The Words “SinhalaLE” with LE written in the Sinhala Alphabet in Red on the back of Vehicles and Three Wheelers is RACIST and Potential Bomb Ready to Explode

by Gnana Moonesinghe

Sometimes the fear is that large numbers of the people are blind and deaf; blind and deaf by intent that they neither see nor hear or do so selectively. That will have to be another study, another investigation.

But for now this short paper is confined to describe what has been seen and heard by those keen to be acquainted with information available around them. Yet let’s be aware that the unraveling of the facts around us is not always pleasant; what is seen and heard will be disturbing to the mind and spirit of those who are receptive.

Yes, the two references will upset many amongst us, both liberals and conservatives, who have a keen desire to unite the nation and actively subscribe to Martin Luther King’s exhortation – to live like brothers or perish together as fools. What will it be?

Continue reading ‘The Words “SinhalaLE” with LE written in the Sinhala Alphabet in Red on the back of Vehicles and Three Wheelers is RACIST and Potential Bomb Ready to Explode’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Likely to Enter Presidential Election Hustings as a “National Candidate” On an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform.


The Speaker of Parliament and the United National Party’s one-time chairman, Karu Jayasuriya is expected to be proposed as a possible “National candidate” by an influential section of the party following party leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa digging in to their position on the presidential ticket.

The basis for bringing in the Speaker into the equation comes from the UNP announcing simultaneously it will abolish the Executive Presidency immediately after this Presidential election.

The Constitution’s 19th Amendment has already clipped some of the next President’s Executive powers. Party insiders said the UNP had already decided at its 2014 National Convention to do away with the Executive Presidency, but argued the party did not have the legislative support to implement it after coming into office in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Likely to Enter Presidential Election Hustings as a “National Candidate” On an Abolition of Executive Presidency Platform.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Supporters Kabir Hashim , Ajith P Perera and Sujeeva Senasinghe Face Expulsion from the UNP for Violating Party Discipline.


United National Party Chairman Kabir Hashim and two Non-Cabinet Ministers face expulsion next week whilst a partnership between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) may not materialise, according to new political developments this week.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Sunday Times learns, has decided to move against three loyalists of top minister and deputy leader Sajith Premadasa, for ‘violating party discipline.’ This is ahead of the UNP’s Working Committee meeting at which the party’s presidential candidate will be picked.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Supporters Kabir Hashim , Ajith P Perera and Sujeeva Senasinghe Face Expulsion from the UNP for Violating Party Discipline.’ »

Did Murali Bowl a Political “Doosra” in his Speech At Gotabaya’s “Viyathmaga” Event and is Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Overstepping the Line Drawn and Observed by Christian Clerics in this Country?

By Gamini Weerakoon

Even though the presidential election has not yet been officially announced, the cacophony of voices for the proposed candidates is stepping up. Unrestrained, superlative praises of cheer squads are being shouted from roof tops followed by vile, damning condemnation of their rivals.

This, of course, is in keeping with the country’s political traditions. This week, however, we read of a rare expression of opinion that is not in tune with the usual ‘Bakthigee’ and hosannas.

The ever charming Muttiah Muralitharan of international cricketing fame had been invited to speak at the annual convention of Viyathmaga, described as a think-tank of a putative presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Viyathmaga means, the Way of Intellectuals, but Gotabaya’s opponent Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has dubbed it as the ‘Vipathmaga’ — the Road to Disaster.

What Murali’s interest is in Rajapaksa politics and Gotabaya’s ideologies, we are so far not aware of and why he was featured as a star speaker at the inauguration is baffling.

Nonetheless, Murali, some news reports said, had bowled a political ‘Doosra’ like his cricketing ‘Doosra’ which many leading batsmen had not been able to read and come a cropper, making him the world’s leading wicket taker in Test Cricket.

Continue reading ‘Did Murali Bowl a Political “Doosra” in his Speech At Gotabaya’s “Viyathmaga” Event and is Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Overstepping the Line Drawn and Observed by Christian Clerics in this Country?’ »

President Sirisena Bringing “Rupavahini” Under the Purview of the Defence Ministry is Constitutionally Unacceptable.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

It has always been an interesting curiosity that politicians trained in law in Sri Lanka appear to be far more blissfully unconscious of basic legal principles than their colleagues who at least do not engage in hair splitting explanations when abusing power.

Disregarding legal and constitutional proprieties

Indeed, it is better to be upfront and admit the naked trampling of the law in the interests of brute political expediency rather than try to explain this abuse on preposterous grounds that are scarcely commonsensical let alone legally justifiable. T

rue to these traditions, we had a one time Professor of Law and a onetime Chief Justice twisting their remarkably dexterous tongues in upholding an unconstitutional ouster of a Prime Minister late last year, only to be brought up short by the Supreme Court reminding these worthies of the importance of respecting constitutional proprieties.

The recent manifestation of this same contradiction was by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s spokesman, also a proud product of academic legal training, who justified this week’s Presidential ‘take over’ of the Rupavahini Corporation, the country’s state telecaster on the basis of ‘institutional instability.’

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Bringing “Rupavahini” Under the Purview of the Defence Ministry is Constitutionally Unacceptable.’ »

Ruwan Wijewardene Strikes a Blow for Media Freedom by Forthrightly Condemning Maithripala Sirisena For his Arbitrary Take-over of “Rupavahini” State TV and Bringing it Under the Defence Ministry.

By

Don Manu

Coming out of his shell, UNP State Minister of Defence and Minister of Media Ruwan Wijewardena struck a blow for media freedom this week when he condemned his Minister, the Minister of Defence and Lankan President for his arbitrary takeover of State owned TV channel Rupavahini under his Defence Ministry and thus under his wing.

In a no holds barred letter, the UNP Minister told the President on Monday: “According to audit reports, the Rupavahini Corporation is incurring a monthly loss of over Rs.50 million. The SLRC has also gone down to 6th place in television rankings.”

“When the situation is as such, the decision to take the SLRC under the Ministry of Defence’s purview by an extraordinary gazette seems to have created a troublesome situation. The Rupavahini Corporation was never taken under the Defence Ministry even during the time of war and can therefore be interpreted as a threat to media freedom in Sri Lanka,” he said.

At the centre of the storm is the present boss of Rupavahini Inoka Sathyangani, a law student who dropped out in her final year to pursue her interest in films and became an award winning film director. She was appointed by President Sirisena during Mangala Samaraweera’s tenure as Media Minister. There have been many attempts by the non-cabinet Media Minister Ruwan to remove her but all had failed. He had nominated Shan Wijetunga, a media professional with over 29 years of experience, and currently the head of the Sri Lanka College of Journalism, as the Chairman of Rupavahini.

Continue reading ‘Ruwan Wijewardene Strikes a Blow for Media Freedom by Forthrightly Condemning Maithripala Sirisena For his Arbitrary Take-over of “Rupavahini” State TV and Bringing it Under the Defence Ministry.’ »

Did Gotabaya Rajapaksa Insist on Being Anointed as the SLPP Presidential Candidate Long Before the Election was Announced as a Way of Evading Justice?


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Those who seek power at any price detect a societal weakness, a fear that they can ride into office.” Carl Sagan (The Demon-haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)

One point four million extra votes – that is what Gotabaya Rajapaksa needs to achieve his burning desire to become the next president of Sri Lanka.

The number of registered voters currently is around 16 million. If, as in 2015, the turnout is 82% (and rejected votes don’t exceed 2%), this would mean a total valid vote of 12.8 million. To win outright, a candidate would have to gain around 6.4 million votes.

The SLPP won the 2018 Local Government election polling 5 million votes. To win the next presidential election outright, Gotabaya Rajapaksa will have to top those 5 million votes with 1.4 million extra votes.

Politically, mathematically, that could be a bridge almost too far.

True, the challenge before the UNP is way more daunting. It has a far greater distance to cover, 2.8 million votes over and above its dismal tally of 3.6 million at the 2018 LG polls. That is assuming it regains its collective sanity before nominations begin. Currently Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe are fully occupied with trying to kill the elephant, one with fire and the other with ice. Such infantile conduct would have appalled Ranasinghe Premadasa and JR Jayewardene who always placed party-unity above their personal ambitions. But sons and nephews are not made of the same clay as fathers and uncles. Sajith Premadasa’s vainglory and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s obduracy are threatening the electoral prospects of the UNP, and far more pertinently, the very survival of Lankan democracy.

The hype around the SLPP’s 2018 victory served to hide a far more nebulous mathematical reality. The party’s average vote did not exceed the all important 50% mark. Not even close. It won just 40% of the vote (way ahead of the UNP at 29.4%; incidentally the UNP scored even more dismally in Hambantota – 25.5%). Had that election been a parliamentary election, the SLPP would not have been able to form a government on its own. Had that election been a presidential election, there would have been no outright victor; to find a winner, second and third preferences would have had to be counted.

Continue reading ‘Did Gotabaya Rajapaksa Insist on Being Anointed as the SLPP Presidential Candidate Long Before the Election was Announced as a Way of Evading Justice?’ »

Integrity of Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election is Increasingly Hostage to new Propaganda Dynamics that Existing Regulations and Laws Fall Short of Addressing.

By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

A coup’s normalization is key to long-term success. Architects of an unconstitutional transfer of power have to quickly give the impression everything is under control and nothing is going awry, so as to allay public fears, even amongst ardent supporters, that it may lead to more widespread chaos or instability. By November 9, 2018, just under a fortnight into the constitutional imbroglio the President plunged country into – things were not going well for him or the Rajapaksas. Looking at what was evident upon studying social media content and commentary at the time, I called it a ‘narrative roadblock’. The Rajapaksas had run out of stories, and the organic, public resistance to the arbitrary transfer of a Prime Minister was growing apace.

The highest engagement at the time was around an interview Muttiah Muralitharan – the enduringly useful spinner for the Rajapaksas – did for television. ‘Jana Mahimaya’, a joint rally with the SLPP and SLFP had been announced days prior. Bizarrely, there was little to no further promotion of it, which meant interest in it had waned very quickly. A younger Rajapaksa kept publishing selfies even at this time – the crucial first stage of a coup – highlighting what academics call an ‘ego-centric’ network, which is to say that everything promoted on social media accounts was about him, and nothing much else. Either he had already lost interest, or wasn’t planning on tainting his brand image and its appeal with a power grab doomed to fail.

Worth noting was that the UNP (as a party) and Ranil Wickremesinghe (as an individual) were entirely absent from any discernible strategic or political communication. An apocryphal story recounted to me had the UNP searching for a Sinhala typewriter, and then someone who could type in Sinhala, in order to update its Twitter account, only to find that no one in the party remembered the password to the account because it had lain unused for so long. The only reason I am partial to believe this is the sheer amount of social media accounts, now unused, associated with the UNP or its leader over the years, suggesting passwords are irrevocably forgotten on a regular basis. The lack of any counter-narrative from the UNP rendered the absence of propaganda from the Sirisena and Rajapaksa camps even more surprising. Given what was produced and how around the ‘Jana Balaya’ rally just months prior and the SLPP campaign for the Local Government election, the ‘narrative roadblock’ – evident only through the study of social media at scale – gave a clear indication of underlying issues President Sirisena confirmed to mainstream media only much later.

Continue reading ‘Integrity of Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election is Increasingly Hostage to new Propaganda Dynamics that Existing Regulations and Laws Fall Short of Addressing.’ »

How Many Tamil Votes Can EPDP chief Douglas Devananda Canvass for Gotabaya Rajapaksa At Presidential Poll?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ever since the name of Gotabaya Rajapaksa began to be bandied about as a potential candidate at the Sri Lankan presidential elections, doubts have been raised as to whether the former defence ministry secretary could win at the hustings. This skepticism has intensified in recent times after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa formally announced his brother’s candidacy at the Sri Lanka Podujana Party(SLPP) Convention on August 7th this year.

EPDP Meeting Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Earlier there was much pessimism about Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s eligibility to contest as a dual citizen holding US citizenship. It was strongly believed that Gota would not be allowed to relinquish his US citizenship on time to contest presidential elections and would be disbarred from contesting as a dual citizen in terms of the 19th Constitutional amendment. These misgivings seem to have somewhat diminished after Gota produced documents as proof of having lost his US Nationality.
Continue reading ‘How Many Tamil Votes Can EPDP chief Douglas Devananda Canvass for Gotabaya Rajapaksa At Presidential Poll?’ »

Can Sajith Premadasa Seeking Nomination and Election From the UNP Tell Us Where His Political Thinking and Policies Differ From Ranil Wickremesinghe?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The drum beats of political pride get louder as the Gam Udawa – Village Re-awakening – score gets closer to the third century.

The political legacy of the Premadasa Family is coming to new reaches in the spread of new village names, needing a new listing of the acres or hectares of nature destroyed to build the villages of political pride, drawn from a legacy of paternal distortion on progress.

We are having village names that are getting longer, more twisted and distorted in expression, as the Gam Udawa scores are hit, with two, three and even four new villages per day. The large memorial slabs are unveiled by the Sajith Putha, with quickly vanishing pictures of the Ranasinghe father, as the heat of presidential polls gets higher with inner party rivalries.

In a country where the elephant population is rapidly declining, mainly due to the politics of crooked village expansion, we are not moving to any areas that could be called an “Ali-Athun Pedesa” the area of elephants. Instead we are seeing the spread of new villages in the ‘Ali Perali’ politics of the Green Elephants herd. We are still to see the opening of a ‘Henduvegama’ or ‘Ankusagama’- (the goad village) that records the final control of the political elephant in the current Jumbo Game or Ali Keliya of the search for presidential candidacy.

Continue reading ‘Can Sajith Premadasa Seeking Nomination and Election From the UNP Tell Us Where His Political Thinking and Policies Differ From Ranil Wickremesinghe?’ »

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi’s Daughter and DMK Parliamentarian K.Kanimozhi in Sri Lanka to Attend SLMC Chief Rauff Hakeem’s Daughter’s Wedding Meets Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

By
Wisu Karunanidhi and Lahiru Fernando

The fisheries issue in the Palk Strait and the situation of detained Indian fisher crews as well as co-operation against cross-border extremist terror outfits were subjects of discussion when rising Tamil Nadu politician and Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday. At the meeting, MP Kanimozhi (daughter of the late legendary Tamil Nadu leader Muthuvel Karunanidhi) spoke of the long standing cordial relationship between India and Sri Lanka, according to official sources.

Ms. Karunanidhi, who was accompanied by two other Indian MPs, had mentioned that the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was known to her father and had said that her visit was to further cement Indo-Sri Lanka relations. The Indian MP is currently on a private visit to the island.

