Former CID Director Shani Abeysekara SSP Interdicted With Immediate Effect and Travel Ban Imposed After Audio Clips Seized by Police From UNP Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake’s House Surface on Social Media


Former Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) SSP Shani Abeysekara has been interdicted with immediate effect, the National Police Commission said.

Abeysekara has reportedly been interdicted for causing disrepute to the police over a statement made in a leaked tele-conversation.

Several audio clips purportedly between former State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and state officials including officials of the CID have surfaced on social media following a raid at his house.

Continue reading ‘Former CID Director Shani Abeysekara SSP Interdicted With Immediate Effect and Travel Ban Imposed After Audio Clips Seized by Police From UNP Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake’s House Surface on Social Media’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Aims for Two-Thirds Majority in April Parliamentary Elections to Either Jettison or Drastically Prune Down the 19th Constitutional Amendment and Strenghen the Executive Presidency.


By P.K.Balachandran

The new President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is aiming at getting two-thirds majority in the April 2020 parliamentary elections to be able to bring about sweeping changes in the constitution to strengthen the Executive which was badly crippled by the 19 th.Amendment (19A) brought about by the previous regime.

Gotabaya is keen on either fully jettisoning the 19A or drastically pruning it to restore the powers of the directly elected Executive President.

The 19A, enacted in 2015 by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, had clipped the Executive President’s powers without commensurately increasing the powers of the Prime Minister and the parliament. The spheres or competences of the two centers of power over-lapped in many places causing confusion and conflict.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Aims for Two-Thirds Majority in April Parliamentary Elections to Either Jettison or Drastically Prune Down the 19th Constitutional Amendment and Strenghen the Executive Presidency.’ »

“Equal status of peoples belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures is not dependent on their respective numerical strength”Says TNA Spokesperon MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party on Tuesday urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa not to “regress into naked majoritarianism”, that in the past gave rise to a conflict, resulting in armed hostilities spanning over three decades.

Addressing Parliament, Jaffna district legislator and the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said the equal status of peoples belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures is not dependent on their respective numerical strength.

“This principle must be acknowledged if our democracy is to survive and indeed flourish, and not regress into naked majoritarianism. Regretfully, in his address to Parliament on 3rd January 2020, the President has articulated such a regressive position,” he said, intervening in the debate on Mr. Rajapaksa’s inaugural address.

Continue reading ‘“Equal status of peoples belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures is not dependent on their respective numerical strength”Says TNA Spokesperon MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament’ »

“Regretfully, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Has Articulated his Regressive Position of “Naked Majoritarianism” in his Address to Parliament on Jan 3rd” – M. A. Sumanthiran MP


(Text of Press Release Issued by the Tamil National Alliance Media Office Incorporating the Transcript of Speech made by Mr. M. A. Sumanthiran MP in Parliament on 07.01.2020)

Mr. Speaker,

The Statement on Government Policy as laid out by His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the 3rd of January 2020 is one that needs to be discussed very seriously as it signals an important paradigm shift from the general direction successive governments have pursued in the last three decades.

November 16th 2019 gave the President a decisive victory. But what is troubling about this big victory is that no community other than the majority Sinhala Buddhist people of this country were prepared to repose any confidence in him. I am not saying this to cast any aspersions on the President himself, but only in order to flag a very important factor that we cannot ignore if we are serious about national reconciliation and moving forward as a country. The test of popularity of a leader of a country is not whether his own people have confidence in him, but whether the other peoples are prepared to place their trust in him. Sadly, this was found wanting.

The President himself showed that he is conscious of this fact, in the two comments he made after his victory. His Excellency spelt this out at his oath taking ceremony at Ruwanwelisaya when he acknowledged this fact but very correctly added that he is President for the whole country – even of those who did not vote for him. We expected His Excellency to take steps to breach this gap by recognizing that our country is rich in diversity with people of different races, religions, languages and cultures.

The equal status of each of these peoples is not dependent on their respective numerical strength. This principle must be acknowledged if our democracy is to survive and indeed flourish, and not regress into naked majoritarianism.

Regretfully, in his address to Parliament on 3rd January 2020 the President has articulated such a regressive position. It was this kind of regressive mindset on the part of the leaders of this country that gave rise to a conflict which resulted in armed hostilities that raged for more than three decades.

Continue reading ‘“Regretfully, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Has Articulated his Regressive Position of “Naked Majoritarianism” in his Address to Parliament on Jan 3rd” – M. A. Sumanthiran MP’ »

Gota Should Wake up and fight his Economic war to a Conclusion as he did in the Case of his Other Wars

By

W.A. Wijewardena


The sick economy

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa – now fondly called Gota by everyone – inherited an underperforming economy. It was just like the economy which the previous administration had inherited from his brother some five years ago. As I had presented in this column repeatedly, the economy was turning from bad to worse since around 2013 and it was the job of the previous administration to put it on the right growth path. They were successful somewhat in constitutional reforms, but regarding the economy, their performance record had been far from the desired. Hence, the economy today is characterised by sad stories all around. Gota’s immediate challenge has been to convert them into pleasant and promising stories.

What are those sad stories that confront him?

Continue reading ‘Gota Should Wake up and fight his Economic war to a Conclusion as he did in the Case of his Other Wars’ »

Sajith Premadasa says all UNP Parliamentarians are Committed to give the top most Priority to the Security of the Sinhala Buddhist Motherland, while Protecting all Minority Communities


Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa says the United National Party will move forward with a new vision and a new outlook.

Participating in an event in Galle over the weekend, the Opposition Leader said the Office of the Leader of the Opposition will be transformed into a helpful and people-friendly institution, which will listen to the grievances of the people who are faced with injustice and provide relief.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa says all UNP Parliamentarians are Committed to give the top most Priority to the Security of the Sinhala Buddhist Motherland, while Protecting all Minority Communities’ »

UNP Gampaha Dist MP Ranjan Ramanayake Arrested for Possessing Pistol Without Renewing License After Police Search His Madiwela Residence For Material Allegedly Embarassing Govt;Cops Seize Laptop, CD’s, DVD’s, Master Copy of “Navariyan”Film and a File on Murder of Ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen


Police last night arrested United National Party Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake for possession of an unlicensed pistol, after they conducted an extensive search of his official residence at the Madiwela Housing Complex.

Issuing a statement last night, Police Headquarters said that officers had also found 127 rounds of 9mm ammunition used for the pistol as well as several “suspicious documents” from the MP’s residence.

Colombo South Crime Investigation Division officers conducted the search after obtaining a warrant from the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court.

Continue reading ‘UNP Gampaha Dist MP Ranjan Ramanayake Arrested for Possessing Pistol Without Renewing License After Police Search His Madiwela Residence For Material Allegedly Embarassing Govt;Cops Seize Laptop, CD’s, DVD’s, Master Copy of “Navariyan”Film and a File on Murder of Ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Private Members Bill Seeking to Restore Presidential Powers to Monarchical Status Obscures an Insidiously Dangerous Hidden Purpose of Making Appointments to the Higher Judiciary a Nakedly Political Process

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Duplicitous politicians who engage in constitutional games to hoodwink the public must be clearly exposed for the truly shameful creatures that they are.

Chopping and changing the primary text

Constitution-making in Sri Lanka has generally been instrumental. Amendments to the nation’s primary text are driven by obvious political agendas. There are rare exceptions like the 17th Amendment to the Constitution (2001) when political parties stripped themselves of power in order to de-politicise the governance process. It was here that the idea of independent constitutional commissions and the reining in of excessive presidential/parliamentary powers was born.

But the 17th Amendment had a short shelf life as the political establishment united as one in violently resisting dilution of powers. And to put the record straight, this was true of the ‘liberal’ United National Party (UNP) as well as of the very proponent of the 17th Amendment, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The first chink in this progressive amendment came when then President Chandrika Kumaratunga refused to appoint a retired Supreme Court judge as Chairman of the Elections Commission despite repeated recommendations of the Constitutional Council (CC). The CC, at the time, consisted of a majority of non-politicians unlike its defanged successor in the 19th Amendment. It refused to withdraw its nominee and insisted, albeit vainly, that the President must give reasons for failure to appoint.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Private Members Bill Seeking to Restore Presidential Powers to Monarchical Status Obscures an Insidiously Dangerous Hidden Purpose of Making Appointments to the Higher Judiciary a Nakedly Political Process’ »

A Beautiful Island Where The National Anthem Is Sung In Two Languages -1

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Jeyaraj’s Jottings

(Jeyaraj’s Jottings was a series of short articles written some time ago by me to be posted on my Blog. However due to pressure of work I discontinued the jottings for quite a while. With the advent of the year 2020 I have resumed posting “Jeyaraj’s Jottings”again on my Blog. This is the first part of the first post for the new year)

Once upon a time there was a Beautiful Island with wonderful people that was regarded as God’s own country. After gaining Independence from a colonial power, the modern nation with an ancient civilization adopted a national anthem of its own. The anthem was written in the language spoken by the majority of its inhabitants. It was also translated into the language widely spoken by three of its minority communities. While the song in the language of the majority received pride of place, provision was made for both versions of the anthem to be sung whenever or wherever necessary. The melody composed for the original was the same for the translated version also.

Both versions of the National anthem were sung or played in all parts of the country on appropriate occasions. When Independence day was observed the majority language version was sung at national level because it was the sole official language then. However, in regions where the minority language was spoken most, the version sung at district level was that of the minority language. Similarly, in schools where the medium of instruction was in the majority language ,
the national anthem was also sung in the same language.

Likewise schools where the minority language was the medium of instruction sang the national anthem in their language. In some places both versions were played one after the other. The anthem played at official functions at national level was in the language of the majority which had been enshrined as the country’s sole official language. This however did not deter the minority communities from singing the national anthem with patriotic fervour in their mother tongue on suitable occasions.

Continue reading ‘A Beautiful Island Where The National Anthem Is Sung In Two Languages -1’ »

Will Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Accept that Singing the National Anthem in a Minority Language and not the Main Official Language Would Build Reconciliation and Help Achieve National Unity?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

We are bang into the New Year. The new session of Parliament has been opened by the President. Parliamentary politics could move to a new swing, with a government not having a formal majority in the House. There is also another political tune at play – that of the National Anthem.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa acknowledged his victory with the votes of the Sinhala Buddhist majority in the country as he was sworn in at Anuradhapura, and did say he would act for the unity of the country. Not many weeks after this declaration of a commitment to unity we are again in the midst of yet another National Anthem debate.

The Minister handling the subject of Independence Day celebrations, Janaka Bandara Tennekoon, said it had been decided to ban the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil at the Independence celebrations this year. There is a strange twist to his thinking when he states to BBC that if the national anthem is sung in two languages, it would imply there were two races in Sri Lanka. He also states the decision to sing the anthem in Sinhala only is because the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people constituted one single race in Sri Lanka. He seems to be confused with nation and race, but that is the stuff of politics today. He adds that singing the national anthem twice would affect reconciliation, and also that in India the anthem is sung only in one language.

Continue reading ‘Will Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Accept that Singing the National Anthem in a Minority Language and not the Main Official Language Would Build Reconciliation and Help Achieve National Unity?’ »

“I Pledge that During my Term of Office, I will Always Defend the Unitary Status of our Country, and Protect and Nurture the Buddha Sasana Whilst Safeguarding the Right of all Citizens to Practice a Religion of Their Choice” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

(The policy statement made by His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the inauguration of the Fourth Session of the 8th Parliament of Sri Lanka.)

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Prime Minister,

Honourable Leader of the Opposition,

Honourable Ministers, Honourable State Ministers, Honourable Members of Parliament,

I have this opportunity to address you as the Head of State of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka consequent to the historic victory granted to me by the people of this country on the 16th of November.

I express my gratitude to all citizens, institutions and all political parties who were committed to a peaceful, free and fair election.

Irrespective of the political party you, the Honourable members in this August Assembly belong to, together all of us have as our prime responsibility to work for the betterment of the people of this country.

I have served this nation as an Army Officer for twenty years, and as Secretary of Defence for nearly another ten years.

Even though I was not actively engaged in politics, I have experienced what service to the people is, from an early age.

My father’s elder brother, D. M. Rajapaksa, began his political journey in the State Council in 1936, representing the Hambantota electorate. After his demise in 1945, the people of Hambantota elected my father, D. A. Rajapaksa, to the State Council. Later, he was elected through the popular vote as a Member of the country’s first Parliament.

From that time until now, many members of the Rajapaksa family, hailing from the rural village of Medamulana in Giruvapaththuwa, Ruhuna, have served as elected public representatives. There have not only been Members of Parliament, Deputy Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, a Deputy Speaker of Parliament, a Speaker of Parliament, a Leader of the Opposition and a Prime Minister, but also two Presidents elected to office by the people, who reposed their trust in us.

From the first day the honourable D. M. Rajapaksa, known as the Lion of Ruhuna, appeared in the State Council, he wore a maroon coloured shawl.
What he symbolized through this maroon shawl were the millet farmers of Giruvapaththuwa.

Following D. M. Rajapaksa, my father D. A. Rajapaksa and each member of the Rajapaksa family who was elected to Parliament wore the maroon shawl.

Even though I do not wear this shawl, I stand for the same profound philosophy of constant dedication to the poor that is symbolized by the maroon shawl.
It is this same philosophy that is embodied in the Policy Statement I presented during my Presidential election campaign.

Honourable Speaker, I now take this opportunity to table the “Visions of Prosperity and Splendour” Policy Statement.

Continue reading ‘“I Pledge that During my Term of Office, I will Always Defend the Unitary Status of our Country, and Protect and Nurture the Buddha Sasana Whilst Safeguarding the Right of all Citizens to Practice a Religion of Their Choice” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his First Address to Parliament Emphasises Need for Urgent Constitutional and Electoral Reforms that will Establish a Strong Executive, Legislature and an Independent Judiciary

Delivering his first-ever address to Parliament since taking oaths, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent out a strong message today to all parties representing the legislature on, among other things, his vision for the country, his values as a Rajapaksa family member, the role of minority parties and the importance of constitutional reform.

