“Taraki” Sivaram: From Gun Toting Militant to Pen Wielding Journalist

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The tenth death anniversary of well-known columnist D.P.Sivaram who wrote under the pseudonym of “Taraki” falls this week. Dharmaretnam Puvirajakeerthi Sivaram who wrote in English and Tamil was abducted on April 28th 2005 at Bambalapitiya around 10. 30 pm.His body was found about four hours later by the Police on the banks of Diyawanna Oya near Kimbula-ela junction about 500 metres away from the Parliament Complex. It was concluded at the inquest that he had died of gunshot injuries after midnight between 12.30 to 1 am on April 29th.

Batticaloa scenery – pic: Indi Samarajiva

Batticaloa scenery – pic: Indi Samarajiva

The brazen abduction and brutal assassination of “Taraki”Sivaram caused shock waves. He was formerly a gun toting Tamil militant who had later turned into a pen wielding journalist.As a freelance journalist Sivaram had written his weekly Taraki column at different times for different English newspapers such as “Sunday Island”, ”Daily Mirror” and “Sunday Times”.He also wrote occasionally in Tamil under the byline DP Sivaram for newspapers such as “Virakesari”. (Later he got involved with the “North-Eastern Herald” journal and the “Tamilnet”website) Though controversial at times, his informative and analytical political columns were widely read.The circumstances of his abduction and death therefore evoked strong reactions from many including this writer. In penning this article on the occasion of Taraki’s tenth death anniversary, I am drawing liberally from some of my earlier writings.
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The Untold Story of Basil Rajapaksa’s Arrest, Remand and Transfer to Hospital

By Dharman Wickremaratne

The Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) on March 25 informed the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court that it wanted to record a statement from former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on the Divi Neguma Department’s financial dealings. Accordingly, Kaduwela Additional District Judge Dhammika Hemapala gave permission to obtain a statement from the former minister.

On the same day, when the police went to Basil Rajapaksa’s office at Oruthota, Gampaha, taking the Kaduwela Magistrate Court’s order, a staffer at the office accepted it with the former minister’s knowledge.

By that time Basil Rajapaksa, Gampaha District MP, was away from the country, having left the island on January 11. On January 15 he resigned from the post of SLFP National Organiser having accepted full responsibility for the defeat of the UPFA Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election held on January 8, since it was Basil who spearheaded the Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign.

Following the receipt of the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court order, he informed court through his Snr lawyer Udaya Rohan De Silva that he was away from the country. Attorney De Silva informed court that his client would make a statement to the FCID and assist the investigations soon after returning to the country before April 24 from the USA where he was undergoing medical treatment.

By that time the FCID had recorded statements from (1) former Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke (2), Divi Neguma Department’s former Director-General R.A.A.K. Ranawaka who is the present Additional Secretary of the Housing and Samurdhi Ministry and former Local Government and Provincial Council Ministry Secretary and (3) former Divi Neguma Department Additional Director-General Bandula Tilakasiri, who is the present Assistant General Manager (Legal) of the Sahadhipathya Management Authority under the Housing and Samurdhi Ministry among many other officials.

The charges against former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke and former Divi Neguma Director-General Ranawaka were that they misappropriated State funds.

Continue reading ‘The Untold Story of Basil Rajapaksa’s Arrest, Remand and Transfer to Hospital’ »

How the LTTE Captured Elephant Pass Army Camp 15 Years ago Through an “Encircle and Enfeeble” war Strategy

By D.B.S. JEYARAJ

“And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he,
“But ’twas a famous victory.”

– Robert Southey -“ The Battle of Blenheim”


Fifteen years ago on April 22nd 2000
the strategic Elephant Pass camp was overrun by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in a decisive battle after a protracted military campaign.The military balance in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated Northern Province underwent a drastic transformation after the LTTE seized the vast military complex in the area around Elephant Pass, or Aanai Iravu as it is known in Tamil. The Elephant Pass isthmus was of strategic importance as it linked the northern mainland known as Wanni with the Jaffna Peninsula. Both the Jaffna-Kandy road or A-9 Highway, and the railway line to Jaffna run through Elephant Pass, and the narrow strip of land was in a sense the gateway to Jaffna. The fall of Elephant Pass marked the first time in the history of the lengthy “Tamil Eelam war” that the area had come under the LTTE’s control.

Near Elephant Pass-pic by Indi Samarajiva-pic taken on Jan 14, 2010

Near Elephant Pass-pic by Indi Samarajiva-pic taken on Jan 14, 2010

The Dutch colonialists first built a small fortress in 1776, which was converted in modern times into a resthouse for tourists. After Independence a permanent garrison was set up there to check illicit immigration, smuggling and unlawful transport of timber. As the intensity of the ethnic conflict escalated, the strategic importance of Elephant Pass also increased. The small camp gradually expanded into a sprawling complex. At one time, the Elephant Pass base and the satellite camps covered an area about 23 km long and 8-10 km wide.

To celebrate the capture of Elephant Pass, the LTTE organised a flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 23 2000. According to Tiger media outlets, hundreds of LTTE cadres and a large number of Tamil civilians who serve as members of an auxiliary force known as “Thunaippadai” watched as the crimson-and-gold LTTE flag was hoisted by ‘Colonel’ Bhanu. As Bhanu, 38, stepped back and saluted the flag, LTTE fighters fired ceremonially in the air, and seven artillery field guns fired three shells each. Thereafter, Bhanu addressed the gathering.
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President Maithripala Sirisena Completes First 100 Days in Office: How much of Work Program has been Achieved?

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

January 2015

Saturday January 10

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

Sunday January 11

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

Monday January 12

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

Monday January 19


Parliament will meet Tuesday January 20

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

Wednesday January 21

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

Wednesday January 28

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

Continue reading ‘President Maithripala Sirisena Completes First 100 Days in Office: How much of Work Program has been Achieved?’ »

Eight Former Ministers Among 25 Persons to be Arrested for Bribery and Corruption Within Two weeks

By Indika Sri Aravinda

Eight former Ministers will be arrested over the next two weeks over alleged involvement in bribery and corruption.

Sources said that the former Ministers are among 25 people, including members of parliament, expected to be arrested during this period.

Preliminary investigations into some members of the former government have now been completed and they will be arrested over the next two weeks.

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What Happened in Parliament on the Night Acolyte MP’s of Mahinda Rajapaksa Enjoyed Life with a “Protest” Party.


By

Don Manu

It’s Monday morning, April 20. Parliament is scheduled to take up the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, an amendment long overdue and long awaited. But the SLFP-led UPFA opposition has other things on its mind. The 19th Amendment can wait. So can the people. Far more important is to protest over the summons delivered to the former President to make a statement to the Bribery Commissioner. And to receive an assurance that the Government will immediately halt ‘a political witch-hunt against Opposition politicians including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.’

pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

To win their demands, they announce that they will be launching a hunger strike, a fast that will continue until their demand is met. And so begins their little melodrama staged in the belief that the ‘fast’ is the thing to save the honour of their king.

The Speaker exits the chamber after adjourning Parliament for the day. A hunger strike to win personal demands of immunity is being staged by the MPs and, for the first time in the history of Lanka’s parliament, they are doing it in the Well of the House. The upawasaya has begun proper. Suddenly it’s manic Monday.

With Parliament now not in session and switched off, the chamber starts to resound with the cacophony of varied ringtones as members turn on their cell phones to buzz to the outside world the goings on behind Parliament’s closed doors. As the day wears on and high noon fast approaches, what began grandiosely as a hunger strike until demands are met, a fast to the death turns to a farce as the epithet ‘fast’ mysteriously goes astray and can no longer be found especially since no one is particularly looking for it.

Continue reading ‘What Happened in Parliament on the Night Acolyte MP’s of Mahinda Rajapaksa Enjoyed Life with a “Protest” Party.’ »

President Sirisena a Simple son of the Soil Carries the Hopes of Most of his Country with him.

In the mid ’70s, when J.R. Jayewardene was challenging Sirima Bandaranaike for power, he was ridiculed for the way he said ‘koranawa’. In 1977, Ms. Bandaranaike — who presided over the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Colombo and chaired the movement — lost to JR. During the last presidential election campaign, Maithripala Sirisena was scoffed at for his style of speech, because he said ‘hitan’ very often. He went on to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa — who hosted the Commonwealth summit in Colombo and chaired the 55-nation body — and ousted the Rajapaksa family from power.

pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

President Maithiripala Sirisena

It is ironical that while JR was mocked for being unable to speak Sinhala properly, Sirisena was belittled for doing just the opposite: speaking the language of the typical Sinhala villager. However, it underscores what most people already knew: Sirisena is no JR, either in style or in political outlook. They both wore the white ‘national’ in public but the similarities end there. JR, whose youth overlapped the last days of British rule was a self-confessed anglophile and was famous for his political cunning. Sirisena is a son of the soil reputed for his simplicity.

In defeating the all-powerful Rajapaksa, President Sirisena finds himself sharing power with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, JR’s nephew. For the past twenty years, Wickremesinghe has led the United National Party (UNP), sometimes called the ‘Uncle Nephew Party’, perhaps not inappropriately.

Wickremesinghe is making a habit of being non-executive Prime Minister for short periods of time. In his last stint, he was sacked by then President Chandrika Kumaratunga. He must be hoping that history will not repeat itself but he can rest assured that his President is Sirisena, not Kumaratunga.

Three months ago, suggesting that Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena would be President of the country would have been considered a joke by someone with a poor sense of humour. Today, President Sirisena holds that high office and carries the hopes of most Sri Lankans with him. That alone is a phenomenal achievement. He has done what Wickremesinghe and Sarath Fonseka could not do: defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa at an election. The last time Rajapaksa lost an election was thirty seven years ago, when he lost the Beliatta seat to Dr. Ranjith Atapattu at the 1977 general election.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena a Simple son of the Soil Carries the Hopes of Most of his Country with him.’ »

Line Dividing Civilization from Chaos has been Crossed by the Arrest of Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The arrest of former minister Basil Rajapaksa should be a cause for concern for all Sri Lankans. With that single ill-advised act we have now crossed the thin red line that divides civilization from chaos. No leader in post independence history had ever crossed that line no matter what. Chandrika Kumaratunga came very close to it by trying to arrest Ranil Wickremesinghe in the run up to the parliamentary election of the year 2000, but even she did not take that final step over the line. But last week, the present government crossed that thin red line with the arrest of Basil Rajapaksa and the history of Sri Lankan will never be the same again. As parliamentarian Susil Premajayantha explained, Basil Rajapaksa was remanded not over any specific charges but to ‘continue investigations’. That in itself sets a wrong precedent that can be abused in the future.

Besides, this arrest was not made by a permanent investigative body of the police like the CID but by a special unit manned by handpicked officers newly created after the present government came into power. Furthermore, Basil was arrested soon after he gave a statement to this unit. The attorney general never had the time to study the statement and give his recommendations. None of this is going to augur well for the future of the country. One begins to wonder how such things can happen under the stewardship of an experienced politician like Ranil Wickremesinghe. When he became prime minister in 2001, we never saw anything like this. On the contrary, it was RW who doused the flames that Chandrika Kumaratunga had ignited. This time around it is RW’s government that appears to be igniting the flames.

Of course there are other parties in this government before which even the UNP is helpless (as witnessed by the ongoing 19th Amendment fiasco) and it is not just the UNP that is making these very short-sighted moves. But the special police unit that arrested Basil was set up by the UNP government. (This unit however can be influenced by the president as well through the IGP.) The question is why is the UNP allowing these things to happen? Witch hunts and arrests are the surest way to make a government unpopular. RW watched how CBK shot herself in the foot between 1994 and 2001 and he took care not to repeat those mistakes. In fact CBK herself learnt some lessons and she never repeated those mistakes after she was restored to power between 2004-2005.

Smear campaigns, witch hunts and arrests not only makes a government unpopular among the ordinary people watching such events, it also has the effect of galvanizing opposition to the government. This is the lesson that president Premadasa did not live long enough to learn. President Premadasa was a man who never persecuted the opposition. In fact Anuruddha Ratwatte has described Premadasa as a ‘suhada minisek’ (a friendly person) in his autobiography. How did a man who could be described as a friendly person even by his arch rivals, end up being so unpopular? It was the unnecessary persecution of Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmuadali that made people look upon Premadasa as an unbalanced and vindictive ogre. Yet even Premadasa never went so far as to have Gamini or Lalith arrested and remanded.

Continue reading ‘Line Dividing Civilization from Chaos has been Crossed by the Arrest of Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa.’ »

The 100 Day Question is will President Sirisena call Rajapaksa Bluff by Dissolving Parliament?

by Rajan Philips

If there is ever a time for political leadership to act in disregard of consensus, it is now. There was a time in Sri Lankan politics when that master rhetorician Colvin R. de Silva presaged the governing style of the SLFP-LSSP-CP United Front as one that would be “characterized not by consensus but by leadership.” Dr. Colvin’s foretelling was in anticipation of the massive United Front election victory in 1970. It turned out to be ill-advised at that time. But it is thoroughly appropriate at the present time. In politics, consensus is the preferred means to a desired end, but it is not an end itself.

President Sirisena has the power to act and dissolve parliament and let the people elect a new parliament to end the current political uncertainty in parliament and in the country. Will he do it?

That is the 100-Day question. And there will not be much else to talk about the 100 Days if parliament does not pass the 19th Amendment on Tuesday, the day after tomorrow.

Continue reading ‘The 100 Day Question is will President Sirisena call Rajapaksa Bluff by Dissolving Parliament?’ »

Instead of Trying to pass Truncated 19th Amendment the UNP Should go for Parliamentary Elections


By
C.A.Chandraprema

President Maithripala Sirisena addressed the nation at 9.00 pm last Thursday to mark the conclusion of the new government’s 100 day programme. At the end of it, many people were left wondering why he addressed the nation all. In contrast to Sirisena’s confused meanderings, the interview that prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had on ITN with Upul Shantha Sannasgala on the same day certainly sounded more like an address to the nation than Sirisena’s speech even though Sannasgala’s full tosses to RW were almost embarrassing at times. But then again, given the fact that this interview was obviously in lieu of an address to the nation, perhaps the questions had to be full tosses.

Coming back to president Sirisena’s speech, nothing substantial was said. Some of the things he said are debatable. He praised himself for wanting to give up the power he had. If that was true, we would by now have reverted to a prime ministerial form of government instead of being saddled with a watered down 19th Amendment which leaves the executive presidency virtually untouched. If what Sirisena said was correct, Dr Jayampathy Wickremeratne, the very person who drafted the 19th Amendment, wouldn’t be out there complaining that the abolition of the executive presidency has been torpedoed. The 19th Amendment that will be debated in parliament tomorrow is a watered down version of the Bill that had already been watered down by Sirisena’s proxies – so much so that the question arises whether there is any point in getting it passed because the passage of a such a Bill gives them the ability to go before the public and claim that election promises had been fulfilled in a situation where nothing of the sort has actually happened.

Continue reading ‘Instead of Trying to pass Truncated 19th Amendment the UNP Should go for Parliamentary Elections’ »

President Sirisena has all the Options and can Trump both the UNP and/or Mahinda Fan Club by a few deft moves.

By

Malinda Seneviratne

The ‘100 days’ are done. Much of the key elements of the ‘program’ part of it remain undone. This should not worry President Maithripala Sirisena. An electorate that has been burdened by a draconian constitution for more than 36 years can wait a few months more. Indeed they have no option but to wait, at least until the next General Election. At most they have to wait for just one more year.

The question now is whether or not the promised reform will see the light of day. If the delay is only related to logistical issues then there’s little need to worry. The problem is that the entire process has been marked by political brinkmanship with both major parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) showing less concern in democratization than in what the party could gain (or lose) in the process.