Continue reading ‘Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi’s Daughter and DMK Parliamentarian K.Kanimozhi in Sri Lanka to Attend SLMC Chief Rauff Hakeem’s Daughter’s Wedding Meets Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Will Sajith Premadasa Split From The UNP And Contest Presidential Poll Separately Or Remain in the Party Even if Denied Candidacy?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

There is political excitement in the air in anticipation of Presidential elections before the end of the year. Even though no dates have been specified there is much speculation about prospective candidates and their prospects. Among those being spoken of as a potential presidential election contender is Hambantota District Parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa who is also the United National Party (UNP) deputy leader. Sajith is the son of Ranasinghe Premadasa who served as Prime minister of a United National Party (UNP)Government from 1978 to 1988 and as President of Sri Lanka from 1988 to 1993.

pic: facebook.com/sajithpremadasa

The simmering tensions within the UNP over this issue are now coming to light In a big way. The latest incident being the UNP working committee meeting held on August 1st to approve the proposal by party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to form a new political alliance named National Democratic Front (NDF) and face Presidential elections.
Continue reading ‘Will Sajith Premadasa Split From The UNP And Contest Presidential Poll Separately Or Remain in the Party Even if Denied Candidacy?’ »

Sunil Ariyaratne Brings W.A. Silva’s Epic Novel “Vijayaba Kollaya” To Screen As a Spectacular 3-D Film.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

When Professor Sunil Ariyaratne was studying for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level in 1963 at St. John’s College, Nugegoda, one of his favourite textbooks was W.A. Silva’s novel ‘Vijayaba Kollaya’.

Fifty-six years later in 2019, the eminent academic-writer-lyricist-director has made a film out of the novel he relished reading as a student more than five decades ago.

“I never thought that I would make a film from the text I learnt as a student in 1963,” said an elated Ariyaratne in a media interview.
Continue reading ‘Sunil Ariyaratne Brings W.A. Silva’s Epic Novel “Vijayaba Kollaya” To Screen As a Spectacular 3-D Film.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe -Sajith Premadasa Talks End Inconclusively on a Positive Note With Both Sides Agreeing to Take Final Decision Soon on UNP Presidential Candidate

By Chandani Kirinde

A meeting between UNP Party Leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa ended last night with both sides agreeing to reach a final decision soon as to who the Party’s candidate should be for the upcoming Presidential Election.

Premadasa told reporters after the meeting that it was positive, and that a final outcome would be made known soon.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe -Sajith Premadasa Talks End Inconclusively on a Positive Note With Both Sides Agreeing to Take Final Decision Soon on UNP Presidential Candidate’ »

Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Writes Strong Letter to President Accusing Sirisena of Obstructing his Attempts to Change management at “Rupavahini”; Criticises the Takeover of SLRC by Defence Ministry as “a blow to media freedom in the country and “a contravention of all accepted norms”.

Non-Cabinet Minister of Mass Media Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday accused President Maithripala Sirisena of repeatedly obstructing his attempts to change the management of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), leading to the impasse which resulted in the Corporation being brought under the Defence Ministry’s purview.

“Since I took over the Ministry of Mass Media in February this year, I tried to appoint an efficient, talented, and suitable person as Chairman of the Corporation, but the President objected to all the nominees, giving various reasons,” Wijewardene said in the letter sent to the President.

The President’s shock move came on Monday, after months of wrangling over differences over appointments to the top management of the Corporation.

Continue reading ‘Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Writes Strong Letter to President Accusing Sirisena of Obstructing his Attempts to Change management at “Rupavahini”; Criticises the Takeover of SLRC by Defence Ministry as “a blow to media freedom in the country and “a contravention of all accepted norms”.’ »

UNP working Committee Will Meet Soon To Discuss Discipline and Unity in the Party and the Elpitiya Elections. Presidential Candidate to be Finalised After Election Date is Announced.

by Zacki Jabbar

The UNP’s Presidential candidate would be selected by the Working Committee (WC) and named after a date for the election was announced, senior party sources said, yesterday.

Asked when the WC would meet, sources said “Very Soon. But that will be to discuss the need for discipline and unity within the party and campaign for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Election, scheduled for October 11. Our presidential candidate will be named after a date for the election is announced.”

Continue reading ‘UNP working Committee Will Meet Soon To Discuss Discipline and Unity in the Party and the Elpitiya Elections. Presidential Candidate to be Finalised After Election Date is Announced.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Blueprint Unveiled at “Viyathmaga” is a “Vipathmaga” Building Castles in the Air “Says Mangala Samaraweera and Flays Captains of Industry attending Event for their “Strategic Promiscuity” Buying Insurance If the Worst Occurs


Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday in a statement said that SLPP’s presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘economic blueprint’, unveiled on Sunday, was meant to build castles in the air.

Following is Samaraweera’s statement.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s so-called ‘economic blueprint’ is anything but a plan. The 82 slides, released on Sunday, pump aspiration and dump implementation. A blueprint is supposed to be a roadmap for how to achieve an objective. The slide-deck dreams many dreams. But there is precious little that can be actioned. It is, at best, a blueprint for building castles in the air; at worst, a blueprint for disaster.

More worryingly, it has taken the sensible strategy of Vision 2025 and fused it with toxic Rajapaksa kleptocracy. In reality, the ‘blueprint’ sets Sri Lanka on a ‘Vipathmaga’ – a road to sorrow – returning to the era of debt-fuelled crony capitalism. The fact that one of the sessions was chaired by a person arrested for financial fraud, and indicted by the Attorney-General, demonstrates the calibre of advisors preparing these documents.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Blueprint Unveiled at “Viyathmaga” is a “Vipathmaga” Building Castles in the Air “Says Mangala Samaraweera and Flays Captains of Industry attending Event for their “Strategic Promiscuity” Buying Insurance If the Worst Occurs’ »

“Equality in prosperity is my goal, for which we need a new revolutionary economic development model and a creative vision” States Sajith Premadasa Delivering Bakeer Markar Memorial Lecture. “We need racial, ethnic, and religious harmony, without which a country cannot be strong,” Emphasises UNP Deputy Leader

By Nisthar Cassim

UNP presidential candidate hopeful Minister Sajith Premadasa yesterday promised a truly prosperous nation to all people, as opposed to enriching a select few as rulers to date have done in Sri Lanka.

Delivering the 22nd M.A. Bakeer Markar Annual Commemoration lecture yesterday, titled ‘Foundation for a stronger and prosperous Sri Lanka’ Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Premadasa opined that Sri Lanka has been suffering from “imbalanced economic development”, with statistics manipulated to create an artificial feel-good factor.

Continue reading ‘“Equality in prosperity is my goal, for which we need a new revolutionary economic development model and a creative vision” States Sajith Premadasa Delivering Bakeer Markar Memorial Lecture. “We need racial, ethnic, and religious harmony, without which a country cannot be strong,” Emphasises UNP Deputy Leader’ »

President Sirisena Brings “Rupavahini” Under Purview of his Defence Ministry Through Gazette Notification to Prevent Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Appointing Palitha Maheerathne as New SLRC Chairman.

By Chandani Kirinde

President Maithripala Sirisena last night brought the influential Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under the purview of the Ministry of Defence by an Extraordinary Gazette notification.

Along with the takeover, the SLRC was also tasked with the “Implementation of programs for the promotion of peace, harmony and reconciliation among people whilst ensuring national security through the use of audio visual media, enhancement of the entertainment quality of the people and creation of a higher media culture using state-of-the-art technology.”

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Brings “Rupavahini” Under Purview of his Defence Ministry Through Gazette Notification to Prevent Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Appointing Palitha Maheerathne as New SLRC Chairman.’ »

Transparency International Complains to CIABOC against Ministers Fernando, Mano Ganesan and Gayantha Karunathilaka For Not Submitting Declaration of Assets and Liabilities.


By Nisali De Silva

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) filed a complaint this morning (10) at the Commission to Investigation Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) against Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa and seven other Cabinet Ministers who failed to submit their Declarations of Assets and Liabilities for the year 2018/19.

Continue reading ‘Transparency International Complains to CIABOC against Ministers Fernando, Mano Ganesan and Gayantha Karunathilaka For Not Submitting Declaration of Assets and Liabilities.’ »

Sports Minister Harin Fernando Issues Directive Under Section 39(3) of Sports Law Prohibiting Thilanga Sumathipala From Holding any Office Or Exercising Powers Pending Inquiry Against the Ex- SL Cricket President

Sports Minister Harin Fernando has issued a temporary directive preventing former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala from exercising any powers or holding any office at the SLC pending an inquiry.

Continue reading ‘Sports Minister Harin Fernando Issues Directive Under Section 39(3) of Sports Law Prohibiting Thilanga Sumathipala From Holding any Office Or Exercising Powers Pending Inquiry Against the Ex- SL Cricket President’ »

Presidential Aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presents Detailed Outline of his Blueprint to Develop Sri Lanka at the “Viyathmaga” convention Held at the “Shangri -La” Hotel in Colombo

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential aspirant and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday gave a detailed outline of his blueprint to develop Sri Lanka and pledged to focus on building partnerships with the private sector, appointing technocrats to carry out national policies and strengthening local industries.

Speaking at the Viyathmaga Annual Convention 2019 at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo under the title ‘Actioning the Blueprint’, Rajapaksa addressed a packed audience of industry captains and top private sector professionals giving details on how he would tackle international relations, education, national security, attract investment and ensure governance.

“We need to marry the virtues of democratic inclusiveness with the effectiveness of technocratic management. Democratic feedback is crucial for governments to ensure that they are on the right track. To strengthen democracy, politicians must be supported by technocrats. In a country with a well-functioning democracy, people are provided with the opportunity to express their opinion of their Government through timely elections,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presents Detailed Outline of his Blueprint to Develop Sri Lanka at the “Viyathmaga” convention Held at the “Shangri -La” Hotel in Colombo’ »

Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan Speaking at “Viyathmaga” Convention in the Presence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa says “Sri Lanka now Needs a Leader who Could Guarantee Security to the Nation and Bring an end to Continuing Uncertainty and Turmoil”

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

Former national cricketer Muththiah Muralitharan, yesterday, (08) urged the electorate to pick a capable leader who could lead a team.

Underscoring the importance of the leader consulting his team, Muralitharan said that it would be the responsibility of the leader to take decisions. The leader required right support, Muralitharan said, underscoring the importance of leading the team and not dictate terms.

Muralitharan said so addressing a side-event organized by Viyath Maga at the Colombo Shangri-La ahead of the civil society group’s annual convention later in the day.

Continue reading ‘Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan Speaking at “Viyathmaga” Convention in the Presence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa says “Sri Lanka now Needs a Leader who Could Guarantee Security to the Nation and Bring an end to Continuing Uncertainty and Turmoil”’ »

Meeting Between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa To Discuss Presidential Candidate Issue Postponed at sajith’s Request;Meeting Likely to be Re-scheduled for September 10th?

A scheduled meeting between UNP leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and its Deputy Leader Minister Sajith Premadasa which was to take place last evening to iron out differences as to who should be the Party’s presidential candidate was postponed on the latter’s request.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Premadasa sought a rescheduling of the meeting and it is now likely to take place tomorrow.

Continue reading ‘Meeting Between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa To Discuss Presidential Candidate Issue Postponed at sajith’s Request;Meeting Likely to be Re-scheduled for September 10th?’ »

Crisis in the UNP as Ranil Declares his Intention of Contesting Presidential Election as Democratic National Front Candidate; Kabir Hashim Walks out of Meeting as Lakshman Kiriella Outlines Four Charges Supported by Daya Gamage and Jayawickrama Perera Against UNP Chairman

(Excerpts from the “Sunday Times”Political Column of September 8th 2019)

Upon his return from the Maldives, on Friday, Premier Wickremesinghe met senior members of the UNP at Temple Trees. For the first time, he made a declaration. He said he proposed to announce his name as the presidential candidate on behalf of the proposed Democratic National Front (DNF).

He said he would, as party leader, propose at the Working Committee – the main policymaking body – his name as the presidential candidate. He said he would also soon start his election campaign.

Minister Malik Samarawickrema, his closest confidant till recently, and now a Premadasa backer, was to point out that a public rally in Kurunegala for Premadasa drew large crowds and surveys had said he was a candidate who could win.

Wickremesinghe countered the claim and said he also could produce statistics and surveys to prove that he could win the presidential election.

Also making a case for Premadasa was Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara. However, Wickremesinghe remained defiant throughout the meeting prompting Samarawickrema to urge whether he could bring Premadasa for a meeting with him. The UNP leader agreed and the meeting will take place at 9 a.m. today (Sunday). However, a source close to the UNP leader said, “There is no way he will relent and re-consider Premadasa. His decision is final, but he will hear what Premadasa would have to say.”

Continue reading ‘Crisis in the UNP as Ranil Declares his Intention of Contesting Presidential Election as Democratic National Front Candidate; Kabir Hashim Walks out of Meeting as Lakshman Kiriella Outlines Four Charges Supported by Daya Gamage and Jayawickrama Perera Against UNP Chairman’ »

Move by Malik Samarawickrema to Bring About Unity in UNP Faces Jeopardy as Sajith Premadasa Does not Want To Attend 9 am Meeting With Ranil Wickremesinghe at “Temple Trees” on Sunday Sep 8th

By The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

This week’s two major political developments over the presidential election took Sri Lankans by surprise and portend a major change in alignments.

One is the declaration by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would be the United National Party (UNP) candidate. On Friday he told a meeting of party leaders he would obtain approval from the Working Committee, the main policy-making body, and launch his campaign.

Malik Samarawickrema, Onetime close confidante of Mr Wickremesinghe and now a key backer of Sajith Premadasa, appealed for the two leaders to meet. Though it has been set for 9 a.m. today at Temple Trees, the Sunday Times has learnt Mr Premadasa will not attend the one-on-one talks raising wide speculation over his as well as the political future of his backers.

Continue reading ‘Move by Malik Samarawickrema to Bring About Unity in UNP Faces Jeopardy as Sajith Premadasa Does not Want To Attend 9 am Meeting With Ranil Wickremesinghe at “Temple Trees” on Sunday Sep 8th’ »

Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan Scheduled to Address “Viyathmaga”National Convention at Colombo Shangrila Hotel on Sunday; SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Will Deliver Key Note Speech.

Former national cricketer Muthaiah Muralitharan will address civil society grouping Viyathmaga national convention at the Shangrila tomorrow (8).

Viyathmaga spearheads a campaign in support of wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s bid to secure nomination for the 2019 presidential polls.

The opening statement will be delivered by Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Courtesy:The Island

Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa to Hold Crucial Talks on Sep 8th to Discuss Matters Concerning the UNP Presidential Candidate Nomination and Resolve Inner -Party Divisions Over the Issue.

United National Party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to hold crucial talks with his deputy Sajith Premadasa on Sunday amid a deepening crisis over the presidential candidacy.

Wickremesinghe denied he demanded the nominations to contest up coming presidential elections, a source within the party leadership said adding that a final call would be made by the party’s working committee.

A meeting between the premier and his party seniors ended inconclusively on Friday sparking rumours that Wickremesinghe wanted to be the presidential candidate overruling Premadasa who had publicly staked a claim for it.

However, sources close to both factions of the UNP said Wickremesinghe made no direct reference to seeking nominations and left the issue wide open.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa to Hold Crucial Talks on Sep 8th to Discuss Matters Concerning the UNP Presidential Candidate Nomination and Resolve Inner -Party Divisions Over the Issue.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Senior Party Stalwarts That He Would Be Forwarding His Name to the UNP Working Committee as the UNP Presidential Candidate and Abide by the Working Committee Decision.

By Chandani Kirinde

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told a group of senior UNP members yesterday that he would be the Party’s candidate at the upcoming Presidential election.

