Maestro W. D. Amaradeva Created a Distinctive Genre of Sinhala Music

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This article appears in the December 2016 issue of ‘Saamagaana – The First Melody,’ a magazine devoted to classical music published in Bengaluru, India. It is being published here to mark the 89th birthday of maestro Amaradeva on 5 December.)

Renowned Sri Lankan vocalist, violinist and music composer W.D. Amaradeva passed away in a Colombo hospital on 3 November, just one month short of his 89th birthday.

Millions of Lankan rasikas scattered throughout the world were saddened by Pandit Amaradeva’s death while the Government declared one week of national mourning in his honour. In an illustrious musical career spanning almost seven decades the maestro had firmly established himself as the most popular singing voice of the Sri Lankan nation.

Wannakuwatte Waduge Don Albert Perera

Born on 5 December 1927 to a Buddhist father and Christian mother in Moratuwa – a coastal town to the south of capital city Colombo – the singer changed his name Wannakuwatta Waduge Don Albert Perera to Amaradeva later on in his twenties. Amaradeva means immortal god or celestial being. To his innumerable fans Amaradeva’s music and singing remain immortal.

Continue reading ‘Maestro W. D. Amaradeva Created a Distinctive Genre of Sinhala Music’ »

Constitutional Council to “Take Action” Against IGP Jayasundara Over “Phone-Gate”Scandal.


By Dharisha Bastians

Police Chief IGP Pujith Jayasundera is under fire from the Opposition and corruption watchdogs after he was caught on camera attempting to interfere in an investigation by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) earlier this week.

The IGP told an unidentified caller in the presence of media personnel in a video that was aired on Wednesday (30) that he had instructed the FCID to seek his permission before arresting an individual in a case that appeared to be of concern to the caller. During the recorded phone call, Jayasundera referred to the matter as the “Nilame’s case.” untitled-3

As calls mount for action against the IGP and the release of information about the caller on the other end of the telephone in the controversial video, President Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament in response to questions raised by the opposition on Thursday (1) that he was calling for explanation from the Police Chief over the revealing video.

Continue reading ‘Constitutional Council to “Take Action” Against IGP Jayasundara Over “Phone-Gate”Scandal.’ »

US V-P Elect Mike Pence Telephones President Sirisena About Arranging Trip to Washington to meet President elect Donald Trump


Vice President-elect of the United States Mike Pence called President Maithripala Sirisena Thursday night on behalf of President-elect Donald Trump

During the conversation, President Sirisena conveyed his best wishes to the new administration under the leadership of Trump.

The conversation focused on measures for strengthening bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the US in the future.

Continue reading ‘US V-P Elect Mike Pence Telephones President Sirisena About Arranging Trip to Washington to meet President elect Donald Trump’ »

Maithripala Appeals to Mahinda-led Opposition not to Sabotage new Constitution Making Process and Ethnic Reconciliation


By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday appealed to the Joint Opposition led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, not to thwart the constitution-making and ethnic reconciliation processes by indulging false propaganda because if the current chance to solve the national problem is missed due to narrow minded jockeying for power, the country will only return to conflict and bloodshed.

In a powerful speech in parliament, Sirisena said that the Rajapaksa-led opposition is under the mistaken notion that they can come to power by indulging in false propaganda about the constitution-making process and the status of Buddhism. They complain to the Buddhist monks that the new constitution will wreck the unity of the country and downgrade Buddhism, when the government’s plans are anything but that.

The President warned that the opposition’s tactics will only create a situation in which they will not be able realize their dream of coming to power.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Appeals to Mahinda-led Opposition not to Sabotage new Constitution Making Process and Ethnic Reconciliation’ »

President Sirisena Calls for Explanation from IGP Pujitha Jayasundara About Telling “Sir”That “Nilame/Neelam”Wont be Arrested.


By Saman Indrajith

President Maithripala Sirisena informed Parliament yesterday that he would call for explanation from IGP Pujith Jayasundara over the latter’s recent remarks on taking persons into custody by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division during a police commemorative event at Ratnapura.

Soon after President Sirisena completed his speech during the third reading debate on Budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of National Dialogue, National Integration and Reconciliation and Disaster Management Ministries, Joint Opposition MP Wimalaweera Dissanayake demanded to know from the government how the IGP assured that there would be no arrests of a particular person by the FCID even before the investigations.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Calls for Explanation from IGP Pujitha Jayasundara About Telling “Sir”That “Nilame/Neelam”Wont be Arrested.’ »

Was It Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Who told IGP on Telephone not to Arrest?-JVP wants to Know

By Saman Indrajith

Parliament should be informed of the person the IGP had been talking over the phone during a police commemorative event at Ratnapura, Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake demanded.

He made this comment participating in the committee stage budget debate in Parliament yesterday.

“Whom did the IGP address as ‘Sir’? Shouldn’t Parliament know the identity of the person trying shield rogues. Isn’t this political interference? The allegation that politicians exert pressure on police as regards arrest and release of suspects has been substantiated. Now the IGP has proved, albeit unwittingly, that he is following orders from certain persons. What is the use of the Police Commission in a situation like this?”

Continue reading ‘Was It Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Who told IGP on Telephone not to Arrest?-JVP wants to Know’ »

Foreign Minister Samaraweera Orders Washington Embassy to Probe Allegation About Ministry Funds Being Spent for Gotabhaya’s Son In Los Angeles.

by Saman Indrajith

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington has been ordered to investigate an allegation that Rs. 27 million had been spent for a person living at the residence meant for Lankan Consul General at Los Angeles while that position was vacant.

In accordance with instructions issued by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera two top officials of the Lankan Embassy in Washington would leave for Los Angeles the following week to conduct the probe, ministry sources said.

Foreign Minister Samaraweera on Wednesday told Parliament that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s son had occupied the residence of Lankan Consul General.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Minister Samaraweera Orders Washington Embassy to Probe Allegation About Ministry Funds Being Spent for Gotabhaya’s Son In Los Angeles.’ »

President Sirisena in 25 Minute Parliament Speech Appeals for Consensus on New Constitution Seeking to Resolve National Question

By Dharisha Bastians

untitled-5President Maithripala Sirisena made a passionate appeal for consensus on the proposed new Constitution in Parliament yesterday, urging lawmakers to support his Government’s efforts to end decades of ethnic strife and achieve lasting peace.

In a 25-minute speech delivered during the budget debate on the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation last afternoon, President Sirisena said everyone engaged in the process would need to be flexible to negotiate a political solution that would be acceptable to all communities in the country.

“I urge all members of this House who desire a better future for our motherland, who desire permanent peace, who do not desire a recurrence of war, to come to the negotiating table to hammer out a solution that will resolve our national question once and for all,” the President appealed during his speech.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena in 25 Minute Parliament Speech Appeals for Consensus on New Constitution Seeking to Resolve National Question’ »

Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Wont be Deported After Prison Term Ends on Dec 9 Assures Nawinne in Parliament

The Government yesterday confirmed the Frontline Socialist Party leader Premakumar Gunaratnam would not be extradited when his prison term comes to an end on 9 December, but may instead be issued citizenship.

“We will consider this if an application is submitted once he completes the prison term. I am ready to act upon receiving his application. His parents are locals and he will not be deported. He could either become a dual citizen or, by giving up Australian citizenship, could become a full-citizen of Sri Lanka,” confirmed Internal Affair Minister S. B. Nawinne at Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Wont be Deported After Prison Term Ends on Dec 9 Assures Nawinne in Parliament’ »

Foreign Ministry Funds Amounting to Rs 399 Miillion Used for House Rent and Expenses of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s son in Los Angeles for 21 Months

By Saman Indrajith

Serious financial irregularities had taken place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the previous government, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament yesterday.

Samaraweera said that among them was the acquisition of a house on rent in Los Angeles for the use of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapksa’s son. He said there was not even a Sri Lankan Consul General in that city. During the stay of the former Defence Secretary’s son two army men had been deployed there for his security.

The ministry had paid the rent for one year and nine months for the house. More than Rs. 399 million had been paid from the ministry funds to cover the expenses and those funds had been sent abroad through Sajin Vass Gunawardena.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Ministry Funds Amounting to Rs 399 Miillion Used for House Rent and Expenses of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s son in Los Angeles for 21 Months’ »

34 Year Old Barber Allegedly Tortured by Hatton Cops for Delay in Going to Police Station and Give HQ Inspector a hair-cut.

By

Amra Ismail

Kadireshan Ravishankar, a 34-year-old barber and father of four, alleges he was tortured by the Hatton HQI (Headquarters Inspector) on September 23. He was working at his brother, Kadireshan Simson’ salon – ‘CS Saloon’ – when he was called to give a haircut to the Hatton HQI. Grappling with abject poverty, Ravishankar has now been forced to battle against the added burden of social stigma after surviving police torture.

“At around 7.00 p.m., two police officers in plain attire came to our salon and asked me to come with them to trim the hair of the Hatton HQI,” said Ravishankar. However, he has refused to go on the errand as his employer (brother) was absent and also as there were customers who had been waiting for a longtime.

“But I told them I would come once the salon closed for the day. Yet, they threatened that I would not be able to open the salon the next day. They left after intimidating me,” he added.

Continue reading ‘34 Year Old Barber Allegedly Tortured by Hatton Cops for Delay in Going to Police Station and Give HQ Inspector a hair-cut.’ »

Catering Meaningfully Towards The Real Needs of War-Affected Vunerable Persons in Northern Sri Lanka

By Frances Bulathsinghala

Interviews with some of Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable war-affected persons in the north show that a meaningful post war reconciliation process to them includes action towards human development, based on a comprehensive and consistent post conflict development policy that is focused on knowledge and understanding of grass root scenarios.

There is no consistent and meaningful livelihood-focused training undertaken as part of a concrete State policy to deal with the human crisis created by 30 years of conflict that fragmented the lives of thousands.

Many of those who are in acutely vulnerable situations such as being disabled, widowed, located outside town centres and living with extended families on account of losing their houses and livelihood in the war, say that they have received little or no assistance and are often not beneficiaries of the Samurdhi scheme. Especially needing attention is integrating the large numbers of disabled persons into society and providing them with livelihood assistance.

Continue reading ‘Catering Meaningfully Towards The Real Needs of War-Affected Vunerable Persons in Northern Sri Lanka’ »

How Many of our MP’s Getting Paid More Than 400,000 Rupees Per Month Have Passed Their GCE O’Levels and ALevels?

By

Rajeewa Jayaweera

The Prime Minister has recently spoken in Parliament of the need to substantially increase salaries of our legislators. He is of the view current salaries are grossly inadequate. The Prime Minister believes higher salaries will reduce corruption and attract better talent to the legislature.

As of today, an MP earns a salary of Rs 54,285. Allowances are paid based on Rs 1,000 for entertainment, Rs 3,500 for a chauffeur, Rs 2,000 for a mobile phone and Rs 500 for each time he or she attends parliamentary sittings. A reimbursement scheme of Rs 10,000 for their private staff is in force. Each legislator receives between 283 and 639 litres of diesel a month, based on the distance between Colombo and the member’s constituency. The Tax Free vehicle permit currently valued at Rs 22 million based on a six year term of office, when sold would provide each legislator with an additional monthly income of Rs 305,555. Legislators are eligible for a state pension after serving a mere five years in Parliament. Food at highly subsidized rates are available for legislators at the Parliament Cafeteria.

Theoretically, the Prime Minister’s view of higher salaries reducing corruption, and attracting better talent has merit. It is a theory espoused by the former Prime Minister of Singapore, the late Lee Kuan Yew, who believed in paying very high salaries to cabinet ministers, similar or higher to those of top end CEOs in the private sector, enabling them a high standard of living without resorting to tender bending and other corrupt practices.

However, the Prime Minister’s proposition, as is the case with most theories of our politicians, looks at the issue from a narrow rather than a broad perspective.

Continue reading ‘How Many of our MP’s Getting Paid More Than 400,000 Rupees Per Month Have Passed Their GCE O’Levels and ALevels?’ »

Attending Weddings and Giving Gifts is not an Official Duty of an MP Requiring 100,000 Rupee Bonanza-The Island

( Full Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of December 1st 2016 Under the Heading “MPs have all the luck!)

Santa seems to have got his wires crossed. Else, he would not have landed near the Diyawanna Oya several weeks ahead of Christmas. Usually, he favours children, but this time around he seems to have given priority to those who have torsos of adults and brains of children. Parliamentarians have received a massive increase in their allowances and a huge pay hike is said to be in the pipeline.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government came to power, promising economic relief to the masses. Initially, after the change of government, the prices of some commodities were slashed and public employees were given a substantial pay hike. But, what was given with one hand was taken away with the other after the self-proclaimed messiahs had been ensconced in power. It was a case of swings and roundabout for the people.

Less than two years on, even the trade unionists who threw in their lot with the present-day leaders at the last two elections claim the people are now in a worse predicament. Marcus Antony, who leads a trade union, representing the export promotion zone workers, has recently told the media that the present administration is facilitating the exploitation of workers as never before.

Continue reading ‘Attending Weddings and Giving Gifts is not an Official Duty of an MP Requiring 100,000 Rupee Bonanza-The Island’ »

“Great Heroes Day” (Maaveerar Naal) is a LTTE Event and not a Tamil National Day of Mourning.


By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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 –seven years have passed since then and the 27th anniversary of the event is today Nov 27th 2016.

"Great Heroes Day" Event at University of Jaffna ~ November 2016

“Great Heroes Day” Event at University of Jaffna ~ November 2016

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.

There is a mystique about “Maaveerar Naal” that has captured the imagination of a very large number of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora. What makes the GHD tick despite the debacle of Mullivaaikkal?
Continue reading ‘“Great Heroes Day” (Maaveerar Naal) is a LTTE Event and not a Tamil National Day of Mourning.’ »

Maithri-led SLFP Differs with Partner in Govt UNP on Issues of Federalism and War Crimes Tribunal

By

Rasika Jayakody

While the Parliament is heating up, with the committee stage debate on the budget in full swing, the SLFP, led by President Maihthripala Sirisena is preparing for a major membership drive.

The move comes in the wake of the Joint Opposition’s decision to form a new party under the leadership of G.L. Peiris who functions as a proxy for former President Rajapaksa.

