Actress Turned Politico Geetha Kumarasinghe Hospitalised Due to Severe Burns in Gas Stove Explosion.

Sri Lanka’s former actress and legislator Geetha Kumarasinghe was being treated at a private hospital in Colombo Saturday following severe burns, police said.

Kumarasinghe, 62, was rushed to hospital on Friday night in what appeared to have be been an accident involving a gas stove at her home, police said.

“She has suffered extensive burns and her condition is serious, but she is getting all the medical attention she needs,” a hospital source said.

Continue reading ‘Actress Turned Politico Geetha Kumarasinghe Hospitalised Due to Severe Burns in Gas Stove Explosion.’ »

Bar Association’s Absurd Lack of Common Sense and Reason On Ranjan Ramanayake Issue.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

In taking umbrage at Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake’s ‘politico-talk’ on corruption of lawyers and judges and thereby allowing this to become a bone of contention so to speak, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka clearly lacks both commonsense and reason to the point of absurdity.

If the Bar proceeds to take legal action against him for contempt, no doubt this will delightfully spiral out of control. The Deputy Minister will use his privileges on the floor of the House to defend himself with vim and vigor. The resulting uproar will convert a sober discussion on the law of contempt into an explosion of ‘sound and fury’ signifying precisely nothing.


Gone are the legal giants of yore

It is a pity that the Bar seems quite unable to perform its functions with a modicum of native intelligence. For the past several years, the interventions of this once premier body has swayed much like a demented yo-yo from side to another under the leadership of one President or the other, tilting too much to one extreme at each point whilst abandoning positions of moderation and principle. Gone are the legal giants of yore at whose sternly authoritative voices, the political leadership of the day once virtually trembled. Despite personal political predilections, these counsel of stature had the capacity to take public positions untroubled by primitive bias.

Continue reading ‘Bar Association’s Absurd Lack of Common Sense and Reason On Ranjan Ramanayake Issue.’ »

Jagath Jayasuriya Denies War Crimes Allegations Saying Sarath Fonseka Exempted Him From Military Operations Responsibilty During War

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil, General (Retd.) Jagath Jayasuriya yesterday rejected the war crimes allegations levelled against him and said the then Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka in a written document had exempted him from responsibilities of all military operations.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Mirror he said: “After all, General Fonseka was known to declare that it was he who did ‘everything’ to bring the war to an end.”

“I have the official document sent by Army Commander Fonseka during the latter part of the war, saying I have no responsibility for military operations,” he said.

Q: Why did you seek a change of career from military to diplomacy and did you actually ‘flee’ Brazil as reported by the foreign media amid war crime law suits?

Continue reading ‘Jagath Jayasuriya Denies War Crimes Allegations Saying Sarath Fonseka Exempted Him From Military Operations Responsibilty During War’ »

Sumanthiran MP Withdraws Supreme Court Petition Challenging Pre-fab House Construction in North; Will File Fresh Petition Making Cabinet Respondents.

By Namini Wijedasa

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran this week withdrew his Supreme Court petition challenging the proposed construction of prefabricated houses for the war-displaced in the North and East but will file a fresh application next week after making the Cabinet of Ministers respondents.
The other respondents are Resettlement Minister D M Swaminathan and French steel giant ArcelorMittal that has been identified for the project. The case was taken up on Thursday and argued for more than two hours in front of Justices Sisira J de Abrew, Anil Gooneratne and Vijith Kumara Malalgoda, PC.

During the course of arguments, it was revealed that the Cabinet had last decided to award 6,000 houses (out of the original proposed 65,000 prefab units) to ArcelorMittal without calling for fresh tenders. Mr Sumanthiran, therefore, withdrew his petition with liberty to file a new application after making the Cabinet respondents.

Mr Sumanthiran appeared in person while Upul Jayasuriya, PC, represented Resettlement Minister Swaminathan. Sanjeewa Jayawardena, PC, represented ArcelorMittal. Deputy Solicitor General Viveka Siriwardena appeared for the Attorney General’s Department.

The Fundamental Rights petition seeks orders to prevent the Resettlement Minister from signing a contract with ArcelorMittal or its agents for construction of prefabricated houses for war-displaced in the north and east.

Continue reading ‘Sumanthiran MP Withdraws Supreme Court Petition Challenging Pre-fab House Construction in North; Will File Fresh Petition Making Cabinet Respondents.’ »

Regional Development Minister Sarath Fonseka Ready to Testify Against Jagath Jayasuriya if Ex-Army Chief is Tried for Alleged war Crimes.

By Upali de Saram and Norman Palihawadane

Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday said he was ready to give evidence against his successor in the army, General Jagath Jayasuriya if the latter was tried for war crimes.

Field Marshal Fonseka said he had received information that General Jayasuriya had committed various offences as the Commandant of the Vanni range.

Continue reading ‘Regional Development Minister Sarath Fonseka Ready to Testify Against Jagath Jayasuriya if Ex-Army Chief is Tried for Alleged war Crimes.’ »

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Ready to Give Evidence About War Crimes Allegedly Committed By Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya

By

Ajith Siriwardana

Minister and Field Marshal, Sarath Fonseka said today he had information on the crimes committed by former army commander Jagath Jayasuriya, the then Vanni commander and that he was ready to give evidence if proper legal action was instituted against him.

“I received complaints that Mr. Jayasuriya was engaged in crimes as Vanni commander with regard to those who were arrested. He continued the same strategy even after he was promoted as army commander. I have information regarding those who committed the crimes. I am ready to explain the crimes committed in detail if proper legal action is instituted,” he said.

The minister told a news conference that he attempted to launch an investigation against Mr. Jayasuriya just after the war had ended but he was removed from the post of army commander when the investigation was launched.

“I was aware that he committed crimes and I tried to initiate an investigation. As the initial step, I arrested Mr. Jayasuriya’s Aide-de-camp,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Ready to Give Evidence About War Crimes Allegedly Committed By Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya’ »

Ex-Army Chief Jagath Jayasuriya Committed War Crimes Against Arrested Suspects in Detention Alleges Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka dropped a bombshell by accusing his successor general Jagath Jayasuriya of committing war crimes as accused by a South Africa-based human rights group.

Fonseka told reporters summoned to his office at Rajagiriya today that he was aware of “crimes committed on suspects” by Jayasuriya when he was placed in charge of logistics and supplies during the final phase of the war.

Fonseka who is credited with leading the war effort, said he received complaints that Jayasuriya was “committing crimes on suspects arrested and held in detention.”

“I know he committed crimes. I have details and I ready to come forward and testify before a proper investigation,” Fonseka said.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Army Chief Jagath Jayasuriya Committed War Crimes Against Arrested Suspects in Detention Alleges Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.’ »

Application of Universal Jurisdiction Will Lead to Danger of a Witch Hunt Against Sri Lankan Security Personnel

By

P.K.Balachandran

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, had recommended the application of the principle of Universal Legal Jurisdiction in the case of credible violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the Sri Lankan security forces during the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). And this recommendation has not been nullified or disowned till date.

Therein lies the danger for Sri Lanka, points out former Sri Lankan Ambassador Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka.

To compound the threat, the UNHRC resolution which was passed with Sri Lanka as a co-sponsor, welcomes the High Commissioner’s report containing the recommendation for the application of universal jurisdiction, Jayatilleka points out. “Therefore, the witch hunt is on,” he warns.

In a recommendation to the UN and its member countries dated September 28, 2015, Zeid says: “ Wherever possible, in particular under universal jurisdiction, investigate and prosecute those responsible for such violations as torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Continue reading ‘Application of Universal Jurisdiction Will Lead to Danger of a Witch Hunt Against Sri Lankan Security Personnel’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Meet One on One for Political Discussions.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Former Sri Lankan President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and Leader of the Opposition and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan have engaged in significant political discussions at a one on one meeting without aides this week.

The 45 minute meeting took place at Mahinda Rajapaksa’s residence in Wijerama Mawatte Colombo on August 29th following an invitation extended by the former president to the Tamil National alliance(TNA) leader for a one on one meeting to discuss current political matters. The meeting began at 3.30 PM

The Opposition leader responded positively and met with the former president for in depth discussions conducted cordially. Both leaders engaged in closed door talks without any others being present.

Opposition Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan

After the political discussions concluded, former first lady Ms. Shiranthi Rajapaksa made her appearance to provide refreshments and exchange pleasantries with Mr. Sampanthan.
Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Meet One on One for Political Discussions.’ »

“Mehema Epa Chandrika, Mehema Epa” – Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “advice” to Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said ‘hatred and jealousy’ are two qualities his predecessor Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga shouldn’t possess.

Responding to a journalist following an event held at the BMICH, Mr. Rajapaksa said hatred was visible through former President Kumaratunga as she was aging.

He said if there was an issue with his education, which was criticized by Ms. Kumaratunga, it should be raised by the Supreme Court judges as he was sworn-in as a lawyer in the Supreme Court.

Continue reading ‘“Mehema Epa Chandrika, Mehema Epa” – Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “advice” to Chandrika Kumaratunga.’ »

An International Arrest Warrant May be Issued on Ex-Army Chief Jagath Jayasuriya if a Universal Jurisdiction Prosecution is Launched Against Him.

By Kate Cronin-Furman

Early Tuesday morning, news broke that Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Brazil had fled the country. Sri Lanka’s government later announced that his departure was planned, and it was simply the end of his ambassadorial term, but the timing raised eyebrows. The previous day, human rights groups had filed a criminal complaint accusing Ambassador Jagath Jayasuriya of command responsibility for war crimes.

Jayasuriya, who is also Sri Lanka’s ambassador to five other Latin American countries, is a former army general. From 2007 to 2009, he oversaw the last phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The United Nations estimates that more than 40,000 Tamil civilians died in the final months of the conflict. Human rights groups have documented indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets, custodial torture, enforced disappearances and rape, all perpetrated by forces under Jayasuriya’s command.

Despite sustained pressure from victims, human rights groups and Western governments, Sri Lanka has refused to prosecute or punish any of these violations. When the increasingly authoritarian Mahinda Rajapaksa was unexpectedly voted out of power in 2015, the international community welcomed assurances from the new government that it would pursue accountability for wartime abuses. Although Sri Lanka promised to establish offices of missing people and reparations, a truth commission and a prosecutorial mechanism, none of these institutions has materialized. Despite the change in government, there has been no vetting of either civilian or military officials suspected of war crimes. Eight years after the war’s end, justice remains elusive.

For the last six months, families of the disappeared in the former war zone have been conducting a continuous protest. Today, the International Day of the Disappeared, marks the 192nd day that they have sat in the road, demanding answers about the fate of their loved ones.

Continue reading ‘An International Arrest Warrant May be Issued on Ex-Army Chief Jagath Jayasuriya if a Universal Jurisdiction Prosecution is Launched Against Him.’ »

“Cowboy” Champika Ranawaka to Lasso and Corral Stray Cattle Found Roaming on Highways and Roads

Sri Lanka today announced a crack down on cattle roaming the streets of Colombo and its suburbs in a bid to reduce traffic jams and accidents in the congested capital.

Urban Development minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told reporters that owners had been warned to clear cows and bulls from public thoroughfares or the animals will be seized by the local authorities.

“Stray cattle cause traffic jams and we want to eliminate the inconvenience to other road users,” the minister said. “Owners should know to bring up their animals in proper cattle sheds.”

Stray animals will be taken away by the local authorities with immediate effect.

Continue reading ‘“Cowboy” Champika Ranawaka to Lasso and Corral Stray Cattle Found Roaming on Highways and Roads’ »

“No Military Alliances With Or Making Our Bases Available to Foreign Countries” -Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe


Sri Lanka will convene an international conference to discuss improvements in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to ensure freedom of navigation which is vital for orderly economic growth and security of commerce in the Indian Ocean Region, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe said here on Thursday.

Addressing the Second Indian Ocean Conference organized by the India Foundation, Wickremesinghe said: “ Articles 34 – 56 of UNCLOS are insufficient to deal with the concerns that are related to freedom navigation in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, Sri Lanka intends working with all our partners in creating a shared vision for economic and security engagement. We remain convinced that a code of conduct that ensures the freedom of navigation in our Ocean will be an essential component of this vision. In this regard Sri Lanka will soon commence exploratory discussions on convening a meeting to deliberate on a stable legal order on freedom of navigation and over flight in the Indian Ocean.”

“Taking such a course of action will enable the littoral states to take the initiative to manage competition and determine our own fate,” he added.

“We believe that maintaining the Freedom of Navigation is of paramount importance for Sri Lanka to become the Hub in the Indian Ocean. It is only then that we can reap the full benefits of our strategic location as well as the availability of ports on all coasts and two international airports with good land connectivity. The air and sea connectivity will naturally promote logistics. Colombo will also be a center for offshore finance and business. Finally Sri Lanka will offer a competitive platform for manufacturing and services,” Wickremesinghe said.