Dressed in a Western suit offset by a familiarly maroon tie, Rajapaksa inaugurated the fourth session of the eighth parliament this morning in a nearly 35-minute speech that outlined his policy proposals for his term as President.

Having thanked all citizens, institutions and political parties for ensuring a peaceful election, the President began his speech with a flashback to the early days of the Rajapaksa clan.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his First Address to Parliament Emphasises Need for Urgent Constitutional and Electoral Reforms that will Establish a Strong Executive, Legislature and an Independent Judiciary’ »

Envisaged Tri -Forces Guard of Honour Including 21 Gun Salute at Ceremonial Opening of New Parliamentary Session Cancelled at the Last Minute Due to a Request by President Gotabaya rajapaksa for a Simplified Ceremony

By Chandani Kirinde and Ashwin Hemmathagama

The Tri-Forces Guard of Honour including the 21-gun salute which was to be part of the ceremonial sitting of the new Parliamentary session which begins today was halted on the request of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, official sources said.

As part of the usual procedure followed when a new session of the House is opened after a prorogation, the Tri-Forces Guard of Honour had been included as part of the day’s ceremonies but was cancelled at the last minute.

Continue reading ‘Envisaged Tri -Forces Guard of Honour Including 21 Gun Salute at Ceremonial Opening of New Parliamentary Session Cancelled at the Last Minute Due to a Request by President Gotabaya rajapaksa for a Simplified Ceremony’ »

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Introduce Private Members Bill Incorprating 22nd Constitutional Amendment to Enable the President to Hold the Defence Ministry and any Other Ministry by Amending article 43

By Chandani Kirinde

A Private Member’s Bill to enable the President to hold the Ministry of Defence and any other ministries will be introduced to Parliament by MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe shortly.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution has been published in the Gazette ahead of its presentation to the House, Rajapakshe told Daily FT. The Amendment, he says, is intended to give clarity to the allocation of ministries to the President, which has become a grey area under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

The provision will come as an amendment to Article 43 of the Constitution and states, “The President shall hold the Ministry of Defence and any other ministries.”

Rajapakshe said that the Supreme Court in a 2003 determination ruled that plenary executive power including the defence of Sri Lanka is vested and reposed in the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka, and hence it is only the President who can hold the Defence portfolio.

“There can be no grey areas and lack of clarity in a Constitution, which is why I am introducing the amendment as the 19th Amendment has brought about a lot of confusion,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Introduce Private Members Bill Incorprating 22nd Constitutional Amendment to Enable the President to Hold the Defence Ministry and any Other Ministry by Amending article 43’ »

“Bible of Cricket” Wisden Cricketers Almanack Includes Sri Lankan Paceman Lasith Malinga in T20 Team of the Decade and Describes him as the “King of T20 fast Bowling”

Wisden magazine, which is considered as the Bible of cricket, has published its T20I Team of the Decade.

Wisden magazine has named Sri Lanka’s fast bowler Lasith Malinga as the king of T20 fast bowling.

Continue reading ‘“Bible of Cricket” Wisden Cricketers Almanack Includes Sri Lankan Paceman Lasith Malinga in T20 Team of the Decade and Describes him as the “King of T20 fast Bowling”’ »

Diplomatic Note Simultaneously Released by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Colombo Emphasises Swift Return to Positive Cooperation Between Both Countries After Relations were Marred by Misunderstandings Caused by Embassy Employee Incident

Switzerland yesterday said it hopes for a swift return to an environment conducive to resuming the positive co-operation between the two countries after relations were marred over an alleged incident involving a local embassy employee.

In a Diplomatic Note communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MFR) by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka on Monday 30 December, the Embassy said it regrets that these developments have led to the Sri Lankan authorities’ commitment to due process being called into question and reaffirmed that Switzerland, like Sri Lanka, is committed to upholding good governance and the rule of law.

“Switzerland and Sri Lanka have maintained excellent relations for decades and have engaged in substantial cooperation in a variety of fields, to the benefit of both countries and their populations. Both countries value these relations greatly,” the Note said.

Continue reading ‘Diplomatic Note Simultaneously Released by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Colombo Emphasises Swift Return to Positive Cooperation Between Both Countries After Relations were Marred by Misunderstandings Caused by Embassy Employee Incident’ »

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) of Switzerland Welcomes with Relief the Release on Bail of the Employee of its Embassy in Colombo.


The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) of Switzerland yesterday welcomed with relief the release on bail of the employee of its embassy in Colombo.

The Swiss authorities welcomed the release of the employee with a message via its official Twitter account @SwissMFA.

Continue reading ‘Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) of Switzerland Welcomes with Relief the Release on Bail of the Employee of its Embassy in Colombo.’ »

Colombo Swiss Embassy Employee Garnier Bannister Francis Released on Bail by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne; Court Bans Foreign Travel and Orders Surrender of Passport;Next Date of Hearing on Jan 9th 2020


Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday released on bail Garnier Bannister Francis, the local employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo allegedly involved in a fake abduction case.

Francis was granted bail on two personal sureties of Rs 500,000 each.

The Court temporarily banned foreign travel of the defendant and asked her passport to be surrendered to the court. The court also directed a private phone company to submit phone records of the defendant, her husband and the teacher of her daughter.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Swiss Embassy Employee Garnier Bannister Francis Released on Bail by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne; Court Bans Foreign Travel and Orders Surrender of Passport;Next Date of Hearing on Jan 9th 2020’ »

Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne MP Who was Arrested by Police Over the White Van Drivers Media Conference Incident While Being in Coronary Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital Granted Bail by Colombo Magistrates Court

Former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne was granted bail by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

This was when an anticipatory bail application filed by Dr. Senaratne was taken up for consideration.

The court ordered that Dr. Senaratne be granted bail on two personal bail bonds of Rs 500,000 each.

Banning foreign travel for Senaratne, the court ordered the surrender of his passport.

Continue reading ‘Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne MP Who was Arrested by Police Over the White Van Drivers Media Conference Incident While Being in Coronary Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital Granted Bail by Colombo Magistrates Court’ »

Senior Administrator P.S. M. Charles Makes History as the First Woman to be Sworn in as Governor of the Northern Province.

Senior Sri Lanka Administrative Service officer with vast experience P.S.M. Charles was appointed as the Northern Province Governor by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday.

Charles previously served as the District Secretariat of Vavuniya and Batticaloa. She also served as Director General of Customs and Secretary to the Health Ministry.

Continue reading ‘Senior Administrator P.S. M. Charles Makes History as the First Woman to be Sworn in as Governor of the Northern Province.’ »

Dawn of Ceylon Independence and Birth of the Tamil Federal Party

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

G.G. Ponnambalam & S.J.V. Chelvanayagam

December 18th 1949 was a Red letter day in the political history of Sri Lankan Tamils known as “Ilangaith Thamizhar” in their mother tongue. On that day a group of sixty Tamils including two parliamentarians and two Senators launched a new political party with the avowed goal of establishing an autonomous state for the Tamil speaking people of Ceylon(as Sri Lanka was known then) within a united Island. The new party was named in Tamil as the “Ilankaith Thamil Arasuk Katchi” meaning Ceylon Tamil state or Tamil Government party.

However the party’s founders described it as Federal Party in English. According to the renowned political scientist Prof. A.J. Wilson the new party’s name was not Federal Party but merely an explanation of what the party stood for. “It’s leaders insisted that the word ‘state’denoted a unit within a federal set-up and not a sovereign state, as some of its detractors alleged” wrote Wilson in his book “Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism”. Unfortunately this confusion in nomenclatures only resulted in planting the seeds of suspicion in the minds of many members of the majority community.
Continue reading ‘Dawn of Ceylon Independence and Birth of the Tamil Federal Party’ »

The man most Responsible for Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Champika Ranawaka’s Arrest is Patali Champika Ranawaka Himself


By

Uditha Devapriya

In a country dominated by Cartesian thinking, it’s probably not surprising that a man vilified for the better part of a decade as a Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist, traditionalist, warmonger and opportunist should be celebrated as a martyr today. I remember coming across a particularly unsavoury (and no doubt defamatory) article on the man on an anti-Rajapaksa website before he decided to cross over to the side that the website was tacitly supporting at the time.

I am of course talking about Patali Champika Ranawaka whose rise to national (and nationalist) prominence over the decades has been due to a combination of coincidence and perseverance. The UNP, hardly known for its sympathy towards the party Champika led before, the Hela Urumaya, now supports the latter’s claim that it was he, not the government of the day, which facilitated the winning of the war. To lend support to such a claim is to lend support to the party and to the ideology it espouses, at least implicitly.

Why do I say that? Because much of that ideology is built today on the view (some would say myth) that Jathika Hela Urumaya spearheaded the war campaign. Barring this, the JHU has precious little with which it can oil its wheels and spokes. Whether or not one agrees with their take on who should get the greater credit for what happened in 2009, one must concede that as far as propaganda goes this remains their rallying point.

The question as to who really won the war in that sense will remains, for a long time, unresolved, and not even history books will apportion credit fairly and properly. The problem for the JHU is not that it can’t claim any credit; indeed, I would be the first to say that it deserves greater credit than those whom party stalwarts refer to as pseudo-patriots. We know who the latter are.

The problem is that the Hela Urumaya’s claim to credibility and sincerity can’t be squared with its transformation after 2014. Since the Hela Urumaya of today, for better or worse, is not only led but also embodied by Champika Ranawaka, the problem with the party is more or less the problem with the man leading it. And the problem with Ranawaka is that most of the principles he now claims to stand for are at variance with the political camp he has chosen to side with.

Continue reading ‘The man most Responsible for Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Champika Ranawaka’s Arrest is Patali Champika Ranawaka Himself’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Seems to Have Two Objectives at this Point of Time.

By P.K.Balachandran

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the Sri Lankan Presidential election on November 16 emphatically, and formed a government with his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, appears to have two objectives at this point of time.

One is to put together a top-level team which will carry out his political and governance agendas, and the other is to secure two thirds majority or near two thirds majority in the April 2020 parliamentary elections in order to carry out the constitutional changes he has up his sleeve.

It is well-known that he is very keen on either repealing or drastically pruning the 19 th. Amendment which cut the powers of the President and increased the powers of other arms of the State in a haphazard manner making the government as a whole dysfunctional.

In his Council of Ministers, Gotabaya has had the gumption to keep some very senior party leaders who had been Cabinet Ministers earlier, away from the Cabinet. These leaders were made State Ministers without cabinet rank. From this it is clear that President Gotabaya wants to have his own handpicked group of Cabinet Ministers who will, by and large, owe their positions to him and not to any earlier President.

Senior leaders with years of cabinet membership like S.B.Dissanayake, Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Mahinda Samarasinghe and John Seneviratne are now State Ministers.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Seems to Have Two Objectives at this Point of Time.’ »

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s troubled past

By

Meera Srinivasan

How do you translate the word ‘juxtaposition’ to Tamil and Sinhala?

When a team of art curators set up Sri Lanka’s recently-launched Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), they had many decisions to make, including on questions like this, pertaining to language.

The museum does not limit itself to a particular type of art work or exhibit. There are sketches and paintings. There are photographs in black and white, and in faded colour. There are archival digital prints from decades ago that serve as a stark reminder of the many phases of state repression and violence — against minority Tamils, or against rebel Sinhalese youth. For instance, one print is of a masked supporter of the Janata Vimukti Peramuna from 1987, when the leftist party launched its second armed insurrection. Or, another visual of a check point in Pallai in Jaffna peninsula, taken in 2007, two years before the civil war fought by the Sri Lankan armed forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended.

Continue reading ‘The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s troubled past’ »

Public Administration Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Gets Angry and Terminates Telephone Conversation when Journalist asks him Whether Govt May be Dividing Communities by Banning National Anthem being Sung in Tamil at Independence day Event

By Sandun Jayawardana

The national anthem’s Tamil version – sung at Independence Day celebration since 2016 – will be dropped again from February 4 next year.

The national anthem’s Tamil version was sung at Independence Day celebrations since 2016

The Public Administration Ministry, the event organiser, has resolved that the national anthem must only be sung in Sinhala. “The country has only one national anthem,” Public Administration Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said, adding that it was a government decision.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said, however, that the issue had not been discussed in Cabinet. He also did not believe the government had taken a policy decision to scrap the Tamil translation of the national anthem altogether.

Minister Tennakoon chaired a meeting earlier this week regarding arrangements for the Independence Day function. He said the government would do away with the previous administration’s practice of singing the national anthem in Tamil at the end of the event.

Continue reading ‘Public Administration Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon Gets Angry and Terminates Telephone Conversation when Journalist asks him Whether Govt May be Dividing Communities by Banning National Anthem being Sung in Tamil at Independence day Event’ »

Tamil Nadu Political Party Leaders MK Stalin (DMK) and Dr.S.Ramadoss (PMK) Strongly Criticise Sri Lankan Govt of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Stopping the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at Independence Day Event

By

M Manikandan

Tamil Nadu’s major opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and BJP’s ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) on Friday attacked the newly-elected Sri Lankan government under President Gottabaya Rajapaksa for suspending the playing of National Anthem of the island nation in Tamil on its Independence day in February.

DMK president MK Stalin hit out at the Sri Lankan government’s decision of mandating singing national anthem only in Sinhala saying this move had disappointed him. “Disappointed and concerned to hear that the Sri Lankan Government has decided only to sing the national anthem in Sinhala for their Independence Day,” Stalin said in a tweet. “Such majoritarianism will only further exclude Tamils in Sri Lanka,” his tweet further reads.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Political Party Leaders MK Stalin (DMK) and Dr.S.Ramadoss (PMK) Strongly Criticise Sri Lankan Govt of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Stopping the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at Independence Day Event’ »

What stands out today is the monarchic power of family politics, which obtained more than 50 per cent vote in the recent presidential poll.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

We are moving on to another election year, and what does that mean?

It means a helluva lot. Two Hundred and Twenty-Five to be removed, brought back, or a new pack brought in.

It is the problem people face with choosing the unwanted. Let’s just look back at the last two national choices, in 2009 and 2015. In 2009, just after the defeat of the LTTE terrorism and separatism, the pack chosen to power quickly moved to be the biggest of the corrupt the country had seen since independence in 1948. In 2015 the chance came to get rid of them from power and punish the guilty. And what a farce it was!

