement issued by former Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe PC regarding the much talked about Interim Report of the Steering Committee presented to parliament for debate)

Since the Soulbury Constitution hadn’t provided the authority and a procedure to adopt a new constitution by repealing the existing one, the Government elected in 1970 had no option except to establish a Constitutional Assembly operating outside the Parliament. Since there were no such barriers in the constitution of 1972, J. R. Jayewardene entrusted the task of drafting a new constitution to one of his allies Prof. Alfred Jayaratnam Wilson, a political science expert and the son-in-law of late TULF Leader S. J. V. Chelvanayagam. The draft he prepared was received with the assent of the cabinet of ministers and then presented to the National State Assembly in terms of Article 51 of the 1972 constitution. Similarly Article No. 82 of the 1978 Constitution has conferred the powers and authority on the Parliament enabling it to promulgate a new constitution by replacing it.

What should be noted here is that under no circumstances, power has been conferred by the 1978 constitution on the Parliament to establish a Constitutional Assembly in Parliament. If the Parliament is not competent to draft a new constitution in an ordinary manner, the only procedure to be adopted in terms of the constitution is to seek assistance of a parliamentary select committee which could consist of members who are skillful and competent in making appropriate recommendations.

Continue reading ‘Courts Have Jurisdiction To Rule Constitutional Assembly Illegal and Steering Committee Null and Void – Ex-Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’ »

Despite Rhetoric Spewed by Politicians,Every Sri Lankan Knows Deep Down That We Can Live Together as a Nation.

By

Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Following is the speech by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Chief Guest, at the International Buddhist Festival which was held in the city of Aurangabad, India by the Dhammayana Educational and Charitable Trust)


Venerable members of the Maha Sangha, Buddhist representatives from other nations and distinguished guests, it is my honour and privilege to stand before you today, as the Chief Guest at this important gathering, for the second time. Maharashtra is also the birthplace of that great son of India and the most important Indian Buddhist leader of the last century Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

Buddhism is India’s greatest gift to the world and it is only fitting that the National Flag of India features the Dharmachakra of Buddhism. The State emblem of India is an adaptation of the lion of the capital of Emperor Asoka which also prominently features the Dharmachakra. There is no doubt that India’s golden era was the period of the Mauryan Empire and particularly the reign of Emperor Asoka which is why the national symbols of India all hark back to that period. Even though Sri Lanka was never a part of the Mauryan Empire, Emperor Asoka is as important to us as he is to India. It was under Emperor Asoka that Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka. Since that time, Buddhism has been the religion of the vast majority of our population.

Buddhism is the link that forever binds India and Sri Lanka. To us in Sri Lanka, India is the land of the Buddha described as ‘Jambudeepa’ in our ancient texts. An unending stream of pilgrims comes from Sri Lanka to India throughout the year to worship at the holy Buddhist sites in Eastern India. It is indeed one of the great ironies of history that Buddhism declined in the land of its birth while it flourished in other parts of Asia and spread as far as Japan. Today, Buddhists account for less than one per cent of the population of India with a significant concentration of Buddhists being present in the State of Maharashtra where over 17 per cent of the population are Buddhists.

Continue reading ‘Despite Rhetoric Spewed by Politicians,Every Sri Lankan Knows Deep Down That We Can Live Together as a Nation.’ »

Is President Sirisena Taking Over Constitution Making Process From Steering Committee By Appointing an All Party Conference?

By

Kelum Bandara

The country witnessed a major uproar after the Steering Committee released its interim report outlining proposals for constitutional changes.

The political forces and Maha Sangha, sensitive to the character of the Constitution in the making and the status to be accorded to Buddhism, took up cudgels against the process arguing that the proposed changes, if enacted, would relegate the primacy of Buddhism enshrined in the current Constitution, and give a new lease of life to separatist forces.

Upheaval reached its climax with people taking to the streets at the behest of these political parties, mainly the Joint Opposition.

As things unrolled in this manner, President Maithripala Sirisena, who kept himself aloof from any direct involvement in Constitution making, entered the scene last Monday as he said he would call for an All Party Conference to initiate discussion with all the stakeholders.

Continue reading ‘Is President Sirisena Taking Over Constitution Making Process From Steering Committee By Appointing an All Party Conference?’ »

“Even We Burnt The 2000 Draft Constitutional Package” – States Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Dharisha Bastians

The path to enacting a new Constitution will be a long-drawn and consultative process, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Constitutional Assembly yesterday, hinting that the timeline for completion of the drafting and voting process could extend till April 2018.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who chairs the Steering Committee whose Interim Report the Assembly of 225 members was debating for the third consecutive day, took pains to explain to the House that the proposals contained in the report were not final or set in stone. “This report is just to keep the constitutional assembly abreast of proposals under discussion at the Steering Committee. This report contains reflections of those discussions,” the Premier said in his speech in the morning session of the debate.

Wickremesinghe told the House that it was only following this week’s debate on the Interim Report that the Steering Committee will begin to work on the draft Constitution bill that will be presented to the Assembly along with the Committee’s final report.

Continue reading ‘“Even We Burnt The 2000 Draft Constitutional Package” – States Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

MA Sumanthiran MP Exposes Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Political Hypocrisy and Double Standards On the New Constitution and Greater Devolution.

facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

(Tamil National Alliance Spikesperson and Jaffna District MP Mathiaparanam Abraham Sumanthiran addressed the Constitutional Assembly at the inception of the three day debate on the Constitutional assembly Steering Committee Interim report on October 30th 2017. Sumanthiran MP reiterated in his speech that the TNA despite having a different mandate would abide by the final decisions of the Constituent Assembly in the interests of achieving a consensus if the main parties the UNP and SLFP reached mutual agreement. In an impactful speech Sumanthiran also exposed the hypocritical double standards adopted by former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cohorts in opposing the envisaged new Constitution and the granting of maximum devolution through the provincial councils. Sumanthiran cited relevant provisions of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 Presidential election Manifesto and also referred to facts such as the ex-president having endorsed the 2000 Draft Constitution as a cabinet minister and having appointed an all party conference after the presidential poll of 2005. The full speech of Sumanthiran’s speech is reproduced below )

30.10.2017/10.53-11.33 /

ගරු එම්.ඒ. සුමන්තිරන් මහතා
(மாண்புமிகு எம்.ஏ. சுமந்திரன்)
(The Hon. M.A. Sumanthiran)

Mathiaparanam Abraham Sumanthiran MP

ok

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity given to me to say a few words in this historic occasion. I say “historic” because this is indeed the first time that a party representing the Tamil people of this country is agreeing with some proposals, although incomplete and still only at the stage of proposals. Yet, even with that it is agreeing with those-

ගරු ඩුලිප් විජේසේකර මහතා
(மாண்புமிகு துலிப் விஜேசேகர)
(The Hon. Duleep Wijesekera )

Sir, I rise to a point of Order.

ගරු සභාපතිතුමා
(மாண்புமிகு தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)
(The Hon. Chairman)

What is your point of Order?

