Facets of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Foreign Policy Vision:Internalizing Inclusivity and Internationalizing Exclusivity

by Sudharshan Seneviratne
(Emeritus Professor. University of Peradeniya. Sri Lanka’s former High Commissioner to India)

Introduction

Foreign Policy (FP) represents the long arm of the State protecting and imaging its national interest and projecting overseas all aspects of an independent sovereign State. As such, Foreign Policy is essentially based on a fundamental principle – that is to protect the country, State and people thereby reserving its “Right to defend”. Recognizing and contextualizing Sri Lanka’s historical, physical and strategic location in the central Indian Ocean Rim, its Foreign Policy needs to be situated within a trajectory – the State, its citizens and the global world. While the country has now reached the tipping edge of its very survival as an independent and sovereign State under the Yahapalanaya regime, the history of its foreign policy in the past five years is punctuated with a volatile potpourri of compromises, betrayal and above all, “missed opportunities”.

This needs to be placed against the foreign Policy envisioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his tenure of office as President. It is a narrative little told. Yet it unfolds his vision, hopes, ideas and ideals, both, within the country and beyond borders. It is about HE’s vision plan regaining Sri Lanka’ social, political and economic integrity, its lost dignity and self-esteem and how he redefined and crafted Foreign Policy against many odds that were stacked against Sri Lanka at critical moments.

Continue reading ‘Facets of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Foreign Policy Vision:Internalizing Inclusivity and Internationalizing Exclusivity’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer that whether he gets the Support of the Tamil Political Parties or not, he will Develop the War-shattered Economy of the Tamil-majority Northern Province.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, told the UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer here on Friday, that whether he gets the support of the Tamil political parties or not, he will develop the war-shattered economy of the Tamil-majority Northern Province, the Presidential Media Division said.

On the issue of the missing, he said that, whether they were Tamil civilians, LTTE cadres or Lankan soldiers, most of the missing had actually died in battle and their bodies had not been found.

“I can’t bring back the dead!” he told Singer.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer that whether he gets the Support of the Tamil Political Parties or not, he will Develop the War-shattered Economy of the Tamil-majority Northern Province.’ »

‘I Can’t Bring Back the Dead’: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tries to Bring an End to the Search for Persons Reported Missing During the War


By Maria Abi-Habib and Dharisha Bastians

Dashing the hopes of thousands of families desperate for word about loved ones who went missing during Sri Lanka’s long, grisly civil war, the country’s new president has offered an unsparing rebuff to their quest for closure.

The missing are in fact dead, said the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and “I can’t bring back the dead.”

The government, eager to close a painful chapter in the country’s history, plans to issue death certificates for the missing Sri Lankans, a number put at 24,000.

Continue reading ‘‘I Can’t Bring Back the Dead’: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tries to Bring an End to the Search for Persons Reported Missing During the War’ »

Sky High Prices of Several Vegetables and Onions Begin to Come Down After Influx of Low Country Vegetables and Onions From North to Dambulla Economic Center

By

Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa

Traders in the Dambulla Dedicated Economic Center said a sharp drop in the prices of vegetables was being experienced at present and that it was mainly due to large stocks of vegetables arriving from the North.

Continue reading ‘Sky High Prices of Several Vegetables and Onions Begin to Come Down After Influx of Low Country Vegetables and Onions From North to Dambulla Economic Center’ »

Remanded MP Ranjan Ramanayake Addresses Parliament and Challenges Govt to Appoint a Presidential Commission to Investigate his Leaked Telephone Conversation Recordings: Says “I am willing to appear before the commission with all the information I have.”

By Saman Indrajith

Former Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake, yesterday (21) apologised to all those who had got into trouble due to the leak of recordings of his telephone conversations with him.

Speaking during the Parliamentary debate, MP Ramanayake said it had not been his intention to make the recordings of his conversations public. “The recordings were seized by police from my home violating my privileges as an MP. I only kept them secure in hard disks for my own protection as this is a country where people constantly change their opinions,” he said.

MP Ramanayake claimed he had recorded his phone calls as part of his crusade against corruption.

Continue reading ‘Remanded MP Ranjan Ramanayake Addresses Parliament and Challenges Govt to Appoint a Presidential Commission to Investigate his Leaked Telephone Conversation Recordings: Says “I am willing to appear before the commission with all the information I have.”’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Approves Tabling in Parliament of Forensic Audit Reports on Bond Transactions of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Says Release of Documents Wont Impact investigations or Legal Proceedings.


By Ashwin Hemmathagama

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday approved the tabling of forensic audit reports on bond transactions of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), arguing that the release of the documents would not impact investigations or legal proceedings.

Justifying his decision to release the forensic audit report yesterday in Parliament, the Speaker held that the release of the report would not have any impact on ongoing legal proceedings.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Approves Tabling in Parliament of Forensic Audit Reports on Bond Transactions of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Says Release of Documents Wont Impact investigations or Legal Proceedings.’ »

Hirunika Premachandra Tells Parliament that there is a Sinister Campaign to Tarnish her Image and That She was Taking Action Against Four TV Channels for Defamation

By Saman Indrajith

UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra said that some of the recordings of telephone conversations between her and MP Ranjan Ramanayake had been tampered with.

Premachandra said that there was a sinister campaign to tarnish her image.

She had filed complaints against four television channels for defamation, the MP said.

Continue reading ‘Hirunika Premachandra Tells Parliament that there is a Sinister Campaign to Tarnish her Image and That She was Taking Action Against Four TV Channels for Defamation’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake MP Tables in Parliament Audio CD’s of Recorded Telephone Conversations With Several Persons Including Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Perpetual Treasuries Head Arjun Aloysius and Parliamentarian Kanchana Wijesekera

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwadana

MP Ranjan Ramanayake today tabled in Parliament several CDs containing audio clips of phone conversations he has had with many people including a few heads of State.

He did so while stating in Parliament that he was tabling the CDs containing telephone conversations he has had with politicians of various political parties, prostitutes, artistes and even heads of State.

However, the MP said he had no recordings of conversations he had with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake MP Tables in Parliament Audio CD’s of Recorded Telephone Conversations With Several Persons Including Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Perpetual Treasuries Head Arjun Aloysius and Parliamentarian Kanchana Wijesekera’ »

Tamils Want To Sing The National Anthem In Their Mother Tongue

by D,B.S.JEYARAJ

Singing The National Anthem In Tamil Trilogy – 3

This is my third and final column in this trilogy of articles about the singing of Sri Lanka’s national anthem in the Sinhala and Tamil languages.

I would have very much liked to write about hot topics like Ranjan Ramanayake’s recordings or President Gotabaya’s Policy Speech or the internal troubles of the UNP , but I shall stick to this issue that I feel very strongly about. I have been deeply touched and vastly encouraged by the wide -spread response to the previous two articles in these columns. Most of the responses I received were of a positive nature while a few were certainly negative. Interestingly enough, many of the negative ones were from Sinhala and Tamil expatriates residing in western countries while the positive ones were preponderantly from readers living in Sri Lanka. This pattern was most revealing.

AE Manoharan

Another refreshing phenomenon was the appearance – in some English newspapers – of several articles, viewpoints and letters in support of the national anthem being sung in both languages. They were somewhat critical of the current Government’s declared intention of banning the National anthem being sung in Tamil also at the forthcoming 72nd independence day celebrations in Colombo on Feb 4 2020. I was greatly elated by the fact that almost all of these positive viewpoints were expressed by Sinhala people ranging from film makers to opinion makers. It made me realise that in spite of the poppycock uttered on this topic by political ignoramuses ensconced in the seats of power, there were multiple enlightened and courageous voices within the majority community who are willing to speak truth to power.
Continue reading ‘Tamils Want To Sing The National Anthem In Their Mother Tongue’ »

The Past Under Mahinda Is Resurfacing In The Present Under Gotabaya

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Singing The National Anthem In Tamil Trilogy – 2

2020 has dawned!Greetings for the new year to all “Daily Mirror” readers. My article in these columns last week about moves being contemplated to forbid the singing of Sri Lanka’s national anthem in Tamil at the 70th independence day event, seems to have been received well, judging by the positive responses I have been getting from readers this week. What makes me most happy is the fact that an overwhelming number of these responses have been from Sinhala readers.

Pundit M Nallathamby

Among those responding were two children of Pundit M. Nallathamby who translated the national anthem into the Tamil language. I gathered from their mails that they were very young when their father passed away. Pundit Nallathamby who translated Ananda Samarakoon’s “Namo Namo Matha” into Tamil as “ Namo Namo Thaaye” in 1950 had died in May 1951. The poem was approved officially as the national anthem by the then UNP Govt in November 1951 just five months after Pundit Nallathamby’s demise.

Continue reading ‘The Past Under Mahinda Is Resurfacing In The Present Under Gotabaya’ »

Singing The National Anthem in The Sinhala and Tamil Languages

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Singing The National Anthem In Tamil Trilogy – 1

The news story appearing in the “Daily Mirror”last week was like a bolt out of the blue. It said that the national anthem would be sung in the Sinhala language only at the forthcoming celebratory event of Sri Lanka or Ceylon gaining full independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. The practice adopted since 2016 of singing the anthem in Tamil also would not be followed. This is what the news story written by Sandun A. Jayasekera in the Daily Mirror said –

pic: UKInSriLanka

“The 72nd Independence Day celebrations will be held on February 4 at Independence Square in Colombo on a grand scale, the Public Administration Ministry said, adding that the national anthem would be sung only in Sinhala. These decisions were taken at a meeting held yesterday at the Disaster Management, Local Government and Provincial Councils Ministry.”
Continue reading ‘Singing The National Anthem in The Sinhala and Tamil Languages’ »

US Deputy Asst Secretary of State Alice Wells Delivers Letter From US President Trump to President Gotabaya and Conveys “message” That Washington will not Tolerate any Weakening of the Military and Political Relations it Built-up over Four Years With Sri Lanka under Sirisena Govt

By K. Ratnayake

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells delivered a letter from President Donald Trump to President Gotabhaya Rajapakse during a one-day trip to Sri Lanka last Wednesday. The letter, according to the media, emphasised the White House’s “commitment and interest in furthering and deepening [its] partnership” with the island nation.

Wells held discussions with President Rajapakse and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, as well as Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Tamil National Alliance chiefs R. Sambandan and M. A. Sumanthiran, and “civil society” leaders. Wells was accompanied by Liza Curtis, the Senior Director for South and Central Asia on the US National Security Council and Aliana Teplitz, the US ambassador to Colombo.

Significantly, Wells’ trip—part of a nine-day South Asia tour—followed Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s two-day visit to Sri Lanka, which began last Monday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was also in Colombo on Wednesday.

Continue reading ‘US Deputy Asst Secretary of State Alice Wells Delivers Letter From US President Trump to President Gotabaya and Conveys “message” That Washington will not Tolerate any Weakening of the Military and Political Relations it Built-up over Four Years With Sri Lanka under Sirisena Govt’ »

Plantation Companies Making Huge Profits are Refusing to Pay 1000 Rupee Daily Wage to Estate Workers By Misleading Govt and Public About the Actual Profits They Make Charges MONLAR Moderator Chinthaka Rajapakshe

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The government must immediately expose the high profits made by the plantation companies and inform the public that they could easily give their workers a daily basic salary of Rs. 1,000, the 1000 Movement, a collective of unions and civil society activists, said yesterday.

Chinthaka Rajapakshe, Moderator of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) told The Island that the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) had been misleading the public about the profits the plantation companies had been making.

The plantation companies had refused to increase wages for a long time, claiming that they had cash flow problems and that the productivity of Sri Lankan workers was lower than that of other tea producing countries, he said.

Continue reading ‘Plantation Companies Making Huge Profits are Refusing to Pay 1000 Rupee Daily Wage to Estate Workers By Misleading Govt and Public About the Actual Profits They Make Charges MONLAR Moderator Chinthaka Rajapakshe’ »

The Damage Done to the Judiciary by Sarath Silva as Attorney – General and Chief Justice Long Before The Ranjan Ramanayake’s Telephone Recordings Controversy

By

Victor Ivan

The collection of recorded telephone conversations of Ranjan Ramanayaka can be said to have become a kind of collection of short films that reveal the degeneration of the entire institutional system of the country while conveying the message of it to the people in a simple and straightforward way.

The reading habits of both politicians and the public of Sri Lanka are limited. They read very little. Therefore, the service that can be rendered by serious books or articles is limited. But, it is easy to understand the short footage of Ranjan’s voice recordings. They even contain the element of obscenity or vulgarity which generally people are fond of. These voice recordings while revealing the nakedness of the entire institutional system and the extent of its degeneration, make the public feel the stench emanating from it.

In this backdrop, perceived from a historical sense, the country appears to be fast moving towards anarchy. The content of these short video clips can be said to have accelerated the speed of the move towards anarchy.

I have long been a critic of the degeneration of the institutional system of the country and the need for structural reforms to rectify it. I have written a considerable number of books and articles on this subject. It does not require a great knowledge like rocket science to understand this decay and degeneration.

A serious mistake might become a difficult issue to put right when it is not addressed immediately, as and when it happened. A thing that can be nipped in the bud, after some time, might become difficult even to cut with an axe. It is this lackadaisical approach that overshadows the political arena of Sri Lanka, which has caused the entire institutional system to fall into the current state of pathetic degeneration.

In this article, I hope to explain the background of the degeneration of the institutional system based on the unique experience I have gained of the judiciary of Sri Lanka. Though the short videos of Ranjan’s telephone conversations might help to get a glimpse of the degeneration, it, however, will not lead to an in-depth understanding of the magnitude of the issue. If the system is to be redeemed from the present predicament, it is essential that Sri Lanka must have a deep knowledge and understanding of the issue.

Continue reading ‘The Damage Done to the Judiciary by Sarath Silva as Attorney – General and Chief Justice Long Before The Ranjan Ramanayake’s Telephone Recordings Controversy’ »

Planters Association and Employers Federation of Ceylon Unwilling to Comply with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Directive to Pay Estate Workers a 1000 Rupee Daily Wage but Govt Stands Firm

The Government yesterday remained firm on the proposed daily wage hike for estate workers from March and asked the plantation firms to come up with a new formula to offer relief whilst minimising damage to financial viability.

The outcome follows the Ceylon Planters Association and the Employers Federation of Ceylon meeting Plantation Industries Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana first followed by a separate discussion with Secretary to President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera.