It was the monumental farce of the so-called Yahapalanaya or Good Governance. Apart from the beneficial aspects of the 19th Amendment, the Right to Information, and overall freedom to the media, those who came to power were determined to both fool and cheat the people.

A huge burden hanging on the necks of the people today is the delay in bringing to some conclusion even the few cases brought to the courts, about the corruption of the defeated dirty team. Is it a problem of the Judiciary itself – or the manipulation of the judiciary, and the legal and court system by those in power?

Continue reading ‘What stands out today is the monarchic power of family politics, which obtained more than 50 per cent vote in the recent presidential poll.’ »

National Peace Council Urges Govt Not to Stop the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at the February 4th Independence Day Celebrations

The National Peace Council has urged the government not to stop the yahapalana practice of singing the national anthem in Tamil at the Feb 04 Independence Day celebrations.

The following is the text of NPC statement issued by its head Dr. Jehan Perera:

The celebration of Christmas took place without incident and in the manner that Christians in Sri Lanka have traditionally done. This was a success of governance as there were security warnings due to the Easter bombings that caused heavy loss of life to Christians at worship in three of their churches.

Continue reading ‘National Peace Council Urges Govt Not to Stop the Singing of National Anthem in Tamil at the February 4th Independence Day Celebrations’ »

CID Acting on Orders of Attorney-General Arrest Dr.Rajitha Senaratne at Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital; Colombo Additional Magistrate Shalani Perera Goes to Hospital and Remands Warded Ex-Health Minister Until December 30

UNP MP and former Health Minister, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, was arrested by the CID at Lanka Hospital in Narahenpita yesterday.

Colombo Additional Magistrate Shalani Perera remanded Dr. Senaratne until Dec 30.

The officers of the CID, who took Senaratne into custody around 2.10 pm, informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate of the arrest.

When the case was taken up, the CID said that the MP had been arrested at the cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CICU) of Lanka Hospital in Narahenpita.

Continue reading ‘CID Acting on Orders of Attorney-General Arrest Dr.Rajitha Senaratne at Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit of Lanka Hospital; Colombo Additional Magistrate Shalani Perera Goes to Hospital and Remands Warded Ex-Health Minister Until December 30’ »

National Anthem Will be Sung Only in the Sinhala Language and Not in the Tamil Language Also at the 72nd Independence Day Celebrations Scheduled for Feb 4 2020 at Independence Square in Colombo

By Sandun A. Jayasekera

The 72nd Independence Day celebrations will be held on February 4 at Independence Square in Colombo on a grand scale, the Public Administration Ministry said, adding that the national anthem would be sung only in Sinhala.

These decisions were taken at a meeting held yesterday at the Disaster Management, Local Government and Provincial Councils Ministry.

Continue reading ‘National Anthem Will be Sung Only in the Sinhala Language and Not in the Tamil Language Also at the 72nd Independence Day Celebrations Scheduled for Feb 4 2020 at Independence Square in Colombo’ »

Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Friends!

Nativity scene at St Augustine’s church, South Brunswick, NJ, 2018 💒

It’s Christmas season again!

An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas.

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The Many Faces of Christmas – Shaped Wooden Puzzle from Sri Lanka ~ Photographed at an exhibit of over 900 nativity scenes hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eugene, Oregon, USA-pic-by Mary Harrsch

There was a time when carolling was an important part of Christmas. ‘’Carol parties” including someone dressed as Santa claus would visit the homes of church members during night and sing carols.Refreshments would be served at each and every home. A few firecrackers too would be lit.

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

This practice of carolling has become near extinct but happily the tradition of conducting special carol services and carol festivals continue. Most church services relating to Christmas feature the singing of carols.Christmas dinners and parties too witness loud carol singing though not tuneful at all times.
Continue reading ‘Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular’ »

Far From Escape or Withdrawal Christmas is a Time of Regeneration. When the Time is Right New Songs Burst Forth Like Springs of Living Water.

by Bishop Duleep de Chickera

The run up to the birth of Jesus was punctuated with pauses.

Mary’s pause

After the Angel visited her, Mary could not say what she would have liked to have said. Stories that went against established norms and trends were unacceptable. Those around would misunderstand and grow suspicious, even hostile. What she had heard and knew compelled her to pause to ponder these things.

When he is drawn in on the story that could not be told as yet, Joseph becomes part of the pause. Because he knew the woman who knew more than she could say, he too had to pause and ponder these things.

The two become a group when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth to tell her secretly what she knew was happening. She had to tell another woman, who would have to tell her husband. Elizabeth too had a story of her own. Soon, what one knew and another knew was known by a group and they were all inducted into the pause; the pause of the informed.

Continue reading ‘Far From Escape or Withdrawal Christmas is a Time of Regeneration. When the Time is Right New Songs Burst Forth Like Springs of Living Water.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Perturbed Over Police Disregarding Parliamentary Conventions in Arresting Champika Ranawaka MP; Wants National Police Commission to Hold Inquiry :Will Summon IGP and Senior Officials Involved in Arrest

By Chandani Kirinde

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday said he would summon the IGP and other senior Police officials who were involved in the arrest of MP Patali Champika Ranawaka, and inform them on the need to adhere to parliamentary conventions when arresting a lawmaker.

The Speaker also said he would request the National Police Commission (NPC) to inquire into the manner in which the arrest was carried out.

Jayasuriya made these comments at the party leaders’ meeting held yesterday to decide on the agenda for 3 January, when there will be a ceremonial opening of the House by newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, followed by a Parliament sitting the same afternoon.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Perturbed Over Police Disregarding Parliamentary Conventions in Arresting Champika Ranawaka MP; Wants National Police Commission to Hold Inquiry :Will Summon IGP and Senior Officials Involved in Arrest’ »

The Switzerland Connection in LTTE Fund Raising Activity

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Recent events have focused the media spotlight on the Federal Republic of Switzerland known officially as the Swiss Confederation. The landlocked European nation is respected highly on a global scale due to its policy of armed neutrality. Despite the impeccable credentials of Switzerland, the country is being viewed negatively by influential sections of the Sri Lankan people. There is suspicion that an orchestrated campaign is being pursued by certain elements to depict the country as an “enemy” of Sri Lanka.Three recent happenings concerning Switzerland – Sri Lanka relations have contributed to this unfortunate state of affairs.

Event in Switzerland-File pic courtesy of SwissInfo.ch

The first is the accusation that ace CID sleuth and chief inspector of Police Nishantha Silva has sought political asylum along with his family in Switzerland. Nishantha Silva is suspected of taking along with him files and documents of several on-going cases in Sri Lanka. These could be damaging to Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council it is felt. There is suspicion that the Swiss embassy connived in facilitating Nishantha Silva’s “escape” from Sri Lanka.

The second is the incident where a Sri Lankan woman employee at the Swiss embassy in Colombo was allegedly abducted, molested and intimidated by unknown persons in a white vehicle. It was said that the unknown persins had sought information from her about Nishantha Silva. The Govt position is that the evidence unearthed by the Police so far does not corroborate the complaint made on behalf of the alleged victim by the Swiss embassy. A request tp transport the traumatized woman by Air Ambulance to Switzerland has been rejected. She has been banned from travelling outside Sri Lanka. A lengthy interrogation and recording of statement from her by the CID has been in progress for more than three days.

Continue reading ‘The Switzerland Connection in LTTE Fund Raising Activity’ »

Controversial Arrest and Detention of Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Patali Champika Ranawaka MP: How it Happened.

By Sandun Jayawardana and Manopriya Gunasekara

It was nightfall on Wednesday (18) when some 50 armed policemen swooped down on a house at Jayanthipura, Battaramulla in what seemed a major operation.

Whilst the constables surrounded the house, others blocked the road. An officer urged the watcher to open the gate. He did and the group entered the new home of Patali Champika Ranawaka, Former Minister. He had just returned from Nuwara Eliya.

They told him they were from the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) and he was under arrest. Asked to produce a warrant if they possessed, they showed a letter from letter from the Attorney General calling for his arrest.

Within minutes, crowds began to gather and there was commotion. With a file in hand, wearing a sarong and a shirt Ranawaka got into an SUV that was parked outside. This was after a brief debate where an officer said that he could travel in one of their vehicles. When the SUV was about to move out, a Buddhist monk stood before it and shouted that he be run over first. Women raised loud cries. Soon a former State Minister, Harsha de Silva arrived. He challenged the Police to show him how they could arrest Ranawaka without informing the Speaker of Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Controversial Arrest and Detention of Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Patali Champika Ranawaka MP: How it Happened.’ »

Patently Absurd Statements Made in the Arrest of Champika Ranawaka like “there is no issue about not informing the Magistrate because the Attorney General is superior to the Magistrate” Need to be Challenged

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The ridiculous claim being parroted by bespectacled and grinning supporters (apparently also lawyers) of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP or the “Pohuttuwa’), that the action of the Attorney General is somehow ‘superior’ to the writ of a Magistrate in the making of arrests of persons in this land, is contrary to the weight of the law and violates fundamental safeguards against arbitrary state action.

Challenging patently absurd statements

These claims are made in the context of this week’s surprise arrest of former Minister and Jathika Hela Urumaya heavyweight Champika Ranawaka when the police entered his residence and effected the arrest on a direction made by the Attorney General. The fact that this arrest was carried out without properly notifying the Speaker of Parliament has been formally raised by the Office of the Speaker.

But the instant point here is the entirely presumptous statement that, ‘there is no issue about not informing the Magistrate because the Attorney General is superior to the Magistrate (‘no law violated in arresting Patali’, Daily Mirror, 20 December 2019). In other words, because the Attorney General ordered the arrest, there was nothing that the Magistrate could have done or need to have done in this regard.

Such absurd statements must be challenged forthwith. Otherwise, this would be to throw to the four winds, decades of carefully reasoned constitutional jurisprudence by the Supreme Court. It would be to reduce Sri Lanka to the level of a nation-state just emerging from barbarism. It is to insult the Sri Lankan public and to render the Rule of Law to a cipher. Most awfully, it is to confer an enormous amount of arbitrary power on the state law office.

Continue reading ‘Patently Absurd Statements Made in the Arrest of Champika Ranawaka like “there is no issue about not informing the Magistrate because the Attorney General is superior to the Magistrate” Need to be Challenged’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa While Addressing Foreign Correspondents in Colombo Replies “Yes” When Asked Whether he Thought Sri Lankan Refugees in India Should Come Back

By

Meera Srinivasan

In the widespread resistance to the recently-passed Citizenship (Amendment) Act, many have repeatedly highlighted the omission of Sri Lankans among persecuted communities in the neighbourhood who now qualify for Indian citizenship, for the first time based on their religion.

Nearly 1,00,000 Sri Lankan Tamils live in India, mostly in refugee camps across Tamil Nadu. They fled a civil war in their homeland — Sri Lanka’s north and east — that spanned over 30 years, brutally destroying life and property. Over the years, some Sri Lankan Tamils have returned from India.

As the pace of return accelerated after the war ended in 2009, nearly 16,000 are back home now.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa While Addressing Foreign Correspondents in Colombo Replies “Yes” When Asked Whether he Thought Sri Lankan Refugees in India Should Come Back’ »

Much Respected and Loved Central Bank Governor Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy Departs From Post After Addressing all Members of Staff From Monetary Board Members to Friends Serving Tea.


Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Friday departed the Central Bank as previously announced but with much respect and love, according to insiders and industry representatives.

Dr. Coomaraswamy assumed duties in July 2016 and many weeks before the 16 November Presidential Election had informed authorities of his intention to step down on 20 December.

Previously, Dr. Coomaraswamy served the Central Bank for 15 years, working in the Departments of Economic Research, Statistics and Bank Supervision. However, from 1981-1989, he was released from the bank’s service to serve at the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

Continue reading ‘Much Respected and Loved Central Bank Governor Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy Departs From Post After Addressing all Members of Staff From Monetary Board Members to Friends Serving Tea.’ »

Sri Lanka does not want to be part of the US-Indian Indo-Pacific Strategy to Contain China While Beijing Intends to step up its Presence in Sri Lanka to Hit Back at India where it Hurts.

By

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Since the setback in Nepal three years ago when the Indian diktat on the contents of a new constitution for that country was brusquely dismissed by that country’s communist leadership, Modi government faces a similar rebuff from Sri Lanka.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa chose a press conference Thursday with the Colombo-based foreign correspondents to make it clear that Delhi should simply forget about the management of the Mattala International Airport.

He said, “There is no discussion with India on this project.” Barely three weeks have passed since his visit to New Delhi at PM Narendra Modi’s invitation.

During the visit, at a joint press conference with Gotabaya, Modi had announced a $450 million credit line for Sri Lanka.

Mattala is a feeder airport for Hambantota Port, which is run by a Chinese state-owned company. Mattala would have been an ideal place from where Chinese activities in Hambantota could be monitored.

Conceivably, that is precisely the reason why Sri Lanka has decided to disallow any Indian presence in Mattala. Possibly, China leveraged its influence in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka does not want to be part of the US-Indian Indo-Pacific Strategy to Contain China While Beijing Intends to step up its Presence in Sri Lanka to Hit Back at India where it Hurts.’ »

Sajith Premadasa has Demonstrated his Inexperience and Ineptitude by Deserting Mllions who had Voted for him by Posting Bizarre Banal Content and Staying Silent while Media Platforms Central to his Campaign were Raided.

By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

I can’t see Basil Rajapaksa. Social media doesn’t record his actions, feature accounts by or content on him. He isn’t the subject of memes. He doesn’t appear in any of the ego-centric, selfie laden photo albums or posts of the larger more social media savvy family. On Facebook, he was featured just a handful of times during the constitutional coup last year and for around two days after the conclusion of the presidential election this year. Nothing much is said by him in public fora. Reciprocally, few speak of him openly. What he does, says and inspires is best known to the ruling family, and there too, perhaps some brothers more than others.

