Scintillating Sri Lankan Actress Jacqueline Fernandez Is Sparkling Jewel of Hindi Cinema

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘Spotlight’ shines again after many weeks to focus on a luminous Sri Lankan star of Sri Lanka who has been illuminating the Hindi cinematic firmament for several years. A beauty queen turned film actress who possesses a flair for promoting culinary commerce as well as retaining a penchant for espousing social and humanitarian causes.

An attractive personality who remains rooted to Sri Lanka despite flying high as a successful film star with millions of fans in India and all over the world. Jacqueline Fernandez is Sri Lanka’s most charming unofficial ambassador to India in recent times and the lovely lady has proved to be a credit to the island nation by winning the hearts and minds of millions there.
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DK-DMK Dravidian Movement Split in India and the Decline of Tamil Separatism

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

India gained freedom from Britain at midnight on August 15th 1947. At the time of Indian independence there was a separatist movement in South India spearheaded by the “Dravidar Kazhagham” (DK) or Dravidian association led by E.V.Ramaswamy Naicker popularly known as “Periyar”(Great Person). As stated in an earlier article the DK demand was for a separate state in South India comprising areas where the Dravidian languages Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Tulu were pre-dominantly spoken. The envisaged state was called “Dravida Nadu”(Dravidian state).

Although the agitation for a Dravida Nadu had been conducted intermittently from 1940 onwards the chances of Britain partitioning South India too and creating a “Dravidastan/Dravida Nadu” on the lines of the proposed Pakistan were extremely remote. India was on the verge of Independence from the British in 1946/47 but Dravida Nadu was not on the agenda. As political stakes were raised and India/Pakistan partition became inevitable the question of Dravida Nadu was totally eclipsed.
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Muslim Congress Founder MHM Ashraff’s Only Son Aman Ashraff Speaks Out Against SLMC Leadership

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Aman Ahamed Ashraff is the only son of legendary Muslim Congress leader the late Mr. MHM Ashraff and Ms. Ferial Ashraff who was Sri Lanka’s first Muslim woman cabinet minister. In spite of this family background 36 year old Aman Ashraff who is the executive creative director of Ashraff Associates (pvt) Ltd has kept aloof from politics so far. However there has been in recent times much speculation among Muslim political circles about the possibility of Aman Ashraff entering the sphere of active politics. There are rising expectations within the community particularly in the East that “Thalaiver” (leader)Ashraff’s scion should emulate his father and don the mantle of Muslim leadership soon.In a bid to clarify Mr.Aman Ashraff’s position on this and also to elicit his views on contemporary political issues the “Daily Mirror” obtained this exclusive interview by way of telephone conversations and electronic mail exchanges.

The interview ranged on a number of matters relating to Sri Lanka in general and Muslim politics in particular. Mr. Ashraff was frank and forthcoming in his replies and articulated his views on the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress with refreshing candour. Aman spoke of how he and his mother were ejected from the SLMC within a week of his father’s death. He was also critical of the current Muslim Congress leadership without specifically mentioning names. The SLMC co-founder’s son opined that the party had deteriorated to a very great extent and that there was no hope of resurrecting the SLMC. He also said that the current need was not community oriented parties but a pluralistic party voicing the aspirations of all Sri Lankans.Though critical , Aman Ashraff refrained from discussing the personalities concerned or disclosing the knitty-gritty details of the disputes involved.
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‘Kaanaa Inbam Kaninthathaeno’ – Splendid “Singing in the Rain” Song ♫

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs – 7

I love rain!

One of the things I loved to do as a boy and even as a young adult was to get soaking wet in the rain. If it started raining while I was on my way home from school I simply got wet instead of taking shelter. Fortunately I had loving parents who understood this as well as my other quirks. My mother even let me bathe in the rain at times if it showered heavily.

Sabash Meena SR

I would dance about happily as the raindrops fell on me. I would splash about in the puddles caused by the torrential downpour. Sometimes I would even sing in the rain. When we were small children the elder of my two younger sisters was also allowed to join me in the rain at times. My younger brother was not permitted a rain bath as he had asthma. My youngest sister was too small for a rain bath. Our neighbours would look on aghast at this unconventional spectacle of myself and my sister merrily bathing in the rain. The kids in the neighbourhood would watch us enviously as we enjoyed ourselves.Of course if there was thunder and lightning I/we would be summoned inside immediately.

Continue reading ‘‘Kaanaa Inbam Kaninthathaeno’ – Splendid “Singing in the Rain” Song ♫’ »

Tamil Secessionism and the “Dravida Nadu” (Dravida State) Demand in India

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Tamil secessionism in the island of Sri Lanka came to an effective end in May 2009 when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)Organization was militarily defeated by the Armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka. Interestingly enough our big neighbour India which has a Tamil speaking population of over 60 million people too faced a Tamil separatist challenge several decades ago. Although secessionism flourished at one time in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu – formerly known as Madras – it was confined within limits of democratic dissent and never transformed into a bitter armed struggle as it did in Sri Lanka.

Besides there was an element of ambiguity about it as Tamil separatism was articulated more in the form of a separate state demand for the Dravidian people of India as opposed to a separate state for the Tamil people of India. Also the caste factor played an important role in separatist tendencies taking root among the Tamils of India. However the rise and fall of Tamil secessionism in India provides an illuminating example of how a secessionist steam locomotive could run out of steam or be made to run out of steam through an acceptable course of democratic politics instead of resorting to brutal armed repression.
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♥ “Singara Velanae Deva”- S.Janaki’s Superb Solo with Nadaswaram Accompaniment ♫

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs – 6

Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki is widely praised as the “Nightingale of the South” .In a splendid career spanning over fifty years Janaki has sung over 20,000 songs for films made in 16 different languages.The Southern nightingale has won four national awards and 31 state govt awards in India during her illustrious career.

Gemini Ganesan & Savithri ~ “Konjum Salangai” (kissing anklets) in Technicolour

Gemini Ganesan & Savithri ~ “Konjum Salangai” (kissing anklets) in Technicolour

The solo which catapulted Janaki to fame overnight was in the film “Konjum Salangai” released in January1962. Although she had no formal training in carnatic or Hindustani music Janaki rendered the classical”Singara Velanae Deva”song magnificiently.She reached the upper octaves admirably for the soulful song based on the carnatic raga Abheri. In Hindustani music the raga Bhimpalasi is said to resemble Abheri closely.
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Amendments to Code of Criminal Procedure Act Undermines Right of Prompt Access To Legal Counsel for Suspects In Police Custody

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Amidst the routine ‘celebrating’ of annual International Human Rights Day, a Bill to amend Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (CPC) on the vexed question of giving suspects in police custody the right of prompt access to legal counsel gazetted in mid-November, quietly escaped scrutiny.

A sorry trajectory of bad amendments

Ironically, if these proposed amendments had been brought by the former Rajapaksa administration, they would have given rise to a storm of protests amidst muttered and dark warnings of the Rule of Law at risk. Rather than actually secure a most important and basic right of access to legal counsel for those most vulnerable, the amendments actually undermine the right. At each and every point in the trajectory of the successive amendments on this issue from 2016, the privilege afforded to the police is sought to be entrenched. This time around, it is the same.

Late last year, the Government proposed an amendment to the CPC, along with a badly crafted Counter-Terror draft law, which gave suspects in police custody the right to independent legal counsel only after the police interrogations were completed and statements recorded.

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Shreen Abdul Saroor: Passionate Crusader For Women’s Rights Receives International Recognition


By Purnima Pilapitiya

(Shreen Abdul Saroor Received the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law On December 11th 2017 as one of 15 Winners from Around the World)

Shreen Abdul Saroor comes from a ‘sporty’ family. Growing up in Mannar, the daughter of a teacher-father, she was exposed to as many sports as possible from martial arts to weight lifting (admitting to being muscular despite her petite frame). But it was in the 100m race that she found her main event.

Her descriptive picture of an active young girl who was anything but quiet fits neatly with the passionate activist she is today. On December 11, Shreen received the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law as one of 15 winners from around the world. Shreen’s work in women’s rights in the Muslim and Tamil communities has been globally recognised with accolades such as the Voices of Courage award by the International Rescue Committee’s Women and Refugees’ Commission and in 2011 the 5th International Bremen Peace Award under the category of public engagement for peace and justice in Germany. But for Shreen, her work in women’s rights and empowerment is a reflection of the experiences and challenges faced by her and her community which sparked a passion for justice and empowerment within her from a young age.

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In what kind of land do we remove the heroes and persecute them, while elevating to power irresponsible, unconscionable evil men and women?

By

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wants to appoint a Commission into the issuance of bonds by the Central Bank during the second Rajapaksa term, when Ajith Nivard Cabral was the Chairman. Good. Excellent, in fact. I have a bigger matter into which I suggest he institutes an inquiry. It is about a wicked, unconscionable man who holds high public office, who could have pre-empted the death, disabling and suffering of tens of thousands by a single act—an act he did not have to commit, but only to permit or not prevent.

Anyone who fails to prevent suffering and cruel death of a single innocent person when he can, is a criminal and an evil human being. Anyone who can end or shorten a long, bloody rampage and the slaughter of innocents by a monster, by permitting its decapitation, is an irresponsible human being.

Here is the evidence, and not from a Sinhala ultranationalist or a Sinhalese at all but from a former lecturer at Sandhurst, perhaps the world’s most prestigious military academy:

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After Failing to Reach Polls Agreement as Unified SLFP With Mahinda Rajapaksa Support Faction, an Irate President Sirisena Declares War on the SLPP

By The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

Personal initiatives by President Maithripala Sirisena to re-unify the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) ahead of the local polls have all ended in failure.

Now, he has declared political war on the rival faction for repeatedly snubbing his overtures. Sirisena told his ministers and other SLFP stalwarts this week he would nominate a person for each electorate to monitor the activities of the rival group. Their tasks include gathering audio and video evidence of those taking part in the ‘Joint Opposition’ campaign on behalf of the Sri Lanka Podujana (People’s) Party (SLPP). At the same time Sirisena also declared that other than attending weekly Cabinet meetings, his priority in the coming weeks would be to take part in every district level meeting for the local polls. He will address 22 meetings countrywide.

Several nomination lists were rejected for the elections to 93 local councils. One of the major rejections was the Sri Lanka Podujana Pakshaya (SLPP) list for Maharagama, a stronghold of ‘JO” and MEP leader Dinesh Goonewardene. Pic by Indika Handuwala

In the wake of his inability to reunite with the rival faction of the SLFP, a fuller involvement in the campaign has become imperative for him. Though his rationale is based on the premise that every candidate has been named by him and he had to therefore to back them to the fullest, there are even more important reasons. He is conscious of the impact of the polls’ outcome on the Presidency and the need for his party to perform equally well if not better than his coalition partner, the United National Party (UNP).

The move to deal with SLFP dissidents is a prelude to initiating disciplinary inquiries prior to expulsion from the SLFP. Whether he could face the fallout of such a mass scale expulsion remains a critical question and he has threatened to do this many times before, but Sirisena is quite clearly piqued by the snub at the hands of leaders of the rival group. It was only last week, as revealed exclusively in these columns, that he spoke on the telephone with Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) chief strategist Basil Rajapaksa, seemingly on his own initiative. This was after Ven. Medagoda Abeytissa Thera, the chief incumbent of the Sunethra Devi Pirivena in Kohuwala and one of the many emissaries, took a call and handed over the mobile phone to Sirisena. It was one final throw of the dice. “That is now over. There are larger sections of the public who expect our party to give voice to their concerns and highlight their grievances. They are looking to us in confidence,” Basil Rajapaksa told the Sunday Times this week He had confided in a close friend that Sirisena spoke to him after four and half years, which meant they were not on talking terms even when they were ministers in the Mahinda Rajapaksa cabinet. Strange enough Sirisena was General Secretary of the SLFP and Rajapaksa the National Organiser of the same party.

Continue reading ‘After Failing to Reach Polls Agreement as Unified SLFP With Mahinda Rajapaksa Support Faction, an Irate President Sirisena Declares War on the SLPP’ »

Performance of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) at Local Govt Polls Will Determine the Ciurse of Politics in Sri Lanka

By

C.A.Chandraprema

It would not be incorrect to say that that this local government election is all about the Sri Lanka Podujana Party and very little else. Everyone is waiting to see how the SLPP performs as that will define the future of Sri Lankan politics. One may say that that the party that had the most difficult time in finalizing nominations was also the SLPP because of its numerous partners. The UNP would have had an even more difficult time but they seem to have managed to avoid that by dropping some potential partners. It appears as if the parties led by Mano Ganesan and Rishard Baithiudeen will not be a part of the grand coalition under the UNP as envisaged earlier. At the last parliamentary election in August 2015, the SLMC, ACMC, DPF, NUW and UCPF all contested together in one list under the UNP but that does not seem to be possible at this election and two or three of these partners have decided to go their own way.

The SLPP however is in no position to drop any partners. The political parties that make up the Joint Opposition are in fact one for all practical purposes and for any of the partners to drop out will be unthinkable. After the defeat of 8 January 2015, it was leaders like Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Wimal Weerawansa who fired the first salvos in the reorganization beginning with the famous Nugegoda rally that led to the formation of the Joint Opposition under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership. There was never any doubt that the vast majority of the Joint Opposition rank and file was made up of members of the SLFP but the leaders of the minor parties were in fact a major driving force in the coalition; so much so that it is now a fiction to say that these are separate entities. They are not separate on the ground yet there are multiple command structures within the Joint Opposition. So the effect seen at nomination time was that of a sack full of cats. The beseiged Battaramulla headquarters of the SLPP was more akin to a raucous fish market than a party headquarters after the election was declared with party activists demanding nomination.

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Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Govt Is Becoming the Oppositie of what it Promised to be and has Forgotten Why it was Elected.



by Tisaranee Gunasekara


……….there is such a thing as suicide.

“Aldous Huxley(Texts and Pretexts)

“Does a nation remember and forget in much the same way as an individual does?” Kazuo Ishiguro wondered in his Nobel Lecturei. As the third year of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration draws to a close, the question cannot but arise: does a government remember and forget as an individual does? Does this Government?

Does it remember the time before it was the government, when it was the Joint Opposition facing the might of the Rajapaksa juggernaut? Does it remember how the hopes and the dreams of 6.2 million Lankans carried it to an incredible victory? Does it remember what it was proclaiming and promising, what it was pledging to do and pledging not to do, this time three years ago?

Or has the government forgotten? Has it forgotten its past, our past, the country’s past and the Rajapaksa past? Has it forgotten the struggle which defeated the Rajapaksas and the popular aspirations which animated that struggle? Has it forgotten that ‘good governance’ is not a catchy slogan or a label, but a description of the pledge it gave to the people and of the mandate it received from the people?

In 2015, a majority of Lankans voted to make a clear break with the past. They voted not to replace one government of deplorables with another government of deplorables. They voted not just for a change of faces, not just for change for change’s sake, but for a change for the better. After almost a decade of Rajapaksa misrule, there was a yearning for a different type of politics, and a different kind of politician, for a government which was at least halfway honest, halfway decent, halfway just, a government capable of righting the wrongs of the past rather than adding to them.

The presidential election provided the last best chance to defeat the Rajapaksa familial autocracy, electorally, and to return Sri Lanka to the path of democracy. Had that opportunity been missed, Sri Lanka would have gone where Zimbabwe went. The uniqueness of that moment alone can explain the uniqueness of the outcome. Hitherto unbridgeable divides were bridged. Alliances never before envisaged were forged. And hope was born, in millions of hearts, of a future which was not just different but also better.

But as the third year of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration draws to a close, those hopes are mostly in tatters.

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Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Telephoned Navy Commander and Got Navy Personnel Released To Provide Labour For Constructig DA Rajapaksa Memorial in Medamulana.

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Attorney General yesterday informed the Court of Appeal that there has been no written or oral contracts entered into by the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation and the D.A. Rajapaksa Foundation for the construction of the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum and Memorial in Medamulana.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne appearing on behalf of the Attorney General said the then Navy Commander had given a statement stating that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa by a telephone call requested him to release Navy personnel to provide labour.