Last week President Gotabaya Rajapaksa honouring an election pledge said estate workers’ minimum wage will be increased by Rs. 145 or 17% to Rs. 1,000 in March from Rs. 855 at present.

Continue reading ‘Planters Association and Employers Federation of Ceylon Unwilling to Comply with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Directive to Pay Estate Workers a 1000 Rupee Daily Wage but Govt Stands Firm’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells UN Resident Coordinator that Persons Reported Missing During Civil War are Actually Dead and Steps Would be Taken to Issue Death Certificat After Necessary Investigations

By

Meera Srinivasan

Thousands of persons reported missing since the time of Sri Lanka’s civil war are “actually dead”, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said.

The President made the remark in a recent meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator, according to a statement from his office. Outlining his plans to address the issue of missing persons, “he explained that these missing persons are actually dead. Most of them had been taken by the LTTE or forcibly conscripted. The families of the missing attest to it. However, they do not know what has become of them and so claim them to be missing,” the statement said.

After the “necessary investigations”, steps would be taken to issue death certificates of the missing persons, while their families would be supported, the official media release said.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells UN Resident Coordinator that Persons Reported Missing During Civil War are Actually Dead and Steps Would be Taken to Issue Death Certificat After Necessary Investigations’ »

Sri Lankan Black Panther Thought to Be Extinct Re-discovered Again in the Island; Wild Life Dept Camera Footage Proves Existence of One Male,Female and Two Cubs

The Sri Lankan Wildlife Department has been able to retrace the Sri Lankan Black Panther that was once considered to be long extinct.

Out of the eight species of panthers living in the world, the sub-species, Sri Lankan Panther is extraordinary due to its very limited population.

The Sri Lankan black panther is believed to have gained it’s unique characteristics due to a colour mutation.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Black Panther Thought to Be Extinct Re-discovered Again in the Island; Wild Life Dept Camera Footage Proves Existence of One Male,Female and Two Cubs’ »

Can Ranjan Ramanayake’s Critics Deny That he Has “revealed the deteriorated and corrupt nature of society including the corrupt nature of the top hierarchy of the key sectors?”

By

Mani Velupillai

Almost all our public figures have disapproved of the leak of Ranjan Ramanayake’s phone recordings. They include Ramanayake’s celluloid colleagues, fellow politicians, some members of the clergy, officials and even journalists.

It is a moot point, however, whether Ramanayake’s critics represent themselves or the public or both. Apparently they impute their own demeanour over the leaks to the nation as a whole. No doubt the JVP does not represent the entire nation. It is, however, obvious that what it says makes sense.

According to the JVP, Ramanayake “has revealed the deteriorated and corrupt nature of society, including the corrupt nature of the top hierarchy of the key sectors … These key sectors such as politicians, officials, judiciary, religious organisations and the business sector were corrupt and spoilt… and the leaked phone recordings revealed the falsehood of these sectors.”

Continue reading ‘Can Ranjan Ramanayake’s Critics Deny That he Has “revealed the deteriorated and corrupt nature of society including the corrupt nature of the top hierarchy of the key sectors?”’ »

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Rushed to Colombo After Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Visit to Place Certain Demands Before President Gotabaya Relating to New Delhi’s Concerns Over Increased Chinese Activity in the Maritime Regions of South Asia.

By P.K.Balachandran

India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, who was on short visit here on Saturday, has told the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that it is important that India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives review the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) regime, enhance it, and include other regional countries as observers.

The MDA regimen keeps track of vessels in the area. It was lack of cooperation in this area which led to a deep rift between India and Sri Lanka in 2014 when the Indians charged that a Chinese “nuclear” submarine had docked in Colombo without its being made aware of it. The submarine incident was the last straw on the back of India which had been watching with alarm the Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s dalliance with rival China since 2010.

The Presidential Media Division said in a press release on Doval’s talks with the President that both countries expressed an interest in stepping up military to military corporation; cooperation in maritime security and establishing inter-operability between the Indian and Sri Lankan Coast Guards.

Doval brought up the need for inter-operability of the two Coast Guards in order to check smuggling, drug-trafficking, gun-running by Non-State Actors and illegal fishing.

India also pledged assistance to Sri Lanka in acquiring intelligence gathering technology. An USD 50 million credit line to purchase intelligence gathering equipment was reiterated. Establishment of a “Maritime Research Coordinating Centre” was also discussed.

In all probability, Sri Lanka will implement India’s demands because one of the basic tenets of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime is that it must respect and address India’s strategic concerns while throwing open the economy for investments from all parts of the world, including China.

Continue reading ‘Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Rushed to Colombo After Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Visit to Place Certain Demands Before President Gotabaya Relating to New Delhi’s Concerns Over Increased Chinese Activity in the Maritime Regions of South Asia.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Questions the Political Morality of Sajith Premadasa for Saying now that he wants to Tear Up the MCC Pact While Having Remained Totally Silent When the Cabinet he was Part of Announced it was Going to Sign the MCC Pact

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday, expressed surprise at the UNP’s sudden aversion to the MCC pact. Issuing a press release, Rajapaksa said that Opposition Leader, Sajith Premadasa, who was the Deputy Leader of the UNP and key member of the UNP Cabinet, before the Presidential election, had been silent on the MCC pact promoted by the former government.

“We hear the newly appointed Opposition Leader and other Parliamentarians of the UNP making frequent references to the controversial MCC pact. The Opposition Leader states on the public platform that the MCC pact should be torn up and that he will not allow the present government to implement it. Last week, the UNP Opposition Leader was even seen telling the most venerable Mahanayaka Theras that the MCC pact should be torn up. Other MPs of the UNP have been making similar statements. I have been listening to all this with amazement. Just weeks ago, the present Opposition Leader was a leading member of the UNP Cabinet in his capacity as the Deputy Leader of the UNP. With only a matter of days to the Presidential election, the UNP Cabinet officially decided to sign the MCC pact. The UNP Prime Minister told the media that this pact would be signed before the Presidential election,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Questions the Political Morality of Sajith Premadasa for Saying now that he wants to Tear Up the MCC Pact While Having Remained Totally Silent When the Cabinet he was Part of Announced it was Going to Sign the MCC Pact’ »

Senior Journalist C.A.Chandraprema Appointed as Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva:Author of Gotabaya Rajapaksa Biography “Gota’s War” Will Go To War Defending Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council

Veteran Sunday Island columnist, C.A.Chandraprema, has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations in Geneva, within which is located the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

At the UNHRC, Chandraprema will be expected to take up the cudgels on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka against Sri Lanka baiters from Western Europe and the Tamil Diaspora.

Chandraprema can be counted on to deliver the goods as he has been writing on the war, human rights and other related subjects with authority for years from a Lankan nationalist perspective.

Continue reading ‘Senior Journalist C.A.Chandraprema Appointed as Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva:Author of Gotabaya Rajapaksa Biography “Gota’s War” Will Go To War Defending Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council’ »

Residents of Malay-Muslim Locality in Colombo Known as Slave Island are Telling Stories About People In Their Neighbourhood Through Painting Wall Portraits

By

Meera Srinivasan

Back in his school days, Firi Rahman, 29, used to feel embarrassed to bring his friends home. Having heard people refer to his neighbourhood as a “slum” or “a den of drug dealers”, he wasn’t sure how his friends would react. “Those of us who belonged to this area felt stigmatised,” recalls the artist, a fifth-generation resident of Slave Island in Colombo. Growing up, it bothered him that the locality, a busy commercial and trading hub in the capital, had to live with an image that hardly reflected the place and its people.

Located near some of Colombo’s most famous tourist spots — the Beira lake, Gangaramaya [Buddhist] Temple, or more recently, the Colombo City Centre — Slave Island is often considered an avoidable “suburb”, one that is associated with its narrow alleyways, congested streets and parking hassles.

Continue reading ‘Residents of Malay-Muslim Locality in Colombo Known as Slave Island are Telling Stories About People In Their Neighbourhood Through Painting Wall Portraits’ »

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Arrives in Colombo Without Advance Announcement to Meet President Gotabaya Within a week of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Declaration of Not Letting “Outside Influences” to Interfere in Sri Lanka; Among Issues Dicussed was “Countering and Preventing Debt Traps”.

By

Meera Srinivasan

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Saturday met Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo and discussed key bilateral issues including economic development and strategic cooperation.

“A very cordial discussion was held with National Security Advisor of #India, Ajit Doval today. Strengthening of bilateral cooperation on national security, intelligence sharing, maritime security & fostering of regional collaboration, were some of the key points of discussion,” President Rajapaksa said in tweet soon after the meeting. A statement from his office said the two countries discussed strengthening military ties.

The visit, which was not announced in advance, comes as part of the high-level engagement since the November presidential elections that Mr. Gotabaya had won with a huge mandate.

Continue reading ‘India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Arrives in Colombo Without Advance Announcement to Meet President Gotabaya Within a week of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Declaration of Not Letting “Outside Influences” to Interfere in Sri Lanka; Among Issues Dicussed was “Countering and Preventing Debt Traps”.’ »

Let’s Hope the Attorney -General’s Dept Will Take Action Over the Recorded Telephone Call by SB Dissanayake To Palitha Range Bandara Offering Huge Sums of Cash to Cross Over From UNP to the Maithri-Mahinda Govt of October 2018?

By

Lucien Rajakarunayake

We are suddenly given an exposure to the crafty and deceitful politics. R-R with his ‘One Shot’ reputation is giving much more than just one shot. It is a chain of telephone call recordings, that we are told is illegal because no recording caution had been given.

Recording caution is the stuff of political trickery and speedy legal action today. Did we have a different Attorney General’s Department in November 2018 – the time of the Constitutional Coup by the Sirisena-Rajapaksa duo; when the public was given many hearings of crooked and purchase politics that prevails in the country.

The UNP’s MP Palitha Range Bandara gave the public a recording on his phone of a call by the cross-over MP – S. B. Dissanayake, offering him a Cabinet office plus a huge sum of money for a quick cross-over to the Sirisena-Rajapaksa team. President Sirisena himself later said the cross-over amount on offer was in many millions.

Continue reading ‘Let’s Hope the Attorney -General’s Dept Will Take Action Over the Recorded Telephone Call by SB Dissanayake To Palitha Range Bandara Offering Huge Sums of Cash to Cross Over From UNP to the Maithri-Mahinda Govt of October 2018?’ »

Hirunika Premachandra says Leaked Second Phone Clip With Conversation Between Ranjan Ramanayake has Been Maliciously Edited:MP Alleges leaking recordings is part of an agenda to create opinion to show that Duminda Silva was a political prisoner.

By

Ajith Siriwardana

UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra today claimed that the leaked second phone recording clip said to be of her and MP Ranjan Ramanayake was maliciously edited and vowed to take legal action against those who published the clips.

Posting a video on her facebook account, she said the content and voice in the second leaked phone recording was maliciously edited.

“I appeal to people to listen to the two recording clips which were said to be mine and Ranjan’s attentively. There is a big difference in the two,” she said.

Continue reading ‘Hirunika Premachandra says Leaked Second Phone Clip With Conversation Between Ranjan Ramanayake has Been Maliciously Edited:MP Alleges leaking recordings is part of an agenda to create opinion to show that Duminda Silva was a political prisoner.’ »

Viral Spreading of Ranjan Ramanayake’s Phone Recordings Cannot be Stopped by Law in the Context of Unrestrained and Vicious Attacks on the Judiciary in Unregulated Social Media

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Leaked phone conversations between a politician and judicial officers with more details due to emerge has led to the interdiction of a Magistrate and inquiries into other judges even as the Sri Lankan public remain tantalised by these unfolding scandals. Weighty matters of governance are left discarded, the soaring cost of living is beside the point and planned constitutional convulsions that aim at returning Sri Lanka to dynastic power are not important. Instead this is the new Roman circus in town, with lions and their prey circling the arena to the shocked gasps of the plebians.

Alleging corruption in the judiciary

Even so and as the integrity of Sri Lanka’s judicial institution has come under horrified public scrutiny, the last thing that we need is increased use of contempt of court powers ostensibly wielded to ‘protect’ the adminstration of justice. There are some who have convincingly made the case that, if actor turned politician Ranjan Ramanayake, now more famous for his salacious phone conversations rather than anything else that he has done in his fairly commonplace life, wanted to establish the truth of a claim of corruption in the judiciary in regard to which he is being inquired into on contempt of court charges, he has gone a long way to establish his case as a result of this unholy fracas, regardless of the ethics of what he did. That may be one point of view. That is a matter that is already before court.

Continue reading ‘Viral Spreading of Ranjan Ramanayake’s Phone Recordings Cannot be Stopped by Law in the Context of Unrestrained and Vicious Attacks on the Judiciary in Unregulated Social Media’ »

Many Ruling Party MP’s Concerned Over Revelation by Harin Fernando that Numerous Recordings of Telephone Conversations with Govt Parliamentarians are in the Possession of Ranjan Ramanayake

BY

JAMILA HUSAIN

Following the surprising revelation by UNP MP Harin Fernando that there were numerous recordings of conversations with current government members in MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s possession as well, the Daily Mirror learns that some ruling MPs had held informal discussions over the matter yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Many Ruling Party MP’s Concerned Over Revelation by Harin Fernando that Numerous Recordings of Telephone Conversations with Govt Parliamentarians are in the Possession of Ranjan Ramanayake’ »

Although the Indian Establishment was Not Convinced About the Rajapaksa Brothers Being Trustworthy, New Delhi’s Attitude Underwent a Swift Change After Gotabaya won the Presidential Election Convincingly

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is to visit New Delhi in early February at the invitation of the Indian Premier Narendra Modi, will be discussing economic cooperation more than anything else, according to informed sources.

The reason cited for this is that Prime Minister Mahinda is also Minister for Finance, Economy and Policy Development, and India is focused on economic cooperation with Sri Lanka, besides, of course, strategic and defense cooperation.

Mahinda’s visit, precise dates for which are yet to be finalized, is part of an on-going bilateral dialogue which began with the visit of the newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to New Delhi on November 29, 2019, days after he got elected.

Given the critical nature of India-Sri Lanka relations in the context of the growing presence of China in the South Asian region and the Indian Ocean, New Delhi had sought meetings with other top Sri Lankan government leaders too in order to firm up ties with the new Lankan Establishment.