It’s easy to write him off as a dinosaur, outmoded, outdated and unable to capture the considerable potential of digital propaganda vectors to secure electoral gain or edge. Many his age and with a similar profile are indeed irrelevant. Basil Rajapaksa is not. By all accounts I’ve heard over the years from disparate individuals including from opposing political parties, he is reverentially referred to and feared as one of the best political strategists in Sri Lanka. His absence on social media, given this reputation, can only be strategic and intentional. And he is key to plans around the consolidation and entrenchment, through the general election in 2020, of the significant capture of power by the SLPP through a consequential election this year. He is, single-handedly, the best example of why politics in Sri Lanka cannot be understood without the much harder, and possibly downright impossible access to how political strategy is created within a party.

An example from the official cooling period – 48 hours before the election when all campaigning has to stop – showcases what is very likely the foresight and strategy of this Rajapaksa, and how much in tune he and party are with the dominant Southern psyche, myth and limbic response.

The Premadasa campaign, aside from frequent verbal diarrhoea and cringeworthy demonstrations of artificial intelligence, was in tone, timbre and thrust a mirror of tenets Gotabaya Rajapaksa proposed in his manifesto, and campaign speeches. Unlike in 2015, when Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa offered two fundamentally different visions, only the JVP offered a radically different take on national policy in 2019’s presidential election campaign.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa has Demonstrated his Inexperience and Ineptitude by Deserting Mllions who had Voted for him by Posting Bizarre Banal Content and Staying Silent while Media Platforms Central to his Campaign were Raided.’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Does not want Alleged Abduction Incident of Swiss Embassy Employee to sour Relations Between Sri Lanka and Switzerland

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that he did not wish for the alleged abduction incident of a Swiss Embassy employee to sour relations between the two countries.

Commenting on the incident, Rajapaksa told a group of foreign correspondents that the matter was a fabrication to discredit his Government and Presidency.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Does not want Alleged Abduction Incident of Swiss Embassy Employee to sour Relations Between Sri Lanka and Switzerland’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Strongly Condemns Arrest of JHU Parliamentarian Champika Ranawaka Saying Police was Unable to Provide Justifiable reasons for Arrest and Also did not Follow Correct Procedures in Arrest


The United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on behalf of the United National Front (UNF) yesterday strongly condemned the arrest of Parliamentarian Patali Champika Ranawaka.

Issuing a statement Wickremesinghe said the law enforcement authorities did not follow accepted democratic and legal procedures to arrest Ranawaka.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Strongly Condemns Arrest of JHU Parliamentarian Champika Ranawaka Saying Police was Unable to Provide Justifiable reasons for Arrest and Also did not Follow Correct Procedures in Arrest’ »

Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri Writes to National Police Commission Chairman About Due Process in Accordance to Privileges of an MP being not Followed in the case of Champika Ranawaka MP’s Arrest and Detention


Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri yesterday wrote to the National Police Commission (NPC) informing them that due process was not followed during the arrest of MP Champika Ranawaka.

In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the NPC, Kumarasiri stressed that he did not believe due process was carried out during the arrest and requested action be taken.

Continue reading ‘Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri Writes to National Police Commission Chairman About Due Process in Accordance to Privileges of an MP being not Followed in the case of Champika Ranawaka MP’s Arrest and Detention’ »

Ex-CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera Files Fundamental Rights Petition in Supreme Court Over His Demotion as Personal assistant to Southern Province DIG.

Former CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera yesterday filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court saying it was a violation of his human rights to demote him as the personal assistant to the Southern Province DIG.

Continue reading ‘Ex-CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera Files Fundamental Rights Petition in Supreme Court Over His Demotion as Personal assistant to Southern Province DIG.’ »

Dr.Rajitha Senaratne MP Files Second Anticipatory Bail Application After His First Application was Rejected by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna.


Former Health Minister and UNP MP Rajitha Senaratne yesterday filed a second anticipatory bail application before the Colombo Magistrate a day after his first.

His first application, made on Thursday, was rejected yesterday by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayarathna.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Rajitha Senaratne MP Files Second Anticipatory Bail Application After His First Application was Rejected by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna.’ »

Switzerland sends Former Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jorg Frieden as Special Envoy to Colombo to Lend Further Support to its Embassy and Communicate with Sri Lankan Authorities in a bid to Jointly Explore Possible Solutions to the Current Problem

Switzerland has sent Jörg Frieden, an experienced diplomat who once served as ambassador to Sri Lanka, to explore possibilities for clarifying the security incident at the Swiss embassy in Colombo, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) in Bern said yesterday.

Frieden’s visit followed a telephone conversation between Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena and his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis on Wednesday.

“Cassis emphasised that Switzerland was keen to clarify the incident together with the Sri Lankan authorities, which is why an experienced diplomat, former Ambassador Jörg Frieden, had been sent to Colombo. Frieden is expected to explore possible solutions in communication with the Sri Lankan authorities, and thus lend support to the Swiss embassy. This additional contact at the diplomatic level is also intended to strengthen the basis of trust between Switzerland and Sri Lanka,” the FDAD said in a press release yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Switzerland sends Former Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jorg Frieden as Special Envoy to Colombo to Lend Further Support to its Embassy and Communicate with Sri Lankan Authorities in a bid to Jointly Explore Possible Solutions to the Current Problem’ »

Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne and Ex-Chairman of Pharmaceutical Corporation Dr.Rumy Mohamed Being Probed by CID For Allegedly Paying Two Persons to Pose as White Van Drivers Transporting Bodies and Gold at Press Conference to Tarnish Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Image

By
Gayan Kumara Weerasinghe

The CID has begun probing former Minister Rajitha Senaratne and the State Pharmaceutical Corporation’s former Chairman Dr. Rumi Mohamed over allegations of having deployed two known criminal suspects to concoct a ‘white van’ abduction allegation with the aim of tarnishing the image of Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa during the election period, CID sources told the Daily News yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne and Ex-Chairman of Pharmaceutical Corporation Dr.Rumy Mohamed Being Probed by CID For Allegedly Paying Two Persons to Pose as White Van Drivers Transporting Bodies and Gold at Press Conference to Tarnish Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Image’ »

Switzerland Foreign Minister Ignazuo Cassis Telephones Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardene To Inquire About Arrested Swiss Embassy Employee and Urges Colombo to Expedite Judicial Process in View of the Good Bilateral relations Between Both Countries


Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena reaffirmed to his Swiss counterpart yesterday that the rights of the Swiss Embassy employee who is in custody will be protected, and she will be granted all possible facilities.

The Minister conveyed these views when he received a telephone call from the Foreign Minister of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis, regarding the status of the Sri Lankan employee at the Swiss Embassy, Ms. Garnier Banister Francis.

Continue reading ‘Switzerland Foreign Minister Ignazuo Cassis Telephones Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardene To Inquire About Arrested Swiss Embassy Employee and Urges Colombo to Expedite Judicial Process in View of the Good Bilateral relations Between Both Countries’ »

JHU Leader Champika Ranawaka Remanded by Colombo Chief Magistrate After Police Record Statement Regarding an Incident in 2016 Where the Then Cabinet Minister Had Allegedly Driven a Vehicle Causing Injury to a Youth in a Road accident and Fled the Spot Letting his Driver Take the Rap

By
Chameera Elladeniya

Former Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was taken into police custody on instructions by Attorney General Dappula De Livera yesterday (18).

Produced before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court yesterday night, former Minister Ranawaka was ordered to be remanded till today(19).

The Attorney General has given the arrest order in connection with a case where the former Minister had allegedly caused a motor accident in 2016 in which a youth was critically injured.

Continue reading ‘JHU Leader Champika Ranawaka Remanded by Colombo Chief Magistrate After Police Record Statement Regarding an Incident in 2016 Where the Then Cabinet Minister Had Allegedly Driven a Vehicle Causing Injury to a Youth in a Road accident and Fled the Spot Letting his Driver Take the Rap’ »

Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader and Former Cabinet Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka Arrested by Police Colombo Crimes Division on the Advice of the Attorney -General.


Former Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) today.

He was arrested on the advice of the Attorney General.

Continue reading ‘Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader and Former Cabinet Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka Arrested by Police Colombo Crimes Division on the Advice of the Attorney -General.’ »

Designated Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa Refuses to Spearhead UNP Parliamentary Election Campaign as Prime Ministerial Candidate Unless he is Given the Party Leadership Post Also

By Nuwan Senarathna

A month after his presidential loss MP Sajith Premadasa yesterday said he would not spearhead the UNP’s parliamentary campaign as a prime ministerial candidate unless he is given the party leadership as well.

Premadasa made the comments when addressing party faithfuls for the first time since his defeat, at a private venue near the party headquarters in Pita Kotte. He was joined by Parliamentarians Ajith P. Perera, Dr. Harsha De Silva, S.M. Marikkar, Chandrani Bandara, and Ranjith Madduma Bandara. Addressing the gathering, Premadasa stressed that he does not expect to face the upcoming General Election as a prime ministerial candidate without the party leadership.

“The party leadership is not the decision of one individual. However, if the party values the opinion of its members, justice must be done by them,” he stated. “I do not expect to lead the Parliamentary Election campaign unless I am also given the party leadership.”

Continue reading ‘Designated Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa Refuses to Spearhead UNP Parliamentary Election Campaign as Prime Ministerial Candidate Unless he is Given the Party Leadership Post Also’ »

Dr.Harsha de Silva MP wants to Make UNP Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to be Senior Adviser or Mentor of Party if a New Leader is Appointed for the UNP

By

Yohan Perera

UNP MP Harsha De Silva yesterday proposed an amendment to his party’s constitution in order to make provisions to elect a new leader through a vote.

Dr. de Silva who was speaking to the UNP activists in Sri Jayawardenepura, Kotte said party constitution should be changed to make provisions to elect a leader through a vote of MPs and working committee members at least.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Harsha de Silva MP wants to Make UNP Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to be Senior Adviser or Mentor of Party if a New Leader is Appointed for the UNP’ »

Eksath Jathika Bhikku Peramuna says 24 MP’s are Agitating for Change in UNP Leadership Though Sajith Premadasa Has Informed EJBP that he does not want any post in Party

By

Yohan Perera

The Bhikkhu wing of the UNP, Eksath Jathika Bhikkhu Peramuna (EJBP), said yesterday 24 MPs who agitated for a leadership change attempted to create unnecessary problems within the party in the context of MP Sajith Premadasa refusing to accept any post.

EJBP President Ven. Bopitiye Dhammasara Thera and Secretary Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thera told a press conference that Mr. Premadasa clearly informed them that he did not intend to hold any post in the party.

Continue reading ‘Eksath Jathika Bhikku Peramuna says 24 MP’s are Agitating for Change in UNP Leadership Though Sajith Premadasa Has Informed EJBP that he does not want any post in Party’ »

Swiss Embassy Statement of Being Dissatisfied with Investigations Carried Out by Sri Lanka Over Alleged Abduction of Employee Can Bring Disrepute to Country warns UNP MP Palitha Ranga Bandara

By

Yohan Perera

The Swiss Embassy statement that it was not satisfied with the investigations carried out by Sri Lanka on the alleged abduction of its employee would bring disrepute to Sri Lanka, UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara told a news conference today.

He claimed that Sri Lankans will face a difficult situation both locally and internationally with happenings such as this and because of incidents of political victimisation.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Embassy Statement of Being Dissatisfied with Investigations Carried Out by Sri Lanka Over Alleged Abduction of Employee Can Bring Disrepute to Country warns UNP MP Palitha Ranga Bandara’ »

UNP Parliamentarians Allege at Press Conference that JHU Leader Champoka Ranawaka’s Ex -Driver;s Wife, Mother in Law and 18 month old Child were Detained in Galle at 12.45 am and Brought to Colombo in Vehicle Numbered 64 – 8736

Professing to stand up for party ally MP Patali Champika Ranawaka in the event of any injustice, the United National Party (UNP) today charged that the family of the MP’s former driver were unlawfully detained in the early hours of today (16).

Presenting a united face, a host of parliamentarians representing both sides of the increasingly divided UNP appeared before the media this morning to recount the alleged abduction.

According to the UNP’s version of events, the wife, one-and-a-half-year-old child and mother-in-law of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leader’s former driver, who had previously been tried in court for a motor traffic accident four years ago, were allegedly detained in Imaduwa, Galle, around 12.45am today and brought to Colombo in a vehicle bearing the number 64 – 8736. Once in Colombo, the vehicle was parked near Ranawaka’s residence in Battaramulla where, the MPs said, the detainees had been questioned for some time about the former driver presumably in connection with the accident.

Continue reading ‘UNP Parliamentarians Allege at Press Conference that JHU Leader Champoka Ranawaka’s Ex -Driver;s Wife, Mother in Law and 18 month old Child were Detained in Galle at 12.45 am and Brought to Colombo in Vehicle Numbered 64 – 8736’ »

Sri Lanka and Switzerland Versions of Meeting Between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Swiss Ambassador Hanspeter Moch in Colombo Appear to be at Variance With each Other

The Swiss Foreign Ministry has rejected the Sri Lankan government’s contentions regarding the alleged abduction of one of its local employees Garnier Banister Francis alias Sriyalatha Perera.

In a press release on Monday, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said: “ An employee of the Swiss embassy in Colombo has been taken into custody today for alleged false statements. The FDFA is concerned about this decision.”

“It demands that the Sri Lankan judicial authorities ensure that the personal rights of its employees are better protected and that national law and international standards are complied with in the further proceedings.”

“The FDFA and the Swiss embassy in Colombo will continue to fulfill their responsibilities as employers and will support employees to the extent possible.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka and Switzerland Versions of Meeting Between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Swiss Ambassador Hanspeter Moch in Colombo Appear to be at Variance With each Other’ »

Swiss FDFA “Criticises” 30-hour Interrogation of its Employee over Three days Despite poor Health and the Public Statements by Senior Sri Lankan Officials Questioning her Account Before the Investigation is Completed.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka police on Monday arrested a local employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, who has been at the centre of a diplomatic controversy, for allegedly making a false accusation that she was detained and threatened.

The Sri Lankan national, working at the visa section of the Embassy, was reportedly abducted and sexually harassed on November 25, a day after a top Sri Lankan police officer, who had been probing cases involving the Rajapaksa family, sought asylum in Switzerland.

On Monday, she was arrested following Attorney-General Dappula de Livera’s advice to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to name her as a suspect, “for exciting disaffection against the government and fabricating false evidence”, the public prosecutor’s coordinating officer Nishara Jayaratne told The Hindu.

