Mangala Samaraweera Backstabs Sri Lankan Armed Forces Openly at UNHRC in Geneva like ISIS Executioner “Jihadi John” did over TV

BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

“…The Government has invited Mr. Pablo de Greiff, the Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence to visit Sri Lanka for consultations. He has proposed to visit us at the end of this month. We also look forward to receiving the Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances…”–Mangala Samaraweera (Text of the statement delivered at the High Level segment of the UNHRC, March 2, 2015, Geneva.)

Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the unelected (and therefore, less than legitimate) Government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has just done the equivalent of Jihadi John on the Sri Lankan armed forces. Jihadi John is the ISIS executioner who stands behind captives, makes a speech and cuts their throats in full view of the world’s YouTube watchers and (by extension) TV audiences.

Mangala Samaraweera has just done the same to the Sri Lankan armed forces. His speech at the High Level Segment of the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council appears at first glance, unobjectionable, moderate and reasonable and close to pitch-perfect. But that’s only at first glance. The entire speech is clever camouflage.

Hidden in it is a deadly ambush laid for the Sri Lankan armed forces. The Foreign Minister has not only welcomed the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth and Justice, he promises to welcome the UN Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances. This latter is a dangerous and dastardly move.

Sri Lanka has always cooperated with UN Special Procedures and permitted Special Rapporteurs, Working Groups etc. to visit, even during the war. However, like every sovereign state, Sri Lanka has deliberated carefully, in the National Security Council, about which ones would be allowed in, when that might be, and which ones not. One Working Group we were very wary about allowing in prematurely was the UN Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera Backstabs Sri Lankan Armed Forces Openly at UNHRC in Geneva like ISIS Executioner “Jihadi John” did over TV’ »

Tamil “Extremists” Target Sampanthan and Sumanthiran of the TNA as “Traitors”

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Tamil National Alliance(TNA)Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan MP and TNA National list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran won many hearts and minds by participating in the official Independence day ceremony held in Battaramulla on February 4th.

MA Sumanthiran MP & Mrs Sumanthiran at Sri Lanka Independence Day Celeberations, Feb 4 - 2015

MA Sumanthiran MP & Mrs Sumanthiran at Sri Lanka Independence Day Celeberations, Feb 4 – 2015

The diplomatic community in Colombo hailed it as a commendable symbolic gesture towards ethnic reconciliation in a land torn asunder by decades of communal strife and bloodshed. The small step taken by Sampanthan and Sumanthiran was praised as a giant leap for national unity by all progressive sections of Sri Lankan society desiring justice, equality,harmony and amity.

pic courtesy of: adaderana.lk

Burning of Sumanthiran’s effigy-Feb 21, 2015~pic courtesy of: adaderana.lk

Sadly what was regarded as a great leap forward three weeks ago appears to be regressing into a great leap backwards in political terms now. Sampanthan and Sumanthiran who were toasted for their praiseworthy act then are now being roasted for the same by Tamil extremist elements posing as nationalists. The duo is being accused of harming the Tamil cause by attending the Freedom day event.In the eyes of the Tamil extremist pseudo-nationalists, Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are “Thurogigal”or Traitors. A vicious and venomous campaign is being orchestrated against both.
Continue reading ‘Tamil “Extremists” Target Sampanthan and Sumanthiran of the TNA as “Traitors”’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Lady from Pakistan in Five –minute Meeting that he does not Believe in Astrology Any More

By

Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui

SWRDMRASTRO

IT is 8am on Saturday and I am outside Carlton House, the forest-green-coloured residence of Mahinda Rajapaksa, former president of Sri Lanka. It is a modest structure and on a low roof perches a medium-sized board carrying a picture of him beaming.

He has been residing in his hometown Tangalle after his shocking defeat in the presidential elections nearly 50 days ago. According to news reports, his electoral loss takes its place alongside that of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, who was so certain of her popularity that she called early elections in 1977. Mr Rajapaksa too had — counselled by his astrologer — called for early elections.

His residence is manned by two policemen in olive-green uniforms along with three intelligence officials dressed in plain, solid-coloured half-sleeved shirts and black trousers. They cast a cursory look at me and continue watching the sloping road. Sari-clad women, men in shirts and colourful sarongs and uniformed schoolchildren are walking up and down it.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Lady from Pakistan in Five –minute Meeting that he does not Believe in Astrology Any More’ »

Chief Minister Wigneswaran States Many “Untruths” in Trying to Explain why the Northern Council Passed Genocide Resolution.

BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

A man or woman must have the courage of his or her convictions. If you do something, do so because you think it is right. If you oppose something, do so because you think it is wrong. If you’ve done something because you think it is right, say so, defend your choice, and give reasons why you thought it was right, if only at that time. If you’ve opposed something, explain that opposition, giving reasons why, at the time, you thought it was wrong. If you’ve remained silent, give the reasons for so doing. If you’ve broken your silence, explain why. That’s the way to remain an essentially moral man or woman, to ascend the high ground, even if your reasons may be wrong.
Continue reading ‘Chief Minister Wigneswaran States Many “Untruths” in Trying to Explain why the Northern Council Passed Genocide Resolution.’ »

Time to Acknowledge Reality that Kumar Sangakkara has been Sri Lanka’s Finest Batsman.

By

Rex Clementine reporting from Wellington

In any city where cricket is played and Sri Lankans live, Kumar Sangakkara is a popular man. So is he in the New Zealand capital of Wellington where he has left an indelible mark.

icc-cricket.com

icc-cricket.com

Sanga has thrilled the Wellingtonians with some classy knocks. Wellington has two cricket grounds. The scenic Basin Reserve hosts Test Matches while the modern Wespac Stadium conducts the limited over games.

Sanga’s unbeaten 156 at the Basin Reserve against an attack that had Bond, Martin and Vettori set up a huge win in 2007 and many thought that knock was hard to match. Then he produced another master class early this year with a sublime double hundred where he gave all batsmen a lesson on how to bat with the tail.

Wellington is a mountainous city prone for earthquakes. There was no earthquake on Sunday, but England were shaken and shattered following Sanga’s brilliant onslaught. Sunday’s knock was Sanga’s last in Wellington. He put up a super show and Wellington gave him a fitting farewell.

Continue reading ‘Time to Acknowledge Reality that Kumar Sangakkara has been Sri Lanka’s Finest Batsman.’ »

Ravi Karunanayake is Totally at Sea as Finance Minister and no Match for UNP Finance Ministers of the Past.

By Harendra Fernando

"Robin Hood" Mini-Budget presentation by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

“Robin Hood” Mini-Budget presentation by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

Last Friday the Daily FT carried a review of the UNPs performance at the halfway mark. All in all, it has been a total disappointment for those people who voted the Sirisena-UNP combined team to office.

The UNP, having been in the Opposition for over 12 years, is now demonstrating it has lost touch with the realities of the new world. It is clearly trying to start from where it left in 2004. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that people of the past have been reappointed to key posts in the new Government.

The world is now a very different place and managing such a set up like we have now requires people who are current and experienced. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has been a total disappointment. He has been totally at sea. He is no match for the Finance Ministers the UNP has produced in the past. The late K.N Choksy PC despite being a lawyer conducted himself so well.

Continue reading ‘Ravi Karunanayake is Totally at Sea as Finance Minister and no Match for UNP Finance Ministers of the Past.’ »

Mangala Samaraweera Thanks UN Human Rights Council and Human Rights Commissioner for not Discussing Sri Lanka Formally at 28th Session in Geneva.

(Text of Statement made by Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera at the High-level Segment of the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 2 March 2015)


Mr. President
High Commissioner for Human Rights/ Madam Deputy High Commissioner
Excellencies
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is an honour for me to be here today, representing the Government of Sri Lanka following the historic Presidential election that took place in my country 48 days ago on 8th January 2015.

As this august assembly would be aware, 81.52% of the registered voters in Sri Lanka from all parts of the island including the former conflict affected areas in the northern and eastern provinces exercised their franchise at this election. It was the largest ever voter turnout in the country’s history. Despite calls from some both within and outside the country to boycott the election, the people of Sri Lanka asserted their right to vote. Out of 66.28% of the total votes cast in the Jaffna District, 74.42% voted for President Maithripala Sirisena. In the Vanni District, out of the 72.57% votes cast, 78.47% voted for him. In the predominantly Muslim Eastern Province, President Sirisena polled 71.84% of votes in the Trincomalee District, 65.22% in the Digamadulla District and 81.62% in the Batticaloa District. 84.26% of the votes cast in his favour were from outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces reflecting that the people living in these areas also gave voice to the change of Government.

It could therefore be said that this is the first time in our country’s history that we have a truly Sri Lankan leader who has been elected through the votes of all Sri Lankans irrespective of race, religion and language. All communities united in electing President Maithripala Sirisena who promised them a united New Sri Lanka in which ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity is respected, celebrated and valued. They chose a leader who would fulfil their aspirations of strong and independent democratic institutions, freedom of expression, the rule of law, good governance and the promotion and protection of human rights. In doing so they rejected outright a regime under which the rights of the individual had been violated with impunity for almost a decade.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera Thanks UN Human Rights Council and Human Rights Commissioner for not Discussing Sri Lanka Formally at 28th Session in Geneva.’ »

Details of Expenditure Accounts Published by Northern Provincial Council Distorted Points out Opposition Leader Thavarajah


(Text of Media Release Issued on February 27th 2015 about Distorted Accounts Published by the Northern Provincial Council )

Northern Provincial Council Financial Statement as at 31st December 2014 published in the NPC website is a distorted accounts. The Leader of Opposition pointed it out during the question time in the council on 24th February 2015.

According to the minutes of the Board of Minister’s meeting, NPC, held on 30.12.2014, approval was granted to carry forward 128 work programmes totally amounting to Rs. 690,704,473.24 up to 31st March 2015 and this to be undertaken out of the allocation for the year of 2014.

Continue reading ‘Details of Expenditure Accounts Published by Northern Provincial Council Distorted Points out Opposition Leader Thavarajah’ »

“I state Categorically That I Have Never Said Jesus is Like Prabhakaran”-Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph


By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

Rev Rayappu Joseph

Rev Rayappu Joseph

The most outspoken Bishop in Sri Lanka, Dr Rayappu Joseph of Mannar says a purely domestic inquiry will not be perceived by Tamils as impartial, at least at this stage. Also, what should be done now as first step is to cooperate with the UN investigation and discuss next steps after that report is published.


Following are excerpts:

Continue reading ‘“I state Categorically That I Have Never Said Jesus is Like Prabhakaran”-Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe was “Inappropriate” in Issuing Veiled Threats to Sinhala Media Institutions

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Ranil Wickramasinghe is the Prime Minister of this country. He is Prime Minister today because he helped Maithripala Sirisena become President of this country. If he enjoys any power today it is simply because the President has unofficially conferred to him much of the decision-making powers vested in his office by the Constitution.

via: FB/Ranil Wickramasinghe

via: FB/Ranil Wickramasinghe

IMG_9380.JPG
We can call it ‘gratitude’. We can say he deserves reward for favors granted. There are things we cannot say, however. We cannot say (as he claims) that 6.2 million people wanted Ranil to be made the Prime Minister simply because what happened on January 8, 2015 was a PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

Ranil Wickremesinghe didn’t run for President. Indeed, we can safely conclude that Ranil Wickremesinghe could not have won had he contested. If ‘reform’ was his thing then it is more easily obtained by winning the Presidency rather than waiting on the largesse of someone else who was elected. As things stand, we are not even sure if Wickremesinghe wants reform, considering the fact that he’s quibbling over the utterly petty issue of whether or not presidential powers should be pruned along with instituting electoral reforms, not forgetting that he’s clearly focusing on a General Election.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe was “Inappropriate” in Issuing Veiled Threats to Sinhala Media Institutions’ »

ITAK Central Working Committee Condemns Attacks against Sampanthan and Sumanthiran and Censures Suresh Premachandran and Ananthy Sasitharan Over Effigy Burning


(Text of Second Resolution passed by the Central Working Committee of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) on 1st March 2015 in Vavuniya)

SAY NO 1

Resolution 2

The Central Working Committee of the ITAK continues to observe the unwarranted and unacceptable steps being taken against its Senior Leader R. Sampanthan and Deputy General Secretary for International Affairs and ITAK Spokesman M. A. Sumanthiran in recent times within the Tamil homeland and in the diaspora.
Continue reading ‘ITAK Central Working Committee Condemns Attacks against Sampanthan and Sumanthiran and Censures Suresh Premachandran and Ananthy Sasitharan Over Effigy Burning’ »

ITAK Urges Govt to Expedite Measures Regarding Return of Lands , Release of Political Prisoners and Issue of Disappeared Persons.


Text of First Resolution passed by the Central Working Committee of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) on 1st March 2015 in Vavuniya.

ITAK9912

Resolution 1

On this 1st of March 2015, the Central Working Committee of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi considering the changed political environment prevailing after regime change in Sri Lanka, resolves to request the government to expedite action in respect of the following matters immediately, in accordance with the promises made at the Presidential elections:

- The return of lands;

– The release of political prisoners; and

– Take steps in respect of the disappeared.

Continue reading ‘ITAK Urges Govt to Expedite Measures Regarding Return of Lands , Release of Political Prisoners and Issue of Disappeared Persons.’ »

Sirisena Govt Faces Crisis as UNP and SLFP Clash Over Issue of Constitutional Changes and Electoral Reforms


By
The “Sunday Times”Political Editor

The Government this week crossed the half way mark of its hundred-day programme to fulfil promises made to the people during the campaign for the January 8 presidential election. Ironically that milestone has arrived with some election assurances remaining unfulfilled and was to take a turn for the worse on Thursday. The two major partners in the rainbow coalition — the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) — failed to reach accord on the impending constitutional changes when the subcommittee on the subject, appointed by the National Executive Council (NEC), met at ‘Temple Trees’, the one-time official residence of the former President and now used more as an office. The NEC is an apex body of the Government’s partner political parties, those who support it and civil society groups. They have named subcommittees for different subjects like constitutional changes and anti-corruption.

SLFP bombshell: A document on constitutional changes

The SLFP wants the constitutional changes and the electoral reforms to go hand in hand. However, the UNP says only the constitutional changes should be passed in Parliament. That would naturally require a two thirds majority which means the support of the SLFP is a sine qua non. The SLFP holds 126 seats in the 225–member Parliament while the UNP has 41. The last to leave the UNP was General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. As for electoral reforms, the UNP argues that the subject should be taken up by the next Government that emerges after the parliamentary elections. In fact the UNP’s national leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared that the next administration would be a ‘national government.’

The talks collapsed and fears were raised on the future of the coalition which is 52-days-old today(Mar 1st). Clouding the issue further were claims and counterclaims. Some partners in the Government were accusing different ministers and officials of ‘going slow’ on investigations into big time ‘sharks’ involved in bribery, corruption and other malpractices. They claim that only the ‘small fry’ were being brought to book. On the other hand, these ministers say the due process of the law should take its course. The debate continues and neither side is winning acclaim from the people on this score and the public ire grows.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Govt Faces Crisis as UNP and SLFP Clash Over Issue of Constitutional Changes and Electoral Reforms’ »

Ex-President Rajapaksa Appointed 38 Advisers and Paid them Rupees 75,000 as salary and Rs.25,000 As Allowance

By

Nirmala Kannangara

When thousands of peasants struggle to find a proper meal to their children due to the high cost of living, millions of rupees of public money had allegedly been ‘wasted’ monthly by the former regime on 38 Presidential Advisers.