Continue reading ‘Although the Indian Establishment was Not Convinced About the Rajapaksa Brothers Being Trustworthy, New Delhi’s Attitude Underwent a Swift Change After Gotabaya won the Presidential Election Convincingly’ »

Govt to Deploy State Intelligence Officials to Monitor Grama Niladharis and Report Whether They are Carrying Out Their Duties Correctly in the Spheres of Providing Jobs and Food for Low Income Groups

The government has deployed intelligence officers to find out if the Grama Niladaris are doing a proper job in recommending people for a programme to provide 100,000 jobs to eligible persons from low income groups. They will also monitor the performance of Grama Niladaris in a programme to provide food for the poor.

Continue reading ‘Govt to Deploy State Intelligence Officials to Monitor Grama Niladharis and Report Whether They are Carrying Out Their Duties Correctly in the Spheres of Providing Jobs and Food for Low Income Groups’ »

Any Progress in Restoring Human Rights and Re-building Democracy in Sri Lanka in Grave Peril Following Election of Gotabaya as President says “Human Rights Watch” in its Annual World Report

Respect for fundamental human rights in Sri Lanka is in serious jeopardy following Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election as president in November 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.

Rajapaksa, along with his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was named prime minister, were implicated in numerous human rights violations during their previous years in power from 2005 to 2015, which included a crackdown on journalists and activists.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who then served as defense secretary, was also implicated in war crimes.

Continue reading ‘Any Progress in Restoring Human Rights and Re-building Democracy in Sri Lanka in Grave Peril Following Election of Gotabaya as President says “Human Rights Watch” in its Annual World Report’ »

Are the So Called Telephone Conversations of Ranjan Ramanayake, “Red Herrings” to Divert the Public Away From The Burning Issues of the Day Including the Rise in Prices of Basic Necessities After The New Govt Came Into Power?

By

Deepal Samarasiri

However authentic or not the reports are about Ranjan Ramanayake one thing is certain. When the new government came into power there were high hopes that at least now the people in the country would be able to survive without having to pay exorbitantly for their daily bread. The farmers are very disappointed because they thought that the new government would look in to the problem of fertilizers at affordable prices.

The excuse of the government is that these things cannot be done overnight. They want time. Food prices are going up and even the basic necessities like vegetables have become out of the reach of many breadwinners. Unemployment is at the same level as before. A recent visit to the health sector by the president of the country proved that it is no better than when Rajitha Senarathna was Health Minister.

During the election campaign the people were made to believe that things would be better after the presidential election. As we all know the legendary statement made by the jaggery maker to the king “Kiyanakota ehemai, Karanakota mehemai”

Continue reading ‘Are the So Called Telephone Conversations of Ranjan Ramanayake, “Red Herrings” to Divert the Public Away From The Burning Issues of the Day Including the Rise in Prices of Basic Necessities After The New Govt Came Into Power?’ »

52 MP’s Have Elected Sajith Premadasa as UNP Leader Pending Working Committee Approval say Parliamentarians Madduma Bandara, Harin Fernando, Sarath Fonseka and Dilip Wedaarachchi

By

Yohan Perera

The fifty two MPs who claimed they have elected Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa as the new leader of the UNP yesterday said they will seek the party’s working committee approval for the new appointment.

UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara told journalists yesterday that they will seek party’s working committee approval for the appointment of Mr Premadasa as the leader.

Continue reading ‘52 MP’s Have Elected Sajith Premadasa as UNP Leader Pending Working Committee Approval say Parliamentarians Madduma Bandara, Harin Fernando, Sarath Fonseka and Dilip Wedaarachchi’ »

Despite Receiving Generous Financial Relief Package From New Govt, Plantation Companies are Unwilling to Grant Rs 145 Daily Wage Increase to Estate Workers as Directed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

By Charumini de Silva

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has created a fresh storm with his directive to hike estate worker wages by 17% to Rs. 1,000 from March whilst a Collective Agreement is in place and with the plantations companies, already in crisis, saying they have no capacity to pay.

The plantation companies and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon held an emergency meeting yesterday to come to terms with what one industry leader called a “shocker” as the sector was already in crisis.

Continue reading ‘Despite Receiving Generous Financial Relief Package From New Govt, Plantation Companies are Unwilling to Grant Rs 145 Daily Wage Increase to Estate Workers as Directed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Ranil and his Loyalists Including Vajira, Sagala and Akila Viraj Walk Out of UNP Parliamentary Group Meeting After Sajith Faction Calls For Vote to Elect Party Leader; Remaining 52 MP’s Favoured Premadasa in Unofficial Vote Tweets Harsha de Silva

By

Yohan Perera

UNP Parliamentary Group meeting which was held today at its Headquarters Sirikotha ended up abruptly without a decision as to who would become the next leader of the party.

Informed sources said some members wanted a vote to decide on the leadership but several including Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Vajira Abeywardene, General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Sagala Ratnayake had staged a walk out opposing the vote.

Continue reading ‘Ranil and his Loyalists Including Vajira, Sagala and Akila Viraj Walk Out of UNP Parliamentary Group Meeting After Sajith Faction Calls For Vote to Elect Party Leader; Remaining 52 MP’s Favoured Premadasa in Unofficial Vote Tweets Harsha de Silva’ »

Kandy-born Actor-Politico “MGR” Reigned Supreme in Tamil Nadu Cinema and Politics

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(Popular Tamil Nadu Film Actor cum Political Leader M.G.Ramachandran known as “MGR” was born in Kandy on January 17th 1917.. This article written earlier for the “Spotlight” Column of “Daily Financial Times” is reproduced here to denote MGR’s 103rd Birth anniversary)

MGR T

There was a time when the magical initials MGR were a household name in the Tamil-speaking homes of countries with a substantial population of Tamils, including India and Sri Lanka. The initials referred to swashbuckling actor M.G. Ramachandran, who starred as an action hero in over 100 Tamil films. MGR, as he was popularly known, had a huge following of fans in Sri Lanka during the time he sparkled on the silver screen. Among his fans in the island were a large number of Sinhalese and Muslims too.

MGR whose full name was Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran had a Sri Lankan connection! He was born in Sri Lanka! Though MGR was an actor of Malayalee ethnicity who made a name for himself in Tamil Nadu, he was born in Hantane, Kandy. His father, a native of present day Kerala state in India, was at that time teaching in an estate school in Kandy. MGR, the youngest child, was born at home in Hantane on 17 January 1917. He grew up in Kandy till he was two. In 1919 the family returned to India.

Rags to riches tale

It is indeed remarkable that MGR born in Kandy to Malayalee parents later made a name for himself as an actor in Tamil films and followed it up by becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state.

MGR who started acting in minor roles from 1936 got his major break as lead actor in 1947. Thereafter for 30 years till 1977 he was the uncrowned king of Tamil cinema as the biggest box office attraction of them all. He also took to politics and was first elected as a member of the Legislative assembly in 1967.
Continue reading ‘Kandy-born Actor-Politico “MGR” Reigned Supreme in Tamil Nadu Cinema and Politics’ »

Many Facets of Thai Pongal: Pongal the Traditional Tamil Thanksgiving Festival

By K. Thirukumaran

Tamils have celebrated Thai Pongal in one form or the other over millennia. Celebrating Thai Pongal nowadays in its traditional, purposeful piety and outdoor gala continues to evolve as vast numbers of diaspora Tamil communities exist in far corners away from their homelands. They also live far from ancestral agrarian and village habitats that used to indulge in the age-old Thai Pongal festivities within the homelands as well. In this setting, let the Thai Pongal festivities continue to take centre stage and be celebrated as the key festival of Tamils in emboldening Tamil identity and in fostering kinship now and over our future generations:

(1) Bountiful prosperity ushers in the time of Tamil Thanksgiving

Tamil month of ‘Thai’, falling on January 14th or 15th is Pongal day; it is the Tamil Thanksgiving Day celebrating sun, rain, farm cattle and ushering in pureness and prosperity. Thai harvest celebration and thanksgiving are marked by the spillover of the traditional sweet rice cookout and everything good in abundance to follow in the year it joyously indicates.

Continue reading ‘Many Facets of Thai Pongal: Pongal the Traditional Tamil Thanksgiving Festival’ »

“As a Tamil I Take the Position that I am Better off Without the Police Because I get more Harassment than Protection from them.” Says Ratnajeevan Hoole Citing Three Road Incidents With Police as Examples

By

Prof. S.Ratnajeevan H.Hoole

As a Tamil I take the position that I am better off without the police because I get more harassment than protection from them. The video of an IGP assaulting an employee in a lift bears testimony to how committed the police are to law and order.

I have dealt in my writings with how hazardous driving on the A9 is. I have been driven by my Sinhalese drivers at 110 km/hr. When stopped they make friendly small talk and move on. My Tamil drivers give their licence with Rs. 300 and all is well. One of my more careful Sinhalese drivers Amarasiri says he has never got a ticket except twice driving my van with NP plates.

I have detailed before my pleading not guilty after being falsely charged by the Mankulam Police of speeding. It was a satisfying exercise to be cleared by the judge; but a costly one that cost me several trips to the courthouse and a lot more than the Rs. 1,000 fine. I would not have it differently because I hold my head high as a proud citizen never ever having given or taken a bribe.

Continue reading ‘“As a Tamil I Take the Position that I am Better off Without the Police Because I get more Harassment than Protection from them.” Says Ratnajeevan Hoole Citing Three Road Incidents With Police as Examples’ »

‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils

By P. Krishnaswamy

After the Christmas and New Year festivities, the focus is now on the Pongal harvest festival, popularly known as Thai Pongal, celebrated in the first four days of the month of Thai in the Tamil-Hindu calendar.

Traditionally, it is the festival of farmers who depend on Mother Earth, the sun, rain, other natural elements and cows and buffaloes for a bountiful harvest of their staple food, rice.
Continue reading ‘‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake Arrested by Police CCD;MP Will be Charged Under Article 111 C(2) of the Constitution;Likely to Lose Civic Rights for Seven Years and Serve One Year Imprisonment if Found Guilty

UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who was arrested yesterday over his leaked phone recordings faces, losing his civic rights for seven years as well as a year-long imprisonment if found guilty after the Attorney General (AG) directed that he be charged for offences under Article 111 C (2) of the Constitution.

Ramanayake, who is embroiled in controversy over leaked phone recordings, was arrested on the directive by the AG on grounds that he interfered with the exercise or performance of the judicial powers or functions of judges.

Ramanayake was taken into custody by officers of the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) from his official residence at the Madawela MPs quarters. He will be produced before the Gangodawila Magistrate today.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake Arrested by Police CCD;MP Will be Charged Under Article 111 C(2) of the Constitution;Likely to Lose Civic Rights for Seven Years and Serve One Year Imprisonment if Found Guilty’ »

“We will not allow any outside influences to interfere with matters that are essentially internal concerns of Sri Lanka” Declares Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Colombo

By

Meera Srinivasan

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has pledged not to allow “any outside influences” to interfere with Sri Lanka’s internal matters, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office said on Tuesday.

“As Sri Lanka’s strategic partner China will continue to standby Sri Lanka’s interests. China stands for the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. We will not allow any outside influences to interfere with matters that are essentially internal concerns of Sri Lanka,” Mr. Wang pledged, according to a press statement issued by Mr. Rajapaksa’s media division. The meeting marks Beijing’s first high-level engagement with the new government in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘“We will not allow any outside influences to interfere with matters that are essentially internal concerns of Sri Lanka” Declares Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Colombo’ »

Minimum Daily Wage of All Estate Workers to be Increased to Rupees 1000 From March 1st 2020 According to Decision Taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided the minimum daily wage of estate workers to be Rs. 1,000 with effect from 1 March this year.

It was also decided to take swift measures to develop all areas of the plantation sector, including infrastructure facilities.

Continue reading ‘Minimum Daily Wage of All Estate Workers to be Increased to Rupees 1000 From March 1st 2020 According to Decision Taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Suspends Gampaha District MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s Party Membershop Pending Endorsement by UNP Working Committee

UNP yesterday suspended the party membership of Gampaha district Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake. United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe took the decision after a number of complaints alleging derogatory comments by and behaviour of the MP were received by the party, said UNP General Secretary MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam at a press conference held at Sirikotha yesterday.

«The action was taken by Ranil Wickremesinghe as party leader due to a number of complaints received,» Kariyawasam added, pointing out that the matter will be taken up at a Party Working Committee for endorsement.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Suspends Gampaha District MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s Party Membershop Pending Endorsement by UNP Working Committee’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Ready to Give Up United National Party Leadership After Ensuring a United and Strong Party says UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is ready to renounce his party leadership but will only do so leaving behind a united and strong party, said UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam ata press conference held yesterday.

Kariyawasam made the comment in response to a question posed regarding the party leadership issue which will be taken up at the party Parliamentary Group meeting to be held tomorrow.

What was needed most at this juncture is party unity, he opined, stating that as a party member, he will support any decision taken where the party moves forward in unity.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Ready to Give Up United National Party Leadership After Ensuring a United and Strong Party says UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.’ »

“RanjaGate”:Alleged Recordings of Ranjan Ramanayake’s Conversations Lead to Legal Luminaries and Social Activists Expressing Concerns and Calling for a Right to Privacy Act to be Implemented in the Country

By

Anurangi Singh and Maneshka Borham

Just hours after the arrest of United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake last week by the Colombo South Crimes Division of the Police, social media platforms were flooded with recordings of private conversations which had allegedly taken place between the MP and a number of prominent and popular persons in the country.

The incident which has now earned the moniker ‘Ranjangate’ had the Police denying that they had released the contents of CDs taken to custody by them during the arrest of Ramanayake which purportedly contained these conversations that had been secretly recorded by the MP. Nevertheless, these sound clips were also widely featured on popular media outlets and continue to make rounds on social media platforms.

Continue reading ‘“RanjaGate”:Alleged Recordings of Ranjan Ramanayake’s Conversations Lead to Legal Luminaries and Social Activists Expressing Concerns and Calling for a Right to Privacy Act to be Implemented in the Country’ »

New Research Study Reveals that Positive Effect of Mixing with Members of Different Groups Enables Countries to Adapt to Diversity as Time Goes on and Experience Growth as a Result.


By Miguel R Ramos, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford; Douglas Massey, professor of sociology at Princeton University; Matthew Bennett, senior lecturer in social policy at University of Birmingham; and Miles Hewstone, emeritus professor of social psychology and public policy at the University of Oxford.

The ethnic and religious composition of many modern societies has been dramatically changed by global modernisation. These demographic changes are having a major impact across many spheres of life, including the workplace, neighbourhood environments, schools and nations. More than ever before, our communities are changing in terms of their ethnic and religious composition. Societies and individuals are facing new challenges as they engage with (or sometimes avoid) people from different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs.