The tension between Bern and Colombo — over contradicting claims over the incident — could further escalate with the staffer’s arrest, with Switzerland criticising the “lack of due process”.

Continue reading ‘Swiss FDFA “Criticises” 30-hour Interrogation of its Employee over Three days Despite poor Health and the Public Statements by Senior Sri Lankan Officials Questioning her Account Before the Investigation is Completed.’ »

Swiss Ambassador Tells Sri Lankan President at Face to Face Meeting That Switzerland Seeks a Common and Constructive Way Forward to Resolve the Security Incident Concerning woman Employee of Embassy in Colombo

(Text of Press releaseIssued by Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on 16.12.2019)

An employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo has today been detained on the grounds that she allegedly made false statements. T

he FDFA is concerned about this development and calls on the Sri Lankan judicial authorities to ensure better protection of its employee’s personal rights in any further proceedings and compliance with national law and international standards.

The FDFA and the Swiss Embassy in Colombo will continue to meet their responsibilities as an employer and do everything in their power to assist the member of staff concerned.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Ambassador Tells Sri Lankan President at Face to Face Meeting That Switzerland Seeks a Common and Constructive Way Forward to Resolve the Security Incident Concerning woman Employee of Embassy in Colombo’ »

The Street Art Murals Being Painted are Overwhelmingly monotonous, Unimaginatively Uninspiring With the Aura of Sinhala Nationalist Fervour Borrowing Heavily from Nationalistic and Militaristic Narratives of the Past and Present.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

After Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s assuming of the office of presidency, a wave of street art sprung up and spread across the country like a bushfire. The official version is that it was spontaneous civic-minded volunteerism by disparate groups of local youth who felt inspired by the unfolding political ‘change’.

Mr Rajapaksa’s graduation to civilian affairs after the end of the war was via the secretary of the urban development ministry. A city beautification initiative undertaken in that capacity helped foster his image of an able administrator. Viewed in that context, the state patronage in the current wave of street art may not be totally absent, though the direct state ownership of the project is limited.

Local political leaders of the SLPP and SLFP are patronising the initiative, not so much for the sake of arts, but to earn brownie points. That is, after all, a harmless initiative of the public good, and an improvement in the conduct of the political underlinings, whose proclivity to nauseatingly sycophantic gestures such as Pandals have been put to a halt by a directive of the new president.

Continue reading ‘The Street Art Murals Being Painted are Overwhelmingly monotonous, Unimaginatively Uninspiring With the Aura of Sinhala Nationalist Fervour Borrowing Heavily from Nationalistic and Militaristic Narratives of the Past and Present.’ »

President Gotabaya Tells Media Editors in Lighter Vein That Given the Charges Levelled Against Him, he was a Bigger Victim than the Swiss Embassy Woman Employee Embroiled in Controversy


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday claimed that given the serious charges levelled against him, he was a bigger victim than the female employee of the Swiss embassy currently embroiled in controversy over her alleged detention and abuse.

The President yesterday updated the editors of media organisations on ongoing investigations into the alleged incident reported by the Swiss Embassy employee concerning her recent purported detention, questioning and abuse by a group of armed men after she left office.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Tells Media Editors in Lighter Vein That Given the Charges Levelled Against Him, he was a Bigger Victim than the Swiss Embassy Woman Employee Embroiled in Controversy’ »

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Posts Entry on Facebook About his Meeting With Switzerland Ambassador to Colombo Hanspeter Mock

(The following is a post by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his Facebook under the heading Switzerland assures continuous support to Sri Lanka)

Hanspeter Mock, Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka, met me yesterday and assured continued support to Sri Lanka. Whilst conveying warm congratulations on recent electoral victory, the Ambassador especially appreciated my remark – “I am the President of all Sri Lankans” and affirmed the traditional relations with Sri Lanka remains strong and mutually beneficial.

Focusing on recent incident involving a locally recruited official of the Swiss Embassy, Mr. Mock stressed that Switzerland harboured no intention to harm Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Posts Entry on Facebook About his Meeting With Switzerland Ambassador to Colombo Hanspeter Mock’ »

Swiss Embassy Woman Employee Garnier Banister Francis Arrested by CID on Directive by Attorney -General and Remanded Until Dec 30th by Colombo Magistrate:Likely to be Charged for Fabricating False evidence and Inciting Disaffection Against State

By Chandani Kirinde

In a dramatic turn of events, the Attorney General’s Department yesterday directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to arrest and charge the female employee of the Swiss Embassy – who is at the centre of an alleged detention – under the penal code for inciting or attempting to incite disaffection against the State as well as for giving or fabricating false evidence.

The AG issued his directive based on examination of the B Report filed by the Police in connection with the alleged incident as well as initial inquiry reports which give rise to reasonable suspicion that the alleged detention of Garnier Banister Francis had not taken place.

Subsequently the employee was remanded until 30 December by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court last evening.

She was produced in Court by the CID and is to be charged with fabricating information and discrediting the Government.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Embassy Woman Employee Garnier Banister Francis Arrested by CID on Directive by Attorney -General and Remanded Until Dec 30th by Colombo Magistrate:Likely to be Charged for Fabricating False evidence and Inciting Disaffection Against State’ »

UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe Makes It Clear that he has no Intention to Lead the Party Forever and Calls For United Plan to Strengthen Party and Move Forward to Face Elections


United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday stated that he is ready to execute a plan prepared by the party as a whole team without working individually or in groups for the future victory of the party.

Wickremesinghe said that all should work together for strengthening the party and to appoint a new look and a new class of leadership by 2020 and 2025.

Former Prime Minister was speaking at a media briefing held at the party Headquarters Sirikotha after meeting with the Local Government representatives of Kurunegala District.

Expressing his views further, the UNP Leader pointed out that if everyone in the party works in unison, the party can win a majority at the General Election.

Continue reading ‘UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe Makes It Clear that he has no Intention to Lead the Party Forever and Calls For United Plan to Strengthen Party and Move Forward to Face Elections’ »

Some UNP Ministers Resigning Posts and Compelling Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Resign and Hand Over Govt to Podujana Peramuna was A Mistake say Parliamentarians Vajira Abeywardene and Wijepala Hettiarachchi at UNP Bala Mandalaya Meeting

By

Yohan Perera

It was the mistake for the United National Party (UNP) to hand over the government to Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) following the presidential election, two UNP MPs from the Galle District said over the weekend.

They also said that the resignation of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister was also wrong.

Speaking at the UNP’s Bala Mandala meeting in Galle on Saturday, UNP MPs Vajira Abeywardene and Wijepala Hettiarachchi said it would have been advantageous for the UNP to hold the parliamentary elections under the UNP-led caretaker government.

“The UNP would have been in an advantageous position if it remained in the government without handing it over to SLPP,” MP Abeywardane said.

Continue reading ‘Some UNP Ministers Resigning Posts and Compelling Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Resign and Hand Over Govt to Podujana Peramuna was A Mistake say Parliamentarians Vajira Abeywardene and Wijepala Hettiarachchi at UNP Bala Mandalaya Meeting’ »

Swiss Ambassador to Sri Lanka Hanspeter Mock Meets President Gotabaya to Clarify Position on Swiss Embassy Local Staffer Incident. “We need to overcome this situation of tension and remove any misunderstanding,” Says Envoy

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

Ambassador of Switzerland in Sri Lanka, Hanspeter Mock, who called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today commented on the Embassy staffer incident and said Switzerland harboured no intention to do any harm to Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador called on President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat this morning.

“We wish to work together for the benefit of both countries. Also we need to overcome this situation of tension and to remove any misunderstanding,” the Swiss Ambassador said.

In response, President Rajapaksa explained to the Ambassador the progress of investigations into the incident so far.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Ambassador to Sri Lanka Hanspeter Mock Meets President Gotabaya to Clarify Position on Swiss Embassy Local Staffer Incident. “We need to overcome this situation of tension and remove any misunderstanding,” Says Envoy’ »

“Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development can Provide Solution for True Grievances of the Minorities and not Federalism or Greater Devolution as Promised by Politicians ” Says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Meeting with Media Editors

By Nisthar Cassim

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday drove home the point that it was largely socioeconomics and security and less politics that would ensure true national unity in the country, which he said would rebound next year leading to inclusive prosperity.

Speaking for the first time to media editors since assuming office, President Rajapaksa made a host of emphatic pronouncements as part of his strong belief as to how Sri Lanka could be led to become an economically stronger and more peaceful and united nation.

Reiterating that he had assumed the office of President of all communities in Sri Lanka despite the majority of the country’s Tamils and Muslims not voting him into office, Rajapaksa however noted that devolution of power or federalism was not the solution to the true grievances of minorities, especially those in the North and East, but inclusive development.

“What are their basic needs? They need a good livelihood, income, they need jobs, good education and health, etc. These make a dignified living and this is the aspiration of all the people, including those poor in the South. Therefore, inclusive growth and sustainable development are critical. We are focused on creating an enabling environment to achieve that goal,” emphasised Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘“Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development can Provide Solution for True Grievances of the Minorities and not Federalism or Greater Devolution as Promised by Politicians ” Says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Meeting with Media Editors’ »

Positives and Negatives of The “New” Rajapaksa Regime Under President Gotabaya

by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

President Gotabaya Spearheads the Return of Ruhunu Rajapaksas – Part Two

The election of Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the seventh executive president of Sri Lanka has effectively demonstrated that the “Ruhunu Rajapaksas” have come to stay as a dynastic political force in the country. As stated last week in the first of this two – part article the patriarch of this “Medamulana Dynasty” was Don Alvin Rajapaksa (DA Rajapaksa) the father of Chamal, Mahinda, Gotabaya,Basil and five other children.

Family time

DA Rajapaksa was initially reluctant to enter active politics. However he was compelled to do so by eminent residents of the then Hambantota constituency in the State Council legislature during British rule. They wanted him to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his elder brother Don Mathew Rajapaksa (DM Rajapaksa) dubbed the “Ruhunu Sinhaya”.

In a bid to exert maximum pressure on the hesitant DA Rajapaksa, a delegation of notables went to meet him with the nomination papers to contest the by-election while the prospective candidate was ploughing his fields. Bowing down to the popular pressure the reluctant DA finally agreed to contest the by election. In a scene reminiscent of Robert Knox’s famous statement about “ washing the mud off the farmer and placing him on the throne” DA Rajapaksa washed the mud off his hands and legs and signed the nomination papers. There was however no by-election. D.A. Rajapaksa was elected unopposed to the State Council representing the Hambantota constituency on 14 July 1945.

Don Alvin Rajapaksa was an old student of Richmond College Galle and was well-versed in English. He captained the Soccer Team and was Vice Captain of the Cricket Team. It is said that the ground record he set up in the match with Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, still stands. Yet he had no qualms about becoming a full-fledged agriculturist. When he entered the State Council and took his oaths on 8 August 1945, he became a member of the Executive Committee on Agriculture and Lands.

Continue reading ‘Positives and Negatives of The “New” Rajapaksa Regime Under President Gotabaya’ »

Sajith’s Sanitary Pad Pledge and the Popular Hindi Film “Pad Man”

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The titles of two popular films figured prominently in the English language mainstream and social media during the course of Sri Lanka’s 2019 Presidential Election campaign. One was the English science fiction film ‘Terminator’ made in the USA while the other was the Hindi semi-biographical film ‘Pad Man’ made in India.

Both film titles were invoked with reference to the chief presidential race contenders, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa, in different contexts. The former was called ‘Terminator’ and the latter ‘Pad Man’.

As is well known now, the man dubbed ‘Terminator’ defeated his chief rival called ‘Pad Man’ in the election.
Continue reading ‘Sajith’s Sanitary Pad Pledge and the Popular Hindi Film “Pad Man”’ »

Bar Council to Move Supreme Court Against Ex-Southern Provincial Councillor Ajith Prasanna for Criticising Five Magistrates and Officials of the Police and Attorney – Generals Dept Publicly on a TV Show

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney-at-law Ajith Prasanna faces a high profile trial in the Supreme Court over his controversial comments on a recent live political programme on a private television channel.

The Bar Council on Saturday, Dec 14, unanimously decided to move the SC against Prasanna, formerly of the Sri Lanka Army for being critical of several senior members of the Attorney General’s Department, Magistrates as well as law enforcement officers as regards four cases – disappearance of media personality Prageeth Ekneligoda (2010), abduction and disappearance of 11 persons by the Navy (2008), abduction and torture of Deputy Editor of The Nation Keith Noyahr (2008) and attempt on Rivira Editor Upali Tennakoon’s life (2008).

President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Kalinga Indatissa, PC, presided over the regular monthly meeting at its main office at Mihindu Mawatha, Hulftsdorp.

The Bar Council took up the issue under what was categorised as any other matter.

Continue reading ‘Bar Council to Move Supreme Court Against Ex-Southern Provincial Councillor Ajith Prasanna for Criticising Five Magistrates and Officials of the Police and Attorney – Generals Dept Publicly on a TV Show’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Assigns Senior Lawyer Tilak Marapana The Task of Recommending Changes to Party Constitution Regarding the Post of Party Leader


UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has tasked senior party member Tilak Marapana PC with presenting a note on potential changes to the UNP constitution with regard to the post of the party leader by the end of the week.

UNP sources said this was after party seniors met Wickremesinghe and suggested that changes be brought in to the UNP Constitution.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Assigns Senior Lawyer Tilak Marapana The Task of Recommending Changes to Party Constitution Regarding the Post of Party Leader’ »

LTTE Political Adviser Anton Balasingham Knew The world was Going to Clobber the Tigers

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj


(This Article written three years ago is re-posted here without any changes to denote the death anniversary of Anton Stanislaus Balasingham)

Ten years ago in the third week of November 2006 I received a telephone call from London.It was from Anton Stanislaus Balasingham the political adviser and strategist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) Organization.

Anton Stanislaus Balasingham (March 4, 1938 – December 14, 2006)

Anton Stanislaus Balasingham (March 4, 1938 – December 14, 2006)

I was surprised as we were not on speaking terms for nearly three years due to sharp political differences. I was however happy to talk to “Bala Annai”(Elder brother Bala)as many of us called him because I had heard earlier that he was terminally ill and that his days were numbered.