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Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his Third Death Anniversary

By

D.B>S.Jeyaraj

(Veteran Trade Union Leader Philips Balendra Tampoe passed away at the age of 92 on September 1st 2014.Comrade Bala Tampoe as he was generally known created Trade union history by being the general secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile Union for an unbroken period of sixty – six years.To denote the third death anniversary of Comrade Bala Tampoe I am re-posting an article I wrote about him in May 2015 to mark his 93rd birth anniversary on May 23rd………………DBSJ)


Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his 93rd Birth Anniversary -May 23

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark” is perhaps an apt description of how the International Workers Day was observed in Sri Lanka on May 1st. Instead of being given pride of place on May Day, the workers and their trade union leaders were virtually ignored by the political parties conducting rallies and processions on workers day. The May day event has been transfigured or disfigured into a Political Tamasha by major political parties.

(null)

The pathetically fractured trade union movement and hopelessly debilitated working classes of Sri Lanka have either been unable or unwilling to check or counter this increasing politicisation and consequent diminution of the trade union sphere over the years. The transformation of May day into a political event where the workers were treated as children of a lesser god is only symptomatic of a malady that has afflicted this country for many decades. The sea of red that this writer witnessed on May day during his childhood slowly began changing colour to seas of green and blue over the years. With the presence of artistes and actors from India on stage, the meaning of May day got distorted as a cultural show.

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“I Will be President Till My Term Ends in 2020″Declares President Maithripala Sirisena

By Uditha Jayasinghe

Quashing speculation over the fate of the Coalition Government, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday backed it to continue till 2020, pointing out that the parliamentary composition demanded it and insisted he would continue his term to the end.

During a meeting with the media to discuss the upcoming 66th anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at the President’s House, Sirisena was upbeat about the SLFP continuing its agreement with the United National Party (UNP) but refrained from giving any specific information on what would happen after 31 December when the existing partnership would be up for renewal.

However, he pointed out that as the 225 parliament seats are divided between the SLFP and UNP with neither being given a clear majority any composition would include coalition parties but as president he was duty-bound to serve until his term was completed.

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Gen.Jagath Jayasuriya Has Completed Term as Ambassador to Brazil and Did Not Leave Due to War Crime Law Suits Says Govt

Sri Lanka Wednesday denied its former army chief and ambassador to Brazil, Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, had fled after war crimes charges were brought against him in two Latin American states.

The foreign ministry said the retired general completed his two-year term at about the same time an international human rights group filed action against him in the courts of Brazil and Colombia on Monday.

“He has completed his tenure as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Brazil and has left,” a ministry official said. “He is due to arrive in Sri Lanka today. He has not fled.”

Continue reading ‘Gen.Jagath Jayasuriya Has Completed Term as Ambassador to Brazil and Did Not Leave Due to War Crime Law Suits Says Govt’ »

Govt to set Up Fish farm in Part of Vidathaltheevu Nature Reserve Known For Water Bird Conservation in Mannar District

The Sri Lankan government has decided to reduce the extent of a natural reserve in the island’s north-west to accommodate a fish farm, a spokesman said.

The borders of Vidathalathivu Natural Reserve, covering about 29,180 hectares and declared a nature reserve in March 2016, are to be changed, spokesman Minister of Land and Parliamentary Reforms Gayantha Karunathilaka said.

The reserve is located on part of the coast famed for bird life.

An ‘Aquaculture Industrial Estate’ planned to be set up in Manthai – West Divisional Secretariat Division in Mannar District, covering 1,491 hectares is in the Vidathalathivu reserve, making it difficult to implement the project, Karunathilaka told a news conference.

Continue reading ‘Govt to set Up Fish farm in Part of Vidathaltheevu Nature Reserve Known For Water Bird Conservation in Mannar District’ »

Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Struggling to Pacify Indian Anger Over Hambantota Harbour Deal with China

By Vijith Samarasinghe

The Sri Lankan government is anxiously trying to appease concerns in Washington and New Delhi that it is accommodating to the interests of Beijing by handing control over a strategic port to a Chinese company.
Sri Lanka last month signed a $US1.12 billion agreement to give the majority stake of the Chinese-built Hambantota port in the island’s south to Beijing’s state-owned China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPH) on a 99-year lease.

Two weeks later, on August 14, Forbes reported that Aviation and Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva approved New Delhi’s application to buy a 70-percent share of the Mattala Rajapakse International Air Port (MRIA) on a 40-year lease for $205 million.

India’s MRIA bid was reported in the international press as a move to counter China. According to media reports, the Indian proposal has been sent to the cabinet for review. The airport is located in the Hambantota district, 250 kilometres from Colombo.

India considers Sri Lanka part of its sphere of influence and fears that China is trying to acquire a strategic foothold in the island. The port deal signed on July 29 was part of a privatisation program by the Colombo government and an attempt to offset debts of $8 billion due to China.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Struggling to Pacify Indian Anger Over Hambantota Harbour Deal with China’ »

Similarity Between the 2004 LTTE’s Karuna Rebellion and the 2017 UNP Revolt of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Today’s UNP is a party that hounds Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, but will staunchly defend Rajitha Senaratne.

Today’s UNP, a party that prides itself on being the party of professionals and the educated, is a party that replaces as Minister of Justice, a President’s Counsel and a former examiner in the Faculty of Law at Colombo university, who has also earned two PhDs, with a lady who has no academic or professional credentials that come within light years of the former.

Today’s UNP is a party which scrapped the mandatory percentage of electoral candidates under age 35, a recommendation of the Youth Commission appointed by (UNP) President Premadasa in the aftermath of the JVP’s second insurrection and implemented by him.

All these changes stem from and reflect the perspective of the leadership.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrated 40 years in politics recently. Of those 40 years, he has been the leader of the UNP for 23.That’s over half.

These are exactly the 23 years that the UNP, which produced six leaders of the country under the Westminster and Presidential models, has not been able to lead the country even once.

Since the next Presidential Election is due only in late 2019, we can safely say that the UNP would not have had someone at the helm of national affairs for a quarter century.

In democratic politics that’s a heck of a long while. And yet, the UNP rallies around this same personality. This corresponds perfectly to Einstein’s line that doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of lunacy.

So what’s wrong with the UNP?

Continue reading ‘Similarity Between the 2004 LTTE’s Karuna Rebellion and the 2017 UNP Revolt of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’ »

Lasith Malinga Who Compared Sports Minister Jayasekara to a “Monkey” Will Captain Depleted Team in Next Match Against India.

Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga who is facing a suspended ban for comparing the country’s sports minister to a monkey has been asked to lead a crippled team against India at the next one-day international.

Malinga, who was two months ago slapped a fine of 50 percent of his match fee and given a six-month ban suspended for a year, was asked to replace Chamara Kapugedara who was ruled out of the rest of the Indian tour because of injury.

Kapugedara had replaced Upul Tharanga who received a two-match ban for a slow run rate in 2nd ODI which Sri Lanka lost to India at Pallekele.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s cricket selectors led by Sanath Jayasuriya resigned en masse, days after fans hurled abuse and empty water bottles at the beleaguered national side as they suffered another humiliating thrashing on home soil.

Continue reading ‘Lasith Malinga Who Compared Sports Minister Jayasekara to a “Monkey” Will Captain Depleted Team in Next Match Against India.’ »

Lanka’s Ex- Army Chief and Current Ambassador in Latin America “Missing” in Brazil as Human Rights Organizations File War Crimes Law Suits Against Him

Human rights groups in South America are alleging war crimes violations in lawsuits filed against a former Sri Lankan general who is now his Asian nation’s ambassador to Brazil and five other countries in Latin America, according the “Miami Herald”.

MH yesterday reported that the suits against Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya were based on his role as a commander in the final phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009. They allege Jayasuriya oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people.

Text of the MH report: Jayasuriya has diplomatic immunity in the countries where he is ambassador: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Suriname.

But the groups pursuing the suits hope they will compel regional governments to expel him.

Carlos Castresana Fernandez, the lawyer coordinating the effort, told The Associated Press on Monday night that suits were filed Monday in Brazil and Colombia. Petitions also will be filed in Argentina, Chile and Peru in the coming days, he said, adding that authorities in Suriname refused to accept the suit.

“This is one genocide that has been forgotten, but this will force democratic countries to do something,” Fernandez said. “This is just the beginning of the fight.”

Continue reading ‘Lanka’s Ex- Army Chief and Current Ambassador in Latin America “Missing” in Brazil as Human Rights Organizations File War Crimes Law Suits Against Him’ »

Arjuna Ranatunga Prepared to Accept Sports Ministry Portfolio in the Interests of Sri Lanka Cricket.

A somewhat heated exchange between Minister of Petroleum Resources Development and Former Test Cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga and Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara during a ministerial meeting yesterday was brought to a halt by President Maithripala Sirisena, but sources say Captain Cool had the edge in the duel.

The war of words ocurred while Minister Ranatunga commented on a paper to call tenders to reconstruct the artificial track at the Sugathadasa Stadium submitted by Jayasekera.

The conversation is below.

Continue reading ‘Arjuna Ranatunga Prepared to Accept Sports Ministry Portfolio in the Interests of Sri Lanka Cricket.’ »

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala Refuses to Resign as Demanded by Ex-Captain Arjuna Ranatunga

The President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Thilanga Sumathipala has refused to heed the call for his resignation from legendary cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

“There is no need to resign, the administration is not at fault for the team’s poor showing,” Sumathipala said today.

Ranatunga, the current Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, said he had written to both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe asking them to intervene to put Sri Lanka’s cricketing fortunes back in order.

He demanded the sacking of the Sumathipala administration and the appointment of an interim committee to run SLC.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala Refuses to Resign as Demanded by Ex-Captain Arjuna Ranatunga’ »

Sri Lanka Cricket Board of Selectors Resign “En Masse” Following Dismal Presence of National Team.

The crumbling performance of Sri Lanka Cricket one of the most prominent brands of the country got a fresh jolt yesterday (Aug 29th) with all the selectors resigning in an unprecedented development welcomed by most enthusiasts of the game.

Sources said it was the first time that selectors have resigned en masse whilst a tour was on. The move comes after Sri Lanka suffered a whitewash in the Test series against India whilst losing the ODI series.

The selectors were Sanath Jayasuriya, Ranjith Madurasinghe, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka Gurusinha and Eric Upashantha.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Cricket Board of Selectors Resign “En Masse” Following Dismal Presence of National Team.’ »

Arjuna Ranatunga and Dayasiri Jayasekara Clash in Cabinet as Capt Cool” Wants to Take Over Sports Ministry

The crisis in the country’s cricket was also felt at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting (Aug 29th) with an argument breaking out between Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara and former World Cup-winning ‘Captain Cool’ Petroleum Resources Development Minister Arjuna Ranatunga.

The latter however has been a vocal critic of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board led by Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala.

The verbal exchange between the two ministers forced President Maithripala Sirisena to intervene in the matter.

Continue reading ‘Arjuna Ranatunga and Dayasiri Jayasekara Clash in Cabinet as Capt Cool” Wants to Take Over Sports Ministry’ »

We are Back to the days of JR Jayawardene and his Manoeuvres to Stay in Power at any Cost.

By

Rajiva Wijesinha

Developments in the two weeks I was away suggest that the government is, a year before I expected it, hurtling towards its end. Or rather I should say towards its end as we know it, since the manner in which the Elections Bill was changed at whim suggests that we are back to the days of J. R. Jayewardene and his manoeuvres to stay in power at any cost.

We can therefore expect strategies on the lines of the first few amendments to the Constitutions which
Stymied the Courts which had delivered a judgment in favour of Sirimavo Bandaranaike when J.R. was engaged in stripping her of her Civic Rights Allowed him to have a Presidential election at a convenient time whereas the Constitution had earlier had fixed terms which is the norm with regard to an Executive PresidencyPermitted a Referendum to extend the term of Parliament even though the Constitution itself specifically laid down that the term of that Parliament, elected under the first-past-the-post system, ended in July 1983

Continue reading ‘We are Back to the days of JR Jayawardene and his Manoeuvres to Stay in Power at any Cost.’ »

Showing Disrespect to Our Cricket Team and the Country They Represent is Unacceptable and Must be Condemned.

By

Indrajit Coomaraswamy

(The writer Who is currently the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka was Captain, Sri Lanka Rugby XV (1973-77) and Represented Tamil Union in First Division Cricket 1972-77 and 82-83)

Sports lovers, particularly cricket fans, must be highly concerned about the unruly crowd behaviour at recent ODIs. Last week, there was the wholly unbecoming experience of the Sri Lanka cricketers being booed at a home match and then having to remain in their dressing room until they were escorted away from the stadium by the Police. Then there was the unacceptable episode where play had to be suspended because of unruly crowd behaviour. Fortunately, it was possible to complete the game eventually.

Such unsavoury crowd behaviour has been experienced in other countries. In fact, cricketers in some countries have been subjected to much worse treatment. However, such despicable actions have not been known within our shores. Sri Lanka fans have supported their national teams, particularly the cricket team, loyally through both successful and challenging times.

