Sandya Ekneligoda Has Been Facing Harassment and Intimidation After Her Tormentor in Court Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero Was Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment.

By

Indunil Usgoda Arachchi

After the sentencing of Galagodaththe Gnansara Thera to six months rigorous imprisonment for criminal intimidation earlier this month, his victim Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of missing journalist, Prageeth Ekneligoda has been facing harassment and intimidation, largely via social media networks.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer, Sandya Ekneligoda complained about receiving continuous death threats and daily abuse through Facebook messages.

“Without knowing the real situation or the facts of the case, people are mentally tormenting me and my children,” said the mother of two, who has been struggling to find the whereabouts of her husband since January 2010. Sandya says Facebook messages from unknown users have been pouring in since judgment was given on the criminal intimidation case this month.

Continue reading ‘Sandya Ekneligoda Has Been Facing Harassment and Intimidation After Her Tormentor in Court Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero Was Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment.’ »

Without Determined Leadership It Is Uncertain Whether Sri Lanka Will Survive, Even in its Flawed Republic- State

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

On a visit to Myanmar last year, reputed Buddhist lay leaders who disapproved of incendiary anti-minority rhetoric engaged in by nationalist monk U Wirathu, were emphatic in their conversations with me that, ‘making him a martyr of the State’ would be the best possible media boost that he could get.

‘Marginalising him is a far better way to dilute the messages of hate that he preaches’ they opined. That was just prior to Myanmar’s State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee prohibiting him from speaking for one year after determining that his statements had the potential to cause hatred and riots in the country.


Dangers of rabble-rousing rhetoric

That ban had little effect however as the monk continued his tirades, speaking of ‘marauding” Muslims even as the Rakhine people fled the country in what is now ranked as among the worst humanitarian crises of the decade. Surrounded by young men dressed in white and speaking softly in an odd contrast to the dark menace of what was articulated, he went on to label his critics as “terrorists”, openly mocking attempts to rein him in. Earlier this year, the one year ban lapsed but his followers had increased.

Where rabble-rousing religious rhetoric is concerned, some aspects of Myanmar’s turbulence are evidenced in Sri Lanka though there are noticeable departures. Up to this point at least, the Buddhist populace in Sri Lanka has kept both its good sense and its maturity by rejecting inflammatory outbursts of mischief makers. It is hoped that the same equanimity would prevail in regard to the antics of the Bodu Bala Sena outside the Homagama Magistrate’s Court.

Continue reading ‘Without Determined Leadership It Is Uncertain Whether Sri Lanka Will Survive, Even in its Flawed Republic- State’ »

Asgiriya Anunayake Thero’ Comparing Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Adolf Hitler Has Seriously Undermined Ex -Def Secy’s Bid To Become President of Sri Lanka.

A senior Buddhist monk counselling former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to emulate Hitler and establish a military dictatorship may have seriously hurt his bid for the presidency, according to close associates.

A chief priest of the Asgiriya chapter, Vendaruwe Upali, blessed Rajapaksa on his 69th birthday Wednesday by urging him to follow the German dictator Hitler and take over the country even if it means establishing military rule.

The monk, delivering a sermon at the private home of Rajapaksa, prayed that the youngest among the Rajapaksa siblings should be the next leader of Sri Lanka as the country needed a “Sinhala Buddhist leader.”

Continue reading ‘Asgiriya Anunayake Thero’ Comparing Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Adolf Hitler Has Seriously Undermined Ex -Def Secy’s Bid To Become President of Sri Lanka.’ »

“Asking Gotabhaya To ‘Be a Hitler’ is the Most Dangerous and Morally Debased Public Statement I Have Ever Heard Uttered In This Country” -Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I was more alarmed by what I saw and heard on TV news last evening than by anything I have seen or heard in the Sri Lankan media throughout my life. What I saw and heard was the most dangerous and morally debased public statement, i.e. a statement made in public and concerning public, not private affairs, I have ever heard uttered in this country. It would be the most dangerous public statement that could be uttered in any country in the world.

While it was on TV news on two channels, I need to reproduce fairly, what happened. This is how Lanka C news, a website sympathetic to the occasion, filed the story on June 20th with a slightly embellished title.

“Become a Hitler, even establish a military rule and build the country, request the Prelates of the three Chapters, of Gotabhaya”. The story reads:

‘The Anunayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven Vedaruvey Upali thero said that he requests former Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to even resort to becoming a Hitler and run a military rule and build the country. He said this at the religious ceremony and alms giving held on the 69th birthday of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at his residence in Mirihana.