“There is no contract in writing. There is not even a verbal contract. Therefore, there is no undertaking to pay back the funds,” Dayaratne said.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Telephoned Navy Commander and Got Navy Personnel Released To Provide Labour For Constructig DA Rajapaksa Memorial in Medamulana.’ »

Russia Suspends Import of all Agricultural Products From Sri Lanka Due to a “Khapra Beetle”Insect Being Found in a Tea Package.

Russia has temporarily restricted the import of all Sri Lankan agricultural products, including tea.

This is after an alleged detection of a beetle in the packaging on one consignment of tea from the island. The restriction, announced by Russian agricultural safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, will go into effect on December 18.

Reached for comment, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said, “This is a matter of serious concern for the authorities in Sri Lanka, and the relevant local stakeholders and Russian authorities are being consulted with a view to address the issue.”

In a press release, the Sri Lanka Tea Board expressed doubt that the beetle, of the Khapra subspecies, assuredly came from Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Russia Suspends Import of all Agricultural Products From Sri Lanka Due to a “Khapra Beetle”Insect Being Found in a Tea Package.’ »

Wild Life and Nature Protection Society Demonstrates Successfully in Colombo Demanding Wilpattu National Park Be Preserved From Defilement by Ministers Kiriella,Bathiudeen and Range Bandara.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

An important shift of politics from elections to the protection of nature was seen in this week’s Wild Life and Nature Protection Society (WPNS) organised protest at Vihara Maha Devi Park moving to the UN Office in Colombo, which drew considerable public support, showing a growing public interest in a crisis mounting in and near the Wilpattu National Park.

The speakers at Vihara Maha Devi Park raised urgent concerns about the increasing annexation of land from the largest national park in the country, and its boundary areas that also need protection, for the settling of hundreds of families. The efforts made by those carrying out these settlements to make the protests against the anti-nature and anti-environmental moves a to be anti-race and religion, were completely rejected and effectively criticized by the speakers who explained the huge damage done to the National Park, which needs protection as a national asset in the context of nature and the environment.

Continue reading ‘Wild Life and Nature Protection Society Demonstrates Successfully in Colombo Demanding Wilpattu National Park Be Preserved From Defilement by Ministers Kiriella,Bathiudeen and Range Bandara.’ »

UN Expert Team Faults Sri Lankan Law Enforcement Authorities for Continuing With Arbitrary Detention and Practising Torture

Torture and arbitrary detention were still being practised by Sri Lankan law enforcement authorities while unjustified delays in court cases meant delayed justice, a United Nations expert team has said.

“The right to personal liberty has yet to be respected by law enforcement, security forces, judicial and other authorities,” the experts said in a statement, after a three-member delegation carried out an official visit to the country.

They said that current powers to deprive individuals of their liberty extended across a range of facilities, including police stations, prisons, open work camps, centres for juveniles and the elderly, mental health institutions and rehabilitation camps for former combatants, as well as those for drug addicts and people in vulnerable situations.

The experts called for urgent reforms to address problems including the excessive use of remand, a lack of effective alternatives to detention, an outdated legal framework and reliance on confessions, often extracted under torture or duress.

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Sri Lankan Trade Unions Betray 5000 Railway Workers By Calling Off Seven Day National Strike


By W.A. Sunil

Sri Lankan union leaders shut down a seven-day national strike by 5,000 rail workers on Wednesday after a government-appointed Cabinet Sub-Committee made a vague promise that “recommendations” on workers’ demands would be submitted to the cabinet and resolved within two months.

Announcing an end to the walkout, Locomotive Engineers Union (LEU) general secretary Indika Dodangoda claimed that union talks with the sub-committee were “successful.” He provided no concrete details about the talks or so-called recommendations which will resolve nothing for rail workers.

The shameless betrayal was in response to the strikers’ determination to defy threatened mass sackings, criminal charges and strike-breaking activities under Sri Lanka’s repressive Essential Service act. Above all, the unions feared that the strike, which posed a direct challenge to the government’s austerity policies, would draw in other sections of the working class.

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The Games Politicians Play For The Local Government Elections

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Political parties are busy filing nominations to contest local government electionsscheduled for early 2018. As many political analysts have observed, the elections, postponed for more than two and a half years, have aroused the same interest as that of a general election.The interest is understandable given that it would be a litmus test to both the government’s standing and the new electoral system being tried out.

This is the first nationwide elections after the 2015 parliamentary elections. This will also be the first instance where the Election Commission will be trying out the hybrid of a first-past-the-post system and proportional representation system. And there is no gainsaying that this will also be an election that will test the popularity of the National Unity Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the South and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the North and East.

Interestingly, the election will also be an opportunity for other parties and their leaders to test their public appeal in terms of performance, specifically in respect of safeguarding the interest of the constituents.

Local government elections often take the semblance of a referendum on the policies and activities of the main political forces of the country. In the context of the unity government, this reality places greater significance on the upcoming local polls.

It is also worth noting that there are clear signs of new political alignments among the majority community in the South and among the Tamils and Muslims in the North and East.

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People are only too well Aware of the Fate that has Befallen this Country After the UNP-SLFP Coalition Government Took Office.

By

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Nominations have now been accepted for the local government elections which had been delayed by nearly three years due to the government’s fear of the voting public. Even though a local government election is not an election at which political power changes hands, this election is of special significance because this is the first time the people will have an opportunity to use the ballot to demonstrate their opposition to the present government. The only election held previously under the so called yahapalana government was the parliamentary election of August 2015.

The president ensured the victory of the UNP at that election through stratagems such as issuing public statements to destablise the UPFA election campaign and by sacking the general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA on the eve of the poll. Thereby the message that was conveyed to the whole country was that since it is the President who calls the shots, the UNP will ultimately end up triumphant even if they lose the election.

That was the manner in which the present leader of the SLFP ensured the victory of the UNP at the last parliamentary election. This is why the Joint Opposition is contesting this local government election under a different symbol and a different political alliance. The objective of the Joint Opposition is to provide all those opposed to this government with a political alternative. Even though the SLFP group in the government makes various criticisms against the UNP, they serve in the same Cabinet and cooperate in all matters necessary to keep the coalition government going. SLFP ministers vote every year for the UNP’s Budget.

The whole country saw the manner in which the SLFP group in the government voted in favour of the 2018 Budget just days ago. We see the two sides cooperating with one another in selling off our national assets as well. When the UNP minister of ports and shipping objected to the Hambantota port deal, the President removed him and appointed an SLFP minister to that position to push through the unfavourable deal entered into by the UNP. When the Hambantota Port was handed over to the foreign company recently, the whole country saw how the SLFP ministers present applauded as the UNP Prime Minister hugged the cheque for 292 million USD.

Continue reading ‘People are only too well Aware of the Fate that has Befallen this Country After the UNP-SLFP Coalition Government Took Office.’ »

Bodu Bala Sena Secretary General Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero Meets Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for Discussions.

By

Chaturanga Pradeep

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera today met Colombo’s Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to appreciate measures taken by him to stop private classes on Sundays and Poya Days.

He also thanked the Cardinal for standing up against discreet measures taken to make men and women infertile.

Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Secretary General Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero Meets Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for Discussions.’ »

Wimal Weerawansa May Be Pushed To Exploit “Nationalist” Sentiments More In Order To Overcome Current Challenges and Survive Politically.

By
M.S.M.Ayub

Even being a strong loyalist of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa has unusually taken a backseat at a time when his boss and mentor is going to face an election, the results of which might turn out to be a trendsetter.

The reason is very clear. His party is facing a crisis situation as three key leaders of his party have defected to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by President Maithripala Sirisena and another one seems to follow suit.

Deputy leader of the NFF Weerakumara Dissanayake, National Organiser Piyasiri Wijenayake and Eastern Province leader and former Parliamentarian Jayantha Wijesekara have already obtained the membership of the SLFP from President Sirisena last week, while PriyanjithVitharana has resigned as NFF General Secretary as well as a member of the party.

Although Vitharana cited health reasons for his resignation from the party and the post of General Secretary, he had attributed his decision to political reasons, while speaking to media over the weekend.

He has not revealed what his future political course of action would be, but he too might follow the other defectors, given the line of thinking of the four.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa May Be Pushed To Exploit “Nationalist” Sentiments More In Order To Overcome Current Challenges and Survive Politically.’ »

President Sirisena Unilaterally Changes Secretaries of Six Ministries Including Justice and Law and Order Without Consulting the respective Cabinet Ministers

President Maithripala Sirisena stirred up a hornet’s nest yesterday when he changed the Secretaries of social ministries without consulting line ministers.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Recourses, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Urban Planning and Water Supply, the Ministry of Law and Order, the Ministry of Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Special Assignments have got new Secretaries.

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China Will Gain Backdoor Entry to Indian Market Through Its Free Trade Agreements With Maldives and Sri Lanka and Flood South India With Chinese Goods

By

Colonel R Hariharan

China gaining operational of the port marks yet another strategic milestone in furthering President Xi Jinping’s ambitious 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The Chinese control of port infrastructure assets already acquired in Gwadar in Pakistan and Djibouti (Horn of Africa) has strengthened its position in the Indian Ocean.

India’s inability to respond in time to arrest China’s growing power in Sri Lanka, particularly after President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ascent, is the flip side of the tale. During the Eelam war, India could not meet Sri Lanka’s request for supply of arms due to strong opposition from Tamil Nadu, and China stepped into meet the demands.

Hambantota is not the only strategically important infrastructure projects to be completed with Chinese aid. Other projects include the Colombo carrier terminal expansion and the Colombo reclamation project overlooking Colombo port, a vital hub of India’s shipping.

In 2006, I availed an invitation to meet Rajapaksa on issues affecting Sri Lanka. When I had asked him why he offered the Hambantota project to China instead of India, he laughed and said that he had invited India first. When India didn’t respond for nearly a year, he approached China. I learnt later that India did not respond as the project was not economically viable.

Continue reading ‘China Will Gain Backdoor Entry to Indian Market Through Its Free Trade Agreements With Maldives and Sri Lanka and Flood South India With Chinese Goods’ »

Six Sri Lankan Airlines Trade Unions Want Chairman, CEO and Board of Management Removed From National Carrier in Re-structuring

Sri Lankan employees have unanimously voiced concern about mismanagement at the national carrier and asked the authorities to sack the entire board and their chief executive officer to save the debt-ridden carrier.

In an unusually blunt letter to their Chairman Ajith Dias, six unions said he had failed to revive the airline and worse still he was presiding over its rapid decline.

The unions were responding to a recent letter Dias had written to his 7,000 employees warning them that the carrier faced imminent closure unless they found an equity partner or managed to carry out a thorough restructuring.

Continue reading ‘Six Sri Lankan Airlines Trade Unions Want Chairman, CEO and Board of Management Removed From National Carrier in Re-structuring’ »

Railway Trade Unions Call Off Week Long Strike After Discussions With Cabinet Sub – Committee Appointed By President Sirisena


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Railways trade unions have called off their week long strike yesterday (13) following a discussion with the Cabinet sub-committee appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Railway Drivers’ Union Secretary Indika Dodangoda told The Island that the railway workers regretted inconvenience caused to commuters.

The four-member Cabinet sub-committee was tasked with looking into the demands of the railway strikers on Tuesday. It comprised Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Public

Continue reading ‘Railway Trade Unions Call Off Week Long Strike After Discussions With Cabinet Sub – Committee Appointed By President Sirisena’ »

“Mata Den Kathaa Karanne Naa Neh. Kathakaranna Beri Ai?(you don’t talk to me now. Why can’t you talk?):President Sirisena Telephones Basil Rajapaksa to “Join Hands for Contesting Local Polls”.

By

“Sunday Times” Political Editor

One evening early this week, Basil Rajapaksa, a key player in the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), was en route to his home in Battaramulla after attending a meeting in Dehiwala. He had reached the Kohuwala junction when his mobile phone rang.As an aide explained, he was in his Land Cruiser with others including a media person. He was reluctant to answer. When it rang non-stop, he responded though he was not sure who the caller was.

It turned out to be Venerable Medagoda Abeytissa Thera, the chief incumbent of the Sunethra Devi Pirivena also at Kohuwala. A close associate of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the monk has been in the forefront to re-unify the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

“Kohomada apey veda piliwela issarahata geniyanney” or how do we take forward our programme of work, he asked Basil Rajapaksa. Even before the former Economic Development Minister could respond, the prelate declared “Obathumawa danna ekkenek innava” or there is someone who knows you. Soon another voice took over.

It was President Maithripala Sirisena. “Mata den kathaa karanne naa neh. Kathakaranna beri ai? or you don’t talk to me now. Why can’t you talk? he asked Basil Rajapaksa.

Then a lengthy conversation ensued.

Continue reading ‘“Mata Den Kathaa Karanne Naa Neh. Kathakaranna Beri Ai?(you don’t talk to me now. Why can’t you talk?):President Sirisena Telephones Basil Rajapaksa to “Join Hands for Contesting Local Polls”.’ »

President Sirisena Engineers Defections Of Opposition MP’s and Provincial Councillors To Govt From National Freedom Front (NFF) and Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP)

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Deputy Leader of the breakaway JVP faction National Freedom Front (NFF) parliamentarian Weerakumara Dissanayake yesterday received SLFP membership from President and SLFP leader Maithripala Sirisena.

Former MP and Chairman of NFF Piyasiri Wijenayake and North Central Province PC member P. B. Kumara, too, received SLFP membership.

Anuradhapura District MP Dissanayake switched his allegiance to President Sirisena close on the heels of another UPFA MP Sriyani Wijewickrema belonging to Mahajana Eksath Peramuna representing the Digamadulla electoral district deserting the JO.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Engineers Defections Of Opposition MP’s and Provincial Councillors To Govt From National Freedom Front (NFF) and Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP)’ »

President Has No Illusions About Shelf Life Of Ranil Being Over But He Is Frightened To Act In Case He Finds Himself Without a Parliamentary Majority

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

While there is much uncertainty now about what will happen to the country, certain certainties are assured. Chief amongst them is the headlong destruction of his reputation that Ranil has precipitated in the last three years. I do not refer only to his unashamed capers with regard to the bond scam, the continuing defence and harbouring of Mahendran and now Ravi, the snide attacks on the Auditor General and Nivard Cabraal without substantiating them, the blithe disregard for the massive loss the country suffered not once but thrice. What is also clear is his complete ignorance of economics, even though he used to masquerade as an expert, in the field.

Indeed, way back in 2003, when I begged him to stop the collapse of the English medium experiment that had begun in 2001, he said he could not work on that now as he had to concentrate on putting the economy right. He claimed then that no one else had the capacity to institute reforms, a position he seems to have moved on from now, with his recognition of the capabilities of the boy genius Akila Viraj.

Continue reading ‘President Has No Illusions About Shelf Life Of Ranil Being Over But He Is Frightened To Act In Case He Finds Himself Without a Parliamentary Majority’ »

Basil Rajapaksa Confirms President Sirisena Had A Telephone Conversation With Him For the First Time After Many Years and Discussed ” Current Political Developments”

By

Kelum Bandara

Former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said yesterday that he had a brief telephone conversation with President Maithripala Sirisena for the first time after years, and discussed the matters related to current political developments.

However, Mr. Rajapaksa declined to elaborate on what was discussed. He said the telephone conversation took place with the mediation of Ven.Medagoda Abhayatissa Thera who is the head of Sunethradevi Pirivena of Pepiliyana, Nugegoda.

“This is the first time I had a telephone conversation with the President after four or five years,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Confirms President Sirisena Had A Telephone Conversation With Him For the First Time After Many Years and Discussed ” Current Political Developments”’ »

Sri Lanka Must Return to SWRD Bandaranaike’s Ideologically Fusionary Vision of Five Great Forces- Liberalism, Nationalism,Pluralism,Popularism and Social Democracy.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The SLFP’s crisis is a crisis of ideological identity. It is also an existential crisis. The SLFP is divided into two tendencies, a Minority (‘Menshevik’) faction with 44 seats in Parliament, led by President Sirisena, not all of them elected, and a Majority (‘Bolshevik’) faction with over 50 seats, led by former President Rajapaksa.