ගරු ඩුලිප් විජේසේකර මහතා
(மாண்புமிகு துலிப் விஜேசேகர)
(The Hon. Duleep Wijesekera )
ගරු සභාපතිතුමනි, අද මේ මොහොත වන විට ත්රෛoනිකායික මහා සංඝරත්නය -මහානායක හාමුදුරුවරු-, පූජකතුමන්ලා ඇතුළු සියලුම දෙනා විරුද්ධ වෙලා තිබෙන, සම්මත කිරීමට බලාපොරොත්තු වන නව ආණ්ඩුක්රකම ව්යසවස්ථාවට මගේ විරෝධතාවත් පළ කරමින් මම ආණ්ඩු පක්ෂයෙන් ඉවත් වී විපක්ෂයේ අසුන් ගන්නවා.

ගරු මන්ත්රීපවරු
(மாண்புமிகு உறுப்பினர்கள்)
(Hon. Members)
ජයවේවා! ජයවේවා!

ගරු එම්.ඒ. සුමන්තිරන් මහතා
(மாண்புமிகு எம்.ஏ. சுமந்திரன்)
(The Hon. M.A. Sumanthiran)

That is not a point of Order, Sir. I must continue. The Hon. Deputy Minister can speak later. [Interruption.]

ගරු සභාපතිතුමා
(மாண்புமிகு தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)
(The Hon. Chairman)
ගරු අගමැතිතුමා. – [බාධා කිරීම්]
ගරු රනිල් වික්රளමසිංහ මහතා (අග්රාමාත්යතුමා සහ ජාතික ප්රතිපත්ති හා ආර්ථික කටයුතු අමාත්යතුමා)

(மாண்புமிகு ரணில் விக்கிரமசிங்க – பிரதம அமைச்சரும் தேசிய கொள்கைகள் மற்றும் பொருளாதார அலுவல்கள் அமைச்சரும்)

(The Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe – Prime Minister, Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs)

ගරු සභාපතිතුමනි, අද දින මේ සභාව පාර්ලිමේන්තුව තුළ පවත්වනු ලබන කාරක සභාවක්. සාමාන්යgයෙන් එක් පක්ෂයකින් තවත් පක්ෂයකට මාරු වෙනවා නම්, සෙංකෝලය තිබෙන අවස්ථාවක තමයි අදාළ ප්රයකාශය කරන්න ඕනෑ. ඒක දන්නේ නැත්නම් වෙන දෙයක් කරලා වැඩක් නැහැ නේ. සෙංකෝලය නැති තැන ප්ර කාශයක් කළාම, එහි තිබෙන වටිනාකම මොකක්ද? ප්ර තිපත්ති ප්රරකාශයක් ඉදිරිපත් කරලා මේ පැත්තේ ඉඳලා එහා පැත්තට යනවා නම්, ඒ වාගේම එහා පැත්තේ ඉඳලා මේ පැත්තට එනවා නම් සෙංකෝලය සභාව තුළ තැන්පත් කර කථානායකතුමා මූලාසනයේ ඉන්න ඕනෑ. ඒක දන්නේ නැත්නම් තව මොනවා කරන්නද? [බාධා කිරීම්]

ගරු සභාපතිතුමා
(மாண்புமிகு தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)
(The Hon. Chairman)

Hon. Sumanthiran, you may continue with your speech.

ගරු එම්.ඒ. සුමන්තිරන් මහතා
(மாண்புமிகு எம்.ஏ. சுமந்திரன்)
(The Hon. M.A. Sumanthiran)

Thank you, Sir. Prior to that brief interruption, I was saying that this is the first time, even though it is only at a proposal stage, a party that is largely representative of the Tamil people of this country is agreeing with. I am saying because in the position paper that we have given, which is part of the Interim Report that has been placed before this Assembly for Debate for these three days, marked 1C, we have stated our positions very clearly and I want to elaborate on some of those now. But I want to draw the attention of the Assembly to the last point that we have made, point number 9. We say, I quote:

“In the interest of reaching an acceptable consensus, the TNA will be willing to consider agreement with the main principles articulated in the interim report if the same are acceptable to the two main parties.”

We have said “two main parties” for the reason that as the Hon. Leader of the House correctly pointed out that any resolution to the national question so far was not possible because one or the other main party opposed it.

Today, we have a historic opportunity. Not only are we saying that in the interest of reaching a consensus, we will be willing to consider the main points in the main report, but the two main parties are also together having formed a National Government primarily for the purpose of giving to this country a new Constitution.

Continue reading ‘MA Sumanthiran MP Exposes Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Political Hypocrisy and Double Standards On the New Constitution and Greater Devolution.’ »

Sacked Deputy Minister Duleep Wijesekera Thought Parliament Was In Session When Constitutional Assembly Debate was In Progress.

A deputy minister who was sacked overnight by President Maithripala Sirisena attempted a symbolic crossing of the floor of parliament to defect to the opposition only to discover the assembly was not in session.

Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Duleep Wijesekera made a speech asking forgiveness from his voters for having joined President Sirisena’s faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

He then made the dramatic move of taking a seat in the opposition ranks, only to be told by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that parliament was not in session.

Continue reading ‘Sacked Deputy Minister Duleep Wijesekera Thought Parliament Was In Session When Constitutional Assembly Debate was In Progress.’ »

Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are Being Branded Traitors For Trying to Find Middle Ground in Constitutional Discussions Says SLFP ‘s Dilan Perera

By Dharisha Bastians

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by President Maithripala Sirisena issued a rallying call for compromise from all political parties yesterday as the assembly of all 225 members of Parliament continued to work towards drafting a new Constitution to address decades of ethnic strife and make sweeping changes to electoral and governance systems in the country.

Addressing the Constitutional Assembly on the second day of debate on the Interim Report by the Steering Committee tasked with formulating draft constitutional proposals yesterday, senior SLFP MP and State Minister Dilan Perera warned that this current effort at Constitution-making was probably a last chance to resolve the country’s ethnic conflict.

In a speech which was deeply reflective and yet customarily colloquial, Perera recalled that for too long the two main political parties had played political “football with the national question”. On every side of the political divide, political leaders had made big mistakes, he added.

Continue reading ‘Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are Being Branded Traitors For Trying to Find Middle Ground in Constitutional Discussions Says SLFP ‘s Dilan Perera’ »

Mano Ganesan Elated as Cabinet Approves Increase of Nuwara Eliya District Pradeshiya Sabhas To Six From Two


By

Zahrah Imtiaz

The Cabinet yesterday granted approval for four additional Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Nuwara Eliya District, thus delivering a 30-year promise to the parties of the hill country.

Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Mustapha will sign the relevant Gazette needed to bring in electoral reforms to allow Provincial Council Elections, today. This had earlier been held up due to the need to create six new Pradeshiya Sabhas.