These changes have had many positive effects – such as filling important gaps in the labour market and challenging cultural insularity. But they have also fuelled growing tensions and division, illustrated by Donald Trump’s most recent race controversy. Social diversity is a global issue – and it has contributed to major geopolitical events such as Brexit and the fractious nature of the European refugee crisis.

Continue reading ‘New Research Study Reveals that Positive Effect of Mixing with Members of Different Groups Enables Countries to Adapt to Diversity as Time Goes on and Experience Growth as a Result.’ »

“The Thai Pongal festival is an important cultural event celebrated by the Tamil community throughout the world. My heartfelt greetings to the Tamil community celebrating ” in Sri Lanka and the world over” Says Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Special Message Issued for “Thaippongal”

(Text of “Thaippongal”message issued by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa)

I wish the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and the world over, a delightful Thai Pongal Festival.

Sri Lanka is a nation of diverse nationalities coexisting peacefully. Each of those nationalities have their own, unique cultural celebrations that add color and vibrancy to the Sri Lankan cultural fabric. The Thai Pongal festival is one such important cultural event celebrated by the Tamil community throughout the world.

Continue reading ‘“The Thai Pongal festival is an important cultural event celebrated by the Tamil community throughout the world. My heartfelt greetings to the Tamil community celebrating ” in Sri Lanka and the world over” Says Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Special Message Issued for “Thaippongal”’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Meetings This Week with Wells, Lavrov and Wang Yi Will Enable Lankan President to re-affirm close ties with Russia and China and find Common ground with the US.


By Shivanthi Ranasinghe

The upcoming week promises to be an unusually interesting one for Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. On January 14, he will be separately meeting two Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov of Russia and Wang Yi China, and the US Assistant Secretary of State, Alice Wells.

With the UNHRC March session around the corner, the challenge before the new President will be to convince the US to be on the same page as Russia and China on the so-called “war crimes” issue, which is to come up at the February-March session.

Though the US has left the UNHRC, it still wields much influence among the members. However, with President Rajapaksa’s focal point being cross regional and cross ethnic economic development and poverty elevation in Sri Lanka, he may find common ground with Alice Wells. After all, the US is committed to the very same goals, though it will seek some assurances on human rights and reconciliation mechanisms. It remains to be seen how far Gotabaya Rajapaksa will go along that line.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Meetings This Week with Wells, Lavrov and Wang Yi Will Enable Lankan President to re-affirm close ties with Russia and China and find Common ground with the US.’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake says the investigative methods adopted by him may be questionable but the ultimate objective was to expose wrongs that had been committed and ensure victims were able to obtain just remedies

by Zacki Jabbar

UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who is under fire, following a leak of his telephone conversations during the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, says the investigative methods adopted by him may be questionable, but the ultimate objective was to ensure truth and justice.

Ramanayake said last week that his actions were aimed at unravelling serious crimes such as mega corruption, murders and injustices caused to public officials.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake says the investigative methods adopted by him may be questionable but the ultimate objective was to expose wrongs that had been committed and ensure victims were able to obtain just remedies’ »

The Question that Arises after Revelations Made by the Ranjan Ramanayake Recordings is How Serving Judicial Officers and Prosecutors Could have been so senseless enough to engage in these Conversations in the first place.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardena

Handwringing by Government politicians over leaked tape recordings of phone conversations between prosecutors, judicial officers and a United National Party politician known more for his brawn than his brain, (this worthy’s cerebral power appears to be even less than commonly perceived), is hypocritical in the extreme.


Historic undermining of the judicial institution

Even as they badly hide their grins, it is evident that the leaked tape recordings are a political blessing for Pohottuwa politicians as they launch an all-out attack on the judicial institution and independent commissions. It is almost as if these tape recordings, maintained by an undoubtedly asinine politician cum actor (Ranjan Ramanayake), now acting out the role of his life and his even more asinine conversationalists, have destroyed the judiciary in Sri Lanka in one fell stroke. The same impression is given by citizens who tut-tut over the excruciatingly sordid tapes in dismay. But the fact of the matter is that these conversations only expose the ugliness of a long prevalent lived-reality which is neither shocking or surprising.

So let us not be coy on this matter. The deterioration of the Sri Lankan judicial institution did not come about because of conversations taped by Ramanayake as much as bare bodied ruffians dancing in front of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake’s house under the Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency did not suddenly materialise out of thin air.

These ugly occurrences are the outward manifestations of a rot that had set in some time ago. And to be clear, in both instances, judicial officers are as equally to blame as politicians for inviting the public degradation of the judicial institution.

The Bandaranayake impeachment was not a case of pitting white against black. Indeed, there were several shades of grey, not the least of which was the fact that the former Chief Justice had been herself embroiled in controversies. The fact that none of the judges or prosecutors who played ball with the Rajapaksas at the time was so stupid enough to get themselves recorded doing so, is besides the point. The point here is very different. It goes to judicial rectitude, pure and simple. These are two words that many do not recognise today.

Poisonous thread of profit for gain

A few decades ago, a judicial officer would not attend the same function as a politician, let alone entertain phone calls from a politician on any pending matter in court. But these traits soon became quaint eccentricities. Instead, judges courted politicians for promotions, political boasts were made from the apex court, Chief Justices became advisors to politicians after retirement and openly appeared on political stages. At one time, it was astoundingly alleged that a murder suspect was entrusted with the caretaking of the Chief Justice’s official bungalow.

From the Chief Justice’s name being seldom ventilated in public, excepting at the hand of a judgment or delivering a keynote address, this became the stuff for rude banter and wayside gossip. All this was to take its inevitable toll. Soon, the poisonous thread of profit for political gain ran through the judicial process, corrupting the rich weave of the thousand-year fabric which had once been the cherished normative value of the Sri Lankan Court.

What was earlier, the singular evil of one man or one woman became replicated many times over. And for those who proceed on the flawed basis that such sins stemmed from the Rajapaksas and the Rajapaksas alone, it is advisable to remind that this is assuredly not the case. The Presidencies of Jayawardene, Kumaratunga, Rajapaksa inter alia all reflected these failings, each becoming more aggravated than the previous administration.

In fact, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) itself became a centre of controversy. In its trenchant report, ‘Justice in Retreat’ (May 2009), the International Bar Association (IBA) warned following a fact finding mission to Sri Lanka, that ‘current procedures for disciplining and removing judges…are in urgent need of review in order to rebuild both the morale of the judiciary and public confidence in it. The requirement for parliamentary approval for impeachment of senior judiciary by a simple majority makes it vulnerable to politicisation. The Judicial Service Commission does not have adequate safeguards to ensure the transparency and independence of its decision-making process and is not able to guarantee a fair hearing for judges and judicial officers under investigation.’

‘Yahapalanaya’ crucified by its own failures

In this deadly ‘guttering’ of the judicial institution, it is true that individual judges, elevated the Bench to barely tolerable levels at rare points, through their integrity and rectitude in handing down decisions free of political bias. One such example was the 2018 decision of the Sri Lankan Supreme Court reprimanding then President Maithripala Sirisena for unconstitutionally dissolving Parliament.

Other examples include brave Magistrates and High Court judges who defied intense public pressure to hand down orders putting murderous politicians and corrupt public officers in jail.

But that was not enough. In fact, the refusal to recognise systemic problems in the judicial institution was a major failing of ‘yahapalanaya’. Safeguards to stem the institutional rot were not pressed for by the Bar or by civil society actors. Instead laudatory and highly misleading reviews were written by the ‘yahapalanaya’ establishment about how the ‘independence of the court’ has become ‘restored’ once the Rajapaksas were ‘booted out’ in 2015, notwithstanding the awfully illogical fallacy in predicating the ‘restored integrity’ of the Court on one or two isolated judgements, regardless of how estimable these may have been.

It is now, itself crucified, by that failure as the Pohottuwa roars that judgements convicting murderers, drug dealers etc were ‘fixed’ or ‘influenced, quoting recorded phone conversations where the minimum semblance of propriety appears to have bene discarded.

This is, of course, a prelude to a frontal assault on the judiciary. It is not coincidental that we have a private Members Bill currently gazetted which proposes that judicial officers of the superior courts are appointed at ‘political will.’ The argument will be devastatingly simple. A Judicial Service Commission appointed by the Constitutional Council has not been successful in bringing about an untainted judicial process. Therefore a strong (presidential) hand is needed.This is an argument that must be resisted with all strength.

Regardless of contempt of court, the Sri Lankan judiciary is now deluged by a storm of consternation in some quarters and ridicule in others. Judges themselves have become the primary reason why the judicial institution has been dragged into public dissaray.

For the question is not Ramanayake per se or his sleazy antics but as to how serving judicial officers (or, for that matter, prosecutors) could have been so senseless enough as to engage in these conversations in the first place. But even so, to use this as a tactic to further erode the fragile state of the Sri Lankan judiciary in this country must be deplored.

That is assuredly not the answer to the Ramanayake saga, however tasteless and incredible the scandal may seem.

Courtesy:Sunday Times

Sri Lanka’s Public Administration Ministry’s decision to drop the Tamil Version of the Country’s National Anthem from The First Independence Day Celebration After Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Became President Creates Controversy

By

Meera Srinivasan

More than three decades after Sri Lanka recognised Tamil as an official language like Sinhala, you would expect a debate on singing the national anthem in Tamil to be redundant. However, a controversy erupted recently after local media reported the Public Administration Ministry’s decision to drop the Tamil version of the country’s national anthem from its Independence Day celebration.

This would effectively reverse a practice that former President Maithripala Sirisena re-introduced a year after he was elected to the country’s top post on the promise of good governance and reconciliation with the Tamil minority. On February 4, 2016, the Tamil national anthem was sung at the Independence Day celebrations for the first time since 1949, when it was last sung on the occasion, a year after the erstwhile-Ceylon gained Independence.

Several Tamils saw it as an important symbolic gesture, signalling a possible departure in state policy towards minority Tamils. There was opposition too, including from former President Mahimda Rajapaksa and an angry citizen, who filed a fundamental rights petition challenging the move.

And now, in the first Independence Day celebration since President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s big election win, made possible by a decisive mandate from the southern Sinhala Buddhist majority, the decision to drop the Tamil anthem has drawn much attention.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Public Administration Ministry’s decision to drop the Tamil Version of the Country’s National Anthem from The First Independence Day Celebration After Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Became President Creates Controversy’ »

Bombshell Revelations Contained in Phone Recordings Allegedly Involving United National Party MP Ranjan Ramanayake Largely Overshadowed Parliamentary Debate on the Policy Statement of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

By Sandun Jayawardana

Bombshell revelations contained in phone recordings allegedly involving United National Party (UNP) MP Ranjan Ramanayake largely overshadowed this week’s House debate on the policy statement of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

As one alleged phone conversation after another leaked onto social media and some even making their way to mainstream media, the matter was raised again and again in Parliament during the two day debate on Tuesday and Wednesday. Government MPs gleefully latched onto the scandal, which is causing endless damage to the UNP’s already battered public image.

During the past week, several recordings of alleged phone conversations between Mr Ramanayake and various individuals, including judges and senior police officers, have become public.

Ministers such as Wimal Weerawansa and Nimal Lansa used their allocated time in this week’s debate to hammer the previous Government and the UNP over the recordings rather than speak on the subject of the debate. They pointed out that the scandal raises serious questions regarding the independence of law enforcement authorities and the judiciary.

UNP MPs meanwhile, charged that the Government was trying to use the recordings to divert attention from pressing issues faced by the people such as the rising cost of living, spiraling vegetable prices and shortage of fertilizer.

Continue reading ‘Bombshell Revelations Contained in Phone Recordings Allegedly Involving United National Party MP Ranjan Ramanayake Largely Overshadowed Parliamentary Debate on the Policy Statement of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.’ »

Around 3000 of the 80,000 Sri Lankans Living as Refugees in India are Willing to Return Home Voluntarily Says Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardene After Having Talks With India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishanker in New Delhi

By Chris Kamalendran

Around 3000 Sri Lankan refugees living in India are willing to return to their motherland on their own accord, International Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told the Sunday Times.

In his first official visit to India as minister in charge of foreign affairs early this week, Mr Gunawardena met India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and during talks they discussed the return of Sri Lankans who had fled to India during the war.

Continue reading ‘Around 3000 of the 80,000 Sri Lankans Living as Refugees in India are Willing to Return Home Voluntarily Says Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardene After Having Talks With India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishanker in New Delhi’ »

Police Investigation to be Launched Into Large Amounts of Allegedly Irregular Donations Being Paid to Buddhist Temples from the Central Cultural Fund by Sajith Premadasa While Holding the Portfolio of Cultural Affairs Minister

Opposition Leader and UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, who held the Cultural Affairs portfolio under the previous government, is likely to face a police investigation into disbursement of large amount of funds.

The matter came up for discussion at a top-level meeting where Central Cultural Fund disbursements were discussed. Earlier, it was the subject of study by an official committee.

Continue reading ‘Police Investigation to be Launched Into Large Amounts of Allegedly Irregular Donations Being Paid to Buddhist Temples from the Central Cultural Fund by Sajith Premadasa While Holding the Portfolio of Cultural Affairs Minister’ »

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Media Editors that the Govt will Seek a Two-thirds Majority at the Forthcoming Parliamentary Polls to Bring About Constitutional Reform and Electoral System Changes

By Nisthar Cassim

Prime Minster President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday confirmed that the Government would seek a two-thirds majority at the upcoming General Elections to change the Constitution.

“There are issues with the 19th Amendment as well as the present electoral system. Currently, we are a minority Government and at the next Parliamentary Election we will seek a two-thirds mandate from the people so we can make the desired changes to the Constitution and the electoral system,” Rajapaksa said at his first meeting with press editors for the new year.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Media Editors that the Govt will Seek a Two-thirds Majority at the Forthcoming Parliamentary Polls to Bring About Constitutional Reform and Electoral System Changes’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Regime Unlikely to Reach Out To Tamils and Muslims Before Parliamentary Elections as New Govt Wants to Retain Its Sinhala Constituency by Continuing With Hardline Majoritarian Stance.

By P.K.Balachandran

The ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), whose Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the November 16 election without the support of the minority Tamils and Muslims, and is still to reach out to them in any overt way, is likely to build bridges with them after the April 2020 parliamentary elections, sources close to the SLPP leadership said.