A group of Bhikkhus representing the Three Chapters, attended the occasion. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Chamal Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa—[thus] all the Rajapaksa brothers—attended the occasion. In addition, most of the group of Sixteen who left the government were also present.’ (Lankac news, June 20th 2018)
Continue reading ‘“Asking Gotabhaya To ‘Be a Hitler’ is the Most Dangerous and Morally Debased Public Statement I Have Ever Heard Uttered In This Country” -Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka.’ »

Ven.Venduruwe Upali Thero Said Gotabhaya Must Become a “Hitler Like” Leader of Sri Lanka In the Presence of Rajapaksa Siblings Mahinda, Chamal and Basil.

A top Buddhist monk has asked Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to become another “ Hitler” who is known to have killed up to six million Jews in the Holocaust.

A chief priest of the Asgiriya chapter, Venduruwe Upali, blessed Rajapaksa on his 69th birthday Wednesday by encouraging him to return to power and “rebuild the country” even if it means establishing military rule.

The monk, delivering a sermon at the private home of Rajapaksa, prayed that the youngest among the Rajapaksa siblings should be the next leader of Sri Lanka as the country needed a “Sinhala Buddhist leader.”

Continue reading ‘Ven.Venduruwe Upali Thero Said Gotabhaya Must Become a “Hitler Like” Leader of Sri Lanka In the Presence of Rajapaksa Siblings Mahinda, Chamal and Basil.’ »

“Do Not Jeopardize The Lives Of Web Journalists Under The Pretext Of National Security”- National Movement of web Journalists

(Text of Press Release Issued by National Movement of web Journalists )

The national movement for web journalists strongly urges the president, prime minister and the responsible stakeholders in the government to immediately cease the effort taken to put the lives of web journalists into risk in disguise of national security.

According to reports the Criminal Investigation Department has started an investigation about news published in the Dinamina and Lakbima newspapers dated May 25th of this year regarding the steps taken by the security forces for the commemoration of the national heroic day in north and east during the month of May. By doing this the CID has put the lives of two journalists at stake by taking personal information’s of these two journalists who edited the news.

The CID has forwarded a letter requesting names and addresses of the journalists, seeking investigation regarding a news published last May 25th in the Lakbima newspaper editors Lasantha Weerakulassoriya and Gayathri Gingangarachchi under the caption “security on alert,splitting the country, president and the prime minister instructs”

The CID has further requested the names of the persons who allowed to publish the news and demanded a certified copy of the news. Although the names of the journalists have been published with the news, it’s
skeptical why the CID is requesting the names and personal information of those journalists once again.

Continue reading ‘“Do Not Jeopardize The Lives Of Web Journalists Under The Pretext Of National Security”- National Movement of web Journalists’ »

Mervyn De Silva’s Political Ideas and Values

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

19TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY June 22nd

Mervyn de Silva

“Mervyn’s career as a journalist, as a literary critic, as a satirist, as a political commentator, as a broadcaster, both within the country and abroad, is without peer, either before or since and is not likely to be equaled for a long time to come, if at all.”
—Neville Jayaweera, The Island, Sept 8th 2002


“…Mervyn revealed dimensions to his personality in which there was a strong romantic strain. He had a feel for the heroic, the courageous, the brave and brainy anti-authoritarian protagonist.”

—P. Duleepkumar, Sunday Times, Sept 5th 1999

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

The volume entitled ‘TITO in the World Press: On the Occasion of the 80th Birthday’ was published by the Yugoslav review Borba.

The opening contribution to the volume published in 1972 in Belgrade was by Abraham Guillen, writing in the newspaper Marcha, in Uruguay. Guillen, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, was known as the ‘counselor’ and ‘strategist’ of the legendary Uruguayan urban guerrilla group, the Tupamaros, of which President Mujica was a leader as a young man and comrade-in-arms of the movement’s founder Raul Sendic.

The article on page 14 of the volume was by the most legendary journalist of the Arab world, Mohamed Hassanein Heykal of Egypt, writing in the famous paper he edited, Al Ahram.

Nikolai Podgorny, the President of the USSR was another contributor, writing in Pravda.

Luigi Longo, a founder member with Antonio Gramsci and Palomiro Togliatti and later, General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party and partisan fighter against Mussolini’s fascism contributed a piece on Tito to l’Unita.

One of the most famous Western journalists of the post war 20th century, CL Sulzberger contributed his piece in the pages of the New York Times, of course.