The Sunday Leader learns that out of the 38 Presidential Advisers, 20 were not assigned for any specific task although each were paid a salary of Rs.75, 000 and an allowance of one third of their salary.
Presidential Secretariat records also shows that each adviser was given a mobile phone, a laptop and a fully maintained vehicle as well as 200 liters of fuel which was increased based on their outstation travel. A certain percentage of their mobile phone and residential phone bills were also paid by the Presidential Secretariat.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Rajapaksa Appointed 38 Advisers and Paid them Rupees 75,000 as salary and Rs.25,000 As Allowance’ »

Action Against Weerawansa’s wife for Passport Offence but What is Happening to Sajin Vaas, Mahindananda and Duminda Silva for Corruption and Drug Matters?

By

Don Manu

All women tend to lie about their age. But not all women get landed in the slammer for it. Sashi’s – or is it Shehasa’s or is it Shirja’s’s — alleged mistake was to have falsified her name and age on documents tendered to obtain a diplomatic passport, an offence which carries a sentence of one to five years in jail or a fifty thousand to two hundred thousand rupees fine or both.

She allegedly used this diplomatic passport made out in the name of Randunu Mudiyanselage Shehasa Udayanthi, age 44, which grants specified privileges and immunities to its user, to fly to Dubai for a week’s stay on April 10, 2011, and to fly again in 4 weeks to Dubai for 3 days on May 21. She also used it to fly to Mumbai just for an overnight stay on October 20, 2011, to fly to Singapore for three days in April 2014 during the Sinhala New Year; and to fly on a SriLankan Airlines flight specially chartered by President Rajapaksa to an undisclosed destination on June 25 last year for five days.

Also known as Sashi, she is the wife of Weerasangili Panikkiyalage Wimalasena alias Wimal Weerawansa, also a man of two names. Her earlier passport carried the name Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirja Udayanthi, age 48.

Last Sunday, two days after having gone missing, she was arrested at a private hospital in Malabe. On the 25th she was further remanded till March 4th which would have made her stay at the Welikade Hospital, a little longer than her week’s sojourn in Dubai twice within a month in 2011. On Friday, however, she was granted bail.

Continue reading ‘Action Against Weerawansa’s wife for Passport Offence but What is Happening to Sajin Vaas, Mahindananda and Duminda Silva for Corruption and Drug Matters?’ »

How the Navy,Air Force and STF Grabbed 1220 Acres of Land in the Paanama area After Chasing Villagers Away

By Nirmala Kannangara

The new Government which came to power after the Presidential elections held last month has further exposed the forceful taking over of land in Panama when the former Government was in power.

The Sunday Leader had in 2013 exposed how the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and the police Special Task Force (STF) forced villagers in Shasthrawela, Ragamwela, Ulpassawela, Horowkanda and Ella in Panama to leave with the help of Potuvil Police and the Lahugala Divisional Secretary.

The respective forces then denied the allegations and insisted that they did not chase away villages but took over state lands that were idling to build their bases to strengthen security in the eastern province after the war victory. Thousand two hundred and twenty acres of forest lands was taken over forcibly by the SLN, SLAF and the STF in the guise of building camps.

However after the fall of the previous regime in January this year, it was reported how seven star chalets and an international conference hall has been constructed spending colossal amounts of public money.

Continue reading ‘How the Navy,Air Force and STF Grabbed 1220 Acres of Land in the Paanama area After Chasing Villagers Away’ »

Public Security Minister Publicly Harangues Inspector General of Police and his Officers

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

A most discomfiting sight witnessed in Sri Lanka post the January 2015 ‘yahapalanaya’ elections was this week’s less than coherent public haranguing of the country’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) and his officers by the new Government’s Public Security Minister John Amaratunga.


Lack of political will manifested

The general theme appeared to be that government politicians are lily white while the apparent inability to catch the big time criminals of the Rajapaksa regime lie fairly and squarely at the feet of law enforcement officers.

Indeed, it appears as if this is becoming the convenient refrain of the Government. On Friday, Cabinet spokesperson and a frontline Minister Rajitha Senaratne expressed dissatisfaction at the failure of state agencies including the Department of the Attorney General, the Department of the Police together with the Bribery and Corruption Commission to speedily act against major corruptors.

This is however a story that only the credulous will believe.

Continue reading ‘Public Security Minister Publicly Harangues Inspector General of Police and his Officers’ »

Why Mahinda Rajapaksa is Increasingly Looking like a Victim of the Voters’ Haste and Ingratitude.

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Spokesperson for the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA), staunch supporter of the Maithripala regime and shrill advocate of good governance Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri posed a question to certain individuals on Facebook. He wants to know what they think are the political meanings of a political force Wimal Wererawansa, Dayan Jayatilleka and Vasudeva Nanayakkara are putting together with Mahinda Rajapaksa as leader (”විමල් වීරවංශ, දයාන් ජයතිලක සහ වාසුදේව නානායක්කාර යන අය එක්ව මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂගේ නායකත්වයෙන් ගොඩ නැගෙන කදවුරක දෙශපාලන අරුත් පිළිබද ඔබගේ අදහස් දැනගැනීමට කැමැත්තෙමි.”)

In the comment thread Nirmal says that others gathered around slogans such as democracy and good governance they could agree with and asks what kinds of ideas could unite the likes of Wimal, Dinesh (Gunawardena), Dayan and Vasudeva. Today, the question can be posed, ‘of what worth are slogans (such as good governance and democracy) outside of mobilizing-utility?’

Continue reading ‘Why Mahinda Rajapaksa is Increasingly Looking like a Victim of the Voters’ Haste and Ingratitude.’ »

Mangala Samaraweera’s Three Pronged Policy on Human Rights, Accountability and Reconciliation Undermines Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty, National Security and National Interest.


BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

MANGALA’S TRIDENT: INSTRUMENTS OF INQUISITION INTO SRI LANKA

pic via: facebook.com/pages/Mangala-Samaraweera

pic via: facebook.com/pages/Mangala-Samaraweera

Does President Sirisena know what Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is up to or has he been kept in the dark, which isn’t a safe place to be, depending on the company? Does the Parliament or do Mr. Samaraweera’s Cabinet colleagues know what he is up to—and I don’t mean in his spare time?

Mr. Samaraweera has fashioned a trident, a three pronged policy on human rights, accountability and reconciliation which undermines Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, national security and national interest. What are the three prongs of the trident?

1. An agreement with the UN High Commissioner and his office for a six month interval in which the High Commissioner hopes to gain access to “new information” which will lead to a “stronger” report in August 2015.

2. A domestic mechanism to investigate allegations, which will be “developed” by working together with the UN High Commissioner and his office, and worse still, will involve “technical assistance” from “international rights watchdogs” i.e. international human rights NGOs—which by the way, are advocacy groups, not recognized or acknowledged sources of ‘technical assistance’.
3. Another process of a Truth Commission to be evolved in conjunction with South Africa, though the South African government has made it explicit that the TRC of that nation is not for export and transplantation.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera’s Three Pronged Policy on Human Rights, Accountability and Reconciliation Undermines Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty, National Security and National Interest.’ »

Inter School Cycle Race in Colombo Among Old Girls of Ladies, Methodist, Visakha, St.Pauls, Musaeus and Holy Family Convent

After months of anticipation the first leg of the Girl Power Inter School Old Girls Sportsmeet flags off on March 1st at Independence Square, when ‘Old Girls’ from Holy Family Convent, Ladies’, Methodist, Musaeus Colleges, St Paul’s Milagiriya and Visakha Vidyalaya compete in the first-ever Girl Power Inter School Cycle Race.

This is an open event where 12 riders from each school will compete against each other to vie for a trophy. The race will be flagged off at 3.30 pm on Independence Avenue by Sujeewa Senasinghe, Deputy Minister of Justice.

Continue reading ‘Inter School Cycle Race in Colombo Among Old Girls of Ladies, Methodist, Visakha, St.Pauls, Musaeus and Holy Family Convent’ »

How Jayalalithaa Sparkled on Silver Screen in her Actress Avatar as Uncrowned Queen of Tamil Cinema.

by

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Ex-Film actress Ms.jayalalithaa Jayaram who was born on February 24th 1948 celebrates her 67th Birthday today. This article written for “Spotlight” Column in the “Daily Financial Times”of October 11th 2014 is re-posted here without any changes to denote her Birthday)

The recent conviction and consequent imprisonment of Jayalalithaa Jayaram on charges of acquiring disproportionate wealth during her past term of office (1991-96) has resulted in the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister being under media spotlight for many days now. This week’s ‘Spotlight’ column too will be about Jayalalithaa but the focus will be on certain aspects of her family background, early life and scintillating career as a film star and not on her politics or present plight.

JJM

People looking at her physical corpulence – which may be a sign of her ill-gotten opulence – would not believe that the rotund lady of today was at one time slim and lissom. Indeed she was and a ravishing beauty too! As a sparkling actress on the silver screen, Jayalalithaa was the uncrowned queen of Tamil cinema during the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies of the last century. She was the dream girl of many a teenager and the favourite pin-up star of myriad fans.
Continue reading ‘How Jayalalithaa Sparkled on Silver Screen in her Actress Avatar as Uncrowned Queen of Tamil Cinema.’ »

Thirteen Things That Will be Said and Left Unsaid by Mangala Samaraweera at the UN Human Rights Council

By S. V. Kirubaharan


The Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera, is scheduled to speak on the opening day of the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council – UN HRC, in Geneva, on 02 March 2015.

With my experience of Sri Lanka and the UN Human Rights forums, I predict that the following will be said. Many facts and realities will not be disclosed to this august forum.

1 – Mangala Samaraweera will inform the UN HRC that a new President has been elected by all communities – Singhalese, Tamil and Muslims. He will also say that the Tamils’ leading political party, the Tamil National Alliance – TNA, fully supported the new President.

But he will not mention that the new President won the election mainly because of votes from the North and Eastern Provinces which are predominantly inhabited by Tamils.

Continue reading ‘Thirteen Things That Will be Said and Left Unsaid by Mangala Samaraweera at the UN Human Rights Council’ »

Opulent Life-style of Rajapaksa Family at “Temple Trees” Exposed to People Through Guided Public Tours


By

Dharisha Bastians

Still, modern extensions notwithstanding, prettiest parts of the building are the oldest.

Still, modern extensions notwithstanding, prettiest parts of the building are the oldest.

In 2009, some months after the war ended, media personnel were offered military tours of Velupillai Prabhakaran’s ‘luxury’ bunker and swimming pool deep inside his hideout in Mullaitivu by the defeated regime. Subsequently, the bunker was turned into a special exhibit on the ‘war tourism’ trail, for first time visitors from the island’s south to marvel at the slain Tiger Leader’s opulent lifestyle.

The 'Rajapaksa wing' at Temple Trees. Three new cabinet rooms, hall for 7000 & countless plush meeting rooms

The ‘Rajapaksa wing’ at Temple Trees. Three new cabinet rooms, hall for 7000 & countless plush meeting rooms

Today the regime’s own extensions inside the premises – traditionally used as the Prime Minister’s official residence – are being opened up to curious journalists and visitors. Enthusiastic security personnel escort journalists to the former President’s private brick-lined, kidney-shaped pool completely obscured from view by 25 feet of tall aluminium fencing all around it. A small tiled sauna and massage room still smells of herbal oil and flowers.

Continue reading ‘Opulent Life-style of Rajapaksa Family at “Temple Trees” Exposed to People Through Guided Public Tours’ »

“Dont Shout at me. I Understand Your Issues” -Ranil Tells TNA in Stormy Meeting

By
Dharisha Bastians

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe & TNA Leader R. Sampanthan

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe & TNA Leader R. Sampanthan

Hardline sections of the TNA are breathing fire against the new Prime Minister for the Government delays in releasing lands seized by the military in war time back to its original owners in the North and East.

The two major regions being contested are Valikamam North in the Jaffna District and Sampur in the Trincomalee District. In Valikamam North, the army holds 6000 acres of land, originally belonging to private citizens. The Government announced two weeks ago that it would release 1000 acres back to the original owners. Since the announcement there is little progress.

It appears the 1000 acres is the present compromise the Government has been able to exact from the military.

The frustration over the delays has resulted in a spate of protests by families of the disappeared, student activists and land owners, against both the new Government and the more moderate leaders of the TNA.

Last Thursday, a stormy meeting ensued when Prime Minister Wickremesinghe met with a TNA delegation for talks about the release of land and detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Several TNA MPs, including EPRLF Leader Suresh Premachandra, were harsh with the Prime Minister. Wickremesinghe reacted by urging calm.

Continue reading ‘“Dont Shout at me. I Understand Your Issues” -Ranil Tells TNA in Stormy Meeting’ »

Actor Sivakarthikeyan re-brands himself in “Kaaki Sattai” Film and Arrives as Star.

By

Udhav Naig

Name: Kaaki Sattai
Director: R.S. Durai Senthilkumar
Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Sri Divya, Vijay Raaz
Producer: Wunderbar Films
Music: Anirudh Ravichander

 Sivakarthikeyan

Sivakarthikeyan

Actor Sivakarthikeyan seems to have decided that it is time to tool up and fast track the process of his anointment as a star. The actor’s latest, Kaaki Sattai, is a star vehicle, designed to re-brand the funny man as an underdog who fights the mighty and the corrupt single handedly. The result? He has pulled it off without embarrassing himself – an achievement in itself.

Continue reading ‘Actor Sivakarthikeyan re-brands himself in “Kaaki Sattai” Film and Arrives as Star.’ »

Popular Tamil Film Director R.C.Sakthi (75) Passes Away at Chennai Private Hospital

Popular Tamil director R.C Sakthi, who launched Kamal Haasan in a lead role, breathed his last at a private hospital in Chennai on Monday. He was 75.

“Director Sakthi passed away at SRM hospital due to old age—related ailments,” a source close to the director’s family told IANS.

Sakthi started his career as a theatre artist. He floated a theatre troupe with his friends and went on to act in a few plays before moving to cinema.

He started his career as an assistant to theatre artist Subbhu Arumugam, and worked with him on several plays.

Continue reading ‘Popular Tamil Film Director R.C.Sakthi (75) Passes Away at Chennai Private Hospital’ »

Sri Lankan Navy Arrests 86 Indian Fishermen Poaching in Waters off Mullaitheevu Coast and Seize 10 Trawlers

By

Meera Srinivasan

Signalling a departure from its recent decision to be lenient with Indian fishermen allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters, the Sri Lankan Navy on Thursday night arrested 86 Indian fishermen off Mullativu in the island’s Northern Province. Ten trawlers in their possession were seized.

After the Maithripala Sirisena-led Government assumed charge in January, Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen pointed to the increasing number of “Indian fishermen” trawling off their coast.

They accused the Sri Lankan Navy of being lenient with the Indian fishermen found poaching, a charge that Cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne admitted to.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Navy Arrests 86 Indian Fishermen Poaching in Waters off Mullaitheevu Coast and Seize 10 Trawlers’ »

SRI LANKA’s Right to Information Bill 2015 – Clearing Up Misconceptions and Recommending Revisions


By Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena and Venkatesh Nayak


Introduction

In giving necessary context to Sri Lanka’s draft Right to Information (RTI) law disseminated by the current Government in order to obtain feedback from citizens, a few matters need to be clarified. In substantial respects, this draft is the 2003/2004 Bill of the United National Front (UNF) administration. This is quite evident by the insertion of the Legislative Draftsman’s Department, LDO Number 23/2003 on the left hand side of the Bill.