Anton and Adele Balasingham seen with Sri Lankan Air Force Personnel on May 5th 2003. The Balasinghams were frequently transported by SLAF from Katunayake to Kilinochchi and back during the 2002 – 2005 peace talks.
PIc Courtesy of Senaka Dharmawardena (SLAF Pilot)

Bala Annai said at the outset that he was telephoning and talking to some of his old colleagues, friends and contacts. I fell under the category of contact in my journalistic capacity as Balasingham had been a very important source of information for more than two years when I was writing for “The Sunday Leader” in Colombo. Although he did not explicitly say so, I realised that it was a farewell call from a man who was to ”go out gently into that good night” soon.
Continue reading ‘LTTE Political Adviser Anton Balasingham Knew The world was Going to Clobber the Tigers’ »

Sri Lankas Foreign Relations in the First Month Under New Govt Has Seen Proactive Outreach With India, Pakistan and China As Well As Reactive Confrontation with UK and Switzerland

By

Meera Srinivasan

In the weeks that followed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s big election win, Sri Lanka witnessed some rapid international outreach — both from and to Colombo — reflecting the strategic and geographic prominence of the Indian Ocean island that is home to 21 million people.

India was among the earliest to reach out to the new leader, perhaps reflecting South Block’s hope of emerging Sri Lanka’s foremost partner.

Mr. Rajapaksa had barely assumed charge as President when External Affairs Minister Jaishankar landed in Colombo, to hand over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to New Delhi. In about a fortnight after his election, the newly-elected Sri Lankan President flew to New Delhi, promising to renew strong ties after a period of “misunderstanding” between India and the Rajapaksas.

In an interestingly-timed interview to Indian website Bharat Shakti ahead of his departure, President Rajapaksa said his government will not do anything that would threaten India’s security, and even spoke of possibly renegotiating the deal on the Chinese-built port in the southern Hambantota district where New Delhi’s past concerns are known.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankas Foreign Relations in the First Month Under New Govt Has Seen Proactive Outreach With India, Pakistan and China As Well As Reactive Confrontation with UK and Switzerland’ »

Two Persons Who Claimed to be “White Van Drivers” who Abducted Persons and Transported Dead Bodies and LTTE Gold in Their Vehicles at Press Conference Conducted by Dr.Rajitha Senaratne Arrested by CID for Questioning

The two persons who participated in a press conference with former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne on November 10 during the run up to the Presidential Election and revealed a story relating to an alleged abduction by ‘white vans’ and the transportation of 7,000 tons of gold, have been arrested by the CID.

The two suspects had been arrested at a restaurant in Mahara, Kadawatha.

They have been detained for 72 hours by the CID for questioning and will be produced before court tomorrow.

One of the arrested suspects at the press conference with Rajitha Senaratne had told the media that during the tenure of the former UPFA Government, people were abducted in ‘white vans’, killed and dumped as prey for the crocodile. He admitted that he was a ‘white van’ driver involved in abducting people.

The other arrested person said he too served as a driver to transport 7,000 tons of gold from the LTTE’s gold mine to Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Two Persons Who Claimed to be “White Van Drivers” who Abducted Persons and Transported Dead Bodies and LTTE Gold in Their Vehicles at Press Conference Conducted by Dr.Rajitha Senaratne Arrested by CID for Questioning’ »

Suspension of Licenses for Sand Transport by New Govt Leads to Illegal Large-scale “Day and Night” Sandmining in all Five Northern Province Districts;Jaffna District MP Siddharthan Writes to President Rajapaksa Urging Him to Intervene Immediately

By Sandran Rubatheesan and Shaadya Ismail
J

Illegal sandmining has rapidly increased in the north on state and private land following the new government’s decision to suspend the licence system for sand transport, prompting a violent reaction from frustrated locals and a warning of public protests.

In all the five districts of the north, illegal sandmining is being carried out in broad daylight as well as at night, with local authorities and police reportedly turning a blind eye to the activity.

The government last week announced it would temporarily suspend the licence system for a week to thwart mafia groups that had been deriving huge profits from controlling the transport of sand and other construction materials.
Cabinet said it would review its decision in a week, saying it hoped its move would bring down the cost of building materials.

The licence system suspension has had unexpected repercussions, with reports that it has caused a sharp increase in illegal sandmining.

Continue reading ‘Suspension of Licenses for Sand Transport by New Govt Leads to Illegal Large-scale “Day and Night” Sandmining in all Five Northern Province Districts;Jaffna District MP Siddharthan Writes to President Rajapaksa Urging Him to Intervene Immediately’ »

‘Shoot First Ask Questions Later’ Policy of Philippines Strong Man Cum Populist President Rodrigo Duterte Dubbed as “Punisher” Has Not Yielded Good Results

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawrdene

In Manila this week, there are chilling reminders of how a ‘strongman’ President with a penchant for bad-mouthing those whom he dislikes and spearheading summary justice against alleged drug traffickers remains popular with his people despite all the hard evidence showing that the country has really not progressed under his rule. ‘We like him. He is not politically correct’ says a well known businesswoman in Metro-Manila, ‘He says things for what they are.’


Reality checks for ‘strongmen’

President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte revels in being referred to as the ‘Punisher’, a nickname that clung to him when, as mayor of Davao, he ‘cleaned’ the city by alleged complicity with vigilante justice. Squads of killers went around shooting anyone ‘associated’ with drug crimes, resulting unsurprisingly in the deaths of law abiding citizens. But this ominous label, rather than hindering him, actually helped to win a national vote of confidence.Upon being elected as President in 2016, his pugnacious attitude did not lessen but got stronger as he vowed that he would personally take the lives of drug users.

Some months ago, former President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena quoted this policy with approval, complaining that he was only constrained by the fact that the law did not permit such drastic steps here. But for the former President and others who cheer such asinine statements, a reality check is long overdue.

Studies have shown that the notorious ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ policy of the Filipino President have not yielded good results. On the contrary, as fiercely anti-Duterte parliamentarian (and as an aside, currently holding the directly elected post of Vice-President in an interesting constitutional curiosity), Leni Robredo reminded just weeks ago, the “killing of the innocent” must stop.

Continue reading ‘‘Shoot First Ask Questions Later’ Policy of Philippines Strong Man Cum Populist President Rodrigo Duterte Dubbed as “Punisher” Has Not Yielded Good Results’ »

Why is the Swiss Embassy Woman Employee’s Claim of being Abducted and Molested Being Refuted and Why is she Being Made the Target of a Witch Hunt?

By

Gamini Akmeemana

The saga of Garnier Banister Francis, the Swiss embassy employee who was allegedly abducted by unidentified men in Colombo and ‘forced to disclose embassy-related information’ under duress, could be likened to a soap opera but for its disturbing implications for all of us who like to live in a free state without fear of the ‘Big Brother’, a compliant, sycophant media, and other Orwellian nightmares.

In any democratic state with an independent law-and-order machinery, the police would be tasked to protect the abductee, and to find, arrest and charge the abductors. Precisely the opposite has happened. She seems to be undergoing a harrasment which has become a second, prolonged ordeal. So far, she has had to make statements at the CID headquarters four times and restrained by the law from leaving the country. The victim has become the hunted.

Continue reading ‘Why is the Swiss Embassy Woman Employee’s Claim of being Abducted and Molested Being Refuted and Why is she Being Made the Target of a Witch Hunt?’ »

“Exfiltration” of a Top Intelligence Chief From Sri Lanka to Switzerland and an “Abduction” Tale of a Swiss Embassy Employee in Colombo

By Tamara Kunanayakam
-former Ambassador/ Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the U.N. at Geneva


“If you know the enemy and know yourself,you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
Sun Tzu, The Art War, 5th Century BC

The recent dramatic events involving the Swiss Embassy came as a surprise to most Sri Lankans. Just as the large majority was looking ahead to a new era with a President they had just elected, a non politician with a simple lifestyle, yet determined, who they believed would be capable of returning to their lives, a sense of security, peace, economic development, the shot came from a quarter they least expected. From a small country in the Alps known for its neutrality, chocolate, cheese and snow capped mountains.

The context

To understand events and their significance, all things must be placed in their context. On 16 November, CID Inspector Nishantha Silva decamped without official permission to Switzerland and obtained asylum in that country. Only a week before, the Yahapalana regime, installed and virtually administered by the US in particular, was badly defeated. The new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received a clear mandate never to allow anyone to infringe upon the nation’s sovereignty or betray the country’s independence at the behest of any foreign power, to strengthen the domestic economy, and reject the infamous US-led Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by the Yahapalana government.

The months preceding his election had seen widespread opposition and public anger against secret defense agreements negotiated or signed with the United States – MCC, ACSA and SOFA – that implied a surrender of sovereignty and military occupation of the entire island, the loss of land and strategic resources, privatisation of public services and institutions, a mass displacement of population, the entanglement of Sri Lanka in wars with friendly nations in the region, and the threat to peace and security.

Continue reading ‘“Exfiltration” of a Top Intelligence Chief From Sri Lanka to Switzerland and an “Abduction” Tale of a Swiss Embassy Employee in Colombo’ »

Thirty -One State Institutions Including Police Dept, State Intelligence Service (SIS), Dept of Immigration and Emigration and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC) Brought Under Purview of Defence Ministry But No Cabinet Minister for Defence Appointed Due to 19th Amendment Barring President From Holding Portfolio

By Chandani Kirinde

Thirty-one State institutions including the Police Department, State Intelligence Service (SIS), Department of Immigration and Emigration, Department of Registration of Persons, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, as well as the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC), will come under the under the purview of the Defence Ministry, according to the subjects and functions Gazette issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday.

However, no Minister of Defence has been appointed so far, although Chamal Rajapaksa has been appointed as the State Minister for Defence and Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Kamal Gunaratne as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence.

Continue reading ‘Thirty -One State Institutions Including Police Dept, State Intelligence Service (SIS), Dept of Immigration and Emigration and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC) Brought Under Purview of Defence Ministry But No Cabinet Minister for Defence Appointed Due to 19th Amendment Barring President From Holding Portfolio’ »

Swiss Embassy Employee Incident: Centre for Policy Alternatives Expresses Concern That “certain public authorities and officers holding official positions have publicly accused the alleged victim of fabricating facts, despite ongoing investigations.”


The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) in a statement said it is deeply concerned with recent events in the aftermath of the incident in which an employee of the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka was allegedly abducted, sexually harassed, and questioned by unidentified persons regarding embassy related matters, on or about 27 November.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Embassy Employee Incident: Centre for Policy Alternatives Expresses Concern That “certain public authorities and officers holding official positions have publicly accused the alleged victim of fabricating facts, despite ongoing investigations.”’ »

Sri Lankan Govt May Not Politicize Beyond a Point the Swiss Embassy Employee “abduction” Case and the “threatening gesticulation” Case against Ex-Defence Attache Brig.Priyantha Fernando in the UK to Avoid Rupture in Relations With Switzerland and UK

By P.K.Balachandran

Given the tendency among Western nations and the Western media to sling mud at Sri Lanka, especially ahead of a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, the new Gotabaya Rajapaksa government has decided not to add grist to the anti-Lankan propaganda mill by politicizing the Swiss embassy “abduction” case and the “threatening gesticulation” case against Brig.Priyantha Fernando, former Defense Attache at the Lankan High Commission in the UK.

“The Swiss embassy matter is in the court. It is no longer a matter we can decide,” said a well-placed Lankan government source.

As regards the conviction of Brig.Fernando by a London Magistrate, government will go on appeal, sources said. The officer in question had diplomatic immunity, a fact the Magistrate had ignored, sources pointed out.

In a statement the government said that the case against Brig.Fernando was politically motivated.

Lankan Defense Secretary Gen. (rtd) Kamal Gunaratne told a meeting in Pannipitiya that the Swiss embassy had acted on behalf of the Tamil Diaspora.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt May Not Politicize Beyond a Point the Swiss Embassy Employee “abduction” Case and the “threatening gesticulation” Case against Ex-Defence Attache Brig.Priyantha Fernando in the UK to Avoid Rupture in Relations With Switzerland and UK’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Xinhua Interview Statement and Assertions by the Chinese side Indicate that the Re-negotiating of Hambantota Port Agreement with China as Stated by Gotabaya Rajapaksa Will Not Happen

By

P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has put a lid on the controversy over President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remark that his Government will re-negotiate the 2017 agreement with China over Hambantota port to gain greater control over it and reduce the lease period, which is now 99 years.

With the Prime Minister’s statement and formal assertions from the Chinese side, renegotiating the port deal is ruled out.

Mahinda told the Chinese news agency Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Saturday that President Gotabaya had been “quoted out of context.” Explaining, the Prime Minister said: “ The President didn’t mean there is any problem about sovereignty. What he meant was that our Government, unlike the previous one, has a principle of not privatising assets.”

He does not believe that Sri Lanka’s engagement with the China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) amounts to a “debt-trap” as portrayed by some Western media.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Xinhua Interview Statement and Assertions by the Chinese side Indicate that the Re-negotiating of Hambantota Port Agreement with China as Stated by Gotabaya Rajapaksa Will Not Happen’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has Appointed a Committee to Formulate Plan on How to Face Elections and Go Forward Says UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

The United National Party yesterday said that a committee appointed by Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will decide how to face the upcoming General Election and urged all party members to unite to move forward. “If everyone in the party speaks in one voice and if we go forward to the General Election together we can get the necessary 113 seats to form a government,” he claimed, pointing out that the people were more politically conscious and would vote against the Government if the UNP exposed their weaknesses.

“We are a democratic party and we should debate differences of opinion. However, there is a place to debate such opinions and once discussed and agreed upon we should speak in one voice,” the General Secretary said.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has Appointed a Committee to Formulate Plan on How to Face Elections and Go Forward Says UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam’ »

Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma Appearing for Woman Employee of Swiss Embassy Who Was Allegedly Abducted by Unknown Persons Tells Court That His Client was Checked by Foreign and Local Doctors and that Two Doctors Have Mentioned in their Medical Report that the Victim Had Been Sexually Abused and Assauted

BY
Shavini Madhara

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayarathne yesterday extended the travel ban imposed on Swiss Embassy employee who was allegedly threatened and kidnapped by a group of unidentified men, from leaving the country till December 12.