Continue reading ‘Mano Ganesan Elated as Cabinet Approves Increase of Nuwara Eliya District Pradeshiya Sabhas To Six From Two’ »

Three Faculties at Jaffna Uiversity Indefinitely Close Due To Students Boycotting Lectures Over Tamil Prisoners Demand Issue

By
Romesh Danushka Silva

The Jaffna University announced the indefinite closure of three faculties with effect from today (31) because students boycotted lectures demanding the release of Tamil ‘political’ prisoners, the Vice Chancellor Prof. R. Vigneswaran said.

While issuing a statement today, the VC said the university administration had decided to close the Arts, Science and Management Studies and Commerce faculties with immediate effect until further notice.

Continue reading ‘Three Faculties at Jaffna Uiversity Indefinitely Close Due To Students Boycotting Lectures Over Tamil Prisoners Demand Issue’ »

97% of the People Voted For a New Constitution at the 2015 Presidential Poll – M.A.Sumanthiran MP

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

Speaking at the commencement of the three-day debate on the Constitutional assembly Steering Committee Interim Report, Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran pointed out that 97 % of the people had voted for a new Constitution at the 2015 January Presidential elections as the manifestos of both President Maithripala Sirisena as well as Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Had specifically stated They were for a new constitution. As such there was a bi-partisan mandate for a new Constitution with 97% of the people voting for it asserted Mr.Sumanthiran

Continue reading ‘97% of the People Voted For a New Constitution at the 2015 Presidential Poll – M.A.Sumanthiran MP’ »

Overseas Tamils Have Not Invested in the North and East to the Extent They Have Done in Colombo Observes Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa


Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says Tamils overseas are not investing enough in the north and east of the country.

Speaking at an international Buddhist conference in India, Rajapaksa said that many highrise residential buildings have come up in Colombo in the past two decades.

He says the condominium boom in Colombo was in fact started by Tamil people resident overseas, who spent enormous sums of money buying up flats in Colombo even at the height of the war that was waged to carve out an independent Tamil state in the north and east.

Continue reading ‘Overseas Tamils Have Not Invested in the North and East to the Extent They Have Done in Colombo Observes Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Wimal Weerawansa and MP’s From NFF Boycott Constitution Debate But Come to Parliament to have Sumptuous Lunch at Subsidised Rates.

By

Saman Indrajith

A group of MPs who boycotted yesterday’s debate on interim report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly were, however, present at the MP’s Restaurant to have their lunch.

MPs are entitled to meals on parliament sitting days and yeterday, too, they were provided with subsidised meals.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa and MP’s From NFF Boycott Constitution Debate But Come to Parliament to have Sumptuous Lunch at Subsidised Rates.’ »

Media and Trade Unions Who Were Shivering Under Rajapaksa Regime Using Their New Freedom to Attack Govt and Prime Minister

by Zacki Jabbar

Prime Minister Ranil Wickrememesinghe said yesterday that even though the current UNP led National Unity government had achieved a great deal in terms of freedom and economic development, it was he who was unreasonably criticised the most by a section of the media.

Speaking at an event held at SriKotha, to release the performance report of the government over the last two and a half years, Wickremesinghe said the media had so soon forgotten how they had been harassed, assaulted and in some instances killed during the reign of terror under the Rajapaksa government.

“Is it because we gave journalists the freedom to criticise and write that they are constantly attacking us, especially me?”

Continue reading ‘Media and Trade Unions Who Were Shivering Under Rajapaksa Regime Using Their New Freedom to Attack Govt and Prime Minister’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Launches “UNP Achievement report” Outling Policy Measures Undertaken by Govt

Prepping for polls, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the Government’s policies since 2015 had focused on all-round multidimensional development and economic growth that targeted public, household, company and macroeconomic advancement to deliver holistic growth.

Launching the ‘UNP Achievements Report’, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe gave a detailed recap of the policy measures taken by the Government since it came to power nearly three years ago and insisted it had many other measures in the pipeline to improve investment, infrastructure, social welfare and the cost of living.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Launches “UNP Achievement report” Outling Policy Measures Undertaken by Govt’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Decision to Hold Local Govt Polls in Jan 2018 Has Jeopardised Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Calculations.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has pressed for holding the much delayed local council elections in January in a move that has taken the Joint Opposition off guard.

The election due in mid 2015 was delayed because the previous administration had failed to complete legislation to conduct local government polls under a hybrid system replacing proportional representation.

However, the new government too dragged its feet in demarcating electoral boundaries in line with the new law. The delay was a blessing for President Maithripala Sirisena. It gave him more time to tighten his grip on his party.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Decision to Hold Local Govt Polls in Jan 2018 Has Jeopardised Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Calculations.’ »

Colombo High Court Judge Ranasinghe Acquits Suspect Charged Under PTA; Involuntary Confession Made to TID Rejected

By S.S. Selvanayagam

A suspect charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), whose case was transferred from the Trincomalee High Court to Colombo by the Attorney General, was acquitted by the Colombo High Court on Thursday.

The accused Kangaratnam Jeevaratnam was arrested on 29 June 2007 on suspicion of being in possession of a lorry laden with 1008 kilos of high powered explosives known as RDX.

The said offence is punishable with death or life sentence in terms of Emergency Regulation No. 1405/14 proclaimed under the Public Security Ordinance.

Continue reading ‘Colombo High Court Judge Ranasinghe Acquits Suspect Charged Under PTA; Involuntary Confession Made to TID Rejected’ »

Mangala Samaraweera Condemns Kamal Gunaratne’s “Viyathgama’ Speech and calls the General’s Book “Road to Nandikadal” as “Handi-Kadal”(Breaker of Towns)


(Excerpts from the “Sunday Politics Column in the “Sunday Observer” of October 29th 2017)

If there was one thing that characterized the 10-year rule of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, that would be the unprecedented level of violence unleashed upon the regime’s political opponents.

Infamous ‘white van abductions’ were prevalent in the capital city of Colombo, while strong critiques of the government often came under attacks from ‘death squads’ that operated with the blessings of the top echelons of the government.

Former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda exposed the corruption of the Rajapaksa government at the expense of their own lives, while senior journalists Upali Tennakoon, Poddala Jayantha and many others had to flee the country after brutal assaults.

The law enforcement bodies had little or no regard for human lives as the military and the Police freely opened fire on protesters during protests at Rathupaswala, Katunayake and Chilaw.

There was no action on the perpetrators who killed unarmed protesters and in fact, some of them got promotions with diplomatic postings. It was a clear indication that the top-rung members of the Rajapaksa administration had no regrets about the precious human lives lost on the blood-soaked streets of Rathupaswala, Katunayake and Chilaw.

This callous indifference and disregard for human rights and democracy was one of the key reasons behind the downfall of former President Rajapaksa on January 8, 2015.

Despite his military victory over the LTTE, people had no qualms about sending the former President home as they wanted a government that was committed to ensure democracy, freedom and human rights in the country.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera Condemns Kamal Gunaratne’s “Viyathgama’ Speech and calls the General’s Book “Road to Nandikadal” as “Handi-Kadal”(Breaker of Towns)’ »

Meethotamulla Garbage Dump Disaster in Sri Lanka Was a Capitalist Crime

By Vilani Peiris—convenor of the Committee of the Independent Workers Inquiry

October 14 marked six months since the collapse of a huge garbage dump in Meethotamulla, a suburb in Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo. At least 32 people died after being buried alive. Eight remain missing and more than 100 were injured.