The SLFP’s membership drive will start on December 04 in every district, with the participation of party MPs supporting President Sirisena – the party leadership has already informed electorate organisers to begin groundwork so that their drive to recruit more members is a success.

As a prelude to this programme, the SLFP held a membership promotion campaign in Galle over the weekend, with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. Many MPs representing the district attended the campaign and it elicited strong support from local members and supporters in the area. The President was thrilled to see highly successful party activity in the Southern province, ahead of an important Local Government election.

Continue reading ‘Maithri-led SLFP Differs with Partner in Govt UNP on Issues of Federalism and War Crimes Tribunal’ »

Ex-LTTE Eastern Commander “Col” Karuna to be kept in Separate Cell in M2 Block at Colombo Remand Prison Due to Threats to his life by other Inmates.


By

Buddhika Imbulana

Former Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, alias Karuna has been transferred to a separate cell under tight security at the Colombo Remand Prison.

Continue reading ‘Ex-LTTE Eastern Commander “Col” Karuna to be kept in Separate Cell in M2 Block at Colombo Remand Prison Due to Threats to his life by other Inmates.’ »

Central Bank Governor Coomaraswamy says Monetary Board took Action Against Perpetual Treasuries on Nov 7th and 25th 2016

Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy yesterday said the Monetary Board had taken action against controversial primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries but stopped short of providing details, citing legal constraints and market sensitivities.

At the tail-end of recounting a slew of new measures taken to promote the credibility of the Government securities market, the Governor noted that on 7 and 25 November the Monetary Board had taken action against Perpetual Treasuries but refused to be drawn into giving details despite questions from journalists.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Governor Coomaraswamy says Monetary Board took Action Against Perpetual Treasuries on Nov 7th and 25th 2016’ »

National Integration Ex-Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan Arrested and Remanded for Alleged Misuse of a Bullet Proof Luxury Govt Vehicle

By
P K Balachandran

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, a former top LTTE military commander who later became Deputy Minister of National Integration in the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, was arrested on Tuesday by the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) for alleged misuse of a bullet proof luxury government vehicle.

He was remanded till December 7 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate.

According to Daily Mirror the FCID had commenced investigation after police discovered a super luxury bullet proof vehicle valued at approximately LKR 800 million from Batticaloa, Karuna’s hometown in the Eastern Province.

But misuse of a state vehicle given to Karuna when he was a Deputy Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation in the previous government, is a minor charge compared to the many allegations made against him by domestic and international human rights organizations including the UN.

Continue reading ‘National Integration Ex-Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan Arrested and Remanded for Alleged Misuse of a Bullet Proof Luxury Govt Vehicle’ »

Govt Must Combat Both Militant Buddhism and Shadowy Salafism


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

The outbursts of Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalism in the South have often been cyclical. They take place with the connivance, and when it was not the case, complacency of the government in power. A closer look at this periodic rage would also reveal, since the Black July in 1983, which was facilitated by the government’s inaction and active collaboration of some of its ministers, subsequent episodes of Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalism have taken place broadly without any association with the terrorist war of the LTTE.

In the early 2000’s, while the country was facing an existential threat from terrorism, a quasi-militant form of Sinhala-Buddhist radicalism sprung up with their primary target being the alleged aggressive proselytizing by evangelical Christian missionaries. A series of makeshift churches were attacked. Then in 2011, while the country was still reeling from the after-effects of a devastating war, another episode of ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhism popped up. This time the target was Muslims: Halal certificates, cow slaughter and the allegations of growing Islamic radicalism.

None of the above perceived concerns of Sinhala-Buddhist radicals was a grievance of the majority Sinhalese. However, ultra-nationalists managed to smuggle in their sinister agenda into the mainstream discourse. It is always dangerous to let bigots set or manipulate the national agenda. But, how did that happen in this country, not once, but periodically?

Continue reading ‘Govt Must Combat Both Militant Buddhism and Shadowy Salafism’ »

Govt Prepares for Crackdown on Opposition and working Class Under the Guise of Curbing racism

By W.A. Sunil

According to the Colombo-based Daily Mirror, at a meeting of Sri Lanka’s security council on Sunday, President Maithripala Sirisena instructed the police and security forces to “take all who incite racism into custody and produce [them] before courts under the existing law.”

While the immediate reason given for this order is to “curb racism,” it signals that the government is preparing for a broader crackdown on opposition parties and the working class.

As Sirisena reaches the second anniversary of his installation as president, his pro-US government is in deep political crisis. The infighting between the ruling coalition and an opposition group led by ousted former President Mahinda Rajapakse is intensifying.

Sunday’s meeting of the country’s top security body was attended by the inspector general of police, the armed forces chiefs and several leading ministers, including Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake.

Continue reading ‘Govt Prepares for Crackdown on Opposition and working Class Under the Guise of Curbing racism’ »

President and Premier will Verbally Criticise Media but no Journalist will be Harmed Physically.

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that he would not hesitate to verbally attack the media when and where necessary but no journalist would be harmed. He said that though the government criticised the conduct of media not a single journalist would be abducted or assaulted under the good governance rule.

Participating in the committee stage debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, the Prime Minister said: “When the media organisations vehemently attack us, we, too, can reply to them.

Ultimately the people in the country will come to know who is right.”

“Both the President and I do criticise the media publicly, but we do not want to send anybody home. We do not make arson attacks or deploy army to abduct or kill anybody. Therefore, have no fear; we will not stoop to that level,” he said.

Continue reading ‘President and Premier will Verbally Criticise Media but no Journalist will be Harmed Physically.’ »

Media Suppression has Assumed a New Form Under Present Govt Charges JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake

By Saman Indrajith

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanyake said in parliament yesterday that media suppression has assumed a new form under the present government even though the white van culture had been ended.

He said there was no point in castigating the page one news stories in newspapers as they were on real incidents that took place in the country.

“The front-page carries the highlights of what happens in the country; they be accidents, crimes or other incidents. The front pages of newspapers mirror social reality. The proposal to rent vehicles for Parliamentarian at a cost of Rs. 700,000 each has now been halted due to public opinion against the move created by the media. If not, the government would have gone ahead with the proposal,” MP Dissanayake said, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media.

Continue reading ‘Media Suppression has Assumed a New Form Under Present Govt Charges JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake’ »

Chandrika Acting on Kadirgamar’s Advice Deserves Credit for not Signing the Rome Treaty Setting up the International Criminal Court

By Bandula Jayasekara in Hague

There was a raging debate on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the so-called ‘electric chair’ in Sri Lanka not so long ago. This seems to have died down for now. Who knows whether it would re-emerge on election platforms in the future? Electric chair or not, the ICC itself is at a cross-road now, following the withdrawal of South Africa, Burundi and Gambia from its membership. South Africa, a founder member of the ICC leaving the International Criminal Court is a body blow, which has shaken the institution to its core. Dr Mark Kersten of the University of Toronto says there are actual tensions between South Africa and the International Criminal Court. The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda is from Gambia. A senior diplomat in The Hague told ‘The Island’ “Fatou Bensouda’s own country withdrawing from the ICC shows loss of faith in the ICC and calls into question its credibility”. Bensouda works independently of her country in her role, though some African nations want her to step down, in acquiescence of African sentiments.

There is also talk of the Philippines trying to withdraw from the ICC, which will be yet another major setback to the Court. Commenting on its future, Hans Bevers from the Office of the Prosecutor, ICC said the Office of the Prosecutor is highly scrutinised and the ICC was ready to work with national and international bodies. Representative of the African Union, Adewale E Iyanda who also participated in an event ‘The Future of the ICC- Facing Challenges and Strengthening its Legitimacy’ said that “Relations between the African Union and the ICC are at a critical juncture. The only solution is dialogue and engagement. Africa has high expectations from the International Criminal Court”.

Justice Amady Ba, from Senegal, Head of International Cooperation at the Office of the Prosecutor, said it is highly questionable as to why crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq are not being investigated and why it is taking time. He also pointed out that justice in Africa is very difficult at a political level. I couldn’t agree more since it is the case in Sri Lanka, with political interference by successive governments.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Acting on Kadirgamar’s Advice Deserves Credit for not Signing the Rome Treaty Setting up the International Criminal Court’ »

President Sirisena in Special Message Asks Donald Trump to Pressure UN Human Rights Council to Drop War Crimes Charges against Lankan Armed Forces

President Maithripala Sirisena has asked US President elect Donald Trump to pressure the UN Human Rights Council to drop war crimes allegations against the country’s troops.

Sirisena’s office said on Sunday he had sent a “special message” to Trump seeking US intervention at the council, where Sri Lanka faces censure for alleged wartime atrocities.

“I sent a special message to Donald Trump asking him to support us at the (council),” the President said. “I am asking him to help completely clear my country (of war crimes allegations) and allow us to start afresh.”

Sirisena said he was making a similar appeal to the incoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena in Special Message Asks Donald Trump to Pressure UN Human Rights Council to Drop War Crimes Charges against Lankan Armed Forces’ »

Cricket Commentary in the Thamizh Language is Becoming Popular in Tamil Nadu

By
Srinivasa Ramanujam

There’s excitement in the air as the batting team needs a six off the last ball to win. The batsman, drenched in sweat, takes his time to take guard and slogs at the ball. It bounces just a few metres before the boundary rope and the hitter looks to the skies in despair. The fielding team rejoices.
At the studio, three experts are discussing this with equal excitement and sharing their insights on television. What’s new, you might ask. Well, they’re speaking in Tamil.

Commentary in the local language is back with a bang in the last couple of months; while the recent World Cup saw a bunch of experts discussing the on-field happenings in local parlance, the currently-in-progress IPL isn’t far behind.

Continue reading ‘Cricket Commentary in the Thamizh Language is Becoming Popular in Tamil Nadu’ »

“Grama Rajya” is a way of De-centralizing Governance by Direct involvement of People at Village Level

By Dr. M.A.Mohamed Saleem and Arjuna Hulugalle

At a time when the mechanism for decentralization is foremost in one’s mind, it was heartening to read that President Sirisena made a reference to it in a call to his Ministers to come up with proposals for its introduction (Sunday Times, November 6th 2016).

Apolitical stability can only be realized if there is a solid platform accepted by all and evolved over time. The Grama Rajya system can be one which can meet this prerequisite as the entire country will have a level playing field, without being haunted by the traumatic baggage of negative divisive forces. The units of the Grama Rajyas are small, manageable and the people of each Grama Rajya can cope with their challenges and come up with their own solutions. The structure however, has to be thought through taking all the eventualities.

Continue reading ‘“Grama Rajya” is a way of De-centralizing Governance by Direct involvement of People at Village Level’ »

Sirisena Says he will write and seek Donald Trump’s help to get Sri Lanka Freed from Allegations of Human Rights Violations.

By

P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said that he will write to the US President-elect Donald Trump, seeking his help to get Sri Lanka freed from allegations of human rights violations during Eelam War IV.

“I will write to President (Donald) Trump to ask him to free us from these accusations,” Sirisena said on Saturday while addressing a membership drive of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in Galle.

Siginificantly, the President announced this on a day when the Tamil minority in the Northern Province was solemnly observing the birth anniversary of the Tamil Tiger leader V. Prabhakaran, and Tamil political leaders were preparing to observe the next day, November 27, as ‘Heroes’ Day’ to honor Tiger cadres who had gone down fighting for an independent Tamil Eelam.

In his speech, President Sirisena said: “I was able to save the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and our valiant soldiers by giving the UN Human Rights Council necessary messages.”

He was referring to the leniency shown by the US and the international community after he came to power defeating the anti-West Rajapaksa in the January 2015 Presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Says he will write and seek Donald Trump’s help to get Sri Lanka Freed from Allegations of Human Rights Violations.’ »

President,PM and all Cabinet Ministers Except Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera Want to “Discipline”Media.

By

The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

It seemed ironic that it should come in the wake of the jolt the mainstream media in the United States received after Republican Donald Trump won the November presidential elections. Both the electronic and the print media, almost altogether, spoke of a victory for rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. Most were very supportive of her. They have come in for a lot of flak now and their shares have dipped in the stock markets. They are now re-thinking and re-building the journalistic enterprise.

The exception perhaps was the social media though many were accused of having scant regard for facts. They were accused of viral disinformation because of the false and misleading reports. Kyle Pope of the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism calls it the antithesis of the Watergate, the scandal of the break-in at the Democratic Party’s National Headquarters in 1972. Those media exposures by the Washington Post forced the then Republican President Richard Nixon out of office. It is the Columbia University that confers the Pulitzer Prize, one of the highest and prestigious in US journalism.

Added to that is the worry for successive administrations in the United States over the ISIS. At present US advisors are helping the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces to oust the ISIS who are still in control of the Iraqi town of Mosul. In Syria, the Government forces, supported by Russia, are fighting the ISIS in the heavily war torn town of Aleppo. Sights of misery and human suffering are a daily occurrence shown on television.

Strange enough, with no elections after the presidential and parliamentary polls in 2015, the worries for the Government still seem to be about the media and the fear of the influence of ISIS growing in Sri Lanka. The Government is worried that it will not be able to win the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, if the media are “not disciplined.”

Hence, several ministers were of the view that measures would have to be adopted from now. That is not only for the mainstream electronic and print media, but also for the social media. The matter figured prominently at Tuesday’s weekly meeting of ministers at Committee Room 3 in the parliament complex.

Strange but true, there was only one minister who opposed any measures against the media. That was Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. He was perhaps conscious that it was he who would have to answer questions in world capitals about the Government’s about turn in just two years.

During the elections, speakers at different political rallies spoke of media suppression, murders, abduction in white vans and other forms of harassment. They pledged they would not only deal with those responsible but also ensure those dastardly acts were a thing of the past. Now, how would he justify what may turn out to be a possible move to control the media.

Continue reading ‘President,PM and all Cabinet Ministers Except Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera Want to “Discipline”Media.’ »

State Intelligence Service Report Says Over 20 Extremist Groups from Different Ethnicities Have Begun Operating in Sri Lanka.

A matter of concern for the Government is the fear of growing religious extremism. This saw an extended meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Sirisena at his Paget Road residence. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Public Safety Minister Sagala Ratnayake, State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiaratchchi, the Police Chief, Armed Forces chiefs and heads of intelligence services were the usual participants. Those invited for the special meeting included Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiuddin, former Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzamil and Venerable Athureliya Rathana Thera, MP.