It should not be forgotten that the Sri Lankan cricket team has brought great honour to the country. Even during the country’s darkest hours, Sri Lankan cricket was a beacon of excellence and success. Since the World Cup 1996 victory, the Sri Lankan team has had a record that has been surpassed only by Australia in ICC tournaments, involving all the major cricket playing countries. The Test Team has also been highly competitive. The Sri Lankan brand was both respected and admired, even loved, throughout the cricketing world. Sri Lanka has also produced a number of iconic players who have thrilled fans throughout the cricketing world.

Continue reading ‘Showing Disrespect to Our Cricket Team and the Country They Represent is Unacceptable and Must be Condemned.’ »

President Sirisena Assures UNP Backbencher MP’s that he would Take Action Against Errant SLFP Ministers in Govt After Sep 2nd.

President Maithripala Sirisena has told the UNP back-benchers that he will clean the ‘SLFP stables’ after the party’s anniversary event on September 02.

During a special meeting held between the UNP back-bench MPs and President Sirisena, the MPs had repeatedly pointed out the instances where the SLFP MPs representing the government had acted in an irresponsible manner.

They had urged the President to take action against the SLFP Minsters violating the collecting responsibility of the government – as the UNP did against Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Assures UNP Backbencher MP’s that he would Take Action Against Errant SLFP Ministers in Govt After Sep 2nd.’ »

Attorney-General Given Seven Reports By President Sirisena For Legal Action Regarding Offences Committed During Rajapaksa Regime.


By

Kamani Alwis

The Attorney General(AG) will file indictments relating to seven reports concerning alleged acts of Fraud Corruption, Abuse of Power State Resources and Privileges running into millions of rupees committed during the Rajapaksa regime.

The seven reports compiled by the Presidential Commission Investigating alleged acts of Fraud Corruption Abuse of Power State Resources and Privileges relating to misuse of State funds and Assets running into millions of rupees during the Rajapaksa regime have been handed over to the Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC by President Maithripala Sirisena last week for necessary legal action.

The Attorney General said indictments will be filed against the accused after completing a legal study on the seven reports. He said this study had already commenced into the seven reports handed over by the President.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General Given Seven Reports By President Sirisena For Legal Action Regarding Offences Committed During Rajapaksa Regime.’ »

UNP Wont Allow No Confidence Motion Against Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to be Tabled in Parliament.

By Cyril Wimalasurendre

Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said in Kandy on Monday (28), that the UNP would not allow the no-confidence motion against the Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to be tabled in Parliament.

Minister Kiriella said that there were many legal deficiencies in the draft of the motion.

“We will hand over to the Speaker a written request urging him not to accept the no-confidence motion when it is presented,” Kiriella told the media at the Kandy District Secretariat after attending a meeting of the Kandy District Co-ordinating Committee.

Continue reading ‘UNP Wont Allow No Confidence Motion Against Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to be Tabled in Parliament.’ »

Sri Lanka is now one of the Lowest Ranked Teams Among ICC Full Members in all Three Formats- Tests(7)mODI(8 and T-20 (8)

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Simmering fan dissatisfaction exploded in the Pallekele cricket grounds on Sunday night — certainly it was not a pleasant thing to see. The India-Sri Lanka third ODI was disrupted by bottle-tossing cricket fans for more than 30 minutes and riot police were called in, when India was just eight runs needed to win in 40 balls. The match resumed later and India won by six wickets.

Sunday’s incident was a low point which does no good to the players, who have already hit the nadir of their confidence, the fans, the country and cricket at large. And despite all Sri Lankan antics in public life, the incident such as the one which happened on Sunday night is not a Sri Lankan forte. It rarely, perhaps never, happened in the past, except in those school big matches, where old boy nostalgia and free-flow of alcohol at times run wild.

Like any other good team, Sri Lanka is currently going through a lean patch. However that phase has been prolonged and there appears to be no end in sight. In fact since first round exit at the 2015 World Cup, performances have progressively degenerated, finally losing to an ODI series to untested Zimbabwe, earlier a rout in South Africa, and now to India on the home grounds. Sri Lanka is now one of the lowest ranked teams among ICC full members in all three formats (Test: 7, ODI: 8, T20: 8).

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka is now one of the Lowest Ranked Teams Among ICC Full Members in all Three Formats- Tests(7)mODI(8 and T-20 (8)’ »

Arjuna Ranatunga Urges President and Prime Minister to Save Sri Lanka Cricket by Removing Thilanga Sumathipala.


Petroleum Resources Development Minister and former World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga has urged President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to immediately change cricket administration to save the game.

Continue reading ‘Arjuna Ranatunga Urges President and Prime Minister to Save Sri Lanka Cricket by Removing Thilanga Sumathipala.’ »

Dark Cloud of Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Has Many Silver Linings


By

P.K.Balachandran

Despite the muddied political waters and an atmosphere of uncertainty, the two and a half year old Sri Lankan government has significant achievements to crow about. In contrast to the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, the current dispensation in Sri Lanka headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is not blessed with political stability and a single chain of command.

Given the resultant confusion, the by-word for the regime is not Yahapalanaya or “good governance”, as its leaders would like the people to believe, but “non-governance.”

Half way down its five year term, the Sirisea-Wickremesinghe regime gets lampooned in the media day in and day out for mutual bickering; threats to scuttle the regime from within and without; policy contradictions and indecisiveness.

But to be fair to the regime, it has significant achievements to its credit.

Continue reading ‘Dark Cloud of Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Has Many Silver Linings’ »

Why is Sri Lanka Rushing to Protect Commercial Trade Between Gulf of Aden and Malacca Straits?

By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The new Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah’s commencement of duties merits special attention on account of some observations he made besides the pleasantries associated with assuming office. One of the statements at his first press conference was regarding the future role of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) which he reportedly said would be “to protect commercial trade between the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Malacca.” According to reports he was referring to the role of sea marshals in protecting commercial vessels from pirates.

Obviously the Navy Commander was not expressing a personal decision or opinion but reflecting the position of his government. He was in fact echoing a view articulated earlier by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he addressed naval personnel at a commissioning ceremony in Trincomalee in April last year. The PM said the SLN would have to prepare for a role where it would be called upon to protect not only Sri Lanka’s territorial waters but also the seas of the entire Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean as well – “from the Maldives to the Strait of Malacca.” The PM went so far as to say Sri Lanka should arm itself with more ships, planes and weapons for this purpose.

It would be relevant to ask if the GoSL has thought through the implications for Sri Lanka of asserting this ambitious new role, in a context where the rivalry among big powers in the region is intensifying, and security concerns growing increasingly complex. Sri Lanka would be projecting itself into a strategically sensitive triangular relationship currently playing out among India, China and the US in the Indian Ocean Region.

India’s suspicions of China’s motives have grown, with China’s increasing maritime presence and especially with its new ‘Belt and Road’ initiative. The stand off in the Doklam plateau is a pointer to long simmering tensions between the two Asian giants – both nuclear powers – despite the major trade relationship between them.

Continue reading ‘Why is Sri Lanka Rushing to Protect Commercial Trade Between Gulf of Aden and Malacca Straits?’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Will Closely Watch New Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale To See How she Takes Legal Action Against Rajapaksa Family.

By

Thilanka Kanakarathna

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that they would keep a closer watch, how the newly appointed Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale worked on her new office.

After attending a religious event at the Sri Venkateshwara Hindu Temple in Modara on Saturday evening, Mr. Rajapaksa told the media that former Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was removed from the office claiming he neglected his responsibilities.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Will Closely Watch New Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale To See How she Takes Legal Action Against Rajapaksa Family.’ »

Between Dragons and Elephants: Sri Lanka’s Dangerous Quest for Cash from China and India


By

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka


“As the stand-off between the Indian and Chinese militaries enters its third month at Doklam…The entire neighbourhood is watching”

-Suhashini Haider, The Hindu, 11.8.2017

There is a situation brewing about 4 kilometers away from the “crest of the mountain range separating the waters flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its affluents from the waters flowing into the Thibetan Machu and northwards”. These lyrical words in the 1890 Tibet-Sikkim Convention between the British and Qing Empires, define the boundaries between China and Bhutan, which China cites in its claim for territory at the border in Doklam in its on-going dispute with India since June this year.[i]

Sudheendra Kulkarni, head of Observer Research Foundation, writing on the 22nd of August 2017 warned that “…the current deepening mistrust between India and China…even carries the seeds of an armed conflict over the prolonged military standoff at Doklam.”

India’s other neighbours are watching the situation closely, but is Sri Lanka? Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has already said it “will not get dragged into this or that side in the border dispute”.

While border disputes are common on the India-China border, and the foreign editor of the Hindustan Times, Pramit Paul Chaudri writes that it is almost a weekly event along the disputed Himalayan border, there is something different about this particular dispute. Indian commentators point out that it is the first time that “it is not taking place in Indian soil or Indian claimed territory”.[ii]

Today, as both countries expand their interests regionally and globally, Chaudri points out that India and China are “more likely to run into each other in third countries”. In the context of the rapidly changing dynamics between these two emerging powers in our region and indeed globally, Chaudri argues that “a new set of understandings will need to be worked out in the coming decades. Unfortunately, as has happened in the past, it will take a number of crises at a number of flashpoints to occur before New Delhi and Beijing accept the goalposts have shifted and the playbook needs to be updated.”

Of great concern to Sri Lanka is his conclusion that “it is in this transition period during which miscalculations are most likely to happen.”

Continue reading ‘Between Dragons and Elephants: Sri Lanka’s Dangerous Quest for Cash from China and India’ »

UNP and SLFP Prepare to Go Separate Ways While Remaining Together in Govt to Prevent Return of Rajapaksa


By

The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

The clock was ticking away towards midnight signalling the dawn of Tuesday (Aug 22nd ) when President Maithripala Sirisena chaired a meeting of his coalition partners and “friendly” political parties at his Paget Road residence in Colombo.

Even if those present were not conscious of the grim reality around, the forebodings ahead for the coalition partners were ominous. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) expired that midnight. Though unwittingly, they were together witnesses to that demise of a document that had brought them together, with much fanfare, for what was widely touted as good governance.

Until yesterday, The Sunday Times learnt, neither side had mooted to the other the idea of a renewal. This is amidst growing signs that they will go their separate ways come the Provincial Council and Local Government elections. The meeting that Sirisena chaired that night was no exception. It also foretold the course of events to come.

The two parties to the coalition have now agreed to disagree on issues they were blissfully united and on which they made public pledges to take this country forward. This was ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2015.

Continue reading ‘UNP and SLFP Prepare to Go Separate Ways While Remaining Together in Govt to Prevent Return of Rajapaksa’ »

Ravi Karunanayake Operates From Room 105 at “Temple Trees” as Head of Special Rural Infrastructure Development Program (SRIDP).

By

Fagani Weerakoon

Former minister Ravi Karunanayake who was forced to step down from his ministerial portfolio owing to acts committed in his capacity as the Minister of Finance that amounts to conflict of interest, seems to be back in action with the blessings of PM Wickremesinghe.

According to reliable sources, he is given an office and staff facilities at room 105 at the Temple Trees as the Head of Special Rural Infrastructure Development Programme (SRIDP) – 2017.

Continue reading ‘Ravi Karunanayake Operates From Room 105 at “Temple Trees” as Head of Special Rural Infrastructure Development Program (SRIDP).’ »

Vijay Nagaraj Well Known Indian Human Rights Activist Based In Colombo Dies in Polonnaruwa Car Accident on His Way to Batticaloa


By

Meera Srinivasan

Vijay Nagaraj, a former director of Amnesty International in India and an activist-researcher based in Sri Lanka died in a car accident on Friday. He was 44.

According to local police, Mr. Nagaraj was driving from Colombo to the eastern town of Batticaloa for a workshop, and met with the accident early Friday morning in Polonnaruwa, about 220 km northeast of Colombo.

Mr. Nagaraj, who was from Bengaluru, was active in the campaign for the Right to Information Act in India, working with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in Rajasthan. He also worked in the field of international human rights in India and later Geneva, before moving to Colombo over five years ago.

Continue reading ‘Vijay Nagaraj Well Known Indian Human Rights Activist Based In Colombo Dies in Polonnaruwa Car Accident on His Way to Batticaloa’ »

Pharmaceutical Mafia and Tobacco Companies Behind Move to Oust Him says Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne

Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said that pharmaceutical mafia and tobacco companies were behind the moves to oust him.

Addressing a ceremony held at Dharga Town to carpet the AK Mohammed Road, the Minister said:

Continue reading ‘Pharmaceutical Mafia and Tobacco Companies Behind Move to Oust Him says Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne’ »

Resignation of Ravi Karunanayake and Removal of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe


By

Don Manu

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends and country. In Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s case it wasn’t his life that he was prepared to lay down but the ministerial positions he held; and which he, with disdain, declared as but a trifle – one he could and would easily ‘shuffle off from his mortal coil’ in the nation’s interest, with the same ease as a moulting snake in the grass, and ‘in the ecdysis blue’, sloughs its seasonal skin.