The ‘official’ SLFP (Minority) is a junior partner of its traditional foe the UNP, and therefore has an ideological vacuum within it. It does not know what it stands for and what it is.

The unofficial SLFP (Majority) aka SLPP or Pohottuwa, has a definite ideology which is not quite that of the mainstream center-left SLFP tradition, but increasingly that of the various ultra-nationalist pressure groups that operated alongside the party since 1955 (Eksath Bhikshu Peramuna), through 1970 (Nath Amarakone-VW Kularatne pushed through Standardization which created the Tamil youth insurgency), into the late 1980s (JVP-DJV).

In the case of the ‘unofficial’ SLFP (Majority), the tail has begun to wag the dog. In the case of the ‘official’ SLFP (Minority), it no longer knows whether it is dog, cat, fish, fowl or elephant’s tail.

SWRD Bandaranaike was a liberal, a pluralist and a populist-nationalist. His was a national liberalism and a liberal nationalism. More correctly, it was the former at certain times and the latter at certain others. It was not his populist nationalism that was the problem. It was when that nationalism was provisionally subsumed under a monolingual, mono-ethnic, mono-religious program.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Must Return to SWRD Bandaranaike’s Ideologically Fusionary Vision of Five Great Forces- Liberalism, Nationalism,Pluralism,Popularism and Social Democracy.’ »

How Long Can Sri Lanka Remain “Silent” On The Jerusalem Question In Order To Avoid Annoying the USA?

By

Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

On Friday the 8th of December, 8 of the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council called an emergency meeting. It was called by Bolivia, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, UK and Uruguay, in response to President Trump’s unilateral declaration that the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Writing in Japan Today Edith M. Lederer reported that “One by one, 14 members of the U.N. Security Council spoke out against President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital… some with regret and some with anger at the 15th member, the United States.”

Speaking from Jerusalem at the start of the emergency meeting of the Security Council, Nikolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator on the Situation in the Middle-East said “For both Israel and Palestine, Jerusalem will remain an integral part of their national identity”. He said “The UN position is clear. Jerusalem is a final status issue, for which a comprehensive, just and lasting solution must be achieved through negotiation…” Expressing his concern in the context of President Trump’s announcement that there was “potential risk of violent escalation”, he warned that if a solution is not found “it risks being engulfed in the vortex of religious radicalism throughout the Middle East.”

Continue reading ‘How Long Can Sri Lanka Remain “Silent” On The Jerusalem Question In Order To Avoid Annoying the USA?’ »

Who is Afraid of Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?

By

Spectator

Who is Afraid of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?

That is a question we must ask because the former Defence Secretary and sibling of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is generating headlines without doing much, really. To put things in a nutshell, the current hullabaloo is as follows: The Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) is attempting to take action against Rajapaksa for alleged misappropriation of funds in constructing the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial Museum, built in honour of the patriarch of the Rajapaksa clan.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is fighting this in the Court of Appeal, where he has filed a petition seeking an order to prevent action being taken against him under the Public Property Act.

Thus far, the Court of Appeal has acceded to Rajapaksa’s request, granting an interim order which was extended this week until December 15.

If this was a simple case of alleged misappropriation of public funds, we can surely let justice take its course and let those who adorn the benches of the highest courts in the land do their job. But, this is Sri Lanka and matters are seldom what they seem to be at first glance.

So, let us get some perspective, shall we? Among those who took to public life in the current generation of the Rajapaksa clan, Gotabaya was the exception: he was not- and technically, is still not- a politician.

Continue reading ‘Who is Afraid of Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?’ »

Believers Flocking in Large Numbers at St.Annes Church in Wattala to Witness “Miracle” of Blood Droplets Emerging From Portrait of Jesus Christ.

By

Sheain Fernandopulle

The picture of Jesus Christ where droplets of sweat were seen emerging from the forehead at St. Anne’s Church in Wattala depitcs something more than a miracle, St. Anne’s Church Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Sanjeev Mendis told Daily Mirror yesterday.

He said the miraculous incident enhanced the faith of the people in Jesus Christ more and motivated them to believe the presence of the Lord, the Savior.

“More people are flocking together and praying the Lord. People seem more repentant for the sins they have committed against the Lord. That’s really a deed of God,” Fr. Mendis said.

Continue reading ‘Believers Flocking in Large Numbers at St.Annes Church in Wattala to Witness “Miracle” of Blood Droplets Emerging From Portrait of Jesus Christ.’ »

If President Sirisena Wants “His SLFP” To Avoid Defeat at Local Authority Polls the Best Option is for the Party to Refrain From Contesting elections.

By C.A.Chandraprema

With nominations set to open on Monday for the first 93 local government institutions, frantic last minute moves are being made to form an alliance between the Joint Opposition and the SLFP faction in the government. The initiative in these moves is from the latter rather than the former. Several public figures like Ven. Elle Gunawansa thera have been involved in these negotiations on the assumption that the Sirisena faction of the SLFP is more progressive than the UNP and therefore, the Joint Oppositioin should form an alliance with them in order to keep the UNP and the TNA at bay. Ven. Gunawansa has put forward three main conditions on which he hopes the two estranged factions of the SLFP will be able to unite – halting the process of formulating a new constitution, halting the privatization of national assets and filing action against the persons involved in the bond scam.

What is missing is the main demand put forward by the Joint Opposition which is that the Sirisena faction should leave the government before serious consideration can be given to their request to field a joint list for the elections. This was a demand put forward for practical reasons – the impossibility of the opposition and a part of the government running a joint campaign against the government. The fact that the monks have chosen to de-emphasise this fundamental demand put forward by the JO indicates that theirs is an agenda based quest – to put a stop to the constitutional reform process, to stop privatization and to have the bond scam culprits brought to book. These are laudable objectives no doubt, but whether an election alliance can be forged on such an agenda is questionable.

Continue reading ‘If President Sirisena Wants “His SLFP” To Avoid Defeat at Local Authority Polls the Best Option is for the Party to Refrain From Contesting elections.’ »

Reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our Collective Future

By

Dr.Deepika Udagama

Dr.Deepika Udagama is chairperson Human rights Commission of sri Lanka. Dec 10th is International Human rights day.

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“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”

The above quotation is from Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948. It has gone on to become the most respected secular document in the world, translated into more than 500 languages and dialects. Constitutions, including our own, have adopted parts of it, it is often cited in courts of law, parliaments and invoked by millions of people in distress.

I have been deeply moved and profoundly influenced by the Declaration. Millions around the world have had the same experience.

The Declaration celebrates its 70th anniversary next year and global commemorations have already begun. Sri Lanka too should join in the celebrations and reflect on lessons we can learn from this document if we wish to seriously work toward a decent and humane future for ourselves and our children.

Continue reading ‘Reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our Collective Future’ »

“By separating communities completely, we are going to keep the whole country divided. We have to live together” – Delimitation Committee Chairman Dr.K.Thavalingam


By Shaahidah Riza

Separating the communities strictly along caste, race and religious lines, as was done in the previous delimitation process, will only ensure that the entire country is divided, Chairman of the Delimitation Committee Dr. K. Thavalingam said. In an interview with Ceylon Today he explained that the recently enacted Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 17 of 2017 indicates that race and religion must be considered. He added that the Committee was experiencing problems in reconciling the practical issues of demarcation and the issues that each community face, and that sometimes there were no seats to be given to the minorities. However, the Delimitation Committee is committed to address the concerns by the communities when conducting delimitation within the limited time allocated to them.

Following are excerpts:

What was the task entrusted to you?

A. We have to get public views and go with the census, and divide each and every district into seats, as reflected in the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 17 of 2017. We advertised in the papers calling for submissions. We received about 250 written submissions from the public prior to the 2 November deadline. Then we visited the districts, they also submitted written submissions as well as oral submissions. We have to get public views and prepare the demarcation according to the 2012 census, and divide each and every district into seats. When you take Colombo, for an example, there will be 14 members in total under the Provincial Councils Act. The number is given by the Election Commission. Their duty is to divide these members into four districts. In 1987 the Provincial Councils were established. The Act indicates that there should be a member for every 40,000 persons. Similarly every 1000km2 there should be a member. In the Western Province, there are 99 members based on population and three members based on the area. That would amount to 102 members. There is a number that the Election Commission gives us. Based on that Colombo will have 40 members, out of those 40 members 20 will be from electorates and 20 will be elected according to proportional representation.

When you look at the northern areas, there are 16 members for Jaffna; eight will be from the electorate and eight from PR. We don’t worry about the proportionate members. We are only concerned about the electorates. We have to divide, for example, the Colombo District into 20 electorates. In order to do this, we have to demarcate areas. Our basic demarcation is based on Grama Niladhari divisions. We will not divide the GN divisions anywhere. If you look at other local authorities, one GN division is divided into two or three. We will not do that. We will try our best to keep the divisional secretariats intact. Our mandate as indicated in the Act is how we should do the demarcation. S3 of the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 17 of 2017 is completely dedicated to the Delimitation Committee. We have to maintain each and every electorate with an equal number of members. If the average is 100,000 and if there are 90,000 in the electorate we will accept it. We have a tolerance of 10 per cent to accommodate race, religion and ethnicity of the communities. We look into human activities, race and even development when demarcating electorates. Demarcation should be done according to the 2012 population census; at times there are no seats to allocate to minorities. There are two paragraphs in the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 17 of 2017 which indicates that race, and religion must be considered.

Continue reading ‘“By separating communities completely, we are going to keep the whole country divided. We have to live together” – Delimitation Committee Chairman Dr.K.Thavalingam’ »

Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt is Held to an Infinitely Higher Standard Than What was Expected from the Rajapaksas.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Several rather fantastic claims in respect of restoring the Rule of Law were made by the Government at the highest levels this week.

Droll statements at talkfests

Ideally the Government’s commitment to closing the spluttering legal and investigative processes on killings of Sri Lanka’s scribes in the Rajapaksa decade should have been the main focus during a talkfest in Colombo on ‘Ending Impunity for Journalists.’ Instead what emerged was the blistering attack by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the private media’s many sins. That was accompanied by the frankly droll statement by the Minister of Law and Order that the police will (now?) prioritize ‘cases violating freedom of expression’ including some recent incidents in the North which the Minister appears, on all accounts, to have been blissfully unaware of.

So it takes an international conference for the responsible Minister to assure the public that law and order agencies will activate themselves on gross abuses against journalists? Who exactly are the credulous souls inclined to accept these assurances as credible currency? Certainly they will not persuade many citizens who are sick and tired of exaggerated claims, issued with great flair by politicians even as the Rule of Law flounders in a quagmire of confusion.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt is Held to an Infinitely Higher Standard Than What was Expected from the Rajapaksas.’ »

Chandrika has 61 Policemen for Security but Mahinda Given 154 Policemen: “Protecting Mahinda Rajapaksa is in our interest. We need him. We will not let anything happen to him,” Says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe

By Saman Indrajith

Protecting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was advantageous to the government and, therefore, it would not let him come in harm’s way, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said so in response to a question raised by MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena, who called upon the government to provide ample security to the former President.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said security had been provided to former Presidents on the basis of a threat assessment. Both former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Kumaratunga had been provided with sufficient security.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika has 61 Policemen for Security but Mahinda Given 154 Policemen: “Protecting Mahinda Rajapaksa is in our interest. We need him. We will not let anything happen to him,” Says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’ »

Suresh Premachandran Led EPRLF Aligning With Anandasangaree Led TULF For Local Authority Poll Angers ACTC/TNPF Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam.

By Manekshaw

“I would rather obey a fine lion, much stronger than two hundred rats of my own species”
– Voltaire

Turbulent weather prevailed in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the past two weeks with the Department of Meteorology alerting the people in the two Provinces of a stormy atmosphere.

Special meetings were also held by the Government officials to discuss on the precautionary measures to be taken to deal with cyclone ‘Ockhi’ which had passed through areas covering the Southern part of South India and creating an inclement weather condition in the coastal areas of the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the Island.

However, cyclone ‘Ockhi’ had hardly done any damage in the two Provinces when it passed through the Bay of Bengal. Whereas the ‘cyclonic’ atmosphere prevailed in the North and the East, the Tamil political scene, in the past few weeks, has shaken the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), with gaps appearing in its unity.

The TNA which was formed in October 2001, is the second Tamil political alliance to be formed after the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) which was formed with the coalition of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) led by late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam and All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) led by late G.G. Ponnampalam, the grandfather of Tamil National People’s Front Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam.

Continue reading ‘Suresh Premachandran Led EPRLF Aligning With Anandasangaree Led TULF For Local Authority Poll Angers ACTC/TNPF Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam.’ »

Dinesh Gunawardena Asks Whether President and Prime Minister will Provide Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa With Adequate Security During Local Polls Campaign.

By

Saman Indrajith

The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday called for adequate security for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who would attend election rallies in the run-up to the local government polls.

Continue reading ‘Dinesh Gunawardena Asks Whether President and Prime Minister will Provide Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa With Adequate Security During Local Polls Campaign.’ »

Undivided UNP Has Clear Advantage In Facing Local Authority Polls due to the Divided SLFP Being Fragmented Between the Government and Jint Opposition.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

With the long delayed elections to Local Government bodies due in the latter half of next February, Election Politics are gathering momentum. Although the polls are for local bodies, covering of all local bodies in the country, and being the first widespread electoral exercise after the major political changes in 2015, with clear political rivalry between the pro-Rajapaksa forces and those who defeated them more than two years ago, the coming polls are being looked at by contending parties almost as a national poll on governance.

The failure of attempts by rival factions of the SLFP – those in government and in the Joint Opposition (JO) – to come to an understanding on unity, or even a no-contest agreement, shows a major disadvantage to the official SLFP led by President Maithripala Sirisena, with efforts to underscore his leadership in the SLFP. This division has certainly given strength to the pro-Rajapaksa group of the SLFP, but the efforts by Mahinda Rajapaksa himself to bring about a measure of unity between the two party factions, does show that the prevailing disunity among the Blue ranks would not be very beneficial to that group either.

Continue reading ‘Undivided UNP Has Clear Advantage In Facing Local Authority Polls due to the Divided SLFP Being Fragmented Between the Government and Jint Opposition.’ »

Serious Revolt Within Police: 12 Senior DIG’s Want Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake To take Action Against IGP Pujitha Jayasundara.


Simmering tensions within the top leadership of Sri Lanka’s police came to a head at a meeting called by Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka this week with senior officers demanding action against the Inspector-General.

A dozen Senior Deputy Inspectors of General (SDIGs) were summoned by Ratnayaka to his ministry to discuss the grievances they had raised earlier with the Police Commission. The latest dialogue ended up being a bigger litany of complaints against the IGP.

In an unusually candid talk, officers poured their hearts out listing the alleged intimidation and interference as well as insulting behaviour of their boss.

Continue reading ‘Serious Revolt Within Police: 12 Senior DIG’s Want Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake To take Action Against IGP Pujitha Jayasundara.’ »

BJP Tries To Create Hindu Chauvinist Controversy Over Rahul Gandhi’s Visit To Somnath Temple In Gujerat

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

A major controversy has broken out over the recent visit by Rahul Gandhi, the soon- to-be president of Indian Congress Party, to the famous Somnath temple, located on the shores of the Arabian Sea on the southernmost part of Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat. The visit in the run-up to the crucial Assembly elections, raised many eyebrows, but the real storm was caused by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claimed Gandhi had made an entry in the register meant for non-Hindus at the temple.

Somnath temple is revered by Hindus and enshrines the first of 12 ‘Jyotirlingams’ (devotional objects) of the Hindu deity Shiva. The management of the temple had made it mandatory for non – Hindus to seek permission before entering the main temple.

The BJP’s motive in stoking the controversy was to portray Gandhi as a non-Hindu. The party members circulated the page of the register where apparently two entries were made for Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel, one of the senior leaders of the Congress Party, and a Member of Parliament from Gujarat and demanded that Gandhi “come clean” on his faith.