The 2003/2004 Bill was finalized by a committee headed by then Attorney General, the late Mr KC Kamalasabeyson, PC and including the then Justice Secretary, the Legal Draftsman, senior editors and public interest advocates. It was approved by the UNF Cabinet at that time. However, due to the Parliament being dissolved by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, this draft was not enacted into law. The Bill was further revised in 2010 by then Justice and Legal Reforms Minister of the Peoples’ Alliance, Milinda Moragoda who attempted unsuccessfully to enact an RTI law. Later, then United National Party opposition parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya also attempted to bring in an RTI law as a private member’s Bill. This attempt was disallowed by the Rajapaksa government in power in a move widely condemned at that time.

Contrary to the popular perception of some therefore, the RTI Bill now in the public domain is not the end product of a new drafting process initiated by this Government in 2015. That exercise still remains to be engaged in, which is presumably why the call for public feedback was issued.

Continue reading ‘SRI LANKA’s Right to Information Bill 2015 – Clearing Up Misconceptions and Recommending Revisions’ »

Assessment of First 50 Days in Power:Review of Performance by the new Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Government

It is 27 February; the new Government has clocked 50 days of power and it is opportune to review its performance during this period.

If one is to go by the rumblings and the ramblings in Colombo, there is increasing disillusionment with the UNP-dominated new Government. The previous Government, try as they did, was unsuccessful in converting the “Colombians” from their deeply-entrenched UNP loyalties. This was amply evidenced by the results in the presidential election and at various elections in the past.

The heart of Colombo remained indefatigably UNP. However, the UNP which the Colombians voted for in January 2015, and many times before, and the values, ideologies and fair play which typified the UNP, have changed dramatically and the UNP is near unrecognisable, especially in the eyes of the private sector.

Continue reading ‘Assessment of First 50 Days in Power:Review of Performance by the new Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Government’ »

Action Against Weerawansa’s wife for Forged Birth Certificate but none against Champika Ranawaka for Substituting KP’s head for Lester James Peries!

(Text of an Editorial Appearing in “The Island”of February 27th 2015 Under the heading “Pursuing the hare”)

National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Sashi has been further remanded over an allegedly forged birth certificate. Wimal has also been summoned to the CID and questioned over an alleged incident of unlawful assembly.

If the Weerawansas have been on the wrong side of the law, let them face the consequences of their action. But, the law must apply equally to everyone if the government is not to be accused of having it enforced selectively to achieve its political objectives the way its predecessor did.

Continue reading ‘Action Against Weerawansa’s wife for Forged Birth Certificate but none against Champika Ranawaka for Substituting KP’s head for Lester James Peries!’ »

Do we need more Corruption, White Vans, Abductions, Kickbacks, Casinos and Anti-Muslim Violence With a Rajapaksa Comeback?

By Harim Peiris

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) dominated and led United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) met its political Waterloo, about two months back when Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in the presidential elections by Maithripala Sirisena from the UNP led National Democratic Front.

pic courtesy of: twitter.com/Rathgamaya

pic courtesy of: twitter.com/Rathgamaya

That stark reality that they lost the presidential election has obviously been lost on Mahinda, Dinesh, Wimal, Vasu and Co. That reality was rather obvious to most of the SLFP seniors who fairly quickly realised which side their bread was buttered. Now the SLFP sits in opposition but in support of the one hundred (100) day programme of the NDF administration.
Continue reading ‘Do we need more Corruption, White Vans, Abductions, Kickbacks, Casinos and Anti-Muslim Violence With a Rajapaksa Comeback?’ »

Canadian Tamil Congress Strongly Condemns the Burning of Effigies and Pictures of TNA Leaders

The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) strongly condemns the burning of effigies and images of TNA leaders, Mr. Sampanthan and Mr. Sumanthiran. We believe these acts are aimed at weakening the democratically elected leadership of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and thereby silencing the democratic wishes of Tamil people.

In the last presidential elections, the Tamil people voted in large numbers to bring about change, as per the advice of these very TNA leaders.

Continue reading ‘Canadian Tamil Congress Strongly Condemns the Burning of Effigies and Pictures of TNA Leaders’ »

NCEASL Welcomes Appointment of Coordinator for Charismatic,Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian Churches


The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) welcomes the appointment of a Coordinator for Charismatic, Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian Churches by Hon. John Amaratunga, Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management & Christian Affairs.

Established in 1952, NCEASL represents a constituency of traditional and non-traditional Evangelical churches that has been present in the country for over a century.

In the recent past, there has been a significant trend of increasing religious intolerance and violence against religious minorities in Sri Lanka. This has been accompanied by tightening administrative regulation, including the use of Ministry Circulars to compel clergy to seek state approval for their religious activities.

Continue reading ‘NCEASL Welcomes Appointment of Coordinator for Charismatic,Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian Churches’ »

New Govt Aware that Sections of the Military Remain Fiercely Loyal to Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

By
Dharisha Bastians

Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa -pic: defence.lk

Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa -pic: defence.lk

A crisis, precipitated by shadowy forces, may in fact have hastened the reshuffle in the military establishment this past week, and the appointment of the new Army Commander.

The new Government has been aware for several weeks now that sections of the military remain fiercely loyal to former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

These sections grew accustomed over nine years of Rajapaksa rule to a Government policy of viewing every problem through the lens of security. Militarisation and the dominance of the security paradigm in all aspects of the Rajapaksa State has in a sense changed perspectives within the military establishment about the primacy of democratic rule.

This is a problem the new Government encountered early on. The early gaffe by newly appointed Defence Secretary Basnayake, who sought to justify irregular financial activity by his predecessor, was an indication of the seriousness of the problem.

Within the security establishment, the influence of the previous powerful regime runs deep. Civil servants had learned to obey the dictates of military, even though they were technically higher in the command chain.

Continue reading ‘New Govt Aware that Sections of the Military Remain Fiercely Loyal to Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

What The Northern Provincial Council and Chief Minister Wigneswaran want to be Done with and to Sri Lanka.

BY

DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

NPC 02 11 15

Chief Minister Wigneswaran attempted to explain away the Northern Provincial Council’s ‘Genocide’ Resolution by saying it was not directed against the present administration but rather against its predecessor. He was not telling the truth, to put it mildly. The Resolution has a specific target and that target is unveiled in the very title. The Resolution goes into the record under the title “Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils”. (http://lnweng.vishmitha.netdna-cdn.com/images/doc/2015/pdf/NPC-Resolution_on_Tamil_Genocide_v2.pdf)

Thus the charge is not against Mahinda Rajapaksa—not that this would have made it right—but against Sri Lanka. It is Sri Lanka, the country—our country—that stands accused. It stands accused of ‘genocide’. Any reference to the previous administration appears in those sections dealing with ‘recent genocide’, while every section on ‘recent genocide’ is preceded with one on ‘historic genocide’.

What is the pith and substance of the resolution? There is no room for confusion. It says:

“This resolution provides an overview of the evidence demonstrating successive Sri Lankan governments’ genocide against Tamils, and respectfully requests the ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (Genocide Convention) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9th December, 1948, and acceded to by Sri Lanka in 1950, and provides:

Continue reading ‘What The Northern Provincial Council and Chief Minister Wigneswaran want to be Done with and to Sri Lanka.’ »

“Rajapaksa Rising” Rally with 20,000 at Nugegoda is an Urgent Wake Up Call to Sirisena Govt


By

Dharisha Bastians

In anticipation of a parliamentary election in just over two months, hardliners on both sides of the ethnic divide are moving in for the kill, threatening to derail a fragile process of reconciliation the new Government has pledged to undertake and bring back an autocratic leader ousted in January.

IMG_9289.JPG

The 20,000 strong rally in Nugegoda, organised by smaller parties within the UPFA coalition – famously called ‘The Rising’ by former diplomat and political scientist Dayan Jayatilleka. Jayatilleka, who openly campaigned for the defeated leader in last month’s election, theatrically read a message from the former President to participants and forever etched his place in the fringe Sinhala nationalist movement that is coalescing around Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Appropriately, the Sinhala hardline Bodu Bala Sena movement – accused of spearheading a spate of attacks against the Muslim community including the riots in Aluthgama, urged people to attend the Nugegoda rally.

The controversial monk Elle Gunewansa Thera, with his chequered role in the 1983 ethnic riots, was also in attendance. Over enthusiastic organisers insist that the Nugegoda rally drew a 500,000-strong crowd.

The figure is ludicrously over-inflated, but 20,000 is no number to scoff at, since they were gathered to salute a defeated President.

Continue reading ‘“Rajapaksa Rising” Rally with 20,000 at Nugegoda is an Urgent Wake Up Call to Sirisena Govt’ »

Veteran Cinematographer and Film Director A.Vincent who First Established Importance of Camera in Tamil Films Passes Away.

By

B. Kolappan

A. Vincent in conversation with press.

A. Vincent in conversation with press.

Veteran cinematographer A. Vincent, who teamed up with late film director C.V. Sridhar in his masterpieces such as Kalyanaparisu, Sumai Thangi, Nenjil Or Aalyam, Then Nilavu and Kathalikka Neramillai died here on Wednesday.

He is survived by his wife, two cinematographer sons-Jayanan Vincent and Ajayan Vincent-and a daughter.

Vincent, born in Calicut, was a product of Gemini Studios and a student of Kamal Ghosh. He dominated the Tamil film world since the 1950s also became a most-sought after cinematographer in Telugu and Hindi.

Continue reading ‘Veteran Cinematographer and Film Director A.Vincent who First Established Importance of Camera in Tamil Films Passes Away.’ »

Mannar Catholic Bishop Rayappu Joseph Joins TNA Led Demonstration in Jaffna While Jaffna Bishop Thomas Soundaranayagam Keeps Away

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph on Tuesday (Feb 24) joined a Tamil National Alliance (TNA)-led demonstration in Jaffna against the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) delaying the release of a report that dealt with accountability issues in Sri Lanka during the war as well as post-conflict period.

Addressing protesters, Rt. Rev. Joseph strongly condemned the postponement of the report consequent to a request by the new Sri Lankan government.

The UNHRC now will unveil its report in Sept. 2015, though it had earlier planned to present it during next month’s session. The UN conducted the probe in accordance with resolution 25/1 adopted in March last year.

Alleging that the UNHRC had deceived the Tamil people, the priest stressed that Tamils had no faith in a domestic war crimes investigation under any government.

Continue reading ‘Mannar Catholic Bishop Rayappu Joseph Joins TNA Led Demonstration in Jaffna While Jaffna Bishop Thomas Soundaranayagam Keeps Away’ »

“This Goverment is Divided Between People who Want Reforms and Those who Dont”-Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Rajiva Wijesinha

Rajiva Wijesinha


By
Lakna Paranamanna

The State Minister for Higher Education Professor Rajiva Wijesinha maintains that the promises made during the presidential campaign period have taken a backseat with the general elections in the offing. At an interview with the Dailymirror Prof. Wijesinha was candid on the reasons that led to his resignation, on the reforms he planned in the higher education sector. He has expressed negative views on the progress of the 100-day programme of the new government.


Excerpts of the interview follow.

Q:Was it solely the resignation of the UGC Chairman – a subject on which you claim you weren’t consulted – that led to your resignation from your portfolio?

Continue reading ‘“This Goverment is Divided Between People who Want Reforms and Those who Dont”-Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha MP’ »

UN Must Ask Sri Lankan Govt to Facilitate a Visit to Sri Lanka by a UN Investigative Team During the March -September Deferral Period.

By

Ruki Fernando

This month, the UN Human Rights Council announced it would defer publication of a major report that investigates allegations of serious human rights violations and related crimes during the last years of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose office had been entrusted with the task, had asked the council to delay the report’s release, originally scheduled for March, until September, based on a request by Sri Lanka’s new government.

According to High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, one of the reasons justifying a deferral was “clear commitments” from the government to cooperate with his office “on a range of important human rights issues”. These commitments were detailed in a letter Sri Lanka’s new foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera, sent to the high commissioner.

But the foreign minister’s letter avoids saying anything directly related to the UN investigation, and thus, it appears that the new Sri Lankan government could follow the previous regime in relation to the UN investigation.

First of all, the letter doesn’t state that Sri Lankans are free to cooperate with the UN investigation and gave no assurances that there will be no reprisals for any individuals or groups who do so.

Secondly, the letter says nothing about inviting the UN investigation team to Sri Lanka and creating an enabling environment for such a visit.

Thirdly, there is nothing contained in the letter about the Sri Lankan government sharing information and cooperating with the investigation. In this context, it will be challenging to realize “the possibility that important new information may emerge which will strengthen the report”, which was the second reason the high commissioner gave for justifying his request to defer the report’s release.

Continue reading ‘UN Must Ask Sri Lankan Govt to Facilitate a Visit to Sri Lanka by a UN Investigative Team During the March -September Deferral Period.’ »

Will Sri Lanka Turn Into Maldives with Maithripala and Ranil Becoming Like Nasheed and Wahid?

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

The media reported on Monday that former Maldivian President Abdul Nasheed was arrested on terrorism charges. The fate of Nasheed is a lesson for Maithri and Ranil who leads the present government.

Today, the President of Maldives is Abdullah Yameen, half brother of former President Abdul Gayoom who ruled Maldives for 30 long years until Nasheed and Waheed joined to oust him. After ousting Gayoom, both Nasheed and Waheed crossed swords for Presidency.

Finally, the alliance broke and Nasheed was ousted while Waheed took control of the country.

It was Abdul Gayoom who manipulated measures to create dissension between Nasheed and Waheed to get his half brother installed as President. Gayoom ruled Maldives for 30 years suppressing the Opposition. The Opposition parties too were at loggerheads and that gave oxygen to Gayoom.

Gayoom jailed his Opposition Leader Abdul Nasheed when he was in power. After Nasheed was released from jail, he chose to live in Sri Lanka to operate his political work. As developments turned worse in Maldives, the United States, India, the West and Sri Lanka joined hands to oust Abdul Gayoom to restore democracy in Maldives.

With the mediation of these powerful countries, the Opposition in Maldives rallied round Nasheed and defeated the strongman Gayoom whom everybody thought could not be ousted from power. Nasheed became President.

Continue reading ‘Will Sri Lanka Turn Into Maldives with Maithripala and Ranil Becoming Like Nasheed and Wahid?’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Makes Six -inch Gold Trident Offering at Kataragama as Dutugemunu did Before Going to War with Elara

By Zahrah Imtiaz

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (23) morning made an offering of a six-inch gold trident to the Kataragama Maha Devalaya.

At the 84,000 pahan poojawa in Kataragama-Feb 22, pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

At the 84,000 pahan poojawa in Kataragama-Feb 22, pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

Folklore states that King Dutugemunu too, made such an offering before he set out to war.

Thus, rumours are afloat that this might be an indication of the former Head of State continuing to harbour political ambitions.

Rajapaksa who visited Kataragama on Sunday (22) participated in the lighting of 84,000 lamps at an all night pirith ceremony with wife Shiranthi, sons; Namal and Yoshitha, nephew Shasheendra Rajapaksa, former minister Gamini Lokuge and Udaya Gammanpila.

It was observed that the usual provincial politicians from Hambantota and Moneragala Districts, who accompanied Rajapaksa on previous visits to Kataragama were notably absent this time around.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Makes Six -inch Gold Trident Offering at Kataragama as Dutugemunu did Before Going to War with Elara’ »

Ex-Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake Wants Assets Disclosure Case Against her to be Heard in Full and not Withdrawn by CIABOC.

By Ishara Ratnakara

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) yesterday expressed willingness to withdraw the case filed against former Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, for not having disclosed her assets, but the Chief Justice’s party did not agree to that.

When the case against the former Chief Justice was taken up for hearing, Dr. Bandaranayake was present in Court.