The meeting began with a presentation by Nilantha Jayawardena, Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) on how a little over 20 extremist groups of different ethnicities have begun operating and were threatening ethnic harmony. He identified each group by giving the names of those leading it. He referred to some Buddhist monks and also to a few Muslim groups, the Thowheed Jamaath in particular. He spoke of the departure of some Muslim families to join the ISIS.

Ven. Rathana Thera was critical of all those groups. He said those claiming to be representatives of the Buddhist clergy were not believers of the Buddha Sasana. Similarly, he warned that extreme Muslim groups had to be watched. He asked why no mention was made in the SIS presentation of purported ISIS representatives coming to Sri Lanka under cover of preaching. Hakeem was to point out that these groups were created and nurtured under the previous Rajapaksa regime under different guises.

Continue reading ‘State Intelligence Service Report Says Over 20 Extremist Groups from Different Ethnicities Have Begun Operating in Sri Lanka.’ »

Cabinet Approves “Development”Bill to set up Development Boards for Northern,Eastern, Wayamba, Central and Southern Provinces.

Govt Ministers at their weekly meeting late last month, gave approval to a far reaching piece of legislation titled Development (Special Provisions) Bill. It will now be published in the Government Gazette and presented in Parliament. Some changes suggested by President Sirisena, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga will be moved at the Committee stage. Ministers have also been asked to forward suggestions, if any, to be considered for amendments.

The aim of the new law, according to the draft bill, “is to facilitate the formulation of a national policy on all subjects including accelerated economic development of Sri Lanka.” The Minister in charge (in this instance the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs), in consultation with the Chief Minister of the relevant province, could declare any area demarcated for economic development with the only exception being paddy lands. Such Development Areas will cover manufacturing, tourism, science and technology, logistics, business and service, hi-tech fisheries and hi-tech agriculture. Every order declaring such an area will be subject to parliamentary approval.

The law will enable the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs to appoint “a panel of eminent persons” to be consulted by the President or the Prime Minister, from time to time, on formulation of national policy. A Policy Development Office is to be established with a threefold objective – (a) review the global economic, political, social and environmental developments and their impact on Sri Lanka, (b) revisit the existing policy of Sri Lanka and critically analyse it with a view to revitalising it to meet new challenges, and (c) ensure that the policy is in consonance with goals set by the Government.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Approves “Development”Bill to set up Development Boards for Northern,Eastern, Wayamba, Central and Southern Provinces.’ »

Perk After Perk for “Privileged”Parliamentarians While People who Elected Them Seethe with Discontent.

By

Don Manu

Money seems to be the only motivator to kick start Lanka’s MPs to do an honest day’s work.
Perhaps it is after taking cognisance of this ignoble truth and identifying it as the ignominious cause of their conditioned inertia that moved the Prime Minister last week to raise their pathetic financial plight and prompted him to offer them even more from the public purse to coax them into doing some activity for the public weal and welfare.

Last Saturday in Parliament the prime minister said that a further Rs 100,000 each must be paid per month to MPs to encourage them to participate in national development and work in their electorate.“There is no use giving more responsibilities to MPs without giving them more facilities. MPs must be paid better salaries. I am aware many lawmakers face problems. They must be paid Rs. 100,000 monthly to carry out work in their electorates,” Ranil Wicremesinghe declared.

But the prime minister has also divined that a simple salary raise alone may not make the people’s elected representatives stir from their indolence. Thus as a further incentive, a complete hamper of goodies to sweeten the offer and make them go the extra inch is also on the cards.
Knowing full well the members’ fixation with vehicles and luxury SUV’s at that – though some may not even know what SUV stands for – the prime minister naturally added the vehicle bait to his carrot stick.

“We will also have to give them more vehicle facilities,” the prime minister pledged, knowing full well the members’ weakness for anything that moves on four wheels provided, of course, it is worth millions, comes duty free, and can be sold overnight to make a clean, neat net profit of over Rs 25 million tax free.

Continue reading ‘Perk After Perk for “Privileged”Parliamentarians While People who Elected Them Seethe with Discontent.’ »

President Sirisena Questions IGP Jayasundara Over Arrest and Remand of Ex- Special Task Force Commandant KLN Sarachchandra DIG.

President Maithripala Sirisena has expressed his displeasure to Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera over the arrest and subsequent remanding of the former Commandant of the Police Special Task Force (STF), K.L.N. Sarathchandra.

Mr. Sarathchandra, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), was arrested and produced before Colombo’s Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya. He was remanded till December 6 for allegedly misusing an STF vehicle. The reported loss to the state over this alleged misuse is said to be Rs. 140,000.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Questions IGP Jayasundara Over Arrest and Remand of Ex- Special Task Force Commandant KLN Sarachchandra DIG.’ »

“Rajapaksas May Return” Bogey Used by Cynical Manipulators Within “Yahapalanaya”Govt.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

For far too long following the change of power last year, many have responded to the policy and practice of the Unity Government with the plea to ‘tread softly in case the Rajapaksas return.’ The logic (if that is the appropriate word) in this thinking was asinine at its core.

An outrageous condescension in governance

In other words, if citizens remain selectively silent when the Government goes grievously wrong, the condescending presumption was that somehow, the problem would disappear and the ‘unwashed multitudes’ will not get agitated. Now, as the ‘rainbow revolution’ teeters on the verge of diminishing itself to a mere ‘pappadum’ crunch with gloss and satisfying shine but offering exceedingly little nutrition as it were, the danger signals are very clear.

Underlying realities were disquieting from a very early point. This approach of ‘keeping selectively silent’ fed off and reflected an outrageous condescension evident at the heart of the Government itself. Its conception of almost every pillar of legal reform, from corruption to transitional justice to constitutional reform was informed by that same thinly patronizing tone.

So we had manifest absurdities. Sri Lanka’s transitional justice reform largely left out ordinary people of both the North and the South save and except a ‘consultation’ process, cynically designed not to have any practical impact on the actual outcome.

Continue reading ‘“Rajapaksas May Return” Bogey Used by Cynical Manipulators Within “Yahapalanaya”Govt.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s China Visit is a Message from Beijing to both Colombo and New Delhi.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is on a week-long visit to China on the invitation of the Chinese government — a development that sections within the government and diplomatic circles here see as a “strong message” from Beijing.

The visit assumes further significance in the wake of controversial remarks made by Yi Xianliang, the Chinese Ambassador to Colombo, that pointed to apparent tensions between the Sri Lankan government and Beijing.

At a press conference here, Mr. Yi asked why Colombo sought more loans from Beijing if it found them “expensive,” as the Sri Lankan Finance Minister had observed. While the Chinese Foreign Ministry defended the envoy, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met Mr. Yi and “advised” him to take up such matters through Foreign Ministry channels rather than the media.

A top source here, requesting anonymity, said that the incident — which was “uncharacteristic” of Chinese diplomacy — coupled with Mr. Rajapaksa’s trip to China, was a clear message from Beijing.

“Not just to our government, but also to New Delhi,” the senior official said, referring to competing strategic interests that the two powers are known to have in the island nation.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s China Visit is a Message from Beijing to both Colombo and New Delhi.’ »

Resurgence of Ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhist Groups Under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt

By

Rasika Jayakody

After the Rajapaksa family fell out of power in January, last year, almost every ultra-nationalist group representing Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy went into a dormant phase.

They stopped holding dramatic press conferences, stopped disrupting public events organized by other religious groups and refrained from storming into government offices.

Their presence was barely noticeable in the country’s political sphere.

This was in sharp contrast to their conduct during the Rajapaksa administration, under which they were fully protected by the top brass of the state apparatus.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, one of the most powerful men in the previous administration, had no qualms about being seen with the Bodu Bala Sena, a violent ultra-nationalist organization, when he attended as Chief Guest at an event organized by them in 2013.

Rajapaksa happily posed for pictures with the leaders of the BBS, a year before the ideologues unleashed violence on the Muslim community in Beruwala and Alutgama.

Former President Rajapaksa, after the Presidential election in 2015, publicly claimed that he had nothing to do with the BBS. He described the organization as a ‘Western conspiracy’, created to cause problems between the Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

But despite his protestations, it was common knowledge that Rajapaksa and his brother were the political face of militant Sinhala-Buddhist organisations.

Continue reading ‘Resurgence of Ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhist Groups Under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt’ »

FAREWELL TO FIDEL CASTRO THE LAST OF THE TITANS AND EPIC HEROES

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

Fidel was the last of the Titans, of the epic heroes.

Whatever our travails, our generation and the ones before us were fortunate to live in the decades in which there were great leaders, visionaries who combined their ideal with action and changed the world they inherited. Our generation and one, perhaps two before that, lived consciously in the twentieth century which was inhabited by such heroes. My own generation lived at the time of Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Tito, Fidel and Che Guevara. We were lucky to have read of and watched these Homeric heroes as they fought colossal enemies against incredible odds; led and changed reality and became legend.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz  (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016)

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016)

With Fidel gone we are almost at the end of an age, perhaps a cycle of History—the age of modern heroism, but with a continuity going back millennia to the dawn of the hero. I say ‘almost’ because the Moncada and Granma generation is not dead, the companeros of Fidel and Che, namely Raul and Ramiro Valdez, are still alive and active, as are Fidel’s Latin American political sons such as Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.

It was almost sixty years ago to the day that he, Che and Raul landed on the shores of Cuba in the leaky yacht Granma, to start the revolutionary guerrilla war that led to victory two and half years later.

One would expect that it would be fairly easy for someone who has authored a book on Fidel, published in the UK/ US, to write a short article on him, but it is actually quite difficult. There is so much to say about Fidel because he did so much, tried to do so much, and meant so much to so many of us, that it is difficult to isolate just a few aspects or points for a short reflection.
Continue reading ‘FAREWELL TO FIDEL CASTRO THE LAST OF THE TITANS AND EPIC HEROES’ »

CID Tells Courts “The Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge was Killed by Army Intelligence Officers.

By

Dayaratne Pathirana

Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge was shot dead by Army intelligence officers, CID Inspector Nishantha Silva told Mount Lavinia Magistrate Mohammad Sahabdeen today.

He said this while presenting the investigative reports on an Army intelligence officer who was arrested on charges of abducting and detaining the driver who drove Mr. Wickramatunge’s vehicle at the time of his killing.

Continue reading ‘CID Tells Courts “The Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge was Killed by Army Intelligence Officers.’ »

Political Legacy of Revolutionary “Maximum Leader” Fidel Castro Who Ruled Cuba for Half a Century


By

Rory Carroll and Jonathan Watts in Havana

No street bears his name and there is not a single statue in his honour but Fidel Castro did not want or need that type of recognition. From tip to tip, he made Cuba his living, breathing creation.

fc4

Children in red neckerchiefs scampering to free schools, families rationing toilet paper in dilapidated houses, pensioners enjoying free medical treatment, newspapers filled with monotonous state propaganda: all in some way bear the stamp of one man.

Historians will debate Castro’s legacy for decades to come but his revolution’s accomplishments and failures are on open display in today’s Cuba, which – even with the reforms of recent years – still bears the stamp of half a century of “Fidelismo”.

Brother Raúl Castro announces on Cuban state television that controversial revolutionary leader has died at age of 90

The “maximum leader” was a workaholic micro-manager who turned the Caribbean island into an economic, political and social laboratory that has simultaneously intrigued, appalled and inspired the world.

Continue reading ‘Political Legacy of Revolutionary “Maximum Leader” Fidel Castro Who Ruled Cuba for Half a Century’ »

International Arrest Warrant Issued Against Journalist by a Sri Lankan Court for the First Time

By

P.K.Balachandran

A Sri Lankan court on Friday issued an international arrest warrant against Lankaenews Editor Sandaruwan Senadheera for contempt of court. The warrant is to be executed through Interpol, the local media reported.

This is the first time a Sri Lankan court has issued an international arrest warrant against a journalist.

Continue reading ‘International Arrest Warrant Issued Against Journalist by a Sri Lankan Court for the First Time’ »

Musical Prodigy Balamuralikrishna Defied Tradition to Popularise Carnatic Music

By
Aparna M Sridhar

( Carnatic Music Maestro Dr.Balamuralikrishna Passed away in Chennai on November 22nd 2016 at the age of 86. This article appeared under the heading “When Kalyani came calling “in the September 2014 Inaugural issue of “Saamagaana-The first Melody” published in Bengaluru. It was written by the magazine Editor Aparna M. Sridhar who interviewed the musical legend at his Chennai residence. He was 84 at that time. The article is being reproduced here with permission in honour of the memory of Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna…………….DBSJ)

Dr M Balamuralikrishna

Dr M Balamuralikrishna

Dr M. Balamuralikrishna was once rendering an alapanam in Kalyani, that most enchanting of ragas, at once enjoyable and elusive, commonplace, well-known, accessible to early learners, but yielding her full secrets only to the maestro, as a reward for years of diligence – saadhana – and a musical intuition not gifted to many.

The Younger Dr M Balamuralikrishna

The Younger Dr M Balamuralikrishna

As he tells the story, immersed as he was in the full flow of his manodharma, he opened his eyes to spy a beautiful girl walking down the centre aisle of the auditorium, in a glittering saree. To his astonishment, she climbed the stage, and sat down next to him, with a demure smile.

He abandoned the kriti he was planning to sing, and instead launched into a spontaneous composition about Kalyani’s beauty. When he finished, he turned to look, and she was not there.

“I asked my pakka vadyam players excitedly, ‘did you see her, where did she go?'”

But they did not know. She had been visible only to him. “I felt extremely bad she had gone away.”

It is an entirely believable story. After all, an artist’s muse comes to him or her in many forms. And is it not a fact that they never stay?

But then, Balamurali Krishna has a very special relationship to music.
Continue reading ‘Musical Prodigy Balamuralikrishna Defied Tradition to Popularise Carnatic Music’ »

Sri Lanka’s Biggest Hypocrites – Five Broad Categories


By

Eranda Ginige

We are all hypocrites, more or less. These people top the chart.

1. Animal lovers………..

………who fight for the rights of selected animal species. We protest bull races, but love watching horse races in Nuwara Eliya. We can’t bear the sight of chains around the feet of elephants but walk our dogs with chains around the necks. We condemn dog meat but don’t think twice before wrapping our two tongues around goat meat. We ceremoniously release caged birds and then barbecue some chicken wings for the after-party. We fight against caging animals, but boast about our gigantic fish tank at home or office. The Buddhists who chant and meditate for hours wishing utmost love and compassion for all animals, and immediately afterwards gulp down chicken curry and fish cutlets are the worst of this kind. And we sure have some mind-boggling philosophical explanations to justify it.