There is no gainsaying that the BJP stirred-up the controversy with the dubious motive of polarizing the voters ahead of the elections.It went to town with the story that the political scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family had declared himself to be a non-Hindu and many BJP spokespersons demanded Gandhi prove whether he is a ‘Hindu or Catholic ‘.

Continue reading ‘BJP Tries To Create Hindu Chauvinist Controversy Over Rahul Gandhi’s Visit To Somnath Temple In Gujerat’ »

JVP Wants President Sirisena to Resign National Integration Minister Post Along With Ministers DM Swaminathan and Mano ganesan for Under Utilising Allocations To Their Ministries.

By Ajith Alahakoon and Akitha Perera

The JVP yesterday called for the immediate resignation of President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation.

The JVP also called for the resignation of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan and National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages Minister

Mano Ganesan. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2018, said that the three ministries which were expected to play a crucial role in solving the national problem in Sri Lanka had failed to spent at least 50% of funds allocated for them from Budget 2017.

Ratnayake said that if those ministers could not utilise the funds given for their ministries, they should immediately resign as the country had no need for them.

Continue reading ‘JVP Wants President Sirisena to Resign National Integration Minister Post Along With Ministers DM Swaminathan and Mano ganesan for Under Utilising Allocations To Their Ministries.’ »

“By Electing Tamil Nationalist Parties, Tamils Ended Up Being Outside The Govt And Isolating Themselves” Says Arun Tambimuttu In Interview

By

C.A.Chandraprema


In the wake of the recent ‘Maaveerar Naal’ celebrations in the north, The Island staffer C.A.Chandraprema spoke to Arun Tambimuttu about the direction that Tamil politics has taken in recent times and the implications for the future.

Arun Tambimuttu

Q. The 1.5 million or so Tamil people living in the north and east have known nothing but isolation, and turbulence over the past half century or more. During the colonial era and for about a decade thereafter, the people of that region were well integrated with the rest of Sri Lanka and they progressed and advanced in life. But after the 1950s there was this policy of isolation from the mainstream. This grew into a full blown civil war from the 1970s onwards and that led to more isolation. The war ended in 2009. But the policy of isolation continues. What is the way forward for the Tamil community living in the north and east?

A. In the post-independence period the Tamil people had some genuine concerns and grievances with matters like the language policy. However even during this half century of isolation, Tamil continued to be the language of administration in the north and east. I question the wisdom of having Tamil as the language of administration in the north and east and Sinhala as the language of administration in the rest of the country. Until around 1950 no one was talking about a Tamil homeland. C.Suntharalingam may have been an early proponent of this idea of a homeland but no one took him seriously. When the Tamil people elected Tamil nationalist political parties, they ended up being outside the government and the Tamils isolated themselves. After 2009, no one will deny that there was a lot of development work done in the north and east. I would go to the extent of saying that such a development thrust reaching into all corners of the northern and eastern provinces had not been seen before in the post- independence period. However the north and east has had a separatist tendency for decades so things cannot change in a few years. My concern is also that things may have regressed in the past year or so.

Continue reading ‘“By Electing Tamil Nationalist Parties, Tamils Ended Up Being Outside The Govt And Isolating Themselves” Says Arun Tambimuttu In Interview’ »

Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Obtained Interim Order From Appeal Court By Suppressing and Misrepresenting Material facts States Deputy Solicitor -General Viraj Dayaratne

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Attorney General yesterday alleged that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has obtained an Interim Order by suppressing and misrepresenting material facts of the incident.

Deputy Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne appearing on behalf of the Attorney General raised objections for delivering an ex-parte order regarding the writ petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

“I have filed limited objections against this order. I can demonstrate on the pleadings filed by the petitioner that there was suppression and misrepresentation of material facts when the application was supported and an Interim Order was obtained ex-parte. I can make my submissions today before this order is extended. I am objecting to the extension of the Interim Order,” Dayaratne said.

Continue reading ‘Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Obtained Interim Order From Appeal Court By Suppressing and Misrepresenting Material facts States Deputy Solicitor -General Viraj Dayaratne’ »

If Ranil and Chandrika Can Be Given the Benefit Of The Doubt For The Killings of Richard and Sivaram Then Why Cant the Rajapaksas Be Exculpated For the Killing of Other Journalists?

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The Prime Minister wants to know why the media is criticizing the present government and why it isn’t criticizing the Rajapaksas on whose watch journalists were killed. Perhaps that is because the media recalls that two prominent journalist were killed when the Rajapaksas weren’t anywhere near the room at the top, but two pillars of Yahapalana were.

The first such journalist was Richard de Zoysa and the second was DP Sivaram (‘Taraki’). The first was killed when the present PM was a powerful Minister and the second when Chandrika was President.

Now this is not to imply that either politician had anything to do with these murders. It is doubtless entirely coincidental that HR Piyasiri, the Minister of Labor of the UNP government of the day, read out extracts from Richard’s diary in Parliament, in the debate on his murder. One wonders how that diary came into his possession; who gave it to him and suggested that he reads it out. One also wonders who gave the diary to the person who gave it to HR Piyasiri, and where the diary came from.

Continue reading ‘If Ranil and Chandrika Can Be Given the Benefit Of The Doubt For The Killings of Richard and Sivaram Then Why Cant the Rajapaksas Be Exculpated For the Killing of Other Journalists?’ »

Why Journalists in Sri Lanka Dont Want To Be Lectured On Media Freedom By the Politicians of Sri Lanka -The Island

(Text of an Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of December 7th 2017 Under the Heading “Scribes drowning in crocodile tears”)

No sooner had Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe raked newspaper editors over the coals, the other day, for their absence at a UN-organised press freedom event than Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera followed suit. Echoing the PM, who asked whether editors were not interested in media freedom, Samaraweera said, at a different event, that invitations had been sent to all editors and he was disappointed that the front-row seats at the UN-sponsored function had been left empty by no-shows.

It looks as if politicians were more interested in media freedom than journalists.

Let the Media Minister be told that it is wrong for a bad preacher to condemn parishioners as nonbelievers when he finds pews empty during one of his sermons. President Maithripala Sirisena did not attend court on Monday in spite of being noticed; he went to Parliament instead. His absence in court did not mean he did not believe in the judicial process. He had his priorities. The same goes for newspaper editors and their counterparts in the electronic media.

Continue reading ‘Why Journalists in Sri Lanka Dont Want To Be Lectured On Media Freedom By the Politicians of Sri Lanka -The Island’ »

Interim Order Preventing Action Under The Public Property Act by Police FCID Against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Extended Further Until Dec 15th by Court of Appeal

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday extended until 15 December the Interim Order preventing the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) from acting on the Certificate (B Report) under the offences against the Public Property Act in the Magistrate’s Court against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The bench, comprising justices T.B. Dehideniya (CA President) and Shiran Gooneratne, fixed the inquiry for 15 December.

Deputy Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne submitted that the Interim Order was obtained ex-parte while the notice was not issued.

Continue reading ‘Interim Order Preventing Action Under The Public Property Act by Police FCID Against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Extended Further Until Dec 15th by Court of Appeal’ »

India Acquires World’s Emptiest Airport at Mattala for US $ 300 Million To Checkmate China From Establishing Naval Base in Hambantota Harbour.

By

David Brewster

Geopolitical rivalry between big powers sometimes yields odd results. The latest development in growing strategic competition across the Indian Ocean region is India’s purchase of what has become known as the ‘world’s emptiest international airport’ in Sri Lanka, maybe just to keep it empty.

Hambantota Dreaming

The small fishing town of Hambantota, near the southern tip of Sri Lanka, has long been Exhibit A for those who worry about the strategic impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Hambantota burst into international consciousness around a decade ago when Chinese companies were contracted to build a big new port, an international airport and, of course, an international cricket stadium – all connected by Chinese-built multi-lane freeways.

It was all part of a plan by Sri Lanka’s then president Mahinda Rajapaksa to turn his own sleepy constituency into a new global shipping hub. After international investors and aid agencies baulked at the business case, Rajapaksa went to China to finance and build the projects. Although the commercial terms are opaque, the projects have probably cost more than US$1.5 billion in all, much of it in relatively high interest loans.

Continue reading ‘India Acquires World’s Emptiest Airport at Mattala for US $ 300 Million To Checkmate China From Establishing Naval Base in Hambantota Harbour.’ »

Nine National Cricket Team Members On Their Way to New Delhi Compelled To Disembark From Plane at KIA By Sports Minister Jayasekera Because He had not Authorised Selection.


by Champika Fernando

In an unprecedented development, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera last night ordered nine players heading to India for the limited-over leg of the current series to turn back as they were leaving the country without his approval.

At the time of his intervention, the players had even boarded the flight to Delhi and were forced to disembark.

The team leaving the country without his approval was a blatant violation of the country’s sports law which requires Sports Minister’s approval, the Minister said.

Sri Lanka Cricket maintained that the team composition was sent for ministry approval yesterday evening, This gave the Minister less than 12 hours to sanction it.

“How can I approve a team at such short notice?” a furious Minister asked. “If you go by the Sports Law, it requires the list to be sent three weeks prior to leaving. Here, they are sending a team just three to four hours before leaving the country. So I had to recall them.”

Continue reading ‘Nine National Cricket Team Members On Their Way to New Delhi Compelled To Disembark From Plane at KIA By Sports Minister Jayasekera Because He had not Authorised Selection.’ »

Lord Naseby Statement In House of Lords About Civilian Casualties in War Does Not Reflect The Official Position of The UK On Sri Lanka States British High Commission In Colombo.

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The British High Commission has declared that Lord Naseby’s recent statement in the House of Lords pertaining to accountability issues in Sri Lanka doesn’t reflect UK’s stand.

The British HC said so in response to The Island query whether the BHC had discussions with the Foreign Ministry here or the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as regards Lord Naseby’s call for reviewing Geneva Resolution 30/1. The following is the text of the BHC statement: “Lord Naseby was not speaking for the British Government when speaking recently in a debate in the House of Lords. As a Member of Parliament he is entitled to express his own views.”

Continue reading ‘Lord Naseby Statement In House of Lords About Civilian Casualties in War Does Not Reflect The Official Position of The UK On Sri Lanka States British High Commission In Colombo.’ »

Political Rapprochement Between President Maithripala Sirisena and Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is Not Impossible

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

If the talks between the official SLFP and the JO-SLPP conclusively fail, it will be because the SLFP (MS) is unwilling either to leverage the bond scam report and de-couple the PM from the governing coalition, or to vote against the “fast track liberalization and globalization” (i.e. free-market fundamentalist, neoliberal) Budget and rupture from/assert Presidential hegemony over the Government’s UNP driven policy agenda at this point in time.

The tragic consequence of the official SLFP’s failure of resolve either to press the re-set button at the strategic national level –not the opportunistic and tactical local level– or to give the JO its due place as the Parliamentary Opposition, goes far beyond the electoral arena. It will mark the beginning of the end of the center in Sri Lankan politics and will denote the beginning of an era of polarization that will engulf and probably unravel Sri Lanka as we have known it.

It is far from the case that the personal subjectivism between President Sirisena and ex-President Rajapaksa is such that a rapprochement is impossible. The leading players in the SLFP and the JO, and the key outlier, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, are all for a political détente of some kind. All these figures however, belong, broadly speaking, to a moderate-nationalist political center, which has not only cracked up, but has been pulled apart and is being kept apart by the forces of ideological extremism: the neoliberal UNP on the one side and the Sinhala radical Right on the other.

Either President Sirisena himself or a significant section of his party are unwilling to break with the UNP in government, for two reasons. One is the legitimate apprehension of being outflanked by the UNP and TNA which have threatened to form a government. The other is the far less legitimate greed on the part of some official SLFP Ministers who are awaiting their part of the share of the sale of national assets as promised by the Ranil-Mangala duo.

Continue reading ‘Political Rapprochement Between President Maithripala Sirisena and Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is Not Impossible’ »

Veteran Indian Actor Shashi Kapoor Hailing From the Famous Kapoor Clan of Hindi Cinema Passes Away at the Age of 79

By NEIL GENZLINGER

Shashi Kapoor, one of India’s best-known actors, who appeared in more than 100 films in the 1970s and ’80s alone, died on Monday in Mumbai. He was 79.

India’s president, Ram Nath Kovind, announced the death on Twitter.

Mr. Kapoor had been in poor health for years; a nephew, the actor Randhir Kapoor, told the news agency Press Trust of India that Mr. Kapoor had been on dialysis.

Via: @NFAIOfficial

Mr. Kapoor was the romantic lead in numerous Bollywood movies during a period when the Hindi film industry was in overdrive. He was part of a family of actors, directors and producers that included his older brothers Raj, who died in 1988, and Shammi, who died in 2011.

Mr. Kapoor appeared in British and American films as well as Hindi ones, including several by the Merchant Ivory production house. Among his better-known English-language films were “The Deceivers” (1988), a thriller in which he acted alongside Pierce Brosnan, and “Sammy and Rosie Get Laid” (1987), a comic drama directed by Stephen Frears whose cast included Claire Bloom.

Continue reading ‘Veteran Indian Actor Shashi Kapoor Hailing From the Famous Kapoor Clan of Hindi Cinema Passes Away at the Age of 79’ »

Instead Of Surrendering To The Rajapaksas President Sirisena Should Boldly Take The Fight to The Joint Opposition

I
By
Ranga Jayasuriya

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a gifted deal maker. His two- term presidency was a classic case of successful deal making: He got Velupillai Prabhakaran to prevent Northern Tamils from voting in 2005 and by virtue of that won his first term as the President; he cajoled the JVP to support him, and then split it; he engineered two large scale cross-overs of opposition MPs to the government, first for understandable reasons of the political stability of his government during the height of war, second for the selfish reason of securing a two- thirds majority of Parliament to abolish term limits of the executive presidency.

However this time around, Mr Rajapaksa has played the proverbial Shylock. During the last several weeks, there had been extensive back-door negotiations between the emissaries of President Maithripala Sirisena, and those representing the Joint Opposition (JO), loyal to Mr. Rajapaksa. Despite a written intimation by the President to seek a patch up between the two parties, talks came a cropper because Mr. Rajapaksa insisted that the SLFP quit the government. Even if the talks were successful, it would only have offered a momentary relief to the President; it could have saved his skin at the up-coming local government elections, but only until Mr. Rajapaksa and his JO acolytes run rings around the President, and hijack the SLFP.

Now the President has changed the course and is rebuilding strained relations between the two constituent partners of the Yahapalana government. However, elections in this country are poisonous, and no matter the good-intentioned efforts by the top leadership, very soon the grassroots cadre and local leaders of the two parties would be at each other’s throats. Reportedly, the leaders of the two parties have decided to vet campaign posters, in order to avoid mudslinging at each other. But the grassroots of the two parties and even some of the political acolytes in Parliament are groomed in UNP-SLFP contention. (Take for instance State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe who indulged in a blistering attack against the President just to divert allegation of his alleged collusion with Arjun Aloysius). Old habits die hard.

Continue reading ‘Instead Of Surrendering To The Rajapaksas President Sirisena Should Boldly Take The Fight to The Joint Opposition’ »

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Accuses Some Media Organizations Of Trying To Bring the Rajapaksas Back To Power at The Expense Of Democracy.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday alleged that an influential section of the media was working overtime to bring back the Rajapaksas to power regardless of the irreparable losses caused by the previous administration to the media.

Delivering the keynote address at a UNESCO Conference on Regional Cooperation to Promote Freedom of Expression and the Rule of Law in Asia through Ending Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists at the Taj Samudra, PM Wickremesinghe, referring to a spate of killings and other incidents, including the assassination of The Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda and brutal assaults on the Deputy Editor of The Nation Keith Noyar and Rivira Editor Upali Tennakoon, said that the absence of owners of media organisations as well as editors, except for two heads of state-owned institutions and editor of a privately run media organisation, at the event, revealed their lack of interest.

The PM pointed out that those who were not present there turned a blind eye to repeated attacks on the Jaffna-based Uthayan and other Tamil media.