CIABOC requested a period of two months from the Court to declare their stand point on withdrawing the case filed against the former Chief Justice.

President’s Counsel, Nalin Ladduwahetty, who represented former Chief Justice Dr. Bandaranayake in Court, together with a group of lawyers, stated that, he is opposed to withdrawing and winding up the case.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake Wants Assets Disclosure Case Against her to be Heard in Full and not Withdrawn by CIABOC.’ »

UPFA Western Province Councillors and Local Authority Members Want Mahinda Rajapaksa Back as Prime Ministerial Candidate

By Dasun Edirisinghe

UPFA Provincial Councillors and local government members in the Western Province have launched a campaign demanding former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial Candidate and an immediate end to moves to remove Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga.

Their first meeting was held at the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Auditorium on Monday with the participation of the majority of UPFA local government heads and members and provincial councillors in the Gampaha District.

Addressing the gathering, Chairman of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha, Prasanna Ranaweera, said they would take to the streets with all local government and provincial council members of the Western Province if Chief Minister Ranatunga was removed by the present government.

Continue reading ‘UPFA Western Province Councillors and Local Authority Members Want Mahinda Rajapaksa Back as Prime Ministerial Candidate’ »

Jayalalithaa Supporter Shihan Husseini Crucifies himself on a Cross for 6.7 Minutes to Commemorate “Amma”s 67th Birthday

By S Venkat Narayan

NEW DELHI, February 24: Fan frenzy reached its peak at some places in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday as AIADMK supremo filmstar-turned-politician Jayaram Jayalalithaa turned 67.

Many AIADMK supporters pierced themselves with spears and hooks as penance for ‘Amma’ (mother) to return to power.

Partymen also organized a number of welfare activities to mark their leader’s birthday.

While special prayers at religious places were conducted for the former chief minister’s acquittal in an assets case also, mass marriages and welfare activities marked the day for supporters.

Continue reading ‘Jayalalithaa Supporter Shihan Husseini Crucifies himself on a Cross for 6.7 Minutes to Commemorate “Amma”s 67th Birthday’ »

FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Does not want Dual Citizenship;he Wants to Rescind Australian Citizenship and Revert to Being a Sri Lankan Citizen alone.


Leader of the Frontline Socialist Party Kumar Gunaratnam yesterday said that incumbent government’s political duplicity had become evident in its moves to deport him while calling upon those who had fled the country for political reasons to return home.

In a press release issued yesterday, Gunaratnam says the higher echelons of government had repeatedly called upon those who had left the country to escape political victimisation to return home. “I am one such person but the very same government has got its legal experts to deport me to Australia.”

Excerpts of Gunaratnam’s release:

Continue reading ‘FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Does not want Dual Citizenship;he Wants to Rescind Australian Citizenship and Revert to Being a Sri Lankan Citizen alone.’ »

Maldives Crisis Escalates with Political Tug of War Between Government and Opposition Intensifying.

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

Maldives is at it again. With the return of the political tug-of-war between the Government and the Opposition threatening to peak, the police arrested former President Mohammed Nasheed on Sunday in connection with the long-pending ‘Judge Abdulla arrest case’ and ended up ‘manhandling’ him outside the court hall a day later, spreading all round concern over the ‘recent developments’ in the Indian Ocean atolls nation.

“We are concerned at the recent developments in the Maldives, including the arrest and manhandling of former President Nasheed. We urge all concerned to calm the situation and resolve their differences within the constitutional and legal framework of Maldives,” Syed Akbaruddin, Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India, Maldives’ closest and largest neighbour, said in a late evening media briefing on Monday.

Akbaruddin’s statement came full 24 hours after President Nasheed’s arrest in relation to a pending criminal case. In between, a five-member delegation of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) doing the rounds in Delhi to campaign for support had told the Indian media that no one from the Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi met them. Even scheduled meetings with officials were cancelled, an MDP team member was quoted as saying.

Continue reading ‘Maldives Crisis Escalates with Political Tug of War Between Government and Opposition Intensifying.’ »

The ‘First’ Victim of the Executive Presidency Demands An “Official Apology” and Rs 10 Million Compensation


By

Lalith Abeysinghe

I was a final year student in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Peradeniya in 1978. Politically it was a tough and a crucial time with regard to the fate of the working class and the disadvantageous groups in particular and to the future of the country in general. Mr. J. R. Jayewardene securing a landslide victory at the Parliamentary Election in July 1977, seen preparing for a total dictatorship misusing the mandate got through the election. It was crystal-clear of the motives of JR that the whole country was ‘constitutionally’ converting to a hotbed for the benefit of the handful of rich and understandably for the agony of the poor.

I was a member of Nava Samasamaja Party led by Dr Vickramabahu Karunarathne and Vasudeva Nanayakkara and the President of Lanka Students Federation (Peradeniya University), the party’s student arm. After the first Party Congress in December 1977, it was decided to hoist Black Flags all over the country and declare 04th February as a ‘National Mourning Day’ to protest against the Bonapartist constitution, which was proposed to give massive and un-challengeable powers to the Executive President.

As a Political Science student and a responsible citizen, I was quite convinced about the agony which the country is going to face with the introduction of such a dangerous constitution. Hence I with the guidance of Dr Vickramabahu, who was a Senior Lecturer in Engineering Mathematics at the Engineering Faculty, at that time, took the leadership to organize the protest in and in the vicinity of the University. We were hoisting Black flags and writing slogans to protest against the constitution.

Incidentally, the government was preparing for the ‘National Celebration’ to introduce the new constitution and Mr. Jayewardene to take oaths as the First Executive President on the Paththirippuwa of the Sri Dalada Maligawa on the same day 04th February.

Continue reading ‘The ‘First’ Victim of the Executive Presidency Demands An “Official Apology” and Rs 10 Million Compensation’ »

Mr. Sampanthan or Mr.Sumanthiran of TNA Must Join the Cabinet and Engage the State more.

by

S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The burning in Jaffna by a group including TNA representatives of an effigy of M. A. Sumanthiran, TNA MP, induces déjà vu in me. Mr. R. Sampanthan the TNA leader and Mr. Sumanthiran took a bold step in attending the recent Independence Day celebrations, the first time the Tamil leadership has done that after the 1972 constitution’s promulgation. Many Tamils feel that it has no legitimacy because Tamils did not vote for it and it removed their protection under article 29 (2).

TNA Parliamentarians  M.A. Sumanthiran MP and R. Sampanthan MP

TNA Parliamentarians M.A. Sumanthiran MP and R. Sampanthan MP

Count Otto von Bismarck enunciated the wisdom of Realpolitik: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.” Sampanthan is the bold Tamil leader who, exercising the wisdom of that adage, urged the Tamil people to vote for President Maitripala Sirisena on Jan. 8. Tamils followed him. And this has irked rabid nationalists within the TNA whose politics is fueled by hate. Mischievous headlines like in the Colombo Mirror declared that the TNA condemned Sampanthan whereas the statement was by a TNA MP who sees Sumanthiran as a rival for succession. There has been no TNA decision condemning Sampanthan.


What Sampanthan and Sumanthiran did is what leaders do – lead. They do not go back to the party to ask at every step whether they may do this or that.
Explained Mr. Sampanthan to the BBC Tamil service: “The decision to attend the celebration was made after careful consideration.” Regime change, the Tamil people’s future, and faith in the new ruler were the key reasons, he is reported to have explained.

Continue reading ‘Mr. Sampanthan or Mr.Sumanthiran of TNA Must Join the Cabinet and Engage the State more.’ »

The Grave Damage that an Arrogant India has Inflicted Upon its Hapless Neighbour Sri Lanka

By A.G. NOORANI


ONE
hopes that Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to India on February 15 will truly mark a turning point in the relations between the two countries. To accomplish that, India’s outlook and approach will have to change in fundamental respects. India has legitimate security interests in the region and legitimate concerns in the welfare of the Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka. But neither the interests nor the concerns have been served by the policies that India has followed, since 1983, to be precise.

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Both were inspired by arrogant assumptions of the airs of “a regional power” aspiring to be a “great power” globally. Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose departure from office was universally welcomed, proved that on both counts, India enjoyed little leverage in 2014. The policies of old now lie in ruins. It would be foolish to continue as before. The situation has changed radically, and India’s interests and concerns will best be promoted by a diplomacy that relies on persuasion and not force.

But change will come about only if there is a sincere realisation of India’s mistakes, the wrongs it committed and the grave damage it inflicted on a hapless neighbour, too small to retaliate in kind. Only time will tell how deep the wounds on the psyche of the people of Sri Lanka are.

Continue reading ‘The Grave Damage that an Arrogant India has Inflicted Upon its Hapless Neighbour Sri Lanka’ »

One Way to Prevent Mahinda’s Re-Entry is to Grant him and Family Members Immunity from Prosecution For Abuses During Rajapaksa Regime

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Messrs Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dinesh Gunawardena and Udaya Gammanpila who cannot win at the next Parliamentary Elections without contesting on the SLFP-UPFA ticket, want Mahinda Rajapaksa to make a political comeback –in order to save their own political future and not so much the future of the country.

at Nainativu Nagapoosani Amman-Feb 2013

at Nainativu Nagapoosani Amman-Feb 2013

For that purpose, they held a political rally in Nugegoda, last week and the wheeler-dealers who benefitted from the largess of the previous regime footed the bill.

Without their generosity, renting 150-200 buses to ferry supporters from far-flung villages and paying for other important details such as their food and booze would have been beyond the reach of the four minor political parties that organised the rally.

So, the Nugegoda rally tells us, among other things, that the ex-president is continued to be buttressed by the people with deep pockets. However, that is not something new; the question is how long such loyalties would last.

Continue reading ‘One Way to Prevent Mahinda’s Re-Entry is to Grant him and Family Members Immunity from Prosecution For Abuses During Rajapaksa Regime’ »

China Cannot Simply Allow a U-turn by Sri Lanka’s new Govt on Sino-Sri Lanka Relations to Proceed

By
Eric Meyer

One year ago, Chinese Third World diplomacy was widely seen as being in crisis. Throughout Africa, Latin America and Asia, a growing number of emerging countries were expressing reluctance to be involved in relations with the Middle Kingdom based on its exploitation of their mineral resource riches. This sense of unease and even outright resistance to China was most evident in Asia, where Myanmar and North Korea began distancing themselves from their giant neighbor and even systematically refuse to align themselves with it on key foreign policy issues.

But today it would seem that the balance has started swinging in the opposite direction, and China has revised its procedures and scenarios. In the case of Myanmar, a gas pipeline from the Andaman Sea to the Chinese province of Yunnan was opened at the start of February, which will better protect China’s imported energy lifeline. At the same time, a series of other mega-projects are now being negotiated, which will more closely align Myanmar to the People’s Republic.

A double clock is therefore ticking. Moreover, it is doing so in contradictory directions and, in this respect, the case of Sri Lanka is especially instructive. Sri Lanka held elections in December, which were unexpectedly won by the opposition, whose campaign was partially based on China-bashing. The new strong man, Maithripala Sirisena, claims to want to distance his country from the economic agreements his predecessor signed with China. In one such deal, for billions of dollars of investment, China is upgrading Colombo’s airport.

Continue reading ‘China Cannot Simply Allow a U-turn by Sri Lanka’s new Govt on Sino-Sri Lanka Relations to Proceed’ »

Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirja Udayanthi, also known as Shashee Weerawansa Remanded in Hospital and Travel Ban Imposed


BY Ishara Rathnakara

Former Minister, Wimal Weerawansa’s wife, Shashee Weerawansa, who was arrested for providing false information and presenting forged documents to obtain passports, was banned from travelling abroad by Colombo Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya, yesterday (23).

It is said that Shashee Weerawansa had obtained a diplomatic passport by providing false documents and CID had told the Court that this diplomatic passport was issued due to a written request by former Minister Wimal Weerawansa to the former Controller General of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DIE), Chulananda Perera.

Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirja Udayanthi, also known as Shashee Weerawansa, who was arrested last Sunday (22) for obtaining forged documents, is currently undergoing treatment at the Neville Fernando Hospital in Malabe.

Continue reading ‘Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirja Udayanthi, also known as Shashee Weerawansa Remanded in Hospital and Travel Ban Imposed’ »

NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa Grilled by CID Over Demonstration led by him at Kaduwela in 2011


BY Cassendra Doole and Rathindra Kuruwita

Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) Wimal Weerawansa was grilled by the CID yesterday (23) in connection with an alleged demonstration he led in 2011 in Kaduwela. He arrived at the CID around 9:30 a.m. with a group of lawyers.

“Those who worked tirelessly towards freeing the country from the Tigers are now being taken into custody.

Allegations against me are not connected to my wife” said Weerawansa.

Continue reading ‘NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa Grilled by CID Over Demonstration led by him at Kaduwela in 2011’ »

Submissions from Poets Invited for Annasi & Kadalagotu Vol V


Hey poet, submissions for the Annasi & Kadalagotu Vol V are open until 15 March. Poets are encouraged to send in their most recent, previously unpublished work to publisher@kadalagotu.com.

Annasi & Kadalagotu, coined by Capt Elmo Jayawardena, author of ‘Sam’s Story’ (Gratiaen Prize 2001) and co-founded by Imaad Majeed, is a small-press publishing house based in Colombo, focusing on contemporary Sri Lankan poetry.

The flagship publication is the Annasi & Kadalagotu chapbook, of which three volumes have been published, featuring the work of poets such as Natasha Nathanielsz, Benny Lau, Anis Mustafa, Arun Dias-Bandaranaike, Dawpadee Kaushalya, Tharindu Jayamanne, Hyshyama Hamin, Renton de Alwis, Timaandra Wijesuriya, Menaca Calyaneratne and Eesha Coswatte.

Continue reading ‘Submissions from Poets Invited for Annasi & Kadalagotu Vol V’ »

Tamil Expatriates Wanting to Invest in North After War Ended in 2009 Were Unable to do so Due to Excessive Red Tape.

By Zacki Jabbar recently in Jaffna

Some members of the Tamil diaspora had come in their numbers with enough funds to invest in the North, following the end of the war, but the unprecedented red tape had resulted in them making a hasty retreat, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yarlpanam (CCIY) said.

Asked by The Island why the Tamil diaspora was not making big investments in the North of Sri Lanka though the war had ended nearly six years ago, the President of the CCIY , K. Vignesh replied that many rich Tamil businessmen domiciled abroad had returned with high hopes of investing in their motherland shortly after May 2009.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Expatriates Wanting to Invest in North After War Ended in 2009 Were Unable to do so Due to Excessive Red Tape.’ »

FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Suspected of Being “Underground” as Officials are Unable to Locate him for Deportation to Australia.

By

Jayantha Samarkoon

Kumar Gunaratnamat the Immigration dept-January 30, 2015

Kumar Gunaratnamat the Immigration dept-January 30, 2015

The Immigration and Emigration Department said today that they had been unable to locate Frontline Socialists Party (FSP) central committee member Premakumar Gunaratnam, whose tourist visa had expired on January 31.

Continue reading ‘FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Suspected of Being “Underground” as Officials are Unable to Locate him for Deportation to Australia.’ »

Singaporean Foreign Minister Shanmugam meets Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law of Singapore, K. Shanmugam, who is on a two day visit to Sri Lanka from 23 to 24 February 2015, met with Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera today at the Foreign Ministry.

The visit, marking the first high-level interaction of the Singapore Government with the new Sri Lankan Government, since it assumed office last month, demonstrates the keenness of Singapore to reinforce and reaffirm the continuity of the close and robust bilateral relations between the two countries. Minister Shanmugan characterized Singapore’s relations with Sri Lanka as a friendship that was “constant.”