All this is understandable. Although there are UNPers and SLFPers in the cabinet, the decision-making power rests with the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the UNP. Although it is officially and in appearance a ‘national’ government, there are SLFPers in both what is called ‘government’ and what is called ‘opposition’, even though the man who wields almost dictatorial powers courtesy constitutional provision is also the leader of that party. In short it is a confused state of affairs, the confusion directly deriving from the fact that the chief executive has chosen to remain aloof in the day-to-day running of the country.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena has all the Options and can Trump both the UNP and/or Mahinda Fan Club by a few deft moves.’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake wants “Helping Hambantota”Case Re-opened to Probe Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Alleged Abuse of 2004 Tsunami Funds

by Sandasen Marasinghe

A complaint was made before the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption yesterday requesting to reopen an investigation against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on alleged misuse of tsunami funds in 2004, while he was the Prime Minister.

Social Services, Welfare and Livestock Development Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake lodged the complaint before the Bribery Commission yesterday requesting for the recommencement of the investigation against Rajapaksa, for alleged corruption committed by depositing Rs. 82 million of the Tsunami Relief Fund in 2004.

Deputy Minister Ramanayake said that the money was deposited in the account of the Rajapaksa Memorial Educational Cultural and Social Services Foundation.

He also said that this money was sent by those people living overseas who were moved by the devastation caused to Sri Lanka by the tsunami on December 26, 2004.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake wants “Helping Hambantota”Case Re-opened to Probe Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Alleged Abuse of 2004 Tsunami Funds’ »

If Govt wants 2/3 Support for 19th Amendment , it Cannot Investigate Activities of Corrupt MP’s.

By

Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

The then opposition was campaigning to abolish the Executive Presidency, as most of the Govigama Buddhist majority and even the Christian minority could not accept the reality that Premadasa had been elected as the Executive President of Sri Lanka. Virtually, all powers of the Executive Presidency had been conferred upon Ranasingha Premadasa, the first Non-Govigama Head of State. The opposition could not stomach such an insult. In answer to the campaign carried out in an utmost vicious manner, Premadasa responded by telling one of his admirers, the novelist and play-writer Simon Nawagaththegama, that “those very people, if they come to power and sit on the throne created by J. R. Jayewardene; they would far from abolishing it, strengthen it and usurp more power to themselves.” Today, in hindsight, one could observe how wise Premadasa was.

After Chandrika Bandaranaike-Kumaratunga’s assumption to the throne, her main propagandist tool, to abolish the Executive Presidency together with “Dooshanaya” and “Beeshanaya”, was relegated to oblivion and the government was then considered the most corrupt in history. Chandrika was accused of having cronies like Ronnie Peiris who was amassing wealth through various corrupt deals. Even Lakshman Kadiragamar was not spared of accusations relating to the infamous ‘Thawakkal’ deal.For politicians corruption was a way of life. Most of them came from poor backgrounds and money was their God.

Mahinda Rajapaksa‘s solemn pledge at the elections to the nation was to abolish the Executive Presidency. Ultimately after winning the war he became a virtual monarch and as the Presidents in this country enjoyed immense power of the Executive Presidency. The 17th Amendment was hastily brought in, during the time of the Chandrika Bandaranaike government by Ranil Wickremasinghe, to clip the wings of the President in making appointments to the important commissions like the Elections Commission. But, the very first appointment made by the Constitutional Council, in nominating former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Deerarathna, was aborted by Chandrika Bandaranaike.

To avoid this crisis, an application was made to the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva held with Executive President as then it was obvious Sarath Silva was acting as the nominee of the Government and he gave a judgment in order to permit Chandrika to make 17 Amendment a farce. Thus the matter remained unresolved. Mahinda Rajapaksa, thereafter, to avoid this anomaly presented the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, ostensibly to repair the constitutional crisis created by the 17th Amendment. But, in actual fact, he reserved so much power that he virtually became a monarch.

Continue reading ‘If Govt wants 2/3 Support for 19th Amendment , it Cannot Investigate Activities of Corrupt MP’s.’ »

CV Wigneswaran Strongly Defends his Action Saying There was no Impropriety in his Writing to Narendra Modi

By T. Ramakrishnan

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on Friday strongly defended his action of forwarding to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a representation, seeking the release of four convicts of a case of rape and murder, popularly called the Premananda case.

Addressed to Mr. Modi, the petition was signed by five persons, including K. Sivathy and Chandradevi, daughter and wife of Premananda’s secretary Kamalananda, who was given double life term that had to run consecutively. The signatories contended that their relatives had been in prison in Tamil Nadu for over 20 years.

In an interview with The Hindu over phone from Jaffna, Mr. Wigneswaran, who passed on the representation to Mr. Modi during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka in mid-March, said one of the signatories to the representation [Ms Sivathy] was from his State and since it was well known that he [Mr. Wigneswaran] would be meeting Mr. Modi, the request had come to him for presenting the communication.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Strongly Defends his Action Saying There was no Impropriety in his Writing to Narendra Modi’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran may have Broken Protocol by Writing Directly to Indian Prime Minister Modi

By P K Balachandran

COLOMBO: Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran may have broken protocol when he officially wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to consider releasing four Sri Lankan Tamils sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1994 Premananda rape and murder case, Lankan officials told Express.

A Foreign Ministry official said that as per protocol, the Chief Minister should send his letter to the Foreign Ministry first. The Foreign Ministry will, in turn, send it to the destination through the Foreign Ministry of the country concerned.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran may have Broken Protocol by Writing Directly to Indian Prime Minister Modi’ »

Protest by Pro -Mahinda Ring of MP’s in Parliament Raises Doubts Whether 19th Amendment will be Passed

By

Disna Mudalige

A set of con artistes staged an all-night show at the House by the Diyawanna Oya providing entertainment and amusement to the spectators for a long time to remember. More than anything, they were keen on capturing photos and videos of their own drama with their high tech iPhones, iPads and mobile phones and instantly upload them on their fan pages and profiles in the Face Book and other social media. That was how the ‘selfies’, ‘wefies’ and other photos of double faced MPs sat on floor of the chamber engulfed the social media early this week.

A group of UPFA MPs, particularly the pro-Mahinda ring, started a protest on Monday morning at the Parliament chamber demanding not to summon former President Mahinda Rajapaksa before the Commission to Investigate Allegations on Bribery or Corruption. The former President was asked to appear before the Commission on Friday to record a statement with regard to a complaint on appointing MP Tissa Attanayake as a Minister after the Presidential Election was called.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe categorically stated it was not a complaint against former President Rajapaksa, adding that the Commission has only wanted to record his statement. However, the MPs who were not satisfied with this reply flocked near the Speaker’s chair demanding his intervention to settle the matter. The Speaker said he would inform the House his decision the next day on the privilege matter raised by UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena which caused a heated debate. Thereafter he adjourned the House till the next day, but a faction of MPs continued the sit down protest creating ugly scenes in the well of the House. An all-time first of its kind in Sri Lanka.

They were totally ignorant of the provisions of the Presidential Election Act or deliberately disregarded it for their own political advantage to score brownie points from the audiences throughout the country.

Continue reading ‘Protest by Pro -Mahinda Ring of MP’s in Parliament Raises Doubts Whether 19th Amendment will be Passed’ »

Officials Will not Record Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement at his Residence as Ex-President is “not in a Position to do so”

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had sent a letter to the Chairman of the Bribery Commission stating he was not in a position to give a statement to the Commission as the commission had not informed him of the charges related to the inquiry.

The Bribery Commission previously said it would visit the former President’s residence and record a statement on April 24.

Continue reading ‘Officials Will not Record Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement at his Residence as Ex-President is “not in a Position to do so”’ »

Despite 116 Pro-Mahinda MP’s from UPFA Demanding Removal of Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, the CIABOC Director-General Wont be Removed from Post

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, yesterday said that Mrs Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) wouldn’t be removed.

The Justice Minister was responding to a group of 116 Opposition members recently seeking Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s intervention to get rid of the top official.

Responding to a query, MP Rajapakshe emphasized that the Speaker couldn’t interfere with the DG or any other official of the CIABOC. The minister alleged that seeking Speaker’s intervention was nothing but a propaganda gimmick meant to deceive the public.

The Minister said that the Opposition couldn’t derail ongoing investigations, including the sensational accusation that the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa bribed the then UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake with the health portfolio in the run-up to the Jan.8 presidential poll.

Continue reading ‘Despite 116 Pro-Mahinda MP’s from UPFA Demanding Removal of Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, the CIABOC Director-General Wont be Removed from Post’ »

The Three Brothers of Corruption Being Questioned at Three Places:Elder bro at Home, Younger bro by Police, Other Bro by Bribery Commission

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The end of a hundred days of *Yaha Palanaya *or Good Governance has produced some interesting developments in the whirligig of Sri Lankan politics. What strikes one most is the acceleration of the battle against corruption – with a sharper focus on those once considered untouchable by the forces of law and order.

The eve of the 100-day climax became a celebratory event for some, with a new ritual of protest in parliament against the summoning of a mere citizen to the Bribery Commission. With the few weeks or months before the dissolution of this parliament, one wonders whether there will be any more such rituals performed to please the Rajapaksa Deities of Corruption.

It was more funny than strange to see elected (and appointed) representatives of the people, becoming players in what can be seen as a fast growing circus of corruption, abandoning the tightrope walk of politics to make a leap into an ugly heap of corruption.

The parliamentary circus players may pretend they have won a battle, with the Bribery Commission agreeing to visit the home of today’s plain citizen and former all powerful president, to record his statement on an allegation of bribery and corruption. They may have won an imaginary battle, but the war against corruption certainly goes on.

Continue reading ‘The Three Brothers of Corruption Being Questioned at Three Places:Elder bro at Home, Younger bro by Police, Other Bro by Bribery Commission’ »

27 Protesters Including 9 Buddhist Monks and 8 MP’s to be Produced in Courts for Violating Court Ruling Forbidding Such Demonstrations.


By Madura Ranwala

Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya has directed the police to produce in court 27 persons, including nine Buddhist monks and eight MP’s involved on in Thursday’s protest opposite the Commisision to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).

Continue reading ‘27 Protesters Including 9 Buddhist Monks and 8 MP’s to be Produced in Courts for Violating Court Ruling Forbidding Such Demonstrations.’ »

Mahinda Backs out of One on One Meeting with President Sirisena to Protest Harassment of “Rajapaksas” by Govt.

By Dasun Edirisinghe

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided against having one-on-one with President Maithripala Sirisena to protest against what he called continuing harassment of the Rajapaksas as well as senior officials of the previous administation.

Dissident SLFPers yesterday said that former President Rajapaksa felt that there was no purpose in meeting the incumbent president.

The former President’s position was revealed by former Minister and Kalutara District MP Kumara Welgama at a special press conference held at the parliamentary complex on Friday. Although SLFP General Secretary and MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa facilitated the proposed one-on-one between the two leaders, the meeting wouldn’t take place on Saturday (April 25) as scheduled, MP Welgama said.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Backs out of One on One Meeting with President Sirisena to Protest Harassment of “Rajapaksas” by Govt.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Says Parliament will be Dissolved if it Continues to Protect the Corrupt and Scuttle Constitutional Reform.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hit out against factions in Parliament that were trying to scuttle the 19th Amendment its key constitutional reforms, saying it was the same group that was also trying to prevent action being taken against corrupt officials.

Addressing a meeting of UNP members at his offices in Temple Trees yesterday, the Prime Minister said moves were afoot to scuttle the Government’s 100-day program, to ensure the people’s aspirations were not met.

“If a Parliament that wants to protect the corrupt won’t allow us to complete our 100 day program of work, we will go back to the people and ask them to elect a Parliament that will,” the Premier charged during the meeting.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Says Parliament will be Dissolved if it Continues to Protect the Corrupt and Scuttle Constitutional Reform.’ »

Basil Rajapaksa Shifts Blame for Corruption to Officials While Claiming Parliamentary Immunity for Himself” – Rajitha Senaratne

by Zacki Jabbar

Former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa had claimed parliamentary immunity while shifting the blame on officials when he was questioned by police on Wednesday night over allegedly siphoning off Divineguma funds running into billions of rupees.

Government Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne speaking to a group of journalists after the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo on Thursday said ” When Basil was questioned by the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit (FCIU) of the Police for allegedly using billions of rupees in Divineguma funds to finance former President Rajapaksa’s politicial activities,he had boldly replied that he was answerable to the legislature and the officials involved should be asked to explain their actions.”

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Shifts Blame for Corruption to Officials While Claiming Parliamentary Immunity for Himself” – Rajitha Senaratne’ »

“Those Waving Flags without Orange and Green Stripes were Racist Thieves Supporting Other Thieves”-Ajith P.Perera

By Dharisha Bastians

High officials in the Government yesterday expressed shock at the distortion of the National Flag by pro-Rajapaksa protestors demonstrating in front of the Bribery Commission on Thursday.

Crowds of protestors opposing a Bribery Commission investigation against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday, carried lion flags that were conspicuous by the absence of the orange and green stripes used to represent minority communities in the National Flag.

“It’s bad enough that these were thieves supporting other thieves. They are also racist thieves,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera told journalists at a news conference yesterday.

Deputy Minister Perera said Thursday was not the first time pro-Rajapaksa supporters had waved this particular brand of the lion flag.

“We saw this a month or so ago in Kandy as well. We call upon the Police and the Attorney General to exercise the law against those who distort the country’s National Flag, and incite racial tensions in the country,” Perera charged.

Continue reading ‘“Those Waving Flags without Orange and Green Stripes were Racist Thieves Supporting Other Thieves”-Ajith P.Perera’ »

Sirima Bandaranaike: “Weeping Widow” who Became World’s First Woman Prime Minister

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Friday April 17th was the 99th Birth Anniversary of Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike who created history as the world’s first woman Prime minister. The 55th anniversary of her being appointed as the then Ceylon’s premier falls on July 21st this year.The Island’s elder stateswoman was in active politics for almost forty years .She was Prime Minister during 1960-65, 1970-77 and 1994-2000 and Leader of the Opposition during 1965-70 and 1989-1994. Sirima was the world’s oldest serving Premier when she stepped down at the age of 84 in 2000.She passed away peacefully on October 10th 2000.

SBC

SBF

Sirima Bandaranaike was the matriarch of the Bandaranaike family. The Bandaranaikes were the acknowledged first family in Sri Lankan politics for many decades. Since the country achieved Independence in 1948, members of the family have been heads of state for 22 years and Leaders of Opposition for 20 years. A unique and perhaps unsurpassable record was established when the Bandaranaikes’ daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga, like her parents, became Prime Minister in 1994. She then went on to become the first woman executive President, while her mother Sirima was appointed Premier. The mother-Prime Minister and daughter-President combination was yet another “first”feat by the family. Chandrika’s younger brother Anura dubbed as the “crown prince” too was in politics, as an Opposition member of Parliament ,Cabinet Minister ,Leader of the Opposition and Speaker.He passed away on March 16th 2008.
Continue reading ‘Sirima Bandaranaike: “Weeping Widow” who Became World’s First Woman Prime Minister’ »

Remanded Basil Rajapaksa Transferred to Merchants Ward at Colombo National Hospital Due to “Heart Condition”

By

Dharisha Bastians

Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa who was remanded by the Kaduwela Magistrate on Wednesday (22), was transferred to the Colombo National Hospital yesterday.

Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala, who refused bail to the former Minister of Economic Development late Wednesday, issued instructions that he was to be treated at the Prison Hospital.

However, the ex-Minister was transferred to the Merchant Ward of the National Hospital in Colombo, a famous pit-stop for most Sri Lankan politicians in police custody or serving prison terms.

Hand-cuffed and escorted by prison guards, Basil Rajapaksa arrived at National Hospital Colombo last afternoon, and was wheeled into the Merchant Ward.