Some 198 families, numbering around 1,000 people, were affected and 146 houses were damaged. The victims have been abandoned by the government, which has offered only token compensation and provided small houses, without decent facilities, for a handful of families.

The disaster was not an isolated incident or an accident, but the result of the criminal policies of successive governments, aimed at boosting corporate profits, including through the gutting of social spending. Under capitalism, such tragedies have become a fact of daily life, including throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Continue reading ‘Meethotamulla Garbage Dump Disaster in Sri Lanka Was a Capitalist Crime’ »

Central Bank Official Files Fundamental Rights Petition Against Senior Officers Of the Attorney-General’s Dept


By S.S. Selvanayagam

Justice Priyantha Jayawardane recused himself on personal grounds from hearing the Fundamental Rights petition filed by a Central Bank official against the officers of the Attorney General’s Department in the backdrop of two respondents from the AG’s Department being his close friends.

Justice Sisira J. De Abrew also expressed his apparent reluctance as he came from the AG’s Department but intimated that if there was a situation where there was a quandary in constituting the Bench, he would be willing to hear.

Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda expressed his view that he too was from the AG’s Department but lately he had no hesitation in hearing this petition.

M.A. Sumanthiran PC with Niran Anketell, Junita Arulanantham and Joshua Crossette Thambiah appearing for the Petitioner cited Justice A.R. M. Amarasinghe on judicial conduct, ethics and responsibilities that there should never be instances where there is no judge to hear the case.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Official Files Fundamental Rights Petition Against Senior Officers Of the Attorney-General’s Dept’ »

Responsibility of Foreign Ministry To Present Sri Lanka’s Case Credibly to the International Community.

By

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka


“Engaging in arguments and debates in the international domain over the number of civilians who may have died at a particular time in the country will not help resolve any issues, in a meaningful manner, locally, except a feel good factor for a few individuals who may think that they have won a debate or scored points over someone or the other.”

–Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne (The Island 27th October 2017)

Debates in the international domain are exactly how the international community, which includes the UN and other international organizations, strive to reflect pluralism, obtaining the multiple perspectives of their members in order to reach decisions, either by reaching consensus or through a vote. There are debates which may lead to negotiations and eventual consensus or arguments which lead to a decision through a vote. Debates and reasoned, fact-based argumentation are necessary procedures when a State defends itself as it must, against glaring falsehoods. It is not something a State can avoid, resentful that a few individuals may feel good about it.

The figure of forty thousand civilian casualties during the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka has been contentious from the moment it was asserted. Repeated use of it by those interested in pushing this unverified figure gained momentum until it became accepted as a credible number in most of the Western media, after it was mentioned in the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts’ report, aka the Darusman Report.

Most recently, Lord Naseby, speaking in the British Parliament on the 12th of October 2017 has disputed this figure which appeared in the Darusman report,while pointing out that most of the war crimes charges flowed from it. He refutes this figure and the claim that civilians were willfully targeted, using dispatches from the British Defense attaché Lt. Col Anton Gash stationed in Colombo, to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London,together with the UN reports of the relevant period. The figures of civilian casualties cited are very clear, and they don’t exceed 8,000 (eight thousand). The difference between this and the forty thousand figure is a whopping 32,000 human lives.

Having presented the evidence,Lord Naseby says “I hope and pray that as a result of this debate, the UK will recognize the truth that no one in the Sri Lankan Government ever wanted to kill Tamil civilians.”

Continue reading ‘Responsibility of Foreign Ministry To Present Sri Lanka’s Case Credibly to the International Community.’ »

Seven Factors To Be Considered in Legal Reform Concerning Medical Termination of Pregnancies.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

When the Law Commission of Sri Lanka jibbed at recommending reforms to the archaic punishment of the termination of pregnancies except to save the life of a mother a decade or so ago, it showcased precisely how the uneasy meandering of conservative men of a particular age group can have a profoundly destructive impact on society.

The impact on mental health

Fortuitously, the Commission, in its later more progressive avatar, took an enlightened approach. Following measured consultations with the Sri Lanka Medical Council, the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists, its members recommended the medical termination of pregnancies in instances of rape and congenital abnormalities. A Bill formulated along these lines was proposed in 2013.

In taking this approach, seven factors were taken into consideration which is of interest at this juncture when the Cabinet’s proposal of broadly similar abortion law reform early this year has now reportedly been put on hold.

Continue reading ‘Seven Factors To Be Considered in Legal Reform Concerning Medical Termination of Pregnancies.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Cleverly Mobilizes Buddhist Monks Against Constitutional Reform

By
Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

The main sects of Sri Lanka’s Maha Sangha have once again demonstrated their strident opposition to constitutional reforms, this time going one step further and claiming that neither a new constitution nor amendments to the existing constitution are necessary. They have also deemed the existing constitution more than satisfactory. The Mahanayake Theras have made no bones about their views on the contentious issues in the constitution making process over the past 18 months. But what transpires as significant in the Maha Sangha’s strident opposition this time around is the fact that it comes ahead of a three-day debate on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly, scheduled in Parliament next week.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have repeatedly assured the Mahanayakaye Theras of all the main sects that neither the unitary character of the Sri Lankan state nor the foremost place given to Buddhism in the present constitution will be changed. The two leaders have also on several occasions assured the Theras that they would be consulted before the final draft of the constitution is prepared and also that the final draft would be shown to them. Despite these assurances and reassurances, the government has been unable to defuse the outright opposition of the Maha Sangha to the constitution making process.

There is no gainsaying that the immediate purpose of the sudden surge of agitation by the Buddhist clergy in the form of an ‘unanimous decision’ of the Karaka Maha Sangha Sabhas of the main chapters is to obstruct the parliamentary debate on the interim report. Government leaders have not succumbed to the clerics’ pressure tactics so far. How things will transpire this time around, whether there would be a change of mind on the part of the government and the debate deferred, is anybody’s guess.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Cleverly Mobilizes Buddhist Monks Against Constitutional Reform’ »

Should Not Wimal Weerawansa Be Charged Under Penal Code For Crimes Amounting to Treason?

By

Don Manu

Wimal Weerawansa stands today condemned by every syllable he uttered when, in the presence of the former President Rajapaksa no less on stage and brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the audience with a whole host of Buddhist monks in attendance, he devilishly declared that Parliament must be bombed from above and swiped out of existence if it dared to pass a new constitution as proposed by the present government.

A parliament that lacked 76 members to veto a new constitution was not worth maintaining and should be finished off without much ado with an air strike, was his message to the nation. The verbal attack came after he presented his literary work titled ‘Yadamin Bendi Akshara’ or ‘Words Bound by Chains’ to his mentor and master and chief guest former president Mahinda Rajapaksa last Sunday at a gala book launch ceremony held at the Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya at Havelock Road.