When the case was taken up before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court, the Magistrate also issued an order directing the Judicial Medical Officer to submit a medical report pertaining to whether the alleged victim had been assaulted, sexually harassed or not?

The Criminal Investigations Department informed court that the alleged victim arrived at the Criminal Investigations Department on Sunday (December 8) at 2.30 p.m to give a statement regarding her abduction.The CID also stated that they directed the alleged victim to the Judicial Medical Officer for a medical examination.

Continue reading ‘Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma Appearing for Woman Employee of Swiss Embassy Who Was Allegedly Abducted by Unknown Persons Tells Court That His Client was Checked by Foreign and Local Doctors and that Two Doctors Have Mentioned in their Medical Report that the Victim Had Been Sexually Abused and Assauted’ »

“I have handed over the task of handling Parliament affairs to the Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa who has been named as the Leader of the Opposition,” States UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe


United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday pledged new faces would get nominations at the upcoming General Elections as the second tier leadership of the party gets more authority while parliamentary affairs will be handled by Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa.

Wickremesinghe made the comments addressing the UNP Youth Wing members at the party headquarters Sirikotha. “I have handed over the task of handling Parliament affairs to the Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa who has been named as the Leader of the Opposition,” he said, pointing out that it was time to think of the party’s future.

Continue reading ‘“I have handed over the task of handling Parliament affairs to the Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa who has been named as the Leader of the Opposition,” States UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Thirty -Two New State Ministry Secretaries Receive Letters of Appointment From Secretary to the President Dr.P. B. Jayasundara

Thirty-two new State Ministry Secretaries received their letter of appointments from the Secretary to the President Dr. P.B.Jaysundara at the President secretariate on Monday December 9th evening.

The new State Ministry Secretaries are;

1 Mr. S. H. Harischandra State Ministry of Water Supply Facilities
2 Prof. Ranjith Dissanayake State Ministry of Urban Development
3 Mr. S. Senanayake State Ministry of Irrigation and Rural Development
4 Mr. M. C. L. Rodrigo State Ministry of Land and Land Development
5 Ms. S. H. A. N. D. Abeyratne State Ministry of Economic and Policy Development
6 Mr. B. K. S. Ravindra State Ministry of Public Administration and Local Government
7 Mr.D. A. W. Wanigasooriya State Ministry of Railway Services
8 Prof. Sunanda Madduma Bandara State Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
9 Ms.D. S. Wijesekara State Ministry of Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development

Continue reading ‘Thirty -Two New State Ministry Secretaries Receive Letters of Appointment From Secretary to the President Dr.P. B. Jayasundara’ »

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Extends Until December 12th the Travel Ban Imposed Sri Lankan Woman Employee of Swiss Embassy in Colombo.

The order barring the female Sri Lankan employee attached to the Swiss Embassy in Colombo from leaving the country was yesterday extended till December 12 by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne.

Last week Jayaratne issued an order barring the Swiss Embassy employee from leaving the country without giving a statement to the CID. The employee reported to the CID on Sunday afternoon, but declined to undergo a medical examination in the absence of a female doctor, though two nurses were available.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Extends Until December 12th the Travel Ban Imposed Sri Lankan Woman Employee of Swiss Embassy in Colombo.’ »

President Gotabaya Issues Directive That All Persoms Including MP’s and Ministers Who want to Use VIP Terminal at Katunayake International Airport Must Pay 1000 US Dollars Says Dilan Perera.

by Anura Balasuriya

Ministers and MPs would have to pay USD 1,000 if they wanted to use the VIP terminal of the Bandaranaike International Airport, MP Dilan Perera said yesterday. He said that the relevant circular had already been issued and it was a common practice in other countries.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Issues Directive That All Persoms Including MP’s and Ministers Who want to Use VIP Terminal at Katunayake International Airport Must Pay 1000 US Dollars Says Dilan Perera.’ »

Swiss Embassy Woman Employee Accompanied by Two Swiss Embassy Officials and Two Lawyers Appears Before CID in Colombo and Provides Five Hour Long Statement

By Chandani Kirinde

The Swiss Embassy employee who claims she was forcibly detained and threatened by a group of unidentified persons in order to obtain embassy-related information from her gave a five-hour statement to the CID last evening.

She was accompanied by two Swiss Embassy officials and two lawyers, Daily FT learns.

Her statement came hours before a Court order given by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne to make a statement to the Police was to lapse.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Embassy Woman Employee Accompanied by Two Swiss Embassy Officials and Two Lawyers Appears Before CID in Colombo and Provides Five Hour Long Statement’ »

Swiss Embassy Staffer Incident Must be one of the Strangest Games of Diplomatic Brinkmanship to be Played out in This Country,

By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

In what must surely be one of the strangest games of diplomatic brinkmanship to be played out in this country, the Swiss Embassy in Colombo demands an investigation into an alleged ‘abduction’ of one of its local employees. The new government of Sri Lanka – barely ten days into office – having immediately ordered a probe into the incident, is in a quandary.

An official statement on the embassy website however claims that the mission is “fully cooperating with the Sri Lanka authorities.”

That statement, dated Nov. 29, says the mission had “immediately” lodged a formal complaint with the Lankan authorities. But the Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its press release of Nov. 28 said it was informed of the alleged abduction on Nov. 27. It is arguable whether two days late can be considered ‘immediate.’ In the interim, several news reports damaging to the image of the country and its new government appeared in the media, citing Swiss officials plus a lot of hearsay.

The embassy statement says: “On November 25, 2019, a serious security incident involving a local employee of the Embassy of Switzerland in Colombo occurred. The employee was detained against her will in the street, forced to get into a car, seriously threatened at length by unidentified men and forced in order to disclose embassy-related information.”

Continue reading ‘Swiss Embassy Staffer Incident Must be one of the Strangest Games of Diplomatic Brinkmanship to be Played out in This Country,’ »

India’s National Investigation Agency Files Charge Sheet Against Two Suspected Islamic State Operatives in Tamil Nadu Who Were Followers of Sri Lankan Jihadist Leader Zahran Hashim and had Disseminated his Speeches Supporting Jihadist Violence

The National Investigation Agency on Saturday filed a charge sheet against two Islamic State operatives including the leader of the outfit’s Coimbatore module – Mohammed Azarudeen and his associate – Sheikh Hidayatullah, who were in touch with the April 21 Sri Lanka bombings mastermind – Maulvi Zahran bin Hashim and were planning to carry out similar strikes in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Hindustan Times reported.

NIA spokesperson Inspector General Alok Mittal said, “It has been established that Mohammed Azarudeen and Sheikh Hidayatullah had been propagating the violent extremist ideology of ISIS/ Daish since 2017 with the intention of recruiting their associates in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, into the proscribed organization for furthering its activities in India.”

Continue reading ‘India’s National Investigation Agency Files Charge Sheet Against Two Suspected Islamic State Operatives in Tamil Nadu Who Were Followers of Sri Lankan Jihadist Leader Zahran Hashim and had Disseminated his Speeches Supporting Jihadist Violence’ »

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry States Former Defence Attache Brig.Priyanka Fernando Was Entitled to Diplomatic Immunity and Describes the Sequence of Events in Case and Timing of Judgement Against Him as a “Politically Motivated Action”

Foreign Ministry maintains Brigadier Fernando entitled to diplomatic immunity
The Foreign Ministry yesterday said that the sequence of events concerning the case of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando in the UK including the timing of the judgment showed it was a “politically motivated action”.

Releasing a statement following the judgement in the case of Majuran Sathananthan vs. Brigadier Andige Priyanka Indunil Fernando, the trial of which was completed at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 19 November, which was delivered by the Chief Magistrate of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court last Friday, the Foreign Ministry said it maintained the position that the Brigadier was entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry States Former Defence Attache Brig.Priyanka Fernando Was Entitled to Diplomatic Immunity and Describes the Sequence of Events in Case and Timing of Judgement Against Him as a “Politically Motivated Action”’ »

The Beautification Project of Painting Murals on City Walls Will Literally Shrink The Public Space Available For Political Dissent Captured in Posters Advertising a Rally, Play, Movement, Gathering, Film or Lecture.

By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

If a key political actor or set of allied actors wanted to secure more power, all the while appearing not to be interested in it, how could one go about it? Lessons of 2018 suggest that unconstitutional means don’t secure public support, or at the very least, risk generating swathes of support for political opponents through valid claims of authoritarian overreach. Rigging an election is increasingly hard to get away with through traditional, physical means of ballot-box stuffing, voter intimidation or manipulating the count. If and when done, these acts in their aggregate are recorded, shared and blemish the electoral outcome, again creating enduring doubts around legitimacy that can hound those in power.

Sri Lanka’s extremely manual and labour intensive electoral processes is a powerful defence against digital manipulation of results, through more automated or digital voting architectures. Killing political opponents cannot be ruled out but is risky in a context where a botched operation, telegenic survivor or charismatic next of kin can lead to the exposure, embarrassment of military or political architects. Propaganda, from the State or government praising itself, after decades of the worst sort, has limited traction amongst first, second or third time voters since 2015, numbering in the millions.

If the avowed aim of a political actor is to varying degrees pegged to technocracy, self-effacement and meritocracy, regime entrenchment and the masking of more brutish, base authoritarian tendencies becomes even harder – nepotism shows, violence is easily captured and shared, renewed large-scale corruption risks public censure, rewarding the same old faces results in pushback from core constituencies whose anger, alienation or apathy can be difficult to tackle in the aggregate.

If in tandem, the attempt is to visually and in practice distinguish the new government and presidency from those closely related who have held significant political authority in the past, the same tactics as yesteryear cannot be employed. Capturing political authority, regime entrenchment and authoritarianism projected to be perceived as benign or benevolent requires a very different kind of political communications strategy, where the co-architects of democratic decay are voters themselves.

What would that look like?

Continue reading ‘The Beautification Project of Painting Murals on City Walls Will Literally Shrink The Public Space Available For Political Dissent Captured in Posters Advertising a Rally, Play, Movement, Gathering, Film or Lecture.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cabinet Paper to Set Up Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry to Investigate Conduct of Govt Officials Under Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Regime Has Sinister Implications

By
KIshali Pinto Jayawardene

The presenting of a Cabinet Paper by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa this week, proposing the establishment of a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCOI), under the SPCOI Law (1978) to investigate government officials who had conducted ‘witch hunts’ of other public officials during the time of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition Government as well as ‘third parties’ who had driven those investigations, has sinister implications that must be recognised in all their gravity.

Legendary and frightening use of the SPCOI law

It is routine, of course, that with every change of government in power, inquiries are made into ‘political victimisations’ during the period of its predecessor. But this move, predicated on the activation of a highly critiqued and long dormant law, spells something different in its intent. If the Rajapaksa brothers, back in power in Sri Lanka, are to hold true to their promise during the election campaign that there will not be ‘revenge politics,’this proposal must surely be reconsidered. For the use of the SPCOI law is testimony to the exact opposite intent of what was professed with dewy-eyed solemnity on the ‘Pohottuwa’ election stage.

To be clear at the outset, the SPCOI law is not to be confused with its far more innocent cousin, the Commissions of Inquiry Act (COI Act, 1948) under which many of the bodies to look into various instances of fraud and corruption were appointed in recent years, including into the now infamous Central Bank bond ‘scam.’

Assessed purely by a legal yardstick, the SPCOI law is highly problematic for various reasons as would be examined later in these column spaces. Its use as a political instrument of revenge by various Governments in Sri Lanka’s history is legendary and frightening.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cabinet Paper to Set Up Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry to Investigate Conduct of Govt Officials Under Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Regime Has Sinister Implications’ »

35 Years After Rosy Senanayake Became the First “Mrs.World” in Australia, Another Sri Lankan Caroline Jurie is Crowned “Mrs. World” at Beauty Pageant in Las Vegas, USA.

Caroline Jurie from Sri Lanka has been crowned Mrs World at a pageant held in Las Vegas USA on December 06, more than three decades after Rosie Seanayake won a similar title.

Caroline Jurie

Rosy Senanayake

“I’m so honored to share my heritage and culture on the global stage,” she said in facebook.com post made shortly before the final show started.

Continue reading ‘35 Years After Rosy Senanayake Became the First “Mrs.World” in Australia, Another Sri Lankan Caroline Jurie is Crowned “Mrs. World” at Beauty Pageant in Las Vegas, USA.’ »

“I support President Rajapaksa because he is the right person to lead our country. He is a clever person who will carry out reforms, strike a different path, improve lives and do the right thing” Says Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan in Interview to “Hindustan Times”

By
Padma Rao Sundarji

Sri Lankan cricket star Muttiah Muralitharan spoke to Hindustan Times Padma Rao Sundarji over phone from Colombo, dismissing reports that he was offered the post of governor of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province

Q: Can you confirm media reports that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has offered you – and you have accepted – the vacant post of Governor of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province (NP) ?

A: No, it is a rumour that was first floated on Facebook. I was not offered that post and in any case have made it clear that I am not interested in politics. I am a sportsman, a cricket player, not a politician. My Foundation for Goodness has already been helping 60000 fellow citizens every year. If the country wants me to help in any specific way through our Foundation, there is no question, of course I will help improve lives in any way I can.

Continue reading ‘“I support President Rajapaksa because he is the right person to lead our country. He is a clever person who will carry out reforms, strike a different path, improve lives and do the right thing” Says Ace Cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan in Interview to “Hindustan Times”’ »

One May Legitimately Ask President Gotabhaya Whether Moving Out Shani Abeysekera no Sooner than he Assumed Power Could be Called ‘Arbitrary’ Too?

By Gamini Gunawardane
Rtd. Snr. DIG

I write this piece in great sadness. But I must because if I do not, I feel I would failing in my duty as an former policeman.

I am sad for the independence of the Police, Independent Police Commission and the newly elected President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. We were watching his first steps as President with great admiration which even won the appreciation of many of his adversaries too. I am sad for him because this move appears to be the first botch in his impeccable record as President so far. After all he is human. To err is human.