Continue reading ‘Singaporean Foreign Minister Shanmugam meets Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo’ »

“We Have Located Over 2 Billion Dollars Stashed Abroad Secretly by Members of Previous Administration”-Mangala Samaraweera Tells NYT

By

Gardiner Harris

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Paintings at Temple Trees, this country’s White House, are still leaning against walls waiting to be hung, and the gated grounds are no longer teeming with guards and stewards who served the home’s previous occupant like supplicants at a royal court.

sketch by: by Hasantha Wijenayake

sketch by: by Hasantha Wijenayake

But more than a month after taking over this iconic home after a shocking electoral triumph, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an interview in his office here Saturday that while he has managed to reset relations with the United States, India and China, he has only just started to grapple with the profound issues of releasing hundreds of political prisoners and handing back thousands of acres of land seized mostly from minority Tamils during this country’s long civil war.

His first two weeks in office were taken up by a visit from the pope and the urgent need to produce a budget, he said.

“So it’s only been three weeks,” he said. “We just started.”

Continue reading ‘“We Have Located Over 2 Billion Dollars Stashed Abroad Secretly by Members of Previous Administration”-Mangala Samaraweera Tells NYT’ »

People Smugglers with Links to Rajapaksa Regime were Operating Refugee Boats to Australia Alleges Ranil Wickremesinghe

By

Amanda Hodge

SRI Lanka’s new Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, claims the Australian government’s silence on alleged human rights abuses was the price it paid to secure co-operation from the former Rajapaksa government on stopping asylum-seeker boats.

AU MR MR

AU

In an exclusive interview with The Australian, the veteran politician also said that Tony Abbott’s close relationship with the Rajapaksas was “a mystery” to Sri Lankans, and that Australia’s new Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, would be unlikely to get the warm welcome received under the previous government.

In a weekend interview at the Prime Minister’s official Temple Trees residence in Colombo, Mr Wickremesinghe confirmed the involvement of “people connected to the previous government” in people-smuggling operations.
Continue reading ‘People Smugglers with Links to Rajapaksa Regime were Operating Refugee Boats to Australia Alleges Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

26,865 out of 34,561 Acres Land held by Army in North and East Released by End of 2013; Military Battalions Deployed in North Reduced by 48 from 152 to 104

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The army has released 26,865 out of 34,561 acres of land held by five security forces commands in the Northern and Eastern Provinces since the conclusion of the war in May 2009 up to Dec. 2013.

Land has been released in stages with the people living in area covered by Security Forces headquarters, Jaffna being the main beneficiary.

The releasing of land commenced in late Oct, 2010 in the Jaffna peninsula.

According to Defence Ministry records, of 33,156 acres held by the Jaffna command, 26,729 acres had been released as at Dec. 2013.

Continue reading ‘26,865 out of 34,561 Acres Land held by Army in North and East Released by End of 2013; Military Battalions Deployed in North Reduced by 48 from 152 to 104’ »

Ex-DIG Edward Gunawardena Challenged and questioned Over his “Version” of the Jaffna Library Burning by a former Police officer

(Following is the text of an open letter sent by former Sri Lankan Police officer K.Krishnadasan to senior DIG of Police Edward Gunawardena about assertions made by the retired DIG about the burning of the Jaffna public library in a book written by him.Mr.Krishnadasan who claims to be an eyewitness to the burning questions Ex-DIG Gunawardena about references in his book that the library was burnt down by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)organization. Mr.Krishnadasan also poses some challenging questions to Mr.Gunawardena about the retired DIG’s role and conduct in Jaffna at the time of the Jaffna library incident)

JL020913


Rtd S/DIG Mr Edward Gunawardena
Subject: FW: Re. Burning of Jaffna Public Library

Hi Sir

My name is K. Krishnadasan. I served in the Sri Lanka Police Service from June 1967 until December 1986,and I migrated to Australia and have happily settled down with my family in Sydney. I did not have an opportunity to work under you during my career in the Police. You functioned as our ADT at the Echelon Square Police Training School In June 1967 until I passed out in December 1967 and was posted to Matara as my first station. My last major posting wasHQI Batticaloa, from October 1983 to March 1986. Thereafter I served a few months at Police HQ when you were S/DIG Administration, before migrating to Australia. By the way Sir, I am also an old Josephian like you.

I am writng this in response to Rtd SSP Mr Tassie Seneviratne’s article which appeared in the Sri Lankan news-papers recently.Mr Tassie Seneviratne is a good friend of mine and he is currently holidaying in Sydney. Since I was an eye witness to the burning of the Jaffna Public Library, he requested me to write to you giving details of my version of the event. I wish to relate to you the circumstances under which I was an eye witness to the burning of the library.

Continue reading ‘Ex-DIG Edward Gunawardena Challenged and questioned Over his “Version” of the Jaffna Library Burning by a former Police officer’ »

“Citizenfour” Film About “US Whistleblower” Edward Snowden Wins Best Documentary Feature Award at 2015 Oscar Event

By

Jake Coyle

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The long take of “Birdman” has stretched all the way to the Academy Awards, where the jazzy, surreal comedy about an actor fleeing his superhero past, took Hollywood’s top honour in a ceremony punctuated by passionate pleas for equality.

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On a stormy night in Hollywood, the 87th annual Academy Awards — which came in humbled by backlash to its all-white acting nominees — bristled with politics and heartfelt speeches about women’s rights, immigration, suicide prevention and race.

In a battle of B-movies for best picture, the Oscars awarded “Birdman” best picture, opting for a movie that epitomizes much of Hollywood — showy, ego-mad, desperate for artistic credibility — over one (“Boyhood”) that prized naturalism and patience. “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” also won best director for Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, best original screenplay and best cinematography.

“Maybe next year the government will inflict immigration restrictions,” said Innaritu, recalling last year’s best director winner, Alfonso Cuaron. “Two Mexicans in a row. That’s suspicious, I guess.”

Continue reading ‘“Citizenfour” Film About “US Whistleblower” Edward Snowden Wins Best Documentary Feature Award at 2015 Oscar Event’ »

Oscar Awards 2015: ‘Birdman’ wins best picture, Inarittu Best Director; Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne Get Top Actor Prizes

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BY

Joe Neumaier and Ethan Sacks With Nancy Dillon

“Birdman” took home the top prize at Sunday’s 87th Annual Academy Awards, another feather in the cap in a big night night for the indie drama.

The cinematic wet kiss to actors and their artistic demons took home four statuettes, besting presumed favorite “Boyhood,” a 12-years-in-the-making drama of American youth, and the insurgent threat of “American Sniper,” the lone blockbuster among the eight nominees for top film.

“Birdman” helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu also took home the best director Oscar, quipping that he was wearing the real briefs that Michael Keaton donned in his movie for luck.

Continue reading ‘Oscar Awards 2015: ‘Birdman’ wins best picture, Inarittu Best Director; Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne Get Top Actor Prizes’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Challenges Mahinda Rajapaksa to Contest Elections Against Him as UPFA Prime Ministerial Candidate

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has dared former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the next general election as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate.

Addressing a meeting of UNP Puttalam District activists at Wennappuwa on Saturday, Wickremesinghe said he would reduce Rajapaksa’s votes to five million from 5.8 million if the latter entered the fray.

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Wickremesinghe said: “There has been a call for Rajapaksa to come forward as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate. Last time 6.4 million people voted to make me the prime minister. I have contested with Rajapaksa only once. He became the president with the help of Prabhakaran. Now, he is talking big. If he enters the fray with me I will reduce the number of his votes to five million.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Challenges Mahinda Rajapaksa to Contest Elections Against Him as UPFA Prime Ministerial Candidate’ »

“I am Deeply Sorry that FUTA has Turned Controversy into Effort to Attack me Personally”

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

I am deeply sorry that the Federation of University Teachers, in an otherwise very sensible statement regarding the current controversy over the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission, has misrepresented my position in the matter.

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

It has claimed that ‘the misrepresentation of FUTA’s call for her resignation, as a form of political victimization by the State Minister of Higher Education is either deliberately mischievous or astoundingly naïve’. I have never commented on FUTA’s call for her resignation, which is a perfectly legitimate exercise. It is FUTA’s duty to bring possible abuses to the notice of the authorities, and it is the duty of the authorities to inquire into allegations, which is a measure FUTA says it would welcome.

I am deeply sorry that FUTA has turned this controversy into an effort to attack me personally, because I believe strongly in many of their ideals, and was delighted by the statement concerning the manner in which official bodies relating to the university sector should be established. At a very lively discussion at the Senate room in Peradeniya, in which many academics participated despite FUTA calling, because of my presence, for a boycott of an event to celebrate Lakshman Kadirgamar, it transpired that I had already included much of what they suggested in my initial draft for a new Universities Act.

Continue reading ‘“I am Deeply Sorry that FUTA has Turned Controversy into Effort to Attack me Personally”’ »

Ex-Minister and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Shashi Arrested by CID while Warded at Neville Fernando Hospital in Malabe


By Harischandra Gunaratna

Shashi Weerawansa, wife of former UPFA Minister and National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa was taken into custody by the CID at the Neville Fernando Hopsital, Malabe yesterday evening.

The Police Media Unit said last night that she would be referred to a Judicial Medical Officer in Colombo prior to being produced before a Magistrate.

Shashi was under investigation in connection with a charge that she had submitted forged documents to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration when she applied for a diplomatic passport.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Minister and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Shashi Arrested by CID while Warded at Neville Fernando Hospital in Malabe’ »

Has There Been a “Sell-out” in Mangala’s Deal with UN Human Rights Chief Zeid to get War Crimes Report on Lanka Deferred?

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The UN Human Rights Council on Monday approved a recommendation by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’Ad Al Hussein to defer the publication of his report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka till the Council’s 30th session in September instead of presenting it at the 28th session that starts next month.

Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera speaking at @CarnegieEndow in DC-pic: twitter.com/SumitAndTheCity

Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera speaking at @CarnegieEndow in DC-pic: twitter.com/SumitAndTheCity

This was in response to a written request from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera. The US and Britain were quick to ‘welcome’ the pledges made by Samaraweera on behalf of the government and agree with the move. So what was the deal between Samaraweera and the rights chief?
Continue reading ‘Has There Been a “Sell-out” in Mangala’s Deal with UN Human Rights Chief Zeid to get War Crimes Report on Lanka Deferred?’ »

“Chief Minister or Northern Provincial Council Cannot be Criticised for Bringing the Genocide Resolution”-MA Sumanthiran MP


By
Ananth Palakidnar

The Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, defending the NPC’s genocide resolution as democratic and timely, emphasized on the need for the war victims to prepare themselves to gather more evidence in order to strengthen the OHCRC’s OISL report to be released in September this year. He also added that an internal investigation with the OHCR’s supervision, unlike the local investigations in the past, is essential to ensure a constructive UN investigation into the alleged war crimes in the country.

MA Sumanthiran MP

MA Sumanthiran MP

Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What is your view on the recent ‘genocide resolution’ passed by the Northern Provincial Council?

A: The resolution is timely and the facts which have been listed out in it are nothing but true. It was a sheer democratic action and very well drafted, taking into consideration the grievances of the people directly affected by the war. Various comments could surface with regard to the resolution, but it was aimed at seeking justice for the people who have been affected by the ruthless war in the North.

The Chief Minister of the Northern Province or the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) cannot be criticized for bringing about the genocide resolution, since the NPC represents the people who were very much affected by the war. So the NPC, which represents those people and being a democratic institution, has done its part in the right manner in bringing out the resolution.

The Chief Minister has clearly pointed out the atrocities committed systematically towards the Tamils since the country gained independence. Therefore without addressing the genuine grievances of the people affected by the communal upheavals in the past, we cannot talk of reconciliation.

Therefore, the genocide resolution was brought out to identify the perpetrators who had committed the war crimes and bring justice to the war victims. The resolution is not at all meant to hurt the feelings of those who strive for peace and reconciliation in the country.
Continue reading ‘“Chief Minister or Northern Provincial Council Cannot be Criticised for Bringing the Genocide Resolution”-MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Genocide Resolution by Wigneswaran Shows new Found Courage of Tamil Separatism Under Present Regime.

By Udaya P. Gammanpila

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution on 10 February urging the United Nations to probe alleged genocide of Tamils committed by all successive governments of Sri Lanka in the post-independence history. It was presented by the Chief Minister (CM) Wigneswaran, himself. Two days later, the CM visited President Sirisena with the Governor of the Province. According to the media, the CM had explained the circumstances under which the resolution was passed and the President in turn had said that he understood the political compulsions faced by different political parties.

If this report is true, President Sirisena must be in ignorance due to lack of proper advice. Firstly, the resolution is not only against the Rajapaksa administration but against all governments in the post-independence history. Further, there is a special reference in the resolution to President Sirisena. The resolution doubts President Sirisena holding a genuine local investigation as he was the acting Defence Minister during the last phase of the war and the then Army Commander General Fonseka was the coalition partner of the President. Comparison between the contents of the resolution and the message conveyed to the President by the CM clearly reflects his duplicity. Hence, without being fooled by sugary words of the CM, let us analyze the intention of the TNA.

Continue reading ‘Genocide Resolution by Wigneswaran Shows new Found Courage of Tamil Separatism Under Present Regime.’ »

More Evidence Available of Involvement by Washington in the Removal of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lankan President

by

By K. Ratnayake

Sri Lanka’s presidential election on January 8 resulted in the ousting of Mahinda Rajapakse and the installation of Maithripala Sirisena as president. While the new government’s leaders and their pseudo-left backers claim this outcome was the result of an “uprising of the people” against Rajapakse’s autocratic rule, it was in reality a regime-change operation as the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) alone has explained.

US MS MR

Right from the outset, it was clear that Sirisena’s sudden emergence as the “common opposition candidate” was the result of carefully-orchestrated, behind-the-scenes intrigues. On November 20, one day after Rajapakse announced the election date, Health Minister Sirisena quit the government and declared that he would be standing in the election backed by the opposition United National Party (UNP) and other parties.

The WSWS has already detailed the involvement of Washington, acting through former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Obama administration was deeply hostile to Rajapakse’s ties with Beijing and determined to ensure that Sri Lanka is fully integrated into the US “pivot to Asia” and military build-up against China.

More evidence has now come to light on Washington’s hand in Rajapakse’s removal.

Continue reading ‘More Evidence Available of Involvement by Washington in the Removal of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lankan President’ »

“People were Transported in 222 Buses for the Weerawansa/Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda”Charges Rajitha Senaratne

by Zacki Jabbar

The “Official SLFP” and not small organizations such as the one headed by Wimal Weerawansa would decide on who its prime ministerial candidate would be , a leading member of the party said yesterday.

 Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who along with President Maithripala Sirisena now wield considerable influence in the SLFP, told the “Sunday Island” that last weeks rally in Nugegoda organized by the NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa and two other left parties calling for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to be named the SLFP’s next Prime Ministerial candidate would not be able to apply any pressure on the “Official SLFP”. 

“Who is Weerawansa to decide on who our Prime Ministerial candidate should be? He, heads a very small party, which people normally refer to as Three Wheel Pakshaya . Even the other two left parties who joined Weerawansa in organizing last weeks Nugegoda meeting fall into the same category,” he pointed out.

Continue reading ‘“People were Transported in 222 Buses for the Weerawansa/Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda”Charges Rajitha Senaratne’ »

Asanga Abeygoonsekera the Best Director the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute Ever Had Being Removed by new Govt Causes Rude shock.