It was a hashed up collection of essays about his imprisonment and political victimisation — supposedly writ during his brief lease at Welikada jail early this year before his hunger strike turned him patient and a pathetic sight at the Welikada Prison Hospital, no mean feat when you consider he had only two months to turn out his Magnus Opus compounded with a crying daughter and a wailing wife who missed his presence at their newly built millions worth mansion at Hokandara.

But little would he have realised that his public address to his applauding audience thereafter may well chain him further to the iron bars of Welikada due to the choice of words he thought fit to employ in oratorical flight to express his utmost contempt to Lanka’s Temple of Democracy, wherein lie enshrined the sovereign rights of the Lankan people; and deliver an ultimatum to its 225 members — Lanka’s most exclusive privileged club of which he, too, happens to be a member — that it should be bombed from above if seventy six of its members dare to raise their hands and say aye to the new constitution the government proposed to present for its approval.


At first hearing it may appear to be the idle rant of a mad hatter, prone to stoop to catch public attention and keep him in the public ear and eye. But it appears to be more serious than it first suggests. It may even be held to tantamount to a full frontal attack on the political state of Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Should Not Wimal Weerawansa Be Charged Under Penal Code For Crimes Amounting to Treason?’ »

3 Tamil Prisoners Supposedly On Hunger Strike Are Actually Consuming Food Says Anuradhapura Prisons updt in report to High Court

By Ranjith Padmasiri

A Superintendent of Anuradhapura Prison has submitted a report to the Anuradhapura High Court (HC) claiming, the fast unto death by three LTTE suspects accused of killing 26 Army and Navy personnel in their custody, was done to avoid courts.


In his report, the Superintendent claims, “The three accused are in the habit of refusing food the day before they are due to be produced in court. The day after they are produced in court, the accused resume taking food as usual,” he has further alleged.

State Counsel Kasun Sarathchandra and Senior State Counsel (SSC) Madhawa Tennakoon, who represented the Attorney General (AG), told court that, outside influence had prompted the accused to engage in the fast, requesting their case be moved from the Anuradhapura HC to the Vavuniya HC.

Continue reading ‘3 Tamil Prisoners Supposedly On Hunger Strike Are Actually Consuming Food Says Anuradhapura Prisons updt in report to High Court’ »

Maj Gen Kamal Gunaratne’s Alleged Death Threat Against “Traitors Supporting New Constitution” May Warrant Legal Action

BY

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The debate on a new constitution is certainly gathering force, but regrettably it is largely a distorted debate due to deliberate efforts by those clearly opposed to a new constitution being adopted in the country, presenting the Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly, which is the Parliament, as the Draft Constitution.

What is taking place is a debate on unreality, deceit, duplicity and falsehood, taking the constitution making process to one of political mendacity; going against the mandate given by the people in January 2015 for a new constitution, remove the Executive Presidency and make Sri Lanka a more democratic state, with wider sharing of power.

This debate of duplicity is being transformed into a confrontation on religion and not on the substance of the State, and the formulations of State policy for the future. In a situation where instead of statecraft that should be the substance of the discussion, so-called religiosity is pushed forward with the use of the yellow robe, wholly distorting the thinking on constitutional reform. This comes with threats of mass protests led by sections of the Maha Sangha, clearly orchestrated by political forces that look towards racial and religious divides in the country, to support their goals of majoritarian politics.

The new surge of Sangha driven politics, against any new constitution, or constitutional reform, calling for the present Constitution to be kept unchanged, wholly ignores the call for constitutional change from 1978, showing a dangerous ignorance of history in the politics of post-independence Sri Lanka, especially after the rise of the Sinhala Only majoritarian politics in 1956.

Continue reading ‘Maj Gen Kamal Gunaratne’s Alleged Death Threat Against “Traitors Supporting New Constitution” May Warrant Legal Action’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake Appears in Supreme Court Without Having Received Any Notice With his Lawyer Sumanthiran Over Contempt of Court Proceedings


By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake appeared before the Supreme Court, without notice to do so, in two Contempt of Court actions filed against him.

President’s Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran appearing for Ramanayake informed court that his client is yet to receive notice. “We have not got any notice. But we are appearing in court following newspaper reports that my client had been noticed,” Sumanthiran said.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday re-issued notice on Ramanayake to appear before the Supreme Court on November 21. This is to show cause regarding two Contempt of Court actions filed against him for allegedly casting insulting remarks on the reputation of the judiciary and lawyers at a press conference.

Ramanayake who had been named as the respondent in the petitions, was present before Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake Appears in Supreme Court Without Having Received Any Notice With his Lawyer Sumanthiran Over Contempt of Court Proceedings’ »

UN Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff Fires Warning Shots at Sri Lankan Govt

By Manekshaw

The UN Special Rapporteur, on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff after his fourteen-day assignment in Sri Lanka released an extensive statement titled ‘Sri Lanka continues to deprive itself of the benefits of Transitional Justice.’

Pablo de Greiff has also mentioned that he would even present a fuller report on his findings in Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council next year.

The UN Rapporteur, after his meetings with President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Leader of the Opposition Sampanthan and several other prominent officials in Government followed by an extensive tour of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, released his report on his Sri Lankan assignment. In it he clearly indicates that Sri Lanka, yet has a long way to go, in implementing the Geneva Resolution, which the country had co-sponsored in 2015.

Continue reading ‘UN Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff Fires Warning Shots at Sri Lankan Govt’ »

Madras High Court Upholds Freedom of Expression By Dismissing Petition Against Tamil Hit Movie “Mersal” With Actor Vijay in Lead Role

By

S.Venkat Narayan

The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking to revoke the censor certificate of the controversial Tamil movie Mersal by declaring that it was only an imaginative story and that the freedom of expression is there for all.

Mersal was in the midst of a controversy after the Tamil Nadu unit of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded the removal of certain dialogues, which take a dig at the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Digital India programme.

The High Court asked: “Why was there no complaint against smoking and drinking in films or about the projection of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)? A film is only an imaginative story and it is not real life. If someone doesn’t like a film, a person can refrain from viewing it. The freedom of expression is there for all.

Continue reading ‘Madras High Court Upholds Freedom of Expression By Dismissing Petition Against Tamil Hit Movie “Mersal” With Actor Vijay in Lead Role’ »

Central Bank Senior Manager Files FR Petition Alleging Intimidation and Duress by Senior Officials of Attorney-Generals Dept

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Two Supreme Court Judges among a three-judge-Bench yesterday declined to sit on the Bench regarding the fundamental rights petition filed by a senior manager of the Central Bank’s Public Debt Department who challenged the activities of several members of the Attorney General’s Department during interrogations pertaining to the Presidential Commission Inquiry into Treasury Bond issuance.

Justice Sisira de Abrew and Justice Priyantha Jayawardena declined to sit on the Bench regarding this Fundamental Rights petition citing personal reasons.

Justice Sisira de Abrew informed Court that respondents cited in the petition including the members of Attorney General’s Department and two Supreme Court judges sitting in Bond Commission were known to him.