But events were to prove otherwise. When the crunch came after all the hard talk, after all the patriotism puffs, that trite trifle turned out to be grindstone wrapped around his neck which he found hard to shed. And found near impossible to sever power’s umbilical cord to which he, leechlike, did cling, until the presidential knife had to be employed to cut his attachments to power and position and set him free from his inexorable fixations.

For, when it came down to even sacrificing his portfolio and all its attendant privileges the former Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana displayed a remarkable reluctance to renounce his ministerial fiefdoms which, just last week, he had proudly declared he would give up without the batting of an eye, in the name and cause of returning the Hambantota Port to the people. He sought instead to drape himself with the lion flag of patriotism in the belief, perhaps, it would render him untouchable.

In an imperious speech and in arrogant tones generally adopted by emperors of old, this temporary holder of a grave and favour ministerial post held at the whim, fancy and mercy of President Maithripala had pompously declared: “I will not rest until I regain Hambantota Port and give it back to the people. Even if it means I have to resign from my minister ship.”

Continue reading ‘Resignation of Ravi Karunanayake and Removal of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’ »

Even if No Confidence Motion Against Health Minister is Defeated as Expected, Dr,Rajitha Senaratne Will not Come out Unscathed.

By

The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

The past weeks have seen the UNP’s standing countrywide taking a bad beating. It began with events relating to the resignation of Ravi Karunanayake as Foreign Minister. This week, Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was removed from his portfolio.

Now, a third, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne will face a Vote of No Confidence in Parliament. Due to appear in the Order Book of Parliament is the following motion:

Continue reading ‘Even if No Confidence Motion Against Health Minister is Defeated as Expected, Dr,Rajitha Senaratne Will not Come out Unscathed.’ »

Wearing Navy Uniform is not a License to Commit Crimes Says New Navy Commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah.

Sri Lanka Navy’s new commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah, who assumed duties on Tuesday, says the Navy uniform is not a license to kill, steal or commit any other crime and no one will be pardoned if someone within the Navy is found guilty of any crime even if the person is a war hero.

Addressing media on Wednesday at the Navy Headquarters in Colombo for the first time after assuming duties, the decorated commander said he strongly believes that a war hero cannot be a murderer but no naval personnel will be allowed to go free if found guilty.

He stressed that even a navy personnel if responsible for such an offence should be punished according to the existing laws.

Continue reading ‘Wearing Navy Uniform is not a License to Commit Crimes Says New Navy Commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah.’ »

Can Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Removal Heal The “Beggar’s Wound” Of High Level Corruption?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The agitated pleas of the ruling United National Party (UNP) parliamentarians that they became ‘fully aware’ of former Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe allegedly stalling corruption cases against the Rajapaksa clan only now, must be taken with more than a pinch of that proverbial salt.

Overstepping the line a long time ago

That explanation, as rich as it is, is a tad too disingenuous to swallow in one gulp. Let me be clear. If the basis for the ejection of the Minister was the violation of the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility, that is another matter altogether. But the Government should not try to ride high on the removal and hold out that the one obstacle to a successful anti-corruption drive has now been disposed of. That will only be accepted by the exceedingly naïve.

For if one fact was clear in this messy saga, it was that the former Justice Minister was overstepping the line a long time ago, with little consequences from the party hierarchy. There are many examples. Six months into the new Government being installed for instance, he questioned if it would be correct to allow former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to be arrested under anti-terror legislation as this was a ‘law implemented against Prabhakaran.’ His claim was that, if so, this would be to ‘make a Prabhakaran’ out of the former Defence Secretary (Hiru talkshow programme, Salakuna, December 15, 2015).

The personal partiality and categorical bias reflected in that exchange was unbelievable. It is not the business of a Justice Minister to declare as to what individuals a particular law should apply to. That is the function of the courts. And in any event, the sham ‘patriotic’ fervor in that question is contradicted in a practical sense. The Rajapaksas themselves had little compunction in using anti-terror laws against the celebrated ‘war-winning’ Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Several of his body guards were arrested under emergency law.

Continue reading ‘Can Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Removal Heal The “Beggar’s Wound” Of High Level Corruption?’ »

“Yahapalana”Govt Gazettes One Bill and Passes Completely Different Bill By Introducing Changes at Committee Stage in Parliament

by C.A.Chandraprema

The drama that took place both within and outside Parliament last week in relation to the amendments brought to the local government elections law highlights more than anything else the profound political crisis faced by the government. In 2012, the local government elections law was changed by the Rajapaksa government in response to the long standing demand that the method of election of people’s representatives should change to enable the people to have an identifiable representative for each ward or constituency and also to ensure a stable administration or government as the case may be. As such the 2012 law provided for local representatives to be elected from the wards on a first past the post basis, and for 30% of the representatives to be elected on the principle of proportional representation.

The representatives on the proportional representation principle, would be selected from among the ‘best losers’ in the wards so that even under the proportional representation quota, emphasis would be given to those who got the most votes in a particular ward. This system would have ensured a stable administration for a party that wins the LG institution. However this system was not liked by the smaller parties like the JVP and the ethnic parties like the SLMC because it gives preponderance to the two main political parties. However until last Thursday, that was the system under which the next LG elections were to be held.

Last week the government was to take up an amendment to the local government elections law to make some technical corrections in the law as suggested by the Elections Commission. This LG elections law Bill was not meant to change the substance of the new local government elections law that had been introduced in 2012. However, last Friday the government suddenly presented to Parliament 50 new amendments to the amendment to the Local Government elections law to be made at the committee stage. The JVP was completely with the government on the new amendments. These were changes that had never been gazetted in the LG elections amendment Bill. Therefore, no one was able to even challenge the constitutionality of these proposed amendments in the Supreme Court.

Continue reading ‘“Yahapalana”Govt Gazettes One Bill and Passes Completely Different Bill By Introducing Changes at Committee Stage in Parliament’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakakshe Dismissal is Calculated Move by Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt to Posture as Opponents of Corruption.

By K.Ratnayake

President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday sacked Wijedasa Rajapakse as justice and Buddhist affairs minister, following demands from the United National Party (UNP), the main partner in the “unity government.” Wijedasa, a leading UNP member, was originally selected for the ministerial position by his party.

Last week, a UNP working committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe passed a resolution calling for Wijedasa’s removal. He was accused of failing to introduce new anti-bribery and corruption laws and delaying action and criminal cases against people engaged in such activity.

Although not mentioned in the resolution, Wijedasa had been denounced publicly by leading government members for delaying action against the former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and key members of his regime.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakakshe Dismissal is Calculated Move by Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt to Posture as Opponents of Corruption.’ »

Thalatha Athukorale and Gamini Jayawickrama Perera Sworn in as Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Respectively

The Minister of Foreign Employment, Thalatha Athukorala, and Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, Gamini Jayawickrama, on Friday took oaths as Minister of Justice and Minister of Buddha Sasana respectively, in place of the sacked Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe .

The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Secretary to the President Austin Fernando were also present on this occasion.

Continue reading ‘Thalatha Athukorale and Gamini Jayawickrama Perera Sworn in as Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Respectively’ »

Parliament Passes Local Govt Elections Amendment Bill with 144 Votes for and None Against:44 MP’s Abstain from Voting.

by Saman Indrajith

Local Government Elections (Amendment) bill was passed in Parliament yesterday with 120 voting for it none against and 44 abstaining.

MPs of the Joint Opposition abstained from voting while the JVP and TNA MPs voted with the government. Sixty MPs were not present in the chamber at the time of vote.

Before the final vote was taken for the bill, a vote was taken on an amendment presented by MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena seeking permission for government officers to contest elections. In that vote, Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne abstained from voting while his erstwhile colleagues in the Joint Opposition voted for the amendment. The government voted against it.

Continue reading ‘Parliament Passes Local Govt Elections Amendment Bill with 144 Votes for and None Against:44 MP’s Abstain from Voting.’ »

Letters of Demand for Rs 500 Million Each sent by Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda and Retd Rear Admiral Udaya Keerthi Bandara to Navy Commander Travis Sinniah.


Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda has sent a Letter of Demand to Navy Commander Travis Sinniah demanding Rs.500 million over a statement made to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) by the latter, the letter of demand stated.

The Letter of Demand sent by Attorney Wasantha Wijewardane on behalf of Admiral Karannagoda stated that,

Continue reading ‘Letters of Demand for Rs 500 Million Each sent by Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda and Retd Rear Admiral Udaya Keerthi Bandara to Navy Commander Travis Sinniah.’ »

Former Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda Initiates Legal Action Against Current Navy Commander Travis Sinniah for Alleged Defamation.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The ongoing high profile case involving a group of navy officers in the alleged abduction and disappearance of eleven persons in 2008 has taken a dramatic turn with wartime Navy Chief the then Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda initiating legal proceedings against Navy Commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah in respect of a recent statement made by the latter to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

In addition to Admiral Karannagoda, retired Rear Admiral U. K.V. Bandara has taken similar action.

Rear Admiral Sinniah succeeded VA Ravi Wijegunaratne several days ago. On being appointed as the Commander of the Navy, Sinniah, who played a significant role in Sri Lanka’s successful war against terrorism, received appointment as Vice Admiral.

The CID has recorded the then Eastern Commander Rear Admiral Sinniah’s statement last month regarding the alleged abductions and disappearances blamed on the navy.

Continue reading ‘Former Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda Initiates Legal Action Against Current Navy Commander Travis Sinniah for Alleged Defamation.’ »

New Navy Chief Travis Sinniah More Concerned About taking Navy Forward Rather Than Addressing Past Issues.

Sri Lanka’s new navy chief Travis Sinniah began work by pledging no forgiveness for his officers who may have committed crimes taking the cover of the island’s drawn out separatist war.

The Vice Admiral told reporters at his first press conference at navy headquarters on Wednesday that “even the biggest war hero” could not escape the full face of the law if a crime had been committed during or after the war.

“Even if you are a hero, it does not give you the sanction to do acts that are crimes…If you have done something wrong, there is no forgiveness for that act.

“What ever you have done during the war, if you are the biggest hero, wearing this uniform does not give you the sanction to murder, or commit torture,” he said.


However, he said he was more concerned about taking the navy forward rather than addressing issues of the past.

Continue reading ‘New Navy Chief Travis Sinniah More Concerned About taking Navy Forward Rather Than Addressing Past Issues.’ »

How the “Ceylon” Tamils From Sri Lanka Contributed to Singapore Over The Years


By
Ajit Kanagasundram

The world today is desperate to attract foreign talent. Thirty percent of Silicon Valley startups are by Indians, and the same percentage is true of Microsoft employees, NASA employees and US physicians. Canada and Australia have long had a point system to attract talent and the US and the UK are thinking of adopting a similar system in place of their current family re-union system. Even Germany has a special Visa quota for software professionals from India.

Singapore preceded all these countries by being open from the inception to foreign talent as it knew that they were required for it to meet its ambition to become a regional and then global hub for trade, manufacturing and finance.Lee Kwan Yew openly alluded to the fact that he depended on Jaffna Tamils as a resource to build up Singapore in the early years. This article will try and describe their significant and unique contributions spanning the five decades of Singapore’s existence as an independent nation.

The Jaffna Tamils hail from the arid North of Sri Lanka and the only advantages they had was their native intelligence and an excellent education system set up by American missionaries. The Jaffna Tamils valued education above all else and the education system the missionaries set up emphasized the English Language and mathematics.The British valued this education and The Jaffna Tamil propensity for hard work and recruited them for the minor government positions such as clerks and station master both in colonial Ceylon and in the Federated States of Malaysia and Singapore.

It was said that in the 1930s you could travel by train from Singapore to the Thailand border and every station master enroute would be a Jaffna Tamil! It was their descendants who were to play such a significant role in the history of Singapore as an independent nation. The contribution of the Ceylon Tamils were in four main areas – politics and government, law, medicine and sports and I will describe each separately.
Continue reading ‘How the “Ceylon” Tamils From Sri Lanka Contributed to Singapore Over The Years’ »

Setting up an Accessible Information Data Base About Citizens Without Adequate Safeguards to Protect Privacy Will Turn Sri Lanka Into a “Surveillance” State.

Sri Lanka has presented regulations in parliament to create a database of data about citizens which can be accessed by the defence secretary and other officials without a court order, which critics warn is taking the country speedily towards a surveillance state.

On Wednesday regulations which will eventually make it possible for authorities to create an electronic ID a data base of personal and family information including biometric data, was presented to parliament.

The e-NIC project was initiated by the ousted Rajapaksa administration.

The law to make E-NIC possible was passed earlier by the so-called ‘Good Governance’ administration which came to power promising to increase freedoms of citizens.

Continue reading ‘Setting up an Accessible Information Data Base About Citizens Without Adequate Safeguards to Protect Privacy Will Turn Sri Lanka Into a “Surveillance” State.’ »

No Confidence Motion With 11 Charges Against Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne Signed By 39 Joint Opposition MP’s Submitted to Speaker’s Office.

By Saman Indrajith

A no-confidence motion signed by 39 MPs of the Joint Opposition against Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne has been handed over to the Speaker’s Office yesterday.

The motion sought to oust Minister Senaratne on 11 charges, JO MP Ranjith Zoysa told The Island.