2. Women’s rights activists……..

……..who care about only some women’s rights. We speak with heavy voices at conferences about how girls are being raped every day in Sri Lanka, but are nowhere to be found when Islamic extremists violently demand in public for the right to marry underage girls! I mean here are the culprits hands-down right in your face! How much worse can it get? Yet no candlelight vigils for Muslim girls. We fight against banning mothers wearing mini-skirts to schools but never say a word about forcing Muslim women to cover every inch of their body. We accuse men for not giving women equal rights in the workplace, but I have seen some of those very women doing everything in their power to stop the promotion of another woman.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Biggest Hypocrites – Five Broad Categories’ »

“Commandante” Fidel Castro Has Died at the age of 90 Confirms his Brother and Cuban President Raul Castro


By

Rory Carroll

Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90, Cuban state television announced on Saturday, ending an era for the country and Latin America.

Brother Raúl Castro announces on Cuban state television that controversial revolutionary leader has died at age of 90

fc5

The revolutionary icon, one of the world’s best-known and most controversial leaders, survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal after suffering a long battle with illness.

The announcement was long expected, given the former president’s age and health problems, but when it came it was still a shock: the comandante – a figurehead for armed struggle across the developing world – was no more. It was news that friends and foes had long dreaded and yearned for respectively.

Continue reading ‘“Commandante” Fidel Castro Has Died at the age of 90 Confirms his Brother and Cuban President Raul Castro’ »

Former Cuban President and Revolutionary Leader Fidel Castro Passes Away at 90 Announces Havana TV


Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90, state TV has announced.

It provided no further details.

fc6

Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008.

Continue reading ‘Former Cuban President and Revolutionary Leader Fidel Castro Passes Away at 90 Announces Havana TV’ »

Will EU”Intervene” in Theswalamai, Kandyan and Buddhist Ecclesiastical Law just as Being done Now in the case of Muslim Law?


By

M.M.Zuhair P.C.

The European Union (EU) in an interim report that received media coverage in Sri Lanka as far back as 2009, on the GSP + (Generalized System of Preferences) had alleged that aspects of the Muslim personal laws in operation in Sri Lanka were in violation of UN conventions.The EU, had in the same breadth said that Sri Lanka was also in violation of international law for continuing to have as a criminal offence ‘consensual sex between the same sex’ and that would be another among several other reasons for not restoring the preferential tariff to Sri Lankan exports to the EU.

Whether the Muslim law is in violation of UN conventions or the EU is in violation of UN rights based treaties,in its demand for changes to Muslim marriage laws would become evident upon a reading of my previous article (Part 1). Regrettably there was no official media release from the EU or any other authority on the demands if any being made on Sri Lanka for the restoration of the GSP+, then or now. A recent statement made by the local head of the EU that the demand is for amending the Muslim law to stipulate only the minimum age for marriage of females to be increased to 16 years ,needs to be supported by an official press release.

This is needed in the light of a government decision and media statements speaking of amending the Muslim personal law on a wider basis to help Sri Lanka win back GSP+. It has now become necessary that the EU officially publicize the full set of its conditions and the specific requests if any on Sri Lanka for the sake of transparency and to clear the confusion in the country. It appears that the Justice Saleem Marsoof Committee was appointed in 2009 following the EU demand that year on the former government.

Continue reading ‘Will EU”Intervene” in Theswalamai, Kandyan and Buddhist Ecclesiastical Law just as Being done Now in the case of Muslim Law?’ »

Dr.Senaka Bibile’s “Drug Price Policy” was Feared by Transnational Pharmaceutical Industry Known as “Big Pharma”


By

K.K.S.Perera

Prices of a large number of drugs were surreptitiously but ‘meticulously’ increased by 40-55 per cent over the past 16 months as part of the ground work preparations for the so-called ‘Bibile policy’ introduction of drug price reductions implemented by the authorities in collaboration with the Pharma Mafia. The transnational pharmaceutical industry, or ‘Big Pharma’ [a name coined by the Western medical journalists] which controls the entire health services of the third-world nations during the late 20th century, feared three giants—the World Health Organisation[WHO] affiliated to UN; the Food and Drug Authority [FDA] of United States and of course our legendary Pharmacology Professor, Senaka Bibile and his drug policy which received the support of WHO.

The Mafia conspired astutely, spending Billions of Dollars through their agents to get around the high ranking men attached to the former two organizations bringing them under their domain successfully, but failed miserably in handling the Professor, who was on a great mission, but they had other ideas; earlier, it was generally observed that the ‘threat’ to the influential Trans-nationals posed by him may have had some bearing on his untimely and mysterious death in 1977 while on a mission to Guyana to introduce his policies in that country under a UN project.


However, later it became a well known ‘secret’ that Dr Bibile was murdered by inducing cardiac arrest by means of a drug that has been there, since 1940s. They say, one of his colleagues was involved in the assassination to ensure that he would not make progress from the ‘heart failure’ by not taking prompt action or taking a delayed course of action to recover him. Known as the pharmaceutical Mafia was involved in Prof Bibile’s assassination, the truth will emerge one day.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Senaka Bibile’s “Drug Price Policy” was Feared by Transnational Pharmaceutical Industry Known as “Big Pharma”’ »

Ex-US Envoy for War Crimes Issues Stephen J.Rapp is very Proud of the Role Played by the Obama administration in Sri Lanka.

BY BANDULA JAYASEKARA in The Hague


Stephen J Rapp is the former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. A member of the Democratic Party, he was appointed to that position by the US President Barrack Obama. He is now with The Hague Institute for Global Justice as a Distinguished Fellow. We met him in The Hague, where he said he wanted to see the process of justice, established process of reparation and prevention of recurrence both in the instance of the rise of another movement like the LTTE and those responsible for crimes against non combatants.

Q You visited Sri Lanka sometime ago. What is the position on Sri Lanka?

Rapp: I was US Ambassador at large for War Crimes Issues then. Before that I worked as an International prosecutor and worked on several prosecutors, jurors and investigators. I have worked with several Sri Lankans like Raja Fernando, Asoka Gunewardane and before that with former Chief Justice De Silva and my good friend Shyamlal Rajapaksa, who died unfortunately. So, I have been actively involved and as the former Ambassador at large for War Crimes, I was very much engaged with the question of accountability on the Missing Persons and violations which may have occurred during the final stages of the conflict. I also wanted to see to the accountability to the crimes committed by the LTTE which were crimes of terror and atrocity, and support those efforts. But, obviously, I am also concerned about the allegations of killings of prisoners and aspects of the armed conflict which didn’t comply with the International law. Even with the LLRC it wasn’t implemented. And there is an official inquiry which was mandated in March of 2014 and following up on that thereafter we had the elections and the change of presidency and the parliament and opening to move in that direction. Thereafter I moved out as the Ambassador. I have been engaged in some public fora and wanting to see that the truth is revealed about missing persons and the process of justice established and the process of , reparation and prevention of recurrence established both in the instance of the rise of another movement like the LTTE and those responsible for crimes against non combatants.

Continue reading ‘Ex-US Envoy for War Crimes Issues Stephen J.Rapp is very Proud of the Role Played by the Obama administration in Sri Lanka.’ »

Ex-president Chandrika Kumaratunga Wants Maithri and Ranil to Act Swiftly and Decisivelt Against Hate Speech


Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has, in a statement issued through the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), urged President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to act swiftly and decisively against those responsible for hate speech.

ONUR Chairperson Mrs Kumaratunga had welcomed the recent arrest of two persons from different communities on charges of hate speech.

Full text of her statement:

“ONUR notes with concern, the rise of hate speech in Sri Lanka in the recent past, which challenges the initiatives being taken by the government to heal our country after decades of bloodshed and destruction.

Hate filled expressions and actions by groups with vested interests, resulting in demeaning, denigrating and inciting violence against fellow citizens of various ethnic, religious backgrounds has no place in Sri Lankan society.

For the first time in contemporary Sri Lanka, the Government has a stated vision to build One United Nation by promoting Reconciliation and a lasting Peace. The Government is working towards bringing about reconciliation among all communities, making it the highest priority.

Continue reading ‘Ex-president Chandrika Kumaratunga Wants Maithri and Ranil to Act Swiftly and Decisivelt Against Hate Speech’ »

Catholic Bishops Conference Urges Govt not to Restrict Intake of External Students to Universities

Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka has urged the government not to go ahead with the move to restrict the student intake for external degree programmes.

The JVP, the Joint Opposition and students have been agitating against the government proposal to curtail the external degree programme.

The Church has requested that tangible measures be taken to create more opportunities for those who wanted to follow external degrees.


Bishop of Chilaw Most Rev Dr Valence Mendis issued the following statement on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference:

“A discussion is on in education circles regarding a move to limit the number of student intake for the external degree. Although this idea is put forward as a remedial measure to redistribute the external degrees among all universities so that every university could conduct external programmes, it is not at all practical, the main reason being that all universities don’t offer all the subjects. Moreover in a situation where all districts in Sri Lanka don’t have universities, a move to bring about any restriction in the intake of students is beyond comprehension. It will be a gross harassment to the students who aspire to do higher studies.

Continue reading ‘Catholic Bishops Conference Urges Govt not to Restrict Intake of External Students to Universities’ »

Attorney-General Files Appeal Against Anuradhapura High Court Jury Decision of Acquitting Soldiers Accused of Kiliveddy Civilian Massacre.

By S. S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (22) fixed for September 6 the appeal against the Anuradhapura High Court Jury decision in the alleged massacre of villagers of Kiliveddi in Kumarapuram, Trincomalee.

The Appeal was filed by the Attorney General against the Jury decision by which six former corporals of the Army were exonerated and acquitted in the High Court case.

The accused were indicted for the alleged murder of 24 Tamil civilians and injuring 25 others by shooting.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General Files Appeal Against Anuradhapura High Court Jury Decision of Acquitting Soldiers Accused of Kiliveddy Civilian Massacre.’ »

China Adopts Balanced Policy in Sri Lanka by Cultivating Both the Maithri-Ranil Govt and Mahinda led Opposition

By PK Balachandran

Having suffered a great deal by putting all its eggs in the basket of the Sri Lankan government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa between 2010 and 2014, China has now adopted a balanced Sri Lanka policy under which it will engage the opposition as well as the government of the day.

This change is reflected in the official invitation extended to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit China. The visit is currently on.

A beleaguered Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, abjectly dependent on China to rescue it from a US$ 8 billion debt trap, has been forced to facilitate Rajapaksa’s visit after mocking it at first.

Continue reading ‘China Adopts Balanced Policy in Sri Lanka by Cultivating Both the Maithri-Ranil Govt and Mahinda led Opposition’ »

Joint Opposition and SLPF Will Ride the Wave of Globally Trending Populist Nationalism to Reach Victory in 2020.

By

DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

Disclosing on his blog that he was “reluctantly voting” for Hillary Clinton and explaining why, Richard Falk, Prof Emeritus of International Law at Princeton and former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, noted with characteristic lucidity that the global Left is divided between those outside the USA who are primarily anti-Clinton, and those within the USA who are primarily anti-Trump.

Among the examples he gave for those leftists outside the US who saw Hillary as the main danger were philosopher Slavoj Zizek, WikiLeaks head Julian Assange and veteran journalist and author John Pilger. We may add Prof Jean Bricmont, theoretical physicist, philosopher of science and author of a book exposing “Humanitarian Imperialism”. In a post-election essay Prof Falk returned to the theme, noting that the overwhelming bulk of his progressive friends outside the USA (and he underscored that they were authentic progressives) were more or less relieved that Hillary lost, while those within the USA were of quite the contrary view.

Samir Amin was fond of quoting Stalin’s heretically dialectical remark (1925) that objectively “the Emir of Afghanistan is more progressive than the British Labor Party”. This is true of Trump too. The Left outside the USA remembered that the US assault on sovereign national states did not begin with the Republicans: Gulf War I, codenamed ‘Desert Storm’ (1991), did not call into question state borders and was fought ostensibly to restore them by rolling back Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. The destruction of countries began with the 1999 war on Yugoslavia under Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright. George W Bush and his neoconservative Republicans took it to the next level with Iraq. President Obama and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates were reluctantly pushed into military intervention in Libya by the liberal interventionist ‘regime change’ Furies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition and SLPF Will Ride the Wave of Globally Trending Populist Nationalism to Reach Victory in 2020.’ »

Demonizing Muslims Through Fear-mongering Practices has a Long History in Sri Lanka.

By

M.S.M.Ayub

Sri Lanka is a strange country. One Minister says that dozens of Sri Lankan Muslims have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS), one of the world’s most brutal terrorist organisations while another says there are no intelligence reports about such links between Sri Lankan Muslims and the said outfit.

How serious is it if there was a trend among the Sri Lankan Muslims to join the outfit that is on a killing spree in many countries in the Middle East? Why cannot the ministers talk in one voice if their utterances are based on intelligence reports which should in turn be based on facts?

Continue reading ‘Demonizing Muslims Through Fear-mongering Practices has a Long History in Sri Lanka.’ »

Extremist Buddhist Monks Voicing Anti-Minority Racist Threats Enjoy Immunity Under Maithri-Ranil Govt

By

Dharisha Bastians

Radical Buddhist monks threatening demolition of majority Muslim suburbs of Colombo and employing violent, racist and threatening rhetoric against public officials continue to enjoy impunity under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Government, which was swept into office on a wave of minority angst and frustration about the meteoric rise of hardline Sinhalese groups under the Rajapaksa administration. As religious tensions mount, remarks by the Minister of Justice have drawn sharp criticism from Muslim political leaders and civil society groups, and also sparked fears of continued Government patronage for ideologies of hate and fear propagated by hardline groups

Last Tuesday (15), Maligawatte Police arrested Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamath General Secretary Abdul Razik on charges of “insulting a religion and angering a religious devotee” over his remarks at a protest recently denouncing proposed reform to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA). In a bizarre coincidence, Razik’s arrest came hours after controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Chief Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara threatened to “destroy” the majority Muslim suburb of Maligawatte unless Razik was arrested within 24 hours. The radical monk was speaking at a pocket meeting where he was strongly opposing the arrest of Dan Priyashad, a man who led the saviours of the Sinhalese protest at the Fort Railway Station a few weeks ago inciting Sinhalese youth to rise up against the Muslims and threatening to bomb minority communities.