However, Justice Vijith Malalgoda informed Court that he would do his professional obligation to hear the petition.

Meanwhile, Justice Sisira de Abrew assured that he would sit on the bench if there were no judges to hear the petition.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Senior Manager Files FR Petition Alleging Intimidation and Duress by Senior Officials of Attorney-Generals Dept’ »

Ex-Eastern Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan Alias “Pillaiyan” Indicted For Murder of Ex- Batticaloa MP Joseph Pararajasingham

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Attorney General yesterday told the Supreme Court that Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, the former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, had been indicted in the High Court of Batticaloa, for the murder of Joseph Pararajasinghem, TNA member of Parliament for Batticaloa District.

The murder was committed on or about Dec. 5, 2005. There are seven accused in the indictment. Pillayan is the seventh. The trial has been fixed for Nov. 6, 7 and 17.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Eastern Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan Alias “Pillaiyan” Indicted For Murder of Ex- Batticaloa MP Joseph Pararajasingham’ »

Two Tamils Rajan Kadirgamar and Travis Sinniah Were Longest and Shortest Serving Navy Commanders.

Sri Lanka’s outgoing navy chief Travis Sinniah, the first minority Tamil to reach the highest position in the force in nearly half a century, has set a new record for being the shortest serving commander.

The previous Tamil commander, Rear Admiral R. Kadiragamar, and Admiral Sinniah now firmly hold records for heading the navy for the longest and shortest periods respectively in the 67 year history of the Sri Lanka Navy.

Kadiragamar retired on June 30, 1970 after serving nine years, seven months and 15 days. His is the longest stint as Sri Lanka navy chief.

In contrast, Sinniah served just two months and four days till his retirement on October 25, 2017 after having taken up the post only on August 22, 2017.

Continue reading ‘Two Tamils Rajan Kadirgamar and Travis Sinniah Were Longest and Shortest Serving Navy Commanders.’ »

A Time Of Dwarfs With Return Of “Sudu Nelum” Movement Syndrome


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

We live in a time of dwarfs, against whom we have to defend the achievements of giants.We have SWRD Bandaranaike’s historic rupture with the UNP to found a moderate nationalist anti-UNP formation and inaugurate a two-party system, reversed by Chandrika Bandaranaike’s realignment/reintegration of the SLFP with a markedly rightist UNP. We have the Sirimavo Bandaranaike-Felix Dias Bandaranaike-Colvin R. de Silva unitary Constitution assaulted by Chandrika Bandaranaike and Jayampathy Wickremaratne. We have the Gaullist executive presidential Constitution of JR Jayewardene besieged by Ranil Wickremesinghe, who failed twice to be elected to the presidency. Mercifully, President Jayewardene’s grandson Pradip has come forward to take on his distant cousin the Prime Minister, and defend the logic of the Jayewardene Constitution.

Can you think of anything worse than a referendum on a new Constitution which generates a massive NO vote in the South vocally mobilized by the Buddhist clergy and expressing economic protest, and a massive YES vote in the North? That would display to the world’s media a clear picture of a divided island, and through the international media, the impression would stick in the minds of the global public at large. Just for starters, what sentiments and enterprises will that trigger in Tamil Nadu? Well, that is the scenario that a new constitution, which indubitably needs a referendum, will bring about. Who would be wicked enough or crazy enough to want that

Continue reading ‘A Time Of Dwarfs With Return Of “Sudu Nelum” Movement Syndrome’ »

Outgoing Navy Commander Travis Sinniah Promoted From Vice Admiral Rank to Admiral.


The outgoing Navy Commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah has been promoted to the rank of Admiral.

Navy spokesman Commander Lankanatha Dissanayake said President Maithripala Sirisena had promoted Travis Sinniah to the Admiral post with effect from Wednesday.

Continue reading ‘Outgoing Navy Commander Travis Sinniah Promoted From Vice Admiral Rank to Admiral.’ »

3 Tamil prisoners On Hunger Strike in Anuradhapura File Appeal to Transfer Case Back to Vavuniya


By S.S.Selvanayagam

Tamil prisoners who have embarked on a hunger strike to force the transfer of their case back to the Vavuniya High Court from the Anuradhapura High Court yesterday filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal against the Attorney General and the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID).

Petitioners Rajathurai Thiruvarul, Mathiarasan Sulakshan and Ganeshan Dharshan, who have been fasting for the last 32 days, filed their petition through their Attorney M.K.P. Chandralal. They state that they were arrested by the TID and produced before the Magistrate before being committed to fiscal custody. They also revealed that they were remanded in various prisons and are presently being detained in the Anuradhapura Prison.

They state that they were indicted by the then Attorney General in the High Court of Vavuniya in 2013 and their case was called on 58 instances without a trial being initiated.

Continue reading ‘3 Tamil prisoners On Hunger Strike in Anuradhapura File Appeal to Transfer Case Back to Vavuniya’ »

Rear Admiral S.S.Ranasinghe Appointed Navy Commander; No Extension of Term For Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah Who Served as Navy Chief for 66 Days Only.

Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah, who was appointed Navy Commander on August 18, has become the shortest serving Navy Commander in Sri Lanka, serving a meager 64 days.

President Sirisena this morning decided against extending the service of Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah and appointed Rear Admiral S. S. Ranasinghe in his stead.

Continue reading ‘Rear Admiral S.S.Ranasinghe Appointed Navy Commander; No Extension of Term For Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah Who Served as Navy Chief for 66 Days Only.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Must Enter Politics as Kurunegala District Lead Candidate in the Wayamba Provincial Council Poll.

By

Gomin Dayasri

Mahinda Rajapakse [MR] is the front-runner in an opposition soft on the government. Appears overcome, by the enormity of his personal problems. Best way to negative is to be at the helm of politics. Not cut and run …… from it all: as he warms himself for the Local Government polls in a bid more to save those close to him. (Will it ever be held? Will the proposed Constitution be sanctioned? Will the Bond scam miscreants be punished?). Makes MR entrenched in his present role for the want of options; voters don’t welcome a change of leadership with an election ahead.

The cry for good governance is obsolete, with time and events. Parties capable of forming governments, hold on to its ageing leadership. Option is years of involuntary confinement for the leadership. Allegations are of corruption – no politician wishes to die holding an unfriendly placard.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Must Enter Politics as Kurunegala District Lead Candidate in the Wayamba Provincial Council Poll.’ »

Phony Moves of Constitutional Change and The Political Hypocrisy of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

By K. Ratnayake

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presented a “constitutional assembly” steering committee report last month. Although he declared the aim of a new constitution was “reconciliation and development,” the accompanying debate shows that every faction of the ruling elite is thoroughly steeped in divisive Sinhala communalism.

The report presented on September 21 will be debated for three days from October 30 to November 1, during which time the Sri Lankan parliament will meet as a constitutional assembly.

In March last year, the parliament decided to act as a constitutional assembly (CA) to prepare a new constitution. This is an anti-democratic body and not a genuine constitutional assembly directly elected by workers and poor.