He said they would request Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to include the motion in the Order Book of Parliament and take it up for debate as soon as possible.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion With 11 Charges Against Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne Signed By 39 Joint Opposition MP’s Submitted to Speaker’s Office.’ »

Sri Lanka Cricket Officials Try to Do “Damage Control” After Defeat by Forcing Coach Nic Pothas to Make Statement at Press Conference.

By
N Ananthanarayanan

After slamming “too many cooks” for spoiling Sri Lankan cricket team in the wake of Indian cricket team’s crushing win in the first ODI on Sunday, interim head coach Nic Pothas was forced to issue statement saying all is fine with the process in place

Sri Lankan cricket, in crisis with the national team plunging from one low on the field to another in the ongoing India tour, scrambled on Wednesday to limit the public relations disaster that followed defeat against Virat Kohli’s side in the first One-day International at Dambulla at the weekend.

Sri Lankan cricket team’s interim coach, Nic Pothas had blasted the current set up following the nine-wicket defeat at Dambulla saying “too many cooks” were responsible for the current plight of the national team, which was also routed 3-0 in the Test series.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Cricket Officials Try to Do “Damage Control” After Defeat by Forcing Coach Nic Pothas to Make Statement at Press Conference.’ »

Galle District MP Geetha Kumarasinghe is the only Lankan Parliamentarian to Hold Dual Citizenship.

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Immigration and Emigration Department had confirmed that Galle District MP Geetha Kumarasinghe is the only MP holding dual citizenship, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said yesterday.

The department, on a request made by PAFFREL under the Right to Information (RIT) Act, has revealed that MP Kumarasinghe was granted No 17096 A dual citizenship certificate. The balance 224 MPs had not been granted such dual citizenship certificates, PAFFREL, Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi told The Island.

Continue reading ‘Galle District MP Geetha Kumarasinghe is the only Lankan Parliamentarian to Hold Dual Citizenship.’ »

“I Will Reveal the True Story Behind the Treasury Bond Issues of 2015 and 2016” States Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

By

Zacky Jabbar

Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe having accepted President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to remove him from his portfolios, said yesterday that he would work to unravel the true story behind the Central Bank Treasury Bond issues of 2015 and 2016.

” I will reveal the details while continuing to be a member of the UNP” he said.

Continue reading ‘“I Will Reveal the True Story Behind the Treasury Bond Issues of 2015 and 2016” States Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’ »

”I am the Only Justice Minister Accused of NOT Pressuring and Influencing the Judiciary and Attorney-Generals Dept” Points out Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe


Ceding to expectations, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday sacked embattled Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe for breaching the collective responsibility of Cabinet and criticising the Government’s deal with a State-run Chinese company to revive the debt-ridden Hambantota Port.

Rajapakshe was criticised by his party for questioning the Cabinet decision to lease the port of Hambantota to China. He said it was akin to selling national assets. After he failed to deliver an apology on a deadline given by the United National Party (UNP), the President was asked to remove Rajapakshe by the UNP on Monday.

Despite days of speculation and pressure to recant his statements, Rajapakshe remained defiant till the end and was removed by President Sirisena on Tuesday. However, he remains a member of the UNP.

“Historically all the previous justice ministers of our country are normally accused of influencing the Attorney General’s Department and the Judiciary. I am accused of not pressuring the Attorney General’s Department and the Judiciary. Our Constitution has been violated by our Cabinet. Our constitution states that in the event of an agreement such as the Hambantota deal, it has to be presented to Parliament and approved by a two-thirds majority. So the agreement to transfer the port is just a piece of paper, it does not have any legal powers,” he told reporters.

Continue reading ‘”I am the Only Justice Minister Accused of NOT Pressuring and Influencing the Judiciary and Attorney-Generals Dept” Points out Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’ »

Defiant Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Says he was Sacked Due to Unconstitutional Hambantota Port Deal and Central Bank Bond Scam

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

Former Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said today he didn’t resign from any portfolio but was removed in an attempt to sweep the bond scam under the carpet.

He told the media outside the Justice Ministry that baseless charges had been made against him saying he had struck deals with former government members to delay court cases filed against them.

“This is an attempt to sweep the bond scam under the carpet by sacrificing me. In Sri Lanka’s history, this is the first time a minister was accused of not influencing the judiciary and the Attorney General’s Department whereas former justice ministers had been accused of influencing the judiciary,” he said.

Mr. Rajapakshe said the AG had been summoned to Temple Trees last Tuesday and the UNP backbench MPs had criticized and ridiculed him.

Continue reading ‘Defiant Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Says he was Sacked Due to Unconstitutional Hambantota Port Deal and Central Bank Bond Scam’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Removed as Minister in a “Compromise” Enabling Him to Rejoin Cabinet Later With Different Portfolio.

After much hesitation and thought, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday relieved controversial Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe of his portfolios.

This was done at the request of the Working Committee of the United National Party (UNP) to which Rajapakshe belongs.

However, according to well-placed political sources, Wijeyadasa’s sacking is not an isolated step but part of a compromise.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Removed as Minister in a “Compromise” Enabling Him to Rejoin Cabinet Later With Different Portfolio.’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Can Make a Comeback to Govt Like Tilak Marapana After Being “Rehabilitated” says Rajitha Senaratne

By Chathuri Dissanayake

Cases filed against bigwigs of the previous regime may be refiled under fresh charges with the appointment of the new Justice Minister, Cabinet Co-spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.

Pointing out shortcomings in some of the cases that have already been filed, Senaratne said that some of the cases may be refiled under different laws.

“There is a problem such as this. The Avant Garde case is likely to be filed again under a weapons ordinance, which is currently under the Money Laundering Act because that can be given bail. Once the new Justice Minister is appointed we can hold a proper inquiry. We will be able to find out who influenced the case when we have the inquiry,” he said.

“Any case can be revisited. So we will push for this.”

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Can Make a Comeback to Govt Like Tilak Marapana After Being “Rehabilitated” says Rajitha Senaratne’ »

“Rosy Senanayake Will Succeed Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as Colombo District MP After the UNP Sacks him from Party” says Mujibur Rahman MP


By Saman Indrajith

UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahuman told a group of journalists at the lobby of parliamentary committee room that UNP Colombo District MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who was relieved of his cabinet portfolios will be sacked from the party as well and lose his MP post too.

He said that vacancy caused by Rajapakshe will be filled by Ms.Rosy Senanayake.

Continue reading ‘“Rosy Senanayake Will Succeed Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as Colombo District MP After the UNP Sacks him from Party” says Mujibur Rahman MP’ »

Cabinet Collective Responsibilty: UNP Takes Action Against Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe But No Action Against Susil Premajayantha So far

By

Zahrah Imtiaz

President Maithripala Sirisena has sacked Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe from his Justice and Buddhasasana portfolios.

This was done in agreement to a letter sent to him by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday, asking that Rajapakshe be relieved of his position, the Presidential Media Unit stated.

Wijeyadasa over the past few months has been surrounded by many a controversy created through his own personal remarks over various decisions of the government.

The Minister has not only criticised the government over the seeking of technical assistance from foreign judges in relation to war crime probes but also criticized the recent Hambantota Port agreement signed by the government.

The Justice Minister also embarrassed the government by his outburst towards the UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Collective Responsibilty: UNP Takes Action Against Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe But No Action Against Susil Premajayantha So far’ »

‘No Bigger Shame Than Continuing In Cabinet Bent On Selling National Assets’: Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe On Removal

Former Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, upon being relieved of his ministerial position today, said there was ‘no greater shame’ than continuing in a Cabinet bent on selling national assets.

President Maithripala Sirisena this afternoon, yielding to pressure from the United National Party (UNP) to remove the Justice Minister, informed Rajapakshe of his removal as Justice and Buddhasasana Minister.

Continue reading ‘‘No Bigger Shame Than Continuing In Cabinet Bent On Selling National Assets’: Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe On Removal’ »

President Sirisena Has Sacked Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Announces Govt Spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka.

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena Wednesday sacked controversial Justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe for criticising a billion-dollar deal to lease the loss-making deep sea port to China.

Government spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka said the Justice minister had violated collective cabinet responsibility and their United Nation Party (UNP) recommended his sacking to the President on Tuesday.

Rajapaskhe had told the local media that the $1.1 billion deal with China Merchants Port Holdings was a sell out and he would work to take it back at a future date.

He had also made a scathing attack on chief government spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne on Saturday accusing him of interfering in the affairs of the justice ministry and ignoring work at his own ministry.

“Minister Rajapakshe was told to issue a retraction of his comments, but he refused and instead challenged the Prime Minister (Ranil Wickremesinghe) to sack him,” a government source said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Has Sacked Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Announces Govt Spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka.’ »

Prime Minister “Advises”President to Expel Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe from Govt But Some in SLFP Want To Retain Him in Cabinet as their Party Minister.

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, met President Maithripala Sirisena late on Monday, and advised him to expel Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe from the cabinet for indulging in anti-government and anti-party activities.

Earlier, the Working Committee of Wickremesinghe’ party ,the United National Party (UNP), decided to sack Rajapakshe after the deadline set by it for him to resign, expired on Monday, and he had not quit.

The Prime Minister’s communicating his party’s decision to the President in effect means that he has advised the President to sack Rajapakshe.

The norm is that the President should go by the advise of the Prime Minister, especially when the matter has to do with a member of the Prime Minister’s party.


However, the Sinhala-Buddhist-Nationalist elements in President Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) want the like-minded Rajapakshe to join them. If indeed he does, he could be an SLFP appointee in the cabinet. The call to join had been given by SLFP minister Dilan Perera.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister “Advises”President to Expel Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe from Govt But Some in SLFP Want To Retain Him in Cabinet as their Party Minister.’ »

Will Sri Lanka’s “Diplomacy” at UNHRC Take a Hopeful Fresh Turn Under the new Foreign Minister?


By

Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

The new Foreign Minister has assured us, according to the Daily News, that Resolution 30/1 which was co-sponsored by the Unity Government of Sri Lanka “was in no way harmful to the country…” The Island of 19th August 2017 reports that the new Minister had said that he had “examined” this resolution as a member of the cabinet, and that it “was certainly not inimical to Sri Lanka’s interests…” Since he was also the former Attorney General, he must know what he is talking about.

In this context, one would expect that he would have no concerns in facing either the written update at the 37th (March 2018) session of the UNHRC by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zaid al Hussein, as per the Human Rights Council Resolution 34/L.1, in which it “Requests the Office of the High Commissioner to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka…”, nor the written report to be followed by a discussion on the implementation of 30/1 at the 40th session.

Before the new Foreign Minister examines the High Commissioner’s oral update however, one hopes he resolves certain contradictions between his statement after taking over as Foreign Minister that the Sri Lankan Constitution does not permit foreign judges and the provisions actually contained in the resolution that he describes as “harmless”.

Before going any further, it must be pointed out that the “harmless” Resolution 30/1 was not co-sponsored by a single Asian country (other than Sri Lanka). Not even India. Since no vote was taken due to the new practice of co-sponsoring all resolutions on Sri Lanka by the Unity Government, this is the only indication one can glean of the actual support of the Council. The 12 co-sponsors however paint a picture: only 7 voting members of the Human Rights Council (Albania, Germany, Latvia, Montenegro, Macedonia, UK, and USA), while the other 5 were only observers (Australia, Greece, Poland, Romania, and of course Sri Lanka).

Continue reading ‘Will Sri Lanka’s “Diplomacy” at UNHRC Take a Hopeful Fresh Turn Under the new Foreign Minister?’ »

President Sirisena Must Use His Powers Without Squeamishness and Get Rid of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

By Rathindra Kuruwita

‘In some countries, the Executive is chosen directly by the people and is not dependent on the legislature during the period of its existence, for a specified number of years. Such an Executive is a strong Executive, seated in power for a fixed number of years, not subject to the whims and fancies of an elected legislature; not afraid to take correct, but unpopular decisions because of censure from its parliamentary party. This seems to me a very necessary requirement in a developing country faced with grave problems such as we are faced with today.’
(J.R. Jayewardene, address to the Twenty Second Annual Sessions of the Ceylon Association for the Advancement of Science on 24 December 1966)

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe apparently has decided not to resign although his Party, United National Party (UNP) has no faith in him. Meeting the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter the Most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera and Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter the Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera over the weekend Rajapakshe said he did not have any intention of resigning from the ministerial post just because some people made allegations against him on various issues.”

The time and place he decided to make this statement should come as no surprise because Rajapakshe has been courting the support of the Buddhist Monks when criticism was mounting, from his own Party, about his inaction when it came to taking action against those with allegations of corruption. I personally think it’s not a bad move because the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) Government has a habit of cowering before religious leaders.

Anyway as Rajapakshe told the Mahanayakes, it is up to the President to decide whether Rajapakshe should go and the question is whether President Sirisena decides, finally, to take a decisive action. As German jurist and political theorist Carl Schmitt would say President must ‘decide what the exception is and make the decisions appropriate to that exception.’