On page 30 of the volume is the editorial bearing the name Mervyn de Silva and appearing in the Daily News, Sri Lanka on May 19th 1972. (In an interesting symmetry, when he was unfairly dismissed from the editorship of the Daily News, the article in The Guardian, UK, described him as the Hassanein Heykal of Sri Lanka.)

Continue reading ‘Mervyn De Silva’s Political Ideas and Values’ »

Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven Vendaruwe Upali Thera Advises Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Launch Military Rule Like Adolf Hitler and Build Up The Country.

A senior Buddhist monk yesterday advised former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to launch into a military rule ‘like Hitler’.

The monk, Ven Vendaruwe Upali thera, made this remark while speaking at a religious ceremony to mark the birthday of the former Defence Secretary.

He is an Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, in Kandy.

Continue reading ‘Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven Vendaruwe Upali Thera Advises Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Launch Military Rule Like Adolf Hitler and Build Up The Country.’ »

US Exit From UNHRC Will Not Cause a Decline In International Concern Over the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue As UK and Canada Will Continue To Show Interest.

The Sri Lankan Tamil issue, which has been the subject of very aggressive US-backed resolutions in the UN Human Rights Council (UHRC) against Lankan regimes since 2009, will not be swept under the carpet in the international arena because the US has quit the UNHRC, observers here feel.

Former Lankan Ambassador in Geneva and now Ambassador designate to Russia, Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka, said that the exit of the US from the UNHRC does not mean that the US will not play a role in shaping events in the council.

“The US had inspired resolutions against Sri Lanka even when it was not part of the 47-member body. The US got the British to engineer a resolution against Sri Lanka when it was not itself a member,” Jayatilleka recalled.

It is also not certain if the US has left the UNHRC for good. It had opted out in 2006 but joined in 2009.

Continue reading ‘US Exit From UNHRC Will Not Cause a Decline In International Concern Over the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue As UK and Canada Will Continue To Show Interest.’ »

US Will Continue To Engage With Sri Lanka Over US – Sri Lanka Co-sponsored UN Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1 – UN Envoy Atul Keshap assures Sri Lanka Govt.

In the wake of US quitting the UNHRC, US embassy in Colombo said that the US would continue to closely follow progress made by Sri Lanka in respect of the Geneva Resolution 30/1.

The following is the full text of statement issued by the US embassy last night: “Secretary Pompeo has announced that the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council effective June 19, 2018.

Ambassador Keshap met with senior Sri Lankan officials to convey the assurance of the United States Government that we will remain fully engaged with the Sri Lankan Government to help it meet its continuing and standing commitments to the international community to advance the cause of reconciliation and lasting peace for all Sri Lankans.

Continue reading ‘US Will Continue To Engage With Sri Lanka Over US – Sri Lanka Co-sponsored UN Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1 – UN Envoy Atul Keshap assures Sri Lanka Govt.’ »

“18 Clergy Including 15 Buddhist Monks Are in Jail. If Gnanasara Thera is Pardoned Or Given Any Special Treatment Then the Others Would also want Similar Relief” Says Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne.

By Zacki Jabbar

The Mahanayakes have raised the issue of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) leader Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thera, imprisoned for threatening the widow of cartonist Prageeth Ekneligoda with President Maithripala Sirisena, but the government said yesterday that special treatment for one prisoner could lead to others demanding same.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing at the Information Department, said that there were 18 priests serving prison sentences for various offences, some of which were of a very serious nature. “Fifteen of them are Buddhists while the other three are from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths. If Gnanasara Thera is pardoned or given any special treatment, then the others would also want similar relief.”

Continue reading ‘“18 Clergy Including 15 Buddhist Monks Are in Jail. If Gnanasara Thera is Pardoned Or Given Any Special Treatment Then the Others Would also want Similar Relief” Says Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne.’ »

Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale States Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Would Be Treated Like Any Other Prisoner In Terms Of the Prisons Ordinance.


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister and attorney-at-law Thalatha Atukorale has informed Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Sri Dharma Sangha Sabhawa that Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara would be treated like any other prisoner.

In her letter, dated June 19, 2018, Minister Atukorale has insisted that the Commissioner General of Prisons had no option but to treat Ven. Gnanasara in accordance with the Prisons Ordinance.

The letter was addressed to the Most Ven. Prof. Kottapitiye Rahula, Chief Registrar, Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Sri Dharma Sangha Sabhawa.