According to them, the party and the Gotabaya regime will have to hold on to their hardline Sinhala majoritarian stance to keep the Sinhala constituency with them in the run up to the parliamentary elections.

The SLPP fears that any move to dilute the stand by talking about “reconciliation” with the Tamils or making promises to devolve power to the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces or rubbing shoulders with or making deals with Muslim politicians at this juncture, will only invite the displeasure of the majority Sinhala community. Their alienation could seriously affect the SLPP’s prospects in the parliamentary elections.

The parliamentary elections are a different kettle of fish. Issues that dominated the Presidential election may not be the predominant issues in the parliamentary elections. In the latter, local issues and the standing of the candidates would assume importance. Then there is the burden of incumbency which the SLPP will be saddled with although it would have been in power for only four months by then.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Regime Unlikely to Reach Out To Tamils and Muslims Before Parliamentary Elections as New Govt Wants to Retain Its Sinhala Constituency by Continuing With Hardline Majoritarian Stance.’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake and his Telephone Call Recordings will soon be the Slogan of the “Pohottuwa” team as it moves into Election Campaign Action.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

A cartoon in The Island earlier this week showed the citizen seeking shelter from the rain of the Ranjan Ramanayake phone call exposures.

We now seem to be moving more to a reign, than just rain, with the One Shot call soon reigning over the coming general election campaign.

It is interesting and could be a very effective poll campaign, in the search for a certainly uneasy two-thirds majority in Parliament, in support of the constitution changing goal of the new Presidency.

While One Shot, Ranjan, may be having his own reasons for keeping so many recordings of his phone conversations, as an MP and in other situations in various parliamentary committees; the stuff of his calls are now the soaring matter of his political rivals.

It is like a divinely given political treasure to those with not so clean records, who will be seeking re-election to the Diyavanna House of power and pleasure.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake and his Telephone Call Recordings will soon be the Slogan of the “Pohottuwa” team as it moves into Election Campaign Action.’ »

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Says it is the responsibility of the Chief Justice to take Action Regarding Disclosures Made by Ranjan Ramanayake’s Audio Clips Relating to Conversations with Members of the Judiciary.”Judicial Services Commission also Must Help Clear Up This Mess”Says Ex-President

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday, said that it would be the responsibility of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya to take action in respect of the recent disclosure of UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s audio clips.

Government Spokesman State Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, on Wednesday (08), said that there were a staggering 121,000 audio clips collected over a four and half years though fewer than two dozen were currently in the public domain.

PM Rajapaksa said that the leaked telephone conversations between Ramanayake and various persons, including members of the judiciary, had caused serious harm to the latter, the CJ should intervene immediately.

He said so at a meeting with editors of national newspapers and journalists at Temple Trees.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Says it is the responsibility of the Chief Justice to take Action Regarding Disclosures Made by Ranjan Ramanayake’s Audio Clips Relating to Conversations with Members of the Judiciary.”Judicial Services Commission also Must Help Clear Up This Mess”Says Ex-President’ »

“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is not a politician is prepared to speak the truth and to do the right thing. If he is making any errors, we need to advise and correct him. We are prepared to work with him.”- TNA Leader R.Sampanthan in Parliament


TNA leader R. Sampanthan on Wednesday, January 08 told parliament that his party was ready to work with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Commenting on President Rajapaksa’s policy statement, MP Sampanthan said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had polled seven million votes. “Eighty five per cent of the Tamil people, on our call, voted against him; he could not capture their vote”.

The TNA leader said: “You cannot capture their vote with the help of henchmen; you cannot capture their vote with the help of stooges. You will only capture their vote with the support of people who understand the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people, their civilisation, their traditions, their language, their culture, their dignity and their self-respect. Those are fundamental. Therefore, we are prepared to work with you. Let us join together and bring peace and prosperity to this country.

Continue reading ‘“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is not a politician is prepared to speak the truth and to do the right thing. If he is making any errors, we need to advise and correct him. We are prepared to work with him.”- TNA Leader R.Sampanthan in Parliament’ »

Nugegoda Magistrate U.K.Pelpola Orders CCD to Inform Court on Jan 17 as to how Voice Recordings Seized From Ranjan Ramanayake’s House Were Leaked to the Media Following Motion Filed by MP Against Disclosure of Telephone Recordings Seized by Police to Media Platforms

By

Nimanthi Ranasinghe

MP Ranjan Ramanayake yesterday filed a motion against the disclosure of telephone recordings – seized by the police during his arrest – to media platforms.

When the motion was filed before Nugegoda Magistrate U.K. Pelpola, the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) was ordered to produce facts to court on January 17 on how the said voice recordings had been leaked to the media.

Continue reading ‘Nugegoda Magistrate U.K.Pelpola Orders CCD to Inform Court on Jan 17 as to how Voice Recordings Seized From Ranjan Ramanayake’s House Were Leaked to the Media Following Motion Filed by MP Against Disclosure of Telephone Recordings Seized by Police to Media Platforms’ »

Acting IGP Launches Investigation Into Colombo South Crimes OIC Inspector Jayantha Silva for letting Ranjan Ramanayake MP Embrace him While Actor Politico was Being Taken Into Custody

By

Indika Ramanayaka

On the instructions of the Acting IGP, an investigation has been launched against Colombo South Crime Division OIC IP Jayantha Silva for failing to resist from being embraced by MP Ranjan Ramanayake when the latter was being taken into custody last Saturday, sources from the police headquarters said.

Continue reading ‘Acting IGP Launches Investigation Into Colombo South Crimes OIC Inspector Jayantha Silva for letting Ranjan Ramanayake MP Embrace him While Actor Politico was Being Taken Into Custody’ »

New Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa Accuses New Govt of Taking Political Revenge by Dismissing Over 6000 Employees who Were Given Jobs by the Previous Govt

Accusing the government of a campaign of political revenge, newly-appointed Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday sought clarification on thousands of alleged dismissals in the state sector on political grounds.

Over 6,000 government workers are facing unemployment as a result of politically motivated dismissals or cancellations of appointments made by the previous government, Premadasa said.

“Instead of implementing its manifesto, the new government is engaging in political revenge in the form a witch hunt against opposition MPs, cancelling job appointments made by the previous government as well as firing them,” Premadasa told Parliament yesterday.

Continue reading ‘New Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa Accuses New Govt of Taking Political Revenge by Dismissing Over 6000 Employees who Were Given Jobs by the Previous Govt’ »

Sri Lankan Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Will Hold Bi-lateral Discussions With Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishanker in New Delhi as Follow Up to Earlier Meeting Between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena will hold bilateral discussions in New Delhi on Thursday, including with his Indian counterpart Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar. He was scheduled to arrive in Delhi late on Wednesday.

Mr. Gunawardena’s visit comes over a month after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in New Delhi, on his maiden visit abroad after being elected to the country’s highest office in the November presidential election.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the visiting Foreign Minister will meet Mr. Jaishankar in the morning, after a meeting with the Foreign Secretary.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Will Hold Bi-lateral Discussions With Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishanker in New Delhi as Follow Up to Earlier Meeting Between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ »

Sri Lankan Expatriate Canadian Citizen Whose Special Foreign Investment Deposits in Bank of Ceylon Were Allegedly Swindled Awarded $ 875,000 Along With Interest and Legal Costs by Colombo District Court

By S. S. Selvanayagam

The Colombo District Court on Tuesday ordered Bank of Ceylon to pay a Canadian expatriate citizen $ 875,000, together with interest and legal costs, after the bank was found to have made unauthorised transfers of funds held in special investment deposit accounts.

The litigation, initiated by the plaintiff Manohar Randolph Alexander Savundranayagam of Canada, through his Power of Attorney holder Kurukulasuriya Bernadette Evangeline Savundranayagam, came up before District Judge Amale Ranaweera.

Plaintiff instituted this legal action against Bank of Ceylon, claiming a sum of $ 750,000 and $125,468.75 together with the legal interest and tax costs.

Plaintiff is a businessman currently residing in Canada. He opened Special Investment Deposit Accounts (SFIDA) at the Bank of Ceylon in 2012. The Defendant Bank provided him online banking facilities.

He prosecuted the Defendant Bank for its negligence, whereby the plaintiff’s vast sum of Special Foreign Investment Deposit had been swindled.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Expatriate Canadian Citizen Whose Special Foreign Investment Deposits in Bank of Ceylon Were Allegedly Swindled Awarded $ 875,000 Along With Interest and Legal Costs by Colombo District Court’ »

Deputy Chairman of Committees Selvam Adaikkalanathan Presiding as Chair Orders Discontinuation of Speech by Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa for Contravening Procedures Under Standing Orders 27/ 2 By Digressing and Speaking on Extraneous Issues

By Saman Indrajith

The Chair force-stopped Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, during his speech due to a digression, in Parliament yesterday.

Opposition Leader Premadasa availing himself of the provisions under the Standing Orders 27/2 was making a special statement when Minister Wimal Weerawansa raised a point of order to bring the attention of the House that the former was exceeding his limits.

Minister Weerawansa noted that the Opposition Leader Premadasa had no provisions for speaking under Standing Orders 27/2. A written document on the topic and issues the latter was to speak on had been submitted, but he was speaking on other issues in contravention of parliamentary procedures, the Minister pointed out.

Continue reading ‘Deputy Chairman of Committees Selvam Adaikkalanathan Presiding as Chair Orders Discontinuation of Speech by Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa for Contravening Procedures Under Standing Orders 27/ 2 By Digressing and Speaking on Extraneous Issues’ »

Sarath Fonseka Criticises President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Appointing Brig. Suresh Sallay as State Intelligence Service Head:“Brigadier Suresh Sallay is a Muslim. How can a Muslim be appointed as the SIS Head? We are fighting Islamic terrorism and there is conflict of interest here.” Says Ex-Army Chief

Former Army Commander and UNF MP Sarath Fonseka today criticized President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to appoint Brigadier Suresh Sallay as head of the country’s State Intelligence Service (SIS).

Speaking at the parliamentary session today(7), Fonseka said that Sallay’s ethnicity would affect his work as head of SIS.

“Brigadier Suresh Sallay is a Muslim. How can a Muslim be appointed as the SIS Head? We are fighting Islamic terrorism and there is conflict of interest here.”

Continue reading ‘Sarath Fonseka Criticises President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Appointing Brig. Suresh Sallay as State Intelligence Service Head:“Brigadier Suresh Sallay is a Muslim. How can a Muslim be appointed as the SIS Head? We are fighting Islamic terrorism and there is conflict of interest here.” Says Ex-Army Chief’ »

Hirunika Premachandra MP Says Stage is Being Set for Release of Convicted Ex-MP Duminda Silva and Asks Police to Explain How Some “Laundry” Media Got Hold of Audio Recordings Taken By Police From Ranjan Ramanayake MP’s House

By Nisali De Silva

The stage is being set for incarcerated businessman-turned politician Duminda Silva to be set free, United National Party (UNP) MP Hirunika Premachandra said.

Speaking to reporters at the Opposition Leader’s Office this afternoon, Premachandra said Silva along with others accused in the Baratha Lakshman Premchandra murder case were given the death sentence, leaving no doubt that the incident was an attempted murder.

Referring to a leaked telephone conversation purportedly between fellow UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake and former CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera, Premachandra said her colleague is heard simply asking the police officer what was happening with the case. He does not order Abeysekera to conduct the investigation in a particular way, she said.

Continue reading ‘Hirunika Premachandra MP Says Stage is Being Set for Release of Convicted Ex-MP Duminda Silva and Asks Police to Explain How Some “Laundry” Media Got Hold of Audio Recordings Taken By Police From Ranjan Ramanayake MP’s House’ »

JVP Led NPP Raises Questions Over Independence of the Attorney – General Due To State Counsel Functioning as AG’s Coordinating Officer Also Working as Addl Legal Secretary in President’s Office; Concern Expressed Over Police Treating Complainants as Suspects Without Investigations and the High -profile Arrests of Opposition MP’s


The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) called into question yesterday the appointment of a Senior State Counsel attached to the Attorney General’s Department as an Additional Legal Secretary to the President’s Office on a part-time basis.

This appointment, which has been made in addition to the State Counsel’s current position as Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General, the NPP said, raises questions of the AG Department’s independence.

“The NPP is of the view that it is a matter of deep concern, as the Attorney General and Attorney General’s Department have to be independent and free of any political influence. Not only should it be free of any influence, but it should also be seen to be so for the people to have faith in the legal process,” the party said in a statement.

Continue reading ‘JVP Led NPP Raises Questions Over Independence of the Attorney – General Due To State Counsel Functioning as AG’s Coordinating Officer Also Working as Addl Legal Secretary in President’s Office; Concern Expressed Over Police Treating Complainants as Suspects Without Investigations and the High -profile Arrests of Opposition MP’s’ »

UNP and JVP MP’s Urge Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Release Central Bank Bond Scam Forensic Audit Reports Despite Attorney – General “Advising” Speaker not to Release Reports to MP’s at this point

By Chandani Kirinde

Opposition MPs yesterday urged Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to overrule the Attorney General (AG) and release the forensic audit reports prepared as part of the investigation into the Central Bank bond scam.

The UNP and JVP MPs made the request after Jayasuriya informed the House when Parliament met last afternoon that he had consulted the AG, following a request by both Government and Opposition lawmakers to release the reports, but was told not to do so as several court cases in this connection were pending.

“I sought an opinion from the AG on this matter, and he has informed me in writing that as legal action has been instituted in connection with the bond scam and several more cases are to be filed, it is not prudent to release these reports to MPs at this point,” the Speaker informed the House.

Following the Speaker’s announcement, several Opposition MPs urged the Speaker to overrule the AG’s opinion and make the reports public.

Continue reading ‘UNP and JVP MP’s Urge Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to Release Central Bank Bond Scam Forensic Audit Reports Despite Attorney – General “Advising” Speaker not to Release Reports to MP’s at this point’ »

Ex -UPFA MP Sarana Gunawardena Given Three Year Prison Sentence for Misappropriation of State Funds by Colombo Chief Magistrate is Released on Bail Hours Later Following Appeal Made to Colombo High Court


Former Parliamentarian Sarana Gunawardena yesterday received bail from the Colombo High Court, hours after being found guilty of misusing public funds and being sentenced to three years in prison.

He was given bail by the Colombo High Court after considering the appeal filed by President’s Counsel Anil Silva, who represented the former MP. The Colombo High Court released him on a surety bail of Rs. 300,000.