Continue reading ‘Remanded Basil Rajapaksa Transferred to Merchants Ward at Colombo National Hospital Due to “Heart Condition”’ »

Northern C.M. Wigneswaran Requests Indian P.M.. Modi to Release Three Life Sentence Convicts In India Jailed for Raping 13 Women

By

By S. Karthick

CHENNAI: Chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province C V Wigneswaran has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release three life convicts in the sensational Swamy Premananda case.

The three -Kamalananda, Balan alias Balendiran and Sathis alias Sathishkumar – were convicted and sentenced along with Premananda for raping 13 girls, including minors, and conspiring to murder an inmate in the godman’s ashram near Trichy.

They were sentenced to double life imprisonment, and the punishment was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005. While Premananda died in Cuddalore prison in 2011, the other three are currently lodged in Puzhal jail in Chennai. All the four were Sri Lankan Tamils.

Continue reading ‘Northern C.M. Wigneswaran Requests Indian P.M.. Modi to Release Three Life Sentence Convicts In India Jailed for Raping 13 Women’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Cheered by Demonstrators defying Magistrate Order Forbidding Protests Outside CIABOC Premises

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Opposition activists led by Buddhist monks yesterday protested outside the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) demanding an immediate end to the persecution of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as well as other key members of the previous administration.

The protest was launched against the CIABOC questioning Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as regards some allegations made against him. The former Defence Secretary is under investigation over corruption at Mihin Lanka and Avant Garde Maritime Services.

The Opposition went ahead with the demonstration in spite of the Colombo Chief Magistrate banning the protest following police intervention.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Cheered by Demonstrators defying Magistrate Order Forbidding Protests Outside CIABOC Premises’ »

“I came to Remove the Unlimited Powers of the Executive President”- Address to Nation by President Maithripala Sirisena.

(Full Text of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Address to the Nation to Mark 100 Days in Office)

On this occasion that marks 100 days since my election as President, I think it is proper that I address you as your first servant, appointed by you. Following the results of the Presidential Election on January 8 this year, you gave me the opportunity of being sworn in as the Head of State or President of this country.

pic: facebook.com/PresidentGovLK

pic: facebook.com/PresidentGovLK

In the 100 days since then, we have as a new government, taken many important steps with regard to the country’s economy, politics, development and international relations.

I think that when the people of this country voted on January 8 they clearly carried out both a transformation, and revolution with their democratic right. The manner in which the freedom and democracy obtained by this transformation and revolution has been used by certain elements in the past three months, their political decisions and activities, brings to my mind the occasions in world history when in countries that carried out revolutions were later faced with counter-revolutions.

We are aware that very often it is a common occurrence in countries for counter-revolution to follow a revolution. One could see a similar scenario following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990-91.

Similarly, following the fall of Communist states in Eastern Europe, when a political transformation took place in those societies that had moved towards political extremism, there was a period of political turmoil and uncertainty until the people of these countries could enjoy their entitlement to freedom and democracy.

When the great humanitarian leader Abraham Lincoln of the United States took action to abolish slavery and introduced legislations for this purpose, for some time after this some of the people in slavery stated that they preferred the condition of slavery. This is because they thought that going forward in life in slavery was better than enjoying the freedom given and building themselves on their own strength, as they were used to living under conditions of slavery. This is the reality of human society. It is therefore essential that we understand this.


Today some asked what has been done in these 100 days. I say, there was much done in these 100 days. Some of these valuable actions are neither physical in nature nor visible to the eye.

Continue reading ‘“I came to Remove the Unlimited Powers of the Executive President”- Address to Nation by President Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

Pro – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Elements Defy Courts Ban and Demonstrate Waving National Flags Without Orange and Green Strips Denoting Minorities.

By Dharisha Bastians

SL FL GR

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption became the site of dramatic scenes again, when the former Defence Secretary and ex-Presidential sibling Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived at its offices on Bauddhaloka Mawatha last morning.

Waving distorted versions of the National Flag and defying a Court order by the Colombo Chief Magistrate banning demonstrations in front of the Commission, crowds of protesters mobbed the ex-official’s vehicle when it arrived at the heavily-barricaded premises.

The Commission offices were provided tight security, with fully geared Riot Police and Police barricades in place to prevent unruly scenes.

SLFP MP and former Minister Bandula Gunewardane accompanied the former Defence Secretary to the Commission session.

Continue reading ‘Pro – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Elements Defy Courts Ban and Demonstrate Waving National Flags Without Orange and Green Strips Denoting Minorities.’ »

Can Any large-scale Corruption Occur Without The Complicity of Professionals?

By Amrit Muttukumaru

Large-Scale corruption will continue to thrive so long as professionals – particularly auditors and lawyers –
(i) are not held accountable

(ii) ‘named and shamed’

(iii) punished – for dereliction of duty and wrongdoing.

Can any large-scale corruption occur without the complicity of professionals? Are not accountants and auditors the first line of defense against corruption in all entities dealing with financial resources?

This is precisely what is avoided even by purported good governance activists and the media in Sri Lanka. Although they talk the hind legs off a donkey on the evils of corruption, they fail to bite the bullet in regard to ‘naming and shaming’ professionals and bigwigs in the corporate sector.

Based on the Prime Minister’s statement, the J.C. Weliamuna Report into alleged corruption and abuse of power in SriLankan Airlines confirms this malady. Mr. Weliamuna is urged to clarify since the full report is not in the public domain.

Continue reading ‘Can Any large-scale Corruption Occur Without The Complicity of Professionals?’ »

Re -visiting the Central Bank Treasury Bond Issue Controversy

By Sam Samarasinghe and Dushyantha Mendis

The Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs has on April 19 issued a press release announcing some findings of the three-member committee that Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed”to look into matters related to the 30-year bond issued on February 27″ (PM’s special statement to Parliament, 17th March). The “findings,” however, instead of resolving the issues, appear to have raised yet more issues.

The present authors published a review (in English in the ‘Daily Financial Times’ of March 25 & ‘Groundviews’ of March 26, and in Sinhala in the ‘Ravaya’ of April 5 & 12) of the Rs 10.0 billion bond issue based on documents that were available from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and other sources. We were happy to see the Prime Minister’s action of accountability to the public in appointing a committee. However, we noted that the three members appointed, who have legal backgrounds, did not have any known formal technical qualifications, professional experience or competencies in economics, banking, finance or central banking to make the inquiry that was needed. Moreover, we, as well as others, questioned the credibility of a committee that consisted of individuals who at one time or another were closely associated with the ruling United National Party.

Neither in the Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament announcing the appointment of the committee, nor anywhere else as far as we know, have there been clear terms of reference that were publicly announced to guide the work of the committee. That in itself is a deficiency and hints at a lack of seriousness.

Based solely on the Ministry statement, the major finding of the committee is that “Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no direct role in deciding to accept bids over and above the one billion rupees stipulated in the 30-year bond tender and accept up to 10 billion rupees.”

Continue reading ‘Re -visiting the Central Bank Treasury Bond Issue Controversy’ »

M.A. Sumanthiran M.P. Files Bill in Parliament Seeking Ban on Mechanized Bottom Trawling in Sri Lankan Waters

A Bill prohibiting mechanized bottom trawling was filed in parliament on the 21st of April 2015 by M. A Sumanthiran, Member of Parliament. The Bill calls for the amendment of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, No 2 of 1996.

The Bill in essence proposes to prohibit trawling operations in Sri Lankan waters. The Bill seeks to:

Continue reading ‘M.A. Sumanthiran M.P. Files Bill in Parliament Seeking Ban on Mechanized Bottom Trawling in Sri Lankan Waters’ »

Govt Planning to Revive Paranthan Chemicals Factory in North at Cost Estimated Between US$ 300 to 400 Million Dollars

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on Wednesday invited the local and the global private sector to invest between US$ 300- 400 Million to revive the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals Company, successors to the Paranthan Chemicals Corporation

He also told officials that the government was looking to restore the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals soon and that they could commence operations promptly when the Elephant Pass Saltern was recommenced

Continue reading ‘Govt Planning to Revive Paranthan Chemicals Factory in North at Cost Estimated Between US$ 300 to 400 Million Dollars’ »

MP’s “Protesting” in Parliament had Fried rice with Chicken/Fish Dinner, sang Songs, Danced, Played Cards, Watched TV and engaged in Mimicry


By W. K. Prasad Manju

It was a special opportunity, a chance to visit a place where one had to dress in a particular manner and with no freedom to spend the night as one wished; certainly it would arouse the curiosity of all.

For the first time in the history of Parliament, a protest by a group of parliamentarians lasted for 23 hours and ended on Tuesday (21) at 9.30 a.m. when Parliament re-commenced its sessions and Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa guaranteed their request.

They go home and bring clothing and return

The protest commenced at about 10.30 a.m. on the Monday (20) within the Parliament Chamber. The dissent was a protest against the Director General of the Bribery Commission, for summoning the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Commission to question him, and to prevent the DG from acting in a manner that would harm the honour of the members of the legislature.

Although Parliament was adjourned at 10.30 a.m., the Members of Parliament did not allow that to hinder their protest. They got down bottles of water into the Chamber, and left for lunch on a shift basis, in ones and twos to the Parliamentarians Restaurant, making themselves comfortable.

Gradually night fell, and it was also raining heavily on Monday (20) night, notwithstanding, as around 80 MP’s of the opposition had decided to spend the night in Parliament, the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa instructed the Sergeant- at -Arms Anil Samarasekera and his officials to spend the night on Parliament premises.

Designated employees from all sections of Parliament had to remain on the premises. The Parliament Police was also informed to implement a special security procedure.

Continue reading ‘MP’s “Protesting” in Parliament had Fried rice with Chicken/Fish Dinner, sang Songs, Danced, Played Cards, Watched TV and engaged in Mimicry’ »

Tobacco Giant Philip Morris in Global Campaign Through Legal Action to Intimidate Countries and Prevent Anti-Smoking Measures.

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Philip Morris is an American company gone global that produces cigarettes and tobacco products. It offers seven of the largest selling brands of cigarettes in the world including its most recognized and top seller, the Marlboro brand of cigarettes. The company has enjoyed unprecedented growth and success for many decades as smoking was promoted first by doctors, then movie stars, and then simply became a necessary part of life to many.

However, in the face of rising evidence that the product was harmful and was the leading cause of various diseases and deaths, many countries in the world began waking up and taking notice. They started imposing a series of binding restrictions on tobacco companies including the ban on advertising their products publicly and demanding that all smoking products carry a health warning notification visible for all to see.

Some countries, alarmed at the rise of smokers in their population, passed restrictive legislation on the promotion and sale of tobacco products so much so that in one country, a showdown is in progress between a tobacco giant and the country’s lawmakers.

Continue reading ‘Tobacco Giant Philip Morris in Global Campaign Through Legal Action to Intimidate Countries and Prevent Anti-Smoking Measures.’ »

Protest in Parliament is Rearguard Action to Obstruct Probe into Bribery, Nepotism and Corruption of Rajapaksa Regime.

By Harim Peiris

The defeated Rajapaksa regime has a few die hard-cheer leaders, about thirty SLFP Members of Parliament at the last count and leading them are a slightly lesser number of MP’s from the smaller constituent parties of the UPFA, such as the MEP, the NFF and the EPDP.

pic via: twitter.com/AzzamAmeen

pic via: twitter.com/AzzamAmeen

Unable to accept the reality that their political hero, lost the presidential election, in fact with a much bigger margin of defeat than his razor thin first victory in 2005, these relics of the ancient regime are obstructing the new Sirisena Administration from fulfilling its promised and popularly mandated reform program.

Continue reading ‘Protest in Parliament is Rearguard Action to Obstruct Probe into Bribery, Nepotism and Corruption of Rajapaksa Regime.’ »

Prof. GL Peiris Accuses CIABOC of Trying to Tarnish Image of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Behest of UNP led Govt.


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Prof. G.L. Peiris

Prof. G.L. Peiris

Alleging that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had been unfairly harassed by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris challenged the CIABOC to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the Central Bank bond scam.

In a brief interview with The Island, Prof. Peiris accused the CIABOC of carrying out a special project at the behest of UNP-led yahapalanaya government. “Tarnishing the image of war veteran Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is obviously high on their agenda,” Prof. Peiris said. MP Peiris said that CIABOC was going after the Rajapaksas with a vengeance.

The CIABOC will record former Defence Secretary’s statement today (April 23) regarding on-going investigations into Avant Garde maritime services private limited as well as Mihin Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Prof. GL Peiris Accuses CIABOC of Trying to Tarnish Image of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Behest of UNP led Govt.’ »

Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva Demands Removal of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran from Post


by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary Susil Premajayantha and MP John Seneviratne. pic by Jude Denzil Pathiraja

The Opposition would request the government to remove the Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran over the scandal ridden 30-year Treasury bond issue, Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva Demands Removal of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran from Post’ »

Basil Rajapaksa, Dr.Nihal Jayatilleka and RRK Ranawaka Arrested and Remanded over Alleged Misappropriation of Divineguma Funds

By Madura Ranwala

The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) yesterday evening arrested former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa over alleged misappropriation of Divineguma funds.

BR DG 042215

The police took him into custody after having recorded his statement at FCID, Kollupitiya. The former minister returned to the country on Tuesday afternoon from the US after FCID sought a statement from him. Rajapaksa reported to FCID yesterday morning.

The police also arrested former Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka and former Director General of the Divineguma Department, R.R.K. Ranawaka.

After having recorded statements from suspects, the police produced them before Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala last night. The Magistrate ordered them remanded till April . Earlier the Kaduwela Magistrate ordered the former Minister arrested immediately after his return from the US.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa, Dr.Nihal Jayatilleka and RRK Ranawaka Arrested and Remanded over Alleged Misappropriation of Divineguma Funds’ »

“Boralugoda Sinhaya”Philip Gunawardena Tried to Blend Nationalism and Marxism Into “Jathika Samajavadaya”


By

Uditha Devapriya

It went on for more than one hour. It needn’t have but then again it didn’t lag. Time didn’t matter anyway. Everyone seemed to have come with a purpose. They had come to honour an icon. To remind themselves that his legacy continues. After all these years. The 43rd Commemoration of Philip Gunawardena was held at the Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Mandiraya (in Thunmulla) on March 28. It opened up to a crowd that waited, patiently, until everything was over. The weather wasn’t amenable and the heat outside was unbearable. But we couldn’t have cared less. And we didn’t.

At the time of Philip Gunawardena’s death, Ceylon was just a few months shy of “becoming” Sri Lanka. All those decades spent in agitating for complete independence were soon to culminate. The worst uprising in our country’s post-independence history until then had come and gone. One can only guess what Philip (who was 72 when he passed away) would have said (or written) had he lived. Those who came to honour him weren’t interested in that, however. They were interested in the man and his life. As they should be.

There were guests who came and spoke. Two guests. Professor A. V. D. S. Indraratne, the prominent economist, was first in line. He raised some important points in his speech. He noted, correctly I believe, that by the time Philip Gunawardena returned to Ceylon in 1932, Marxism here was more or less limited to the urban worker. It was Philip, he highlighted, who brought Marxism to the rural peasant. Professor Indraratne coined a term for this: “jathika samajavadaya”. The meaning gets diluted when translated, because “national socialism” would hardly stand up to what the Professor meant for reasons that are all too obvious. Still, his thesis stood ground. Remarkably.

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka delivered the second speech. It was longer. Didn’t matter. Dr Jayatilleka can speak lengthily without losing touch with his audience. That’s what he did here. He began by reading out a pen portrait written by his father Mervyn de Silva. He delivered it in English and then went on to deliver his own speech, free of frill but still long.

Continue reading ‘“Boralugoda Sinhaya”Philip Gunawardena Tried to Blend Nationalism and Marxism Into “Jathika Samajavadaya”’ »

Do Indian Gods Shower Blessings on Leaders From Sri Lanka who Seek Favours by Doing Special Poojas?

by

Upul Joseph Fernando

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who made a sudden visit to Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple in India last week made an offering of 77 kilos of sandalwood.