A senior Minister, who was at the meeting, told Daily FT that Wickremesinghe had said he would put forward his name to the UNP’s Working Committee and leave the final decision to them.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Senior Party Stalwarts That He Would Be Forwarding His Name to the UNP Working Committee as the UNP Presidential Candidate and Abide by the Working Committee Decision.’ »

Lanka’s Lasith Malinga With 104 Wickets in 76 Matches Becomes First Bowler to Top 100 Wicket Mark in T-20 Matches ; Lasith “Malinguers” Kiwis Taking Four Scalps in Four Balls in Five Wicket Haul.

Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga Friday wreaked havoc after becoming the first bowler in Twenty20 internationals to claim 100 wickets as he struck four times with four balls in the third match against New Zealand.

Malinga, who surpassed Pakistan spinner Shahid Afridi’s tally of 97 scalps to become the leading T20 wicket-taker on Sunday, bowled Colin Munro for 12 to claim a century of wickets in his 76th match.

Continue reading ‘Lanka’s Lasith Malinga With 104 Wickets in 76 Matches Becomes First Bowler to Top 100 Wicket Mark in T-20 Matches ; Lasith “Malinguers” Kiwis Taking Four Scalps in Four Balls in Five Wicket Haul.’ »

“With the Defeat of the LTTE the Call for a Separate State is over. When that Project is Over, Our Approach Also Should Change. There is no Substitute for Engagement………A Greater degree of Appreciation that we are Living in One Country, and that this is Our Country, Must be There” -TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP


By

Meera Srinivasan

In Sri Lanka’s presidential poll in 2015, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), representing Tamils of the north and east, led its constituency in a crucial protest vote against then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. As the country gears up for the next presidential election, scheduled before the end of this year, Jaffna district MP M.A. Sumanthiran, who is also TNA’s spokesman and a senior lawyer, weighs the options before the Alliance, amid mounting discontent among Tamils over the incumbent government’s performance. He also reflects on broader political questions and international dimensions in an interview at his Colombo residence.

Excerpts:

Q;

In the 2015 polls, the TNA backed the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe combine that, among other things, promised a constitutional political settlement to the Tamil question. Though the process took off, the constitutional reform process is now stalled. Why couldn’t it succeed?

A;

At a certain point during the process, the coalition government wasn’t as strongly knitted together as it was in the beginning. Fissures started emerging and deepened with time, particularly ahead of the local government elections [in February 2018]. The two parties began seeing each other as rivals again. They were more keen to get an electoral advantage over each other than to collaborate and settle this long-standing issue. As a result, they were not willing to own even those matters that had been agreed upon after discussion. They started backing out. That happened primarily with the President’s party [Sri Lanka Freedom Party]. Subsequently, when it became clear to the others that they were not going to sail with the consensus of everyone, nobody seemed to want to carry the can by themselves. They also began to back out.

By that you mean the Prime Minister’s party [United National Party/UNP] as well?

Yes, now looking back, I can say that at a certain point when they realised that their coalition partner was not going to share the responsibility of taking this through, they themselves started backing out. Of course, neither party said it in as many words. They resorted to blaming each other for the protraction of the constitutional reform process.

Continue reading ‘“With the Defeat of the LTTE the Call for a Separate State is over. When that Project is Over, Our Approach Also Should Change. There is no Substitute for Engagement………A Greater degree of Appreciation that we are Living in One Country, and that this is Our Country, Must be There” -TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Says He Remains Committed to Abolition of the Executive Presidency While Addressing the Pariament of Maldives.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he remained committed to abolishing the Executive Presidency so its powers cannot be abused with impunity, and pledged to continue upholding democracy.

Addressing the People’s Majlis, which is the equivalent of the Maldives Parliament, Wickremesinghe outlined the measures taken by his Government, since coming to power in 2015, to foster and promote democracy and strengthen institutions. He acknowledged that the creation of the Executive Presidency led to the accumulation of power in one institution, and this was somewhat resolved by the Government.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Says He Remains Committed to Abolition of the Executive Presidency While Addressing the Pariament of Maldives.’ »

The Prime Minister Will be More Important Than the President In the Future Because The 19th Amendment Makes the Presidency Powerless With even The Defence Ministry Coming Under the PM Points out President Sirisena at SLFP Convention

By Nuwan Senarathna

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday rallied his party followers with pledges to establish a Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led Government in 2020, as under the 19th Amendment more powers have been devolved to the Prime Minister, and made no mention of contesting for a second presidential term.

Addressing the 68th Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) National Convention, held at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, President Sirisena said that in the forthcoming Presidential Election, a broad progressive front would be created to counter the United National Party (UNP), and said in 2020 the SLFP will be a vital faction in forming a new Government.

“In accordance with the 19th Amendment, the next President will be powerless. The Defence Ministry too will be with the Prime Minister. Therefore, more than thinking of the next Presidential Election, we should pay attention to electing the next Prime Minister,” the President said.

President Sirisena called upon his supporters to strengthen the party structure, enabling to form a SLFP Government in 2020.

Continue reading ‘The Prime Minister Will be More Important Than the President In the Future Because The 19th Amendment Makes the Presidency Powerless With even The Defence Ministry Coming Under the PM Points out President Sirisena at SLFP Convention’ »

Singer – Actress Doris Day’s Evergreen Signature Song “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

When I was just a little kid enrolled at the Santa Maria Montessori school in Wattala, a song we sang without knowing its meaning then was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I was a boy studying at S. Thomas’ Preparatory School in Kollupitiya, a song we were taught the meaning of and sang loudly in our singing class period was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I was growing up, passing through various phases of adolescence, a song we frequently sang and heard being sung was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I entered adulthood and participated in many a high-spirited sing-song session, one song that was sung repeatedly at such gatherings was ‘Que Sera Sera’; when I departed from Sri Lanka and relocated to Canada, a favourite number regularly sung at parties organised by nostalgic Sri Lankans was ‘Que Sera Sera’.

Doris Day (April 3, 1922 – May 13, 2019)

‘Que Sera Sera’ pronounced ‘Kay Sera Sera’ means “Whatever will be, will be” or “What will be, will be”. It is one of the most popular songs to be featured in an English film. It was the well-known singing actress Doris Day who sang it in the film ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ released in 1956. The film was directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. It was a revised version of a film, by the same name, made in 1934 by Hitchcock. The song written and composed by the American duo Jay Livingston and Ray Evans became an instant hit.
Continue reading ‘Singer – Actress Doris Day’s Evergreen Signature Song “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is Likely to be Nominated as the UNP -led National Democratc Alliance(NDA) Presidential Candidate Say Senior Party Sources.

by Zacki Jabbar

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to be nominated as the UNP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Presidential candidate, senior party sources say.

Sources said that according to the UNP constitution it was the party leader who had to contest the presidential election unless he or she declined or was too feeble to undertake a rigorous campaign.

If a secret ballot was held among members of the Working Committee and Parliamentary Group, Wickremesinghe would emerge, a senior minister who did not wish to be named said, adding that the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim parties which would be joining the UNP-led NDA to be launched shortly, were also of the view that a senior and mature candidate such as Wickremesinghe was necessary, to draw in a cross section of Sri Lankan society including the Buddhists.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is Likely to be Nominated as the UNP -led National Democratc Alliance(NDA) Presidential Candidate Say Senior Party Sources.’ »

“When Presidential Elections are Announced the UNP Working Committee Will Appoint a Nomination Board Comprising Senior UNP Leaders Which Will Select Party’s Presidential Candidate States UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara PC.


The legal secretary of United National Party (UNP),Chairman of People’s Bank and President’s Counsel, Nissanka Nanayakkara, said the party’s Presidential candidate should be nominated according to Article 9 of the constitution of the UNP.

He says that after the Elections Commissioner announces the Presidential election, the first step according to party constitution is to summon the Working Committee to appoint a nomination Board, consisting of senior leaders, to select the candidate.

Continue reading ‘“When Presidential Elections are Announced the UNP Working Committee Will Appoint a Nomination Board Comprising Senior UNP Leaders Which Will Select Party’s Presidential Candidate States UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara PC.’ »

Buddhist Monk Led Mob at Trincomalee Bus Stand Accuses Tamil Woman Wearing Black Saree With Images of a Face Design and Instructs Police to Get Her Remanded for Allegedly Wearing Saree with Lord Buddha’s Face

By

Aanya Wipulasena

“Uba ganiyak nisa nikan innawa. Pirimiyek unanan tho polé gahanawa allagana (I am letting it go because you are a woman. If you were a man, I would dash you on the floor),” shouted the man draped in a monk’s robe.

The Tamil woman is seen here surrounded by an angry mob led by a Buddhist monk

Then he proceeded to give instructions to a police officer, one of the two police officers present at the scene, who stood amongst the crowd that gathered around the screaming man and visibly terrified woman. Next to the terrified woman was a little girl believed to be her daughter.

“Remand karanna ona. Danna ona usavi (Should be remanded. Should be sent to court),” he said.

The woman held her hands together, worshipping the man, and asking for forgiveness. On one occasion she bent down to worship him as he ignored her.

When a bystander asked the orange robe clad man to forgive her, he turned his wrath towards them.

“Thamusé hondata mathaka thiyagannawa eka ekata ona widihata eka eka dewal karanna ba. Meka Sinhala Baudda Ratak. Mé gani mewa adagana yanakota, damila thamusela kiyanne as wahagena inna kiyalada?” he asked.

His query translates into English as, “You keep in mind, people cannot do whatever they desire. This is a Sinhala Buddhist country. What you Tamil people are asking us to do is turn a blind eye when this woman goes around wearing this?”

Continue reading ‘Buddhist Monk Led Mob at Trincomalee Bus Stand Accuses Tamil Woman Wearing Black Saree With Images of a Face Design and Instructs Police to Get Her Remanded for Allegedly Wearing Saree with Lord Buddha’s Face’ »

UNP MP Hesha Withanage Tells Media That All Sajith Faction Ministers, State Ministers , Deputy Ministers and Monitoring MP’s Will Resign Their Positions Unless Sajith Premadasa Is Named as Presidential Candidate Before Month’s End

Ministers supportive of Deputy UNP leader Sajith Premadasa have threatened to resign en mass from their posts unless the party names him as its presidential candidate, before the end of this month. A spokesman for them has said that they may even consider quitting politics in protest.

UNP MP Hesha Withanage, addressing the media, yesterday, on behalf of the Sajith group of the UNP, said all UNP legislators of his faction, functioning as ministers, deputy ministers, state ministers, non-Cabinet ministers and monitoring MPs, would give up their positions unless Premadasa was named as the UNP’ presidential candidate before the end of the current month.

He said they were so fed up with the affairs of the party that they might even consider leaving politics for good.

Continue reading ‘UNP MP Hesha Withanage Tells Media That All Sajith Faction Ministers, State Ministers , Deputy Ministers and Monitoring MP’s Will Resign Their Positions Unless Sajith Premadasa Is Named as Presidential Candidate Before Month’s End’ »

Ranil-Sajith Clash Destroys UNP at a time When the stark choice staring at the nation’s face is between democracy with all its warts and totalitarianism with the polished boot, buckle and medal.

By

Don Manu

Ranil Wicremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa are poles apart. If Ranil is cheese, Sajith is chalk. If Ranil is morn, Sajith is night. It has been so from their respective births. Their one common heritage is the UNP and, though they are both fiercely loyal to it, there is, certainly, no love lost between them.

A chasm of complexes separates the two and, like ‘east is east and west is west,’ it is possible that never the twain will meet in unison unless, of course, mutual defeat may prove wrong and act as a magnetic draw or as Kipling wrote “there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”

Perhaps the present combat of mutually assured destruction they are presently engaged in to be the party’s presidential candidate and, if continued for long, which is guaranteed to end in catastrophic defeat for the UNP may well rub some common sense into both of how vital a unified party is to triumph the common foe; but then it will be too late and both will have to retire to their individual holes to lick their wounds and escape the wrath of the parties’ supporters for pursuing their own selfish ambitious ends and leading the party to an ignominious defeat.

Continue reading ‘Ranil-Sajith Clash Destroys UNP at a time When the stark choice staring at the nation’s face is between democracy with all its warts and totalitarianism with the polished boot, buckle and medal.’ »

What is wrong with Sri Lanka’s politics is not Constitutions but the country’s politicians who have been too long at the helm of political power bases and are incapable of working any constitutional document properly.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

President Maithripala Sirisena’s remarks in Jaffna this week that the 19th Amendment’s transfer of some powers of the Executive President to the Prime Minister while conferring supervision over Sri Lanka’s constitutional commissions to the Speaker has created three power centres, making the political process unworkable and unsustainable is a thin gloss over far more unpalatable realities.

Constitutional texts and political chicanery

The simple fact is that this country’s politicians, who have been too long at the helm of jealously guarded political power bases, are incapable of working any constitutional document properly. True, the President’s caustic a side that the United National Party’s constitutional drafters were only jet-setting around the globe to ‘experience’ comparative constitutional making, (while apparently learning nothing from that exposure), gives rise to a few well deserved chuckles.

Certainly this Amendment could have been combed through with far more skillful hands to disentangle constitutional knots. But let us imagine a (sadly) hypothetical scenario where this vetting was done in fact, resulting in a far more coherent text. Even then, it is without doubt that this amendment would have been chewed into bits and pieces and tossed out into the garbage in due course. The problem is not in constitutional texts per se. It is in the complete inability of those working the Constitution, regardless of party colours, to respect its tone and tenor, to give effect to its spirit and the letter in the national interest.

So when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa promises that he will do away with the 19th Amendment and bring in a ‘new Constitution’, a shuddering chill sets in. The Rajapaksa-engineered 18th Amendment was an embodiment of dynastic rule. And even with fury at manifest ‘yahapalanaya’ follies still bubbling in one’s veins, it is important to recognise that the hand of his brother, the former Defence Secretary portends the nation’s slow walk over the edge of the abyss. His individual Presidential campaign is characterised by banality, mouthing of platitudes promising ‘technocratic rule’ and a quietly sinister sitting at the side of his far more charismatic sibling. Regardless, the signs are clear.

Continue reading ‘What is wrong with Sri Lanka’s politics is not Constitutions but the country’s politicians who have been too long at the helm of political power bases and are incapable of working any constitutional document properly.’ »

Indian PM Narendra Modi is a shining example of the harm that ‘good strongmen’ can do and is a grave warning to smaller countries in the region in severe political and economic crises in search of ‘strongmen’ and ‘men of action’ to be their saviours.

By Gamini Weerakoon

Narendra Modi is a shining example of the harm that ‘good strongmen’ can do — those who are elected to rescue a country from the doldrums it has fallen into, but instead take it deeper into the hell-fires

Modi, the humble tea boy, who climbed from the very bottom rungs of the ultranationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and then moved over to the Baharatiya Janatha Party (BJP), a clone of the RSS, to become the Chief Minister of Gujrat and then twice the Prime Minister of India, appears to be turning the cultured and tolerant India of Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru into an aggressive autocratic state where the people are becoming puppets and Modi is the puppet master.