Earlier in the day the Colombo Magistrate Court sentenced former Deputy Minister Gunawardena to three years in prison over a case of misappropriation of State funds.

Continue reading ‘Ex -UPFA MP Sarana Gunawardena Given Three Year Prison Sentence for Misappropriation of State Funds by Colombo Chief Magistrate is Released on Bail Hours Later Following Appeal Made to Colombo High Court’ »

Sajith Premadasa in Maiden Parliament Speech as Leader of the Opposition Promises Support for Passing of Early 2020 Budget and Pledges to Give Full Support For Implementation of Govt’s Progressive Proposals

Newly-appointed Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa made his maiden speech in Parliament yesterday by extending support to the Government to take forward any people-friendly policies, including shelving the $ 480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact.

“Over 6.9 million people voted for the President. As the Opposition Leader I would like to say that we, as the Opposition, will give our full support to implement the progressive proposals of the Government,” Premadasa said.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa in Maiden Parliament Speech as Leader of the Opposition Promises Support for Passing of Early 2020 Budget and Pledges to Give Full Support For Implementation of Govt’s Progressive Proposals’ »

Former CID Director Shani Abeysekara SSP Interdicted With Immediate Effect and Travel Ban Imposed After Audio Clips Seized by Police From UNP Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake’s House Surface on Social Media


Former Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) SSP Shani Abeysekara has been interdicted with immediate effect, the National Police Commission said.

Abeysekara has reportedly been interdicted for causing disrepute to the police over a statement made in a leaked tele-conversation.

Several audio clips purportedly between former State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and state officials including officials of the CID have surfaced on social media following a raid at his house.

Continue reading ‘Former CID Director Shani Abeysekara SSP Interdicted With Immediate Effect and Travel Ban Imposed After Audio Clips Seized by Police From UNP Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake’s House Surface on Social Media’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Aims for Two-Thirds Majority in April Parliamentary Elections to Either Jettison or Drastically Prune Down the 19th Constitutional Amendment and Strenghen the Executive Presidency.


By P.K.Balachandran

The new President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is aiming at getting two-thirds majority in the April 2020 parliamentary elections to be able to bring about sweeping changes in the constitution to strengthen the Executive which was badly crippled by the 19 th.Amendment (19A) brought about by the previous regime.

Gotabaya is keen on either fully jettisoning the 19A or drastically pruning it to restore the powers of the directly elected Executive President.

The 19A, enacted in 2015 by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, had clipped the Executive President’s powers without commensurately increasing the powers of the Prime Minister and the parliament. The spheres or competences of the two centers of power over-lapped in many places causing confusion and conflict.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Aims for Two-Thirds Majority in April Parliamentary Elections to Either Jettison or Drastically Prune Down the 19th Constitutional Amendment and Strenghen the Executive Presidency.’ »

“Equal status of peoples belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures is not dependent on their respective numerical strength”Says TNA Spokesperon MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party on Tuesday urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa not to “regress into naked majoritarianism”, that in the past gave rise to a conflict, resulting in armed hostilities spanning over three decades.

Addressing Parliament, Jaffna district legislator and the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said the equal status of peoples belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures is not dependent on their respective numerical strength.

“This principle must be acknowledged if our democracy is to survive and indeed flourish, and not regress into naked majoritarianism. Regretfully, in his address to Parliament on 3rd January 2020, the President has articulated such a regressive position,” he said, intervening in the debate on Mr. Rajapaksa’s inaugural address.

Continue reading ‘“Equal status of peoples belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures is not dependent on their respective numerical strength”Says TNA Spokesperon MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament’ »

“Regretfully, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Has Articulated his Regressive Position of “Naked Majoritarianism” in his Address to Parliament on Jan 3rd” – M. A. Sumanthiran MP


(Text of Press Release Issued by the Tamil National Alliance Media Office Incorporating the Transcript of Speech made by Mr. M. A. Sumanthiran MP in Parliament on 07.01.2020)

Mr. Speaker,

The Statement on Government Policy as laid out by His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the 3rd of January 2020 is one that needs to be discussed very seriously as it signals an important paradigm shift from the general direction successive governments have pursued in the last three decades.

November 16th 2019 gave the President a decisive victory. But what is troubling about this big victory is that no community other than the majority Sinhala Buddhist people of this country were prepared to repose any confidence in him. I am not saying this to cast any aspersions on the President himself, but only in order to flag a very important factor that we cannot ignore if we are serious about national reconciliation and moving forward as a country. The test of popularity of a leader of a country is not whether his own people have confidence in him, but whether the other peoples are prepared to place their trust in him. Sadly, this was found wanting.

The President himself showed that he is conscious of this fact, in the two comments he made after his victory. His Excellency spelt this out at his oath taking ceremony at Ruwanwelisaya when he acknowledged this fact but very correctly added that he is President for the whole country – even of those who did not vote for him. We expected His Excellency to take steps to breach this gap by recognizing that our country is rich in diversity with people of different races, religions, languages and cultures.

The equal status of each of these peoples is not dependent on their respective numerical strength. This principle must be acknowledged if our democracy is to survive and indeed flourish, and not regress into naked majoritarianism.

Regretfully, in his address to Parliament on 3rd January 2020 the President has articulated such a regressive position. It was this kind of regressive mindset on the part of the leaders of this country that gave rise to a conflict which resulted in armed hostilities that raged for more than three decades.

Continue reading ‘“Regretfully, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Has Articulated his Regressive Position of “Naked Majoritarianism” in his Address to Parliament on Jan 3rd” – M. A. Sumanthiran MP’ »

Gota Should Wake up and fight his Economic war to a Conclusion as he did in the Case of his Other Wars

By

W.A. Wijewardena


The sick economy

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa – now fondly called Gota by everyone – inherited an underperforming economy. It was just like the economy which the previous administration had inherited from his brother some five years ago. As I had presented in this column repeatedly, the economy was turning from bad to worse since around 2013 and it was the job of the previous administration to put it on the right growth path. They were successful somewhat in constitutional reforms, but regarding the economy, their performance record had been far from the desired. Hence, the economy today is characterised by sad stories all around. Gota’s immediate challenge has been to convert them into pleasant and promising stories.

What are those sad stories that confront him?

Continue reading ‘Gota Should Wake up and fight his Economic war to a Conclusion as he did in the Case of his Other Wars’ »

Sajith Premadasa says all UNP Parliamentarians are Committed to give the top most Priority to the Security of the Sinhala Buddhist Motherland, while Protecting all Minority Communities


Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa says the United National Party will move forward with a new vision and a new outlook.

Participating in an event in Galle over the weekend, the Opposition Leader said the Office of the Leader of the Opposition will be transformed into a helpful and people-friendly institution, which will listen to the grievances of the people who are faced with injustice and provide relief.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa says all UNP Parliamentarians are Committed to give the top most Priority to the Security of the Sinhala Buddhist Motherland, while Protecting all Minority Communities’ »

UNP Gampaha Dist MP Ranjan Ramanayake Arrested for Possessing Pistol Without Renewing License After Police Search His Madiwela Residence For Material Allegedly Embarassing Govt;Cops Seize Laptop, CD’s, DVD’s, Master Copy of “Navariyan”Film and a File on Murder of Ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen


Police last night arrested United National Party Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake for possession of an unlicensed pistol, after they conducted an extensive search of his official residence at the Madiwela Housing Complex.

Issuing a statement last night, Police Headquarters said that officers had also found 127 rounds of 9mm ammunition used for the pistol as well as several “suspicious documents” from the MP’s residence.

Colombo South Crime Investigation Division officers conducted the search after obtaining a warrant from the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court.

Continue reading ‘UNP Gampaha Dist MP Ranjan Ramanayake Arrested for Possessing Pistol Without Renewing License After Police Search His Madiwela Residence For Material Allegedly Embarassing Govt;Cops Seize Laptop, CD’s, DVD’s, Master Copy of “Navariyan”Film and a File on Murder of Ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen’ »

Examining the International Practice of Countries Singing the National Anthem in More Than One Language

By

Dhammike Amarasinghe

I presume that many people consider the mere idea of singing a National Anthem in more than one language strange and an anomaly. In this context it would be best to examine what the international practice is. I invite readers to refer to the articles titled ‘ List of National Anthems’ and ‘National Anthem’ in Wikipedia, available on the Internet.

The following is an extract from the first mentioned article: ‘….States with multiple national languages may offer several versions of their anthem. For instance Switzerland’s National Anthem has different lyrics for each of the country’s four official languages, French, German, Italian and Romansh. One of New Zealand’s two national anthems is commonly sung with the first verse in Maori and the second in English. South Africa’s national anthem is unique in that it is two different songs put together with five of the country’s eleven official languages being used. in which each language comprises a stanza.

Continue reading ‘Examining the International Practice of Countries Singing the National Anthem in More Than One Language’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Private Members Bill Seeking to Restore Presidential Powers to Monarchical Status Obscures an Insidiously Dangerous Hidden Purpose of Making Appointments to the Higher Judiciary a Nakedly Political Process

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Duplicitous politicians who engage in constitutional games to hoodwink the public must be clearly exposed for the truly shameful creatures that they are.

Chopping and changing the primary text

Constitution-making in Sri Lanka has generally been instrumental. Amendments to the nation’s primary text are driven by obvious political agendas. There are rare exceptions like the 17th Amendment to the Constitution (2001) when political parties stripped themselves of power in order to de-politicise the governance process. It was here that the idea of independent constitutional commissions and the reining in of excessive presidential/parliamentary powers was born.

But the 17th Amendment had a short shelf life as the political establishment united as one in violently resisting dilution of powers. And to put the record straight, this was true of the ‘liberal’ United National Party (UNP) as well as of the very proponent of the 17th Amendment, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The first chink in this progressive amendment came when then President Chandrika Kumaratunga refused to appoint a retired Supreme Court judge as Chairman of the Elections Commission despite repeated recommendations of the Constitutional Council (CC). The CC, at the time, consisted of a majority of non-politicians unlike its defanged successor in the 19th Amendment. It refused to withdraw its nominee and insisted, albeit vainly, that the President must give reasons for failure to appoint.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Private Members Bill Seeking to Restore Presidential Powers to Monarchical Status Obscures an Insidiously Dangerous Hidden Purpose of Making Appointments to the Higher Judiciary a Nakedly Political Process’ »

A Beautiful Island Where The National Anthem Is Sung In Two Languages -1

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Jeyaraj’s Jottings

(Jeyaraj’s Jottings was a series of short articles written some time ago by me to be posted on my Blog. However due to pressure of work I discontinued the jottings for quite a while. With the advent of the year 2020 I have resumed posting “Jeyaraj’s Jottings”again on my Blog. This is the first part of the first post for the new year)

Once upon a time there was a Beautiful Island with wonderful people that was regarded as God’s own country. After gaining Independence from a colonial power, the modern nation with an ancient civilization adopted a national anthem of its own. The anthem was written in the language spoken by the majority of its inhabitants. It was also translated into the language widely spoken by three of its minority communities. While the song in the language of the majority received pride of place, provision was made for both versions of the anthem to be sung whenever or wherever necessary. The melody composed for the original was the same for the translated version also.

Both versions of the National anthem were sung or played in all parts of the country on appropriate occasions. When Independence day was observed the majority language version was sung at national level because it was the sole official language then. However, in regions where the minority language was spoken most, the version sung at district level was that of the minority language. Similarly, in schools where the medium of instruction was in the majority language ,
the national anthem was also sung in the same language.

Likewise schools where the minority language was the medium of instruction sang the national anthem in their language. In some places both versions were played one after the other. The anthem played at official functions at national level was in the language of the majority which had been enshrined as the country’s sole official language. This however did not deter the minority communities from singing the national anthem with patriotic fervour in their mother tongue on suitable occasions.

Continue reading ‘A Beautiful Island Where The National Anthem Is Sung In Two Languages -1’ »

Will Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Accept that Singing the National Anthem in a Minority Language and not the Main Official Language Would Build Reconciliation and Help Achieve National Unity?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

We are bang into the New Year. The new session of Parliament has been opened by the President. Parliamentary politics could move to a new swing, with a government not having a formal majority in the House. There is also another political tune at play – that of the National Anthem.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa acknowledged his victory with the votes of the Sinhala Buddhist majority in the country as he was sworn in at Anuradhapura, and did say he would act for the unity of the country. Not many weeks after this declaration of a commitment to unity we are again in the midst of yet another National Anthem debate.

The Minister handling the subject of Independence Day celebrations, Janaka Bandara Tennekoon, said it had been decided to ban the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil at the Independence celebrations this year. There is a strange twist to his thinking when he states to BBC that if the national anthem is sung in two languages, it would imply there were two races in Sri Lanka. He also states the decision to sing the anthem in Sinhala only is because the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people constituted one single race in Sri Lanka. He seems to be confused with nation and race, but that is the stuff of politics today. He adds that singing the national anthem twice would affect reconciliation, and also that in India the anthem is sung only in one language.

Continue reading ‘Will Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Accept that Singing the National Anthem in a Minority Language and not the Main Official Language Would Build Reconciliation and Help Achieve National Unity?’ »

“I Pledge that During my Term of Office, I will Always Defend the Unitary Status of our Country, and Protect and Nurture the Buddha Sasana Whilst Safeguarding the Right of all Citizens to Practice a Religion of Their Choice” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

(The policy statement made by His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the inauguration of the Fourth Session of the 8th Parliament of Sri Lanka.)

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Prime Minister,

Honourable Leader of the Opposition,

Honourable Ministers, Honourable State Ministers, Honourable Members of Parliament,

I have this opportunity to address you as the Head of State of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka consequent to the historic victory granted to me by the people of this country on the 16th of November.

I express my gratitude to all citizens, institutions and all political parties who were committed to a peaceful, free and fair election.

Irrespective of the political party you, the Honourable members in this August Assembly belong to, together all of us have as our prime responsibility to work for the betterment of the people of this country.

I have served this nation as an Army Officer for twenty years, and as Secretary of Defence for nearly another ten years.

Even though I was not actively engaged in politics, I have experienced what service to the people is, from an early age.

My father’s elder brother, D. M. Rajapaksa, began his political journey in the State Council in 1936, representing the Hambantota electorate. After his demise in 1945, the people of Hambantota elected my father, D. A. Rajapaksa, to the State Council. Later, he was elected through the popular vote as a Member of the country’s first Parliament.