Mahinda also visited this Temple after his 2005 presidential victory and got onto a weighing machine. That photograph went viral on the electronic media.

Ranil visited the historic Temple at a time the 19th Amendment was to be passed in Parliament. It was not clear whether he went to make an offering to obtain the blessings of Lord Sri Krishna to get the 19th Amendment passed without problems.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also visited Kovils and Temples in India during the previous regime. He even sought security from the Indian Government to visit Kovils and Temples in Tamil Nadu amidst stiff opposition to him in that State. Having submitted nominations for the January presidential election, Mahinda visited temples there to seek the blessings to win the election. But he lost.

Continue reading ‘Do Indian Gods Shower Blessings on Leaders From Sri Lanka who Seek Favours by Doing Special Poojas?’ »

Gotabhaya wants Maithripala to hold Elections and Appoint Mahinda as Prime Minister to have a “Functioning Govt”.

By

P.K.Balachandran

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s once powerful Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, wants President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to join hands to give the island nation a “functioning government” and lift it from the abyss of political confusion and economic stagnation.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

“Maithripala Sirisena has been elected President for six years. Therefore, he will have to continue. But he can quickly call for parliamentary elections and appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister.

Together, they should put the country back on its feet by providing a functioning government with people committed to achieving goals,” Gotabaya told Express in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

A sibling of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya claimed that Sri Lankans want Rajapaksa back. “Support for him has grown beyond the 5.8 million votes he got in the January Presidential election,” he said.
Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya wants Maithripala to hold Elections and Appoint Mahinda as Prime Minister to have a “Functioning Govt”.’ »

Pro-Maithri Group and Pro-Mahinda Group in SLFP Trying to set up Meeting Between Both while Excluding Chandrika.

By

Gagani Weerakoon

In a bid to assuage the strained relationship between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and incumbent Maithripala Sirisena, two groups of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members are planning a meeting between the duo, a former minister in the Rajapaksa government said.

However, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga will be kept away from the impending meeting.

Accordingly, SLFP members who are alleged to have aligned with Rajapaksa and working towards bringing him back as prime ministerial candidate and the other group who have joined the current government as ministers and deputy ministers were scheduled to meet in Colombo at 7.00 p.m. yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Pro-Maithri Group and Pro-Mahinda Group in SLFP Trying to set up Meeting Between Both while Excluding Chandrika.’ »

“Shame on you.You Must not Use Parliament to Protect Thieves and Those Engaging in Corruption” – Ranil Wickremesinghe

By

Sandasen Marasinghe, Irangika Range and Disna Mudalige

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday requested opposition members not to use Parliamentary privileges to protect thieves and persons engaged in corruption.

He made this observation in Parliament joining a debate following a statement by UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa.

The Prime Minister said the people in the country demand to reveal the names of those engaged in corruption. He said the people wanted to know this since the cost of living in the country has come down after 10 years as corruption has been eliminated under President Maithripala Sirisena’s regime.

The Prime Minister said Bandula Gunawardena and other opposition members were attempting to prevent the investigations against corruption.

Continue reading ‘“Shame on you.You Must not Use Parliament to Protect Thieves and Those Engaging in Corruption” – Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

116 MP’s Demand Removal of CIABOC Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe for Alleged Abuse of Power


By Saman Indrajith

A substantive motion signed by 116 members of the Opposition MPs and handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa in Parliament yesterday demanded the removal of Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe from the post of Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption on charges of abusing the powers of the CIABOC Act, obtaining two salaries from two public sector organisations etc..

UPFA Colombo District MP Bandula Gunawardena after making a speech on the content of the motion walked the isle to the Chair in the Chamber and submitted the document.

Gunawardena’s motion was seconded by UPFA National List parliamentarian Prof G. L. Peiris.

Continue reading ‘116 MP’s Demand Removal of CIABOC Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe for Alleged Abuse of Power’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Some Elements in new Govt are Conspiring to Destroy his Reputation by Summoning him to Bribery Commission.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Monday (20) said some elements within the ranks of the new government were all out to destroy his reputation.

Rajapaksa said a move to summon him and his brother to the Bribery Commission was also a part of the conspiracy.

During an exclusive interview with Ada Derana, Rajapaksa claimed that he had already declared his assets and liabilities. He said that he never had any intention to siphon off even a few rupees as a government employee.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Some Elements in new Govt are Conspiring to Destroy his Reputation by Summoning him to Bribery Commission.’ »

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Announces that CIABOC Officials will Record Mahinda rajapaksa Statement at his Residence Instead of Summon ing him to Commission.

By Saman Indrajith

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that he had been informed by the Minister of Justice that the latter would instruct officials of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to visit former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence instead of summoning him to obtain a statement on appointing former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, MP the Minister of Health prior to the last presidential election.

The speaker said so while making a special announcement in view of a continuing protest by UPFA parliamentarians in the Well of Parliament yesterday demanding that the government immediately put an end to what they called a political witch hunt against Opposition politicians including former President Rajapaksa and ex-defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Announces that CIABOC Officials will Record Mahinda rajapaksa Statement at his Residence Instead of Summon ing him to Commission.’ »

Arrivals Lounge Closed as over 3000 Gather at Airport to Welcome Basil Rajapaksa Returning from the USA

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa, MP, will appear before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) today (April 22).

Immediately after having returned from the US, Gampaha District MP Rajapaksa declared his readiness to face the on-going investigation. The former SLFP National Organiser returned from the US in the wake of FCID seeking to record a statement from him regarding his alleged involvement in misappropriation of Divineguma and Samurdhi funds and the utilisation of public funds for his brother’s presidential election campaign.

Rajapaksa’s successor, Sajith Premadasa, has repeatedly accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sibling of having misappropriated public funds. Minister Premadasa claimed that on his invitation two internationally renowned auditing firms, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers had launched probes into Housing and Samurdhi portfolios previously held by National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa and former SLFP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa, respectively.

MP Rajapaksa arrived from London via Dubai. Rajapaksa and his wife, Pushpa left for the US soon after Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as the President.

Basil Rajapaksa led the last presidential polls campaign in his capacity as the SLFP’s National Organiser.

Continue reading ‘Arrivals Lounge Closed as over 3000 Gather at Airport to Welcome Basil Rajapaksa Returning from the USA’ »

Because some MP’s Protest in Parliament the Speaker has no right to summon Bribery Commission officials says Justice Minister.

By Saman Indrajith

Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe yesterday said that Speaker had no powers to summon the officials of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to Parliament just because MPs staged a protest.

Addressing a press conference at the office of the Leader of the House in the Parliament Complex, the Minister said that summoning CIABOC officials to Parliament amounted to interference in the commission’s duties.

“If a present, position or treatment is given by a presidential candidate during the time of presidential election that could be interpreted as bribe giving. If a person accepts such a gift it too is bribe taking. After submitting nominations on December 08 for the presidential election, the former President appointed MP Tissa Attanayake as the Minister of Health.

Continue reading ‘Because some MP’s Protest in Parliament the Speaker has no right to summon Bribery Commission officials says Justice Minister.’ »

19th Constitutional Amendment Debate and Vote Postponed to April 27th and 28th After Party Leaders Emergency Meeting with President

Putting the crucial 19th Amendment at risk, the Parliament adjourned yesterday without debating it but agreed to take it up on 27 April.

The decision to postpone the debate was reached following an emergency party leaders meeting held with the President.


The 19th Amendment will be taken up for debate on 27 and 28 April and a vote will be taken on 28 April, the Leader of the House announced.

Continue reading ‘19th Constitutional Amendment Debate and Vote Postponed to April 27th and 28th After Party Leaders Emergency Meeting with President’ »

UPFA Group of Pro-Mahinda MP’s Collecting Signatures for Impeachment Motion Against President Sirisena in bid to Block Parliament Dissolution.

The UPFA MPs who started a protest in the Parliament on Monday were collecting signatures for an impeachment motion against President Maithripala Sirisena, highly placed political sources told Asian Mirror.

Once an impeachment motion is accepted by the Speaker, the president will not be able to dissolve the parliament. An MP who was involved in the move told Asian Mirror that the Speaker cannot refrain from accepting the motion once 75 signatures are included in the motion.

The move is aimed at blocking President Maithripala Sirisena from dissolving Parliament.

Continue reading ‘UPFA Group of Pro-Mahinda MP’s Collecting Signatures for Impeachment Motion Against President Sirisena in bid to Block Parliament Dissolution.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Will “Ignore” Summons Issued by Bribery Commission and not Appear Before it.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will not appear before an anti-bribery commission investigating allegations that he may have illegally induced a rival to support his campaign during the recent presidential elections.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a campaign rally for the Jan 8th presidential election

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a campaign rally for the Jan 8th presidential election

Rajapaksa will ignore a summons to appear on 24 April because the exact nature of the complaint and the person making the allegations have not been disclosed, Rohan Weliwita, Rajapaksa’s media adviser, told Reuters.

“He is consulting his legal team on the summons,” Weliwita said.

The allegations are the latest in a series of corruption charges made against Rajapaksa by Sri Lanka’s new Government, which has ordered an investigation into all the financial deals he made during his decade in power.

Rajapaksa is accused by his rivals of unfairly pressuring Opposition Leader Tissa Attanayake to back his campaign. After Attanayake supported Rajapaksa’s presidential bid in December, he was appointed the Health Minister.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Will “Ignore” Summons Issued by Bribery Commission and not Appear Before it.’ »

Only Naive Idiots will Believe Maithripala Sirisena will want Mahinda Rajapaksa as his Prime Minister


By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“…..to hold in a single thought reality and justice” – W.B. Yeats (A Vision)


The Governor of the Central Bank was summoned to the Bribery Commission and grilled for six hours. A three-month travel ban was imposed on him.

That one incident demonstrates how far we have progressed since 8 January.

The journey away from Rajapaksa Rule towards democracy, accountability and the rule of law has been far from perfect; it has been slow and ponderous, with many a stop and digression. But it is happening, as the interrogation of Arjun Mahendran clearly indicates.

There had been many allegations of insider trading against the Central Bank under Rajapaksa rule as well. But no committee was appointed; no investigation happened; no one was questioned, least of all the then Governor.

MS MR 12 17 KS

There is no perfect government, there never was and never will be outside of utopia. There will always be bribery and corruption; politicians and officials are as likely to go astray and do wrong as the rest of the citizenry. What is necessary and possible is to create a mindset which rejects impunity and a system which punishes wrongdoers irrespective of how high they are.

The manner in which the Central Bank Bond case is progressing signifies that we are on the right road towards that future.

Continue reading ‘Only Naive Idiots will Believe Maithripala Sirisena will want Mahinda Rajapaksa as his Prime Minister’ »

Ranil’s Vision of all Political Parties Forming a National Govt Together may Turn out to be a new model of “Elected Authoritarianism”.

By

Prof.Jayadeva Uyangoda

One of the most interesting themes to have emerged in the present political debate in Sri Lanka is the idea of Jaathika Anduwa, or National Government.

The concept of National Government is not a new one. The credit for its retrieval in the current political context of Sri Lanka goes to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

RW MS UNHRC

However, the way the National Government is being conceptualised and explained raises some fundamental questions about its possible political consequences for democratic governance in this country. This article is an invitation to re-think and re-craft the idea, within a clear framework of democratic commitment.
Continue reading ‘Ranil’s Vision of all Political Parties Forming a National Govt Together may Turn out to be a new model of “Elected Authoritarianism”.’ »

Court Verdict Blocks all Avenues of Returning to Position of Power for Mahinda Rajapaksa


By

Don Manu

If it was the closest Ranil Wickremesinghe would get to be President all but in name, it was the nearest Mahinda Rajapaksa could have reached to enjoy executive powers again in a new role as prime minister and act as de facto president. But with the Supreme Court dictated dilution that redefined the 19th Amendment, both men’s hopes to ascend higher ground lie dashed in the dust; and both men’s executive ambitions remain the stuff of vain political pipe dreams.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Sinhala-Tamil New Year celebrations-April 14, 2015

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Sinhala-Tamil New Year celebrations-April 14, 2015

pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

For Ranil Wickremesinghe it may only be a temporary setback for the way still remains open for him to contest the nation’s highest office at a future date. For twice elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, the full import of the Supreme Court bespoke 19th Amendment, if passed by the required two-third’s majority when it is presented in Parliament tomorrow, will be fatal.

For Maithripala Sirisena, his prayer to abolish the executive presidency or at least reduce its powers has gone unanswered. The specific bundle of executive presidential powers he so magnanimously wished away that would have castrated the presidency, now lie dumped on his doorstep studiously unopened, with the terse tag ‘Return to Sender’ firmly affixed.

Not that he planned it that way, of course. No, and God forbid the ungenerous thought. Having made it his battle cry to do away with the executive presidency and to lead the nation back to the parliamentary system of government, Maithripala Sirisena must rank as one of the few men in history to have actually taken meaningful steps to divest himself of power after having power vested in him.

What can he possibly do and who can blame him or take him to task if his efforts are spurned, if his good intentions to keep his promises are scuppered by the Law Lords who held that those powers he is desperate to get rid of and donate to the prime minister must, instead, leech like cling to him until and unless 15 million people personally approve the long drawn removal process?

Continue reading ‘Court Verdict Blocks all Avenues of Returning to Position of Power for Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Summons Bribery Commission D-G Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe to Parliament Over Summoning of Mahinda Issue.

Speaker summons Bribery Commission Chief to Parliament

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday summoned the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe to Parliament.

Rajapaksa has summoned the Director General following protests displayed by about 60 members of the Opposition in Parliament.

The Opposition members have protested over former President Mahinda Rajapaksa being summoned to the Bribery Commission, claiming that it was an illegal move instituted as part of the witch-hunt against the former President.

Opposition demands Speaker intervention

Continue reading ‘Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa Summons Bribery Commission D-G Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe to Parliament Over Summoning of Mahinda Issue.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa can get Restraining Order Against Bribery Commission Summoning Him says Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament.

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could obtain a restraining order against the Bribery Commission summoning the latter.

The opposition MPs shouted when the Premier said so in response to the Opposition MPs’s call for an end to harassing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

At the time the House commenced public business, MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena raising a privilege issue said MP Tissa Attanayake and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been summoned by the Bribery Commission and it amounted to a breach of privileges of MP Attanayake.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa can get Restraining Order Against Bribery Commission Summoning Him says Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament.’ »

UPFA Group of MP’s Commence Hunger Strike Within Parliament Demanding an end to Political Witchhunt against Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition MPs and some ministers of the UPFA commenced a continuous fast in the Well of Parliament yesterday demanding that the government immediately put an end to what they called a political witch hunt against Opposition politicians including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The hunger strike commenced in protest against summoning former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption for appointing former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, MP the Minister of Health prior to the last presidential election.

Addressing a press conference held at the Parliamentary Complex, UPFA Colombo District MP Bandula Gunawardena said that MPs would not give up their protest until an assurance was given by incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena that harassing of the former President would be ended.

“This is the first time in our parliamentary history that MPs have commenced a hunger strike in Parliament.”

Continue reading ‘UPFA Group of MP’s Commence Hunger Strike Within Parliament Demanding an end to Political Witchhunt against Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.’ »

India’s Justice System Works Speedily for Ex-Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa While Lesser Mortals Languish with Law’s Delays.

By

Sandhya Ravishankar

A file picture of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at a function in Chennai. Photo: M. Vedhan-courtesy: The Hindu

A file picture of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at a function in Chennai. Photo: M. Vedhan-courtesy: The Hindu

As of 2014, there were a whopping 3.13 crore cases pending in all courts across India. Of these, a minimum of around 9% have been pending in various courts for at least 10 years.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa certainly belonged to that 9% until September 27, 2014. Her disproportionate assets case had crawled on painfully for almost two whole decades, tried by nine judges over 18 years with five different special public prosecutors.