Now Razik is a problematic character. He has defended provisions of the MMDA that effectively legitimises child marriage by stipulating that girls as young as 12 may be married “by consent” of parents and Qazi, or Islamic judge. His remarks drew wide criticism from activists strongly pushing for reform of the Muslim marriage laws and ordinary people who found his defence of the archaic and discriminating laws repugnant. During a protest in Maligawatte two weeks ago, Razik made disparaging remarks about groups like the BBS and its Chief Gnanasara, who he claimed were behind the clamour for these legal reforms. Still, nothing Razik said during the protest came close to vile threats and the declaration of war against Maligawatte by the Bodu Bala Sena monk.

Last Saturday (19), Gnanasara Thero led a march of monks and laymen through the streets of Kandy culminating in an “adishtana pooja” at the Dalada Maligawa against the “injustices” happening to Sinhalese Buddhists and the silence of the rulers in the face of this discrimination. Footage of the rally shows Police officials standing meekly beside the Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary, and advising the monk about how his supporters should conduct themselves inside the temple.

At one point, at the entrance to the sacred temple, Gnanasara Thero tells his supporters: “Leave the banners outside. There is no one inside to see banners except Dalada Hamuduruwo. Very soon we will have to tie ‘molgas’ (pestles) to our banners and come, but for the moment leave them behind.” Marchers at the BBS-led rally also carried distorted versions of the national flag, without the orange and green stripes that recognise ethno-religious minority communities living in the island.

Continue reading ‘Extremist Buddhist Monks Voicing Anti-Minority Racist Threats Enjoy Immunity Under Maithri-Ranil Govt’ »

Cabinet Spokesman Senaratne Denies 32 Muslims Joined ISIS and that ISIS Connected Persons are Teaching Arabic in Sri Lankan Schools.


by Zacki Jabbar

Amidst contradictory statements emanating from the government, Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday that no one connected to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS) had come to Sri Lanka in the guise of teachers.

He told a news conference in Colombo that according to the security authorities lecturers from abroad were engaged in teaching Arabic and had no connections with ISIS.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Spokesman Senaratne Denies 32 Muslims Joined ISIS and that ISIS Connected Persons are Teaching Arabic in Sri Lankan Schools.’ »

Despite Denials, Ravi Karunanayake Forced to Admit on TV Interview that Last year Budget Propsals Benefiting Senior Citizens Havent Been Implemented.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

A key government proposal to enhance benefits provided to Senior Citizens in Budget 2016 budget hadn’t been implemented by the Central Bank, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake acknowledged on Monday night.

Minister Karunanayake said action would be taken to implement 2016 budget proposal along with budget 2017 proposals.

Minister Karunanayake castigated interviewer Rangana de Silva during Monday’s ‘Salakuna’, a live political programme on Hiru when the issue was raised.

In spite of Minister Karunanayake repeated denials, the interviewer insisted that the much-advertised benefits for Senior Citizens hadn’t been implemented.

Continue reading ‘Despite Denials, Ravi Karunanayake Forced to Admit on TV Interview that Last year Budget Propsals Benefiting Senior Citizens Havent Been Implemented.’ »

Mahinda Faction of SLFP Tries to Divide Maithri and Ranil and Make Govt Collapse

By

Rasika Jayakody

Members of the Joint Opposition (JO), who are essentially the Rajapaksa faction within the SLFP, are well aware that the success of their political campaign hinges on one key factor – disharmony between the two main partners of the ruling alliance.

Over the past 20 months, they have looked for various opportunities to create disharmony between the two main stakeholders of the government, pushing for the President and the Prime Minister to distance themselves from each other and the MoU signed in September last year.

They had even banked on last year’s budget – ‘Budget 2016’ – presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake – to become a potential flashpoint for members of the unity government.
The UNP and the SLFP had not been on the same page on several important budget proposals and this disagreement caused the SLFP to recommend last minute amendments to the budget, causing tension within the ruling camp.

The Rajapaksa group believed this cauldron of tension would spill over to create disharmony between the leaders of the UNP and the SLFP.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Faction of SLFP Tries to Divide Maithri and Ranil and Make Govt Collapse’ »

“Aavaa”Group Operating in North is”Politically Motivated and Army Assisted”States Chief Minister Wigneswaran

By

Kelum Bandara

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said today the gangsters who call themselves the ‘Aava’ group operating in the North is ‘politically-motivated and army-assisted’.

He told a news conference in Colombo that the group did not originate from among the Tamil community per se.

Continue reading ‘“Aavaa”Group Operating in North is”Politically Motivated and Army Assisted”States Chief Minister Wigneswaran’ »

TNA Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants New Constitution to be Federal in Nature and Identified Explicitly as a “Federal” Constitution.

By P.K.Balachandran

The view of C.V.Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, on the basic structure of the proposed Sri Lankan constitution, runs counter to that of the Constitutional Assembly’s sub-committee on Center-Provincial relations.


While the sub-committee has refrained from branding the proposed devolution system as either “federal” or “unitary”, Wigneswaran said here on Tuesday, that the constitution should not only be federal in nature but should identify itself as such.

“Proper devolution to the provinces and naming the constitution as ‘federal’ is important. A patchwork of different ideas will not do if the current problems are to be resolved,” Wigneswaran said while initiating a North-South dialogue organized by the Tamil Peoples’ Council (TPC), which he heads.

But this is likely to lead to the division of the Sri Lankan Tamil polity into “moderates”, who are inclined to go half way to meet the concerns of the majority Sinhalese for the sake of reaching an amicable solution of the national question, and “radicals”, who want the full realization of the Tamils’ aspirations, not through half-way houses, but here and now.

Continue reading ‘TNA Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants New Constitution to be Federal in Nature and Identified Explicitly as a “Federal” Constitution.’ »

Mano Ganesan says People in North can Celebrate “Maaveerar Naal”(Heroes Day)Without Mentioning the name of the LTTE.

By

Ajith Sriwardana and Indika Sri Aravinda

National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan said today that people in the North could celebrate Maaveerar Naal (Heroes Day) without mentioning the name of the LTTE, as it was a proscribed organisation.

Minister Ganesan said it was a human right for people to be able to celebrate their late loved ones, but added that it was wrong to do it with a political motive.

Continue reading ‘Mano Ganesan says People in North can Celebrate “Maaveerar Naal”(Heroes Day)Without Mentioning the name of the LTTE.’ »

Delay in Setting up Justice Mechanism Could be Attempt to Avoid Doing so Opines US Ex- War Crimes Envoy Stephen Rapp.

By Dharisha Bastians Reporting from The Hague

Delaying the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms, including a special court to prosecute alleged war crimes, could be viewed as an attempt by the Government of Sri Lanka to “avoid” delivering on truth and justice for thousands of victims of the country’s civil war, a former top official in the US Government’s Office of Criminal Justice said.

Former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Stephen J. Rapp told Daily FT on the sidelines of the Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court now underway in The Hague, Netherlands, that there was no reason the Government of Sri Lanka could not begin setting up the office of the prosecutor and putting frameworks in place, even if the court would not get off the ground immediately.

“The Government could begin setting up those investigation units, a prosecutor’s office that could determine if there are cases and start putting cases together even if the court does not start work immediately,” said Ambassador Rapp, who also served as Prosecutor in the UN-backed Special Court of Sierra Leone that convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

“Putting off the establishment of justice mechanisms could be an attempt to avoid it entirely,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Delay in Setting up Justice Mechanism Could be Attempt to Avoid Doing so Opines US Ex- War Crimes Envoy Stephen Rapp.’ »

Committee on Public Finance(COPF)Finds Draft 2017 Budget Estimates Presented to Parliament Not Tallying with Actual Figures Used by Finance Ministry

By

Saman Indrajith

The Committee on Public Finance (COPF) had found that the draft Budget Estimates 2017 presented to Parliament do not tally with the actual figures used by the Finance Ministry, Committee Chairman and TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said yesterday.

Presenting the COPF report on ‘Assessment of the Fiscal, Financial and Economic Assumptions of the Budget 2017″ to Parliament the TNA MP said: “We were given a set of figures on Nov. 2 which, we later found, was not the basis on which the Finance Minister presented the Budget.

When we asked for a clarification, another set of figures was given to us on Nov. 12. We based our report on that new set of figures. We recommend that the government distribute among the members the second set of figures given to us, which is not published yet.

We recommend that this be done at least during the Committee Stage debate.”

Continue reading ‘Committee on Public Finance(COPF)Finds Draft 2017 Budget Estimates Presented to Parliament Not Tallying with Actual Figures Used by Finance Ministry’ »

Difference in Approach Between Tamil National Alliance and Tamil Peoples Council Explains Chief Minister Wigneswaran

By Chathuri Dissanayake

An unusually amicable Northern Chief Minister yesterday extended a proverbial olive branch to the southern people to initiate a dialogue with the people of north. The otherwise vocal Tamil National Alliance (TNA) politician C. V. Wigneswaran claimed that the people of the north are largely misunderstood and misrepresented.

To avoid further misunderstanding between the people of the south and the north, and to dispel any doubts about the northern people, the Tamil Peoples’ Council launched a dialogue between north and south, Wigneswaran said.

The Chief Minister, known for his frequent outbursts against centrist politics, claimed he was largely misunderstood in the southern parts of the country, due to distortions and misinterpretations.

Continue reading ‘Difference in Approach Between Tamil National Alliance and Tamil Peoples Council Explains Chief Minister Wigneswaran’ »

Carnatic Music Legend Balamuralikrishna passes Away in Chennai at the Age of 86


Legendary Indian musician M Balamurali Krishna, who delighted millions of fans for more than four decades, has died aged 86.

M.Balamuralikrishna

M.Balamuralikrishna

Balamurali, as he was affectionately known, passed away in the south Indian city of Chennai after a long illness.

He was a renowned singer and composer of Carnatic music, a classical style from India’s southern states.

Continue reading ‘Carnatic Music Legend Balamuralikrishna passes Away in Chennai at the Age of 86’ »

Constitutional Assembly’s Center-Provincial Relations Sub-committee Recommends Reduction of Governors Powers and Granting Police and Land Powers for Provinces


By PK Balachandran

The Sri Lankan Constitutional Assembly’s sub-committee on Center-Provincial relations has recommended that the provinces be granted powers over land and police; that the powers of the provincial Governor be drastically pruned, and that there be a fair allocation of financial resources to the provinces along with powers to decide how to spend the money.

As a matter of fact, the 13 th.Amendment of the constitution carried out in 1987 following the India-Sri Lanka Accord, had devolved powers over land and police to the provinces. But this was not implemented.

The constitution sub-committee under the chairmanship of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, D.Siddharthan, has now recommended that all State Land (or government lands) in a province should come under the purview of the provincial administration though the Central government may requisition land for the propose of executing projects on matters under the Central List.

Likewise, the police in a province should come under the Provincial Administration and they should be regulated by a Provincial Police Commission (again as stipulated under the unimplemented 13 th Amendment).

Continue reading ‘Constitutional Assembly’s Center-Provincial Relations Sub-committee Recommends Reduction of Governors Powers and Granting Police and Land Powers for Provinces’ »

Phenomenon of Post-war Sinhala Buddhist Politics and Anti- Muslim Antics

By

Hafeel Farisz

The recent fire that broke out at the Fashion Bug store in Pepiliyana has given rise to new questions. For anyone who has been following the ‘post war Sinhala Buddhist’ phenomenon, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Although conclusions are yet to be reached, and investigations into the cause of the fire are yet to be conducted — the voice of the company speaking to the media that night was telling. “We have suffered in the past, there is reason to believe that there was foul play. There was nothing to indicate an electric short”, was what he said.

The last time the store caught fire in May 2013, there was no suspicion. It came under attack. The catalyst that was used to further the narrative of course was a personal dispute. A narrative the media and the government played on. I remember visiting the site in order to report the incident. Upon inquiry, the Sinhalese neighbours who lived around the area, kept telling me how the crowd had gathered at the Temple nearby. Within that while the mob had organized themselves and started walking towards the store, the Temple bell (Gantaraya) was rung. It was rung initially to gather the crowd there too. These were all edited out of the narrative. Truth sometimes is selective. Criminal proceedings were not instituted, and the owner of the store was pressurized to come to a settlement, which he did. He had no option but had to, he was to recall later.

When the anti-Muslim riots broke out in mid June 2014, the then government and the media played the same role. The selective truth narrator. To this day, not a single person has been held responsible for riots which gutted an entire village in flames. No one had been held responsible for the torching of the ‘No Limit’ (garment departmental) store in Panadura. There were 5 deaths. Every source, including the officers of the Special Task Force (STF) who were on duty that evening, when the rally was conducted told me how the riots were in fact ‘organized’. It was no sudden reaction as was made to believe.

Continue reading ‘Phenomenon of Post-war Sinhala Buddhist Politics and Anti- Muslim Antics’ »

Extremists Like Bodu Bala Sena,Tamil National Peoples Front and Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamath are Grade “A”Opportunists.

By Rathindra Kuruwita

My main criticism, among a dozen others, against this government has been their utter inability to take decisive action of any sort. Earlier this year commenting on the controversy surrounding the security detail of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, I said that indecisiveness and nuanced action are serious handicaps when dealing with politicians like Rajapaksa.

‘If some harm comes to Rajapaksa, as he roams about the country hanging out with the masses in arenas which are impossible to secure, it will be a serious blow to the credibility of the government.

These factors place the UNFGG Government in a serious conundrum and it is this baffling complexity that explains why the indecisiveness of the UNFGG Government regarding Rajapaksa’s security.

But history has shown that indecisiveness and nuanced action are serious handicaps when dealing with politicians like Rajapaksa,’ that is what I wrote, I would really have loved to share the link to my story, but apparently we don’t maintain archives, so.

Continue reading ‘Extremists Like Bodu Bala Sena,Tamil National Peoples Front and Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamath are Grade “A”Opportunists.’ »

Treasury Bond Scam Probe Can be Given to Sarath Silva or Mohan Peiris if Party Leaders Agree says Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that he was waiting for instructions from the Attorney General’s Department to decide the future course of action as regards to the Treasury bond scams.