By

K.Godage

pic via: facebook.com/asanga.abeyagoonasekera

pic via: facebook.com/asanga.abeyagoonasekera

It was indeed a rude shock to learn that Asanga Abeygoonasekera, who was the Director at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, had been removed as he had been considered a ‘Political Appointee’, this brings up the question as to the matter of defining who a political appointee is; is it a person who has been appointed only because of his or her political connections (the jobs for the boys syndrome?).

Someone appointed without following accepted procedures for whatever is the appointment, someone appointed only because of his or her political connections. This must be defined by government, for there are persons who are eminently suitable for particular positions and should be appointed in their own right in the national interest.

I have followed the work of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies from the time it was established, not only because I had worked closely with the late Lakshman Kadirgamar but also because of my own interest in the subject. I had worked closely with Minister Kadirgamar when I was Additional Foreign Secretary and he it was who always wanted to establish a Think Tank for the Foreign Ministry and to also professionalize the Foreign Service.

Continue reading ‘Asanga Abeygoonsekera the Best Director the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute Ever Had Being Removed by new Govt Causes Rude shock.’ »

If Maithripala Sirisena Does not want the SLFP, the Party must Decide Whether it wants him

By

Malinda Seneviratne

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is suffering from an identity crisis. The signs are all over the place. The SLFP has more Members of Parliament than any other party, and yet finds itself in the Opposition. The man who secured the support of a majority of voters is the leader of the SLFP, and yet neither he nor the party seems to be calling any shots as of now. We have an unprecedented situation where a mandate has been effectively transferred to someone, who didn’t trust himself to go before the people.

Maithripala Sirisena, as of now, does not seem to care about the SLFP. Right now, it makes sense for Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the United National Party (UNP) and Prime Minister, to wish that the SLFP would implode. In this, as of now, President Sirisena appears to be playing the role of ‘accessory after the fact of implosion’.

First of all, the SLFP MPs themselves appear lost. They’ve pledged support to the man they campaigned against. Their political futures are tied to that of the President. They have enough political experience to understand that the SLFP will not get the 5.8 million that former president Mahinda Rajapaksa got on January 8, 2015.

A considerable number of those who voted for Rajapaksa are themselves ‘lost’. They party they supported and the man they voted for both seem to be outside the political equation as of now. The party had backed ‘the other candidate’. The party is shunning ‘their’ candidate. ‘Their candidate’ is a member of the SLFP, but is not treated as though he is. Indeed, he is operating as though he does not belong to the SLFP and vice versa.

Continue reading ‘If Maithripala Sirisena Does not want the SLFP, the Party must Decide Whether it wants him’ »

General Sarath Fonseka’s Son in Law Dhanuna Tilakaratne Who Surfaced After Being “Underground” for 5 Years Speaks Out


By

Prasanna Sanjeewa Tennakone

General Sarath Fonseka’s son-in-law Dhanuna Tilakaratne made newspaper headlines when a warrant was issued for his arrest in the wake of the arrest of his father-in-law who was also the former Army Commander soon after the 2010 Presidential poll. Police could not arrest him as he went underground. Five years later, Dhanuna suddenly surfaced and appeared before Courts. In this candid interview, Dhanuna gives interesting details of his life as a fugitive from law for five years.


Excerpts:


Q Can you give us a brief sketch of your profile?

I am Dhanuna Tilakaratne. I had my primary and secondary education at Royal College, Colombo. Thereafter, I proceeded to the United States for my higher education. I obtained the IT Management Degree from a university there. Following graduation, I worked as an IT Consultant in the States for four years. On my return to Sri Lanka, I started a business venture called Lanka Adventure Training Company.

Continue reading ‘General Sarath Fonseka’s Son in Law Dhanuna Tilakaratne Who Surfaced After Being “Underground” for 5 Years Speaks Out’ »

Northern CM Wigneswaran Acts Rashly and Recklessly in Presenting and Getting Passed Infamous Genocide Resolution in NPC


By
Don Manu

If it came as a surprise that the Northern Chief Minister Vishvalingam Wigneswaran had helped write the now infamous genocide resolution, had presented it and had it passed by the Northern Provincial Council unanimously, resolving that the Sinhalese are a demon tribe of barbaric genocidal racists bent on exterminating the Tamil people from the face of Lanka, then what astonished was the implication that this once sober judge who graced the Supreme Court bench and delivered legal pronouncements that were admired and respected for its sagacity and impartiality, had evidently flipped his lid after barely 16 months of placing his judicial bottom on a political hot seat.

Gone, in the text of his resolution, was his logical reasoning that had distinguished his judgments, fled was his trained trait to support his decisions on solid evidence and absent was his keen objectivity that had embellished his legal decrees that it seemed clear he had not only left his full bottomed wig on the judicial bench when he retired from it but had also divested himself of his sense of propriety and fidelity to the truth with it.

The Northern Provincial Council’s declaration — made on the tenth of this month to the world at large and to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in particular — that the Sinhalese were led by a successive bunch of psychopathic leaders who considered Hitler’s “Final Solution” as the most expedient method of settling the Tamil problem, also called upon the UN body to add ‘genocide’ to the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity and to submit a report at the March session of the UN Human Rights Council. Thereafter it should refer its findings to the International Criminal Court for prosecutions, Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran declared in the resolution.

Continue reading ‘Northern CM Wigneswaran Acts Rashly and Recklessly in Presenting and Getting Passed Infamous Genocide Resolution in NPC’ »

Champika Ranawaka Annoyed with Govt for not Taking Action Against Corruption, Fraud and Drug Dealing

By Niranjala Ariyawansha

It has been reported to Ceylon Today that Chief Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka, is extremely displeased with the government as they are still following an inactive procedure by not taking legal action against those accused of corruption and fraud, which have been revealed so far.

Certain sources say the JHU has decided to give a leeway of another month or so, to see whether investigations will be launched into frauds and corruption under these circumstances.
Even after that, if the government does not take action, it is reported that the JHU is prepared to take steps against the inaction.

The JHU has convened a meeting today of civil activists who have dedicated themselves to bringing the new government into power, as an initial step against corruption, at the Solis Hall in Pita Kotte.

Continue reading ‘Champika Ranawaka Annoyed with Govt for not Taking Action Against Corruption, Fraud and Drug Dealing’ »

Nugegoda Rally Triumph Without Mahinda Showed Even “Hamlet”Can be Staged Successfully Without the Prince of Denmark

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The event last week which infused a new dynamic into the body politic was undoubtedly the Nugegoda rally organized by Dinesh, Vasu, Wimal andUdaya. If anybody thought it was not possible to stage Hamlet without the prince, they were proved wrong last Wednesday. The rally in Nugegoda organized by four small political parties turned out to be the biggest gathering ever held in the Nugegoda town. The present writer lives only a little distance away and has certainly never seen anything like it in Nugegoda in the past three decades since coming into the neighbourhood.

Not only was the supermarket car park and the main road a sea of heads, people were watching the proceedings from the rooftops, balconies, staircases of the commercial buildings, the tops of the few available tress and even from the posts carrying high voltage electrical cables along the main street. What was most significant was the enthusiasm and emotion of the crowd.

The only scene that the present writer can remember which was even remotely like Nugegoda was the arrival of J.R.Jayewardene and the new cabinet at the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy in 1977 in the wake of the UNP’s unprecedented victory that year. The enthusiasm of the crowd then was somewhat similar to the atmosphere in Nugegoda last Wednesday. But in 1977, what enthused the crowd was the arrival of JRJ and his entire cabinet in Kandy.

However neither Mahinda Rajapaksa nor any member of his family came to Nugegoda; yet the people came in their thousands and cheered themselves hoarse every time the name Rajapaksa was mentioned by a speaker. The sound amplification system was not functioning properly and what was said could not be heard clearly in some parts of the venue. Dayan Jayatilleke read out a message from Mahinda.

Continue reading ‘Nugegoda Rally Triumph Without Mahinda Showed Even “Hamlet”Can be Staged Successfully Without the Prince of Denmark’ »

Is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Return as Prime Ministerial Candidate of SLFP led UPFA a Viable Option?

By

Rasika Jayakody

MRH


“Is this President Sirisena’s government? If this government belongs to President Sirisena, how on earth do the SLFP supporters get hammered in villages? How do SLFP supporters lose their jobs? What we ask President Sirisena is to have his own government by having Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. The SLFP cannot form a government at the next election without making Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime ministerial candidate. President Sirisena will soon realize that forming a government with Mahinda Rajapaksa is way better than forming a government with Ranil Wickremesinghe.”

This is the most interesting remark made by National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa at the rally which was held in Nugegoda, a few days ago, to support former President MahindA Rajapaksa. Weerawansa, who was a harsh critique of Maithripala Sirisena in the latter’s run up to the executive presidency towards the end of the last year, last week sounded as if he was trying to help Sirisena by making his political foe the Prime Minister of the country.

The rally was organized by four non-SLFP political parties that come under the umbrella of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Udaya Gammanpila were the chief organizers of the rally.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Executive President in the country’s political history who was removed from office by the people through a vote. He lost the recently held presidential election by a margin of over 400,000 votes, despite the resounding majority he secured from rural Sinhala-Buddhist areas in the country. He was rejected not only by ethnic and religious minorities of the country, but also by the urban middle class who occupy main cities and suburbs, forming a sizable proportion of the country’s electorate. They were utterly dissatisfied with Rajapaksa’s way of governance that was characterized with family-bandyism, nepotism, culture of impunity and hooliganism. However, the rural Sinhala-Buddhist majority still consider Rajapaksa as the charismatic leader who freed the country from the clutches of terrorism, which ruined the country for almost three decades. It is quite evident that the country’s electorate is strongly divided – probably in an unprecedented manner – over the Mahinda Rajapaksa factor and its future role in the political sphere of Sri Lanka.

Is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return to the country’s national politics as the Prime ministerial candidate of the SLFP-led UPFA a viable option at this juncture? This is an interesting question.

Continue reading ‘Is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Return as Prime Ministerial Candidate of SLFP led UPFA a Viable Option?’ »

What the Newly Sworn in Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Plans to do in his First 100 Days of Office

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100 Day Work Programme After Maithripala Sirisena Becomes President – Detailed diary description

January 2015

Saturday January 10

The new President, Maithripala Sirisena, will take his oath of office

Sunday January 11

A Cabinet of not more than 25 members, including members of all political parties represented in Parliament, will be appointed with Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister

Monday January 12

In order to strengthen democracy, a National Advisory Council will be set up inclusive of representatives of parties represented in Parliament as well as Civil Society organizations.

Monday January 19


Parliament will meet Tuesday January 20

The Standing Orders will be amended and, in terms of Proposal 67/10 now tabled in Parliament, Oversight Committees will be set up comprising members of Parliament who are not in the Cabinet will be established and their Chairmanship will be given to representatives of all Ministers in consultation with the leaders of all parties represented in Parliament.

Wednesday January 21

The process will begin of abolishing the authoritarian executive presidential system and replacing it with an executive of a Cabinet of Ministers responsible to Parliament, and of repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with legislation to establish strengthened and independent institutions, including a Judicial Services Commission, a Police Commission, a Public Service Commission, an Elections Commission, a Commission against Bribery and Corruption and a Human Rights Commission. This will be through a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will be presented to Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible.

Wednesday January 28

An all party committee will be set up to put forward proposals to replace the current Preference Vote system and replace it with an Mixed Electoral System that ensures representation of individual Members for Parliamentary Constituencies, with mechanisms for proportionality.

Continue reading ‘What the Newly Sworn in Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Plans to do in his First 100 Days of Office’ »

Full Text of Resolution Presented by Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Passed by Northern Provincial Council Charging Sri Lankan Govts with Genocide of Tamils and Demanding UN Probe and ICC Action

1

Resolution:

Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils

This resolution provides an overview of the evidence demonstrating successive Sri Lankan governments’ genocide against Tamils, and respectfully requests the ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court.

NPC 02 11 15

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (Genocide Convention) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9th December, 1948, and acceded to by Sri Lanka in 1950, and provides:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

Continue reading ‘Full Text of Resolution Presented by Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Passed by Northern Provincial Council Charging Sri Lankan Govts with Genocide of Tamils and Demanding UN Probe and ICC Action’ »

Urgent reforms in Fisheries Sector Necessary For EU to Lift Sri Lanka Ban –Mangala Samarawera


(Text of speech in Parliament on February 18th 2015 by Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera)

Hon. Presiding Member, as you maybe aware, at the end of January, I was in Brussels, the home of the European Union. The objective of my visit was largely to revive positive relations and begin a new chapter in Sri Lanka-European Union relations, based on mutual respect and understanding.

But, I was also in Brussels to specifically address two very urgent issues of great national importance: firstly, the EU-IUU fishing ban which was announced on the 14th of October last year and which came into force three months later, on the 14th of January this year, exactly one week after the new President was sworn into office.

Secondly, I went there to discuss the question of the GSP Plus tariff concession, which was withdrawn from Sri Lanka nearly five years ago as a result of the previous Government’s persistent reluctance to embrace good governance and ensure basic human rights.

When engaged in high seas fishing, countries have obligations to comply with the international regulations that help ensure the sustainability of common resources. These international regulations help ensure that fish stocks are sustainable and attempt to limit environmental damage. In Sri Lanka’s case, the relevant regulations are those agreed upon at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission or better known as the IOTC. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, global losses associated with IUU which stands for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing are valued at between US Dollars 10 million to 23.5 billion annually.

Continue reading ‘Urgent reforms in Fisheries Sector Necessary For EU to Lift Sri Lanka Ban –Mangala Samarawera’ »

Rajapaksa Regime Reflected the Titles of BAW Jayamanne Films From “Kadavunu Prondduva”(Broken Promise) Onwards

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The days are ticking away, and the countdown of the 100 days that began on January 9, is gathering interest, especially among politicians who see opportunities in breasting the tape with success behind them, and many others who are keen to see a finish bereft of full achievement for the champions of the 100-day challenge.

The country is suddenly in the midst of a new race, where the campaign for a coming general election is becoming the focus on all sides of the political divide; where the 100-day trophy is being fought for, with a growing reduction of interest in the true depth of the 100-day promise. The media are having a great time, mainly as cheerleaders for those who can only see what is yet undone in the 100 days, presenting its own image of of public feeling – with convenient anger at the slow pace of arrests and imprisonments; with a refusal to explain the delays of a legal process that had been made a creaking and crawling shame in civilized society in the past decade and more. The Freedom of the Media that is now available is to be valued, but questions do arise as to how the freedom should be used – not to support the government or supposed deal makers, but rather to make the public more aware of the realities of governance that was controlled for years by the knaves and jokers in the pack.

We are fast coming back to the talk of conspiracies – both local and foreign – that led to the defeat of the Rajapaksa regime, and the increasing charge that the defeat on Jan. 8 was mainly the work of minorities that are non-Sinhala Buddhist … and not the result of the majority thinking of Sri Lankan voters. It sounds as if new policies would emerge soon seeking to disenfranchise all minorities in this land. That seems a major goal of the 100-day watchers and not of the slow runners in the race.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksa Regime Reflected the Titles of BAW Jayamanne Films From “Kadavunu Prondduva”(Broken Promise) Onwards’ »

Police Baton – Charge and Tear – Gas Galkande Great Western Estate Workers Protesting Custody Killing by Police of 21 Year old Manoj Marimuthu


By M. Devarajah and A. Shanthakumar

Manoj Marimuththu

Manoj Marimuththu

President Maithripala Sirisena’s government is responsible for a blatant assault on basic democratic rights, with Sri Lankan police attacking plantation workers and youth who protested against the death in police custody of a young man near Hatton, in the central hills district.