But after her conviction, with a four-year prison term and a Rs 100 crore fine, Jayalalithaa appears to be whizzing at breakneck speed through the convoluted judicial appeals process.

Continue reading ‘India’s Justice System Works Speedily for Ex-Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa While Lesser Mortals Languish with Law’s Delays.’ »

1915: Centenary Year of Alleged Armenian Genocide by Turkey

By

Richard Falk

Of the many current concerns associated with historic wrongs, none is more salient these days than the long simmering tensions between modern Turkey and the Armenian diaspora (and the state of Armenia). And none so convincingly validates the assertion of the great American novelist, William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” This year being the centenary of the contested events of 1915 makes it understandable that was simmering through the decades has come to a boil, with the anniversary day of April 24th likely to be the climax of this latest phase of the unresolved drama.

pic : facebook.com/armeniangenocide100

pic : facebook.com/armeniangenocide100

The Armenian red line for any move toward reconciliation has been for many years a formal acknowledgement by the Turkish government that the killings that occurred in 1915 should be regarded as ‘genocide,’ and that an official apology to the descendants of the Armenian victims should be issued by the top political leaders in Turkey. It is not clear whether once that red line is crossed, a second exists, this one involving Armenian expectations of reparations in some form or even restorations of property and territory. For now the battleground is over the significance of granting or withholding the G word from these momentous happenings. The utterance of this word, alone, seems the only key capable of unlocking the portals leading to conflict resolution, but it is a key that Turks across the political spectrum refuse to use.

What has recently raised the temperature on both sides is the clear alignment of Pope Francis with the Armenian demands. At a solemn mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on April 12th that was devoted to the centenary of the Ottoman killings of Armenian Christians Francis quoted with approval from the 2001 joint declaration of Pope John Paul II and the Armenian religious leader Karenkin II to the effect that these massacres in 1915 were “widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century.”

Continue reading ‘1915: Centenary Year of Alleged Armenian Genocide by Turkey’ »

Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa Summoned by Bribery Commission on April 22, 23 and 24 for Recording of Statements.

By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa have been asked to report to the Bribery Commission (BC) this week to record statements over various allegations against them, highly placed sources said.

A group of Parliamentarians on Monday (April 20) staged a protest inside the chambers in Parliament against the decision to summon former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Bribery Commission-pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

A group of Parliamentarians on Monday (April 20) staged a protest inside the chambers in Parliament against the decision to summon former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Bribery Commission-pic: twitter.com/RajapaksaNamal

They said Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was asked to report to the BC on Wednesday, April 22 and 23 while the former President was asked to report to the BC on Friday, April 24.

Daily Mirror learns that the BC will record a statement from the former President over the fraudulent document produced by former Health Minister Tissa Attanayake in an attempt to sling mud at President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe in the run-up to the presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa Summoned by Bribery Commission on April 22, 23 and 24 for Recording of Statements.’ »

3 -member Committe Appointed by Ranil Finds Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no Direct Role in the Bond Tender Issue

Aided by a three-member all-lawyer investigative committee, the Government yesterday bared who should get the blame for February’s 30-year Treasury Bond fiasco whilst recommending further investigations.

In a media release, the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, after nearly a holiday-filled week since the receipt of the report, said that the committee of eminent lawyers which inquired into the 30-year Treasury Bond issuance had made far-reaching recommendations to ensure transparency and better governance at the Central Bank.

The three-member committee had interviewed a large number of individuals, including the governor, officials from the Central Bank, primary dealers and Perpetual Treasuries.Several deficiencies in the bank’s Public Debt Department (PDD), which handles all matters relating to servicing the domestic and foreign debt of the Sri Lankan Government, were observed by the committee.

Continue reading ‘3 -member Committe Appointed by Ranil Finds Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no Direct Role in the Bond Tender Issue’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Challenges Govt to Prove that Secret Bank Accounts Abroad with Billions of Dollars are Maintained by him, Wife shiranthi or sons Namal, Yoshitha or Rohitha.


Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has challenged the government to substantiate its claim that he, his wife, Shiranthi or sons, Namal, Yoshitha or Rohitha maintained ‘illegal or secret offshore accounts in any foreign bank’

The following is the full text of statement issued by the former President:

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa & son Namal Rajapaksa MP on Sinhala-Tamil New Year day-Apr 14, 2015

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa & son Namal Rajapaksa MP on Sinhala-Tamil New Year day-Apr 14, 2015

“Prominent members of the government have been spreading rumours about billions of Dollars stashed abroad in secret offshore accounts by me, my wife and sons. The allegation is refreshed from time to time through strategically placed media reports about American and Indian financial intelligence bodies joining in the search and special teams being sent to the Seychelles to look for the hidden money. Some weeks ago, the cabinet spokesman had told Reuters that a member of a ‘leading family’ had $1064 million in a secret account in Dubai.

Recently, a government VVIP had even told a group of parliamentarians about these supposed secret bank accounts in order to prejudice them against me. This unfounded allegation is being used as a convenient tool by my political opponents.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Challenges Govt to Prove that Secret Bank Accounts Abroad with Billions of Dollars are Maintained by him, Wife shiranthi or sons Namal, Yoshitha or Rohitha.’ »

Despite his Flaws Mahinda is arguably the most loved post-Independence Leader this Country has Produced.

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Thousands and thousands visiting ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is no longer news. He is arguably the most loved post-Independence leader this country has known; this despite all his many flaws, it must be added.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and son Namalm Rajapaksa MP on April 14, 2015-pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and son Namalm Rajapaksa MP on April 14, 2015-pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

What is ‘news’ and continues to make news is the fact that in an opposition-less context opposition to the current regime has to materialize outside parliament and as such ‘Mahinda’ is a natural rallying point.

The Mahinda-Factor is growing larger each passing day. The longer the ‘Opposition-Issue’ is left unresolved, the more value accrues to this factor. How the Sri Lanka Freedom Party addresses all this is left to be seen. If one buys into the adage that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, then all is possible including a Maithripala-Mahinda ‘patch-up’ (not in the interest of the nation but for reasons of political expedience).

How such a patch-up materializes and in what form, again, are left to be seen. Let’s leave time to decide all that and delve into a different aspect of this phenomenon of Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming a pilgrim’s destination, so to speak.

Continue reading ‘Despite his Flaws Mahinda is arguably the most loved post-Independence Leader this Country has Produced.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Turning his back on those who Helped Elect him is the Mother of all Political Betrayals.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

Immediately after the New Year holidays, events are once again moving faster than they can be written about. The Avurudu festivities would have shown the entire country which way the cookie is crumbling. The only public appearance that President Maithripala Sirisena made during the festivities was at the oil anointing ceremony. He was accompanied on that occasion by ministers, Rajitha Senaratne, Duminda Dissanayake and M.K.D.S.Gunawardene.

In contrast to this, 58 MPs and an unspecified number of provincial councilors and local government representatives had gone to greet former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The message would not have failed to register in the minds of the public. This may be interpreted as President Sirisena being somewhat isolated. Even the five individuals he had elevated to the SLFP central committee just days ago were not to be seen at the only public appearance he made during the New Year festivities.

The reason why Sirisena finds himself in this predicament is because he turned his back on those who elected him into power. Virtually all the Sinhala votes that Sirisena got were UNP, and of the overwhelming minority vote that he got a significant part belonged to outfits like the CWC, SLMC, Mano Ganesan’s Group, and P.Digambaram’s group which traditionally prefer to align themselves with the UNP.

If one calculates on that basis, 90% of the votes that Sirisena got were from the UNP and its traditional allies. Once elected on this largely UNP vote if he had acted like a UNP president, he would not be so isolated today. He would have had the backing of four million voters and his Avurudu appearance would have been graced by many ministers of the government.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Turning his back on those who Helped Elect him is the Mother of all Political Betrayals.’ »

Ranil Tells Indian Media that his Govt represents Interests of Sri Lankans in the Case of Intrusion by Indian fishermen.

By

K.Santosh

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe has said Sri Lanka is neither pro-India nor pro-China.

Mr. Wickramasinghe was answering reporters during his visit to the Sreekrishna Temple here on Saturday.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Tells Indian Media that his Govt represents Interests of Sri Lankans in the Case of Intrusion by Indian fishermen.’ »

British Opposition Leader Ed Miliband Incurs Wrath of UK Sinhala Association for Greeting the Tamil Community Alone for New Year

By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

B
ritish opposition leader Ed Miliband singling out only Tamils to extend his good wishes for Sinhala and Tamil New Year has run into criticism from Sinhalese domiciled in the UK.

British Labour leader Ed Miliband

British Labour leader Ed Miliband

“Miliband showed political immaturity by wishing one community when it’s national festival celebrated by both Sinhalese and Tamils”, says Douglas Wickremaratne, President of the Sinhala Association in the United Kingdom.

Miliband released a video message for Sinhala & Tamil New Year only wishing Tamils by saying “I want to wish everyone in the Tamil community a Happy New Year”.

He went on to praise the Tamil community for their contribution to the British society and vowed to continue to push for a full, independent, international inquiry into the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘British Opposition Leader Ed Miliband Incurs Wrath of UK Sinhala Association for Greeting the Tamil Community Alone for New Year’ »

UNP Performance Found Wanting as Govt Takes Stock After Being in Power for 100 days

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The first 100 days is now officially over. The UNP too should take stock of their performance in running the country. For some reason the UNP seems unable to handle the simplest of situations. Take that embarrassing episode of some 130 workers who had their services terminated in the Highways Ministry. One would think that if 130 workers had to be retrenched, they could be shifted around elsewhere and the matter settled.

Instead what we saw were the sacked workers camping outside the ministry and during the two days of New Year celebrations there was a procession of SLFP local government representatives, provincial councillors, and parliamentarians bringing them kiribath and sweetmeats for the New Year and giving voice cuts in front of the ministry gate. The predicament of these workers seemed to symbolize everything that was wrong with the present government.

Ultimately President Sirisena had to turn up at the location and promise them that all of them would be given jobs. But they continue to remain there until they get their letters of appointment. In the meantime, the government has got an incredible amount of bad publicity over a relatively minor matter. The question that the UNP should be asking themselves is if they can’t handle a matter involving just 130 workers, how are they going to handle bigger issues?

Continue reading ‘UNP Performance Found Wanting as Govt Takes Stock After Being in Power for 100 days’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe in “veshti” and “Mundu”Offers his Weight (77kg) in Sandalwood as “Thulabaram” at Guruvaayoor Srikrishna Temple in Kerala.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple in Kerala yesterday.He was accompanied by his wife, Maitree, and Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan.

The Prime Minister and his team arrived at the Sreevalsam Guest House of the Guruvayur Devaswom around 11-15 a.m., Indian media reported. He changed into a traditional ‘Veshti’ and ‘Mundu’ (a garment worn around the waist), and proceeded to the temple.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe at the Guruvayur temple-pic courtesy of: The Hindu

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe at the Guruvayur temple-pic courtesy of: The Hindu

He visited the sanctum sanctorum (which houses the main shrine or Moolavigrama, a Swarna Thidambu or idol made of gold and Panchaloha Thidambu or idol made of Panchaloha), and subsidiary shrines dedicated to Lord Ayyappa and Goddess Bhagavathy.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe in “veshti” and “Mundu”Offers his Weight (77kg) in Sandalwood as “Thulabaram” at Guruvaayoor Srikrishna Temple in Kerala.’ »

Tanya Ekanayake Marks Another Milepost in Musical Career with release of Debut Album “Reinventions: Rhapsodies for Piano”


By Namali Premawardhana

Tanya Ekanayaka launched a debut album of her own composition for solo piano, titled “Reinventions: Rhapsodies for Piano”, on March 30. The album contains seven tracks which have all been composed and performed by Tanya herself, and was released under the most prestigious classical recording label: NAXOS (Grand Piano).

after the performance for the Sri Lankan 57th Independence Day Celebrations held at The High Commision for Sri Lanka in London, Feb - 2015. Photo - courtesy of Nalin De Silva.

Tanya Ekanayaka-after the performance for the Sri Lankan 57th Independence Day Celebrations held at The High Commision for Sri Lanka in London, Feb – 2015.
Photo – courtesy of Nalin De Silva.

“I look back on my life and see that I have never consciously aspired to achieve anything, really,” says the pianist, composer, musicologist and linguist.

Tanya grew up in a home that was heavily inclined towards western classical music, and began piano lessons at the age of five. She made her debut public performance at 12 and continued to engage in musical performance even into her post-graduate career at the University of Edinburgh, although not publicly.

It was at Edinburgh where she is currently engaged part-time on the music and linguistics faculty, that another member of the music department, on hearing her practising in a private studio, set her on the path to her current career in piano performance.

pic: facebook.com/grandpianorecords

pic: facebook.com/grandpianorecords

Since first being invited to perform at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 2010, she has graced some of the world’s most prestigious stages including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC in 2012 and others, in the US, UK, Europe and Asia.

Continue reading ‘Tanya Ekanayake Marks Another Milepost in Musical Career with release of Debut Album “Reinventions: Rhapsodies for Piano”’ »

“Siri Aiya” the Great Survivor: Saga of JVP Stalwart Somawansa Amarasinghe

By Dharman Wickremaratne

In the late 1980s the Janatha vimukthi peramuna(JVP) was active only in 19 out of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts. It was not present in the five districts of the North and Batticaloa District in the East. Accordingly there were 19 JVP District Secretaries. The Central Committee comprised politburo members, district secretaries and secretaries of the military wing.

Writen by Dharman Wickremaratne

Writen by Dharman Wickremaratne

In`1986 to 1989 the party’s politburo(PB) members were Rohana Wijeweera, Upatissa Gamanayake, Sumith Athukorala, D.M. Ananda, Saman Piyasiri Fernando, Piyadasa Ranasinghe, H.B. Herath, Gunaratne Wanasinghe, R.B. Wimalaratne, Somawansa Amarasinghe, Shantha Bandara, Nandatilaka Galappaththi and Lalith Wijeratne.

D.M. Ananda and Saman Piyasiri although not necessarily senior, became the most active members during the last years of the insurgency. D.M. Ananda functioned as Party’s Political Secretary of the Western and Sabaragamuwa Regions while leading the party’s student, women’s and bhikku fronts. Saman Piyasiri Fernando alias Keerthi Wijebahu was the leader of the military wing – Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya (DJV). During the final stages it was the two of them who led the JVP when Rohana Wijeweera lost control of the party.

Somawansa Then, 1968

Somawansa Then, 1968

In the end it was only Somawansa Amarasinghe who survived out of all JVP Politburo members. It was he who took the decisive steps after a difficult journey in reorganising the party which had almost disintegrated and brought it back to active politics in 1994. Many among others also made a major contribution to the JVP’s revival.
Continue reading ‘“Siri Aiya” the Great Survivor: Saga of JVP Stalwart Somawansa Amarasinghe’ »

Blunders Committed by India in Dealing with Veluppillai Prabhakaran and the LTTE During the IPKF Period.

By DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

Gen VK Singh’s forthright critique on Tuesday, 14th April (Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s day) in Raipur, India, of the IPKF experience and his shocking revelation that Prabhakaran was let off the hook on orders from above on more than one occasion when the IPKF had information on his whereabouts, prompts a reconsideration of those years.

PM Narendra Modi paying homage at IPKF Memorial in Sri Lanka-Mar 2015

PM Narendra Modi paying homage at IPKF Memorial in Sri Lanka-Mar 2015

The line that the IPKF could have finished and was indeed finishing the job of defeating the LTTE when President Premadasa peremptorily got it to leave –a view shared by many ignorant Sri Lankan commentators and public personalities– is given the lie by India’s Union Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh’s testimony of the tangled web that the IPKF got into.