If the Opposition was not happy with the instructions coming from the AG’s Department and needed to hand over the task to a legal expert of their choice the government was willing to do so provided the party leaders agreed to that, the Premier said. “If you want to give it to Sarath Silva or Mohan Peiris I have nothing against it if the party leaders agree. I did my best as the minister responsible. Now it’s up to the House to decide any alternative.”

Continue reading ‘Treasury Bond Scam Probe Can be Given to Sarath Silva or Mohan Peiris if Party Leaders Agree says Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Move to Amend Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act of 1951 Aborted Due to Constitutional Assembly Sub-committee Recommendation.

By

P.K.Balachandran

The Sri Lankan Constitutional Assembly’s sub-committee on Fundamental Rights has recommended that within three months of the enactment of the new constitution, the President should appoint a five member commission to go into the constitutional validity of the existing written and unwritten laws (including personal laws) and submit a report to him within a year.

The President shall table the report in the parliament at the earliest thereafter, the panel said.
The sub-committee recommended that the proposed commission should have representatives from various communities and people who have distinguished themselves in the field of human rights.

Until a decision is taken to amend any of the existing written or unwritten laws or personal laws, the existing laws will remain.

This recommendation helps postpone the task of amending the controversial Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) of 1951.

Continue reading ‘Move to Amend Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act of 1951 Aborted Due to Constitutional Assembly Sub-committee Recommendation.’ »

When New Constitution Transfers President’s powers to Prime Minister,Ranil will Appoint Mahendran as Central Bank Governor”-Dayan Jayatilleka

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would set about the Constitution making process the way he handled the Central Bank bond scams, senior political analyst Dr Dayan Jayatilleka said yesterday.

Addressing the public seminar under the theme, ‘Prime Minister’s involvement in the Central Bank bond scam’ at the Public Library Auditorium, Dayan said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had brought in a Singaporean as the Governor of the Central Bank. Now, he had brought in an Australian friend (Prof. Suri Ratnapala of Queensland University) to head the committee appointed to make the new Constitution, Dr. Jayatilkeka said, noting that the UNP economic policies were based on privatisation and selling family silver to foreigners.

Continue reading ‘When New Constitution Transfers President’s powers to Prime Minister,Ranil will Appoint Mahendran as Central Bank Governor”-Dayan Jayatilleka’ »

India Wont let the Military Takeover the Sri Lankan Govt says Social Services Minister S.B.Dissanayake

By

P.K.Balachandran

India will not tolerate a military takeover in Sri Lanka and will fully support President Maithripala Sirisena to foil any attempts at it, the Minister of Social Services, S.B.Dissanayake, told the media here.

He was reacting to an assertion by the Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena in parliament last week that there could a military coup if the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government continued to suppress the opposition and democratic movements both within and outside parliament.

Gunawardena had mentioned a police baton charge on a demonstration by retired disabled soldiers in Colombo recently.

Continue reading ‘India Wont let the Military Takeover the Sri Lankan Govt says Social Services Minister S.B.Dissanayake’ »

Vasudeva Nanayakkara Admits in Parliament that his wife had served for 10 Years as adviser at Presidential Secretariat When Mahinda Rajapaksa was President

UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara yesterday admitted in Parliament that his wife had been working at the Presidential Secretariat as an adviser during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa for ten years.

Nanayakkara said she had possessed the required qualifications to receive such a position.

Continue reading ‘Vasudeva Nanayakkara Admits in Parliament that his wife had served for 10 Years as adviser at Presidential Secretariat When Mahinda Rajapaksa was President’ »

Man Killed and Another Critically Injured as Gunman Fires T-56 on People at a Bus stand near the Bebilagolla Mosque in Ankumbura,Kandy.

By

Asela Kuruluwansa

A man died and another was injured when unidentified gunmen in a car opened fire near the Bebilagolla Mosque in Ankumbura, Kandy. The incident occurred around 8.30 a.m. yesterday.

The duo were shot at a nearby bus stand. The injured man admitted to the Kandy Hospital Intensive Care Unit is said to be in a critical condition.

According to sources, several people had arrived in the car and one of them who got out had opened fire with a T-56 rifle.

The gunmen had fled after the attack. Police arrested two suspects within two hours with the help of villagers.

Continue reading ‘Man Killed and Another Critically Injured as Gunman Fires T-56 on People at a Bus stand near the Bebilagolla Mosque in Ankumbura,Kandy.’ »

UNHRC Ruling Says Sri Lanka Must pay Compensation to Victim and Prosecute Policemen Responsible for Imprisoning and Torturing Tamil Canadian While Visiting Lanka

A Toronto man who was imprisoned and tortured while visiting Sri Lanka must be compensated for the abuses he suffered, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has ruled.

The decision calls for Sri Lanka to prosecute those responsible and “provide adequate compensation” to Roy Samathanam, a Canadian who had filed a complaint with the committee three years ago.

Samathanam, 46, called the ruling handed down in Geneva “a measure of justice” in a statement to be released Monday by the Canadian Centre for International Justice, which worked with him on the complaint.

The case is another rebuke of Sri Lanka, arising from abuses committed by security forces during the country’s long civil war that ended in 2009 with the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels.

Continue reading ‘UNHRC Ruling Says Sri Lanka Must pay Compensation to Victim and Prosecute Policemen Responsible for Imprisoning and Torturing Tamil Canadian While Visiting Lanka’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Condemns Attempt by Govt to Stifle Media in the Country and Destroy Democracy.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday in a statement condemned the unity Government for alleged media repression.

“Media repression is now a cornerstone of this Government’s policy. Not a day goes by without a major
demonstration against the Government. The Government is avoiding holding the long overdue local government elections due to the fear of defeat. They are now trying to intimidate and control the media so as to prevent the people from being informed about what is going on in the country. We unreservedly condemn this attempt to stifle the media and to destroy the last vestiges of democracy in this country,” alleged the former President.

Following is the full text of his statement.

While the people’s attention remains focused on the Budget and on constitutional reform, the Government has launched repression against the media.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Condemns Attempt by Govt to Stifle Media in the Country and Destroy Democracy.’ »

President Sirisena at Security Council Meeting Attended by IGP and Service Chiefs,Orders Arrest of all Those who Incite Racism

By

Dayaseeli Liyanage

Arrest all those who incited racism, President Maithripala Sirisena had instructed the IGP and Chiefs of Security Forces at the Security Council meeting held this week at the President’s Official Residence in Colombo.

Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Mano Ganesan, Sagala Rathmayaka, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, the IGP and Chiefs of Security Forces attended the Security Council meeting.

Minister Mano Ganesan drew the attention of the President to a statement made by the Buddhist Monk of Mangalarama Temple in Batticaloa recently and said that the statement had hurt the Tamil people.

Responding to this President stated that this monk was talking a lot after a former politician’s visit to this temple.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena at Security Council Meeting Attended by IGP and Service Chiefs,Orders Arrest of all Those who Incite Racism’ »

Did not Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Play Hard Politics as Secretary of two Ministries?

By

Gamini Weerakoon


“One of the reasons Donald Trump won was because people are sick of career politicians delivering rhetoric instead of results. His is a lesson for Sri Lanka to consider”
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in a tweet as reported in The Daily Mirror on14/11.

Victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan’, is a truism we are reminded of when we read and hear the many accolades now swamping Donald Trump, like the one we quoted above.

To those who played with gusto ‘nationalist’ beats and have been confined to in Sri Lanka’s political wilderness for 22 months thereafter, Donald Trump’s astounding victory has been a shot of adrenalin in the arm or a strong one off the bottle to revive their sagging spirits.

Trump drummed white racist supremacist tunes in his presidential campaign and was backed by even the (KKK) Klu Klux Klan who have been hounding American Blacks since 1860 and are still engaged in that endeavour against all minorities.

And he won the American Presidential election. The American billionaire has kindled hopes of widely disparate forces to anything in American politics let alone Trump’s heretical utterances.

Continue reading ‘Did not Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Play Hard Politics as Secretary of two Ministries?’ »

Cabinet Minister DM Swaminathan Refutes Allegations Made by TNA Against Proposal to Construct 65,000 Pre-fabricated Houses in North

by Hafsa Sabry

A fresh controversy has arisen on the 65,000 housing project in Jaffna with Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran telling Parliament that there was a proposal to build each house for Rs. 1 million but the Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M. Swaminathan had picked a contractor to build each house for five times more.

Sumanthiran further stated that earlier, the Indian government had built houses for just Rs. 700,000 in the North and the Resettlement Ministry can look for proposals to work with the Indian government to build houses at a lower cost instead choosing the pre-fabricated houses in the North.

He also said the people in the area dislike the modern houses and instead they want brick houses which can be strong and stable for 3-4 generations.

Sumanthiran further stated that they, with a group of experts on the field, have made alternative proposals for housing development in the war affected areas. According to the alternative proposal Sumanthiran claimed the local banks are ready to fund the project whereas the housing project under construction was funded by foreign banks.


Responding to the allegations made by Sumanthiran, Minister Swaminathan said that the government and the Ministry is giving Rs. 900,000 for each family to construct houses on their own but they are unable to complete the construction for that money.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Minister DM Swaminathan Refutes Allegations Made by TNA Against Proposal to Construct 65,000 Pre-fabricated Houses in North’ »

Arrest at KIA of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cousin and EX- Ambassador to USA, Jaliya Wickramasuriya for Alleged Corruption.

by Nirmala Kannangara

It is an open secret how former first citizen Mahinda Rajapaksa, his off springs and siblings, while ‘serving’ for the motherland, looted out its wealth.

This newspaper has repeatedly exposed many financial frauds committed by the Rajapaksa’s and their kith and kin amounting into billions of rupees and this time it is all about Jaliya Wickramasuriya, cousin of Kurunegala District MP, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Wickramasuriya was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Thursday, November 17 by the officers of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) for misappropriation of public funds while serving as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States of America (USA) between 2008 and 2013.

Continue reading ‘Arrest at KIA of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cousin and EX- Ambassador to USA, Jaliya Wickramasuriya for Alleged Corruption.’ »

Kokkatichoalai Police File Report in Courts Against Batticaloa Buddhist Monk Who Incited Hatred Against Tamils and Muslims.

by Ashanthi Warunasuriya

The police have filed a report in court against a monk in Batticaloa who was accused of inciting hatred among Tamils and Sinhalese in the area. The Kokkadicholai police filed the report after a complaint was filed by the Grama Niladhari (Officer).

The monk was accused of threatening the Tamil Grama Niladhari (Officer) last week and the video of the incident circulated on social media.

Civil society and human rights groups had raised concerns over the incident and another incident also involving a monk in the North. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe had told Parliament last week that the government will not allow extremists to have their way.

Continue reading ‘Kokkatichoalai Police File Report in Courts Against Batticaloa Buddhist Monk Who Incited Hatred Against Tamils and Muslims.’ »

Tamil National Alliance MP’s Write Letter to President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe Strongly Opposing 65,000 Houses Project for North

By
Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Tamil leaders have rejected a proposed ArcelorMittal housing project for the war-affected in the North and East, deeming its cost and design unsuitable for the region.

In a recent letter to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — a coalition of political parties representing the island’s Northern Tamils — said they “strongly oppose” the project. They pointed to “climatic unsuitability, flimsy construction, lack of durability and unjustifiable high costs” as reasons.

Reportedly, the global steel major, owned by billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, was to build 65,000 pre-fabricated houses for LKR 2.1 million each (approximately Rs. 9.7 lakh). While northern Tamils, particularly those displaced during the war, were in desperate need of houses, TNA leaders argue that they should be given masonry houses that would cost far less and could engage local labour.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance MP’s Write Letter to President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe Strongly Opposing 65,000 Houses Project for North’ »

President Sirisena Wants “His” SLFP to Recruit 5 Million Members to Counter Podujana Peramuna Party Target of One Million Members

By P.K.Balachandran

The emergence of the breakaway Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), comprising loyalists of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has forced the current Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to increase the membership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) so as to be able to meet the challenge the SLPP is expected to pose in the forthcoming local bodies elections.

One of the top leaders of the SLPP, Basil Rajapaksa, announced recently, that the SLPP would be launching a drive to enroll one million members, which is a very large number in a country where the total population is 20 million.

A bit shaken by this by the rebels’ grandiose plan, Sirisena has asked the SLFP’s local organizers to go on a drive to enroll five million members on a war footing. The urgency arises from the fact that the local bodies elections are most likely to be held before April 2017.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Wants “His” SLFP to Recruit 5 Million Members to Counter Podujana Peramuna Party Target of One Million Members’ »

Dignified Sorrow and Dedicated Love of a Father and Family at the Deathbed of a Daughter and Loved One


by Krishantha Prasad Cooray

It was a voice that I had never heard before, but one that belonged to a man who has been a political associate and a staunch friend for almost half my life. It was a call from London, a call I had not anticipated despite certain unhappy truths and was certainly not ready for. And I found the voice strangely unfamiliar even though I knew who it was.

kj-d2

‘Krishantha, I am in London. I came here from Geneva. My daughter is not doing too well. The doctors have said they are going to stop medication and that she’s not going to make it.”

Karu Jayasuriya’s voice broke then as he tried to retain his legendary composure. The grief was too much. There was nothing anyone could do. Karu knew this. He said ‘my logical mind says there’s no hope, but my emotional mind is hoping for a miracle.’ There was nothing anyone could do for his younger daughter Indira, who was at that moment breathing her last in the Princess Royal University Hospital near Farnborough, Bromley. Karu has always been there in a moment of crisis; he has been there for many people, and me too. The best I could do was to be with Karu during this most tragic moment of his life.

And so I immediately left for London.

kj-d1

Indira was given approximately 24 hours to live, but survived for eight days, defying all logic and astonishing the medical staff of the facility. They said that her response was absolutely atypical on all counts. Her father was there right along, arriving around 5 am and leaving close to midnight on most days. I saw things in that hospital room that were truly unbelievable, things that were unutterably sad and things which told me there’s hope for humanity. This is a short account of those eight days.

Continue reading ‘Dignified Sorrow and Dedicated Love of a Father and Family at the Deathbed of a Daughter and Loved One’ »

Tamil Family in Colombo Suburb Suffers Terrible Ordeal at the Hands of a “Religious Mob”

By
Nila Loganathan

I have realized, again, that this world, as usual, is a ‘heavenly’ land full of religion, religious hatred and a land of people at the height of their barbarism, passed on through thousands of years of religions.