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Must Use His Powers Without Squeamishness and Get Rid of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.’ »

Pooja at Kathirgamam/Kataragama stopped as Basnayake Nilame and Kapuralas Over Custody of Key to Holy Shrine

By K. D. Devapriya

The ‘pooja’ at the historical Ruhuna Kataragama Devalaya was not held on Monday morning as the key to the devalaya had been taken away by Basnayaka Nilame D. P. Kumarage from a kapurala who was to perform the ritual.

Well informed sources said the incident had occurred due to a dispute between the Basnayake Nilame and the kapuralas.

Continue reading ‘Pooja at Kathirgamam/Kataragama stopped as Basnayake Nilame and Kapuralas Over Custody of Key to Holy Shrine’ »

UNP Working Committee Requests President to Remove Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe From Cabinet But No Response from Sirisena so far.

by Zacki Jabbar

The UNP Working Committee yesterday requested President Maithripala Sirisena to remove Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe from his ministerial positions as he had failed to show cause for violating collective Cabinet responsibility by publicly criticising the Hambantota Port Agreement with China after having endorsed it at a recent Cabinet meeting.

Political sources said that the request had been a sequel to UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s explanation to President Sirisena at an emergency meeting between the two late Monday night. The PM told the President that Wijeyadasa had not met the August 21 deadline given to him by the UNP, to explain his conduct.

Continue reading ‘UNP Working Committee Requests President to Remove Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe From Cabinet But No Response from Sirisena so far.’ »

President and Prime Minister Hold Urgent Late Night Meeting to Discuss Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Defiant Stand of Neither Apologizing Nor Resigning.

by Zacki Jabbar

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena had an emergency meeting last night following a government parlimentary group meeting at Temple Trees.

Government sources said some MPs had taken up the issue of Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe vilolating collective Cabinet responsibility by publicly criticising the Hambantota Port agreement with China.

Continue reading ‘President and Prime Minister Hold Urgent Late Night Meeting to Discuss Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Defiant Stand of Neither Apologizing Nor Resigning.’ »

New Inland Revenue Laws Favour Multi-nationals and Foreigners Charges Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa.


Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday, condemning the proposed new Inland Revenue Law, said that no SLFPer could vote for such a bill which would tax provident fund contributions, increase tax burden on the struggling public and impose taxes on places of worship.

Rajapaksa said, in a media statement, yesterday: “This new law is weighted against the local production, local entrepreneurship, local creativity and local people and favours multinationals and foreigners”.


Following is the text of a media release issued by ex-President Rajapaksa on the proposed new Inland Revenue Law:

A Bill to replace the Inland Revenue Act No: 10 of 2006, is to be taken up in Parliament on Friday the 25th August 2017. We oppose this Inland Revenue Bill for the following reasons.

1. Under Clause 5(2)(f) of the Bill, the employer’s contribution to a provident fund will be considered a part of an employee’s taxable income.

Continue reading ‘New Inland Revenue Laws Favour Multi-nationals and Foreigners Charges Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Govt Gazettes Establishment of a Missing Persons Office While Protecting Police and Military Personnel Responsible for Disappearances Crimes.

By Vijith Samarasinghe

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena last month signed a gazette to establish an Office on Missing Persons (OMP) so as to pretend to be delivering justice for the tens of thousands of people who disappeared during the country’s three-decade communal war and civil emergencies.

In reality, this is a desperate attempt by the government to paint itself in “democratic” colouring, while protecting and further arming the same police and military forces responsible for these crimes.
More than 20,000 people, mainly Tamils, went missing during the 26-year communal war that ended in May 2009. Tens of thousands of Sinhala youth also disappeared during the suppression of rural unrest in the 1988–1990 period. These people were abducted by the security forces or associated paramilitary death squads and killed.

After signing the gazette on July 20, Sirisena tweeted: “This marks another step forward in Sri Lanka’s path to sustained peace.” UN Secretary General António Guterres commended the government, saying the decision was “an important step for all Sri Lankans who are still looking for the truth about their loved ones.” Various media outlets and “civil society” quickly endorsed the government’s claim of a victory for democracy.

Referring to the OMP, the official leader of the parliamentary opposition, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sambandan, said he “wished the issue of the missing persons would be credibly dealt with to ensure relief for the families.”

Continue reading ‘Govt Gazettes Establishment of a Missing Persons Office While Protecting Police and Military Personnel Responsible for Disappearances Crimes.’ »

National Economic Council Could Hopefully Restore Balance of Political Power Between UNP and SLFP In Govt

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to set up a National Economic Council (NEC) which will become the apex body tasked to formulate and implement the government’s economic and development policy. The new venture is in part an attempt by the President to claw back some control of the economic policy, which was hitherto under the purview of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his economic advisers. However, the plus side is that it would inject a degree of certainty to the government’s policy and mitigate the effects of the obstructionist tactics resorted to by the SLFP partner in the yahapalana government.

What has left the government dilly dallying on many of the major development projects is not so much the opposition by the joint opposition, but obstructionism by the government’s own junior partner, the SLFP, whose opposition is neither principled nor fact-driven. Rather, it is driven by calculated political opportunism. It is also an overt pretest by the SLFP members against the UNP which had sidelined them in the decision-making process and thus depriving them of perks generally associated with being part of the government.

The dissenting SLFP MPs and ministers are not exactly interested in the pros and cons of the leasing of the Hambantota Port to the Chinese or the joint-venture with India to develop the Trincomalee Port. They are bitter about the fact that they cannot get government jobs and contracts for their henchmen. To rub it in, their counterparts in the UNP are filling government jobs with their stooges. This unfair status quo which is a life and death matter in their re-election prospects is dissuading the SLFP junior partner from wholeheartedly supporting any government decision.

Continue reading ‘National Economic Council Could Hopefully Restore Balance of Political Power Between UNP and SLFP In Govt’ »

Security Called in as Over 50 Disappointed Fans shout and Hoot at Lankan Cricket Team After 9 wicket Defeat in Dambulla.

Disappointed fans in Dambulla held up the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus on Sunday evening after hosts suffered a humiliating nine wicket defeat in the five-match ODI series.

Fans have been losing their patience with the national team, especially after the team lost the Test series 3-0 and showed little signs of improvement in the limited-overs contest.

Around 50 fans shouted slogans and booed the local players forcing security personnel to step in. The players were held up for about 30 minutes, according to reports.

The Sri Lankan cricket team seems to be in complete disarray what with coach Nic Pothas unhappy with external interference in team matters.

Continue reading ‘Security Called in as Over 50 Disappointed Fans shout and Hoot at Lankan Cricket Team After 9 wicket Defeat in Dambulla.’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Controversial Ruling on Lesbianism When he Was Head of the Sri Lanka Press Council


By The “Economy Next” Political Correspondent

Sri Lanka’s Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is no stranger to controversy. His May 2000 ruling as the head of the quasi legal Press Council should have been reason enough to keep him out of the current cabinet, but the Prime Minister appears to have thought otherwise.

It is unclear if Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was aware of the landmark decision of Rajapakshe which could be considered a 21st century disgrace to the country.

In deciding on a complaint filed by a gay rights activist against the Island newspaper, Rajapaksh ruled that lesbianism equals sadism and did not think there was anything wrong in calling convicted sexual offenders to “cure” lesbians of their “illness” by raping them.

Hate mail against women who love women had been published by the newspaper in good faith, Rajapakshe ruled. In a bizarre turn of events, he said the male activist who brought the action against the newspaper should be fined 2,100 rupees.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Controversial Ruling on Lesbianism When he Was Head of the Sri Lanka Press Council’ »

UNP-SLFP Coalition Govt in Total Confusion and Disarray After Two Years

By

P K Balachandran

It’s been two years since two of Sri Lanka’s largest political groupings – the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – signed a MoU to cohabit in the government for two years to give “Good Governance” in place of the nine-year corruption and violence-ridden rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

At the end of the stipulated period of the alliance, a rough audit will show that the coalition government has much to its credit, though from the electoral prospects point of view, it leaves much to be desired, given the hype surrounding its advent to power and the hyperbolic promises it had made at election time.

By all accounts, the coalition will survive beyond the stipulated two years, if only to keep the common rival, Rajapaksa, away from power. But the government is in sixes and sevens. The regime as a whole, as well as the two main parties in it, are torn by internal contradictions which have, many times, threatened the coalition.

Continue reading ‘UNP-SLFP Coalition Govt in Total Confusion and Disarray After Two Years’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Says he Wont Resign as Cabinet Minister and Wants President Sirisena to Take Decision

By
L.B.Senarathna and J.A.L.Jayasinghe

Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said the he did not have any intention of resigning from the Ministerial post just because some people made allegations against him on various issues.

Speaking to journalists after meeting the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter the Most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera and Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter the Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera, he said that he had responded to all the allegations levelled against him

Explaining what happened at the UNP Working Committee meeting last week where he was said o have been criticised by many Ministers, Mr. Rajapakshe told the Asgiriya Prelate that many people behaved and shouted for about two hours compelling him to wonder whether this was the political party founded by the late Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Says he Wont Resign as Cabinet Minister and Wants President Sirisena to Take Decision’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Wants Buddhist Monks to Lead Campaign for Political Change as Sirisena led Govt Has Failed the Nation.

by Amal Jayasinghe

Embattled Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe criticised President Maithripala Sirisena’s coalition government yesterday saying it had failed the nation and urged Buddhists monks to lead a campaign for political change.

Rajapakshe, who faces possible expulsion from the cabinet, took Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne head on accusing him of interfering in the affairs of the justice ministry and took thinly veiled swipes at Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too.

Speaking at a public meeting at Rambawe in the Anuradhapura district, the Justice Minister said his cabinet colleague Senaratne was not worried about the spread of chronic kidney disease and dengue and instead poked his nose in the affairs of others.

.”Even if everyone in the country is affected by kidney failure and everyone dies of dengue, our health minister has more important things to worry about, such as the AG’s department and the justice system…,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Wants Buddhist Monks to Lead Campaign for Political Change as Sirisena led Govt Has Failed the Nation.’ »

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Wont Apologize or Resign But Will Fight Back in Defiant Mood.

By the “Sunday Times”Political Editor

The snowballing effect of President Sirisena’s remarks at a Cabinet meeting last month that the UNP leadership stalled high profile cases involving the former President, members of his family and associates continues to reverberate. There appears to have been considerable soul searching by the party hierarchy over those responsible and what form of action should be initiated against them.

It is in this backdrop that a group of UNP back-benchers supported by seniors collected signatures for a Vote of No-Confidence in Parliament on Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. It was not only over his remarks against the Hambantota Port project with the Chinese, which he vowed to take back one day, but also covered other reasons.

As revealed in these columns last week, Premier Wickremesinghe persuaded those sponsoring the Vote of No Confidence not to proceed. He said that it required approval of the Working Committee and himself as the leader of the party.

When the Working Committee, the main policy making body of the party, and the Parliamentary Group met at a joint session at UNP headquarters Sirikotha on Thursday morning, moves against Rajapakshe dominated the discussion.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Wont Apologize or Resign But Will Fight Back in Defiant Mood.’ »

Tilak Marapana Needs to Be Briefed on Jurisprudence Regarding “Torture”Prohibited by Article 11 of Constitution.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

That Sri Lanka’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs has chosen to flippantly wave aside the stupefying conduct of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in grabbing an employee by the collar, threateningly raising a hand and berating him, is unfortunate to say the least.


Not reflective of the law

The IGP’s fury had been occasioned by the failure of a hapless lift operator to participate in compulsory meditation sessions ordered by him. Judging from the video footage, it is the IGP who seems to need supervised and strictly enforced intensive meditation, not his helpless employees. I will return to that salutary point later.

But when questioned on this incident, the new Minister is reported to have said days into assuming his new post, to quote, “torture is something that will severely injure a person….but (this) was a person abusing a person; you can’t equate it to torture” (Economy Next, August 19th 2017). If these remarks are correctly attributable to him, the Minister (himself a lawyer of repute at a point) is in need of a summary brief on the jurisprudence regarding ‘torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ prohibited by Article 11 of the Constitution. This claim is quite contrary to the weight of precedent on the matter.

Continue reading ‘Tilak Marapana Needs to Be Briefed on Jurisprudence Regarding “Torture”Prohibited by Article 11 of Constitution.’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Has the Unstinted Support of the SLFP,Joint Opposition and Buddhist Establishment.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

It was evident from the time the present government came into power that the UNP as a collective entity was not in its proper senses. In 2001, when much the same individuals in the UNP came into power, they were a stabilising force which doused the flames that had been ignited by Chandrika Kumaratunga in during her blighted seven years in power from 1994 to 2001. At that time, it was the UNP that put an end to the cycle of political reprisals and revenge taking between the UNP and the SLFP and also nursed the devastated economy back to some degree of stability after CBK had run it to the ground. After 2015 however, the old cycle of persecution and reprisals that we thought we had seen the last of after 2001 has resumed with a vengeance under the very UNP that put a temporary stop to it in 2001. We have to assume that the UNP which was a sane and stabilising force in 2001 has taken leave of their senses after 2015.