The decision was backed by the ruling coalition led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP), as well as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and a faction of SLFP MPs supporting former president Mahinda Rajapakse.

Continue reading ‘Phony Moves of Constitutional Change and The Political Hypocrisy of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Is Govt Really Scared About Wimal Weerawansa’s Threat of a Bomb Should Be Dropped On Parliament? – “The Island”.

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of October 26th 2017 Under the heading “Bombing Parliament?)

National Freedom Front leader and Joint Opposition firebrand, Wimal Weerawansa, MP, has, true to form, rattled the cage of many a government politician. He said, with his trademark grin, that a bomb should be dropped on Parliament unless at least 76 MPs opposed constitutional reforms, thereby, denying the government a two-thirds majority. The yahapalana leaders have thrown up their hands in horror, asking for protection. At least, that is what Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has told the media; he has threatened action against Weerawansa for issuing what is being described as a threat.

Most of the yahapalana politicians in the current government were part of the UNP-led UNF administration from 2001 to 2004. They never so much as uttered a whimper of protest, let alone take action, while the LTTE was perpetrating numerous acts of terrorism. Nay, they grovelled before Prabhakaran, who posed the biggest threat to Parliament, and did their damnedest to appease him. Now, they pretend to be a bunch of terrified thothttha babas (babes in arms); they would have us believe that something, uttered by a loose-tongued Opposition politician, has given them a scare!

Continue reading ‘Is Govt Really Scared About Wimal Weerawansa’s Threat of a Bomb Should Be Dropped On Parliament? – “The Island”.’ »

UNP Ministers Threaten to Pull Out Of Govt If Local Govt Elections Are Not Held in January 2018 Due To SLFP Pressure

In a dramatic turn of events, the United National Party Ministers representing the government threatened to pull out of the ruling coalition, if the government failed to hold the Local Government election in January.

They demanded the President to hold the LG polls without delay, at the weekly Cabinet meeting held this morning.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at the Cabinet, said postponing elections would only strengthen the Rajapaksa group.

Continue reading ‘UNP Ministers Threaten to Pull Out Of Govt If Local Govt Elections Are Not Held in January 2018 Due To SLFP Pressure’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Files Fundamental Rights Petition Seeking Supreme Court Order Preventing His Arrest Over On Going Investigations

By S. S. Selvanayagam

Justice Eva Wanasundera has declined to be a member of the Bench hearing the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa seeking an order preventing his arrest over ongoing investigations.

The Bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera, K.T. Chitrasiri and Vijith K. Malalgoda re-fixed hearing of the petition for 23 January next year.

Registrar is directed to fix a Bench where Justice Eva Wanasudera is not a member.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa filed his Fundamental Rights petition seeking an order from the Court preventing Police from arresting him over several purported investigations and a declaration that the gazette notification on the Fraud Crimes Investigations Division was ultra vires.

When the petition came up on 13 March, the Additional Solicitor General informed that the investigation against him was continuing and that if there was cognisable offence (meaning a Police officer has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without the permission of a court) against him, the integral part of such offence was a mandatory requirement to arrest.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Files Fundamental Rights Petition Seeking Supreme Court Order Preventing His Arrest Over On Going Investigations’ »

Medagoda Abeytissa Thera Says Better to Have Tamil Speaking Leaders as President or Prime Minister Instead of Regional Autonomy.

By Shamindra Ferdinandohttp://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/56077

Ven. Medagoda Abeytissa Thera, representing Eliya organisation, yesterday said it would be better to have Tamil speaking leaders as President and Prime Minister than to divide the country on ethnic lines.

The Thera urged President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and those pushing for regional autonomy to consider having Tamil speaking leaders as the President and Prime Minister without further delay.

Addressing the media at the National Library and Documentation Centre, Ven. Abeytissa Thera said the government was trying to implement the 13th Amendment fully on the pretext of introducing a new Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Medagoda Abeytissa Thera Says Better to Have Tamil Speaking Leaders as President or Prime Minister Instead of Regional Autonomy.’ »

Sri Lanka-china Relations and the Rules-based International Order


By

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka


“If you look at initiatives like OBOR or Maritime Silk Road, the challenge for us is to understand what that is about. Where is that going to go, who benefits from that? …Your people deserve hope and the country needs investments. But the people don’t deserve to be shackled in the future either.”

US Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson (Interview by Rathindra Kuruwita, Ceylon Today, 11 Oct 2017)

The Admiral’s question “Where is that going to go?” is a relevant inquiry, since it is about a road, and a road has to go somewhere. Right now, it seems to have gone to Asia, Europe and Africa. “Who benefits from that?” he asks. Presumably Asians, Europeans and Africans, since it is fair to assume they wouldn’t let a road go through their lands or indeed seas without some benefit to themselves.

According to a study at a French Institute of International Studies (IRIS) reported in Asia Focus #36 (June 2017), it seems that Ethiopia for one, has benefited to the tune of US$ 380 bn (two road construction projects and upgrading the electric grid system) for a start. Obviously they feel they can benefit even further, since they plan to develop this relationship in infrastructure, minerals and technology in the future.There are many others.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka-china Relations and the Rules-based International Order’ »

Leading Buddhist Monks Vow to Take to Streets and Defeat Govt Moves to Amend or Bring in New Constitution

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

A group of leading Buddhist monks yesterday vowed to take to the streets to defeat the government’s move to bring in a new constitution or to amend the existing one – a move which they alleged would pave the way for the division of the country.

Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Nayaka Thera, addressing a press conference, at All Ceylon Buddhist Congress auditorium in Colombo said: “We do not think the government will be able to get a two-thirds majority in parliament to bring in a new constitution or to amend the existing one. Even if it is passed by Parliament it will have to be placed before people at a referendum. Then we will bring out all members of Maha Sangha to the streets to defeat it.”

Supporting the views of the Karaka Sangha Sabha, of the Malwatu and Asgiriya Chapters, Ven. Wimalaratana Thera said the Maha Sangha was firmly of the view that a new constitution was not the need of the hour.

“We stress that even amendments to the constitution at this point should be restricted the electoral system,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Leading Buddhist Monks Vow to Take to Streets and Defeat Govt Moves to Amend or Bring in New Constitution’ »

President Sirisena Must Convene All Party Conference and Re-engineer the Existing Provincial Council System

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I stole this title. I stole it from the friend I most respect and admire, Richard Falk, Emeritus Professor of International Law at Princeton, who teaches these days at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In a recent speech in Europe he argued that the two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestine problem is no longer an option and that the focus should instead be on a one-state solution in which Israel’s apartheid structure is dismantled.

It seems to me that we in Sri Lanka could learn from Richard Falk’s laser-surgical thinking. The ‘two-state solution’—Sri Lanka/Tamil Eelam– the Tamil separatists barbarically pursued was buried at Nandikadal. It may be revived someday through other means (leveraging the Indo-US axis, a Pongu Thamil civic uprising, a referendum etc.), but as Iraqi Kurdistan shows, that bluff could be forcefully called too.