This time it were Buddhist monks who opened my eyes.

We barely managed to escape with our lives yesterday. The hatred could continue today, tomorrow or even days after this has passed.We could be sliced down by hundred swords bearing people… me, my family, or the child in our house.

You will probably remember, I wrote about the Buddhist temple close to our house, the loud Pirith chanting, and the festivities that were relayed over the loudspeaker a few months ago.

When we moved to this house it was but a small Buddha statue under a Bo tree. Now it covers a much bigger extent.It is the 10th anniversary of the Pansala. And I think they have holy days in October.Yesterday was the 10th day.

On each of these 10 days they start broadcasting songs of Nanda Malini at exactly 3pm. The same song would be broadcast, on a loop, till 6pm. Young students of the Sunday schools would broadcast their radio programs in between. They would usually broadcast religious doctrines, religious songs and pious thoughts.

This does not happen only during the anniversary celebrations. It happened everyday beginning from 6pm. But this time it commenced at 3pm and ends around 10pm.

The house we live in has two storeys. There are no other upstairs houses in the vicinity.Two loudspeakers had been tied across from our house, right opposite our wall. One of the loudspeakers would wail at our room. Our doors would vibrate like a tuning fork. The bed would vibrate. The chairs would vibrate. The plates would vibrate.The other loudspeaker would similarly harass our Muslim neighbors, who lived opposite to our house.
Continue reading ‘Tamil Family in Colombo Suburb Suffers Terrible Ordeal at the Hands of a “Religious Mob”’ »

President Sirisena Places SLFP on War Footing to Face Local Authority elections and Challenge Posed by Podujana Peramuna.

A major effort has been launched by President Maithripala Sirisena to place the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on a virtual ‘war footing’.This time, the objectives are multi-pronged. Among the more important one is to gear the party for next year’s local government and provincial elections. Adding a sense of urgency in this regard is the need to counter the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the new political party associated with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Another is to consolidate the party’s clout so it would be in a more unassailable position in dealing with its partner in governance, the United National Party (UNP), on issues that arise from time to time.

This, in essence, is the message he delivered to some 168 SLFP organisers during a dinner meeting on Friday, November 11, at the Janadipathi Mandiriya. The number included serving ministers and parliamentarians.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Places SLFP on War Footing to Face Local Authority elections and Challenge Posed by Podujana Peramuna.’ »

Lankan Govt Self-inflicts Torture Upon Herself Through Disastrous Performance Before the UN Committee Against Torture at Geneva

By
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Whatever possessed an undoubtedly bewitched Government to deputize a senior intelligence official, alleged to have held command responsibility when detainees were severely and systematically tortured, to represent the State before the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT)? One would be hard pressed to find a greater irony than this, per se.

Unwise strategic decision

The UNCAT was sitting this week to examine Sri Lanka’s periodic report submitted under its normal reporting obligations under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). In previous years, its report card on the country had been anything but positive.

But this was perhaps one of the few times that the Government had the chutzpah to put forward a representative of the intelligence apparatus against whom serious allegations had been leveled during the previous regime, as part of a UNCAT delegation.

Continue reading ‘Lankan Govt Self-inflicts Torture Upon Herself Through Disastrous Performance Before the UN Committee Against Torture at Geneva’ »

China Must Summon Envoy Back to Beijing and Issue an Apology to the Sri Lankan Govt

By

Don Manu

China breaks her great wall of silence to give Lanka an earful
After berating Finance Minister for criticising Chinese largesse, envoy Xianliang tells President and PM what to do and what not to do

It was more than a simple Chinese fortune cookie but a crusty message wrapped in a surly snub that was served to Lanka when the Chinese Ambassador held a special press conference to selected journalists on the 1st of this month.

In an uncharacteristic move that triggered the foreign office bells to ring, China broke her great wall of diplomatic silence and shoved aside her 5000 year dynastic tradition of taciturnity and public politeness toward a friend to flatter and a foe to deceive, when she pounced on Lanka’s Finance Minister and reduced him to mince stuffing in a Chinese dumpling.

Having come to the tether’s end of her legendary patience, China showed she had no regard or affection for those who come crawling on bended knees, with bowl in hand begging for loans; and, once their entreaties are handsomely granted and their pot is filled to the brim, go home to slap the giver’s ear in a crass show of sheer ingratitude.

In a no holds barred full frontal attack totally out of national temper, the Chinese Ambassador to Lanka, Yi Xianliang, told Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in plain mandarin tones of contempt where to get off the bus on the Chinese built southern expressway. In staccato delivery punched with ire he asked the question “If Chinese loans are expensive, why come back and ask for more loans?”

Continue reading ‘China Must Summon Envoy Back to Beijing and Issue an Apology to the Sri Lankan Govt’ »

Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem Upbraids Wijedasa Rajapakshe for Statements made in Parliament About Muslim Extremists in Sri Lanka

by Saman Indrajith

City Planning and Water Supply Minister and SLMC Leader, Rauff Hakeem yesterday questioned in Parliament on what grounds Justice and Buddhasasana Minister, Wijayadasa Rajapakshe stated on the previous day that Muslim extremists had arrived in the country to teach in international schools propagating terrorism here.

“Had he got proper sources? What he could have done was to provide them to the authorities so that such persons could have been deported or their visas cancelled.

Without doing so, he made statements which had been published in the media to the dismay of the Muslim community who have been greatly disturbed,” Minister Hakeem said while participating in the third reading debate on budget 2017.

Continue reading ‘Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem Upbraids Wijedasa Rajapakshe for Statements made in Parliament About Muslim Extremists in Sri Lanka’ »

Media Ministry Secretary Appointed by President Sirisena Engages in Attempts to Intimidate and Silence the Media


By

C.A.Chandraprema

Last week we saw what was obviously an attempt to intimidate and silence the media. The Secretary to the Media Ministry had written to the Derana TV channel asking them to explain why a speech by President Maithripala Sirisena had been distorted in one of their news bulletins.

Earlier, on 25 October the Media Ministry Secretary had written to them saying that an inquiry is being conducted into the distortion of a speech made by the president on October 12 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute where he had among other things said that the CID, FCID and Bribery Commission had been working to a political agenda and that he was against the manner in which the former defence secretary and three commanders of the navy were hauled before the courts.

When a storm of protest arose from the yahapalana NGOs about the president’s comments, Sirisena backtracked and said that his words had been distorted by the TV news bulletins. It was in pursuance of this that the media secretary who is an appointee of the Sirisena faction had written to Derana TV on 25 October saying that they were inquiring into the matter.

The very next day on 26 October Derana TV had replied to the media ministry saying that the management does not get involved in editing the footage shown on the news bulletins and that this is done at the discretion of the news director and that the practice is that of a speech lasting 30 or 45 minutes the most that would be included in a news bulletin would be a segment lasting one or two minutes.

Continue reading ‘Media Ministry Secretary Appointed by President Sirisena Engages in Attempts to Intimidate and Silence the Media’ »

First Sri Lankan and 1st Woman to Climb Mt.Everest Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpola is Yet to be Honoured Officially by Govt


By P.K.Balachandran

When Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala became the first Sri Lankan and also the first Sri Lankan woman to have climbed the 8848 meter Mount Everest in May this year, the Sri Lankan media went to town on it and accolades were showered on her by the elite of the island. Only three women before her had had the distinction of being the first in their respective countries to have climbed the Everest.

The 37-year-old Jayanthi had also replicated the achievement of another world record-holding compatriot – Mrs.Sirimavo Bandaranaike – who had made history in 1960 by becoming the world’s first woman Prime Minister. Jayanthi and her mountaineering partner Johann Peries (who was with her up to 8400 meters and had to give up for lack of sufficient oxygen), are still besieged by schools and other organizations to give lectures on the thrills and challenges of mountaineering. “The extent of interest is truly amazing. But people think that they can become mountaineers overnight.This is stupid. I tell them that it needs rigorous training, great mental strength and finances to buy the safest equipment,” she said. And mountaineering in Sri Lanka cannot be the sport it is in the West, unless the government puts in money to create the right kind of facilities and the people at large give the sport due recognition, she adds. “In Sri Lanka, cricketers walk away with all the adulation, and encouragement in the form of awards and gifts like cars. The claims of others who also win laurels for the country are ignored.

Continue reading ‘First Sri Lankan and 1st Woman to Climb Mt.Everest Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpola is Yet to be Honoured Officially by Govt’ »

Foreign Extremists Teaching at Muslim International Schools in Beruwala,Kalmunai,Kal-eliya and K’nagala Propagating Hate Alleges Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe.

by Saman Indrajith

Alleging that 32 Sri Lankan Muslims had joined the ISIS, Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse told Parliament yesterday that foreigners were propagating extremism among Muslim children here. Minister Rajapakse said that extremist foreigners had entered Sri Lanka under the guise of teachers.

Minister Rajapakse warned that the government would take appropriate measures in accordance with the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) though a section of the international community was opposed to the implementation of the existing law.

Participating in the second reading stage debate on budget 2017, Minister Rajapakse revealed that foreign intelligence services had reported that 32 Sri Lankans belonging to four families joining the ISIS.

Describing those who had joined the ISIS as members of well-to-do families of the Muslim community, the minister said that foreign extremists teaching at Muslim international schools in Beruwala, Kalmunai, Kal- Eliya and Kurunegala propagated hate.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Extremists Teaching at Muslim International Schools in Beruwala,Kalmunai,Kal-eliya and K’nagala Propagating Hate Alleges Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe.’ »

32 Sri Lankan Muslims From Four Families Have Joined the ISIS Reveals Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe in Parliament.

By

Yohan Perera

Thirty two Muslims from four families have joined the ISIS Group in the recent past, Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa told Parliament today.

He said the government would not allow these people to disrupt the country.

Continue reading ‘32 Sri Lankan Muslims From Four Families Have Joined the ISIS Reveals Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe in Parliament.’ »

Tamil Nadu Restaurant Introduces Special White Thosai Named “Donald Trump Dosa” Costing Rs 50 Each in Honour of US President Elect

By Srinivasa Ramanujam

Donald Trump’s win might still raise eyebrows in the U.S., but the President-elect is hugely popular at Suprabaa, a modest hotel located at Valluvar Salai in Ramapuram.

imagerimage

So much that C.P. Mukund Das, restaurant owner and self-confessed Trump fan, has introduced a ‘White Dosa’, “with respect to the tremendous victory of Donald Trump”, as a banner outside the joint sums it up.

Priced at Rs. 50, it is the hot favourite at the restaurant currently, with most customers referring to it as the‘white dosa’. “I’m a huge fan of Trump, especially his speeches and facial expressions, and have always wanted him to win the U.S. elections.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Restaurant Introduces Special White Thosai Named “Donald Trump Dosa” Costing Rs 50 Each in Honour of US President Elect’ »

Batticaloa Mangalaramaya’s Ampitiya Sumanarathne Thera’s Unruly Conduct was Unbecoming of a Buddhist Monk.

BY Manekshaw

‘Let a man guard himself against irritability in speech; Let him be controlled in speech. Abandoning verbal misconduct, let him practice good conduct in speech – Dhammapada

The conduct of Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thera of the Batticaloa’s Mangalaramaya over a land issue in the Pattipalai area has stuck a blow to the efforts taken towards building peace and reconciliation in the country.

By his unruly behaviour towards the Pattipalai area Grama Niladhari S. Jeevithan, Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thera had brought traffic on the Ampara – Kandy main road to a halt and had come out with racist comments and foul language.

Even the Police officials who were at the scene to control the situation remained helpless and pleaded with the monk to remain calm.

However, the monk continued to shout at the Grama Niladhari who is a Government servant, calling him a ‘Tamil Tiger’.

Continue reading ‘Batticaloa Mangalaramaya’s Ampitiya Sumanarathne Thera’s Unruly Conduct was Unbecoming of a Buddhist Monk.’ »

Muslim Council of Sri Lanka Refutes Allegations made by Justice minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe about the Muslim community in Parliament.

(Text of press elease issued by N.M. Ameen the president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka Refuting the statement made by Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe in Parliament about certain issues concerning the Sri Lankan Muslim community)

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) is seriously concerned about the statement made in Parliament by Hon. Wijedasa Rajapaksa MP, Minister of Justice about the Muslim community.

The Hon Minister has implied that 32 Muslims have joined the ISIS recently. We strongly object to this misplaced statement. The facts given by the Honourable Minister were reported in the media more than one year ago when a Sri Lankan combatant died fighting with ISIS. There have been no new reports of any others involved since this was reported last year. It is believed that one family had gone to Syria to provide humanitarian support to the war wounded and refugees. Some of the men are alleged to have joined or forced to join the fighting forces of ISIS. The Muslim community, including the Muslim Council, Jamiathul Ulema and other organizations cooperated with the government in identifying the families to provide the necessary support for the intelligence agencies to investigate. Those who have gone to Syria as quoted by Hon. Rajapaksa include women and children.

Continue reading ‘Muslim Council of Sri Lanka Refutes Allegations made by Justice minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe about the Muslim community in Parliament.’ »

Supreme Court Dismisses FR Petition Against the National Anthem Being Sung in Tamil at the Independence day Celebrations.

By

S.S. Selvanayagam

A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Priyasath Dep, K.T. Chitrasiri and Prasanna S. Jayawardene today refused to grant leave to proceed with the petition challenging the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil.

Petitioners Sudath Perera, Pradeep Asiri Soysa and G.A.D. Premaratne cited President Maithripala Sirisena and the Attorney General as respondents and said they it was on February 4, 2016 at the Independence Day celebration that they became aware of the national anthem being sung in Tamil.

They said it was a gross violation of Article 7 of the Constitution and it was arbitrary and capricious and crass violation of the principle of equality and of the rights of all citizens.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Dismisses FR Petition Against the National Anthem Being Sung in Tamil at the Independence day Celebrations.’ »

UNP and SLFP Trounced by Newly Formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna at Puttalam Co-operative Council Elections

By

Lalith Nawarathna

The candidates of the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) won the election held at the Puttalam Multi-Purpose Co-Operative Council with 86 votes.

The ruling United National Party (UNP) led by Puttalam District MP Nasmi Navas obtained 10 votes out of the 97 seats, while Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) had only been able to obtain one vote.