President Premadasa certainly wasn’t the higher authority who gave the IPKF orders to let Prabhakaran off the hook, when they knew his whereabouts. He wasn’t even President when it first happened. It was the “achievement” of MG Ramachandran crying to Rajiv Gandhi, and higher ups (some who were Prabahakaran’s ethnic, but not caste, kin) in the Indian establishment’s covert wing, arguing strongly against those such as Dixit and Kalkat who wanted to finish off Prabhakaran.

Having been a participant-observer, and as a political scientist turned analyst, the basic lesson I draw can be summed up as follows:

Third party efforts at conflict resolution must not depend solely or primarily on those states which have ethnic constituencies, indigenous or immigrant, drawn from only one of the belligerents. Though such states may be the ones to be automatically drawn in and most strongly motivated to play a role with its attendant risks, such embedded lobbies of co-ethnics in a zero sum situation will vitiate attempts at conflict resolution, because the intermediary will not be perceived as a neutral umpire, and there will be a backlash. Ideally the mediating/intervening state should have, in its make-up, no correlative reflecting the conflict, or should fairly evenly represent all the belligerent communities, or should be a regional coalition of states which collectively neutralizes the profile of unevenness in the composition of any one state.

That’s at the more reflective, conceptual level, and with the benefit of hindsight. But what happened, in terms of ‘real history’, on the ground?

Continue reading ‘Blunders Committed by India in Dealing with Veluppillai Prabhakaran and the LTTE During the IPKF Period.’ »

Tamil and Muslim Parties Feel Betrayed by some of the Electoral Reform Proposals says DPF Leader Mano Ganesan.

(Tamil and Muslim parties feel betrayed says DPF leader and national executive council member Mano Ganesan in a media statement. The full text of the press release issued by the DPF media office is given below)

Mano Ganesan

Mano Ganesan

Parties representing Tamil and Muslim people in this country were against the abolition of the executive presidency. This was our original stand. But later we changed our stands to be in the national band wagon with the political parties and civil movements such as that led by Ven. Sobitha those wanted executive presidency abolished.

The minorities in this country obtained whatever the rights and arrangements in force today in this country were agreed upon during the tenures of the presidents J.R. Jayawardene, R. Premadasa and Chandrika Bandaranayke Kumaratunga. Despite this fact we stood with national mainstream that wanted executive presidency out.

Continue reading ‘Tamil and Muslim Parties Feel Betrayed by some of the Electoral Reform Proposals says DPF Leader Mano Ganesan.’ »

♥ Remembering PB Sreenivas and His Enchanting Duets With S. Janaki ♫

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The traditional April new year dawned on a sad note for me last year.I woke up to the news that well –known singer of film songs Prathivadi Bayankara Sreenivas (P.B.S) had passed away in India. He was one of my favourite filmsong singers.I grew up with the Tamil film songs of people like Sreenivas, TM Soundararaja, P.Susheela, S.Janaki, AL Raghavan, LR Eeswari etc.

♫ P.B. Sreenivas & S. Janaki ♫

♫ P.B. Sreenivas (September 22, 1930-April 14, 2013) & S. Janaki (b: April 23, 1938) ♫ – pic courtesy: The Hindu

Although the octogenarian had been inactive as a play back singer for over two decades the voice of PBS (Sreenivas often quipped that his initials PBS denoted Play Back Singer) like those of his contemporaries, never ever went out of my life thanks to audio and video cassettes. I also got opportunities to hear him singing in person when he visited Canada for musical shows.
Continue reading ‘♥ Remembering PB Sreenivas and His Enchanting Duets With S. Janaki ♫’ »

“Deshapalana Negam Yaama” of UPFA Politicos with Pingos of Political Desperation to Greet Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tangalle

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake


“Negam Yaama”
or the visiting of family, relatives and friends is an important tradition of the Sinhala & Tamil New Year festivity. It helps strengthen existing relations, promotes goodwill, erases enmities and draws new people into the circle of relatives and friends.

With politics, embracing almost all aspects of life in Sri Lanka, it is not surprising that in the past decades, politics did play a major part in the “Negam Yaama” tradition, with political leaders in any area, be they Ministers, Members of Parliament, Provincial Councillors or Pradeshiya Sabha members being at the centre of these events; with a good market for betel leaf that is a necessary part of this special ritual of meeting and greeting for the New Year. Many, who did not bother to visit their close family relatives at Avurudu time, did make it a point to visit to their political sponsors, with sheaves of betel leaf, plenty of traditional sweetmeats, and other gifts that would ensure them more gifts and favours in the coming year.

In the old days “Negam Yaama” saw the carrying of pingos loaded with traditional Avurudu sweetmeats and plenty of other gifts to be shared with the family relatives and friends, and to make up with those one had fallen out with in the past year. It was a lovely tradition, indeed.

There was a big revival in the political “Negam Yaama” at this Avurudu season, with the large number of politicians of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), who are now out of power, making a special Negam visit to their defeated leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, at Carlton in Tangalle. There are no reports of any pingos of special gifts being taken on this visit, but instead there were loads of political desperation, and a large attendance of the media, to take the message of this special Arurudu reunion to the country.

Continue reading ‘“Deshapalana Negam Yaama” of UPFA Politicos with Pingos of Political Desperation to Greet Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tangalle’ »

Passport of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to be Impounded by CIABOC Investigating Bribery and Corruption.

By Shiran Ranasinghe

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) had decided to impound the passport of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, a senior official of the commission said yesterday.

He said the decision had been conveyed to the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

The CIABOC summoned Mahendran and questioned him for nearly six and half hours and recorded a statement regarding the controversial Treasury bond issue on Thursday.

Continue reading ‘Passport of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to be Impounded by CIABOC Investigating Bribery and Corruption.’ »

Senior MP’s from SLFP Pressurising President Sirisena not to Dissolve Parliament on April 20th

by Zacki Jabbar

With President Maithripala Sirisena stating that Parliament would be dissolved after the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, a crucial SLFP parliamentary group has been scheduled for Sunday.

Senior SLFP sources told The Island yesterday that the people had given a mandate to serve them for six years and they did not want an election any time soon.”We will not support piecemeal constitutional amendments. There is no problem with shedding the draconian powers vested in the Executive Presidency, but it has to be done in conjunction with the proposed electoral reforms.”

President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to address the SLFP Parliamentarians on Sunday evening in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Senior MP’s from SLFP Pressurising President Sirisena not to Dissolve Parliament on April 20th’ »

Only Countries Without the “Tamil Factor” in their Societies are Suitable for Mediation in Sri Lanka – Dayan Jayatilleka

By

P.K.Balachandran

COLOMBO: India is “structurally unsuited” to be mediator or facilitator in the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict because it is subject to the “emotional and electoral power” of one of its constituent states, namely, Tamil Nadu, argues former Lankan envoy at the UN in Geneva, Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka.

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka at UNHRC special session on Sri Lanka, in Geneva on May 26, 2009.-pic courtesy: Getty images

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka at UNHRC special session on Sri Lanka, in Geneva on May 26, 2009.-pic courtesy: Getty images

“ The emotional and electoral power of Tamil Nadu is an axiomatic factor in Indian decision making. This was so even during the IPKF operations when the prestige of the Indian state and its armed forces were at stake. Indian soldiers were dying horribly, with some necklaced with burning rubber tyres. Despite such horrific incidents, New Delhi yielded to Chennai’s demands and refrained from going the whole hog against the LTTE,” Jayatilleka told Express.

Alluding to the Maithripala Sirisena government’s tilt towards India, opening the door again to India’s intervention in solving the ethnic issue, Jayatilleka warned that Lanka’s “strategic” dependence on India in matters of its destiny will not protect the island nation from “Tamil separatism and irredentism.”

Continue reading ‘Only Countries Without the “Tamil Factor” in their Societies are Suitable for Mediation in Sri Lanka – Dayan Jayatilleka’ »

Sri Lanka’s First Open Air Zoo Ceremonially Opened at Pinnawela by Ministers Navin Dissanayake and Kabir Hashim.

Sri Lanka’s first open air and second National Zoological Garden was ceremoniously opened yesterday adjacent to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage by Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake and Investment Promotion, Highways and Higher Education Minister Kabir Hashim.

SLL

In line with modern zoo concepts, the Pinnawala Open Air Zoo has been designed and established on 44 acres to provide an open range zoo experience – with free living space for animals – for visitors, while promoting the tourism industry. A noteworthy fact is the allocation of the zoo for animals endemic to the country.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s First Open Air Zoo Ceremonially Opened at Pinnawela by Ministers Navin Dissanayake and Kabir Hashim.’ »

What has President Sirisena Achieved in his First Three Months in Office?

By Taylor Dibbert

In early January, Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Rajapaksa was thrown out of office. Rajapaksa, a two-term president who had ruled since 2005, allegedly abused state resources throughout the election campaign and few predicted he would lose. Though Rajapaksa still won a majority of Sinhalese votes (the overwhelming ethnic majority in a country whose population exceeds 20 million), Sri Lankans from all walks of life were simply fed up with a regime that had been plagued by corruption, nepotism, and heightened authoritarianism. Maithripala Sirisena campaigned on a bold agenda that pledged to stop the rot. But is Sirisena’s governing coalition really committed to meaningful change? Might reform in Sri Lanka be on the rocks?

pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

It’s true that constitutional and electoral reforms require a two-thirds majority in parliament and that sweeping changes cannot happen overnight. Nonetheless, there’s plenty that the new administration could have done almost immediately. It’s also true that the Sri Lankan government has already made a few positive changes, such as removing some media restrictions and lifting travel restrictions for foreigners who wish to visit the north. Sirisena has also started to restructure the Foreign Service and corruption probes are underway. However, Sirisena was sworn into office more than three months ago, and the most important pledges in his 100 day plan remain unfulfilled. Perhaps the administration just needs more time. Would it be prudent to wait another couple of months and see how things play out before roundly criticizing the new administration? But aside from the overall lack of progress, the administration appears to have taken a few steps in the wrong direction. Let’s consider some examples.

Nepotism has plagued Sri Lankan politics for years. Two of Rajapaksa’s brothers held senior positions in his administration. Another brother, Chamal, remains speaker of parliament. His son, Namal, is a member of parliament. Rajapaksa’s network of nepotism ran deep and wide; in that context, Sirisena would bolster his credibility with the public by avoiding questionable presidential appointments and obvious nepotism.

Continue reading ‘What has President Sirisena Achieved in his First Three Months in Office?’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Prepares for Political Comeback in Sri Lanka


From Amantha Perera in Hambantota and Jason Burke in Delhi

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president of Sri Lanka, is planning to stand in parliamentary polls to launch an attempt to return to power, aides have said.

The veteran politician, who suffered a surprise defeat in snap presidential polls he called in January this year, has been taking a break from politics and has yet to formally declare any campaign.

However, he has been meeting hundreds of supporters who visit his residence in the town of Hambantota, and travelling widely around Sri Lanka to see elected members of local and municipal authorities.

“You wait and see,” Rajapaksa said, when asked last week if he was a spent force. “I am yet to take a decision on contesting, but if people request me, I can’t refuse.”

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Prepares for Political Comeback in Sri Lanka’ »

57 Parliamentarians Visit Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tangalle to Greet him for the Sinhala-Tamil New Year.

Around 57 Parliamentarians visited former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his Carlton House in Tangalle to extend their greetings to Rajapaksa for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

According to media reports, former Ministers and MPs Dullas Alahapperuma, Bandula Gunawardena, Kumara Welgama, Dinesh Gunawardena, Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dinesh Gunawardane, T.B. Ekanayake, Arundika Fernando, Prof. G.L. Peiris, Salinda Dissanayake, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane, Keheliya Rambukwelle, Geethanjana Gunawardena, Gamini Lokuge, Johnston Fernando, Lakshman Wasantha Perera and Sarath Weerasekara are among the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MPs who participated at this occasion.

Continue reading ‘57 Parliamentarians Visit Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tangalle to Greet him for the Sinhala-Tamil New Year.’ »

” Yes.We do Have a Problem with Ranil Wickremesinghe”- Patali Champika Ranawaka

By

Chamitha Kuruppu

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) claims that the proposed 19th Amendment is a constitutional blunder created by Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and the United National Party. Minister of Power and Energy and JHU bigwig Patali Champika Ranawaka said the sole purpose of the 19th Amendment was to dissolve Parliament without getting it passed. “This was the conspiracy. But ultimately we won. The Supreme Court determination was in favour of us,” added Ranawaka, in an interview with the Daily FT.

The Minister stated that his party was against Ranil Wickremesinghe for several reasons. “Yes we do have a problem with Ranil Wickremesinghe. Firstly, he did not give enough time to study these reforms. Secondly, he violated the combined formula reached by all the parties. Thirdly, he presented 19A in a manner that violated the Constitution. This is why we are against Ranil Wickremesinghe.”


Following are excerpts:


Q: Why are you against the 19A?

Continue reading ‘” Yes.We do Have a Problem with Ranil Wickremesinghe”- Patali Champika Ranawaka’ »

Ex – Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe Quits JVP to Form New party with Two JVP Ex-Parliamentarians

by Chamikara Weerasinha

Former leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Somawansa Amarasinghe said he will resign from the JVP to form a new party.

Amarasinghe said yesterday that the decision was made on the grounds that the party failed to represent the true aspirations of the people.

“It looks as if the party does not have a plan to attract the common man. It is veering away from the aspirations of the people. It is in this context that I decided to resign from the JVP,” Amarasinghe said.

He said he would not distance himself from politics following his resignation from the JVP, the party which he led for nearly 25 years.

“I have decided to form a party that represents the true aspirations of the people. Those who are dissatisfied with the present approach of the JVP will join our new political movement,” Amarasinghe added.

Continue reading ‘Ex – Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe Quits JVP to Form New party with Two JVP Ex-Parliamentarians’ »

Are “Naxalite”groups in India Getting Sophisticated Arms Via Sea Route from Sri Lanka?

By

Rajnish Sharma

Central intelligence agencies have launched a major investigation into a “specific tip-off” that Naxals were now getting sophisticated weapons through the sea route from Sri Lanka.

Top intelligence sources claimed that they had received information some time back that Naxals were routing arms and ammunition through the sea route through an arms cartel which was suspected to be earlier providing weapons to the LTTE as well.

It is suspected that the weapons are coming through Sri Lanka using the sea route, sources added.

Continue reading ‘Are “Naxalite”groups in India Getting Sophisticated Arms Via Sea Route from Sri Lanka?’ »

Nimal Mendis the Composer-Lyricist who Created Perennial Favourite Song “Master Sir” Passes Away at 81.

Nimal Mendis, well known as the lyricist and composer of the classic masterpiece ‘Master Sir’ passed away earlier today.

Born on March 29, 1934, Mendis was involved with music from his early childhood.

Nimal Mendis (29 March 1934-April 16, 2015)

Nimal Mendis (29 March 1934-April 16, 2015)

Nimal Mendis shaped his work by using Sri Lankan folk idiom. He used folk music and mixed them with western overtones.

He lived many years in London but often traveled to Sri Lanka. He had also lived in the South West of France.

Continue reading ‘Nimal Mendis the Composer-Lyricist who Created Perennial Favourite Song “Master Sir” Passes Away at 81.’ »

Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Questioned for Six Hours at Bribery Commission Over Treasury Bonds Issue Concerning son in law.

The Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran was today questioned by the Bribery Commission for about six hours in connection with the sale of Central Bank Bonds.

Mr. Mahendran arrived at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption at 9.00 a.m. and was questioned until 3.30 p.m. after which a statement was recorded.

A senior official told Daily Mirror Mr. Mahendran was grilled in connection with a complaint made against him in connection with treasury bonds issued to a private company involved with his son-in-law.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Questioned for Six Hours at Bribery Commission Over Treasury Bonds Issue Concerning son in law.’ »

“How Ceylon/Sri Lanka Mishandled the Tamils” in the words of Lee Kuan Yew

Compiled by Ananth Palakidnar

The founding father of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew will be laid to rest today. He had first travelled to Sri Lanka in 1956 and remembered his stay at the Galle Face Hotel in his autobiography ‘The Singapore Story’. During his stay in Colombo he had dined with S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and also played golf with Dudley Senanyake. He remembered interacting with Sirimavo Bandaranaike and described the world’s first woman Prime Minister as a tough person. Lee had also visited the University of Peradeniya and played golf in Nuwara Eliya staying at ‘The Lodge’, the official residence of former British Governors.