The police repression followed the death of Manoj Marimuththu, 21, from the Great Western Galkanda Estate, who was arrested on January 31 at Talawakelle town, near Hatton. The police claimed that he was in possession of babul—a local mild drug-related betel product. While being taken to the police station by two officers in a three-wheel taxi, Marimuththu supposedly jumped out, ran to a nearby irrigation tank and drowned himself.

This story is highly suspicious. The police station is only about 200 metres from the market place where Marimuththu was said to be arrested, but the irrigation tank is some 500 metres away. According to local residents, no one saw the police carrying out the arrest.
Continue reading ‘Police Baton – Charge and Tear – Gas Galkande Great Western Estate Workers Protesting Custody Killing by Police of 21 Year old Manoj Marimuthu’ »

Pro-Govt NUW Trade Union Sabotages Plantation Workers Strike at Glenruig Estate in Maskeliya

By M. Devarajah and W.A. Sunil

The pro-government National Union of Workers (NUW) sabotaged a determined strike of 600 plantation workers from the Glenuige Estate at Maskeliya in central Sri Lanka who were fighting against increasing their workloads. The workers are due to return to work.

Workers from the Deeside plantation of the Glenuige Estate started their strike on Tuesday for two demands: to reduce the daily target for plucked tea from the current 18 kilograms to the previous level of 16 kilograms from which it was increased last April; and to be paid for the extra two kilograms plucked since April.

The management had asked workers to increase the target for only two months, saying the Maskeliya Plantation Company that owns the estate was making losses. No payment was made for the increased production. Moreover, the company is now seeking to make the increased target permanent.

Workers started the strike over the heads of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) and NUW as these unions invariably side with management. A worker told the WSWS: “Management and the unions are working hand in glove. That is why we took a decision to launch the strike independently.”

Continue reading ‘Pro-Govt NUW Trade Union Sabotages Plantation Workers Strike at Glenruig Estate in Maskeliya’ »

Sri Lankan Tamils have to Accept a Political Solution Based on a Tripartite Understanding with India and Sri Lanka.

By

Izeth Hussain

UN NE IN US UNHRC

I wonder whether the Sri Lankan Tamils are in a unique position compared to other ethnic groups all over the world. They can be assured of the sympathy and support of their fellow Tamils in Tamil Nadu, though the extent of that sympathy and support can vary greatly over a period of time. That fact could mean that although the SL Tamils are a minority in the national context they are in a majority over the Sinhalese in the regional context. This is said to be one of the reasons why the Sinhalese are a majority with a minority complex and the Tamils a minority with a majority complex. This is regarded as one of the reasons why the SL Tamil ethnic problem has been so peculiarly recalcitrant to solution.

There are many ethnic groups in adjoining states that are divided, quite often by lines of demarcation that were drawn for the administrative and other convenience of colonial powers. Mutual sympathy and support between them would be quite normal. It has to be expected consequently that when one component of an ethnic group is perceived to be subjected to discriminatory treatment, the other across the border would try to do something to help. In the case of the SL Tamils their perceived ill-treatment causes a fall-out in Tamil Nadu, which then proceeds to exert pressure on New Delhi to take corrective action. There is nothing odd or objectionable about any of this. What makes the SL Tamil ethnic problem unique is a contextual factor: India like any other multiethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual country can break up, and Tamil Nadu restiveness over perceived maltreatment of SL Tamils could spawn separatist movements there.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamils have to Accept a Political Solution Based on a Tripartite Understanding with India and Sri Lanka.’ »

Upali Wijewardena: Memories of Sri Lanka’s Unforgettable Indigenous Tycoon


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

If Philip Upali Wijewardena was among the living he would have reached the Seventy-seven on February 17th. Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared 32 years ago on Feb 13th , just four days before his 45th birthday . This article written years ago is updated and posted here as tribute to Upali in this eventful week of two significant anniversaries in the life and times of the man..

Upali Wijewardene (1938-1983)

Legally, Wijewardena is presumed dead though his body was never found. He was traveling in his own Lear jet from Malaysia to Sri Lanka when the plane disappeared. The disappearance continues to linger in the collective memory of the nation as an unresolved mystery.

There are people who ask me even now, “I say, what really happened to Upali? Don’t know, no?”

Indigenous tycoon
Continue reading ‘Upali Wijewardena: Memories of Sri Lanka’s Unforgettable Indigenous Tycoon’ »

“Return of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister is Unikely but not Impossible” -The Economist

FOR many Sri Lankans the most remarkable feature of Maithripala Sirisena’s four-day trip to India this week, his first as president after a stunningly unexpected election victory in January, was that he took a commercial flight.

MR TE COVER

His predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa—who, with his family, had given the impression of intending to rule for the long run—usually poached an aircraft from the national fleet. The trip was intended to change perceptions in other ways, too. The most important one was to restore a broken friendship with India without upsetting China, a big creditor in Sri Lanka and, under the Rajapaksas, an increasingly important ally.

Sri Lanka’s treatment of ethnic Tamils in its north had troubled many in India, especially Tamils. Mr Rajapaksa made matters worse by breaking promises to devolve more power to the north after a brutal civil war. And last year he infuriated India by letting a Chinese submarine dock twice at Colombo, the capital.

Continue reading ‘“Return of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister is Unikely but not Impossible” -The Economist’ »

“Mahinda! Mahinda! Apata Oney Mahinda! (“Mahinda!Mahinda!We want Mahinda!”)-Chanting Crowds Echo Clarion Call to Medamulana From Nugegoda

BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

THE RISING: NUGEGODA FEB 18TH

“Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight”

- Bruce Springsteen: The Rising

There was a WANTED poster out for Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday at Nugegoda, and it wasn’t one for crimes of corruption, human rights violation, dictatorship pasted by the JVP. It was a WANTED poster made of over a hundred thousand persons, which said that he was Wanted by the people, by the nation, as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

DJ MR BS

I must have attended an Opposition rally in Sri Lanka which was larger than the one in Nugegoda on February 18th but I can’t remember which, where and when. It must have been back in the 1960s, when my father took me for the United Front rallies of the SLFP-LSSP-CPSL. A more objective source, unrelated to the UPFA, told me on the phone last night that he saw parallels in the largest of the rallies of the DUNF when Lalith and Gamini led it.

Whichever the more appropriate parallel, Nugegoda was quite distinct in my experience, for a different reason. It was the most emotional, energetic and enthusiastic crowd I have seen at a public meeting in Sri Lanka, and that emotion wasn’t against anyone. It was for someone and something. This, together with the numbers, made the event a turning point, and potentially historic.

The main players at Nugegoda were not the personalities who organized it or addressed the gathering. It was the people. They were packed tightly together, spilling over and swarming the area, more enthusiastic than an American football crowd, waving Sri Lankan flags and posters of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

There was another main player at the Nugegoda meeting and he wasn’t even there. That was Mahinda Rajapaksa. It would have been the classic case of what Prof AW Singham named in his book “The Hero and the Crowd”, except that this time the hero wasn’t there and was there at the same time. The absent presence was of course, Mahinda, whose name was roared out by the crowd; welling up from its bowels.

It was as if the personalities on the stage were facilitators and conductors of that energy that came from the crowd. It was an energy that ran along an invisible circuit extending from Nugegoda to Medamulana and back.

Continue reading ‘“Mahinda! Mahinda! Apata Oney Mahinda! (“Mahinda!Mahinda!We want Mahinda!”)-Chanting Crowds Echo Clarion Call to Medamulana From Nugegoda’ »

3 Judge Supreme Court Bench Presided over by Chief Justice K. Sripavan Issues Notice on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Returnable on March 31st

By

Nelka Medagedara

A Supreme Court bench presided over by Chief Justice K. Sripavan yesterday issued notice on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa returnable on March 31.

ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Maithripala Sirisena &  Chief Justice K. Sripavan

ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Maithripala Sirisena & Chief Justice K. Sripavan

The other Judges comprised, Justices Priyasath Dep and Eva Wanasundara.

The SC issued notice after having considered a fundamental rights petition filed by Peratugami Party Leader Duminda Nawagamuwa.

Continue reading ‘3 Judge Supreme Court Bench Presided over by Chief Justice K. Sripavan Issues Notice on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Returnable on March 31st’ »

“Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Viable Prime Ministerial Candidate for the UPFA”-Dinesh Gunawardene

By

C.A.Chandraprema

MEP parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardene was one of four party leaders who organised the meeting in Nugegoda last Wednesday with a view to bringing Mahinda Rajapaksa back into politics. That meeting drew a crowd never before seen at a political meeting held in Nugegoda despite the fact that Mahinda Rajapaksa was not scheduled to appear on the stage. In this interview, Gunawardene speaks to C.A.Chandraprema on why Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only viable prime ministerial candidate for the UPFA at the next parliamentary election.*

Excerpts:

Q. President Maithripala Sirisena himself has characterised the attempt that you and three other UPFA coalition leaders are making to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa back into politics as an attempt to split the SLFP. How would you respond to that?

A. The fact that Mahinda Rajapaksa got 5.8 million votes cannot be forgotten by any realistic politician. Those votes were cast in Mahinda’s favour against Maithripala Sirsena and the UNP. So there is a political division whether one likes it or not. Mahinda Rajapaksa remains the most popular political leader in the country today. The people who were with the UPFA are with Mahinda Rajapaksa and he is still the leader of the patriotic and progressive forces.

Continue reading ‘“Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Viable Prime Ministerial Candidate for the UPFA”-Dinesh Gunawardene’ »

Callous Approach by Govt of Ex-President Rajapaksa Towards the Sampur Power Project

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

It could not have been better. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s maiden overseas visit, to India, was a very positive one. Not only did he have reportedly good meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders in Delhi, his visit would also herald a return visit by an Indian VVIP for the first time in 28 years.

The fact that President Sirisena has come to replace predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa may have set the tone and tenor for future ties between the two nations cannot be over-stressed. That a Prime Minister in India could consider a Sri Lanka visit without possible hiccups since the slain Rajiv Gandhi made the historic 1987 trip to sign the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord also owe to Sirisena’s elevation. Yet, it does not stop there.

What’s of immediate bilateral concern and interest in the larger geo-strategic sphere is the signing of a nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries during President Sirisena’s visit. It is much different from the one India has with the US. It needs to be clarified that the agreement does not cover the installation of any Indian nuclear plant in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Callous Approach by Govt of Ex-President Rajapaksa Towards the Sampur Power Project’ »

“Success of Pro-Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda has Jolted the UNP and not the SLFP”-Susil Premajayantha.

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Newly appointed National Organiser of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Susil Premajayantha yesterday said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had not yet made known whether he would contest a parliamentary election again though several UPFA constituents at a public rally in Nugegoda on Wednesday evening demanded that Rajapaksa be nominated the prime ministerial candidate of the alliance.

“It is too early to nominate the Prime Ministerial Candidate, but they would always be ready to consider the opinions of the constituent parties,” he said.

Commenting on the rally held under the theme ‘Make Mahinda PM’ jointly organised by the MEP, DLF, NFF and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, Premajayantha said it had been a successful rally.

Continue reading ‘“Success of Pro-Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda has Jolted the UNP and not the SLFP”-Susil Premajayantha.’ »

Lakshman Kadirgamar Succeeded as a Politician Through his sympathetic Understanding of all Points of View

By

Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.


(Text of a Spech Delivered by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha at Peradeniya University on 18th February, 2015)

Lakshman Kadirgamar (April 12, 1932 – August 12, 2005)

Lakshman Kadirgamar (April 12, 1932 – August 12, 2005)

I am immensely honoured to have been invited by Mrs Sugandhi Kadirgamar to be Chief Guest at the ceremony to hand over to Peradeniya University the portrait of the Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar, easily the best Foreign Minister Sri Lanka ever had, and also an old friend.

I met him first at Oxford, where he lived for many years after he had graduated from that university. He had had a most distinguished career there, which included having been President of the Oxford Union. I met him in September 1973, in the vacation after I had just failed to get on the Standing Committee of the Union – having been knocked out by less than half a vote in the new Single Transferable Vote system that had been introduced, which militated against those who had a wide range of friends, in favour of those with strong support from particular constituencies.

I sometimes wonder whether my deep commitment to pluralism has been influenced by that experience.

Continue reading ‘Lakshman Kadirgamar Succeeded as a Politician Through his sympathetic Understanding of all Points of View’ »

Mahinda Hints at a return to Active Politics in Special Message Read out by Dayan Jayatilleka at Mammoth Nugegoda Rally

By

Ajith Siriwardane

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to those who attended the massive rally in Nugegoda on Wednesday urging him to return to active politics said he could not ignore the hands of honour and affection extended to him by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.

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Cartoon by Nimal Jayantha., Lankadeepa, 05th Feb 2015

The message read out to the applause of a large crowd by former ambassador and academic Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka said: “I would like to emphasise that I cannot ignore the aspirations of the people who think about the country and had dedicated themselves for the country.

I would like to state again that I would embrace with honour and comradely the hands of comradeship extended by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.”

The message said that the thing he told the people who came to meet him was that what he suffered was not a defeat but the result of a conspiracy.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Hints at a return to Active Politics in Special Message Read out by Dayan Jayatilleka at Mammoth Nugegoda Rally’ »

Editor in Chief of “The Sunday Leader” English Weekly Tenders Resignation Protesting Over Recent Moves to Restrict Editorial Freedom

Senior Journalist Shakuntala Perera has tendered her resignation as Editor in Chief of “The Sunday Leader” English weekly newspaper published in Colombo. She has done so in protest against recent moves by the ownership/management to impose restrictions curbing her editorial freedom. The full text of the letter submitted by Ms.Shakunatala Perera to Chief Executive Officer Mr.Nalin Jayatilake is published here

Mr. Nalin Jayatilake
CEO
13.02.15.

Dear Mr. Jayatilake,

This has reference to your intimation on 11.02.15 to me that I must with immediate effect, forward all articles finalized for publication to both you as the CEO and Mr. Asanga Seneviratne, before leaving my desk for placement in the said pages and print thereon.

You indicated the pressure brought upon the management, following the article carried in the newspaper on 08.02.15 ‘High-Flying Corruption in Aviation’ by Nirmala Kannangara, hence the decision. I am sorry about this pressure that has come upon you in the course of upholding the public interest and the public’s right to know the truth about their country and government.

Continue reading ‘Editor in Chief of “The Sunday Leader” English Weekly Tenders Resignation Protesting Over Recent Moves to Restrict Editorial Freedom’ »

“Smokes, Drugs and Cheap Sex”: How Sri Lankan Soldiers on UN Peacekeeping Mission Exploited the People of Haiti.

By
Kathie Klarreich – 100Reporters

A United Nations presence in Haiti has become as familiar as the country’s barren hillsides. Troops of some sort have been there almost continuously since 1993, including five peacekeeping missions. The most recent, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, arrived in 2004 to provide a peaceful transition following months of armed conflict. Like its predecessors and most of the UN’s 16 peacekeeping missions worldwide, MINUSTAH, composed of troops from dozens of countries, is also charged with the protection of local citizens.

Violence continued to ravage Haiti’s capital for several years after MINUSTAH deployed but life was quieter in other parts of the country, earning Haiti the moniker “vacation location.” In the seaside town of Jacmel, 50 miles south of Port-au-Prince, the Sri Lankan MINUSTAH peacekeepers were so relaxed that they interspersed their routine security patrols with soccer games, ocean dips and fresh fish fries.
And cheap sex. For less than $5, the Sri Lankan soldiers exploited the very population they were sent to safeguard. They conveniently disregarded the trampled condition of the fence surrounding their military base so that Haitian boys and girls could crawl under and over it, which they did with great frequency. In their wake, they left behind condoms, which were noted by UN investigators when they finally cracked down on the security breach and the flagrant violation of UN policy.