The UNP leader asked whether the lukewarm response of the top media personnel as well as owners to the UNESCO event was an indication they didn’t want media freedom, whether they want the Rajapaksas back in power or restore the Rajapaksa rule by destroying the incumbent government.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Accuses Some Media Organizations Of Trying To Bring the Rajapaksas Back To Power at The Expense Of Democracy.’ »

Literary Authors Writing in English,Tamil and Sinhala Offer Different Perceptions of the ethnic Conflict and Civil War in Sri Lanka.

By

Meera Srinivasan

When Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam recently received the DSC Prize for South Asian literature, the honour shone the international spotlight on the country’s gruesome civil war, yet again. Except that this time, it was a novel that drew attention to it.

A Story of a Brief Marriage is Mr. Arudpragasam’s debut novel published in 2016. A Ph.D candidate at Columbia University, the young author has received accolades for his poetic language and attempt to capture the nuances of a war through everyday ordinariness.

“There are many ways of depicting it [the violence] but I chose to depict a person going through very ordinary human processes — walking, sleeping, eating, shitting. Because in such a situation a person wants to retain their humanity,” he told Vaishna Roy of The Hindu in Dhaka. In most media interviews that followed the recognition, Mr. Arudpragasam spoke about his privileged class location in Colombo, and about the modest reach that an English novel like his will have in the South Asian context.

Many English language writers from Sri Lanka and others abroad have, over the last three decades, written non-fiction accounts of the island’s Sinhalese-Tamil ethnic conflict and the war it entailed. London-based Sri Lankan author A. Sivanandan’s 1997 classic When Memory Dies spoke of a country broken by colonial occupation and torn apart by ethnic divides.

However, not too many English novels followed in the years of a heightening war. A Story of a Brief Marriage stands out as a rare work of fiction coming out of post-war Sri Lanka. It is, perhaps, the only English novel till date that has zoomed into the routine brutality encountered by an individual in the last phase of the war that ended in 2009.

Despite the widely-held view that conflict or turbulence tends to be a wellspring of powerful art and literature, there aren’t too many English novels on the Sri Lankan war. English literature has been relatively slower to respond to the conflict that engulfed the country, say authors and literary critics. They point to many reasons ranging from distance by location or class, to style, purpose and target audience. Some argue that it is a question of time. Good literature, in their view, might need more time for a deeper perspective on a protracted war.

Continue reading ‘Literary Authors Writing in English,Tamil and Sinhala Offer Different Perceptions of the ethnic Conflict and Civil War in Sri Lanka.’ »

22 Persons Arrested In Connection With Gintota Communal Violence Charged Under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Act no 56 of 2007


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Twenty two persons arrested in connection with recent ethnic clash in the Gintota area have been charged under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No 56 of 2007.

Law enforcement sources told The Island that the Act had never been used before.

Law and Order and Southern Development Ministry had authorised the use of ICCPR Act, sources said, adding that the move was expected to act as a deterrent.

Police spokesman and attorney-at-law SP Ruwan Gunasekera yesterday told The Island that of those 22 persons remanded till Dec 14 after being produced in Galle Magistrate court three had been arrested on Nov 16 and the rest on the following day.

Continue reading ‘22 Persons Arrested In Connection With Gintota Communal Violence Charged Under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Act no 56 of 2007’ »

Karthigai Vilakkeedu: Devotional Lighting of Lamps of Purity on the day of the November Star

Text and pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Statue of Santhaana Gopaalar

The Tamil month of “Kaarthigai” is dedicated to devotion and purity. “Kaarthigai Deepam” or “Vilakkeedu” as it’s popularly known was recently celebrated by the Hindus, which fell on the day of the “Kaarthigai” star.

“Kaarthigai Deepam” is celebrated by lighting of ghee or coconut oil lamps and clay lamps forming direct lines, circles or specific designs at temples, houses and business premises at dusk, and with the hope of dispelling darkness. The lamps are not put out until the next days.
Continue reading ‘Karthigai Vilakkeedu: Devotional Lighting of Lamps of Purity on the day of the November Star’ »

Ranil Wickemesinghe Seems to be Destined to go Down in History as the UNPer who Destroyed his Party and its Liberal Image in Just 100 Days

By Suren Raghaven

(Suren Raghavan Ph D, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and currently a Resident Research Scholar at the University of Colombo)

Democracy is a dangerous game. Especially, if it is played by those with bloody minds and muddy hands. This is not because such attempts may not succeed – they may well be so as often is the case in Sri Lanka – but because what they pretend to construct will be abysmally empty and permanently tarnished like their polity.

A Constitution will be the overarching canopy under which a progressive blueprint for a State and all nations within is desirable at any cost. It is for this reason that all modern democracies took painful labour to hammer out such a document to answer the epistemological question “then how shall we live better?” The keystone assumption is that the proponent (and yes even the opponents) must have the legitimacy to do such fundamental structural changes. Tenants have no right to remove the foundation of a house even if they claim it is for the betterment. Such legitimacy is not mere legalistic correctness but a much wider moral qualification that is expected.

No one will respect a lawyer – even if s/he was the Gold medallist just last year – if such has turned to be a murderer. It is true that both Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate and then President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked the mandate to change the present Constitution – in that Rajapaksa wanted an overall comprehensive change instead of piecemeal amendments as a sustainable solution to the Tamils’ political aspirations. It is, also, true that both candidates collectively received a quantitatively astonishing over 95% endorsement.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickemesinghe Seems to be Destined to go Down in History as the UNPer who Destroyed his Party and its Liberal Image in Just 100 Days’ »

Possibilty of President Sirisena Working With Ex-President Rajapaksa Seems an Impossibility at this Point Of Time

By

Meera Srinivasan

A recent speech made by President Maithripala Sirisena has made many who backed his presidential bid in 2015 nervous. In his address at a public meeting near Kurunegala in the North Western Province, Mr. Sirisena, for the first time, launched a frontal attack on the United National Party (UNP), with which the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) he leads formed a coalition government in 2015.

“As the [previous] government of SLFP did wrong things, the SLFP candidate [Mahinda Rajapaka] lost in 2015. If the UNP is doing the same faults and mistakes, people will not approve that,” he said, suggesting that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP could be as corrupt as the Rajapaksa regime, which is accused of large-scale corruption.

It seemed like President Sirisena was hitting back at his partner, days after UNP backbenchers blamed him for the delay in Sri Lanka’s local council elections. Tension has been brewing for sometime, with some UNP members seeing the presidential commission’s inquiry into the Central Bank bond scam as a deliberate attempt to corner the PM, who appointed the former governor, now accused of nepotism and corruption.

Continue reading ‘Possibilty of President Sirisena Working With Ex-President Rajapaksa Seems an Impossibility at this Point Of Time’ »

Both the UNP and Sirisena led SLFP Have Failed To Lift the Country out of the Rajapaksa Morass of Communalism and Corruption

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Vultures are circling high above in the skies as they watch what appear to be the struggling death throes of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe unity alliance with delight.

Fury in Sri Lanka’s hamlets

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa hypocritically thunders on the twin dangers of the sale of national assets and the betrayal of national war heroes, going on to insist that the faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena can join his group only on their terms. His numerous hangers-on in the self-styled Joint Opposition (JO) who compete with each other for the prize of being the most unprepossessing, cackle with unabashed joy at the prospect of a settling of scores with their rivals and a quick return to power.

To be fair, the beating of the communal drum by the JO has not been that effective in the villages and provinces of Sri Lanka as even the cursory traveller will discover. In other words, there is little public acceptance of the favorite Rajapaksa bogey that the country is in the pincer grip of hostile international forces. More to the point, plainly and simply, the problem is the monumental inefficiency of this Government and the soaring cost of living.

Continue reading ‘Both the UNP and Sirisena led SLFP Have Failed To Lift the Country out of the Rajapaksa Morass of Communalism and Corruption’ »

“Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan” ~ Sparkling Song by TM Soundararajan ~ MS Raju ♫

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs – 5

“Neeyay Unakku endrum Nigaraanaavan” is a sparkling song from the old Tamil film “Baley Pandia” produced and directed by B.R.Panthulu in 1962.Sung by maestro TM Soundararajan(TMS) and “Konnakol”expert M.S.Raju(not to be confused with the Telugu film producer) the song was picturised in the film on actors Sivaji Ganesan and M.R. Radha singing along with K. Balaji playing the “Ghatam”.

"Nadigaverl" M. R.Radha & Sivaji Ganesan ~ "Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan"

“Nadigaverl” M. R.Radha & Sivaji Ganesan ~ “Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan”

The remarkable highlights of “Baley Pandia” were the triple roles played by Sivaji Ganesan and the double roles played by M. R. Radha. Sivaji the hero also acted as a scientist and the sidekick of the villain. Radha was the villain as well as the father of the heroine played by Devika. There is much confusion caused by the similar looking appearances of Sivaji in this three roles and Radha in his dual. A lot of humour is provided in the scenes. It is basically a feel good film.
Continue reading ‘“Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan” ~ Sparkling Song by TM Soundararajan ~ MS Raju ♫’ »

Probe to be Launched Into Rajapaksa Regime’s Alleged “Biggest Pyramid Scam” of Privately Selling Treasury Bonds 5,147 Billion Rupees From 2008 to 2014: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Announces in Special Statement in Parliament

Sri Lanka will investigate the sale of over five thousand billion rupees in treasury bonds by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said describing it as the “biggest pyramid scam” in the country.

Making a special statement to parliament on Thursday, the Prime Minister said over 90 percent of the 5,147 billion rupees worth of bonds had been sold privately without going through a transparent tender or auction system.

“There had been no decision of the Monetary Board (of the Central Bank) to go for such private placements, but nevertheless they did that from 2008 to 2014,” Wickremesinghe said.

“This is the biggest ‘pyramid scam’ perpetrated on the country,” he said referring to outlawed network marketing schemes where investors or participants are falsely promised high returns without a tangible business.

Continue reading ‘Probe to be Launched Into Rajapaksa Regime’s Alleged “Biggest Pyramid Scam” of Privately Selling Treasury Bonds 5,147 Billion Rupees From 2008 to 2014: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Announces in Special Statement in Parliament’ »

Full Text of Interim Order Issued by Court of Appeal In the Matter of Application Seeking Writ of Certiorari and Prohibition By Ex – Def Secy Gothabaya Rajapaksa

Below is the full text of the order given by Judges L T B Dehideniya (P/CA) and Shiran Gooneratne in response to the petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the case over the latter having allegedly spent a sum of Rs 90 million from State funds to erect the D.A. Rajapaksa museum in Weeraketiya.

In the Court of Appeal of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

In the matter of an application for mandate in the nature of a writ of certiorari and prohibition under the Article 140 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Court of Appeal case No. 391/2017

Gotabaya Nandasena Rajapaksa

No: 26A, Pengiriwatta Road, Mirihana.

Petitioner

vs.

1. Pujith Jayasundara,
Inspector Genral of Police,
Police Headquarters, Colombo 1.

2. Shani Abeysekara,
Director Criminal Investigation Department,
Colombo 1.

3. Ravi Widyalankara,
Deputy Inspector General Police,
Financial Crime Investigation Division,
Chatham Street, Colombo 1.

4. Kamal Paliskara,
Assistant Superintendent of Police,
Financial Crime Investigation Division
Chatham Street, Colombo 1.

5. Hon. Attorney General,
Attorney General Department,
Colombo 12.

Respondents

Before:
L.T.B. Dehideniya J. (P/CA)
Shiran Gooneratne J.

Counsel:

Romesh De Silva PC and M.U.M. Ali Sabry PC with Sugath Caldera with Ruwantha for the Petitioner.

Argued on: 28.11.2017

Decided on: 29.11.2017

L.T.B. Dehideniya J. (P.CA)

This is an application for a mandate in the nature of a writ of certiorari to quash the certificate marked as A30 with the petition, issued under Section 8(1) of the Offences Against the Public Property Act, by the 4 Respondents, certifying that there is dishonest misappropriation of public property (money) worth of Rs 90,831,165.02.

The Petitioner’s contention is that there is no misappropriation of any money in the transaction. It is only a commercial transaction. Further the certificate on the face of it is wrong.

Continue reading ‘Full Text of Interim Order Issued by Court of Appeal In the Matter of Application Seeking Writ of Certiorari and Prohibition By Ex – Def Secy Gothabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Tells Tamil People Not to take Seriously the Threat By State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene’s to Prosecute Those Commemorating Dead LTTE Cadres.

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has allayed a fear among the Tamils that the government in Colombo is planning to arrest and prosecute those who had organized or participated in observances relating to the Great Heroes‘ Day of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on November 27.

The State Minister of Defense, Ruwan Wijewardene, had told the State-owned Daily News that the government will not tolerate the observance of the Great Heroes’ Day which commemorates dead LTTE cadres because the LTTE is a banned organization.

Wijewardene said that the police are collecting evidence about the participants in the observances and those guilty will be arrested and prosecuted.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Tells Tamil People Not to take Seriously the Threat By State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene’s to Prosecute Those Commemorating Dead LTTE Cadres.’ »

Can the UNP and SLFP withstand the problems arising from within and outside and continue to work together?

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Two years and three months after the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) formed the National Unity Government, doubts are being raised as to whether the two parties can continue to co-habitat for the duration of the present Parliament. The doubts have credence, for despite the President and the Prime Minister working with the mutual understanding of the importance of combining forces if they are to avoid a comeback of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, relationship between the parliamentarians of the parties have been, to say the least, uncomfortable. Whether it is economic development plans, constitutional reforms or any other important policy initiative, both parties have demonstrated almost diametrically opposed view points in their approach to those issues.

The unprecedented coming together of the two main parties to form a government, for the first time in the country’s independent history, was initially hailed as a good opportunity to explore ways and means to find solutions to the main problems, including the ethnic problem, faced by the country in a conducive political situation. However, all too soon it began to appear as though politicians of both parties were trying a bizarre experiment on how best to put party politics in the forefront, while being partners of a government.

Not a single week has passed without MPs or ministers belong to either the UNP or the SLP holding press conferences to vehemently criticize one another on issues of governance and politics. In this context, controversies surrounding the Central Bank Bond scam have become a handy tool to the SLFP component in the government to browbeat the UNPers who are certainly in an unenviable situation. This no doubt is adding significant weight to intensifying the animosity between the two parties, hindering the proper functioning of the government.

Continue reading ‘Can the UNP and SLFP withstand the problems arising from within and outside and continue to work together?’ »

Time To Present Sri Lanka’s Case More Accurately and Comprehensively and Re-negotiate the 2015 Geneva Resolution in the UN Human Rights Council.

By

Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

An article in an English language daily this week stated that Sri Lanka is hoping to “project itself as a model of post-war reconciliation and reconstruction” in order to “obtain international support for its economic development plans”. It went on to indicate when and how Sri Lanka began to work towards this aspiration: “It was the new government’s decision to agree to the 2015 resolution in Geneva that led to the turnaround in Sri Lanka’s relationship with the international community.”

However, looking at some key economic figures since Resolution 30/1 was signed, it hasn’t necessarily resulted in the support that was expected.

The 3 year average Foreign Direct Investments as per the Central Bank’s figures seem to indicate that there was more Foreign Direct Investment before the Resolution was signed than after it.

2012-2014 = 939.3 million US dollars
2015-2017=763.4 million US dollars

The same seems to be true when one looks at the average GDP growth rates according to the World Bank database.

2012-2014 = 5.84 percent
2015-2017 = 4.57 percent

The greatest support to strengthen the present government’s economic performance has come from a country that never linked unproven human rights allegations to economic support. When the much needed funds, large amounts that no other country was able to provide, was negotiated with China, it was sound economic prospects, the longer term objectives of the Belt and Road initiative (OBOR) and the good relations that had been maintained over decades if not centuries between the two countries, that resulted in the agreements.

The point here is that a model of international relations that relies on the linkage of Human Rights and economic support has manifestly not been useful for Sri Lanka in a context where there are massively negative assumptions and allegations, which require submission to damaging processes, as part of that mix.

Continue reading ‘Time To Present Sri Lanka’s Case More Accurately and Comprehensively and Re-negotiate the 2015 Geneva Resolution in the UN Human Rights Council.’ »

SLFP Maithri Faction Surrendering to Joint Opposition Demand and Severing Links with UNP Will Be Political suicide For President Sirisena.


By Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The discussion to work together with the Mahinda group started within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by the President because of the desperation of Sirisena to make the SLFP significant for the coming elections. The President wants to go out of politics with the honour of recreating the SLFP as a Party of the common man.

This is an illusion, connected, probably, to an insufficient understanding of the degeneration of the SLFP, during the last few decades. They want to close their eyes to the blatant fascistic decadence in the Party and wanted unity of all factions of the SLFP, to make it a strong election machine. Hence, some of the SLFP Ministers were, recently, seen making desperate attempts to get a conciliatory word from the former President or anyone of his close subordinates. Minister Susil Premajayantha, who never really broke from the fascistic politics and has always been with Mahinda Rajapaksa even after he joined the Yahapalanaya Government, had recently gone to meet his former boss with reported blessings of President Maithripala Sirisena, while the Parliamentary group of the Joint Opposition was in session.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Maithri Faction Surrendering to Joint Opposition Demand and Severing Links with UNP Will Be Political suicide For President Sirisena.’ »

Do The “Hindutva” Fanatics Conducting Hate Campaign Against “Padmavathy” Film Starring Deepika Padukone Know That the Legendary Princess was From Sri Lanka (“Singhal-Dip”)?


By Lucien Rajakarunanayake

“Dakkoth Padmavathi – Aaley nokara baree”👑’If one sees Padmavathi – One cannot but love her’❣️

This popular Sinhala song coming from Tower Hall days is based on the legend of Padmavathi, a princess from Sri Lanka – Singhal-dip, known for her captivating beauty who was married to Ratan Sen, the ruler of Chittor, and whose union was challenged by Alauddin Khalji, the Muslim Sultan of Delhi. Her name is now at the centre of political rivalry and threats of violence affecting Bollywood, the wider peace in India, and extending to the UK too.

Do those who campaigning against the screening of the new film ‘Padmavati’ have any idea the legendary princess, whose name and beauty has led to all the current rivalries, attacks on a respected film director, threats of beheading an outstanding cinema star, and other threats of violence, have to do with a non-Indian princess possibly from ‘Singhal-dip’ or Sri Lanka?

Legends do have an impact on history. This is the legend of a princess from Singhal-dip – a neighbour of Bharath – the story of whose enchanting beauty conveyed to her future lover and princely husband by her pet parrot, and later led to major military confrontations to win her hand, and the final self-immolation by her on the pyre of her loving husband.

The story of Padmavathi is part of the folklore of both India and Sri Lanka; a beautiful legend with no historical authenticity. What one sees in India today is how this legend of beauty has been turned into a deadly whirl of threats and violence, with more of it to follow, and the country’s rulers and leaders, having no courage to intervene in the cause of peace, art and culture; but shamefully giving into the forces of religious extremism, outrageous nationalism, raising major questions about the substance of democracy, in the world’s largest democracy.

Continue reading ‘Do The “Hindutva” Fanatics Conducting Hate Campaign Against “Padmavathy” Film Starring Deepika Padukone Know That the Legendary Princess was From Sri Lanka (“Singhal-Dip”)?’ »

Attorney-General will Seek Vacation of Order Issued by Court of Appeal Granting Interim Relief to Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Additional Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe PC appearing on behalf of the Attorney General raised objections for delivering an Ex-Parte order regarding the writ petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General will Seek Vacation of Order Issued by Court of Appeal Granting Interim Relief to Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

Two Judge Bench of Appeal Court After Ex-parte Proceedings Upholds Petition Filed By Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Issues Interim Order Effective Until Dec 6th Preventing Police From Acting Under Public Property Act

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Court of Appeal (CA) yesterday upheld the petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, with an Interim Order preventing police from acting under the Public Property Act.

The Interim Order will be effective until December 6.

The CA issued this Interim Order preventing police from acting under the Public Property Act against Rajapaksa, on a Magistrate’s court inquiry over a complaint that the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum and Memorial in Medamulana was built using public funds amounting to Rs.90 million.

The Interim Order was issued on the basis of an ex parte proceeding by a two-judge-bench comprising Court of Appeal (President) Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice Shiran Gunaratne. This is pursuant to a writ petition filed by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Two Judge Bench of Appeal Court After Ex-parte Proceedings Upholds Petition Filed By Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Issues Interim Order Effective Until Dec 6th Preventing Police From Acting Under Public Property Act’ »

Court of Appeal Issues Interim Order Preventing Action By Police FCID Against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa But Recalls Ex- Def Secy’s writ Petition for Further Hearing on Dec 6th.


By Sanchith Karunaratna

The Court of Appeal issued a stay order on the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) preventing any action against former Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa over public properties following court proceedings today (29).

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal seeking an interim order preventing the police from arresting him.

The order was fixed for hearing today (29) by (President) Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice Shiran Gunaratne.

During court sessions today (29), the legal representatives of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa stated that the FCID had lodged a case against their client for the misappropriation of public funds for the construction of the D.A.Rajapaksa museum under the Public Properties Act.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal Issues Interim Order Preventing Action By Police FCID Against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa But Recalls Ex- Def Secy’s writ Petition for Further Hearing on Dec 6th.’ »

Collective of Retired Defence Officials Known as “War Heroes For The Nation” Led By Maj-Gen.Kamal Gunaratne and Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara Wants President sirisena To Stop Move to Arrest Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

By

Kavindya Chris Thomas

A collective of retired senior military officers yesterday (27) took to the public arena, opposing the alleged Governmental move to arrest former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Under the banner of ‘War Heroes for the Nation’, representing a collective of retired senior officers of the tri-forces, speaking at a press briefing yesterday, they claimed that the collective had been organized as a result of the recent reports on a Government move to arrest Rajapaksa. This collective was led by retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne and retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara.

“Any attempt to arrest the former Defence Secretary would be the downfall of this country and the peace that has been built,” Gunaratne emphasized adding, “the Government is attempting to arrest this war hero while another part of the country is celebrating those who unleashed a separatist war on the country for thirty three years.”

Continue reading ‘Collective of Retired Defence Officials Known as “War Heroes For The Nation” Led By Maj-Gen.Kamal Gunaratne and Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara Wants President sirisena To Stop Move to Arrest Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

LTTE Oriented Event “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day) On November 27th Is Not The Tamil National Day Of Mourning.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

GHD

November 27th 1989 was the day on which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)first observed its annual “Maaveerar Naal” or Great Heroes Day (GHD). Twenty –eight years have passed since then and the 28th anniversary of the event is today Nov 27th 2017.

The event continues to be observed on a large scale by sections of the Global Tamil Diaspora despite the military debacle suffered by the LTTE in May 2009. The event has lost much of its lustre after the demise of tiger supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran.These are days of decline when compared to the manner in which Great heroes day was observed when the LTTE ruled the roost. Nevertheless commemorating the fallen tigers as great heroes annually remains an enduring tiger legacy despite the LTTE being militarily decimated in Sri Lanka.

Interestingly enough there is a visible co-ordinated effort this year to observe Great Heroes day as an event of mourning at thirteen LTTE Memorial cemeteries in the Northern Province and Three in the eastern Province. Several activists and supporters of the Tamil National alliance(TNA) are at the forefront of such moves. Among those engaged in organizing “Maaveerar Naal” related observances are TNA Jaffna district MP Sivagnanam Shreetharan and MK Sivajilingam the Northern Provincial councillor elected from Jaffna. There are also many Grear Heroes Day events being conducted in various Western countries with substantial concentrations of sri Lankan Tamils. Many Politicians attend these events on Nov 27th which is wrongly portrayed as the Tamil National day of Mourning.

There is a mystique about “Maaveerar Naal” that has captured the imagination of a very large number of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora as well as Tamils in North -East Lanka. What makes the GHD tick despite the debacle of Mullivaaikkal?

Continue reading ‘LTTE Oriented Event “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day) On November 27th Is Not The Tamil National Day Of Mourning.’ »

Shipping Minister Samarasinghe Lambastes Finance Minister Samaraweera for Liberalising Shipping and Freight Forwarding in Budget Without Consulting Him;says President Sirisena Opposes Liberalising Shipping Too.

Sri Lanka’s Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe announced in parliament Tuesday that President Maithripala Sirisena was strongly opposed to liberalising the shipping and freight forwarding sectors proposed in the 2018 budget.

Samarasinghe lambasted Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera for announcing in his maiden budget a proposal to remove the ban on foreign ownership of shipping and freight forwarding firms.

The finance minister had indicated that the restriction on foreign ownership of companies in the sector prevented the country from becoming a Singapore-style shipping hub in the Indian Ocean.

“This is not a subject for the finance ministry, nor should it have come up in the budget,” Samarasinghe told parliament. “My ministry was not even consulted by the finance ministry before making this announcement.”

Continue reading ‘Shipping Minister Samarasinghe Lambastes Finance Minister Samaraweera for Liberalising Shipping and Freight Forwarding in Budget Without Consulting Him;says President Sirisena Opposes Liberalising Shipping Too.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Must Be Defended and Saved From Both His Domestic and Foreign Enemies as Well as His Obscurantist Sinhala Alt-right Friends and Allies

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

THE DEADLY IGNORANCE OF THE SINHALA ALT-RIGHT (Part 2)

“May God defend me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies.
”—Voltaire

Gotabhaya is perhaps the most able person in public life today; one capable of replicating in Sri Lanka, a Mahathirian Malaysia. I have worked with President Premadasa and not only have no doubt that he would have warmly commended Gota for the latter’s urban development, but am also certain that ‘GR’ could be his 21st century successor in the domain of national development and modernization.

Arresting Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who played a decisive, indispensable role in liberating us all, while allowing those in the North who salute the separatist-fascist Prabhakaran and his LTTE storm troopers to roam free, not to mention permitting Northern Education (!) Minister Sarveshwaran who renounced the National Flag, to remain in office, is symbolic of UNP arrogance, CBK ‘reconciliation’ and Yahapalana folly.

Detaining Gota would be so polarizing an act, triggering such a social backlash even if subterranean, that it is probably the single most imbecilic mistake the Govt. can make, and could not only mark the beginning of its end, with both the official SLFP and the Government fracturing, but could ensure that Yahapalana has a hard landing rather than a soft one.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Must Be Defended and Saved From Both His Domestic and Foreign Enemies as Well as His Obscurantist Sinhala Alt-right Friends and Allies’ »

Court of Appeal Reseves Order For Tomorrow On Ex- Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Writ Petition Seeking Interim Order Quashing Report Filed Against Him For Alleged Offence Under The Public Property Act

By
S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal today reserved for tomorrow its order on issuing notices on the respondents and whether to grant an interim order on the Writ petition filed by former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Bench comprised Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya (President/CA) and Shiran Gooneratne.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal Reseves Order For Tomorrow On Ex- Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Writ Petition Seeking Interim Order Quashing Report Filed Against Him For Alleged Offence Under The Public Property Act’ »

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga Calls For Leaders With Backbones to Face Existing Challenges in the Country.


While claiming that there should be a philosophy for the rulers to develop the country in addition to a clear proramme to implement it, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Sunday said ‘there should be leaders who should have a backbone to implement the programmes at a time when the challenges exist in the society.’

Continue reading ‘Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga Calls For Leaders With Backbones to Face Existing Challenges in the Country.’ »

Time for the UN to Recognize That Their Estimate Of 40,000 Killed is Totally Wrong: All Evidence Points To a Figure of Around 7000-8000.

By

Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

“The [Security] Council reiterated that “any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” reaffirming the need for all States to combat, by all means, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.” (‘Four peacekeepers killed in two deadly attacks against UN mission in Mali’, UN News Centre, 24.11.2017)

Pablo de Greiff, speaking at the UNGA’s 72nd session in New York in October 2017, having visited Sri Lanka earlier that month said that “…The impetus to develop new institutional mechanisms and competences for prevention came from the independent Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka” and that as a result, a brand new initiative of the UN was established, called “The Human Rights Up Front initiative”.

As part of this initiative, in October 2014, the UN Secretary-General convened a High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations to undertake a review including prevention and resolution of conflicts, chaired by José Ramos-Horta, former Head of State of Timor-Leste. Radhika Coomaraswamy was a panelist.

The Panel on Peace Operations accurately observes that terrorist groups are a “… particularly malignant threat to international peace and security” and that their “maximalist objectives directly threaten the very existence of nation States”.

The Panel’s report acknowledges that in “hostile environments…where asymmetric threats are present” the “…willingness to use force tactically to protect civilians and United Nations personnel” is necessary.

Continue reading ‘Time for the UN to Recognize That Their Estimate Of 40,000 Killed is Totally Wrong: All Evidence Points To a Figure of Around 7000-8000.’ »

UNP Needs Only 7 More MP’s to Retain Majority In Parliament if SLFP Maithri Faction Pulls Out of Govt and Aligns With Joint Opposition.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had told UNP MPs not to get distracted by the ongoing discussions between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Joint Opposition.

Wickremesinghe had said the discussion was an internal matter within the SLFP camp and the UNP had nothing to do with it.

“We had a discussion with the PM upon his return to the island and he said it was not our business,” a UNP Parliamentarian, who spoke to Asian Mirror under the condition of anonymity, said.

Continue reading ‘UNP Needs Only 7 More MP’s to Retain Majority In Parliament if SLFP Maithri Faction Pulls Out of Govt and Aligns With Joint Opposition.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Warns UNP Parliamentarians to Stop Criticising President Sirisena and not to Hold Press Conferences Without His Permission.


By

Shiromi Abeysinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday warned the UNP Parliamentary Group to refrain from criticizing President Maithripala Sirisena.

The UNP Parliamentarians were specifically informed not make any statement in public which would harm the consensus of the unity government.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Warns UNP Parliamentarians to Stop Criticising President Sirisena and not to Hold Press Conferences Without His Permission.’ »

UPFA Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena Displays a Green Chilly, Red Onion and Brown Sprat in Parliament to Draw Attention To High Rise in Price.


by Saman Indrajith

Kalutara District UPFA MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena brought in a sprat, a red onion and a green chilli to the Chamber to be displayed during his speech during the third reading stage debate on budget 2018 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs yesterday.

Abeygunawardena said the prices of essential food items had gone through the roof and housewives found it difficult to make ends meet. Displaying a green chilli, the MP said: “A kilo of green chilli is selling at one thousand rupees. One chilli is Rs. 8.33.” Thereafter he took out a sprat and displayed it to the House saying “a 100 grams of sprats is now Rs 150. Accordingly, one sprat is Rs. 2.14.”

Continue reading ‘UPFA Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena Displays a Green Chilly, Red Onion and Brown Sprat in Parliament to Draw Attention To High Rise in Price.’ »

Local Govt Minister Faiszer Mustapha Denies Having Links to Case Dubbed as “Musthapha Vs Musthapha Case”.

by Saman Indrajith

Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha yesterday told Parliament that he was not responsible for the delay in holding local government elections.

Denying his alleged involvement in a petition before the Court of Appeal to delay elections, the Minister said that the LG delimitation Gazette was flawless and that he tried his best to do justice for all political parties, including the minor parties, with the delimitation process.

He said he had been in Malta last week attending the Commonwealth Local Government Forum’. “We presented an application to host that Forum in Sri Lanka in 2019. I presented a Cabinet paper in that regard and mentioned about my visit in it. As a Cabinet Minister representing the SLFP, I went to Malta with the approval of the President and the Cabinet.

Continue reading ‘Local Govt Minister Faiszer Mustapha Denies Having Links to Case Dubbed as “Musthapha Vs Musthapha Case”.’ »

Attorney -General Files Motion In Appeal Court Seeking Dismissal of Writ Petition Challenging Legality of Gazette Notification.


By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday filed motion in Court of Appeal moving that the writ petition which challenged the legality of Gazette Notification on the Delimitation committee Report be dismissed and to refuse the extension of the Interim Order on the next hearing date. The Attorney General in the motion also requested to advance the hearing of the writ petition which challenged the legality of the Gazette Notification on the Delimitation Committee Report, to November 30.