Modi after his — adventure or misadventure — should be considered a grave warning by smaller countries in the region and elsewhere now in severe political and economic crises in search of ‘strongmen’ and ‘men of action’ to be their saviours.

Continue reading ‘Indian PM Narendra Modi is a shining example of the harm that ‘good strongmen’ can do and is a grave warning to smaller countries in the region in severe political and economic crises in search of ‘strongmen’ and ‘men of action’ to be their saviours.’ »

In Sri Lanka, the Same Dominant Narratives in the Media my Generation Grew up with has a Vice Grip on the Framing of Issues over Social Media

by Sanjana Hattotuwa

With documentaries like ‘The Great Hack’ we are deeply fearful – and rightfully so – of how our data can be used, abused and weaponised. Over the past three years, significant political developments on both sides of the Atlantic have fuelled a global debate around the role, reach and relevance of social media in our daily lives including every imaginable aspect of our economic, political, social, media and even cultural interactions.

While this anxiety is generally grounded in mature studies of cause and effects, many extrapolate lessons for Sri Lanka that aren’t entirely valid and even downright dangerous. While documentaries on Netflix serve to highlight critical issues, they are terrible at guiding policymaking that responds to a class of problems academics called ‘wicked’.

A ‘wicked problem’ is one that has no easy resolution and where the very act of intervening or even observing changes the nature of the problem, very often to an even greater level of complexity. So in sum, while there are definitely problems around the use and abuse of social media as it is popularly referred to, could there also be benefits to hold those in power accountable, despite their best efforts at resisting this, and interrogate, for example, the behaviour of candidates and political parties in an election campaign?

If in a country like Sri Lanka, which doesn’t have legal frameworks in place for the sunlight of accountability or scrutiny around campaign finance and spending, can dynamics and data determined on social media, once harvested and analysed, give clear pointers around how online propaganda have impacted voter behaviour and election outcomes?

And in Sri Lanka, what constitutes ‘social media’?

And where is politics online?

Does it lie in domains openly affiliated to or controlled by politicians and political parties?

Or has it migrated to gossip, meme and other online spaces that are more generally defined through religious or nationalist fervour, with no overt connection to a partisan agenda or candidate?

And when we talk of social media, do we embrace new apps like TikTok, or instant messaging? I

f we don’t know, and know not how to even frame key questions, how can we expect policymakers to protect citizens from a degree of electoral manipulation they may not even realise exists?

Continue reading ‘In Sri Lanka, the Same Dominant Narratives in the Media my Generation Grew up with has a Vice Grip on the Framing of Issues over Social Media’ »

“In a multi ethnic, plural society as ours the office of President must be one that all minorities can participate in the selection of the holder of that office”.- Dr.Sarath Amunugama.


(Text of The Sam Wijesinha Memorial Oration Titled “Parliament and the President” that was Delivered by Dr. Sarath Amunugama, MP This Week)

I am deeply honoured by the invitation extended to me by Rajiva Wijesinha and Nigel Hatch to deliver the Sam Wijesinha Memorial Oration, which seeks to commemorate the late Sam Wijesinha, who was a personal friend of mine.

I selected the topic “Parliament and the President” because it deals with two main aspects of the life of Sam Wijesinha (SW). Not only was he intimately connected with Parliament having served there as Deputy Clerk and ultimately Clerk and Secretary General but he was also close to several Presidents who sought his advice on many matters not exclusively in the area of parliamentary practice.

He also had the distinction of serving as the first Ombudsman where he received public complaints from Parliament and provided redress expeditiously and in a humane manner.

Moreover, the subject of my address is, I believe, extremely topical for several reasons. Quite apart from Sri Lanka going into both presidential and parliamentary elections in the short terms and the political debate as to the inter relationship between both institutions after the 19th Amendment, behind both appellations “the President” and “Parliament” lay two institutions, namely the executive and legislature. In political theory the relationship between these two areas of the State lies at the heart of governance.

In fact given the genesis of the Second Republican Constitution of 1978 which introduced the concept of a directly elected Executive President, its chief architect the late President J.R. Jayewardene (JRJ) who was brought up in the parliamentary tradition was anxious to ensure that in this hybrid Constitution the role of Parliament was maintained though in diminished form unlike in other presidential Constitutions.

All Democratic Constitutions have sought to define the imperative linkage between the two institutions. The relationship between the Executive and the Legislature may have many combinations and computations depending on the historical circumstance of each country’s Constitution making, but in all they form the main focal point of a country’s governance.

Continue reading ‘“In a multi ethnic, plural society as ours the office of President must be one that all minorities can participate in the selection of the holder of that office”.- Dr.Sarath Amunugama.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa Have 90 Minute Discussion From 9.30 PM to 11.pm at “Temple Trees” To Decide on Method of Selecting UNP Presidential Candidate; Rajitha Senaratne and Harsha de Silva also Present.

By

Kelum Bandara

In the backdrop of a brewing political crisis, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held talks with Minister Sajith Premadasa for one and half hours at Temple Trees on Thursday evening to find a way out, a party official said.

Mr. Premadasa took time off from a function at a temple in Embilipitiya and rushed to Colombo for a meeting convened by the Prime Minister and accompanied by Non-Cabinet Minister, Dr. Harsha de Silva. Minister Rajitha Senaratne was with the Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa Have 90 Minute Discussion From 9.30 PM to 11.pm at “Temple Trees” To Decide on Method of Selecting UNP Presidential Candidate; Rajitha Senaratne and Harsha de Silva also Present.’ »

Last Minute Court Injunction Issued by Telephone Prevents Tamil Family From Being Deported From Australia to Sri Lanka;Plane Departing from Melbourne with Nadesalingam, Priya and Their Two Children Lands Again in Darwin in Dramatic Turn Around


By Victoria Pengilley

.

A family of Tamil asylum seekers due to be deported overnight have been granted an interim injunction to prevent their transportation back to Sri Lanka, their lawyer has told the ABC.

The family of four were removed from immigration detention last night and placed on a plane which departed Melbourne Airport about 11:00pm.
The plane landed shortly before 3:00am in Darwin, where the family — Nadesalingam and Priya and their two children — are being held at a hotel.

The injunction states the Minister for Immigration, David Coleman, is restrained from removing the family of four from Australia until 12:00pm today.

The injunction was granted over the phone by a judge, and a hearing has been listed for 10:00am today before Judge Heather Riley in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Melbourne.

Continue reading ‘Last Minute Court Injunction Issued by Telephone Prevents Tamil Family From Being Deported From Australia to Sri Lanka;Plane Departing from Melbourne with Nadesalingam, Priya and Their Two Children Lands Again in Darwin in Dramatic Turn Around’ »

Seven Suspects Including Pallai Hospital JMO Arrested for Alleged LTTE Related Activity;Investigations Reveal Plot to Kill Douglas Devananda and “Col” Karuna but no Details of Conspiracy to Assassinate Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa.


By

Gayan Kumara Weerasinghe

Terrorism Investigation Division officers have so far arrested six suspects in the North believed to have been planning some terrorist activity, TID sources told the Daily News yesterday.

The arrests came after information was elicited from the Palai Hospital JMO Dr. Sinniah Sivaruban who had been earlier detained on suspicion.

Among the arrested suspects are some former LTTE members and Army informants, these sources disclosed.

Continue reading ‘Seven Suspects Including Pallai Hospital JMO Arrested for Alleged LTTE Related Activity;Investigations Reveal Plot to Kill Douglas Devananda and “Col” Karuna but no Details of Conspiracy to Assassinate Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

UNP Party Constitution Article 9 Stipulates That Presidential Election Candidate Can be Named by Nomination Board Only After Elections Commissioner Announces Poll and Calls for Nominations Says UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara.

By

Yohan Perera

UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara today said the candidate for the presidential election could be named only after the Election Commission notify the date to accept nominations for the election.

Mr. Nanayakkara issuing a statement said UNP’s constitution does not have provisions to name a candidate until such time election commission declares the presidential election.

Continue reading ‘UNP Party Constitution Article 9 Stipulates That Presidential Election Candidate Can be Named by Nomination Board Only After Elections Commissioner Announces Poll and Calls for Nominations Says UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara.’ »

President Sirisena Obstinately Obstructs the Grant of 480 Million US $ by Millennnium Challenge Corporation Despite Risk Of Funds Being Diverted Away From Sri Lanka.

A 480 million US dollar grant to Sri Lanka by the Millennium Challenge Corporation of America is held up as President Maithripala Sirisena has not given approval, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

MCC officials had warned that there is a board meeting scheduled for September and if cabinet does not clear the deal, money may be diverted to another country.

“The president has a different opinion on this,” Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Obstinately Obstructs the Grant of 480 Million US $ by Millennnium Challenge Corporation Despite Risk Of Funds Being Diverted Away From Sri Lanka.’ »

Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Performance at Presidential Poll Could be of Crucial Importance if the Crowds Moblised by the JVP at Meetings Could be Channelled Into Votes.

By

Lakdev Liyanagama

The entry of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in to the presidential election this year, confirmed by the declaration that its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake would be its candidate, creates a new dimension into what has already become a fascinating contest.

With the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) declaring Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its candidate on August 11, The JVP’s announcement of Dissanayake followed one week later. That leaves the two major parties in the country for the last seven decades, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP), yet to declare their final intentions.

It is unlikely that the SLFP will contest. It held another round of discussions with the SLPP this week which were discussed as ‘positive’ and ‘successful’, but no definite announcement has yet been made about whether the party will support SLPP nominee Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The UNP on the other hand is still convulsing from within, in the process of finalising a candidate. Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has publicly declared that he will ‘definitely’ contest, leading to speculation that he could run as a ‘spoiler’ candidate if he is not nominated, with the backing of a faction of the party. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya are the other potential candidates, neither having withdrawn from contention.

Continue reading ‘Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Performance at Presidential Poll Could be of Crucial Importance if the Crowds Moblised by the JVP at Meetings Could be Channelled Into Votes.’ »

UNP Needs at Least a Leader like the late Premadasa, for its Survival, but Sajith is not Capable of Filling that Vacancy Primarily Because he Lacks Even the Leadership Qualities that his Father Possessed.

By

Rohana R.Wasala

The artificially sensationalized controversy within the UNP ranks about the authenticity of the party deputy leader Sajith Premadasa’s educational qualifications, in the twilight of its barely legitimate rule, is a strangely anticlimactic, but justly retributive, reversal of its unbroken mudslinging campaign against the Rajapaksas, whose democratic return to power they have been determined to forestall by hook or by crook.

The controversial 19th Amendment was primarily intended to keep them out of power for the foreseeable future. The calling into question of Premadasa’s academic attainments is actually much ado about nothing, provoked by the heated leadership tussle between two camps, within the party, the reactionary jaded old guard clinging to its hereditary ‘ownership’ of the party, and a relatively younger ginger group within its ranks; clamouring for a change of party leadership trying to make it less inimical to the rising nationalist spirit of the electorate. But it promoted pro-Premadasa propaganda as a negative marketing strategy by giving a little boost to his presidential nomination bid.

Sajith is embattled on two fronts: He is embarked on a struggle for rising to party leadership, and he has started, at least at the individual level, his presidential campaign. While the second (which is actually premature because it is still uncertain whether the UNP will agree to his candidacy) is already a lost cause, in view of the dismal performance of the Yahapalana regime of which he has been a senior member; his success in the first is of vital importance for himself and for his party.

Continue reading ‘UNP Needs at Least a Leader like the late Premadasa, for its Survival, but Sajith is not Capable of Filling that Vacancy Primarily Because he Lacks Even the Leadership Qualities that his Father Possessed.’ »

UNP Will Take Action Against Pro-Sajith MP’s Ajith Perera and Sujeewa Senaratne For Making Public Remarks Violating Party Discipline but Chairman Kabir Hashim Says Both Have Done No Wrong.

By

Kelum Bandara

The United National Party (UNP) has decided to institute disciplinary action against two of its MPs – Non-Cabinet Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Ajith Perera and Non-Cabinet Minister of Science, Technology and Research Sujeewa Senasinghe – for making certain remarks in breach of party discipline, the Daily Mirror learns.

According to informed sources, the party noticed these two ministers to appear before General-Secretary of Education and Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam as well as Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara at 11.00 a.m. at the party headquarters in Sirikotha for preliminary inquiries.

Continue reading ‘UNP Will Take Action Against Pro-Sajith MP’s Ajith Perera and Sujeewa Senaratne For Making Public Remarks Violating Party Discipline but Chairman Kabir Hashim Says Both Have Done No Wrong.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Supports “Maximum Devolution Within a Unitary Sri Lanka “and Emphasises Need to Eradicate Racism From Society and fight discrimination, prejudice and zelophobia.”

By
Rukshana Rizwie

Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister and presidential hopeful Sajith Premadasa says he is for ‘maximum devolution within a unitary state’ to resolve the ethnic issue and feels that the current decision-making structure in the country is ‘ad-hoc, disjointed and personality driven’ that has led to the ‘system favouring one segment’ of society over others.

The UNP deputy leader was speaking yesterday at an interactive forum on new media held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Supports “Maximum Devolution Within a Unitary Sri Lanka “and Emphasises Need to Eradicate Racism From Society and fight discrimination, prejudice and zelophobia.”’ »

Perpetrators of Violence Against Minority Communities From Majority Community Remain Unaccountable But When Buddhist Community Members Complain Action is Swift and Disproportionate in Sri Lanka says UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief Ahmed Shaheed

Sri Lanka is selectively implementing laws against religious minorities including using disproportionate response, and police seemed unsure to act when Buddhist monks broker the law, a UN Special Envoy said.

“Often, many described problems of double standards in law enforcement depending on which community offends or finds itself offended by the actions of other,” Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed told reporters in Colombo.

“I heard of cases of violence against minorities perpetrated by the majority community where perpetrators are clearly identified in video recordings but remain unaccountable for years after the incident,” he said.

“Reversely, many complained, that when a complaint is brought forward by members of the Buddhist community, action is swift and, at times, disproportionate.”

Continue reading ‘Perpetrators of Violence Against Minority Communities From Majority Community Remain Unaccountable But When Buddhist Community Members Complain Action is Swift and Disproportionate in Sri Lanka says UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief Ahmed Shaheed’ »

Sri Lanka May Lose Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant of 480 Million US $ if Agreement is not Signed By September Warns MCC Country Director for US Owned MCC.

By Chandeepa Wettasinghe

Sri Lanka is at risk of losing a 480 million US dollar grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to improve transportation and land information availability if the island does not sign the agreement by September, an official said.

“The 480 million US dollar program needs to be approved by Sri Lanka before our board meets in September,” Jenner Edelman, the Resident Country Director for the US government owned MCC told EconomyNext.

“We have been waiting for cabinet approval to sign the agreement. If we can’t get the program approved and signed then board members may suggest that we use these resources elsewhere.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka May Lose Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant of 480 Million US $ if Agreement is not Signed By September Warns MCC Country Director for US Owned MCC.’ »

“I am the army commander for the entire nation and not for one ethnic group.I spent my childhood in Matale where I grew up with Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims in harmony and I understand the feelings of all those communities” – Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva

By Harishandra Gunaratna

Army Commander Lt.Gen. Shevendra Silva, yesterday, said it was imperative that intelligence capability of the army be enhanced to meet the current security requirement of the country.