From that time until now, many members of the Rajapaksa family, hailing from the rural village of Medamulana in Giruvapaththuwa, Ruhuna, have served as elected public representatives. There have not only been Members of Parliament, Deputy Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, a Deputy Speaker of Parliament, a Speaker of Parliament, a Leader of the Opposition and a Prime Minister, but also two Presidents elected to office by the people, who reposed their trust in us.

From the first day the honourable D. M. Rajapaksa, known as the Lion of Ruhuna, appeared in the State Council, he wore a maroon coloured shawl.
What he symbolized through this maroon shawl were the millet farmers of Giruvapaththuwa.

Following D. M. Rajapaksa, my father D. A. Rajapaksa and each member of the Rajapaksa family who was elected to Parliament wore the maroon shawl.

Even though I do not wear this shawl, I stand for the same profound philosophy of constant dedication to the poor that is symbolized by the maroon shawl.
It is this same philosophy that is embodied in the Policy Statement I presented during my Presidential election campaign.

Honourable Speaker, I now take this opportunity to table the “Visions of Prosperity and Splendour” Policy Statement.

Continue reading ‘“I Pledge that During my Term of Office, I will Always Defend the Unitary Status of our Country, and Protect and Nurture the Buddha Sasana Whilst Safeguarding the Right of all Citizens to Practice a Religion of Their Choice” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his First Address to Parliament Emphasises Need for Urgent Constitutional and Electoral Reforms that will Establish a Strong Executive, Legislature and an Independent Judiciary

Delivering his first-ever address to Parliament since taking oaths, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent out a strong message today to all parties representing the legislature on, among other things, his vision for the country, his values as a Rajapaksa family member, the role of minority parties and the importance of constitutional reform.

Dressed in a Western suit offset by a familiarly maroon tie, Rajapaksa inaugurated the fourth session of the eighth parliament this morning in a nearly 35-minute speech that outlined his policy proposals for his term as President.

Having thanked all citizens, institutions and political parties for ensuring a peaceful election, the President began his speech with a flashback to the early days of the Rajapaksa clan.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his First Address to Parliament Emphasises Need for Urgent Constitutional and Electoral Reforms that will Establish a Strong Executive, Legislature and an Independent Judiciary’ »

Envisaged Tri -Forces Guard of Honour Including 21 Gun Salute at Ceremonial Opening of New Parliamentary Session Cancelled at the Last Minute Due to a Request by President Gotabaya rajapaksa for a Simplified Ceremony

By Chandani Kirinde and Ashwin Hemmathagama

The Tri-Forces Guard of Honour including the 21-gun salute which was to be part of the ceremonial sitting of the new Parliamentary session which begins today was halted on the request of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, official sources said.

As part of the usual procedure followed when a new session of the House is opened after a prorogation, the Tri-Forces Guard of Honour had been included as part of the day’s ceremonies but was cancelled at the last minute.

Continue reading ‘Envisaged Tri -Forces Guard of Honour Including 21 Gun Salute at Ceremonial Opening of New Parliamentary Session Cancelled at the Last Minute Due to a Request by President Gotabaya rajapaksa for a Simplified Ceremony’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Introduce Private Members Bill Incorprating 22nd Constitutional Amendment to Enable the President to Hold the Defence Ministry and any Other Ministry by Amending article 43

By Chandani Kirinde

A Private Member’s Bill to enable the President to hold the Ministry of Defence and any other ministries will be introduced to Parliament by MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe shortly.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution has been published in the Gazette ahead of its presentation to the House, Rajapakshe told Daily FT. The Amendment, he says, is intended to give clarity to the allocation of ministries to the President, which has become a grey area under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

The provision will come as an amendment to Article 43 of the Constitution and states, “The President shall hold the Ministry of Defence and any other ministries.”

Rajapakshe said that the Supreme Court in a 2003 determination ruled that plenary executive power including the defence of Sri Lanka is vested and reposed in the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka, and hence it is only the President who can hold the Defence portfolio.

“There can be no grey areas and lack of clarity in a Constitution, which is why I am introducing the amendment as the 19th Amendment has brought about a lot of confusion,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Introduce Private Members Bill Incorprating 22nd Constitutional Amendment to Enable the President to Hold the Defence Ministry and any Other Ministry by Amending article 43’ »

“Bible of Cricket” Wisden Cricketers Almanack Includes Sri Lankan Paceman Lasith Malinga in T20 Team of the Decade and Describes him as the “King of T20 fast Bowling”

Wisden magazine, which is considered as the Bible of cricket, has published its T20I Team of the Decade.

Wisden magazine has named Sri Lanka’s fast bowler Lasith Malinga as the king of T20 fast bowling.

Continue reading ‘“Bible of Cricket” Wisden Cricketers Almanack Includes Sri Lankan Paceman Lasith Malinga in T20 Team of the Decade and Describes him as the “King of T20 fast Bowling”’ »

Diplomatic Note Simultaneously Released by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Colombo Emphasises Swift Return to Positive Cooperation Between Both Countries After Relations were Marred by Misunderstandings Caused by Embassy Employee Incident

Switzerland yesterday said it hopes for a swift return to an environment conducive to resuming the positive co-operation between the two countries after relations were marred over an alleged incident involving a local embassy employee.

In a Diplomatic Note communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MFR) by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka on Monday 30 December, the Embassy said it regrets that these developments have led to the Sri Lankan authorities’ commitment to due process being called into question and reaffirmed that Switzerland, like Sri Lanka, is committed to upholding good governance and the rule of law.

“Switzerland and Sri Lanka have maintained excellent relations for decades and have engaged in substantial cooperation in a variety of fields, to the benefit of both countries and their populations. Both countries value these relations greatly,” the Note said.

Continue reading ‘Diplomatic Note Simultaneously Released by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Colombo Emphasises Swift Return to Positive Cooperation Between Both Countries After Relations were Marred by Misunderstandings Caused by Embassy Employee Incident’ »

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) of Switzerland Welcomes with Relief the Release on Bail of the Employee of its Embassy in Colombo.


The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) of Switzerland yesterday welcomed with relief the release on bail of the employee of its embassy in Colombo.

The Swiss authorities welcomed the release of the employee with a message via its official Twitter account @SwissMFA.

Continue reading ‘Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) of Switzerland Welcomes with Relief the Release on Bail of the Employee of its Embassy in Colombo.’ »

Colombo Swiss Embassy Employee Garnier Bannister Francis Released on Bail by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne; Court Bans Foreign Travel and Orders Surrender of Passport;Next Date of Hearing on Jan 9th 2020


Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday released on bail Garnier Bannister Francis, the local employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo allegedly involved in a fake abduction case.

Francis was granted bail on two personal sureties of Rs 500,000 each.

The Court temporarily banned foreign travel of the defendant and asked her passport to be surrendered to the court. The court also directed a private phone company to submit phone records of the defendant, her husband and the teacher of her daughter.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Swiss Embassy Employee Garnier Bannister Francis Released on Bail by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne; Court Bans Foreign Travel and Orders Surrender of Passport;Next Date of Hearing on Jan 9th 2020’ »

Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne MP Who was Arrested by Police Over the White Van Drivers Media Conference Incident While Being in Coronary Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital Granted Bail by Colombo Magistrates Court

Former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne was granted bail by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

This was when an anticipatory bail application filed by Dr. Senaratne was taken up for consideration.

The court ordered that Dr. Senaratne be granted bail on two personal bail bonds of Rs 500,000 each.

Banning foreign travel for Senaratne, the court ordered the surrender of his passport.

Continue reading ‘Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne MP Who was Arrested by Police Over the White Van Drivers Media Conference Incident While Being in Coronary Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital Granted Bail by Colombo Magistrates Court’ »

Senior Administrator P.S. M. Charles Makes History as the First Woman to be Sworn in as Governor of the Northern Province.

Senior Sri Lanka Administrative Service officer with vast experience P.S.M. Charles was appointed as the Northern Province Governor by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday.

Charles previously served as the District Secretariat of Vavuniya and Batticaloa. She also served as Director General of Customs and Secretary to the Health Ministry.

Continue reading ‘Senior Administrator P.S. M. Charles Makes History as the First Woman to be Sworn in as Governor of the Northern Province.’ »

Dawn of Ceylon Independence and Birth of the Tamil Federal Party

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

G.G. Ponnambalam & S.J.V. Chelvanayagam

December 18th 1949 was a Red letter day in the political history of Sri Lankan Tamils known as “Ilangaith Thamizhar” in their mother tongue. On that day a group of sixty Tamils including two parliamentarians and two Senators launched a new political party with the avowed goal of establishing an autonomous state for the Tamil speaking people of Ceylon(as Sri Lanka was known then) within a united Island. The new party was named in Tamil as the “Ilankaith Thamil Arasuk Katchi” meaning Ceylon Tamil state or Tamil Government party.

However the party’s founders described it as Federal Party in English. According to the renowned political scientist Prof. A.J. Wilson the new party’s name was not Federal Party but merely an explanation of what the party stood for. “It’s leaders insisted that the word ‘state’denoted a unit within a federal set-up and not a sovereign state, as some of its detractors alleged” wrote Wilson in his book “Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism”. Unfortunately this confusion in nomenclatures only resulted in planting the seeds of suspicion in the minds of many members of the majority community.
Continue reading ‘Dawn of Ceylon Independence and Birth of the Tamil Federal Party’ »

The man most Responsible for Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Champika Ranawaka’s Arrest is Patali Champika Ranawaka Himself


By

Uditha Devapriya

In a country dominated by Cartesian thinking, it’s probably not surprising that a man vilified for the better part of a decade as a Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist, traditionalist, warmonger and opportunist should be celebrated as a martyr today. I remember coming across a particularly unsavoury (and no doubt defamatory) article on the man on an anti-Rajapaksa website before he decided to cross over to the side that the website was tacitly supporting at the time.

I am of course talking about Patali Champika Ranawaka whose rise to national (and nationalist) prominence over the decades has been due to a combination of coincidence and perseverance. The UNP, hardly known for its sympathy towards the party Champika led before, the Hela Urumaya, now supports the latter’s claim that it was he, not the government of the day, which facilitated the winning of the war. To lend support to such a claim is to lend support to the party and to the ideology it espouses, at least implicitly.

Why do I say that? Because much of that ideology is built today on the view (some would say myth) that Jathika Hela Urumaya spearheaded the war campaign. Barring this, the JHU has precious little with which it can oil its wheels and spokes. Whether or not one agrees with their take on who should get the greater credit for what happened in 2009, one must concede that as far as propaganda goes this remains their rallying point.

The question as to who really won the war in that sense will remains, for a long time, unresolved, and not even history books will apportion credit fairly and properly. The problem for the JHU is not that it can’t claim any credit; indeed, I would be the first to say that it deserves greater credit than those whom party stalwarts refer to as pseudo-patriots. We know who the latter are.

The problem is that the Hela Urumaya’s claim to credibility and sincerity can’t be squared with its transformation after 2014. Since the Hela Urumaya of today, for better or worse, is not only led but also embodied by Champika Ranawaka, the problem with the party is more or less the problem with the man leading it. And the problem with Ranawaka is that most of the principles he now claims to stand for are at variance with the political camp he has chosen to side with.

Continue reading ‘The man most Responsible for Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Champika Ranawaka’s Arrest is Patali Champika Ranawaka Himself’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Seems to Have Two Objectives at this Point of Time.

By P.K.Balachandran

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the Sri Lankan Presidential election on November 16 emphatically, and formed a government with his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, appears to have two objectives at this point of time.

One is to put together a top-level team which will carry out his political and governance agendas, and the other is to secure two thirds majority or near two thirds majority in the April 2020 parliamentary elections in order to carry out the constitutional changes he has up his sleeve.

It is well-known that he is very keen on either repealing or drastically pruning the 19 th. Amendment which cut the powers of the President and increased the powers of other arms of the State in a haphazard manner making the government as a whole dysfunctional.

In his Council of Ministers, Gotabaya has had the gumption to keep some very senior party leaders who had been Cabinet Ministers earlier, away from the Cabinet. These leaders were made State Ministers without cabinet rank. From this it is clear that President Gotabaya wants to have his own handpicked group of Cabinet Ministers who will, by and large, owe their positions to him and not to any earlier President.

Senior leaders with years of cabinet membership like S.B.Dissanayake, Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Mahinda Samarasinghe and John Seneviratne are now State Ministers.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Seems to Have Two Objectives at this Point of Time.’ »

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s troubled past

By

Meera Srinivasan

How do you translate the word ‘juxtaposition’ to Tamil and Sinhala?

When a team of art curators set up Sri Lanka’s recently-launched Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), they had many decisions to make, including on questions like this, pertaining to language.

The museum does not limit itself to a particular type of art work or exhibit. There are sketches and paintings. There are photographs in black and white, and in faded colour. There are archival digital prints from decades ago that serve as a stark reminder of the many phases of state repression and violence — against minority Tamils, or against rebel Sinhalese youth. For instance, one print is of a masked supporter of the Janata Vimukti Peramuna from 1987, when the leftist party launched its second armed insurrection. Or, another visual of a check point in Pallai in Jaffna peninsula, taken in 2007, two years before the civil war fought by the Sri Lankan armed forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended.

Continue reading ‘The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s troubled past’ »

Public Administration Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Gets Angry and Terminates Telephone Conversation when Journalist asks him Whether Govt May be Dividing Communities by Banning National Anthem being Sung in Tamil at Independence day Event

By Sandun Jayawardana

The national anthem’s Tamil version – sung at Independence Day celebration since 2016 – will be dropped again from February 4 next year.

The national anthem’s Tamil version was sung at Independence Day celebrations since 2016

The Public Administration Ministry, the event organiser, has resolved that the national anthem must only be sung in Sinhala. “The country has only one national anthem,” Public Administration Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said, adding that it was a government decision.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said, however, that the issue had not been discussed in Cabinet. He also did not believe the government had taken a policy decision to scrap the Tamil translation of the national anthem altogether.

Minister Tennakoon chaired a meeting earlier this week regarding arrangements for the Independence Day function. He said the government would do away with the previous administration’s practice of singing the national anthem in Tamil at the end of the event.

Continue reading ‘Public Administration Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Gets Angry and Terminates Telephone Conversation when Journalist asks him Whether Govt May be Dividing Communities by Banning National Anthem being Sung in Tamil at Independence day Event’ »

Tamil Nadu Political Party Leaders MK Stalin (DMK) and Dr.S.Ramadoss (PMK) Strongly Criticise Sri Lankan Govt of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Stopping the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at Independence Day Event

By

M Manikandan

Tamil Nadu’s major opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and BJP’s ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) on Friday attacked the newly-elected Sri Lankan government under President Gottabaya Rajapaksa for suspending the playing of National Anthem of the island nation in Tamil on its Independence day in February.