On November 22, the Court of Appeal had issued an Interim Order suspending the operation of the Gazette Notification dated February 17, 2017 on the Delimitation Committee Report, until December 4.

Filing a motion in the Court of Appeal, the Attorney General informed that there is an urgent need to ensure that the franchise of the people is not affected.

“As a matter of national importance, advance the hearing into the Interim Order of the application to November 30,” the Attorney General stated.

Continue reading ‘Attorney -General Files Motion In Appeal Court Seeking Dismissal of Writ Petition Challenging Legality of Gazette Notification.’ »

UNP Ready To Work With Anyone Willing to Uphold Good Governance Declares Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe


By

Yohan Perera

The United National Party (UNP) was ready to work with anyone willing to uphold Good Governance and to mutually strengthen electoral prospects, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe made this remark at the UNP Bala Mandalaya meeting in Nawalapitiya last morning.

“The UNP is willing to work with anyone who welcomes and upholds values of Good Governance but our party should strengthen itself to take the Good Governance forward,” he said.

“We managed to get elected to office in the highest level and now we need to strengthen ourselves at the grassroots level. If we strengthen ourselves in the grassroots level it will be possible to strengthen in the provincial level. Therefore let us work heard and win the Local Government elections in 2018,” the Prime Minister said.

Continue reading ‘UNP Ready To Work With Anyone Willing to Uphold Good Governance Declares Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

For the Sinhala Ultranationalists, ‘The Nation’ (‘Jaathiya’) is the Sinhala Nation, and the State is a Sinhala Buddhist State.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

THE DEADLY IGNORANCE OF THE SINHALA ALT-RIGHT (Part 1)


“Ignorance never helped anyone yet!”

— Karl Marx

The crisis is escalating and proliferating daily. It is a crisis of the Yahapalana model and strategy. It is a crisis created by UNP’s unacceptable cosmopolitan neoliberalism with its program of foreignization of the economy, combined with the provocative proto-secessionist behavior of the Northern Provincial Council that has generated a reactive social groundswell, which in turn has impacted upon the base of the SLFP and caused a crisis of the ‘unity’ government, all of which has deadlocked the state machinery and the economy. In the vortex of the crisis, toxic extreme nationalism, Sinhala and Tamil, is incubating, metastasizing. To turn Yeats’ famous poem into political prose, with the center unable to hold, things are falling apart, the falcon cannot hear the falconer and a pair of rough beasts are slouching to Bethlehem, or in this case, Colombo and Jaffna, to be born.

The UNP had to fall in 1956 and 1970. It would have fallen right into the fire in 1988 had it not been for Premadasa. In 1956, the UNP’s fall yielded Sinhala Only. In 1970, it yielded Standardization and a new Constitutional architecture in which safeguards for minorities were removed. Today’s UNP is even more out of touch with reality than it was in 1956 and 1970– the reactive defection of JR Jayewardene’s grandson Pradip to the SLFP-MS is proof and symptom. What will the inevitable fall of the UNP in 2020, bring into being? An administration which is more influenced by Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism and the vision of a quasi-theocratic state, a Buddhist state in all but name?

Never in my politically conscious lifetime (which senior politicians know goes back over 50 of my 60+ years), I have never known an Opposition movement to be more influenced by and responsive to the Sinhala Buddhist clergy than it is now. Nor have I known Sinhala ultranationalist Far Right discourse to be quite so acceptable in the social mainstream, including among the middle classes. This does not portend well for the fate of Sri Lanka, because the country will be heading back to 1956 or 1970 or pre-1987, while the world’s consciousness, and global and regional power relations have moved on in the opposite direction. Sri Lanka will be doomed; torn apart in our lifetime, between Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim militias—with the Sinhala militia enjoying state power, or actually being the state– and spheres of influence, and soon enough, external intervention will carve up this little island in our lifetime.

The current crisis must be resolved and it can be done only by shifting the axis of this Yahapalana government and creating an interim administration of a moderate-centrist nature, capable of bringing political stability and sustainable economic development. This equation must incorporate Mahinda Rajapaksa and the forces he represents, bearing in mind that those forces are in the ascendancy while the Yahapalana Establishment is on the decline. Today, Mahinda Rajapaksa is a far more important moderate than R. Sampanthan.

Continue reading ‘For the Sinhala Ultranationalists, ‘The Nation’ (‘Jaathiya’) is the Sinhala Nation, and the State is a Sinhala Buddhist State.’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Kilinochchi District Secretariat To Stop Work On Restoring the LTTE Cemetery in Kilinochchi

By
Yohan Perera

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had asked the Kilinochchi District Secretariat to stop work on the restoration of LTTE cemetery in Kilinochchi, sources close to the PM said today.

They said that the Ministry of Development Policies and Economic Affairs had instructed the Kilinochchi Pradeshiya Sabha to stop work.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Kilinochchi District Secretariat To Stop Work On Restoring the LTTE Cemetery in Kilinochchi’ »

Chandrika Kumaratunga Asked By Nimal Siripala De Silva “Whether it is Not Better to Unite With the Rajapaksas as we are Already Dealing With International Fraudsters”?

By

Gagani Weerakoon

President Maithripala Sirisena seems to have reached a decisive juncture since announcing his decision to become the common candidate in November 2014 by joining hands with United National Party. While there were many hiccups since then, both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe displayed a commitment towards continuing the political marriage they entered against all odds. Both leaders acknowledged the presence of differences of opinions amongst the government members who come from political parties that stood poles apart for decades. Yet, carefully thought measures were taken to nip those differences in the bud before an issue reached an uncontrollable stage as both parties had one common mission – not to let Rajapaksas return to power.

Much has been said and done since 8 January 2015, where the stakeholders who brought this President as well as the UNF led Government into power having to wonder whether the Government is still committed to what they pledged – to end impunity, corruption, fraud and establish good governance.

Sweeping matters under the carpet seemed to have reached the limit as members of both UNP and SLFP are now openly hurling accusations against each other and threatening each other with divorce; divorce from this political marriage.

President Sirisena, who came under scathing attacks from UNP ministers and backbenchers, finally broke his silence concerning allegations levelled against him over the past few weeks by several members in the Government, on Friday in Nikaweratiya by saying that he is willing to leave all positions and join the people to continue the struggle if there are continuous undue criticism and complaints against decisions taken by him to stop fraud and corruption.

“Because the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Government was engaged in fraudulent activities, the SLFP candidate lost in 2015.

If the United National Party (UNP) is committing the same faults and mistakes while being in the Government, the people will reject it too,” he said.

He said that the people elected a new Government, expecting it to be better and that it would change the existing corrupt system of governance.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Kumaratunga Asked By Nimal Siripala De Silva “Whether it is Not Better to Unite With the Rajapaksas as we are Already Dealing With International Fraudsters”?’ »

“Those Who Want To Take Legal Action against Me Must Consider Why I Took This Stand” – Northern Province Education Minister Sarweswaran Who Refused To Hoist The National Flag Explains His Position.

By MirudhulaThambiah

This week was full of interesting events happening in the political arena, and one of it is the debate on Northern Education Minister Dr. Kandiah Sarveswaran refusing to hoist the national flag at an event held at a school in Vavuniya.

In history there had been such events when Tamil National Leaders have shown their opposition to the national flag.

From S.J.V. Chelvanayagam to A. Amirthalingam, Tamil Leaders have criticized the national flag. Even the current leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) Mavai Senathirajah had made comments regarding the national flag.

On 16 November Dr. Sarveswaran was invited by the Northern Provincial Councillor A. Jayathilake to participate as the Chief Guest for an event at Perakum Maha Vidyalaya in Irattai Periya Kulam, Vavuniya. The issue erupted when Dr. Sarveswaran refused to hoist the national flag at the event. However, later the Principal of the school made arrangements for another higher official to do the honours.

Continue reading ‘“Those Who Want To Take Legal Action against Me Must Consider Why I Took This Stand” – Northern Province Education Minister Sarweswaran Who Refused To Hoist The National Flag Explains His Position.’ »

Local Govt Minister Faiszer Musthapha Goes Abroad Without Informing Prime Minister Wickremesinghe or Leader of the House Kiriella

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

The Government informed Parliament on Saturday that Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Musthapha had gone abroad without keeping the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House informed but would be present in Parliament today to respond to the brewing issues of the petition filed against holding local government elections.

Continue reading ‘Local Govt Minister Faiszer Musthapha Goes Abroad Without Informing Prime Minister Wickremesinghe or Leader of the House Kiriella’ »

Right To Information (RTI) Commission Orders Search for the Reportedly “Missing” Commission of Inquiry Report on SLMC Leader MHM Ashraff’s Death

Sri Lanka’s Right to Information (RTI) Commission has ordered the release of key documentation relating to the ‘missing’ findings of the Commission of Inquiry Report into the death of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress founder and Minister M.H.M. Ashraff and fourteen others on September 16, 2000 in a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Mi-17 helicopter crash.

The report of the one-man Commission of Inquiry constituting Former Justice L.K.G. Weerasekera had been appointed by the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga to probe the crash. His report has been ‘missing’ after the relevant files were sent by the Presidential Secretariat to the National Archives in 2007. As the RTI Commission inquiry conducted on Monday revealed, the report was also ‘missing’ in the files forwarded to the National Archives by the Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry in 2002.

The Commission released Extracts of Pages 69, 70 and 71 of the report relating to the recommendation of Rs. 8 million to be paid as compensation to certain parties. These were the only available pages of the report in the 2007 file. The released information also included a minute made on the file by the Presidential Secretariat claiming that the crash was not due to a willful act or an explosion or any explosive device. The crash was attributed to act or acts of omission, lack of due diligence and duty of care amounting to negligence on the part of the crew.

Continue reading ‘Right To Information (RTI) Commission Orders Search for the Reportedly “Missing” Commission of Inquiry Report on SLMC Leader MHM Ashraff’s Death’ »

Muslim and Sinhala Residents Of Violence Affected Gintota area in a Reconciliatory Demonstration Meet at The Welipitimodera Mosue and Eat Milk Rice Together Along with Police and Security Personnel

By T. Withanawasam in Gintota

Sinhalese and Muslim residents of the Gintota area met at the Welipiti Mosque last Wednesday and shared Kiribath with each other and members of the Armed Forces and Police. It should have been an unremarkable event except that just days before, clashes between Sinhalese and Muslim mobs had caused extensive damage to dozens of shops and houses and several vehicles.

After the milk rice was eaten the two groups and the security forces personnel came together to clean up the debris caused by the clashes.

Welipiti Mosque

The Welipiti Modera mosque is a special place for the village and its surrounding areas, as both Muslims and Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, honour this place of worship.

Local Buddhist monk Kegalle Pannarama Thera said “The Sinhalese have great respect for this Mosque. They are in the habit of making a small donation to this place when they go on a religious trip. Pregnant women make a vow at this Mosque. Once a child is born they bring a bottle of milk and offer it to the mosque. Such close relations exist between the Sinhalese and the Muslims.”

So what happened to this close knit community that has existed in harmony for many years? How did mobs from the two communities rampage through the villages causing a total of 116 incidents in three nights?

Continue reading ‘Muslim and Sinhala Residents Of Violence Affected Gintota area in a Reconciliatory Demonstration Meet at The Welipitimodera Mosue and Eat Milk Rice Together Along with Police and Security Personnel’ »

Arresting Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Over the DA Rajapaksa Memorial In Medamulana Will Amount To a Political Witch Hunt.

by C. A. Chandraprema

Virtually everything said in this column about the local government elections and the possibility of the yahapalana government postponing them with a Puthukudiirippu-Maritime Pattu style operation by petitioning courts came true last week with the Appeal Court issuing a stay order on the local government delimitation gazette. Every political maneuver that this government makes can be accurately predicted months ahead. Frantic talks are now being held by the SLFP with their estranged colleagues in the Joint Opposition to form an alliance to contest the local government elections. However this can’t happen without some significant political changes. Virtually all SLFP parliamentarians in the Joint Opposition have been sacked from their SLFP electoral organizer positions and others have been appointed in their place. A tie up cannot take place unless President Sirisena re-appoints all the sacked SLFP parliamentarians to their former positions and sacks those whom he appointed to those positions not so long ago.

Furthermore, the speaker will have to recognize the Joint Opposition as a separate group in parliament so that the Opposition Leadership goes to the Joint Opposition. The most important change required will be that the SLFP will have to leave the government before the elections because it will be impossible for members of the Joint Opposition and the SLFP to stand together on the same platform if the latter remains a part of the government. If the SLFP ministers in the government try to participate in a JO rally while still remaining in the government, they will all be hooted off the stage and not one will be allowed to speak. Those that have gathered around the JO is an uncompromisingly anti-government crowd. So even though the SLFP central committee passed a resolution last Thursday to the effect that they will contest together with the JO, many changes will have to be made before that can even be contemplated.

Even though this tie up is still at the discussion stage, yahapalana circles are highly agitated at the mere prospect of such a thing taking place. The banned Lanka e News website reported that several yahapalana officials involved in investigating the corrupt deals of the Rajapaksas had rung them up and said that they are making plans to flee the country and seek political asylum overseas as their lives are now in danger. This columnist has been saying all along that President Sirisena’s objective was to destroy the hierarchy of the UNP and to ensure that when the next Presidential election comes around, that the UNP voters have no option but to support him for another term. A part of that has been achieved because the image of the UNP has been seriously damaged by the bond commission and they are in no position to face a presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Arresting Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Over the DA Rajapaksa Memorial In Medamulana Will Amount To a Political Witch Hunt.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Loyalists Want Ex-President To Be Made Either Prime Minister Or Leader Of The Opposition.


Fence mending talks between sections of the SLFP loyal to President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa in time for the local elections are continuing according to informed SLFP sources.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Loyalists Want Ex-President To Be Made Either Prime Minister Or Leader Of The Opposition.’ »

Joint Opposition Wants President Sirisena To Take Action Against Those Responsible For The Treasury Bonds Scam And Offers Unconditional Support To Him.

by Saman Indrajith

The Joint Opposition yesterday pledged its unconditional support to President Maithripala Sirisena in his endeavor to hunt down those responsible for the treasury bond scam.

JO frontliner MP Bandula Gunawardena said that his group would stand in defence of President Sirisena against those who had launched a scathing attack when he (President) spoke against the bond fraudsters.

Addressing a press conference at the Parliamentary complex, Gunawardena said the President has become the victim of a mudslinging campaign in a bid to exert pressure on him to get the bond racketeers free from the biggest ever fraud in the country’s history.

“We support President Sirisena unconditionally in the legal process to be initiated to bring the culprits of the treasury bond scam to book. After the steps were taken by the President to appoint a Presidential Commission to probe the Central Bond scam, an attack has been launched against him by some UNP Parliamentarians, the JO parliamentarian said.

Gunawardena said they vehemently condemn various baseless allegations leveled against the President by certain sections of the government.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition Wants President Sirisena To Take Action Against Those Responsible For The Treasury Bonds Scam And Offers Unconditional Support To Him.’ »

Drama Before Inquiry Commission Aggravated By Behaviour of Attorney-Generals Dept Counsel


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The misplaced ecstasy of those who greeted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appearance before the Commission of Inquiry into the Treasury Bond Issuance early this week with cries of ‘Bravo”, (including former President Chandrika Kumaratunga), was equaled only by the palpable agony of those who watched the unfolding scenario with disbelief.

Need for some gravitas

Here was the Prime Minister of the ‘yahapalanaya’ unity alliance elected into power in 2015 on the platform of reversing the abuses of the past finding himself in an unpleasant situation where his presence was deemed necessary to clarify details of a gargantuan financial scandal swirling around the Central Bank of Sri Lanka implicating his own party and crony capitalist associates. Never mind the sophistry regarding whether he was summoned or came voluntarily for the Commission sittings. Even if his presence was voluntary, the mere fact that this was deemed necessary should have compelled some necessary gravitas. But that was not the case.

At one level, there is some empathy with the Prime Minister’s matter-of-fact comment at a symposium on cyberspace during a state visit to India some days later that, after opening the internet without any fetters to the Sri Lankan people, he has become the most maligned politician in the country. The incongruity of this statement being made in a background where the first banning of a news website (however dreadful and salacious its content may have been) had taken place weeks ago is beside the point.