Addressing the media in Colombo, the newly appointed army commander said the military intelligence would undergo some changes.

Lt.Gen Silva was of the opinion that the army should have a robust intelligence arm to overcome terrorist threats faced by the country and he as the commander would ensure that the need was fulfilled.

Continue reading ‘“I am the army commander for the entire nation and not for one ethnic group.I spent my childhood in Matale where I grew up with Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims in harmony and I understand the feelings of all those communities” – Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva’ »

President Sirisena Removes SB Dissanayake and Mahinda Samarasinghe as SLFP Treasurer and Party Spokesperson and Replaces Them with Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Weerakumara Dissanayake Respectively.


President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday made sweeping changes to key positions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Veteran S.B. Dissanayake was removed as SLFP Treasurer and Lasantha Alagiyawanna was appointed as the successor at the SLFP Central Working Committee meeting.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Removes SB Dissanayake and Mahinda Samarasinghe as SLFP Treasurer and Party Spokesperson and Replaces Them with Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Weerakumara Dissanayake Respectively.’ »

Parliamentary Select Committee Probing Easter Sunday Terrorist Attacks Unable to Complete Its Report Because of an Uncooperative President Sirisena who Keeps Ignoring Invitation to Appear Before PSC

By Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage found itself in a difficult situation owing to a clash between the legislature and the executive, PSC sources said.

The PSC has almost completed its hearings, except the recording the evidence of President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Defence Minister.

Continue reading ‘Parliamentary Select Committee Probing Easter Sunday Terrorist Attacks Unable to Complete Its Report Because of an Uncooperative President Sirisena who Keeps Ignoring Invitation to Appear Before PSC’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Determined to Form Powerful Coalition First and Finalise Manifesto and Then Announce Name of Presidential Candidate.


The UNP would not announce its presidential candidate without unveiling the policies of the coalition it would establish, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, on Saturday, at Ankumbura.

The party would first build a powerful political coalition and then field a presidential candidate from that alliance, he said, adding that the unveiling of the coalition’s manifesto would coincide with the naming of its presidential candidate.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Determined to Form Powerful Coalition First and Finalise Manifesto and Then Announce Name of Presidential Candidate.’ »

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Pledges to Appoint an Independent Commission of Inquiry Into Terrorist Attacks on Easter Sunday in a “Future Govt Under Our Leadership”.

SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a statement yesterday, assured an independent commission of inquiry by a future government under his leadership to ascertain those responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks.

The full statement of Rajapaksa is as follows.

My attention is drawn to the statement made by the Archdiocese of Colombo and Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on 21 April in the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday.

I can understand the deep sadness and pressure faced by him due to the lack of response to the demands made by the relatives of the innocent people who died and were severely injured in the ruthless terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday which shocked the entire nation.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Pledges to Appoint an Independent Commission of Inquiry Into Terrorist Attacks on Easter Sunday in a “Future Govt Under Our Leadership”.’ »

Mannar – The Lesser Known Sights

Text & Pix by David Sadeep Jeyaselvan

Sri Lanka’s north western most point, Mannar is a region that is synonymous with flamingoes and other exotic birds that make it a bird watcher’s paradise. It is also known for its kite surfing scene that is increasingly becoming popular post war.

The region however, offers much more than the usual sites

Kunchikulam

Just before entering Mannar, before the Giants Tank are two British constructions.

The first is an irrigation system that was constructed to distribute water from Giants Tank to the nearby villages. The since abandoned construction is now being renovated by the government to provide water during this period of drought.


Continue reading ‘Mannar – The Lesser Known Sights’ »

President Sirisena’s Move to Divide the UNP and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe With Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister on Friday in a New Govt Comprising UNP Sajith Faction and MP’s from SLFP and SLPP Ends In Failure

(Excerpts From The “Sunday Times” Political Column of August 25th 2019)

President Maithripala Sirisena’s new move this week to swear-in United National Party (UNP) deputy leader Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister and urge him to form a new Cabinet of Ministers did not materialise.

Set for last Friday so Premadasa could attend the rally in his support in the southern town of Matara that day, this was the part of a dialogue that went on between Sirisena and Premadasa, as revealed in these columns last week.

This is the second public event Premadasa is taking part in after the rally on August 12 in Badulla. This comes as divisions within the UNP exacerbated over his decision to contest the presidential election.

Unlike the so called ‘constitutional coup’ in October last year, President Sirisena’s latest attempt bore a more friendly face and at least kept to the contours of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Move to Divide the UNP and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe With Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister on Friday in a New Govt Comprising UNP Sajith Faction and MP’s from SLFP and SLPP Ends In Failure’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy: A Positive Perspective by an American Friend in California

By

Dr. Stephen Long, Los Angeles, California

After spending most of my adult life in Hawaii and then Southeast Asia, I returned to the US and settled in Los Angeles in 1998. About two weeks after my move a couple with whom I am very close invited me to an evening event at their amazing new art gallery on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. The gallery specialized in museum-quality Asian and Buddhist art, and I wound up spending a lot of time there over the next few years.

Two or three weeks before my arrival in Los Angeles, my gallery-owner friends had met Ven. Walpola Piyananda. He was driving down La Brea and was startled to see a large seated Buddha statue in the display window facing the street. He told his driver to park the car and then he walked back for a closer look. My friend Cari, the co-owner, saw the orange-robed monk peering in her window and became very excited; she immediately stepped outside to invite him in. She guided him through their collection of Buddhist art and then asked him if he would come to an upcoming event and bless their gallery, friends, and customers. He agreed, of course, and his appearance that evening was the first of many over the years to come.

During the event I spent most of my time with Bhante Piyananda and the other monks he brought with him to participate in the blessing ceremony. As a Western Buddhist I had missed the company of monks since my move to the States, and it gave me great pleasure to be by their side and to get to know them; during the event I practically ignored everyone else just so I could spend more time with Cari’s special guests. At the end of the blessing ceremony, after the monks had tied pirith nool around the wrists of all hundred or so grateful guests, I escorted the monks to their car. While walking to his vehicle Bhante invited me to attend meditation at their temple that Friday night. I accepted and wound up spending the next twenty-plus years not only in Friday meditation, but in close association in many other ways with Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara and their resident hamudurawos. This relationship turned out to be one of the most important in my life. After a while I was blessed by being asked to teach Sunday School for the temple teenagers, which turned into being my favorite weekly activity for the past twelve years, and counting.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy: A Positive Perspective by an American Friend in California’ »

If Divided UNP Loses Election Regardless of Who The Presidential Candidate Is, It Would Be a Case of Sinking Separately Instead of Sinking Together

(Excerpts From the “Sunday Times”Political Column of August 25th 2019)

Assertions made by Ranil Wickremesinghe this week, showed little change in the premier’s strong determination to be UNP’s presidential candidate. However, there were indications this week that that he was taking a deeper look at the recent developments to map out countermeasures. In this regard, two different meetings he held on Monday night at ‘Temple Trees’ have turned out to be both important and significant in the context of current political developments.

One, was a meeting with his close confidants to discuss the current situation in the party. He gave them an overview of what has been going on and the issues that have arisen as a result of a group defiantly extending support to his deputy Sajith Premadasa. He said the group had made a string of blunders. If he is pushed further and further, he cautioned, he did not want to divide the party. In such a case, he would support Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as presidential candidate.

It is, of course, known that party leader Wickremesinghe has asked Jayasuriya to be ready in the event he has to enter the fray. Jayasuriya has been preparing. That included a video documentary highlighting his political career and his ‘wide acceptance’ by the Buddhist clergy. That Wickremesinghe had similarly alerted a leading businessman and at least two other cabinet ministers is also well known. Some felt this was more for ‘nuisance value’ than other reasons.

One source said that Wickremesinghe confidants’ endorsement of a nominee was not conclusive. The remarks on Jayasuriya indicate that Wickremesinghe is not in favour of Premadasa and had his own choice if he does choose, to back out from the presidential race.

Continue reading ‘If Divided UNP Loses Election Regardless of Who The Presidential Candidate Is, It Would Be a Case of Sinking Separately Instead of Sinking Together’ »

Open support of extra-judicial killings come from those who have concretely formed and go on to publicly express an opinion based on repeated media frames they have been exposed to.

By Sanjana Hattotuwa

When and under which conditions is rape acceptable? Is raping a male more acceptable than raping a woman? If it is your wife, is hitting or kicking her once in a while ok? When killing a child, is it better to die quickly or slowly, individually or in a group? As a measure of paternal love, is it ok to abuse one’s own children just to discipline them? Is it ok, only sometimes, for priests to abuse younger monks as a test of faith? When and where can a teacher have a sexual relationship with a student in school? Not before O/Ls? Anytime after A/Ls? Only if the student comes to tuition class, which is outside of school premises? Is it ok running over a beggar on the street and not caring too much? If it is our dog, cat or pet, should we not be allowed to cut, kick, starve and burn it as we see fit? When throwing away an unwanted baby, should one kill it first, or just dump it in a bin?

These may not be the questions you want to start your Sunday or arguably any day of the week with. And yet, our justice system and police are often called upon to bear witness to or act on all this and much more. When there is the occasional sensational framing of an incident on these lines in the media, responses reflect what is appreciated as an aberration or abhorrent.

We don’t wait for a journalist or social media update to tell us that rape or infanticide is wrong. It just is, at any time, by anyone and anywhere. You’d think that because of what at least society in the South of Sri Lanka sees itself as – which in JR Jayewardene’s framing was a ‘dharmishta samajaya’ (a society resplendent with the teachings of the Buddha) – this moral code would extend to all transgressions, including the excesses of war. Clearly not. And therefore a particularly violent question posed on Twitter last week, though distressing, wasn’t surprising.

The tweet was anchored to when and if it was appropriate for extra-judicial murder to take place, especially in the context of war. Even though the question in its formulation included words which very clearly gave away the fact that what was asked is entirely unacceptable and illegal, the original tweet generated a lot of responses from those who thought that it was entirely appropriate, given certain conditions.

Continue reading ‘Open support of extra-judicial killings come from those who have concretely formed and go on to publicly express an opinion based on repeated media frames they have been exposed to.’ »

Political Amnesia has Currently Gripped all Contenders and Would-be contenders on Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Platforms.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

A comfortable sense of political amnesia has currently gripped all contenders and would-be contenders on Sri Lanka’s Presidential election platforms. From opposing stages, we are being asked to believe that the ruin of this land is not their collective fault. That is too great a lie to be uncritically accepted. Indeed, if there is one common and typically perfidious characteristic on display, this would undoubtedly be it.

Casual admittance of ‘mistakes

From the ‘Pohottuwa’ stage, fire-breathing supporters of the Rajapaksa (could it be anything but?) candidate, the former Defence Secretary and the former President’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa reject with force, questions about multiple gargantuan financial frauds, the killings, the mayhem and the murders on their watch. When pressed to the wall, there is a casual admittance that ‘mistakes were made.’ But it ends there.

So if the Pohottuwa campaign is to go beyond the extreme nationalist Sinhalese fringe and bhikku supporters who call for a ‘Hitler’ to rule the country, there must be a more considered attempt to grapple with the realities of its terrible past.

While it may be too much to expect this from its leaders, at least seniors in the alliance must recognise this fact. True, the ‘Pohottuwa’ glossing over of Rajapaksa sins has been enabled by ‘yahapalanaya’blundering, from awkward constitutional reforms to clumsy prosecutions.

Continue reading ‘Political Amnesia has Currently Gripped all Contenders and Would-be contenders on Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Platforms.’ »

US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz and Others Critical of Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment Must Realise That the Accusations Against the Sri Lankan Army Commander are Allegations Without any Proof of Guilt

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Western World seems obsessed with the promotion of Lt. General Shavendra Silva as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army. The US Ambassador here, Alaina Teplitz, came with the first charge against him, regarding allegations of gross human rights violations documented by the United Nations and other organizations that are serious and credible.

There is one thing that Ambassador Teplitz and the others from the UN, Canada and the EU too, must know. They are referring to ‘allegations’ against him, with no proof of guilt.

One hopes that these loud voices on behalf of justice and human rights know one simple reality with regard to the functioning of justice. Accusations and allegations are not proof of guilt. There have been many in this world against whom serious and grave allegations have been made, but who have been found not guilty of such offences.

Continue reading ‘US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz and Others Critical of Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment Must Realise That the Accusations Against the Sri Lankan Army Commander are Allegations Without any Proof of Guilt’ »

Indian Intelligence Reports State Six “Lakshar -e-Taiba”Terrorists Comprising One Pakistani and Five Sri Lankan Muslims Have Infiltrated Tamil Nadu Via Sri Lanka And Settled Down in Coimbatore Posing as “Vibhuti”(holy ash) Wearing Hindus.


By

Wilson Thomas

High alert was issued in Coimbatore late on Thursday following an intelligence input that six LeT terrorists had intruded into Tamil Nadu and had settled in Coimbatore.

The alert, the authenticity of which was confirmed by credible intelligence sources, said that the six member group intruded into Tamil Nadu via Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Indian Intelligence Reports State Six “Lakshar -e-Taiba”Terrorists Comprising One Pakistani and Five Sri Lankan Muslims Have Infiltrated Tamil Nadu Via Sri Lanka And Settled Down in Coimbatore Posing as “Vibhuti”(holy ash) Wearing Hindus.’ »

Is President Sirisena Planning to Enact Another “Constitutional Coup” Like What was Done on October 26 Last Year and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe with a New Prime Minister by Dividing the UNP?


By

Yohan Perera

Efforts are being made to create another constitutional coup similar to that of the one on October 26 last year and to appoint a new premier, UNP MPs Ashu Marasinghe and Palitha Range Bandara alleged yesterday.

Speaking at a media briefing, the MPs said creating a division within the UNP was part of the conspiracy.

Continue reading ‘Is President Sirisena Planning to Enact Another “Constitutional Coup” Like What was Done on October 26 Last Year and Replace Ranil Wickremesinghe with a New Prime Minister by Dividing the UNP?’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Says a Split in the UNP is Inevitable Regardless of who the Presidential Candidate Is Because a Group of Persons in the Party Dont Respect the Party Leadership.

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa today claimed it is inevitable that the United National Party (UNP) will be split irrespective of who becomes the party’s nominee at the upcoming presidential election.

He expressed these views at a meeting held with the heads of the local government bodies controlled by the SLPP at its Head office in Battaramulla, Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Says a Split in the UNP is Inevitable Regardless of who the Presidential Candidate Is Because a Group of Persons in the Party Dont Respect the Party Leadership.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa States Openly in the Presence of Mahinda Rajapaksa at SLPP Headquarters Meeting That There Are No Barriers To His Contesting the Next Presidential Elections as he has Relinquished his US Citizenship on May 17th 2019

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said there were no barriers to contesting the upcoming Presidential Elections as a candidate, as his US citizenship was relinquished on 17 May.