The following are excerpts from ‘The Singapore Story':

Arignar Anna & Lee Kwan Yew

C. N. Annadurai (15 September 1909 – 3 February 1969) former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu & Lee Kwan Yew (September 16, 1923 – March 23, 2015)

My fist visit to Sri Lanka was in April 1956 on my way to London. I stayed at the Galle Face Hotel, their premier British-era hotel by the sea. I walked around the city of Colombo, impressed by the public buildings, many with stone facing undamaged by war. Because Mountbatten had based his Southeast Asia Command in Kandy, Ceylon had more resources and better infrastructure than Singapore.

That same year, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike won the election as leader of the new Sri Lanka Freedom Party and became Prime Minister. He had promised to make Sinhala the national language and Buddhism the national religion. He was a brown “pukka sahib”, English-educated and born a Christian, he had decided on nativism and converted to Buddhism, and had become a champion of the Sinhala language. It was the start of the unravelling of Ceylon.
Continue reading ‘“How Ceylon/Sri Lanka Mishandled the Tamils” in the words of Lee Kuan Yew’ »

Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Preparing to Backtrack on Pledge to Abolish Executive Presidency

By Pani Wijesiriwardena

The minority United National Party (UNP)-led government in Sri Lanka has been thrown into crisis after being forced to put off the parliamentary debate over its proposed 19th amendment to the constitution. Debate was due to take place on Thursday and Friday.

The postponement was a result of infighting between ruling and opposition parties and compounded by the Supreme Court’s determination that some clauses should be referred to a referendum. The amendment has already been changed several times in a bid to get the backing of parliamentary opposition parties.

The main proposal was to abolish the executive presidency and transfer most powers to a prime minister and cabinet responsible to the parliament. The president would remain as head of the state, but acting under the advice of the prime minister, and would retain the post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Preparing to Backtrack on Pledge to Abolish Executive Presidency’ »

The Media in Sri Lanka: “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?

By

Sashi Kumar

THERE may be a nostalgic colouring to this, but well into the 1980s it seemed that there was a vibrant public intellectualism in force in Sri Lanka that engaged with the ethnic question in a reasoned, bold and fair-minded manner. Scholars like Kumari Jayawardena, Karthigesu Sivathamby, Charles Abeysekara, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Sunil Bastian or V. Nithiyanandan and politicians of the calibre of Colin De Silva or Neelan Tiruchelvam sought to understand and bridge or transcend the deepening chasm of the ethnic divide. But they did not stand a chance against those hell-bent on descending into the depths of the chasm and dragging the country into it.

[A Newsstand in Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka, Picture by Dennis S. Hurd, New Westminster, BC, Canada]

[A Newsstand in Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka, Picture by Dennis S. Hurd, New Westminster, BC, Canada]

So, that cerebral era was quickly overrun and trod underfoot by the terrorists and killers of the military and the militant variety. Aerial bombing, suicide bombing, decimation of civilian populations put or caught in the crossfire, rape, abduction, torture, dispossession and uprooting of homes and families, intimidation and censorship—and a fluctuating but abiding fear of any or all of these—pockmarked and vitiated society and everyday life in the island nation over the next three decades, in different ways in the dominantly Sinhala Southern Province and the Tamil Northern and mainly Muslim Eastern Provinces.

All this, apart from the last phase of the push to and final showdown of the decisive war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, which stands in an ignominious class of its own and has rattled the conscience of the international community for its genocidal excesses and human rights violations.

Through the protracted phase of the internecine struggle before this ruthless endgame, and even in the period after the LTTE was crushed and well up until this January when Mahinda Rajapaksa lost to Maithripala Sirisena in the presidential election, freedom of expression and independence of the news media were, almost inevitably and invariably, mortgaged to the dominant pumped-up sentiments of Sinhala and Tamil nationalism within the Sri Lankan state.

The self-exile of a clutch of journalists in nearby India or countries farther away flagged for international notice the manifest unfreedom in their homeland. Of course, the Sri Lankan military which, egged on by Rajapaksa’s notorious brother Gotabhaya, had set out to infiltrate civil society, and even schools, with military nationalistic values before the family coterie was displaced along with the President has scoffed at these journalists living abroad and those at home who questioned the conduct of the war as traitors.

This is hardly surprising considering that even the term “diaspora”, in the chauvinistic Sinhala understanding of the term, had become synonymous with the Tamils of Sri Lankan origin settled abroad who sympathised with the LTTE even though there are scores of Sri Lankan Sinhala men and women working in the Gulf and other parts of the world who would in the normal course of things come under that description.

Continue reading ‘The Media in Sri Lanka: “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?’ »

President Sirisena Emphasises Unity and Peace in Special Message Issued for Traditional April New Year.

As Sri Lanka celebrated its national New Year on Tuesday, President Maithripala Sirisena said important strides were being taken to realise the need for unity among all people.

In his message to mark the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Mr. Sirisena said that by giving prominence to religious and cultural traditions and the best social values in the New Year celebrations, Sri Lankans show their recognition of the age-old humane values that have enriched their lives to this day.

pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

He noted that what stood out was the coming together in unity and peace, amidst the spirit of sharing and goodwill to all, Xinhua news agency reported.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Emphasises Unity and Peace in Special Message Issued for Traditional April New Year.’ »

Split Verdict by Supreme Court In Jayalalithaa Disproportionate Assets Case Rattles “Amma” and Worries Her AIADMK Party

By Sandhya Ravishankar

The AIADMK is a worried lot. Especially after the Supreme Court on Wednesday announced a split verdict in a case filed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) General Secretary Anbazhagan seeking removal of the Special Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh in Jayalalithaa’s disproportionate assets case, currently on appeal in the Karnataka High Court.

Supporters of AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalitha weep after her conditional bail was rejected by the Bangalore court, in Coimbatore on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Supporters of AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalitha weep after her conditional bail was rejected by the Bangalore court, in Coimbatore on Tuesday. PTI Photo

In the verdict by the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, Justice Madan Lokur said that SPP Bhavani Singh must be removed as SPP since the “proceedings had been vitiated” in the case currently awaiting orders in the Karnataka High Court. Justice Bhanumathi however averred, opining that Singh could continue as prosecutor in the case. The split verdict now means that the case will be re-tried in front of a higher three-judge bench of the Supreme Court. As for Jaya’s appeal in the Karnataka High Court, the SC bench left it to the presiding judge, Justice Kumaraswamy to decide whether to pronounce orders or not.

Jurists say that it makes sense for the Karnataka High Court judge to wait for resolution of the Singh trial before pronouncing orders. If the new bench of the Supreme Court decides to remove Bhavani Singh as prosecutor, Jaya’s appeal would have to be heard all over again with a new public prosecutor, a process that could drag on by another four months at least. If Bhavani Singh is allowed to continue as Special Public Prosecutor, the Karnataka High Court simply has to deliver its verdict.

“There will be a delay of a month or two,” says Gnani Sankaran, political critic. “Unless of course the Karnataka HC judge decides to pass orders earlier.”

Continue reading ‘Split Verdict by Supreme Court In Jayalalithaa Disproportionate Assets Case Rattles “Amma” and Worries Her AIADMK Party’ »

Is There a Sell-out Being Perpetrated by the Ranil -Mangala Dispensation?

By DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

It was none other—and no less—than Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who in an interesting article in the world press, provides us with the key phrase in understanding what’s going on in this country, how we came to be at this point, who benefits and who were probably involved, what the agenda is and where we are headed. In a piece published in the Japan Times, he uses the phrase: “…resetting our strategic position in the world.” (‘Winning Sri Lanka’s Peace’, The Japan Times, April 8, 2015).

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

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

Note that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, a shrewd man, is not talking about ‘re-balancing’, of ‘course correction’; of a shift in emphasis from the ham-fisted external relations of the second Rajapaksa term. He is not talking about tactics, but about strategic positioning; about re-setting our strategic position in the world. This is a fundamental shift from Sri Lanka’s traditional positioning deriving from the island’s history, geography and abiding sense of collective identity (what Dr. Kissinger calls “the character of nations”).

The problem with such re-setting of our strategic position is not one of ideological preference. It is a matter of Sri Lanka’s core national interest. Is that interest served by resetting our global strategic position; reorienting it towards the US-UK and India, with their influential Tamil lobbies and vote blocs? The most recent evidence yields a negative answer.

Prime Minister David Cameron made the following disclosure in his message for Sinhala and Tamil New Year:

Continue reading ‘Is There a Sell-out Being Perpetrated by the Ranil -Mangala Dispensation?’ »

Nobel Prize Winning Writer Gunter Grass Described as Germany’s Moral Conscience Passes Away at 87

By STEPHEN KINZER

Günter Grass, the German novelist, social critic and Nobel Prize winner whom many called his country’s moral conscience but who stunned Europe when he revealed in 2006 that he had been a member of the Waffen-SS during World War II, died on Monday in the northern German city of Lübeck, which had been his home for decades. He was 87.

His longtime publisher, Gerhard Steidl, told reporters that he learned late Sunday that Mr. Grass had been hospitalized after falling seriously ill very quickly. The cause of death was not announced.
Mr. Steidl said he drank his final schnapps with Mr. Grass eight days ago while they were working together on his most recent book, which he described as a “literary experiment” fusing poetry with prose. It is scheduled to be published in the summer.

“He was fully concentrated on his work until the last moment,” Mr. Steidl said.

Mr. Grass was hardly the only member of his generation who obscured the facts of his wartime life. But because he was a pre-eminent public intellectual who had pushed Germans to confront the ugly aspects of their history, his confession that he had falsified his own biography shocked readers and led some to view his life’s work in a different light.

Mr. Grass came under further scrutiny in 2012 after publishing a poem criticizing Israel for its hostile language toward Iran over its nuclear program. He expressed revulsion at the idea that Israel might be justified in attacking Iran over a perceived nuclear threat and said that such a prospect “endangers the already fragile world peace.”

The poem created an international controversy and prompted a personal attack from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Grass later said that he had meant to attack Israel’s government, not the country as a whole.

Continue reading ‘Nobel Prize Winning Writer Gunter Grass Described as Germany’s Moral Conscience Passes Away at 87’ »

Most Tamil Moderates, Liberals and Progressives are Tamils First, and Moderates, Liberals and Progressives Later.

BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

AVURUDU THOUGHTS: AN UNPRECEDENTED SITUATION

In a splendidly timed gift for Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Ed Miliband, the head of the British Labour Party, the Leader of the Opposition and a possible Prime Minister of the UK after the general election this year, pledged to “push’ for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. He did so in what he chose to call a “Tamil New Year” message.

pic courtesy of: thinakaran.lk/

pic courtesy of: thinakaran.lk/

“I want to wish everyone in the Tamil community a Happy New Year…The Labour Party has always been a friend of the Tamil community and will continue to be so. And we will continue to push for the full and independent, international investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. It is something I raised with President Sirisena when I met him. We will continue to push this forward and continue to advocate for your cause.

We, in the Labour Party, know our responsibility to the Tamil community. So let me reiterate my wishes for a Happy New Year and I look forward to working with the Tamil community, in the months and years ahead.” (We Will Continue To Push For Full & Independent Inquiry On Sri Lanka’s War Crimes: Ed Miliband, Tamil New Year video message 2015, Colombo Telegraph April 14, 2015)

Ed Miliband claims that he raised the issue with President Sirisena. Thanks for letting us in on that Ed; we didn’t know until now. We do not know what President Sirisena said in response. We do know what President Rajapaksa told Ed Miliband’s brother David, when the Foreign Secretary visited Sri Lanka in April 2009 together with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner and demanded an end to the military offensive: “Mr. Miliband, we are no longer a British colony and we haven’t been one since 1948.” That was another leader, another time—almost another age– and Sri Lanka was another country.

Continue reading ‘Most Tamil Moderates, Liberals and Progressives are Tamils First, and Moderates, Liberals and Progressives Later.’ »

Sinhala Film About Tamil Epic “Silappadhikaram” by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne Features Indian Actress Pooja Umashankar as Kannagi and Lankan Beauty Queen Aruni Rajapaksa as Madhavi.


By P.K.Balachandran

COLOMBO: A star-studded and big budget Sinhalese film on Kannagi, the feisty heroine of the Tamil classic Silappadhikaram, is to hit screens across Sri Lanka soon.

Left to Right. Aruni Rajapakse, Uddika Premaratna , Sunil Ariyaratne, Veena Jayakodi, Milina Sumathipala and Pooja Umashankar-pic: newsindianexpress

Left to Right. Aruni Rajapakse, Uddika Premaratna , Sunil Ariyaratne, Veena Jayakodi, Milina Sumathipala and Pooja Umashankar-pic: newsindianexpress

Titled Paththini, as Kannagi is known in Lanka, the film is directed by Prof.Sunil Ariyaratne, a veteran with 20 feature films under his belt. South Indian star Pooja Umashankar, a heart throb of the Sinhalese masses, is playing Kannagi. Former Miss Sri Lanka, Aruni Rajapakse, is Madhavi the seductress; and Uddika Premaratne plays the wayward and troubled Kovalan.

“I am very fond of Tamil literature, especially Silappadhikaram and Manimekalai. Ever since I visited Tamil Nadu in the 1980s, I have been wanting to make films based on these classics,” Ariyaratne said,
explaining why he chose the theme.

Continue reading ‘Sinhala Film About Tamil Epic “Silappadhikaram” by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne Features Indian Actress Pooja Umashankar as Kannagi and Lankan Beauty Queen Aruni Rajapaksa as Madhavi.’ »

Deputy Justice Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe Abuses Malaini Fonseka the Queen of Sinhala Cinema in Raw Filth

By
Don Manu

Tut. Tut.

What’s all this stink blowing in the wind from Diyawanna Oya about a young buck from the hills unleashing a torrent of filthy abuse upon a hapless, little old lady old enough to be his mother? And that, too, in a personal aside cast in the august House of Parliament, away from hearing shot of her loyal army of backers who would otherwise have leapt to her defence and made mince pie out of her character assassin.

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Until the inquiry as requested by the alleged verbal attacker is held, the nation will have to hold its curiosity in garters and pocket its judgment as to what choice unparliamentary language was supposedly used by the UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe, 43, now exalted to high office as Deputy Minister of Justice no less, to make the award winning film actress Malini Fonseka blush crimson and break her five year silence in the House to launch a tirade of her own?

This private flare up between Sujeewa and Malanie occurred on Wednesday whilst the rest of the House was wrapped in tension over the opposition leader post. Thereafter Malini made a formal complaint to the Deputy Speaker stating: “A short while ago the Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe insulted my personal life using vulgar words.”

As a corroborating witness, she called on another UPFA National List MP Sriyani Wijewickrema who had been seated next to her. She confirmed it and said she had witnessed the whole scene and that Sujeewa Senasinghe had used foul words to abuse the veteran actress. “This must be deplored on behalf of all women,” she said.

Continue reading ‘Deputy Justice Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe Abuses Malaini Fonseka the Queen of Sinhala Cinema in Raw Filth’ »

Andhra Pradesh Police Kill 20 Woodcutters from Tamil Nadu at Chittoor in Suspected Fake Encounter

By Madhavi Tata

On December 5, 2014, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, fresh from a tour of Japan, organised a lunch for journalists. As he wrapped up over coffee, Naidu started outlining his government’s policies. One of the issues he spoke of at length was the smuggling of red sandalwood, valued alike as fine timber, medicine and aphrodisiac. Red sandalwood (or red sanders) grows in the hill ranges of the Seshachalam forests in the Kadapa and Chittoor districts. And while Naidu said he would work hard to protect the state’s forest wealth, he couldn’t help making a glancing political reference: the smuggling mafia, he said, was in cahoots with forest department officials, and sandalwood smugglers like Kollam Gangireddy were fronts for bigwigs. Gangireddy, now in a Mauritius jail for international smuggling, is rumoured to be close to some leaders in the YSR Congress. He is also an accused in the case of a Naxal bomb attack on Naidu in Alipiri in October 2003.