The clearest sign of this was the stormy joint session of the UNP working committee and the parliamentary group last Thursday which was held to discuss the conduct of Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe. It had been akin to a feeding frenzy – no less, with virtually every one who spoke, tearing into Rajapakshe and no one rising to his defence. There was no let up even in the ‘voice cuts’ given by UNP Ministers and parliamentarians after the meeting. They were all out for Minister Rajapakshe’s blood and wanted him out of the Justice Minister’s job. The events that took place in this Joint session of the UNP working committee and parliamentary group was best summed up by SLFP deputy minister Nimal Lanza who used the phrase ‘gon relak’ (herd of bovines) to describe those baying for Rajapakshe’s blood. And indeed that was the most appropriate way to describe the collective conduct of today’s UNP.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Has the Unstinted Support of the SLFP,Joint Opposition and Buddhist Establishment.’ »

“Abusing a Person Cant be Equated with Torture” Says new Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana In Defence of IGP Jayasundara.


Sri Lanka’s new Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana assumed office Friday defending embattled police chief Pujith Jayasundara who was enraged after an employee failed to participate in a mandatory meditation session.

Marapana dismissed the leaked video which showed police chief shaking a lift operator by the collar and making threatening gestures because he had not meditated for 15 minutes before starting work at headquarters.

“I don’t consider it torture,” Marapana said when asked by a reporter if Jayasundara’s behaviour would strengthen allegations of rights groups that police routinely practice torture on suspects in custody.

“Torture is something that will severely injure a person,” He said adding that what was seen on the video was “a person abusing a person. You can’t equate it to torture.”

Continue reading ‘“Abusing a Person Cant be Equated with Torture” Says new Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana In Defence of IGP Jayasundara.’ »

Pressure Mounts Within UNP To Expel Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Who is Accused of Being Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Mole in the Cabinet


Forcing Foreign minister Ravi Karunanayake to step down avoided a showdown between the President and the Prime Minister, but the duo faces more challenges as their listless coalition looks for direction.

President Maithripala Sirisena had his way when Karunanayake was forced out after he was linked to controversial bond trader Arjun Aloysius, but the troubles have only escalated to a new level within the coalition.

A source close to the President said he was keen to sack Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha since mid last year when civil society organisations told him that he was blocking prosecutions of members of the former regime.

Good governance activists had wanted the justice minister as well as the head of military intelligence Tuan Suresh Sallay removed, but only Sally was sacked as the Prime Minister defended his justice minister.

With Karunanayake’s removal, pressure was mounting from within the United National Party, the senior partner in the coalition, to expel the justice minister who is accused of being Mahinda Rajapaksa’s mole in the cabinet.

Continue reading ‘Pressure Mounts Within UNP To Expel Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Who is Accused of Being Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Mole in the Cabinet’ »

New Navy Commander Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah Becomes 2nd Tamil Navy Chief After Rajan Kadirgamar Retired in 1970.

After a gap of 47 years, Sri Lanka on Friday appointed a Tamil as the Commander of its navy.

Rear Admiral Travis Jeremy Liyanduru Sinniah, who was made navy chief by President Maithripala Sirisena, is the second Tamil to head the country’s navy after Rear Admiral Rajanathan “Rajan” Kadirgamar who served between 1960 and 70.

Hailing Adm.Sinniah’s appointment, President Sirisena tweeted saying that he had served the Sri Lankan navy “with immense loyalty for many decades.”

True enough, because both Adm.Kadirgamar and Adm. Sinniah had stood by the state like a rock when the country was undergoing political turbulence.

Continue reading ‘New Navy Commander Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah Becomes 2nd Tamil Navy Chief After Rajan Kadirgamar Retired in 1970.’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Is Being Targeted By UNP to Undermine the A-G Dept and Cripple the Treasury Bond Inquiry


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The Working Committee and the Parliamentary Group of the UNP disgracefully passed a unanimous vote of no-confidence against Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana, Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, which said more about those two UNP entities than about Wijeyadasa—and none of it good. The real reason, or should I say, the main reason out of the set of real reasons, for the UNP-NGO lynch mob against Wijayadasa Rajapakshe is not the need to expedite justice and to catch crooks. The main reason that Rajapakshe is being targeted is to shoot through him or get him out of the way and hit the real target. That real target is the Attorney-General’s Department.

Why so? Because the UNP leadership is trying to head-off a Watergate outcome. More specifically, because the officials of the AG’s Department are courageously and independently inquiring into the Bond Scam and the UNP does not want the inquiry to go beyond and above Ravi Karunanayaka, Arjuna Aloysious and Arjuna Mahendran. It doesn’t even want the Commission to really go for Arjuna Mahendran. It hopes to save him in the nick of time. But above all it does not want the Commission to inquire into the chain of command that brought Mahendran the Singaporean here, installed him as nothing less than the head of the Central Bank and gave him the patronage to do what he did.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Is Being Targeted By UNP to Undermine the A-G Dept and Cripple the Treasury Bond Inquiry’ »

“Yamapalana”Propaganda Offensive Against Me, My Family and Opposition” Alleges Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied government claims that a range of properties belonging to the Rajapaksa family estimated to be worth Rs. 5 bn had been seized. The former President said that there was absolutely no basis for this claim.

The Office of the former President has issued the following statement yesterday:

“Three members of my family – my wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa and our younger sons Yoshitha and Rohitha were questioned by the CID and FCID this week. My wife was asked why the colour of a jeep that had been
made available by the Red Cross to her charity Siriliya Saviya in 2011 and used by the Presidential Secretariat had been changed. International NGOs make their vehicles available to local charities once their projects are over.

My wife had told the CID that she knows nothing about the maintenance or repair of vehicles used by the Presidential Secretariat. On Wednesday, the CID obtained a statement from my son Yoshitha on the same matter. He had been asked whether he had given instructions to anyone to change the colour of this vehicle. To this Yoshitha had replied in the negative and explained that the transport division of the presidential secretariat maintains the vehicles and gets them painted if necessary. He had been asked whether he had used this jeep as his back up vehicle to which he had replied that it is the PSD that assigns any available vehicle for his back up team and that he had no role in the matter.

“For the first time, my youngest son Rohitha was also hauled before the FCID on Tuesday. He was asked whether he was a shareholder of ‘Supreme Sat’ which was the first Sri Lankan company to be involved in the launch of a communications satellite.

Continue reading ‘“Yamapalana”Propaganda Offensive Against Me, My Family and Opposition” Alleges Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to Appoint Party Committee to Determine Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Future in the Cabinet.

By Akitha Perera

The UNP yesterday resolved to appoint a committee to decide whether Buddha Sasana and Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe should be allowed to remain in the Cabinet or not.

The decision had been taken at a combined meeting of the UNP Working Committee (WC) and parliamentary group at Sirikotha with its leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presiding, party Spokesman Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told The Island.

Minister Rajapakshe came under heavy fire from the ministers and other MPs over comments the latter had allegedly made on the controversial Hambantota port deal.

Minister Kariyawasam said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe would soon appoint the committee.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to Appoint Party Committee to Determine Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Future in the Cabinet.’ »

UNP Parliamentary Group Calls for Resignation of Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

Following severe criticism levelled against Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe at yesterday’s UNP Central Committee and Parliamentary Group meeting, the party will attempt to resolve the ensuing standoff on Monday.

Minister Rajapakshe is expected to meet Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in the coming days and make a final decision by Monday, sources within the UNP told Daily FT.

Rajapakshe is also expected to make a statement on the issue on Monday, sources said.

Criticising Rajapakshe, the UNP Parliamentary Group called for the Justice Minister’s resignation.

Continue reading ‘UNP Parliamentary Group Calls for Resignation of Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.’ »

UNP Working Committee Passes 5 Point Resolution of No Confidence in Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

The United National Party (UNP) Working Committee and Parliamentary group yesterday unanimously adopted a no-confidence Resolution against Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeydasa Rajapakshe.

The five-point resolution submitted by parliamentarian Ashu Marasinghe contained the following allegations against Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe:

Continue reading ‘UNP Working Committee Passes 5 Point Resolution of No Confidence in Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Make Special Statement in Parliament on Aug 21st to “Explain” His Earlier Statements.

By Yohan Perera

Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who was at the centre of controversy after being accused of violating the collective responsibility of the Cabinet by some of his colleagues, is to make a special statement on Monday, UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim told journalists today.

Minister Hashim told journalists that Mr. Rajapakshe assured the party’s working committee and the parliamentary group that he will make a statement on Monday on the true situation regarding the statements he made earlier.

He said Mr. Rajapakshe is also expected to meet Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe shortly before making the public statement. Further, Mr. Hashim said the government will also take some important steps especially with regard to collective responsibility of the ministers.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Make Special Statement in Parliament on Aug 21st to “Explain” His Earlier Statements.’ »

Caste Based Apartheid Segregates Crematoriums For “Upper” and “Lower” Castes in Jaffna

By

M. Sooriasegaram

Caste system is still practiced in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Contrary to popular view propagated by the ruling caste that caste is a thing of the past, it is a living cancer within the Tamil community. The upper caste community is the ruling caste in this province. All other castes have been historically discriminated and downtrodden in a wide variety of ways – socially and economically and in many other ways, examples of which are far too many to be listed here.

The main Tamil political parties (Ceylon Tamil Congress, Federal Party and the TULF) unashamedly practiced or promoted or at best remained silent on the marginalisation and oppression of the lower caste communities and prevented them from improving their life chances. They are discriminated in access to land, education, employment and crematoriums. They are driven to live as social outcasts.

Their political representation in the country’s Parliament, Provincial Councils and other local government bodies is almost zero in spite of the fact they represent over 40% of the population in the NP. They are effectively disenfranchised.

Historically they have been kept out of temples, places of eating such as restaurants (serving tea and food took place in separate low quality designated vessels in a very humiliating manner). They were treated as sub-human. Through persistent struggles against the upper caste onslaught by these communities lead by Trade Union and Communist Party leader Shanmugathasan and other intelectual leaders they managed to win their right to enter into temples and worship side by side with the upper caste community.

Tamil Congress, Federal Party and the TULF never supported such emancipatory freedom struggles of the oppressed people either in the past or even today. They always took the side of the oppressors.

Continue reading ‘Caste Based Apartheid Segregates Crematoriums For “Upper” and “Lower” Castes in Jaffna’ »

Enraged IGP Pujitha Jayasundara Collars and Threatens Lift Operator for not Attending Meditation Session at Police Dept.

Sri Lanka’s police chief has triggered calls for his resignation after footage emerged showing him assaulting an employee who refused to participate in mandatory morning meditation sessions.

The leaked CCTV video showed Inspector-General Pujith Jayasundara grabbing a lift operator by the collar and making threatening gestures after he did not join the regulation “mindfulness meditation” at police headquarters.

Jayasundara had already raised eyebrows in February when he made daily meditation mandatory for the 85,000 officers and staff under his command. Work at all stations halted for 15 minutes every day because of the practice.

Continue reading ‘Enraged IGP Pujitha Jayasundara Collars and Threatens Lift Operator for not Attending Meditation Session at Police Dept.’ »

Forced Resignation of Ravi Karunanayake was a Desperate Attempt By Maithri-Ranil Regime To Cling On to Power.

By

W.A. Sunil

The forced resignation of Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake last week is a clear sign of the intensifying political crisis facing the government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The immediate reason for Karunanayake’s resignation was to avoid a no-confidence motion presented to the parliamentary speaker by the self-named joint opposition—a group of MPs led by former President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Karunanayake was swept up in a corruption scandal last week after it was revealed that he had financial dealings with the main accused in a Central Bank bond scam, involving several billion rupees and under investigation by an ongoing Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

The joint opposition, which is a dissident faction of Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), saw Karunanakaye’s alleged involvement in the scandal as another opportunity to exploit growing popular discontent with the government. Many MPs from Sirisena’s faction of the SLFP had indicated their intention to vote for the no-confidence motion, compounding the government’s crisis.

Continue reading ‘Forced Resignation of Ravi Karunanayake was a Desperate Attempt By Maithri-Ranil Regime To Cling On to Power.’ »

Govt To Establish More High Courts To Expedite Hearing of Corruption Cases Against Rajapaksa Regime Through Trials at Bar

by Zacki Jabbar

The government has decided to increase the number of High Courts with some of them functioning as trials-at-bar since more than 43 criminal cases against some members of former President Mahinda Rajapaksas family and his regime were stuck at the Attorney General’s Department for nearly two years.

Addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing at the Information Department yesterdy, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that trials-at-bar could sit on a daily basis and hear a minimum of two cases a day, which would help clear the backlog of cases to a great extent.

Continue reading ‘Govt To Establish More High Courts To Expedite Hearing of Corruption Cases Against Rajapaksa Regime Through Trials at Bar’ »

Yoshitha Rajapaksa Faces CID Inquiry “Siriliya Saviya”Jeep Used In Ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen’s Murder.


Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second son Yoshitha Rajapaksa appeared before the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Police this morning.

He will be asked to make a statement relating to a jeep belonging to the ‘Siriliya Saviya’ Foundation suspected to have been used in the abduction and murder of Wasim Thajudeen.