Rajapaksa, together with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, attended a meeting of Local Government Chairmen at SLPP headquarters on Thursday, where he said that he had also obtained a Sri Lankan passport after notifying the Immigration and Emigration Department that he had relinquished his dual citizenship.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa States Openly in the Presence of Mahinda Rajapaksa at SLPP Headquarters Meeting That There Are No Barriers To His Contesting the Next Presidential Elections as he has Relinquished his US Citizenship on May 17th 2019’ »

Sri Lankan Army Adhered to International Humanitarian Laws During Past Operations Says Newly Appointed Army Commander Lt.Gen. Shavendra Silva

The Sri Lanka Army acted in keeping with international humanitarian laws and rights during past humanitarian operations, Army Commander Shavendra Silva recalled yesterday.

“Any army in the world is committed to protect the inalienable rights of the country’s citizens and create a conducive atmosphere for a democratic way of life while being alert to adopt any measures against internal or external threats with determination. During past humanitarian operations, we adhered to those guidelines, acceptable to any State and acted in keeping with international humanitarian laws and rights, I must recall at this juncture,” Lt. General Silva said after assuming duties.

Commenting on the military intelligence, the new commander said: “I intend to reorganise military intelligence units and raise them to an elevated level in keeping with strategies of international armies while simultaneously sharing their experience and practices.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Army Adhered to International Humanitarian Laws During Past Operations Says Newly Appointed Army Commander Lt.Gen. Shavendra Silva’ »

Clashing Perspectives on Gen. Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Lankan Army Chief

By P.K.Balachandran

The appointment of Maj.Gen.Shavendra Silva as the Sri Lankan Army Commander in succession to Lt.Gen. Mahesh Senanayake on Monday, has invoked sharp comments from the US embassy and the UN, both saying that it would have adverse consequences for ethnic justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

According to a Reuters report a senior U.S. State Department official warned on Tuesday that the appointment of a General accused of serious human rights violations as the head of its army could affect U.S. military cooperation and investment in the island nation.

The Washington official, speaking to reporters on background, said the appointment would have lasting implications for the Millenium Challenge Corporation US$ 480 million fund, aimed at modernizing Sri Lanka’s urban transport system and infrastructure. The agreement is awaiting approval by Sri Lanka’s cabinet.

“It is a highly charged political environment in which some political factions feel there is much to be gained by playing the nationalist card,” the official said.

Continue reading ‘Clashing Perspectives on Gen. Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Lankan Army Chief’ »

Lt Gen Shavendra Silva Is Important to Sri Lanka Just as Gen Ulysses S.Grant was Important to the USA says Patali Champika Ranawaka.

By

Muditha Dayananda

In the same way, General Ulysses S. Grant who led the government forces against the separatist civil war in the USA became important to Americans, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva is also important to the Sri Lankan Government, said the Minister of Megalopolis and Western Development Patalie Champika Ranawaka at a press briefing held yesterday at his ministry.

Continue reading ‘Lt Gen Shavendra Silva Is Important to Sri Lanka Just as Gen Ulysses S.Grant was Important to the USA says Patali Champika Ranawaka.’ »

Appointment of Gen.Shavendra Silva as Army Commander Could Affect US Military Cooperation and Investment in Sri Lanka Warns US State Dept Official

A senior U.S. State Department official warned on Tuesday that Sri Lanka’s appointment of a war veteran accused of serious human rights violations as head of its army could affect U.S. military cooperation and investment in the island nation.

On Monday, Sri Lanka named Shavendra Silva, 55, as the country’s new army chief despite United Nations accusations that he was involved in human rights abuses during the country’s 26-year-long civil war.

Continue reading ‘Appointment of Gen.Shavendra Silva as Army Commander Could Affect US Military Cooperation and Investment in Sri Lanka Warns US State Dept Official’ »

Concerns over the appointment of Major Gen. Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and the need for urgent reforms – Centre For Policy Alternatives(CPA)

(Text of a Statement Issued By the Centre for Policy Alternatives(CPA) in Colombo)

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is deeply concerned by President Maithripala Sirisena’s appointment of Major General Shavendra Silva as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and urges the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to review this appointment in light of the serious allegations levelled against Major General Silva.

In January of this year, CPA raised similar concerns when Major General Silva was appointed the Chief of Staff of the SLA. We are disappointed that the present Government, which committed itself to security sector reforms and accountability, has taken no action to address these concerns.

Today’s appointment is in effect a repudiation of the promised reforms. It demonstrates a clear disregard for human rights norms, and will facilitate the further entrenchment of impunity in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Concerns over the appointment of Major Gen. Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and the need for urgent reforms – Centre For Policy Alternatives(CPA)’ »

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Statement Says international concern over the appointment of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was “unwarranted and unacceptable” and contrary to the “principles of natural justice”

The Foreign Ministry yesterday said international concern over the appointment of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was “unwarranted and unacceptable”, and contrary to the principles of natural justice upheld by the international community.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Statement Says international concern over the appointment of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was “unwarranted and unacceptable” and contrary to the “principles of natural justice”’ »

Human Rights Watch Issues Statement Critical of Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Sri Lanka’s Army Commander and Urges Setting up of a Justice Tribunal With International Participation.


By

Meenakshi Ganguly

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a general whose forces have been credibly accused of war crimes as the commander of the national army.

The move would seem to confirm the fears of those like Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who, back in March, supported the United Nations Human Rights Council’s extension of its 2015 resolution on Sri Lanka.

The extension, which Sirisena and other top officials openly opposed, seeks justice and accountability for violations committed during the 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.

“The sad reality is, then, that there are those who oppose any measure to achieve accountability and reconciliation, because they don’t want justice,” said Mangala Samaraweera. “They want victor’s justice.”

Continue reading ‘Human Rights Watch Issues Statement Critical of Lt.Gen Shavendra Silva’s Appointment as Sri Lanka’s Army Commander and Urges Setting up of a Justice Tribunal With International Participation.’ »

UN Human Rights Commissioner Criticises Gen.Shavendra Silva Being Appointed as the new Army Chief by President Sirisena; Refers to Silva as being “heavily implicated by a succession of UN reports in alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity”in Statement.

Swift condemnation followed President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to appoint controversial wartime commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Army from local and international actors yesterday.

After oscillating on the decision for days since last Friday, the President allowed nearly a day to lapse after former Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake retired from service, without the traditional ceremonial send off and baton passing ceremony.

Daily FT learns that President Sirisena was under severe pressure even from within his own party to not appoint Lt. Gen. Silva as the new Army Chief. The UNP was largely divided on the issue, but an increasingly powerful faction of the party were also backing the appointment, highly placed sources told Daily FT.

Silva who commanded the 58 Division of the Army has been named in several UN reports as being implicated in grave violations of international humanitarian law that may be tantamount to war crimes.

Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Commissioner Criticises Gen.Shavendra Silva Being Appointed as the new Army Chief by President Sirisena; Refers to Silva as being “heavily implicated by a succession of UN reports in alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity”in Statement.’ »

JVP led “National People’s Power”(NPP) Movement Nominates JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake as Their Presidential Candidate at Massive Rally Held on Galle Face Green.

The JVP Presidential candidate and Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday kicked off his campaign urging all communities to unite to transform Sri Lanka into a socially, economically, and politically vibrant country under his leadership.

Speaking at a massive rally at the Galle Face Green, where the JVP-led National People’s Power (NPP) movement nominated him as their Presidential candidate, Dissanayake said the desired transformation requires a change in each and every citizen and urged people from all walks of life to rally around him and his party.

The JVP is fielding a Presidential candidate of their own after a lapse of 20 years with the last being Nandana Gunathilake, who came third in the contest then.

Continue reading ‘JVP led “National People’s Power”(NPP) Movement Nominates JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake as Their Presidential Candidate at Massive Rally Held on Galle Face Green.’ »

President Sirisena Promotes Shavendra Silva as Lt.General and Appoints Him 23rd Commander of Sri Lanka’s Army: UN Describes Appointment of General Accused of war Crimes as Army Chief “Deeply Troubling”.

By
Meera Srinivasan

President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday named a general accused of war crimes as commander of the Sri Lankan Army, sparking concern over the appointment that the UN later termed “deeply troubling”.

In his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President appointed “Major General Shavendra Silva… as the 23rd Commander of the Army effective August 19 after promoting him to the rank of Lieutenant General,” the Army said in a statement.

Mr. Silva commanded the Sri Lankan Army’s 58 Division during the final stages of the war against the rebel LTTE in 2009, and was implicated in an incident when white-flag carrying LTTE cadre, who were surrendering, were reportedly executed after being assured safety.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Promotes Shavendra Silva as Lt.General and Appoints Him 23rd Commander of Sri Lanka’s Army: UN Describes Appointment of General Accused of war Crimes as Army Chief “Deeply Troubling”.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Informs President Sirisena That his Intelligence Unit Has Uncovered Alleged Plot by a Northern Terror Group Targeting Him Along With Douglas Devananda and Karuna Ammaan; Sniper Rifle Imported From Malaysia For this Alleges Gota


Former Defence Secretary and presidential candidate of Sri Lanka People’s Front Gotabaya Rajapaksa has complained to the President that his intelligence officers have informed him that a terrorist group in the North is planning to harm him during the forthcoming election campaign and that he should investigate and take appropriate action.

The former Defence Secretary has told the media that according to information he has received, not only him but Douglas Devananda and Karuna Amman are also at risk and the complaint lodged with the President states the same.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Informs President Sirisena That his Intelligence Unit Has Uncovered Alleged Plot by a Northern Terror Group Targeting Him Along With Douglas Devananda and Karuna Ammaan; Sniper Rifle Imported From Malaysia For this Alleges Gota’ »

If Gotabhaya Rajapaksa wins the Presidency and Mahinda Rajapaksa Becomes the Prime Minister There will be a full scale Political Civil war Between the two brothers for Every Scrap of Power and Every Inch of Ground.

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“He can’t do that. He was the commander. That’s a treason. We will hang him if he does that….. How can he betray the country? He is a liar, liar, liar…”
– Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, when told that Gen. Sarath Fonseka had implicated him in the white flag incident (BBC Hard Talk – June 2010).

A week before his younger brother was anointed the SLPP’s presidential candidate, Mahinda Rajapaksa made a portentous statement to the Virakesari. The newspaper had questioned Mr. Rajapaksa about minority angst concerning a Gotabhaya presidency. He responded with a standard denial thus: “In reality, further to the (19th) constitutional amendment, the Prime Minister has more powers. I’m the Prime Ministerial candidate. So we have to work together” (The Hindu – 10.8.2019 – emphasis mine).

Mr. Rajapaksa’s statement is a declaration of intent on what kind of prime minister he plans to be. It is also a warning of the power struggles that will rule the Lankan state under a Gotabhaya Presidency.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, though not the oldest of the Rajapaksa siblings, inherited DA Rajapaksa’s political mantle. For decades he had been the political paterfamilias of the entire Rajapaksa clan, the sun around which siblings and offspring, nephews, nieces, and cousins revolved. His statement to The Virakesari indicates that he has no intention of relinquishing that pre-eminence to his younger brother.

In June 2019, Nihal Jayawickrama wrote a piece tellingly titled, The Presidential Hopefuls – Have they not read Article 43? Explaining the downgrading of presidential powers via the 19th Amendment, Dr. Jayawickrama argued that the next president would be more akin to William Gopallawa than JR Jayewardene in terms of constitutional powers.

The article gave rise to a lively discussion, the popular counter-position being that the new president, though unable to hold any ministerial posts, would still retain sufficient executive powers to control the direction of the government, and therefore the country.

That debate foreshadows the far from polite contestation that will break out between a President Gotabhaya and a Prime Minister Mahinda.

Continue reading ‘If Gotabhaya Rajapaksa wins the Presidency and Mahinda Rajapaksa Becomes the Prime Minister There will be a full scale Political Civil war Between the two brothers for Every Scrap of Power and Every Inch of Ground.’ »

Omission of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Name in the List Of US Citizens Renouncing Citizenship Is Not Important Because Gota Has Certificate Issued by US State Dept Stating he has Relinquished Citizenship Says Udaya Gammanpila.

By

Sheain Fernandopulle

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has sufficient evidence to prove that he had renounced the US citizenship while the omission of his name in the list published as at June 30, 2019, is of no importance as per the law of that country, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader and MP Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday.

“According to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which enforces the law in the US with regard to renunciation of US citizenship, the document one could use to prove that he has renounced the US citizenship is not the list which is made public but the certificate issued by the US State Department,” Gammanpila said.

“The omission of Mr. Rajapaksa’s name from the list of those renounced US citizenship as at June 30 this year, is an issue which the US Government should deal with”, he added.

Continue reading ‘Omission of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Name in the List Of US Citizens Renouncing Citizenship Is Not Important Because Gota Has Certificate Issued by US State Dept Stating he has Relinquished Citizenship Says Udaya Gammanpila.’ »

The Gotabaya project actually has already promised to ‘terminate’ from the political vocabulary such words as ‘human rights,’ ‘minority rights, ‘political freedom’ and ‘liberalism’.

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

With the nomination of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its presidential candidate, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has officially launched its presidential election campaign.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has remained a nominal member of the SLFP and the UPFA so far, has also been declared publicly as the leader of the SLPP. This is likely to cause a mass migration of the SLFP’s rank and file, including its aspirants to political office at all levels, to the SLPP.

Unless former President Chandrika Kumaratunga steps in in a desperate rescue attempt, the liquidation of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, currently led by President Maithripala Sirisena, will become another political side story during the election year 2019-20.

Continue reading ‘The Gotabaya project actually has already promised to ‘terminate’ from the political vocabulary such words as ‘human rights,’ ‘minority rights, ‘political freedom’ and ‘liberalism’.’ »

According to Social Media Studied To Date , The Leading Presidential Candidate has Never Appealed to a Fan-base Beyond a Frighteningly and Frothingly Racist, Islamophobic, Conspiratorial Extremist Sinhala-Buddhist Mindset

By Sanjana Hattotuwa

While data isn’t destiny, the study of how individuals capture attention on social media gives both indication and insight into their electoral prospects. Nearly a decade ago, in the sixth Presidential Election of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka – the two leading candidates – each set up Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr accounts for their campaigns.

Now dead, dormant or deleted, those accounts were a harbinger of what is now entrenched in electoral dynamics. Flickr, no longer a dominant platform, was at the time the leading repository for images. Facebook had a fraction of the accounts it commands today. Twitter was less than four years old as a platform. YouTube was popular, but again, nowhere near what it is today.

It is extremely unlikely either of the candidates ever saw what went up on any of these platforms at the time, much less interacted with or published directly on them. But in the focus of photos, tone of tweets and framing on Facebook, one could see how one candidate’s charisma and charm were evident and welcomed by followers or fans, while the other candidate both struggled to adroitly manage the accounts or put out comparable ego-centric content.

What’s changed over the past decade is not just how central social media is now to politics and elections, but how leading platforms are in a mode of constant campaigning. During the constitutional coup in October last year, those who supported the unconstitutional PM wanted elections no sooner than they realised the courts wouldn’t uphold the President’s actions. This was distinct in the data.

How the rallying cry for general elections was born, who was responsible for it, how it grew and which accounts were responsible for its growth were as evident in the study of data on social media as the microscopic examination of a blood sample by a lab technician for the strain of a common virus.