I am sad for the Independent Police Commission because they appear to have meekly surrendered to political dictates in this instance. We are disappointed because they seem to have compromised their independence to ensure which that institution was created. Of course, we have to concede that they contributed to ensure an even playing field by not permitting the usual politically initiated pre-election transfers of OICs. But in hind sight, it may be more due to the fiercely independent Election Commission. Thus, in this instance the Independent Police Commission has failed the Police and also let down the public with whose funds they are maintained. Had they resisted the presidential dictate they may have lost their jobs. Well, that is the risk of their jobs! This Commission was not created to be another rubber stamp for the government. On the contrary they were expected to be the mechanism to insulate the police from political interference in their work.

Continue reading ‘One May Legitimately Ask President Gotabhaya Whether Moving Out Shani Abeysekera no Sooner than he Assumed Power Could be Called ‘Arbitrary’ Too?’ »

“Despite President Gotabaya’s Correct Rhetoric after Assuming Office, he has to show that he is Capable of Carrying all Sections of Society to Progress in a Safe Environment”

By

Col R Hariharan

The election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President with a clear majority of 52.25% votes, 10.25% more than polled by his younger rival Sajith Premadasa of the ruling United Nationalist Party (UNP), tells many things. Sinhala majority has voted Rajapaksa clan back to power with a strong mandate; on the flip side, minority community votes mostly in favour did not help Sajith win.

With the consolidation of Sinhala majority in favour of President Gotabaya is likely to further delay the ethnic reconciliation process; it was never seriously taken up by both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sirisena governments, during the last ten years of peace. In other words, ethnic polarization is here to stay.

Continue reading ‘“Despite President Gotabaya’s Correct Rhetoric after Assuming Office, he has to show that he is Capable of Carrying all Sections of Society to Progress in a Safe Environment”’ »

Former Defence Attache at Sri Lankan High Commission in London Brig. Priyanka Fernando Found Guilty Over his “Throat Cutting Gesture” Offence and Fined by Westminster Magistrates Court

Former Defence Attaché at Sri Lankan High Commission in London Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was found guilty at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court today for committing public order offences over the ‘throat slitting gesture’ in London, 2018.

The Brigadier displayed a warning during a demonstration by LTTE activists in front of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on February 4, 2018. The incident led to controversy, with pressure for the removal of the Brigadier from office.

Continue reading ‘Former Defence Attache at Sri Lankan High Commission in London Brig. Priyanka Fernando Found Guilty Over his “Throat Cutting Gesture” Offence and Fined by Westminster Magistrates Court’ »

Colombo Chief Magistrate Orders Seven TV Institutions to Submit Unedited Clips of Video Footage of Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s Press Conference about Swiss Embassy Abduction Incident to CID.

By

Nimanthi Ranasinghe

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday ordered seven electronic media institutions to hand over the unedited clips of the video footage of the news conference held by former Minister MP Rajitha Senaratne on the alleged abduction of the Swiss Embassy employee to the OIC of the Investigation Unit of the CID.

The CID informed the court that investigations had been launched into the remarks made by the former Minister about the current condition of the Sri Lanka Switzerland Embassy staff member who was said to have been allegedly abducted.

This information was revealed by a submission by the CID Chief Inspector Ranjith Munasinghe to the court.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Chief Magistrate Orders Seven TV Institutions to Submit Unedited Clips of Video Footage of Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s Press Conference about Swiss Embassy Abduction Incident to CID.’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Proposes Sajith Premadasa as Leader of the Opposition; Parliament to Formally Accept Sajith as Opposition Leader on Jan 3rd 2020

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday proposed Sajith Premadasa as the Opposition Leader while putting off final decision on the party leadership. The UNP parliamentary group reached a consensus on the post of the Opposition Leader at Sirikotha.

Earlier, Sajith Premadasa loyalists demanded both positions-Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the party.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Proposes Sajith Premadasa as Leader of the Opposition; Parliament to Formally Accept Sajith as Opposition Leader on Jan 3rd 2020’ »

“Since Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne Seems to Know Details About the Swiss Embassy Staffer Incident It Has Become Necessary to Record a Statement From Him “Says Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Ramesh Pathirana.

By
Nadira Gunatilleke

The Government has made a request to record a statement from former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne in connection with the details he revealed about so called ‘abduction’ of a local employee attached to the Swiss Embassy in Sri Lanka, Plantations and Export Agriculture Minister and Co-Cabinet spokesman Dr.Ramesh Pathirana said.

Continue reading ‘“Since Former Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne Seems to Know Details About the Swiss Embassy Staffer Incident It Has Become Necessary to Record a Statement From Him “Says Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Ramesh Pathirana.’ »

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Briefs all Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Their Representatives of the Govt’s Position on the Swiss Embassy Staffer Incident: Reiterates that Inquiries Done by CID so Far Contradict Information Given to Swiss Envoy by Alleged Victim and Emphasises Importance of Hearing From Her Directly.


By Chandani Kirinde

The Government yesterday assured security for the employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo who is at the centre of a diplomatic row between Sri Lanka and Switzerland, and urged her to make a statement on her alleged forceful detention by a group of unidentified persons, so that investigations into the matter can be concluded speedily.

“We have conveyed to the Swiss Ambassador that the Government will guarantee her protection as well as of her relatives, but she is not available in any place to be given protection. We have assured her protection, and she must come and make the complaint or a statement, without which it is difficult to fully investigate the alleged incident,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena said.

The Minister briefed the media last evening on the investigations into the incident involving a local staff member of the Swiss Embassy, who was allegedly detained against her will and threated by a group of unidentified persons on the evening of 25 November.

Earlier in the day, the Minister also briefed all Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and their representatives on the investigations into the alleged incident, and assured the foreign envoys on the Government’s commitment to fully investigate the matter.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Briefs all Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Their Representatives of the Govt’s Position on the Swiss Embassy Staffer Incident: Reiterates that Inquiries Done by CID so Far Contradict Information Given to Swiss Envoy by Alleged Victim and Emphasises Importance of Hearing From Her Directly.’ »

Addl Solicitor – General Parinda Ranasinghe Informs Colombo Special High Court-at-Barthat the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka has Requested the Singapore Govt to Extradite Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to Sri Lanka.

by Chitra Weerarathne

Additional Solicitor General Parinda Ranasinghe, President’s Counsel, yesterday informed the Colombo Special High Court-at-Bar, that the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka had requested the government of Singapore to extradite Arjuna Mahendran to Sri Lanka.

Mahendran is the a former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

The Presidential Commission, which investigated the Central Bank bond scams, has said that Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Aloysius, Kasun Palisena and seven others, were at fault over the Rs. 16 billion loss caused to the state due to bond scams.

Continue reading ‘Addl Solicitor – General Parinda Ranasinghe Informs Colombo Special High Court-at-Barthat the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka has Requested the Singapore Govt to Extradite Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to Sri Lanka.’ »

12 Persons Charged with Raising Funds for LTTE in Switzerland From 1999 to 2009 Acquitted After Ruling by Swiss Federal Court that the Tamil Tigers are not a Criminal Organization


The Swiss Federal Court has ruled that the Tamil Tigers are not a criminal organisation and has acquitted 12 people of charges filed by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

In its indictment, the OAG had accused the people of violating the Swiss Penal Code by raising funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) between 1999 and 2009. After its nine-year investigation, the OAG suspected the accused of financially supporting the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC).

Continue reading ‘12 Persons Charged with Raising Funds for LTTE in Switzerland From 1999 to 2009 Acquitted After Ruling by Swiss Federal Court that the Tamil Tigers are not a Criminal Organization’ »

Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs State Secretary Ms. Pascale Baeriswy Summons Lankan Envoy to Switzerland Based in Berlin Karunasena Hettiarachchi Over the Colombo Incident “to explain the purported evidence against the events described by the embassy which the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs had alluded to in its press release”


(Text of a Press Release Issued by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on 02.12.2019)

Following several demarches from the FDFA over the incident concerning an employee of the Swiss embassy in Colombo, State Secretary Pascale Baeriswyl has received the Sri Lankan ambassador to Switzerland based in Berlin, Karunasena Hettiarachchi, in Bern.

Ms Baeriswyl confirmed at the meeting that Switzerland supports measures to investigate and settle this matter by due process of law.

However, the employee concerned still cannot be questioned on health grounds.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs State Secretary Ms. Pascale Baeriswy Summons Lankan Envoy to Switzerland Based in Berlin Karunasena Hettiarachchi Over the Colombo Incident “to explain the purported evidence against the events described by the embassy which the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs had alluded to in its press release”’ »

“Islamist Terrorism has Become a Global Issue. It is not Specific to India or Sri Lanka. Every Country is Threatened. The Only way to Tackle it is to be very Conscious of it. Our Govt has to be Aware and Give it Top Priority, Especially on the Intelligence Side” – President Gotabaya In Interview to “Hindustan Times”.

By
Padma Rao Sundarji

Newly elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says the island nation and India should put behind them the misunderstandings of the past and move ahead. In an interview with Padma Rao Sundarji, Rajapaksa said: “We genuinely want to strengthen our relationship. I have always said that we don’t want to do anything which will jeopardise the security of India or act against the concerns of India in any way. This is genuine.”

Edited excerpts:

President Rajapaksa, when you spoke briefly to the cameras after taking the Guard of Honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday, you said your expectations from your first official visit to India were very high. You are about to leave now. Were they fulfilled?

The entire experience was very good, especially the one-on-one discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I am very happy with the outcome. There were a lot of misunderstandings on both sides during the end of my brother Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency. Now, we have to put those behind and move forward. And with PM Modi, I think it is possible. I came to know that he is a very practical person, so he will understand our needs. We genuinely want to strengthen our relationship.

I have always said that we don’t want to do anything which will jeopardise the security of India or, act against the concerns of India in any way. We also want to be a neutral country and not get involved in world power rivalries. We are small, so we don’t want to get in the middle. But strategically, of course the Indian Ocean has become very important. And geographically, Sri Lanka is especially positioned at a very crucial location because of sea lanes which pass close to it. We have always have said that the Indian Ocean must be a zone of peace. We will do whatever we can to keep it that way.

Continue reading ‘“Islamist Terrorism has Become a Global Issue. It is not Specific to India or Sri Lanka. Every Country is Threatened. The Only way to Tackle it is to be very Conscious of it. Our Govt has to be Aware and Give it Top Priority, Especially on the Intelligence Side” – President Gotabaya In Interview to “Hindustan Times”.’ »

Does the Chinese Embassy Statement Disseminated by “Xinhua” Effectively Mean that China will not Agree to Renegotiate the 2017 Agreement on Hambantotaa Port as Desired by the New Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa?

China claims that Sri Lanka has agreed to develop the Hambantota port and other on-going China-assisted projects as per the “existing consensus,”, thus virtually opting out of a bid to renegotiate the controversial 2017 agreement on the Hambantota port which had leased it out to China for 99-years.

A Chinese embassy statement, put out by Xinhua on Monday, said that during the visit to Colombo of Wu Jianghao, representative of the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday and Monday, China and Sri Lanka had agreed to speed up the implementation of cooperation on big economic projects, including the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port, “under the existing consensus”.

The statement added that on the basis of the existing consensus, the two countries will “draw up and promote a new blueprint for future cooperation.”

Continue reading ‘Does the Chinese Embassy Statement Disseminated by “Xinhua” Effectively Mean that China will not Agree to Renegotiate the 2017 Agreement on Hambantotaa Port as Desired by the New Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa?’ »

Chinese special envoy Wu Jianghao Has High Level Meeting With President Gotabaya:Sri Lanka and China agreed to “speed up the implementation of the big economic projects, including the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port according to existing consensus” says Communique

China and Sri Lanka yesterday agreed to speed up the implementation of large-scale projects and draw up a “new blueprint” for future cooperation following high-level meetings between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Chinese special envoy Wu Jianghao.

The large-scale projects will also focus on the Colombo Port City project and the Hambantota Port venture.

A Chinese delegation headed by former Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Wu Jianghao, as the representative of State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other embassy officials called on President Rajapaksa. He also met with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday as well as Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Following the meeting with President Rajapaksa, the Chinese embassy in a statement said that both parties agreed to further strengthen the “robust political trust between” both countries.

Continue reading ‘Chinese special envoy Wu Jianghao Has High Level Meeting With President Gotabaya:Sri Lanka and China agreed to “speed up the implementation of the big economic projects, including the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port according to existing consensus” says Communique’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Prorogues Parliament Under Article 70 of Constitution: He will Declare Commencement of New Session on Jan 3 2020 and Deliver Govt Policy Statement

By Chandani Kirinde

As exclusively reported by Daily FT yesterday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa prorogued Parliament last night and fixed 3 January 2020 for the start of the new session of the Legislature.

The session of Parliament will commence at 10 a.m., the Gazette notification giving notice of the prorogation said.

The President prorogued Parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution and he is empowered to make a Statement of Government Policy at the commencement of each Session of Parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of Parliament.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Prorogues Parliament Under Article 70 of Constitution: He will Declare Commencement of New Session on Jan 3 2020 and Deliver Govt Policy Statement’ »

President Gotabaya Spearheads the Return of Ruhunu Rajapaksas

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The 2019 Presidential election is over and Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected as the seventh executive president of Sri Lanka with a thumping majority. The result seems to have upset the calculations and predictions of many a commentator and analyst writing in English both in Sri Lanka and abroad. It has indeed been amusing to see some of them “blaming” the voters for going against the grain of their assessments. What they fail to realise is that the fault, if it could be termed that , was theirs alone and should not be attributed to the voters. It was the so called political pundits – including many with impressive academic credentials – who erred in gauging the voting trends in this election.

Swearing in the 7th Executive President of Sri Lanka – pic via: @RajapaksaNamal

I was also the recipient of several messages (this goes with the territory) conveyed through telephone, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook criticizing some aspects of my previous two- part article appearing in the “Daily Mirror” of 19 October 2019 titled “Gotaphobia’ Who’s afraid of Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa? and its sequel in the 02 November 2019 Daily Mirror under the heading “Presidential Race:Ordinary People expect better economic prospects and National Security”.
Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Spearheads the Return of Ruhunu Rajapaksas’ »