The Tamil ‘one and a half state’ solution of federalism by any other name is not going to work, because it requires a referendum at which it will almost certainly be shot down by the Sinhala majority for whom federalism by any other name smells as bad.

What does that leave? A state of denial in which one pretends that there is no Tamil problem is one option, i.e. playing ostrich. That apart, there is a one state solution, in which existing subnational autonomous units are strengthened while residual discrimination is legislatively eliminated.

Can you think of anything worse than a referendum on a new Constitution which generates a massive NO vote in the South vocally mobilized by the Buddhist clergy and expressing economic protest, and a massive YES vote in the North? That would display to the world’s media a clear picture of a divided island, and through the international media, the impression would stick in the minds of the global public at large. Just for starters, what sentiments and enterprises will that trigger in Tamil Nadu? Well, that is the scenario that a new constitution, which indubitably needs a referendum, will bring about. Who would be wicked enough or crazy enough to want that?

Whose idea is the new Constitution project? Whose idea was it from the very beginning? Whose idea has it been all the time?

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Must Convene All Party Conference and Re-engineer the Existing Provincial Council System’ »

Buddhist Clergy Opposition To Govt is a Puppet Show With Maestro Puppeteer Mahinda Rajapaksa Pulling Strings


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Recently Buddhist High Priests have been showing a rather unholy penchant to torment the government, perhaps making use of the opportunity that no one is now calling from the President’s House to threaten with ‘Sanga Bedaya’ (division among Sanga) unless Maha Nayakas toe the line.

However, it is still a lopsided approach on the part of monks who have resolutely kept mum when they ought to have spoken up in the past. Any self-respecting religious leader should have condemned the attack on Rohingya refugees in Mount Lavinia by a mob led by monks. Most Buddhist leaders did not exhibit that minimum level of human compassion, nor did they care to speak out against a series of past attacks on Muslims.

Similarly, when ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa rolled back basic fundamental freedom of people, and introduced the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, with no public consultation at all, only a few monks, with known credentials of social activism spoke out. Maha Nayakas did not.

Continue reading ‘Buddhist Clergy Opposition To Govt is a Puppet Show With Maestro Puppeteer Mahinda Rajapaksa Pulling Strings’ »

The Sinhala Supremacist Hard Right Does Not Acknowledge the Legitimate Aspirations of The Tamils and Muslims.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly young, died violently or were maimed, and tens of thousands disappeared, and unknown numbers were tortured, in the less than four decades between April 1971 and May 2009 on this small island. Something must have been wrong, something must have gone wrong, somewhere, for all this horror to result among so much natural beauty and tranquility. We are all implicated in different ways and in different degrees. The least we can do is accept that there were huge mistakes and seek to rectify them through reform. For this, we must turn the searchlight inwards and not content ourselves with pointing the finger outwards.

After the April 1971 insurrection we implemented drastic reforms: a new, Republican Constitution, and two waves of Land Reform. After the 1986-1989 Southern insurrection we had the Youth Commission, the reintroduction of merit as the criterion of employment, the Janasaviya Poverty alleviation program, the Land Task Force to distribute uncultivated land, the free school uniforms and free school midday meals programs, the 200 garment factories, the massive housing programs, the 15,000 projects program.

What are the structural reforms we have effected following Asia’s second longest war (after Afghanistan), the Tamil secessionist war of 1979-2009? How have we transformed our society and state from the one which gave rise to this terrible protracted war? Have the tens of thousands of ex-terrorists come back into an environment that is substantively better than the one which motivated them to rise up in a savage, sustained separatist rebellion? Or is it essentially the same, if not worse? If we could undertake such serious soul searching and reforms after the two southern rebellions why have we not done so after the far more serious Northern war?

Continue reading ‘The Sinhala Supremacist Hard Right Does Not Acknowledge the Legitimate Aspirations of The Tamils and Muslims.’ »

Jayantha Jayasuriya is a Simplistic and Confused Attorney – General

By Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

A little learning is a dangerous thing. It is also sad when limited intellect leads to high appointments on the grounds that there will be unthinking support of the appointing authority. This seems to be the case with the current Attorney General (AG), who seems in a couple of weeks, to have completely destroyed the reputation of his department which had been considerably enhanced by the brilliant cross examination at the Bond Commission by senior officers.

What seemed the silencing of the forceful Dappula de Livera, the absence for some time of the incisive Yasantha Kodagoda, suggested that the AG had decided to hold back – and so the leading lights of the UNP have been preserved.

Then the AG went further, in delivering a preposterous opinion regarding the appalling move to postpone elections through introducing amendments to a Bill that was for an entirely different purpose. The amendments were referred to Jayantha Jayasuriya by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya whose reduction to being a mere tool of chicanery is extremely sad. The latter’s behaviour in the last couple of years suggests that the excuses he proffered to me, when I tried to make him act on the Good Governance issues in the President’s manifesto, that his hands were tied because he was not trusted by his Leader, now seem rank hypocrisy.

Continue reading ‘Jayantha Jayasuriya is a Simplistic and Confused Attorney – General’ »

Sri Lanka was a Corrupt Country Long Before China Started Projects Here

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Once they realize that I am a bit of a Sinophile, a lot of centrist types, you know the kind of people who take The Economist and The Guardian seriously and call anyone who questions the liberal consensus as Far Right ask me whether I am not concerned with the corruption that accompanies Chinese financed projects.

Usually these people are from my age group, late 20s to early 30s, and my usual response for his ludicrous question is: where did they live before 2009? the year China really started investing in Sri Lanka. Because as far as I remember Sri Lanka was and is a corrupt country.

Chinese had nothing to do with the Mahaweli Project, but everyone knows that a lot of dodgy stuff happened and a lot of people made a lot of money out of it. Most recently there was controversy regarding the development of the Rs 134.9 billion third phase of Central Expressway, funded through a loan from the Mitsubishi Tokyo Bank. Although the Japanese Embassy in Colombo nominated three Japanese companies in 2016 and requested the Road Development Authority (RDA) to select the best bid, it was revealed a few months ago that the Japanese Government intervened in June 2017 forcing the Highways Ministry and Cabinet Appointed Negotiation Committee (CANC) to reconsider their selection. Once again China had nothing to do with this dodgy deal.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka was a Corrupt Country Long Before China Started Projects Here’ »

Pablo de Greiff of the UN Warns Sri Lanka of Risk of International Prosecutions Into Alleged War Crimes

A United Nations expert Monday warned Sri Lanka to speedily investigate its troops over alleged war crimes or risk international prosecutions.

Pablo de Greiff, the special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, said Colombo was slow to deliver justice to victims and demanded swift action eight years after the war’s end.

He said a war crimes complaint last month in Brazil against Sri Lanka’s then ambassador, a former war general, underscored the risk faced by local military personnel even in their retirement.

Continue reading ‘Pablo de Greiff of the UN Warns Sri Lanka of Risk of International Prosecutions Into Alleged War Crimes’ »