DMK president MK Stalin hit out at the Sri Lankan government’s decision of mandating singing national anthem only in Sinhala saying this move had disappointed him. “Disappointed and concerned to hear that the Sri Lankan Government has decided only to sing the national anthem in Sinhala for their Independence Day,” Stalin said in a tweet. “Such majoritarianism will only further exclude Tamils in Sri Lanka,” his tweet further reads.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Political Party Leaders MK Stalin (DMK) and Dr.S.Ramadoss (PMK) Strongly Criticise Sri Lankan Govt of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Stopping the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at Independence Day Event’ »

What stands out today is the monarchic power of family politics, which obtained more than 50 per cent vote in the recent presidential poll.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

We are moving on to another election year, and what does that mean?

It means a helluva lot. Two Hundred and Twenty-Five to be removed, brought back, or a new pack brought in.

It is the problem people face with choosing the unwanted. Let’s just look back at the last two national choices, in 2009 and 2015. In 2009, just after the defeat of the LTTE terrorism and separatism, the pack chosen to power quickly moved to be the biggest of the corrupt the country had seen since independence in 1948. In 2015 the chance came to get rid of them from power and punish the guilty. And what a farce it was!

It was the monumental farce of the so-called Yahapalanaya or Good Governance. Apart from the beneficial aspects of the 19th Amendment, the Right to Information, and overall freedom to the media, those who came to power were determined to both fool and cheat the people.

A huge burden hanging on the necks of the people today is the delay in bringing to some conclusion even the few cases brought to the courts, about the corruption of the defeated dirty team. Is it a problem of the Judiciary itself – or the manipulation of the judiciary, and the legal and court system by those in power?

Continue reading ‘What stands out today is the monarchic power of family politics, which obtained more than 50 per cent vote in the recent presidential poll.’ »

National Peace Council Urges Govt Not to Stop the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at the February 4th Independence Day Celebrations

The National Peace Council has urged the government not to stop the yahapalana practice of singing the national anthem in Tamil at the Feb 04 Independence Day celebrations.

The following is the text of NPC statement issued by its head Dr. Jehan Perera:

The celebration of Christmas took place without incident and in the manner that Christians in Sri Lanka have traditionally done. This was a success of governance as there were security warnings due to the Easter bombings that caused heavy loss of life to Christians at worship in three of their churches.

Continue reading ‘National Peace Council Urges Govt Not to Stop the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at the February 4th Independence Day Celebrations’ »

CID Acting on Orders of Attorney-General Arrest Dr.Rajitha Senaratne at Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital; Colombo Additional Magistrate Shalani Perera Goes to Hospital and Remands Warded Ex-Health Minister Until December 30

UNP MP and former Health Minister, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, was arrested by the CID at Lanka Hospital in Narahenpita yesterday.

Colombo Additional Magistrate Shalani Perera remanded Dr. Senaratne until Dec 30.

The officers of the CID, who took Senaratne into custody around 2.10 pm, informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate of the arrest.

When the case was taken up, the CID said that the MP had been arrested at the cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CICU) of Lanka Hospital in Narahenpita.

Continue reading ‘CID Acting on Orders of Attorney-General Arrest Dr.Rajitha Senaratne at Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital; Colombo Additional Magistrate Shalani Perera Goes to Hospital and Remands Warded Ex-Health Minister Until December 30’ »

National Anthem Will be Sung Only in the Sinhala Language and Not in the Tamil Language Also at the 72nd Independence Day Celebrations Scheduled for Feb 4 2020 at Independence Square in Colombo

By Sandun A. Jayasekera

The 72nd Independence Day celebrations will be held on February 4 at Independence Square in Colombo on a grand scale, the Public Administration Ministry said, adding that the national anthem would be sung only in Sinhala.

These decisions were taken at a meeting held yesterday at the Disaster Management, Local Government and Provincial Councils Ministry.

Continue reading ‘National Anthem Will be Sung Only in the Sinhala Language and Not in the Tamil Language Also at the 72nd Independence Day Celebrations Scheduled for Feb 4 2020 at Independence Square in Colombo’ »

Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Friends!

Nativity scene at St Augustine’s church, South Brunswick, NJ, 2018 💒

It’s Christmas season again!

An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas.

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The Many Faces of Christmas – Shaped Wooden Puzzle from Sri Lanka ~ Photographed at an exhibit of over 900 nativity scenes hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eugene, Oregon, USA-pic-by Mary Harrsch

There was a time when carolling was an important part of Christmas. ‘’Carol parties” including someone dressed as Santa claus would visit the homes of church members during night and sing carols.Refreshments would be served at each and every home. A few firecrackers too would be lit.

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

This practice of carolling has become near extinct but happily the tradition of conducting special carol services and carol festivals continue. Most church services relating to Christmas feature the singing of carols.Christmas dinners and parties too witness loud carol singing though not tuneful at all times.
Continue reading ‘Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular’ »

Far From Escape or Withdrawal Christmas is a Time of Regeneration. When the Time is Right New Songs Burst Forth Like Springs of Living Water.

by Bishop Duleep de Chickera

The run up to the birth of Jesus was punctuated with pauses.

Mary’s pause

After the Angel visited her, Mary could not say what she would have liked to have said. Stories that went against established norms and trends were unacceptable. Those around would misunderstand and grow suspicious, even hostile. What she had heard and knew compelled her to pause to ponder these things.

When he is drawn in on the story that could not be told as yet, Joseph becomes part of the pause. Because he knew the woman who knew more than she could say, he too had to pause and ponder these things.

The two become a group when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth to tell her secretly what she knew was happening. She had to tell another woman, who would have to tell her husband. Elizabeth too had a story of her own. Soon, what one knew and another knew was known by a group and they were all inducted into the pause; the pause of the informed.

Continue reading ‘Far From Escape or Withdrawal Christmas is a Time of Regeneration. When the Time is Right New Songs Burst Forth Like Springs of Living Water.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Perturbed Over Police Disregarding Parliamentary Conventions in Arresting Champika Ranawaka MP; Wants National Police Commission to Hold Inquiry :Will Summon IGP and Senior Officials Involved in Arrest

By Chandani Kirinde

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday said he would summon the IGP and other senior Police officials who were involved in the arrest of MP Patali Champika Ranawaka, and inform them on the need to adhere to parliamentary conventions when arresting a lawmaker.

The Speaker also said he would request the National Police Commission (NPC) to inquire into the manner in which the arrest was carried out.

Jayasuriya made these comments at the party leaders’ meeting held yesterday to decide on the agenda for 3 January, when there will be a ceremonial opening of the House by newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, followed by a Parliament sitting the same afternoon.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Perturbed Over Police Disregarding Parliamentary Conventions in Arresting Champika Ranawaka MP; Wants National Police Commission to Hold Inquiry :Will Summon IGP and Senior Officials Involved in Arrest’ »

The Switzerland Connection in LTTE Fund Raising Activity

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Recent events have focused the media spotlight on the Federal Republic of Switzerland known officially as the Swiss Confederation. The landlocked European nation is respected highly on a global scale due to its policy of armed neutrality. Despite the impeccable credentials of Switzerland, the country is being viewed negatively by influential sections of the Sri Lankan people. There is suspicion that an orchestrated campaign is being pursued by certain elements to depict the country as an “enemy” of Sri Lanka.Three recent happenings concerning Switzerland – Sri Lanka relations have contributed to this unfortunate state of affairs.

Event in Switzerland-File pic courtesy of SwissInfo.ch

The first is the accusation that ace CID sleuth and chief inspector of Police Nishantha Silva has sought political asylum along with his family in Switzerland. Nishantha Silva is suspected of taking along with him files and documents of several on-going cases in Sri Lanka. These could be damaging to Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council it is felt. There is suspicion that the Swiss embassy connived in facilitating Nishantha Silva’s “escape” from Sri Lanka.

The second is the incident where a Sri Lankan woman employee at the Swiss embassy in Colombo was allegedly abducted, molested and intimidated by unknown persons in a white vehicle. It was said that the unknown persins had sought information from her about Nishantha Silva. The Govt position is that the evidence unearthed by the Police so far does not corroborate the complaint made on behalf of the alleged victim by the Swiss embassy. A request tp transport the traumatized woman by Air Ambulance to Switzerland has been rejected. She has been banned from travelling outside Sri Lanka. A lengthy interrogation and recording of statement from her by the CID has been in progress for more than three days.

Continue reading ‘The Switzerland Connection in LTTE Fund Raising Activity’ »

Controversial Arrest and Detention of Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Patali Champika Ranawaka MP: How it Happened.

By Sandun Jayawardana and Manopriya Gunasekara

It was nightfall on Wednesday (18) when some 50 armed policemen swooped down on a house at Jayanthipura, Battaramulla in what seemed a major operation.

Whilst the constables surrounded the house, others blocked the road. An officer urged the watcher to open the gate. He did and the group entered the new home of Patali Champika Ranawaka, Former Minister. He had just returned from Nuwara Eliya.

They told him they were from the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) and he was under arrest. Asked to produce a warrant if they possessed, they showed a letter from letter from the Attorney General calling for his arrest.

Within minutes, crowds began to gather and there was commotion. With a file in hand, wearing a sarong and a shirt Ranawaka got into an SUV that was parked outside. This was after a brief debate where an officer said that he could travel in one of their vehicles. When the SUV was about to move out, a Buddhist monk stood before it and shouted that he be run over first. Women raised loud cries. Soon a former State Minister, Harsha de Silva arrived. He challenged the Police to show him how they could arrest Ranawaka without informing the Speaker of Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Controversial Arrest and Detention of Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Patali Champika Ranawaka MP: How it Happened.’ »

Patently Absurd Statements Made in the Arrest of Champika Ranawaka like “there is no issue about not informing the Magistrate because the Attorney General is superior to the Magistrate” Need to be Challenged

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The ridiculous claim being parroted by bespectacled and grinning supporters (apparently also lawyers) of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP or the “Pohuttuwa’), that the action of the Attorney General is somehow ‘superior’ to the writ of a Magistrate in the making of arrests of persons in this land, is contrary to the weight of the law and violates fundamental safeguards against arbitrary state action.

Challenging patently absurd statements

These claims are made in the context of this week’s surprise arrest of former Minister and Jathika Hela Urumaya heavyweight Champika Ranawaka when the police entered his residence and effected the arrest on a direction made by the Attorney General. The fact that this arrest was carried out without properly notifying the Speaker of Parliament has been formally raised by the Office of the Speaker.

But the instant point here is the entirely presumptous statement that, ‘there is no issue about not informing the Magistrate because the Attorney General is superior to the Magistrate (‘no law violated in arresting Patali’, Daily Mirror, 20 December 2019). In other words, because the Attorney General ordered the arrest, there was nothing that the Magistrate could have done or need to have done in this regard.

Such absurd statements must be challenged forthwith. Otherwise, this would be to throw to the four winds, decades of carefully reasoned constitutional jurisprudence by the Supreme Court. It would be to reduce Sri Lanka to the level of a nation-state just emerging from barbarism. It is to insult the Sri Lankan public and to render the Rule of Law to a cipher. Most awfully, it is to confer an enormous amount of arbitrary power on the state law office.

Continue reading ‘Patently Absurd Statements Made in the Arrest of Champika Ranawaka like “there is no issue about not informing the Magistrate because the Attorney General is superior to the Magistrate” Need to be Challenged’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa While Addressing Foreign Correspondents in Colombo Replies “Yes” When Asked Whether he Thought Sri Lankan Refugees in India Should Come Back

By

Meera Srinivasan

In the widespread resistance to the recently-passed Citizenship (Amendment) Act, many have repeatedly highlighted the omission of Sri Lankans among persecuted communities in the neighbourhood who now qualify for Indian citizenship, for the first time based on their religion.

Nearly 1,00,000 Sri Lankan Tamils live in India, mostly in refugee camps across Tamil Nadu. They fled a civil war in their homeland — Sri Lanka’s north and east — that spanned over 30 years, brutally destroying life and property. Over the years, some Sri Lankan Tamils have returned from India.

As the pace of return accelerated after the war ended in 2009, nearly 16,000 are back home now.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa While Addressing Foreign Correspondents in Colombo Replies “Yes” When Asked Whether he Thought Sri Lankan Refugees in India Should Come Back’ »

Much Respected and Loved Central Bank Governor Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy Departs From Post After Addressing all Members of Staff From Monetary Board Members to Friends Serving Tea.


Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Friday departed the Central Bank as previously announced but with much respect and love, according to insiders and industry representatives.

Dr. Coomaraswamy assumed duties in July 2016 and many weeks before the 16 November Presidential Election had informed authorities of his intention to step down on 20 December.

Previously, Dr. Coomaraswamy served the Central Bank for 15 years, working in the Departments of Economic Research, Statistics and Bank Supervision. However, from 1981-1989, he was released from the bank’s service to serve at the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

Continue reading ‘Much Respected and Loved Central Bank Governor Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy Departs From Post After Addressing all Members of Staff From Monetary Board Members to Friends Serving Tea.’ »

Sri Lanka does not want to be part of the US-Indian Indo-Pacific Strategy to Contain China While Beijing Intends to step up its Presence in Sri Lanka to Hit Back at India where it Hurts.

By

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Since the setback in Nepal three years ago when the Indian diktat on the contents of a new constitution for that country was brusquely dismissed by that country’s communist leadership, Modi government faces a similar rebuff from Sri Lanka.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa chose a press conference Thursday with the Colombo-based foreign correspondents to make it clear that Delhi should simply forget about the management of the Mattala International Airport.

He said, “There is no discussion with India on this project.” Barely three weeks have passed since his visit to New Delhi at PM Narendra Modi’s invitation.

During the visit, at a joint press conference with Gotabaya, Modi had announced a $450 million credit line for Sri Lanka.

Mattala is a feeder airport for Hambantota Port, which is run by a Chinese state-owned company. Mattala would have been an ideal place from where Chinese activities in Hambantota could be monitored.

Conceivably, that is precisely the reason why Sri Lanka has decided to disallow any Indian presence in Mattala. Possibly, China leveraged its influence in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka does not want to be part of the US-Indian Indo-Pacific Strategy to Contain China While Beijing Intends to step up its Presence in Sri Lanka to Hit Back at India where it Hurts.’ »