Smugglers hire woodcutters and porters from Tamil Nadu to steal red sandalwood from the Seshachalam forests

Smugglers hire woodcutters and porters from Tamil Nadu to steal red sandalwood from the Seshachalam forests

The bloody gunning down of 20 woodcutters from Tamil Nadu by the Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) in Chittoor on April 7 might seem like a natural corollary of Naidu’s zeal to protect forests. Though the government calls them “smugglers”, these are men hired by the ring-leaders for felling and carrying the wood. Nine labourers were killed in Eetagunta, eleven in Vachindou Banda, both in the Chandragiri mandal of the district. As facts tumble out, the killing seems more and more like a staged encounter. DGP J.V. Ramudu said 20 men of two teams from the task force were attacked with knives, sickles, axes and stones by some 200 woodcutters. “It was in self-defence that the combing party was forced to open fire,” the police chief said.

But all bodies had bullet wounds in the abdomen, face, chest and back of the neck. Some had burn marks on the arm, raising suspicions of torture. When attac¬ked and forced to open fire, policemen are expected to fire warning shots in the air and if that fails, to aim below the knees. The post-mortem team of five doctors at the Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia Government Hospital, however, said the men “were shot at close range”.
Continue reading ‘Andhra Pradesh Police Kill 20 Woodcutters from Tamil Nadu at Chittoor in Suspected Fake Encounter’ »

“Voice Against Corruption”to take Legal Action Through Courts in Singapore Against Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran.

Voice against Corruption is to file legal action against Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran in Singaporean High Courts on violation of emigration laws of that country, its Convener Wansantha Samarasinghe said.

Mr. Samarainghe told Daily Mirror that legal experts of Voice against Corruption are planning to file action against Mr. Mahendran in Singaporean Courts for violating that country’s emigration laws. “We decided on this action as Mr. Mehenadran is a Singaporean Citizen,” Mr. Samarasinghe said.

He said Mr. Mahendran had violated the Singaporean emigration laws by accepting the post of Central Bank Governor in Sri Lanka while obtaining permanent residency in Sri Lanka. Mr. Samarainnghe said no Singaporean citizen can obtain permanent residency in another country according to that country’s emigration laws.

Continue reading ‘“Voice Against Corruption”to take Legal Action Through Courts in Singapore Against Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran.’ »

President Sirisena and I as Prime Minister are Determined to Rebuild Sri lanka as a Free Society with the World’s Aid

By
Ranil Wickremesinghe

Winning a war or revolution, only to lose the subsequent peace, is one of the grim political truths of our time. In Iraq, a quick military victory over Saddam Hussein’s regime soon gave way to insurgency, civil war and the rise of the murderous Islamic State.

In Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, the hopes unleashed by the Arab Spring have similarly turned into an often-violent despair.

In Katharagama-facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

In Katharagama-facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

Today, a half-decade after the end of its 36-year civil war, Sri Lanka is at a crucial moment in its own efforts to consolidate peace and secure its long-term benefits. Newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena and I, as prime minister, are determined to win that peace, and to help our country become what it always should have been: a prosperous Asian island of democracy, civility and open society.
Continue reading ‘President Sirisena and I as Prime Minister are Determined to Rebuild Sri lanka as a Free Society with the World’s Aid’ »

Wild Donkeys of Kalpitiya Facing Extinction in an Environment of Accelerated Urbanization


Story and pix by Padma Kumari Kankanamge.

The wild donkeys of Kalpitiya may soon become extinct with the area getting urbanized fast.

Coming events cast their shadows...?

Coming events cast their shadows…?

With the sand dunes and the lagoon areas being taken over for industrial purposes, the favourite haunts of the wild donkeys are disappearing. Suddenly the animals which used to haul salt in the past are being seen as a hindrance to human development.

Deprived of the large plains they used to roam and fast expanding human habitat the animals have been left entrapped and confused.

Today they can be seen wandering into schools, cemeteries and the main roads -lost and miserable in a world they cannot understand.

Humans are corralling the donkeys out of their natural habitat

Humans are corralling the donkeys out of their natural habitat


Continue reading ‘Wild Donkeys of Kalpitiya Facing Extinction in an Environment of Accelerated Urbanization’ »

Tamil Nadu reverts to observing Tamil New Year from January to April

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Tamil New Year will once again be officially observed in Tamil Nadu in midApril instead of Thai Pongal day in midJanuary as being done now

~ Happy Tamil New Year Wishes ~ written in Tamil

Although Tamil new year had been observed in April by Thamizhians for centuries the DMK govt of M.Karunanidhi changed it officially in 2008
Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu reverts to observing Tamil New Year from January to April’ »

Over 5 MP’s Aligned to Mahinda Rajapaksa Planning to Switch Sides are now Engaged in Secret Talks with President Sirisena

By Rasika Somarathna

Over five Parliamentarians of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), who previously aligned themselves with the group supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, are now holding discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena’s associates to switch allegiance, highly placed political sources told the Daily News.

The group is likely to back President Sirisena, Chairman of the SLFP, ahead of the forthcoming Parliamentary election. These fresh negotiations also come in the wake of the Supreme Court’s determination on the 19th Amendment which clearly defined the powers of the President and the Prime Minister with the adoption of the constitutional amendment.

Continue reading ‘Over 5 MP’s Aligned to Mahinda Rajapaksa Planning to Switch Sides are now Engaged in Secret Talks with President Sirisena’ »

“Ground Water Around Chunnakam Power Station is Contaminated with Oil and Unsuitable for Drinking” -Rauff Hakeem in Parliament

By Gagani Weerakoon and Skandha Gunasekara

Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, Rauff Hakeem said in Parliament yesterday that a report compiled by the Ministry had revealed that… … ground water surrounding the Chunnakam power plant was contaminated with oil and was not suitable for drinking.

Responding to a question raised by leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) under Standing Order 23/3, Minister Hakeem said the report compiled by the experts’ committee appointed by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board had revealed that the ground water in the area surrounding the Chunnakam power plant was contaminated with oil and grease and therefore, was unsuitable for use or consumption.

MP Devananda pointed out that there was confusion among the people in the area regarding the issue as another report compiled by an experts’ committee appointed by the Jaffna Municipal Council has said that there was no contamination.

In response Minister Hakeem said that the two reports were conducted separately and that the methods used were different from each other.

“I cannot comment on the contents of these two reports till they have been published. However, there were two separate methods used in analysing ground water in the Chunnakam area. The PS appointed expert committee used a process known as the btex method. Meanwhile, the experts’ committee appointed by the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage Board used the Hydrocarbon analysis method” the minister said.

He went on to say that a total of 150 wells were tested by the committee appointed by the Ministry. Of these, 109 wells (73%) showed higher levels of oil and grease than the standard amount while 7 wells (4%) had oil levels under the limit and 34 wells (23%) were not contaminated.

Continue reading ‘“Ground Water Around Chunnakam Power Station is Contaminated with Oil and Unsuitable for Drinking” -Rauff Hakeem in Parliament’ »

How ITAK Leader SJV Chelvanayagam and ACTC Leader GG Ponnambalam Competed to Welcome Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake to Jaffna in 1967

By Janaka Perera

Former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake passed away 42 years ago on April 13, the day prior to the Sinhala-Tamil New Year Day. Whatever the mistakes he may have made, he was one of the very few national leaders who did not use his position to amass personal wealth or abuse power.

z_p06-How-Jaffna.jpgThis article is however not so much about his political career but events relating to his historic Jaffna visit as Prime Minister in 1967 – the first such official visit by a Sri Lankan head of state, reflecting the communal harmony that prevailed at the time.

Under his administration numerous goodwill visits were exchanged between the North and the South seemingly restoring the Sinhala-Tamil amity that existed prior to 1955.

The then Government Agent Jaffna Vernon Abeysekera and Superintendent of Police Ramachandra Sunderalingam were in charge of the arrangements for the visit. But they ran into protocol problems over the planned reception at the Palaly airport to welcome the Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘How ITAK Leader SJV Chelvanayagam and ACTC Leader GG Ponnambalam Competed to Welcome Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake to Jaffna in 1967’ »

Honourable Leaders Like Dudley Senanayake are Needed in Sri Lankan Politics Today.

By

Charnika Imbulana

In 1952, he was forty years of age, the Minister of Agriculture in the first cabinet of the newly gained dominion state of Ceylon. Destiny perhaps groomed him, to shoulder the power, the huge responsibility so unexpectedly thrust on him, of leading the country and its people in deep mourning at the very time period he himself was to face, as he would disclose later to his closest confidants, the saddest time of his life. His father, the father of the nation had died.

dudleys1

On 26th March 1952, just four days, subsequent to the untimely tragic death of the first Prime Minister of Ceylon, Stephen Senanayake, his son, Dudley Senanayake was the chosen one, by the then Governor-General Lord Soulbury, over Dudley’s cousin, Sir John Kotelawala, to be the second Prime Minister of Ceylon.

Born on 19 June 1911 to Molly Dunuwila and Don Stephen Senanayake, was the eldest of their children, two sons and a daughter. Dudley was identified as the mischievous one. Both Dudley and his brother, Robert received their secondary education at the prestigious S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia where their illustrious father D.S. Senanayake also studied from 1892 to 1902 where he excelled in his studies and sports.

The famous father and the sons played cricket for S. Thomas’ College, with distinction. Dudley became the Head Prefect, captained the college team at cricket at the famous Royal-Thomian encounter and gained colours in Hockey, Boxing and Athletics. Established as an all-rounder, Senanayake gained entrance to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and University of Cambridge, to read for Natural Science Tripos and later was admitted to Middle Temple as a Barrister.

Continue reading ‘Honourable Leaders Like Dudley Senanayake are Needed in Sri Lankan Politics Today.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Leader who can Bring about Genuine Reconciliation Between the Majority and Minority Communities.


By Rohana R. Wasala

Then the liars and swearers are fools,

For there are liars and swearers enow to beat

The honest men and hang up them

- Son to Lady Macduff in Shakespeare’s Macbeth Act IV Scene II

With the January presidential election, we have been pushed, for good or bad, to the most decisive moment in the political history of this country since 1948. The end of British colonial rule in that year, the ‘revolution’ of 1956, the promulgation of the republican constitution of 1972, the establishment of the executive presidency and the introduction of the open market economic system in 1978, the unavoidable suppression of two armed attempts at a Marxist revolution (which did not enjoy popular support) in 1971 and 1987-89, and the defeat of separatist terrorism in 2009 were also critical moments. These earlier important watershed moments were arrived at by the people of Sri Lanka through the assertion of their national sovereignty. Today, we are being led by the nose towards an uncertain future by the powers that be.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated that the present Government must realise that ensuring security of the nation is imperative for all communities to go on with their day-to-day lives. He made these comments during a discussion with Pradeshiya Sabha members from Trincomalee and Vavuniya who came to meet him in Colombo recently. They spoke of the difficulties that Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities in the regions are currently facing.-Pic via: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated that the present Government must realise that ensuring security of the nation is imperative for all communities to go on with their day-to-day lives. He made these comments during a discussion with Pradeshiya Sabha members from Trincomalee and Vavuniya who came to meet him in Colombo recently. They spoke of the difficulties that Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities in the regions are currently facing.-Pic via: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

This is not a normal time for Sri Lanka. It is, in fact, a ‘nonagathe’ (non-auspicious) period. Blooded by initial success the enemies of the nation are stalking their quarry further ever so confidently. Some among us, willingly or unwillingly, are more amenable to their encroachment on the sovereign rights of the people of this country than others. In this background, it was confidently claimed by Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former secretary to the Ministry of Defence, that foreign intelligence agencies were behind the ouster of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa (The Island/March 18), and Gotabhaya’s pronouncements should not be taken lightly, for he is known to speak frankly and he never minces his words.
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Leader who can Bring about Genuine Reconciliation Between the Majority and Minority Communities.’ »

Maithripala Ready to Talk to Mahinda Along with Other MP’s to Iron out Differences but rules out one to one meeting .

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maithripala Sirisena has offered to meet his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as dissenting SLFP parliamentarians shortly to iron out differences, according to SLFP sources.

pic via: & facebook.com/maithripalas

pic via: & facebook.com/maithripalas

President Sirisena has said the issues should be discussed among members of the parliamentary group with the participation of the former SLFP leader. The President was responding to a request by MP Kumar Welgama and MP T. B. Ekanayake for one-on-one between Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa.

SLFP sources said that President Maithripala Sirisena had explained that current contentious issues couldn’t be resolved through him having secret talks with his predecessor. The President had called for an open dialogue, sources said.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Ready to Talk to Mahinda Along with Other MP’s to Iron out Differences but rules out one to one meeting .’ »

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha M.P. Describes the Govt he Helped to be Elected for Reform as one of “Mess and Chaos Lacking Transparency”

By Saman Indrajith

Government which came to power promising to adopt a scientific basis to appoint a cabinet of ministers instead made an alphabetical soup in doing so, leader of the Liberal Party Prof Rajiva Wijesinha told Parliament last week.

Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P  ~ pic courtesy of YATV

Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P ~ pic courtesy of YATV

Participating in a debate on a resolution under the Local Treasury Bills Ordinance moved in Parliament to get approval for a sum of Rs 400 billion to be borrowed by the Government by issuing Treasury Bills, Prof Wijesinha said: “We promised a Cabinet determined on a scientific basis, but instead we combined Fisheries with District Secretariats, Highways with Higher Education, Economic Affairs with Cultural Affairs and Children and Youth. Finally the Cabinet was an alphabetical soup. And then we change things round, but fail to allocate responsibilities to Ministers for over a fortnight. How can you ask Parliament to allow you to raise even more money, when no one has any idea who will be responsible for expenditure and for productive outcomes?” he asked.

Delivering his first speech as a member of the opposition he said that time had come for the people to decide the future of incumbent administration which was a mess and chaos that act against the principles of transparency. “It is with great sadness that I speak today, for the first time as a Member of the Opposition. Last year I recall a member of the Government saying in a Committee that there was no need for an Opposition when members like me were present. He was being critical, but I am proud of my constant quest for reform, in line with the basic principles of Liberalism.

Continue reading ‘Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha M.P. Describes the Govt he Helped to be Elected for Reform as one of “Mess and Chaos Lacking Transparency”’ »

“I Would have Failed as a Father if my Sons Grew up to be like Australian Cricketers David Warner or Mitchell Johnson”

BY JONNY GILLING

To Brendon McCullum, the Black Caps and their coaching staff, I want to say thank you.

DW MJ

My wife and I moved from New Zealand to Africa just under three years ago to be the directors of an orphanage. While it was never our plan (my idea was to devote several years to something good and then come home and get on with my own life plan), because of the need where we are, we ended up taking a baby into our home.

Over 14 months, one became three, three became four and four became five. We now have five sons – two toddlers and three teenagers and for the next decade or two we will call this red earth home.

Prior to being our sons, none of them had ever seen a game of cricket let alone understood what an LBW was. They had never held a cricket ball or bat in their hands or tried to, “throw the ball all funny”. You would call this bowling.

As the World Cup has played out, my eldest sons and I have gathered around a computer screen and watched some rather fuzzy images of games together. They now understand the game, kind of.
Continue reading ‘“I Would have Failed as a Father if my Sons Grew up to be like Australian Cricketers David Warner or Mitchell Johnson”’ »