The fact remains that this Government has indeed taken bold strides in bringing about an environment where critique and dissent flourishes in Sri Lanka. This is no special thing however, as one might add. On the contrary, it is the minimum of the democratic standard. And ruling politicians who pat themselves on the back for this ‘achievement’ comparing it with monstrous Rajapaksa excesses should be subjected to a reality check.

Continue reading ‘Drama Before Inquiry Commission Aggravated By Behaviour of Attorney-Generals Dept Counsel’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Returns From Indian Trip To Defuse Rising Tensions Between President Sirisena and UNP Parliamentarians.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe returned from a four-day Indian visit to battle a deepening rift between his party and President Maithripala that threatens to undermine their unity government.

The troubles erupted as Wickremesinghe left on Tuesday. State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe called a press conference at the United National Party (UNP) headquarters to express disappointment in the President.

As President Sirisena made his displeasure known to the UNP, the Premier began monitoring the situation from India, but even before he could rein in Senasinghe, there were more outbursts.

Since his return on Friday, the Prime Minister has been fire-fighting to defuse tensions on both sides, according to official sources.

As Wickremesinghe left on Tuesday, Senasinghe told a press conference at Sirikotha, the UNP headquarters, to accuse Sirisena of a conspiracy to destroy the UNP using the bond investigation.

The State Minister for International Trade said he wanted the President to probe bond auctions from 2008 to understand how the system had worked and expose the corruption under the Rajapaksa regime, but he ignored the call.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Returns From Indian Trip To Defuse Rising Tensions Between President Sirisena and UNP Parliamentarians.’ »

Sri Lanka accepts UPR recommendation for Accountability Mechanism with Special Counsel

By

Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

Following Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held at the Human Rights Councils in Geneva on the 15th of November 2017, and the adoption of its Report on the 24th, a draft outcome document called “Draft report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review”, which includes recommendations was circulated in the Council on Friday, the 24th November 2017.

Recommendations are made by UN member states on measures that can be taken to improve the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has the three options of accepting, rejecting or taking note of those recommendations.

While it was stated during the debate in Parliament on the Foreign Ministry budget that officials of the Foreign Ministry are of the view that Lord Naseby’s recent revelations on the casualty figures had not been used thus far because they feel that the evidence he unearthed should be used optimally in the most appropriate forums, it is unclear how the UN Human Rights Council did not qualify especially during a universal review by all UN member states of Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Situation, especially since there were several references to Resolution 30/1 during the review.

Listed below are some of the recommendations that the Govt. delegation has accepted on behalf of Sri Lanka:

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka accepts UPR recommendation for Accountability Mechanism with Special Counsel’ »

If the UNP Makes The Mistake of Exceeding Even The Corruption Of The SLFP Regime Then the People Will Not Approve it Warns President Sirisena Hitting Back at UNP Criticism.

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena hit back at the senior partner in his coalition Friday suggesting that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government could be more corrupt than the previous regime.

In a scathing attack on the United National Party (UNP), an emotional Sirisena said it was easy to break up, but difficult to reunite and urged mature politicians in the UNP to stop grand standing by its juvenile members.

The remarks were at UNP backbenchers who indirectly blamed Sirisena for delaying local council elections saying that the postponement of polls was detrimental to the future of their party.

Continue reading ‘If the UNP Makes The Mistake of Exceeding Even The Corruption Of The SLFP Regime Then the People Will Not Approve it Warns President Sirisena Hitting Back at UNP Criticism.’ »

Two UNP Backbenchers Indirectly Target President Sirisena Led SLFP faction By Criticising Local Govt Minister Faiszer Mustapha Over Local Polls Delay

Simmering tensions within Sri Lanka’s governing coalition came to a head in parliament Thursday with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s party firing what it called the first salvo against the President.

Two backbenchers from the United National Party (UNP) blamed President Maithripala Sirisena’s faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) for delaying local council elections.

Continue reading ‘Two UNP Backbenchers Indirectly Target President Sirisena Led SLFP faction By Criticising Local Govt Minister Faiszer Mustapha Over Local Polls Delay’ »

President Sirisena Says He Is Ready To Give Up All Positions and Join The People To Take Forward The Fight Against Fraud and Corruption.

President Maithripala Sirisena said today if allegations were made against him when he was taking decisions against fraud and corruption, he would give up all positions and join the people to take that fight forward.

He told a public meeting in Nikaweratiya that the SLFP candidate was defeated in 2015 because the SLFP government did several mistakes and if people from the UNP did the same mistakes while being in the government, the people will not approve it.

The President said the people elected a new government by changing the earlier corrupt regime so as to introduce a new programme and everyone should get ready to walk on the correct path to let that expectation come true.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Says He Is Ready To Give Up All Positions and Join The People To Take Forward The Fight Against Fraud and Corruption.’ »

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

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs -4

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

"Veerathirumagan"

“Veerathirumagan Aanandhan ♥ Sachu”

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

Futile To Expect Mahinda Rajapaksa To Give Up His Political Scheming Based On Ethno-Majoritarianism.

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan, participating in the final debate of the second reading of the Budget in Parliament last week, made an impassioned plea to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to extend his fullest support and cooperation to the current constitution making process. Describing the former president as a very senior political leader in this country who commanded much respect amongst the people, Sampanthan implored Rajapaksa not to use the constitution as a means to come to power, maintaining his party would have no problem with the former president seeking any other means to capture power. Sampanthan said he also intended to make the same appeal to all the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Members of Parliament.

In a speech that resonated with many, the Sampanthan reminded the former president of the numerous instances before and after the end of the war, when he gave assurances to those in Sri Lanka and to the international community including India, of his commitment to finding a meaningful political solution to the national problem through a mechanism for extensive power sharing. He also noted that a former president, who had been committed to finding an acceptable political solution, should not fail in his fundamental duty of supporting the constitutional reforms process that has the potential to stop the country from regressing to darkness. However, given the former president’s current stance on national issues, Sampanthan didn’t sugar-coat his words, when he said the stance was promoting communal disharmony.

It was perhaps one of the best speeches Sampanthan made in Parliament, as the Leader of the Opposition, in recent times. The former president who was in the House, listened to the speech carefully but did not comment on the sensitive issues impassioned except to note that he understood the sentiments of the latter. In this context, it is worth noting that exactly one year ago President Maithripala Sirisena made a similar appeal to Mahinda Rajapaksa and the members of the Joint Opposition, when he urged them not to disrupt the constitution making process and the measures being taken towards reconciliation by engaging in false propaganda. Coincidentally, the speech was also made during the Budget debate.

Continue reading ‘Futile To Expect Mahinda Rajapaksa To Give Up His Political Scheming Based On Ethno-Majoritarianism.’ »

Why Sri Lanka Needs A Leftist Alternative To Accomplish Important Tasks That Cannot be Undertaken By the UNP,SLFP, JO, SLPP or TNA.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

[In honor of Fidel Castro -1st death anniversary Nov 25th]


********************************

“Nationalism is not our essential idea, although we do love our homeland dearly. We consider ourselves internationalists…”
(Fidel Castro, Economy 98, July 3rd 1998 speech)

“…We’re not very nationalistic. We’re patriots but we’re not very nationalistic…”

(Fidel Castro, Talks with US and French journalists, 1983, pp. 34-5)

“We internationalist revolutionaries always say…humanity comes before our country!”
(Fidel Castro Speaks, ed. James Petras p159)

We need a Left alternative because there are certain challenges, some tasks, some projects, crucially important ones, that no one else can be expected to undertake, be they UNP, SLFP, JO, SLPP or TNA. These are the tasks of social justice and national unification. Sri Lanka must become a country in which there is social justice and fair-play. It must also become a country in which a genuinely Sri Lankan identity is fostered and national reconciliation and integration takes place by purely voluntary means, from below. Only a Left alternative can do this because only the Left has those values.

No UNP government will stand for social justice, and even if Sajith Premadasa leads it, it may only ensure a measure of social welfare and equity. As for the SLFP, it will either imitate the UNP or the JO. Taken together or separately, the SLFP and the JO-SLPP see only the ‘national’ and not the ‘social’.

For the SLFP-JO-SLPP the ‘national’ is the social and is the sole dimension of the social. It’s all Jathika, or in its longer version, Rata-Jathiya-Aagama (country-nation-religion), and hardly Janatha/Mahajana (people/masses). The ‘national’ is defined in ethnic, ethnocentric or ethno-religious communitarian terms. Thus Southern populism is ethno-populism or ethno-religious populism.

With President Ranasinghe Premadasa long dead—something else we owe the Tigers and all those who supported and still fail to denounce them–only a Left formation will perceive things in terms of social justice, irrespective of, and cutting across, ethnicity and religion.

As for nation-building, it cannot be successfully undertaken by the UNP, because its multiculturalism, which is always a good thing, is undermined by its cosmopolitanism, minoritarianism, wartime history of appeasement of separatism and terrorism, and pro-Western imperialist stance. This whole package and profile generate a Southern backlash which makes it impossible to proceed with building a unified nation and a Sri Lankan identity.

Continue reading ‘Why Sri Lanka Needs A Leftist Alternative To Accomplish Important Tasks That Cannot be Undertaken By the UNP,SLFP, JO, SLPP or TNA.’ »

Sinhala-Muslim Communal Violence Raises its Ugly Head Again In the Gintota Area Of Galle.

By Dharisha Bastians in Gintota

The bright red SUV screeched to a stop at the Gintota Thuparamaya Purana Raja Maha Viharaya for the second time on Saturday (18), creating a buzz of excitement among scores of villagers assembled in the temple’s expansive garden at sundown.

As the hybrid vehicle gleamed in the fading light, a familiar figure hopped out of the front seat. Galagoda Aththe Gnansara Thero, the controversial Bodu Bala Sena chief monk who strikes fear in the hearts of ethnic minority communities – was back in the region that had been the epicentre of communal violence the previous night.

This time he was purportedly playing the role of ‘peacemaker’ in the tense region off Galle, after 19 people were arrested following several hours of mob violence on Friday (17) night that caused extensive property damage and wiped out livelihoods.

Continue reading ‘Sinhala-Muslim Communal Violence Raises its Ugly Head Again In the Gintota Area Of Galle.’ »

Dinesh wants Karu To Investigate Whether Sujeewa Senasinghe Violated Standing Orders By Publicly Criticising President Sirisena

By Saman Indrajith

Leader of the Joint Opposition (JO) Dinesh Gunawardena, raising a Point of Order, requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to investigate and find out whether State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe’s recent remarks on President amounted to a violation of Standing Orders.

Gunawardena said Senasinghe had, on Tues-day at a press conference, criticized the conduct of President Maithripala Sirisena.

The State Minister declared that he was disappointed with President Sirisena as regards the manner in which the bond scams had been handled.

Continue reading ‘Dinesh wants Karu To Investigate Whether Sujeewa Senasinghe Violated Standing Orders By Publicly Criticising President Sirisena’ »

Buddhist Monks Called For Sinhalese To Assemble at Thuparamaya Temple in Gintota From where the Mob Attack On Muslims was Launched On Nov 17th.

By Ratnasiri Malalagama and Nandana Nanneththi

Sinhala-Buddhist thugs unleashed a series of violent assaults on Muslims in Gintota area near Galle, capital of southern Sri Lanka, last Friday night.

Three mosques were targeted and about 50 buildings, including houses and business places owned by Muslims, were damaged by club-wielding gangs. They set fire to properties and several vehicles in the Hapugala, Ampitiya, Gintota Galle Road and Weliwitimodara areas at about 8 p.m.

World Socialist Web Site correspondents visited the area on Saturday to investigate what had happened. Muslim residents told us that a number of Buddhist monks who were involved in organising the attack had held a meeting at Thuparamaya, a Buddhist temple in the area, two hours before the assault.

At 4.17 p.m. on Friday, one of the monks, Uchitha Arunodha Gunasekera called for everyone in the Galle area “to gather at the Thuparamaya temple in Gintota against Muslims.”

The violent attack was discussed and prepared at the temple with the encouragement of the monks who used a couple of relatively minor incidents earlier in the week to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment and initiate the rampage.

Continue reading ‘Buddhist Monks Called For Sinhalese To Assemble at Thuparamaya Temple in Gintota From where the Mob Attack On Muslims was Launched On Nov 17th.’ »

“President Sirisena Who Was Elected To Office With The Help Of The UNP Is Using The Commission To Sling Mud At Our Party” Laments State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe


By Skandha Gunasekara

A defensive International Trade State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe yesterday said that he was disappointed with President Maithripala Sirisena for using the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCOI) into the Central Bank Bond scam as a tool to sling mud at the UNP.

Addressing a media briefing at the UNP headquarters, the Minister said the PCOI could have wrapped up its inquiry in three months as was stipulated but was extended a further three months to bring the UNP into disrepute.

“We helped elect this president for the promises he made and we made sacrifices. I’m very disappointed with the President. He is using the Commission to sling mud at our party,” the Minister said, claiming that it was a conspiracy by the SLFP.

Continue reading ‘“President Sirisena Who Was Elected To Office With The Help Of The UNP Is Using The Commission To Sling Mud At Our Party” Laments State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe’ »

Govt Must Ask Northern Chief Minister To Remove Provincial Education Minister Sarveshwaran For Refusing to Unfurl The Sri Lankan Nationa Flag Or Dissolve Northern Council if Chief Minister Refuses To Do So

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

It was amusing to see Mr. Sampanthan of the TNA ascending to his full moral height in the Budget debate and making an impassioned oratorical appeal to Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, while sitting in (rising from) the seat that rightfully belongs to Mahinda and which Mr. Sampanthan has no moral (or arithmetical) right to occupy—that of the Leader of the Opposition. Mahinda was gentle, and gentlemanly enough, not to point that out.

I would like to see the TNA take a stand against the Northern Provincial Council’s Education Minister Sarveshwaran’s outrageous conduct. Dr. Sarveshwaran, Suresh Premachandran’s brother, refused to unfurl the Sri Lankan flag, saying he didn’t recognize it because it stood for the notion of Sri Lanka as a Sinhala Buddhist state.

Now this being a democracy (unlike ‘Tamil Eelam’), he is entitled to his point of view and to fight for a modification of the flag, but this being a State with a written Constitution, he is not entitled to practise this view and hold office in a sub-state unit. It wouldn’t be tolerated even in a federal state, starting with India and Pakistan, leave alone a unitary state with devolved powers, specially a mere eight years after a Thirty Year War ended in a crushing victory for the State.

The Government must ask the Chief Minister to remove Sarveshwaran or must dissolve the Council if the Chief Minister refuses. If the Yahapalana government and its Governor fail to take action, then the voters should add that to the bill at the local government election and all future ones.

Accountability is not only judicial and not only to Geneva; it is political and to the sovereign citizen-voters of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan armed forces didn’t make the colossal sacrifices it did, to have a Northern Minister of Education refuse to honor the Sri Lankan flag.

Continue reading ‘Govt Must Ask Northern Chief Minister To Remove Provincial Education Minister Sarveshwaran For Refusing to Unfurl The Sri Lankan Nationa Flag Or Dissolve Northern Council if Chief Minister Refuses To Do So’ »

Bravo!Bravo!Bravo! – Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga Hails Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe For His Brave Decision to Testify Before the Presidential Inquiry Commission.

A cross section of society including politicians yesterday hailed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for voluntarily appearing before the Commission investigating into the Central Bank Bond issue

They said that the Prime Minister deserves a special appreciation for setting an example to the country by appearing before the Commission.

“The Prime Minister’s appearance before the Commission marks the beginning of new era of governance where rule of law reigns,” they said.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sending a personal message to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that his initiative will symbolize the beginning of new culture of free and democratic governance.

She hailed the Prime Minister for taking this brave decision to testify before the Presidential Commission.

Continue reading ‘Bravo!Bravo!Bravo! – Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga Hails Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe For His Brave Decision to Testify Before the Presidential Inquiry Commission.’ »