Continue reading ‘According to Social Media Studied To Date , The Leading Presidential Candidate has Never Appealed to a Fan-base Beyond a Frighteningly and Frothingly Racist, Islamophobic, Conspiratorial Extremist Sinhala-Buddhist Mindset’ »

The former Defence Secretary needs to free himself from the long judicial shadow of multiple legal inquiries ranging from gross corruption and abuse of power to implication in serious human rights abuses.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There is a familiarly relentless logic to the political trauma that is currently paralysing Sri Lanka. The too-premature, too-euphoric frenzy that preoccupied ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance) grandees and their coat-hanging enthusiasts in the aftermath of the 2015 electoral win for the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition as they pronounced the electoral demise of the Rajapaksas is one definitive factor.

That history cannot be dismissed by casual waves of hands at this stage by civil society ‘leaders’, notwithstanding their culpable ‘co-opting’ into Government ranks without keeping an independent distance. That is clear.

Disposing of irrelevant propaganda

But there is more to this terribly shortsighted tale. Drivers of opinions which led the ‘yahapalanaya’ regime to certain disaster still peddle their fatuously imbecilic points of view, obscuring clear-headed public discussions.

One clear example is blaming Deputy Leader of the United National Party (UNP) Sajith Premadasa for perceived as well as real ‘sins’ committed by his father, former President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Certainly, Mr Premadasa’s frequent invocation of his father at Monday’s rally in Badulla when announcing his intention of contesting the forthcoming Presidential elections, has its good side and its bad.

Sri Lanka’s poor who remember the former President as perhaps the only state leader who singularly cared about them, may hail such references with unconditional joy.

On the other hand, the Ranasinghe Premadasa era was noted for the unnerving phenomenon of enforced disappearances as the Northern war and the second Southern insurgency were met by waves of state sponsored counter-terror.

Then as now, arguments may wax and wane as to how terrorist wars and civil insurrections may be won.

Continue reading ‘The former Defence Secretary needs to free himself from the long judicial shadow of multiple legal inquiries ranging from gross corruption and abuse of power to implication in serious human rights abuses.’ »

Four Constitutional Fallacies About the Next President’s Powers in a Post – 19th Amendment Scenario.

By

Dr.Nihal Jayawickrama

The last week has seen the public launching of two presidential campaigns. At each of these widely publicized and well-orchestrated meetings, the two potential candidates presented their manifestos.

One candidate, with the benefit of a teleprompter, read out a lengthy document which sounded much like a Speech from the Throne at an Opening of Parliament.

The other candidate, in more strident tones, promised to implement an equally radical programme of reform if he were elected to the office of President.

The question that needs to be asked of both, and of other aspiring presidential candidates too, is how they propose to implement their publicly proclaimed ‘policies’?

Continue reading ‘Four Constitutional Fallacies About the Next President’s Powers in a Post – 19th Amendment Scenario.’ »

Pluses and Minuses of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidature and his Chances of Victory.

Sri Lanka’s main opposition party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), on Sunday named Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Defense Secretary and younger brother of former Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as its candidate for the Lankan Presidential election due to be held December this year.

This was announced at a public meeting here by SLPP founder and its newly appointed chief, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

According to Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya has been appointed to give Sri Lanka a strong and purposeful government and a government which will safeguard national security which is presently threatened by Islamic terrorism and the possibility of Tamil separatism being revived in the Tamil-majority Northern Province.

The current “Good Governance” regime led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has not walked the talk. The government and the national security apparatus have become dysfunctional, so much so that Islamic terrorists carried out multiple bombings on April 21 despite India’s repeated warnings earlier in the month about the perpetrators and their probable targets.

Continue reading ‘Pluses and Minuses of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidature and his Chances of Victory.’ »

Will Ranasinghe and Sajith Premadasa Be The First Father-Son Duo To be Presidents of Sri Lanka?

By D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The eighth Sri Lankan presidential election is expected to be held on or before December 7th this year. Though dates have not been announced yet, many names are being bandied about as potential candidates. Among such names is Hambantota district parliamentarian and cabinet Minister of Housing and Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa who is also the United National Party (UNP) deputy leader.

June 23, 1989. Sajith with President R. Premadasa at Mahiyanganaya Rajama Viharaya on his Birthday

Sajith Premadasa is the son of former Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa who was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) on May 1st 1993. Sri Lanka known formerly as Ceylon was the first country in the South Asian region to adopt the practice of dynastic succession in political leadership. The first prime minister of Independent Ceylon D. S. Senanayake was succeeded by his son Dudley Senanayake in 1951. In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike the widow of , Prime minister S.W.R. D. Bandaranaike assassinated in 1959 , became Prime minister. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga the daughter of two past Prime Ministers became Prime minister in August 1994. When she became the President in October 1994, her mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike was appointed Prime Minister. Mother and daughter being Prime Minister and President simultaneously is a world record. If therefore Sajith does indeed become a President like Ranasinghe Premadasa they would be the first father and son ti be Sri Lankan presidents. If that happens Sri Lanka would have added another notch to its Totem pole of dynastic politics.

Continue reading ‘Will Ranasinghe and Sajith Premadasa Be The First Father-Son Duo To be Presidents of Sri Lanka?’ »

The Case for a Sajith Premadasa Candidacy is Different From the Case for a Sajith Premadasa Presidency

By

“THE EXPLORER”

The case for a Sajith Premadasa candidacy is different from the case for a Sajith Premadasa Presidency. It is arguable that even those who prefer a Gotabhaya Presidency could opt for a Sajith candidacy if it leads to a stronger UNP showing, and results in a stronger balancing factor in Sri Lankan politics which would act as a safeguard for democracy.

What is a candidacy about? It is about winning the largest number of votes for one’s side. How one chooses the candidate from the available alternatives should be based on who is most likely to generate the most votes for one’s side. That would depend on the context in the country when the election is due to be held, the nature of the opponent, and the profiles of the contenders on one’s side.

The case for a Sajith Premadasa presidency is that he is logically the best legatee of the Premadasa model of development which in turn is demonstrably the best the island has ever experienced in that it was a combination of rapid growth, a stock market that took off, increased foreign investment, a dramatic reduction of inequality, the spread of industry to the rural areas, and the reduction of absolute and relative poverty. It can also be argued that the late President Premadasa combined a multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious, multilingual pluralism with a robust patriotism, and that his son would be the closest approximation of a non-ethnocratic, pluralist, inclusionary nationalism; a nationalism that heals rather than an aggressive one that dominates and imposes, or a cosmopolitanism that rejects patriotism or nationalism.

On the question of national security and the current threat of ISIS terrorism that the country faces, a pluralist approach to minorities would be a far better “soft power” accompaniment of a counterterrorist campaign against Islamist jihadism; one capable of winning over the middle ground, than a tougher ultranationalist approach which would be far more polarizing and eventually counterproductive.

However, all of that is part of a debate for the last quarter of this year; not the third quarter in which the issue is who the contest should be held between.

Continue reading ‘The Case for a Sajith Premadasa Candidacy is Different From the Case for a Sajith Premadasa Presidency’ »

Presidential Candidacy Bids of “Premadasa Putha” and “Gotabaya Sahodara” Revive Memories of the Murdered Journalists Richard de Zoysa and Lasantha Wickrematunge and the Made To Disappear Prageeth Eknaligoda.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Sajith Premadasa, with his black T-shirt and huge Indian-politico garland at Badulla, is certainly making a massive pitch to be the UNP’s next candidate for the Presidential poll. His spread of villages and towns in the country has passed its 250th, and is racing ahead to keep alive his paternal memories of Gam Udava.

The Gam Udava politics and memories of his father are certainly good for his loud backers in the green bandwagon. But, there is certainly much of important human and political forgetfulness in the run up to grab the green party candidacy.

Democratic politics in this country runs back more than seven decades. It began in the mid-1930s with the election to the first State Council. Coming down through all these decades we see an increasing trend in forgetfulness in the seekers or hunters for national leadership, and their backers from political parties and families.

My memory of Premadasa’s father – President Ranasinghe Premadasa – brings back memories of journalistic colleague – Richard de Zoysa. Is it possible that Sajith P has forgotten or has no knowledge of that brutal killing of Richard de Zoysa, the outspoken journalist, dramatist and civil society activist? He was killed by the powerful and uniformed catchers of the Premadasa government dumped in the sea.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Candidacy Bids of “Premadasa Putha” and “Gotabaya Sahodara” Revive Memories of the Murdered Journalists Richard de Zoysa and Lasantha Wickrematunge and the Made To Disappear Prageeth Eknaligoda.’ »

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Embarks Upon Project To Salvage the Sri Lanka Freedom Party From Its Present “Leaders” and Revitalise SLFP.


by Priyadarshana Liyanage

Former President and one-time SLFP leader Chandrika Kumaratunga has expressed her readiness to revitalise the party, founded by her father.

She has announced that she would revive the party, which according to her, is being manipulated by other parties. She has conveyed her decision to party seniors, according to party sources.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Embarks Upon Project To Salvage the Sri Lanka Freedom Party From Its Present “Leaders” and Revitalise SLFP.’ »

“The Abrogation of Jammu’s and Kashmir’s Special Status is a longstanding demand of the Hindu right and a key element in its Plan to Transform India into a Hindu Rasthra or State”

By K. Ratnayake

India’s disputed Kashmir region remains today for an eleventh straight day under an unprecedented security lockdown that is being enforced by tens of thousands of Indian soldiers and paramilitaries, as well as local police. Its 13 million people are subject to sweeping restrictions on their movements and all internet and cell and land phone use has been suspended.

India’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has imposed the brutal lock down to suppress anticipated mass opposition to its placing of Indian-held Kashmir under permanent central government trusteeship.

On August 5, the BJP government illegally and without consultation or even forewarning stripped Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), India’s only Muslim-majority state, of its special, semi-autonomous constitutional status, then bifurcated it and downgraded the two successor areas into Union Territories.

The security crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir is entirely in keeping with the constitutional coup Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP carried out in New Delhi.

Continue reading ‘“The Abrogation of Jammu’s and Kashmir’s Special Status is a longstanding demand of the Hindu right and a key element in its Plan to Transform India into a Hindu Rasthra or State”’ »

” I am for the sovereignty and unity of Sri Lanka, but I also believe that the Tamils in the country must be able to live with equality, dignity and respect and be also to make their own decisions within the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.” – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe States in Jaffna.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed that he is supportive of devolution while protecting the sovereignty and unity of Sri Lanka. He also said the country needs a new constitution.

He was responding to queries on the UNP’s and his stand on a political solution and how the country should move forward with it, speaking at a gathering in Jaffna yesterday.

“What is really needed now is a political solution. I am for the sovereignty and unity of Sri Lanka, but I also believe that the Tamils in the country must be able to live with equality, dignity and respect and be also to make their own decisions within the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The UNP and myself as the leader of UNP, are committed to ensuring respect and dignity for the Tamils within a political system which builds on the principles of devolution as contained in the report now before the Constitutional Assembly,” he said.

Continue reading ‘” I am for the sovereignty and unity of Sri Lanka, but I also believe that the Tamils in the country must be able to live with equality, dignity and respect and be also to make their own decisions within the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.” – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe States in Jaffna.’ »

“Though Zahran Hashim Had only a Small Group at the Start , the NJT Leader was Able to Recruit More Youths After the Anti-Muslim Violence at Digana in 2018” Says Senior Sri Lankan Security Official


By

Meera Srinivasan

In the last week of June, Sri Lankan police recovered a huge stash of arms and explosives in the eastern town of Kattankudy from where Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the Easter bombings, hailed. It included some 300 gelignite sticks, 1,000 detonators, and nearly 500 T56 live ammunition. The recovery reportedly shocked investigators, who had made considerable progress in their probe of the April 21 attack that claimed over 250 lives.

The search operation was based on information from Mohamed Milhan, one of the five suspects deported from Saudi Arabia earlier in June. Currently in custody, Milhan was a likely heir to Zahran Hashim. “It was an eye-opener, really,” a top official, familiar with the probe, told The Hindu.

“The material would have been enough for another 25 suicide attacks,” the official said, requesting anonymity, given the sensitivity of the investigations. “A crucial source” is how the official described Milhan, who reportedly tried to join the IS but was unsuccessful. A resident of Kattankudy, he left Sri Lanka on April 17, days before the attacks.

Continue reading ‘“Though Zahran Hashim Had only a Small Group at the Start , the NJT Leader was Able to Recruit More Youths After the Anti-Muslim Violence at Digana in 2018” Says Senior Sri Lankan Security Official’ »

Slain Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Daughter Ahimsa Writes Open Letter to Ranil Wickremesinghe Asking Whether the PM Would Apologize for Allegedly Protecting his “New Friend” Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the Past Four and a Half Years.


Ahimsa Wickrematunge, daughter of slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, in a public letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for the selection of an “honest and courageous” presidential candidate to run
against Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) contender Gotabaya Rajapaksa, warning that failure to do so will deprive victims of their opportunity for justice.

Referring to a speech made by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on Monday where he questioned whether Rajapaksa has apologised for the murder of Wickrematunge, Ahimsa Wickrematunge pointed out that not only was an apology unlikely but insisted Wickremesinghe was responsible for protecting Rajapaksa over the last four and a half years.

“Let me put your mind at ease. No. Gotabaya Rajapaksa will never apologise for my father’s murder. In television interviews over the last 10 years, he has made no secret of the fact that he was proud of it. He has made up his mind not to apologise. But have you, Prime Minister? Will you apologise for spending the last four and a half years protecting with the man you today call a mass murderer?”

Continue reading ‘Slain Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Daughter Ahimsa Writes Open Letter to Ranil Wickremesinghe Asking Whether the PM Would Apologize for Allegedly Protecting his “New Friend” Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the Past Four and a Half Years.’ »

“Devasaranaya” and Devasarana Development Centre Founded at Ibbagamuwa by “Sevaka” Yohan Devananda Allegedly Facing Huge Problems From Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala and Church Leaders: An Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury Seeking Justice.

By

Sunanda Deshapriya


(Text of an Open Letter Incorporating a plea to the Archbishop of Canterbury Most Rev Justin Welby who will be visiting Sri Lanka in Late August this year)

To The Most Rev Archbishop Justin Welby,

I must begin by saying that I am not a Christian. But the feelings contained in this plea are being shared by many people who have lived their adult lives believing that service to people is our foremost duty.

I beg you to read this in full.

We hope that you are visiting our country in late August to bless the victims of Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. We also hope that your blessings will be bestowed on all victims regardless of ethnicity or religion.

You may already know that the Easter Sunday attacks and the violence against Muslims that followed, have left ethnic relations in the country worryingly polarised. As of now, one of the major challenges we face is the building of mutual trust and reconciliation.

You being the leader of the Church of England and the Head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, there is symbolic value in this visit. It has become known that during your visit, you will call on the Kurunegala Diocese. We fear however, that such a visit will leave a negative mark on your Sri Lanka trip as the Bishop of Kurunegala and his team have initiated a disgraceful process that will bring the Church into disrepute: A process motivated not by the word of God, but by the greed for power and money.