Continue reading ‘“Smokes, Drugs and Cheap Sex”: How Sri Lankan Soldiers on UN Peacekeeping Mission Exploited the People of Haiti.’ »

Public Outcry at Massive Nugegoda Rally for Mahinda Rajapaksa to Compete for Prime Minister Post


By Jayashika Padmasiri

Several United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) strongmen yesterday called on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to re-enter politics and compete for the Prime Ministerial post at the next general election.

MR FB NR

Facebook status update by Namal Rajapaksa MP-with 31k “Likes” as of Feb 19, 08:00 AM-facebook.com/NamalSL

This request was made at a mass rally held yesterday at Nugegoda, chiefly organised by politicians Wimal Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Udaya Gammanpila and Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Amongst other politicians present were T.B Ekanayake, Salinda Dissanayake, Manusha Nanayakkara, Kumara Welgama, C.B. Rathnayake, Mahinda Yapa, Jayantha Katagoda, Dilum Amunugama, Vidura Ratnayake and several Provincial and Local Council members and former diplomat Dayan Jayatilleke.

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Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Keeping President Sirisena Under his Thumb says Weerawansa at Nugegoda Rally

By

Dasun Edirisinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was keeping President Maithripala Sirisena under his thumb and the latter was helpless, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and former minister Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday. What the country had at present was a UNP government in all but name and the SLFP had no say in it. “If the SLFP is part of the government as some people claim how come SLFP members are being attacked all over the country?”

The NFF leader was addressing a massive rally held under theme: ‘Make Mahinda PM’. It had been organised jointly by the NFF, the MEP, Democratic Left Front led by Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya led by Udaya Gammanpila.

Weerawsansa said people should not be misled by the claim made in some quarters that there was a national government.

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Basil Rajapaksa now in the USA Granted Leave of Absence from Sri Lanka Parliament for Three Months.


By Saman Indrajith

Former Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapska was granted leave of absence from parliament for three months from yesterday (18).

The leave motion was moved by Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva.

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake demanded to know what purpose the leave had been taken for. “The House is granting leave thus it has a right to know whether the MP is taking leave for educational or medical purpose. Is it study or medical leave?”

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, who agreed with MP Dissanayake, said that it should have been better if the reason for taking leave, too, had been mentioned in the motion.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa now in the USA Granted Leave of Absence from Sri Lanka Parliament for Three Months.’ »

Beijing Proposes Tripartite Partnership Between Sri Lanka, India and China

by

Atul Aneja

Steering clear of a perception of China-India rivalry, Beijing has proposed at triangular partnership with India and Sri Lanka, ahead of a month-end visit to Beijing of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

CHSLIFL

Asked to comment on the visit to India by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “We are happy to see close and friendly development of India-Sri Lanka relations”.

She added: “We believe the sound relations among the three countries are conducive to the three countries and to the whole region. Therefore we are happy to see development of relations between Sri Lanka and India.”

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Full Text of August 1987 Interview with LTTE Leader Prabakharan That was Re-produced by “Frontline” in Feb 6, 2015 Issue


By

T.S.Subramanian

The signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement on July 29, 1987, in Colombo by Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene marked a turning point in the history of Sri Lanka as well as in India-Sri Lanka relations. Under it, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was despatched to the island’s Northern and Eastern provinces. The situation went haywire with the beginning of a military confrontation between the IPKF and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from October 10, 1987, and a marked reluctance on the part of Colombo to implement the agreement. The IPKF-LTTE military conflict saw the death of about 1,200 Indian soldiers and 660 LTTE cadres. An LTTE suicide bomber assassinated Rajiv Gandhi when he was campaigning at Sriperumbudur, about 30 km from Chennai, on May 21, 1991.

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This changed the LTTE’s fortunes forever. It caused a tremendous revulsion towards the organisation in Tamil Nadu. It was proscribed in India and other countries. Prabakaran was killed in a climactic battle with the Sri Lanka Army on May 18, 2009. Five years later, Rajapaksa, under whose presidency the LTTE was wiped out, lost the election in Sri Lanka, thanks largely to Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims voting against him. Frontline has covered the Sri Lankan issue consistently and exhaustively right from the magazine’s inception.

V. PRABAKARAN, the LTTE leader, is a key player in the dramatic developments represented by the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement and its implementation. He was invited to New Delhi before the agreement was signed, raised apprehensions and objections, met Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for a frank discussion of the situation and the problems, and returned to Jaffna in early August. On August 4, Prabakaran made a speech that drew wide attention: in it, he analysed the situation from the LTTE’s standpoint, expressed his dissatisfaction with the agreement but also his closeness to India and said the LTTE would hand over arms basically because it “loves India” and did not want to clash with the IPKF. A week later, a Frontline team comprising writer T.S. Subramanian and photographer D. Krishnan met him for this session in Jaffna. Soon after this, fresh Indian assurances led to the LTTE deciding to go ahead with the handing over of arms.

For his first extended interview after returning to Jaffna from Tamil Nadu in January 1987, Velupillai Prabakaran, the Supreme Commander of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, meets representatives of Frontline and The Hindu in the second week of August in Jaffna. The interview, conducted in Tamil, lasts over an hour.

The LTTE leader looked cool and relaxed. He sets the ball rolling by suggesting that we should go to the Eastern province where the Sri Lankan soldiers, he alleges, are still harassing Tamil civilians.

Q;There was a media story that when the Sri Lanka armed forces began their offensive against the Vadamarachchi region of the Jaffna peninsula on May 26, you were trapped in Velvettiturai and you managed to escape. Is this version true?

Prabakaran (smiling): I moved to Jaffna on the night of May 25. They began the offensive the next day morning. They attacked Velvettiturai thinking that I was there.

Continue reading ‘Full Text of August 1987 Interview with LTTE Leader Prabakharan That was Re-produced by “Frontline” in Feb 6, 2015 Issue’ »

Sri Lankan Customs Prevent Release of Indian News Magazine “Frontline” on Grounds of National Security due to Reproduced Interview with LTTE Leader Prabhakaran.

By

Disna Mudalige

The Frontline Magazine has not been banned in Sri Lanka, but the Customs Department has stopped the release of bulk of the latest issue of the Magazine, Media Ministry Secretary Karunarathna Paranaithana told Daily News yesterday.

The Secretary said the Customs officials have done so due to a contempt material found in the magazine that would be detrimental to the national security.

When asked about the nature of the contempt material, the Secretary said the latest issue of the magazine has reproduced an interview with Prabhakaran which was initially published in 1987.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Customs Prevent Release of Indian News Magazine “Frontline” on Grounds of National Security due to Reproduced Interview with LTTE Leader Prabhakaran.’ »

“The Problem is that the Prime Minister Thinks he knows Everything and will not Delegate”-Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha

By

Zahrah Imtiaz

Turmoil erupted once again in the coalition government as yet another State Minister, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, in charge of Higher Education, threatened to resign. Faizer Musthapha, State Minister for Civil Aviation, resigned not too long ago. The common issue among the increasingly disgruntled ministers is that Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, insists on running a one-man show, not too different from the leadership of the previous regime.

pic via: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

pic via: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader


Following are excerpts from an interview with Prof. Wijesinha

Q:There are rumours that you have resigned from your portfolio as State Minister. Is it true?

A: I told the President that the whole situation is untenable. There are several reasons for this. First, I was upset I was not made a Cabinet Minister as promised in the manifesto.

Q:Was there a promise in the manifesto that you would be made a Cabinet Minister?

A: There is a promise that the Cabinet would consist of representatives of all parties in Parliament. I never asked for this, but two people of enormous significance, myself and present State Minister of Education, V. Radhakrishnan were left out. The Prime Minister called on Saturday and so I mentioned this to him and he asked ‘did former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga promise you?”

Continue reading ‘“The Problem is that the Prime Minister Thinks he knows Everything and will not Delegate”-Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha’ »

“Genocide” Resolution by Northern Provincial Council is Calculated Act to Whip up Ethnic Frenzy


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

It is sad that the Tamil political leadership is not learning from their misadventures in the past. The “genocide” resolution that was passed by the Northern Provincial Council is a calculated act to whip up ethnic frenzy in a country that is going through a democratic transition, trying to reconcile with its past and reform its democratic institutions. It was a calculated act because the resolution had been put on back-burner after it was first tabled in October last year by NPC hardliners.

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran & TNA Leader R. Sampanthan

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran & TNA Leader R. Sampanthan

Then, R. Sampanthan, the TNA leader himself cautioned NPC members against dabbling with contentious issues, claiming that the TNA hierarchy would decide on those matters of national importance. The official position of the TNA on the resolution was articulated in a statement issued by the party at that time.

It said “it would be improper and inappropriate for the Northern Provincial Council or any other political body to make pronouncements in the form of resolutions or otherwise on matters of evidence and law currently being considered by the OSIL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka).

Continue reading ‘“Genocide” Resolution by Northern Provincial Council is Calculated Act to Whip up Ethnic Frenzy’ »

“Christianophobia”: Continuing Persecution and Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in the Middle East

By Rupert Shortt

The beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by forces sympathetic to Islamic State over recent days is sadly not an isolated case. On the contrary, it is the latest of countless outrages perpetrated against Christians in or near the Church’s Biblical heartlands over many years.

The latest victims were migrant workers from Upper Egypt. The announcement by the authorities in Cairo of retaliatory bombing raids on terrorist training camps in Libya should not blind us to an inconvenient truth – that more than 600,000 Christians have left Egypt over the past 30 years under both Islamist and supposedly secular regimes. Many got out because their homes or churches or businesses had been firebombed.

Before travelling to Egypt to research my book Christianophobia, I interviewed immigrant Copts in Britain whose stories formed a pattern. One, a senior GP, explained how no Christian medical student at his university in Asyut, Upper Egypt, had been placed in the “Good”, “Very Good” or “Excellent” classes in their final exams. The injustice convinced him that he would never prosper in his own country, especially with the rise during the 1970s of the militant Gama Islamiya, whose members dominated some campuses. “They started attacking Christian students,” he told me, “barging into our rooms and tearing down pictures of the Virgin Mary and other religious materials. A fight ensued. I and other Christians were expelled from university accommodation, but the Muslims who caused trouble were allowed to remain.”

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90th Birthday of Prof. Siri Gunasinghe one of the most Influential Contributors to Modern Sinhala Culture

By

Dr. Sarath Amunugama

Siri Gunasinghe, one of the most influential contributors to modern Sinhala culture, reaches the age of ninety this week. This short essay seeks to outline some of his many gifts as well as to extend my sincere thanks for a wonderful friendship that spans over five decades.

As young undergraduates who entered the idyllic setting of the Peradeniya University in the late fifties, we were blessed with the opportunity of associating not only some of the finest minds in the country but also teachers on whom learning sat lightly. There was not a trace of pomposity in them and they were always ready to help their young students to match up to their potential, be it in the tutorial class or outside in music, theatre, poetry or games, through friendly interaction.Of all these teachers Siri was outstanding for his knowledge, varied interests and most of all for his élan or style. Just back with a doctorate from the Sorbonne, he brought a delightful Gallic informality much to the envy of other teachers and the delight of us, his close young admirers and supporters.

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“The Water Buffalo, A Memorial and Dirty Dishwater”-Three Poems by Siri Gunasinghe

Three Poems by Siri Gunasinghe Translated by Professor Ranjini Obeyesekere

Siri Gunasinghe-(b: February 18, 1925 (age 90), Galle, Sri Lanka)

Siri Gunasinghe-(b: February 18, 1925 (age 90), Galle, Sri Lanka)

Water Buffalo, in Yala-pic: by PhantomMenace-Colombo/Singapore

Water Buffalo, in Yala-pic: by PhantomMenace-Colombo/Singapore

1. The Water Buffalo

My beard on fire

in haste, I was running, running down in the dawn,

bearing the burdens of life

all on my back;

at the edge of the road, in a large clump of grass

like a fat merchant spread eagled on his easy-chair

I saw you lie.

Both eyes closed;

and at the earth-shattering

battering of my feet

you did not even start.

Ears turned down;

my sky-thundering

lightning-like haste

did not surprise you.

Teeth unbrushed

face unwashed,

in the mountain’s moist lap

of lush marsh grass

mud splashed.

What if, like you

I too

could laze?

Continue reading ‘“The Water Buffalo, A Memorial and Dirty Dishwater”-Three Poems by Siri Gunasinghe’ »

Inaugural Colombo Bird Race on February 21st 2015 From 6.30 am to 10.30 am

The Federation of Environmental Organizations of Sri Lanka (FEO) in partnership with the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOG SL) and supported by Otara, will launch the inaugural Colombo Bird Race on the 21st of February 2015.

Our objective is to raise awareness of the spectacular range of our urban wildlife in and around Colombo and generate an interest in conserving green spaces within our city. Colombo with its old growth avenues and wetlands is home to a remarkable range of resident birds species. These species numbers are further enhanced during the winter months by migratory birds.

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Only Truth and Accountability will bring Closure and Save the Government: Corruption, Human Rights Abuses, and War Crimes

By Jude Fernando

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always” Mahatma Gandhi

“Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep.”

― Isaiah Berlin

While the government may be able to successfully introduce constitutional reforms to curb the powers of the Executive and rehabilitate the electoral system, its economic policies will not produce many tangible results in just 100 days, as the public may expect. The government’s survival in the next general election is likely to be largely determined by how it responds to the two-pronged issue of justice: corruption under the Rajapaksa regime, and accountability for allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes committed during the last phase of the Sri Lankan civil war.

These two issues are equally important and interconnected, and prioritizing one over the other could cost the government the next election. The reasons for the Rajapaksa regime’s rise and fall, and the public’s trust in the Maithripala regime’s promise of good governance, are inextricably related to these two issues.

One can understand the Rajapaksa regime’s survival for ten years – despite its record of abuses of power and dismantling of democracy – and its subsequent fall, only in relation to the means by which it maintained power. Its skillful manipulation of public fears legitimized its denial and procrastination of fulfilling domestic and international obligations. In doing so, it was able to avoid accountability for allegations of human rights abuses during and after the war, and deflect attention away from its failure to provide meaningful devolution of power to the country’s northern and eastern regions.

The Maithripala government cannot save the country from such a dark political legacy if those accused of corruption escape scrutiny. Nor can it ignore domestic and international demands for accountability and transitional justice. To do so risks falling prey to diabolical extremists who have made the rather preposterous claim that giving into those demands is hostile and diametrically opposed to the existential interests of the Sinhala community. It is equally important not to provide opportunities for those sinister forces conspiring to prevent the Tamil community from collaborating with government.

The government’s responses to these challenges will determine its success in restoring good governance and justice, although these challenges do not necessarily arise from the same context and require different responses. The consequences of revealing the truth about corruption is no different to revealing the truth about human rights abuses and war crimes.

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“Maha Siva Rathri”: The Great Night of Lord Siva Observed this year on Feb 17

By

Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Mahasivarathri or ‘the great night of Lord Siva’ is a celebration of Siva’s spirit, celebrated by Hindus the world over.

It falls on the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight and is considered the most important day for Siva worshippers and marked with special celebrations.

Hindus around the world celebrating “MahaSivarathri” this year onFebruary 17th

Sivarathri means ‘the spiritual night of Lord Siva,’ who has 1,008 names, being the God of Destruction tasked to destroy evil and ignorance. Sivarathri symbolizes the regeneration of the human soul by being one with the divine. The festival is celebrated during the Tamil month of Maasi which lasts from mid February to mid March.
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