Continue reading ‘Yoshitha Rajapaksa Faces CID Inquiry “Siriliya Saviya”Jeep Used In Ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen’s Murder.’ »

Rohitha Rajapaksa Questioned By FCID About Singapore Investor Funding China Built Supreme SAT Satellite Project.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s youngest son, Rohitha Rajapaksa yesterday said a satellite stationed in the sky cannot be viewed with a magnifying glass – as suggested by some government ministers.

He made these remarks while speaking to media after giving a statement to the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID).

Rajapaksa was questioned today by the FCID over the Supreme SAT satellite project of which Rajapaksa was the chief engineer.

Continue reading ‘Rohitha Rajapaksa Questioned By FCID About Singapore Investor Funding China Built Supreme SAT Satellite Project.’ »

Is Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Trying to be the New Leader of Lanka’s Sinhala Buddhist Nationalists?

By
P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lanka’s Minister for Justice and Buddha Sasana, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, appears to be making a bid to capture the island’s core political constituency – the Sinhala Buddhist-Nationalist constituency – in the absence of credible senior claimants..

The constituency was well served by Mahinda Rajapaksa until he messed up his political career by a variety of indiscretions in the last part of his two-term stint as President of Sri Lanka.

However, even now, Rajapaksa’s prospects for a comeback in 2020 look bright, given the political confusion in, and the lackluster performance of, the coalition government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

But popular though Rajapaksa may be, there is a bar against his becoming President now. The 19 th. constitutional amendment of 2015 had put a two term cap on Presidents and Rajapaksa has served two terms.

Therefore, even if his group captures power, Rajapaksa can, at best, only be a Sonia Gandhi, remaining in the background and functioning through remote control.

His political prospects are also marred by the numerous and apparently credible corruption and even criminal charges against him, his family and cohorts, which are being investigated by several agencies.

Continue reading ‘Is Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Trying to be the New Leader of Lanka’s Sinhala Buddhist Nationalists?’ »

Shiranthi Escorted by Mahinda Questioned by CID Over Rugby Star Thajudeen’s Murder Amidst Protests Alleging Political witchhunt.

Sri Lanka’s former first lady, Shiranthi Rajapakse was questioned by the Criminal Investigations Department on Tuesday over the murder of a former national rugby player.

Shiranthi, was escorted into the CID by her husband and former President Mahinda Rajapakse after she was summoned to provide a statement.

Continue reading ‘Shiranthi Escorted by Mahinda Questioned by CID Over Rugby Star Thajudeen’s Murder Amidst Protests Alleging Political witchhunt.’ »

Maithri-Ranil Govt is Fissuring as well as Going Gaga in a Politically Suicidal Way.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The weekly evidence of the unprecedentedly dependent, servile character of the Yahapalana administration came in the form of a report in the prestigious Hindu by its smart, Colombo based correspondent Meera Srinivasan. Captioned ‘India keen to run Sri Lanka airport’, it says:

“India has expressed interest to operate Sri Lanka’s second international airport situated in Mattala, about 40 km from the southern town of Hambantota, where China has a majority stake in a strategic port it built. The Sri Lankan govt earlier this week cleared Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva’s request for a committee to study the Indian government’s proposal. India proposes to “operate, manage, maintain and develop” the airport through a joint venture, holding 70% of the equity for 40 years…” (The Hindu, August 12th 2017)

Not even during the period of the IPKF did our huge neighbour, which has Tamil Nadu as a significant shareholder, get to “run” a Sri Lankan airport deep in the interior of the country, in the Sinhala heartland. Nor did any Ceylonese/Sri Lankan govt ever think of giving India a 70% share for 40 years in any venture as strategic as an airport.

This is in addition to the two stories in the sister paper of the Daily Mirror, which says that the Survey Department which is over a century old, is to be virtually handed over to a US firm named Trimble so as to work on an island-wide Land Registry, while the country’s labour laws are to be revised under the guidance and with the financial assistance of the USAID.

If this doesn’t add up to a project of re-colonization or neo-colonization, then what does?

Continue reading ‘Maithri-Ranil Govt is Fissuring as well as Going Gaga in a Politically Suicidal Way.’ »

President Sirisena Calls For and Obtains Resignation of Sri Lanka’s Information Technology Chief Muhunthan Canagey.

Sri Lanka’s information technology chief, Muhunthan Canagey said he was forced to resign Monday following a public criticism of spectrum award said to have been made to a business group which operates a radio and TV network.

Canagey alleged that the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka which is directly under President Maithripala Sirisena had given a block of 700MegaHertz spectrum to Colombo-based Maharaja group, causing a loss of over three billion to the state.

“Till today’s MTV (Maharaja TV) has failed to tell the public how they got the spectrum and causing a loss to the state of Rs. 3 billion,” Canagey said in a tweet at the end of last month.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Calls For and Obtains Resignation of Sri Lanka’s Information Technology Chief Muhunthan Canagey.’ »

Majority of Cabinet Ministers Want Legal Action to be Taken Without Delay Against Rajapaksa Family and Ex-Ministers in JO.

By
Sirimantha Ratnasekera and Priyadarshana Liyanage

The Cabinet of ministers, at its meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday, had taken up what some members described as inordinate delay in taking action against the Rajapaksa family and ministers of the previous government.

Political sources said that several ministers had strongly criticised the delay and veteran UNPer Gamini Jayawickrema Perera had stressed the need to handle the cases through the existing court system if the Constitution didn’t permit the setting up of a special court to hear high profile corruption and criminal cases.

Sources said that the majority of ministers including Tilak Marapana, Patali Champika Ranawaka and Sagala Ratnayake supported that view.

Continue reading ‘Majority of Cabinet Ministers Want Legal Action to be Taken Without Delay Against Rajapaksa Family and Ex-Ministers in JO.’ »

Only Relevant Witnesses Are Being Summoned Emphasises Presidential Commission of Inquiry in Statement.

By Sham Nuwan Ganewatta

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Central Bank-Perpetual Treasuries bond scams yesterday stressed that it wouldn’t be influenced by statements made by various persons regarding evidence given before it and also suggestions in respect of those whom they believed should be summoned.

The PCoI comprises Supreme Court Judges K. T. Chitrasiri and Prasanna Sujeewa Jayawardena and former senior Deputy Auditor General Kandasamy Velupillai

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the PCoI.

Continue reading ‘Only Relevant Witnesses Are Being Summoned Emphasises Presidential Commission of Inquiry in Statement.’ »

Development assignments Minister Tilak Marapana Sworn in as Foreign Affairs Minister .

Tilak Janaka Marapana, Minister of Development Assignments, was sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister on Tuesday in place of Ravi Karunanayake who had resigned last week.

Karunanayake had resigned on account of his controversial financial dealings with stock broker Arjun Aloysisus, a principal figure in the 2015 Central Bank bonds scam.

Marapana is a loyalist of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and is expected to carry out the policies of the Prime Minister in letter and spirit, political sources said.

Continue reading ‘Development assignments Minister Tilak Marapana Sworn in as Foreign Affairs Minister .’ »

Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Afflicted by Chronic Disunity,Policy Contradictions and Inability to Fulfill Election Promises.


By

P.K.Balachandran

Two years into its five year term, Sri Lanka’s coalition government led by President Maithipala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is afflicted by chronic disunity; contradictions in domestic and foreign policies; and a marked inability to fulfill election promises.

Given its multifarious dilemmas and the inaction these have led to, it is no wonder that the government, which came into power in January 2015 promising “Yahapalanaya” or “Good Governance”, is reluctant to hold provincial and local bodies elections.

Dithering over Karunanayake

After much dilly dallying, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe persuaded his party man and Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake to resign from the Council of Ministers following exposure of his controversial financial dealings with Arjun Aloysius, a central figure in the multi-billion rupee Central Bank bonds scam, when he was Finance Minister in 2015.

But almost immediately after Karunanayake resigned, it became apparent that a section of the United National Party (UNP) led by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe himself, is making efforts to re-instate him in the Foreign Ministry when the dust settles down. It is rumored that whoever becomes Foreign Minister, whether it is Tilak Marapana or Sagala Ratnayake, will only be a temporary tenant at the Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Afflicted by Chronic Disunity,Policy Contradictions and Inability to Fulfill Election Promises.’ »

Marapana Reluctant To be Foreign Minister With the Condition that Karunanayake’s Personal Staff Should be Retained at Foreign Affairs Ministry.


Minister Tilak Marapama, who is chosen to be the new Foreign Minister, is reluctant to take oaths in the position as his predecessor Ravi Karunanayake’s personal staff is still at the ministry, informed government sources said.


Aside from the personal staff, Karunanayake, who stepped down from the position last week, is still using ministry vehicle and other facilities he enjoyed as a Cabinet minister, they added.

Continue reading ‘Marapana Reluctant To be Foreign Minister With the Condition that Karunanayake’s Personal Staff Should be Retained at Foreign Affairs Ministry.’ »

UNP Gen Secy Kabir Hashim Wants President Sirisena to Decide Upon Course of Action Against Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

By Chathuri Dissanayake

UNP yesterday called on President Maithripala Sirisena to take action on Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe who has compromised “collective responsibility” of the Cabinet.

Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe has been under fire for a number of controversial statements he made on Government’s move to lease Hambantota Port, leading to a number of UNP Ministers threaten him with No Confidence Motion.

UNP General Secretary, Kabir Hashim however said, that the Party has no stance on moving a no confidence motion on Rajapakshe, a member of the same party.

Instead the Minister Hashim called upon the President to take a decision on the defamed Justice Minister for his resent behavior.

Continue reading ‘UNP Gen Secy Kabir Hashim Wants President Sirisena to Decide Upon Course of Action Against Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’ »

“The Sunday Leader” Newspaper Taken Over By Ravi Karunanayake Faces Financial Crisis After Arjun Aloysius Stops Assistance.

Sri Lanka’s once popular Sunday Leader newspaper which gained popularity under slain Editor Lasantha Wickremetunga is now facing a severe financial crisis, with staff forced to go without salaries for months.

Sources attached to the newspaper alleged that the paper was facing a financial crisis as a result of mismanagement by officials appointed by former Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

Sources said that the newspaper did not go to print last Sunday (August 6) as funds were not allocated to purchase newsprint to print the paper.

However, following a last minute attempts, funds were received to publish the newspaper on August 13.

Continue reading ‘“The Sunday Leader” Newspaper Taken Over By Ravi Karunanayake Faces Financial Crisis After Arjun Aloysius Stops Assistance.’ »

President Sirisena To Intensify “Legal Crackdown” on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Members of his Family.

(Excerpts from the “Sunday Times” Political Column of August 13th 2017)

“President Sirisena, who declared he would heed their request made a disclosure that became the talking point among those present at the CC meeting. He noted ‘Joint Opposition’ members were jubilant over the events related to Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s resignation. He warned that their euphoria would be short lived. Speaking in Sinhala, he said, “I know what is going to happen to them by next week.”

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena To Intensify “Legal Crackdown” on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Members of his Family.’ »

Sri Lanka Born Krish Vignarajah Enters US Maryland State Governor Race saying ” The Best Man For the Job is a Woman”.

Sri Lankan born Krish Vignarajah, a former Obama official, is entering the race for governor of Maryland. An official campaign kick-off and announcement is scheduled for September 19.

About her decision, Ms. Vignarajah said: “I am running for Governor because I am worried my daughter will not have the same opportunities that my mom gave me when she brought our family here when I was a baby girl. I hope Marylanders will agree the best man for the job is a woman.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Born Krish Vignarajah Enters US Maryland State Governor Race saying ” The Best Man For the Job is a Woman”.’ »

Will China Built Mattala Airport Management be Made a Joint Venture With India To Maintain “Balance”In Geo-political Relations?


By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

The Chinese started vying for Mattala Airport on seeing, both, then and the incumbent governments lament over the non-operation of the International Mattala Airport in the South. The Chinese built it and said it’s not their problem if Sri Lankans don’t make use of it.

However, the trend has changed with the internal politics routing the government for ‘selling’ national assets. Also the government is being webbed with geopolitics which describes that Mattala Airport cannot be given to the Chinese to manage when they have the Hambantota Port – fair enough!

The Indians have expressed their interest in managing the airport to make it a profitable business but as a joint venture so that they can share the ‘joy’ and the ‘blunder’ together.

If the Mattala Airport is given to India, this would be one of their biggest or next to Northern Railway project . Recently, the Indians also signed an agreement for USD 380 mn financial assistance to Sri Lanka Railways.

The Deputy Civil Aviation Minister Ashoka Abesingha told Ceylon Today that the debt incurring with the Mattala Airport is unbearable.

He laments that USD 252 million worth airport but generating only three million per month with one flight landing there. “The monthly instalment paid to China is USD 300 mnwhich means USD 3.6 bn annually. He also added that the expenditure incurring at the Mattala stands at Rs 25mn every month.

Continue reading ‘Will China Built Mattala Airport Management be Made a Joint Venture With India To Maintain “Balance”In Geo-political Relations?’ »