Here is the story in short:

Continue reading ‘“Devasaranaya” and Devasarana Development Centre Founded at Ibbagamuwa by “Sevaka” Yohan Devananda Allegedly Facing Huge Problems From Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala and Church Leaders: An Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury Seeking Justice.’ »

SLFP Will Support SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa After Holding Discussions says UPFA Genera- Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera.


Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will come to an agreement with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to support its presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa only after they discuss his economic and foreign policy, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary, MP Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday addressing a meeting at Angunukolapelessa.

“We want a leader that can end anarchy in the country. We see nothing wrong with the SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, but there are things that we must discuss with him. Apart from his economic and foreign policies, we must talk about his anti-corruption policies,” he said.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Will Support SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa After Holding Discussions says UPFA Genera- Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Commences His Political Journey To Become the UNP Presidential Election Candidacy From Historic “Uva-Wellassa” With the Support of the People;Insists He is Even Ready to Die for His Motheland.

United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader and Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa was yesterday confident of having the people’s support to be a presidential contender promising to focus on inclusive development to bring prosperity to Sri Lanka.

Insisting he was ready to even die for his motherland, Premadasa outlined broad proposals to develop the economy by slashing middle class taxes, supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), having consistent policies and fighting corruption.

Premadasa, speaking at a rally organised at Wills Park by Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Minister Harin Fernando, also pledged to establish a governance system based on meritocracy to support development.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Commences His Political Journey To Become the UNP Presidential Election Candidacy From Historic “Uva-Wellassa” With the Support of the People;Insists He is Even Ready to Die for His Motheland.’ »

JVP Lashes Out at SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Saying He Does not Have Financial Discipline or Administrative Abilities and Lacks Necessary Qualities to be Competent National Leader.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday said the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) had selected the weakest option as a presidential candidate when it announced former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as their presidential hopeful.

Speaking to media at JVP head office in Battaramulla, Pelawatte, Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said Gotabaya Rajapaksa lacked the qualities necessary to be a competent national leader.

“Rajapaksa has shown he does not have the financial discipline or ability to be a good administrator, which are the most essential qualities to being the President. We do not think he can change the country,” Herath said.

Continue reading ‘JVP Lashes Out at SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa Saying He Does not Have Financial Discipline or Administrative Abilities and Lacks Necessary Qualities to be Competent National Leader.’ »

” Our Bullet is Sajith Premadasa and No Other” Proclaims Harin Fernando to Cheering Crowds at Badulla and Declares “I will Put my Life on the Line and Make Sajith Premadasa Our Presidential Candidate”.


Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Minister Harin Fernando yesterday pledged to make United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa the next presidential candidate, describing him as “the bullet” needed to win the presidency and insisting no battle begun from Uva-Wellassa has ever failed.

Fernando who organised a rally in Badulla to support Premadasa for the presidential candidacy of the UNP without the sanction of party seniors on Monday, was vehement in his support.

Fernando also recalled his efforts in 2014 when he resigned from his parliamentary seat to contest the Provincial Council elections, which eventually created momentum for the presidential victory several months later.

Continue reading ‘” Our Bullet is Sajith Premadasa and No Other” Proclaims Harin Fernando to Cheering Crowds at Badulla and Declares “I will Put my Life on the Line and Make Sajith Premadasa Our Presidential Candidate”.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Officially Takes Over Leadership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and Anoints Brother Gotabaya as the Party’s Presidential Election Candidate Contesting on a National Security Platform.

Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa officially took over Sunday as leader of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, anointing his brother Gothabaya the person that was needed to take over the country on a national security platform.

He said the Easter Sunday strike was like 9/11 in American and should be a wake-up call.

“We need someone who can maintain national security,” Rajapaska told supporters at a party convention in Colombo. “We need someone who can then re-build the country with discipline and law and order.”

He said mothers wanted to be able to send their children to school without fear.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Officially Takes Over Leadership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and Anoints Brother Gotabaya as the Party’s Presidential Election Candidate Contesting on a National Security Platform.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Declares in Anuradhapura That He Will Definitely Contest the Forthcoming Presidential Elections

By
Athula Bandara

Minister Sajith Premadasa said today in Thirappane, Anuradhapura that he would contest the forthcoming presidential election without fail and that he expects the support of people in the country.

After opening the ‘Se-Dasungama’ – 246th model village in Demategama in Thirappane in Anuradhapura District under the Gam Udawa programme, the Minister was responding to a query directed at him by someone in the audience.

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Gotabaya Rajapaksa Accepts Presidential Candidacy of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Amidst Thunderous Applause at Spectacular Party Convention Held at Sugathadasa Stadium.

By Uditha Jayasinghe and Nuwan Senaratne

Amidst much spectacle, deafening cheers, and countrywide fireworks, Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday accepted the Presidential candidacy of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), pledging to be a leader who will walk the talk and deliver development to a united and secure Sri Lanka.

The maiden SLPP National Convention on Sunday received the younger Rajapaksa with a standing ovation at the packed Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium after he was announced as the Presidential candidate by newly-crowned SLPP leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. Hundreds of party supporters and party front-liners cheered as Rajapaksa entered the stage, enthusiastically waving posters emblazoned with his face, and sang along to his official campaign song.

The thunderous applause continued as Rajapaksa stooped to obtain the blessings of his brother and was embraced by him, and moved on to receive the well-wishes of the rest of the SLPP senior members. Videos chronicling the achievements of Gotabaya Rajapaksa were played on screen ahead of his ascent to the podium, to deliver his first speech as the official Presidential hopeful of the SLPP.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Accepts Presidential Candidacy of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Amidst Thunderous Applause at Spectacular Party Convention Held at Sugathadasa Stadium.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Proclaims Younger Brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Official SLPP Presidential Candidate Saying “He has already become your brother and has won over your hearts. I give him to you as your Brother”.

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

The country needs a leader who looks at 2030 instead of 2020 and has the ability to terminate corruption, drugs and poverty, newly appointed SLPP Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said today announcing Gotabaya Rajapaksa as their presidential candidate.

Opposition Leader Rajapaksa was appointed as the SLPP leader at the party’s inaugural national convention which was held today where he also officially announced Gotabaya’s candidacy.

Mr Rajapaksa said the national security should be restored in the country and the country needed someone who is vigilant about security around the clock.

“Only he can prevent looming threats. After restoring national security, we have to rebuild the country. To do that, we need discipline and law and order. Its the opinion around the world that no country can be developed without discipline and rule of law. No matter if there’s oil in Mannar or golden showers fall, we can’t make use of them if there is no discipline or rule of law,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Proclaims Younger Brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Official SLPP Presidential Candidate Saying “He has already become your brother and has won over your hearts. I give him to you as your Brother”.’ »

“I pledge to create a safe and secure environment in which all Sri Lankans, irrespective of their race or religion, will be able to live in peace. I will never allow extremist terrorism in this country” – Text of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Maiden Campaign Speech

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivered his maiden campaign speech at the SLPP’s first-ever National Convention held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on August 11th 2019

Following is the full speech:

Venerable Maha Sangha and religious dignitaries from the Christian, Hindu, Islamic and other faiths, the fifth Executive President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, Members of Parliament, and other public representatives, party leaders, professionals, war heroes, artistes, media personnel, representatives of national organisations, trade unions, and those of you who represent every corner of our motherland, all patriotic Sri Lankans, my friends.

At this historic conference that marks a decisive juncture in our nation’s politics, I am deeply honoured and humbled to accept the nomination made by the fifth President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, for me to represent the common aspiration of many political parties, independent groups, and organisations led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, as their candidate at the forthcoming Presidential election.

I consider this nomination as a noble mission entrusted to me by people-oriented, progressive forces that are destined to create a political revolution in this country.

I thank all who supported the fifth President Mahinda Rajapaksa in making this decision, especially the Venerable Maha Sangha and other religious leaders, politicians, national organisations, media personnel, social leaders and activists, and the citizens of this country led by the youth, who spoke on behalf of the country. I extend my special gratitude to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna for entrusting me with this signal honour.

Continue reading ‘“I pledge to create a safe and secure environment in which all Sri Lankans, irrespective of their race or religion, will be able to live in peace. I will never allow extremist terrorism in this country” – Text of SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Maiden Campaign Speech’ »

Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Director Dr. A.M.S.Weerabandara Falsely Accused Dr. Mohammed Shafi of Illegally Sterilising 8000 Women and Fabricated Evidence While Being Fully Aware that the Allegations Against Muslim Surgeon Were Untrue.

Investigations into the sterilization scare at Kurunegala have taken a new turn with the discovery that medical administrators colluded with law enforcement officials and even the magistrate to fabricate evidence and alter judicial records.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) reported to court that the director of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital, A.M. S. Weera Bandara, was fully aware that the sterilisation allegations against a Muslim doctor were untrue.

Dr. Weera Bandara, a dentist by profession, had objected in court earlier to tests being carried out on women who claimed they had been illegally sterilized by Dr. Mohamed Shafi while delivering their babies through C-section procedures.

Continue reading ‘Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Director Dr. A.M.S.Weerabandara Falsely Accused Dr. Mohammed Shafi of Illegally Sterilising 8000 Women and Fabricated Evidence While Being Fully Aware that the Allegations Against Muslim Surgeon Were Untrue.’ »

The Name To Be Announced by Mahinda Rajapaksa as the SLPP Presidential Candidate Would be Sri Lanka’s Equivalent to the USA’s “Apollo – 13 ” Mission Without Having a NASA To Guide It.

by Sanjana Hattotuwa

“Houston, we have a problem” is a famous line from 1995’s Academy Award-winning ‘Apollo 13’ film, told to NASA’s ground control by actor Tom Hanks, playing Mission Commander Jim Lovell. Based on real events, a catastrophic explosion crippling a spacecraft bound for the moon became a test of NASA’s ability to completely shift gear, from what was planned as a moon-landing to an unprecedented rescue mission. Space is not something that can be reasoned with. It kills with cold precision and complete indifference. What ‘Apollo 13’ showcasedis the ability of humans, in the face of the greatest imaginable adversity and certain death, to think out-of-the-box and engineer solutions to avert what the odds were stacked in favour of.

The SLPP’s announcement today, focussing on a man, vision or both, will be significant. As populist or saviour, doer or demagogue, the name chosen by or forced on Mahinda Rajapaksa to nominate as the SLPP’s presidential candidate is Sri Lanka’s Apollo 13 mission or moment, with one key difference. The country has no NASA to guide it. Far worse, there are those who think they are or constitute the equivalent of NASA but are very far removed it. Come Monday, election campaign crises will rapidly increase in scale, speed and complexity. Late 2014’s script, but re-mastered.

Continue reading ‘The Name To Be Announced by Mahinda Rajapaksa as the SLPP Presidential Candidate Would be Sri Lanka’s Equivalent to the USA’s “Apollo – 13 ” Mission Without Having a NASA To Guide It.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Tries to Allay Fears of the Minorities Over Gota’s Presidential Candidacy by Telling “Virakesari” that he will be the Prime Ministerial Candidate and that the Prime Minister Has More Powers After 19th Amendment.

By
Meera Srinivasan

The former President’s reaction is among the first from Sri Lankan political leaders after New Delhi ended Jammu & Kashmir’s special status.
Commenting on the prospects for power devolution to Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils, Leader of Opposition and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made a reference to the current “situation in Kashmir.”

Leading Sri Lankan Tamil daily Virakesari on Saturday published a wide-ranging interview with Mr. Rajapaksa. To a question on his future plans for evolving a political solution to the island’s long-pending Tamil question, Mr. Rajapakasa is quoted as saying: “There are two strands of opinion now. Some want a new constitution. Some want a federal arrangement. And some say that a political solution based on the 13th Amendment would suffice. But a solution should not be one that divides the country. Look at what has just happened in Kashmir. We need to take steps keeping all these in mind. We have to understand these factors while we pursue a political solution.”

His reaction is among the first from Sri Lankan political leaders after New Delhi ended Jammu & Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. Earlier, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called it India’s “internal matter” in a tweet, in which he said Ladakh would become “the first Indian state with a Buddhist-majority” — a claim that was subsequently challenged on social media, for its factual accuracy.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Tries to Allay Fears of the Minorities Over Gota’s Presidential Candidacy by Telling “Virakesari” that he will be the Prime Ministerial Candidate and that the Prime Minister Has More Powers After 19th Amendment.’ »

What Sri Lanka Needs is not a ‘Terminator’ or a ‘Protector’- (no Politician can be a Protector) – but the Equal Application of the Law by Those who Implement and Enforce It

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

In Sri Lanka, injustice takes manifestly queer twists and turns. A State signs an international convention on the solemn understanding that it will conform to those obligations. It passes a Constitution or enacts a law consequent to a pact entered into with citizens promising that narrow interests of one specific power bloc or agitators will not be privileged. After all, the law is the fundamental protector, keeping the balance between the powerful State and (largely powerless) citizens, between those who wield authority and those who do not.

A truth stranger than fiction

But the converse happens here. This week, one of Sri Lanka’s young writers Shakthika Sathkumara was released on bail by the Kurunegala High Court following his arrest on 1 April this year. In any other circumstances, his arrest may have seemed like a classic April Fools joke. Sathkumara was taken in under Sri Lanka’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act (2007) on the purported basis that a fictional story of some two pages or so written by him called ‘Ardha’ had focused on child abuse allegedly prevalent in Buddhist temples and therefore propagated religious hatred that, in terms of Section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act, incited ‘discrimination, hostility or violence.’

To add an even more surreal layer to this account, which is surely stranger than even the fictional story that caused this stir in the first place, the police had reportedly demanded that Sathkumara produce testimonials from the chief priest of the Buddhist temple in his village, a lawyer and a Justice of the Peace (JP) apart from a certificate of residence from the Grama Niladhari official. To all intents and purposes, these demands had been resisted.

Meanwhile, in another corner of this resplendent isle, Buddhist monks forcibly entered a house in Mahiyangana and viciously attacked a young Methodist while he was saying prayers. According to reports by the Church, it was the head priest of the Buddhist temple in the area who had stepped in to stop the assaults but by that time, the victim had sustained severe injuries, including to his spine. But what followed from this entirely unprovoked assault? Nothing to all intents and purposes.

Continue reading ‘What Sri Lanka Needs is not a ‘Terminator’ or a ‘Protector’- (no Politician can be a Protector) – but the Equal Application of the Law by Those who Implement and Enforce It’ »

Responding to Basil’s Remarks About Gota as a Terminator, Ranil Wickremesinghe Says Country Needs A Democratic Leader and Does not Need a “Terminator” Who Will Destroy the Democratic Gains Made Over the Past Four Years.


Brushing up his credentials as a leader that supports democratic principles, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the country needs a leader who will promote democracy and not a “Terminator” who will destroy the gains made by democratic institutions in the past four years.

Referring to comments made by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa on Thursday, Wickremesinghe noted he has championed democratic rights since 2015 and worked to provide equitable freedoms to all people.

He called on all stakeholders to act sensibly and protect the country’s future from a terminator that will destroy the democratic gains that have been achieved by this Government.

Continue reading ‘Responding to Basil’s Remarks About Gota as a Terminator, Ranil Wickremesinghe Says Country Needs A Democratic Leader and Does not Need a “Terminator” Who Will Destroy the Democratic Gains Made Over the Past Four Years.’ »