Continue reading ‘UNP and SLFP Trounced by Newly Formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna at Puttalam Co-operative Council Elections’ »

Seeking Tobacco Industry Donation for Anti-Smoking Campaign is like Requesting Brothel Owner to Fund Campaign Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases.-GMOA

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday accused Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke of going against the President’s and the Health Minister’s battle against the tobacco industry by requesting Ceylon Tobacco to donate Rs. 500 million to the Presidential fund to be utilised by the Presidential Task Force for the anti-smoking campaign.

GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge told the media at the GMOA office in Colombo that President Maithripala Sirisena and Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne were both bent on ratifying the WHO Charter on controlling tobacco and smoking.

Continue reading ‘Seeking Tobacco Industry Donation for Anti-Smoking Campaign is like Requesting Brothel Owner to Fund Campaign Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases.-GMOA’ »

Trump’s Triumph and Rise of “New Nationalism” is a Big Change That Makes for a More Dangerous World-The Economist

WHEN Donald Trump vowed to “Make America Great Again!” he was echoing the campaign of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Back then voters sought renewal after the failures of the Carter presidency. This month they elected Mr Trump because he, too, promised them a “historic once-in-a-lifetime” change.

But there is a difference. On the eve of the vote, Reagan described America as a shining “city on a hill”. Listing all that America could contribute to keep the world safe, he dreamed of a country that “is not turned inward, but outward—toward others”. Mr Trump, by contrast, has sworn to put America First. Demanding respect from a freeloading world that takes leaders in Washington for fools, he says he will “no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism”. Reagan’s America was optimistic: Mr Trump’s is angry.

Welcome to the new nationalism. For the first time since the second world war, the great and rising powers are simultaneously in thrall to various sorts of chauvinism. Like Mr Trump, leaders of countries such as Russia, China and Turkey embrace a pessimistic view that foreign affairs are often a zero-sum game in which global interests compete with national ones. It is a big change that makes for a more dangerous world.

Continue reading ‘Trump’s Triumph and Rise of “New Nationalism” is a Big Change That Makes for a More Dangerous World-The Economist’ »

Donald Trump’s Voters took him Seriously but not Literally while his Critics took him Literally but not Seriously – The Economist

THE fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 9th 1989, was when history was said to have ended. The fight between communism and capitalism was over. After a titanic ideological struggle encompassing the decades after the second world war, open markets and Western liberal democracy reigned supreme. In the early morning of November 9th 2016, when Donald Trump crossed the threshold of 270 electoral-college votes to become America’s president-elect, that illusion was shattered. History is back—with a vengeance.

image

The fact of Mr Trump’s victory and the way it came about are hammer blows both to the norms that underpin politics in the United States and also to America’s role as the world’s pre-eminent power. At home, an apparently amateurish and chaotic campaign has humiliated an industry of consultants, pundits and pollsters. If, as he has threatened, President Trump goes on to test the institutions that regulate political life, nobody can be sure how they will bear up. Abroad, he has taken aim at the belief, embraced by every post-war president, that America gains from the often thankless task of being the global hegemon. If Mr Trump now disengages from the world, who knows what will storm through the breach?
The sense that old certainties are crumbling has rocked America’s allies. The fear that globalisation has fallen flat has whipsawed markets. Although post-Brexit Britons know what that feels like, the referendum in Britain will be eclipsed by consequences of this election. Mr Trump’s victory has demolished a consensus. The question now is what takes its place.

Continue reading ‘Donald Trump’s Voters took him Seriously but not Literally while his Critics took him Literally but not Seriously – The Economist’ »

New Constitution Must Enable All Sections of Society to Say with Pride -“We are Sri Lankans” – Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan

(Text of Speech made in Parliament by Leader of the opposition and Trincomalee District TNA Parliamentarian Rajavarothayam Sampanthan on November 17th 2016)

ගරු රාජවරෝදියම් සම්පන්දන් මහතා (විරුද්ධ පාර්ශ්වයේ නායකතුමා)
(மாண்புமிகு ராஜவரோதயம் சம்பந்தன் – எதிர்க்கட்சி முதல்வர்)
(The Hon. Rajavarothiam Sampanthan – Leader of the Opposition)

Thank you, the Hon. Speaker.

This Budget has been presented by the current National Alliance Government comprising of the two main political parties in this country – the Sri Lanka Freedom Party headed by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena and the United National Party headed by the Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister, Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs. The Cabinet of Ministers comprises of representatives of both political parties.

It is the objective of these two political parties to give the country a new future – not merely economically but also politically and socially. That indeed was the verdict of the country at both the Presidential Election held in January, 2015 and the Parliamentary Election held in September, 2015. The former regime and its leadership were prominent participants in both those electoral contests. They sought at both elections a further mandate to govern the country. The mandate so sought by them was denied by the people. The people, in the exercise of their sovereignty, have given President Maithripala Sirisena and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the mandate to govern the country for a period of time as stipulated in the Constitution. That is the sovereign verdict of the people which can only be dislodged in accordance with the Constitution and in no other way. Everybody in this country wants this country to be governed in keeping with the tenets of genuine democracy. These values, the Hon. Speaker, are sacred and need to be protected and preserved.

Continue reading ‘New Constitution Must Enable All Sections of Society to Say with Pride -“We are Sri Lankans” – Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan’ »

Thawheed Jamath Gen Secy Abdul Razik Arrested After Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Threatens to “Hammer Maligawatte” in 24 Hours.

By

Dharisha Bastians

Amid fears of renewed religious tensions and ethnically charged hate-speech gaining ground, police yesterday arrested Secretary of Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamath R. Abdul Razik on charges of insulting religion and ‘angering a religious devotee’ during a protest against proposed reform to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) last week.

The arrest comes in the wake of threats by notorious Bodu Bala Sena Chief Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thero, who promised to attack the majority Muslim suburb of Maligawatte if the IGP failed to take the Secretary of the SLTJ into custody.

“If this dog is not arrested in 24 hours, we will begin from one corner and hammer Maligawatte,” the Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary told a small crowd on Tuesday night, referring to Razik. “We have tried to sort these issues out through discussions. Now it is time to sort it out with blood, stones and poles,” he charged in a video released online yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Thawheed Jamath Gen Secy Abdul Razik Arrested After Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Threatens to “Hammer Maligawatte” in 24 Hours.’ »

GL Peiris and Basil of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna say “Mahinda is our Leader and we are his followers”.

By Dharisha Bastians

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, a new political party chaired by former Minister G.L. Pieris, vowed to claim the mantle of the ‘true’ SLFP at its inaugural media briefing held yesterday, in a sign that rifts within President Maithripala Sirisena’s party were widening.

Speaking to reporters at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s political office in Battaramulla, Pieris claimed the SLFP’s role in Sri Lankan politics had been reduced to whitewashing a UNP administration.

“In the wake of the Central Bank bond scandal, the whole SLFP machinery is preoccupied with defending the Prime Minister. The sole aim of the SLFP today is to help the UNP to stay in power,” the former Foreign Minister charged, explaining his reasons for floating the new party.

Pieris, who addressed his party’s first media briefing with the former President’s younger sibling Basil Rajapaksa at his side, said the SLFP was a party with a “glorious” political history. “It is the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna which will now truly embody the SLFP identity and character,” said Pieris, whose SLFP membership was revoked after he floated the new party.

Continue reading ‘GL Peiris and Basil of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna say “Mahinda is our Leader and we are his followers”.’ »

Racist Rant Against Tamil Govt Official by Ampitiya Sumanaratne Thera in Batticaloa .


By

Meera Srinivasan

A Buddhist monk’s death threat to a Tamil village officer in Batticaloa — in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province — has gone viral on social media, worrying many who are hoping for speedy reconciliation in the war-torn country.

Such incidents could adversely affect ongoing efforts towards reconciliation, civil society organisations have noted with concern.

The video shows the monk using foul language at the provincial government staff. The angry monk, identified as Ambitiya Sumanaratna Thera by local media, is also seen shouting at the village officers in Sinhala, “you all [are] Tigers, you all [are] Tigers”, referring to the LTTE.

Continue reading ‘Racist Rant Against Tamil Govt Official by Ampitiya Sumanaratne Thera in Batticaloa .’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Says Budget 2017 is”Loketa Parakase Gederata Maragathe”(Big Show to the world but Calamity at Home)

by Saman Indrajith

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa described the budget 2017 as a ‘loketa parakase gedarata maragathe (‘Big show to the world, but calamity at home’) budget for it has protected the interests of the international community at the cost of national interests.

Participating in the second reading stage debate on the budget proposals, former President Rajapaksa said: This budget paves the way for increased borrowings, taxes and fines. The proposals contained UNP’s economic policies of selling off public enterprises and depriving the people of their welfare rights and destroying the national economy.

“During our time between 2005-2014 we never privatised any of the enterprises. The present government is weakening the Central Bank and state banks so that there would be no other option other than to privatise them. The Central Bank, harbours and many other public ventures now have been labeled as loss making ventures so that they could be privatised. This will be extended soon to expressways, railways and water reservoirs.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Says Budget 2017 is”Loketa Parakase Gederata Maragathe”(Big Show to the world but Calamity at Home)’ »

Prime Minister Wants Finance Minister to Impose 800% Tax on Toilet Paper so that “Daily FT” Newspaper Could Increase its Sales.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday was critical of Daily FT over two opinion articles in Wednesday’s issue on Government plans for Hambantota port and offers of tabs to students, likening the country’s only national business daily to cheaper than toilet paper.

Referring to the opinion piece on Hambantota (http://www.ft.lk/article/580215/Sale-of-Hambantota-Port-%E2%80%93-A-fair-deal?), the Premier clarified that there was no sale but only a lease arrangement.

He claimed no one was selling the port but said the plan was to invite China Merchant to buy 80% of shares of Hambantota port for $ 1.1 billion, which would help the Balance of Payments.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wants Finance Minister to Impose 800% Tax on Toilet Paper so that “Daily FT” Newspaper Could Increase its Sales.’ »

Barrage of Questions Fired at National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis DIG by UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva

By Dharisha Bastians

Sri Lanka faced a second stormy day of review before the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva yesterday, when independent experts on the committee demanded answers from a senior police official on the Government delegation about controversial interrogation methods and torture during his time at the head of the CID at the end of the conflict.

Sri Lanka delivered its reply to the UN treaty body committee at the Palais Wilson in Geneva yesterday, explaining progress on several emblematic cases of rights violations including the Trinco-5 murders, the killing of 17 aid workers in Muttur and the Prageeth Ekneligoda disappearance case. In the Trinco-5 and the 17 ACF workers case, the Government delegation said that the CID had been unable to record statements from several witnesses who were living overseas.

Officials of the Attorney General’s Department on the delegation to UNCAT said that the Government was in the process of amending the Witness and Victim Protection Act to make video evidence provided from overseas admissible as evidence.

The Government also informed the UNCAT that there were no more suspects being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act without charges being filed.

Continue reading ‘Barrage of Questions Fired at National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis DIG by UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva’ »

No better U.S. ambassador for Prague than Trump’s ex-wife, says Czech president

Czech President Milos Zeman has thrown his support behind a bid by Ivana Trump, the ex-wife of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, to become the next ambassador to the country of her birth.

Ivana Trump smiles at her belated birthday party at the Pangaea Soleil club during the 59th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 24, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Ivana Trump smiles at her belated birthday party at the Pangaea Soleil club during the 59th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 24, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

“They could not send a better U.S. ambassador to Prague,” Zeman told her in a telephone call on Wednesday, the president’s office said in a statement.
Continue reading ‘No better U.S. ambassador for Prague than Trump’s ex-wife, says Czech president’ »

Douglas Devananda and Siddharthan Opposed Northern Provincial Elections but President Mahinda Went Ahead with Polls Reveals Gotabhaya

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The previous government’s strategies to reestablish democracy and reconciliation after the war ended in the Northern and Eastern Provinces had been as sincere as its war effort which crushed terrorism, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.

He said NGOs as well as the international community did not acknowledge the effort of the previous government; they falsely claimed it was meting out stepmotherly treatment to Tamils.

Former Defence Secretary was speaking at a book launching ceremony at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute on Tuesday. The book ‘Conflict and Stability’ co authored by Maj. Gen. (Retd) G. A. Chandrasiri and Rear Admiral (Retd) Mohan Wijewickrema was presented to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the ceremony.

Continue reading ‘Douglas Devananda and Siddharthan Opposed Northern Provincial Elections but President Mahinda Went Ahead with Polls Reveals Gotabhaya’ »

10 Asians Who Clashed in Self-Defence with White Extremists in Rotherham Acquitted by Courts of Violent Disorder Charges Filed by South Yorkshire Police


By

Frances Perraudin

Campaigners have called for an inquiry into the actions of South Yorkshire police after 10 Asian men, who fought with far-right extremists after attending an anti-racism protest in Rotherham, were cleared of violent disorder.

The verdict at Sheffield crown court was greeted by applause from the public gallery. The case had provoked a major campaign across South Yorkshire in support of the men , which was backed by the Orgreave and Hillsborough Truth and Justice campaigns.

Using the slogan “self-defence is no offence”, campaigners staged rallies outside the court at various points during the six-week trial. They branded the men the Rotherham 12, a reference to the Bradford 12 , who were charged with terrorist offences after an anti-fascist march in 1981 in Bradford and later acquitted following a campaign.

Continue reading ‘10 Asians Who Clashed in Self-Defence with White Extremists in Rotherham Acquitted by Courts of Violent Disorder Charges Filed by South Yorkshire Police’ »

Sri Lanka’s IMF Dictated Budget 2017 is a Direct Assault on the Social Conditions of the Working Class and Poor.


By Saman Gunadasa

The Sri Lankan government’s 2017 budget, which cuts social spending and increases a range of taxes and levies, is a direct assault on the social conditions of the working class and the poor.

Announced last week by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, the budget is in line with International Monetary Fund (IMF) dictates. It aims to cut the budget deficit to 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2017. The budget deficit is currently 5.4 percent. The IMF wants it reduced to 3.5 percent by 2020.

Tax revenue will be increased by 27 percent, while government expenditure is reduced from 1.94 trillion rupees to 1.81 trillion rupees (about $US12 billion) over the next 12 months.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s IMF Dictated Budget 2017 is a Direct Assault on the Social Conditions of the Working Class and Poor.’ »