Continue reading ‘Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale States Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Would Be Treated Like Any Other Prisoner In Terms Of the Prisons Ordinance.’ »

US Calls the United Nations Human Rights Council a “Cesspool of Political Bias” and Quits the UNHRC Calling it a “Hypocritical and Self-Serving Body” which “Makes a Mockery of Human Rights”.

The US has pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling its anti-Israel and a “cesspool of political bias,” the BBC reported.

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has said the “hypocritical and self-serving” body “makes a mockery of human rights.”

Ms Haley last year accused the council of “chronic anti-Israel bias” and said the US was reviewing its membership.

Ms Haley announced the US’s intention to quit the council at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called the council “a poor defender of human rights”.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement released through his spokesman, responded by saying he would have “much preferred” the US to remain in the council.

Continue reading ‘US Calls the United Nations Human Rights Council a “Cesspool of Political Bias” and Quits the UNHRC Calling it a “Hypocritical and Self-Serving Body” which “Makes a Mockery of Human Rights”.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becoming President Would Trigger International Repercussions With Far-reaching Implications, Which a Small State Like Sri Lanka Cannot Afford.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Perhaps the most decisive intervention of America’s Ambassador in Colombo, Atul Keshap during his three-year span seems to be a parting shot at a farewell meeting with ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
During the tete-a-tete, Mr Keshap had cautioned the ex-President against fielding his younger brother as the next Presidential candidate.

According to the story which first appeared in the Jaffna based newspaper Kaalaikkathir, and reproduced by senior journalist D.B.S Jeyaraj, the US Ambassador has said that the Western nations, including the USA, would not favourably regard Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidential bid.

Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, who edits the Kaalaikkathir, and formerly the editor of Sudor Oli has a love-hate relationship with the Rajapaksas.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becoming President Would Trigger International Repercussions With Far-reaching Implications, Which a Small State Like Sri Lanka Cannot Afford.’ »

Next Election Could Be The Last Free Election We Have If It Results In The Victory Of Extremist Fundamentalist Forces In The North And The South


By
Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“The proper functioning of a pluralist democracy presupposes the free interplay of diverse opinions. The freer and more active, the better…”

—Mervyn de Silva, Inaugural editorial, Lanka Guardian May 1st 1978

The very last thing this island needs is to slide into another cycle of conflict. But that’s where we are headed unless we stop, think and make choices and changes of the correct kind.

This is the first time that mainstream society and politics both in the North and the South, have seen a simultaneous rise of extremism. What we face today is the dangerous phenomena of (negative) symmetry and simultaneity. Despite a neoliberal cosmopolitan government which has been rightly criticized for appeasement of Northern bellicosity and has been crippled electorally as a result, the slogans and symbolisms from the North, the political discourse and behavior of the Northern Provincial Council and civil society movements, have escalated in their militancy.

The combination of a spike in Northern stridency and the economics of neoliberal globalization on the part of the dominant drivers of Government policy, has generated entirely predictable results: a displacement of mainstream social opinion towards populist neo-nationalism.

As in many other parts of the world, in Sri Lanka, it is neoliberal economics that is threatening liberal democracy by implementing policies which have generated an inevitable mainstream backlash. Cosmopolitan neoliberalism has bred nationalist neo-conservatism.

By converting to neoliberal globalist evangelism, the traditional centre-right UNP has lost its centre, its national credentials and mass base, thereby creating a Frankenstein’s monster of a radical neo-nationalist New Right. There is an emerging bloc of tendencies and strata making up the backbone of a rising New Right neo-conservatism. The foot-soldiers are a vast current of the petty bourgeoisie. The ideology or rather the social psychology is one of resentment (Nietzsche famously used the French term “Ressentiment” while relentlessly combatting it). The animating spirit and style are of rancor and intolerance.

Continue reading ‘Next Election Could Be The Last Free Election We Have If It Results In The Victory Of Extremist Fundamentalist Forces In The North And The South’ »

Almost All The Alleged Atrocities Committed By The Rajapaksa Regime Could Be Attributed To a Particular Member Of The Rajapaksa Family


By

Vishwamithra 1984

“One’s days were too brief to take the burden of another’s errors on one’s shoulders. Each man lived his own life and paid his own price for living it.”
~Oscar Wilde

Mahinda Rajapaksa and his clan have fine-tuned that aspect of political dynamic that could be solely responsible for delivering an ailing political entity into super-action mode and achieve the results that such an action desired. This fine-tuning of the Rajapaksa-propaganda machinery did not take place yesterday when they were in the opposition. They have achieved or they thought they have years ago, that lofty goal of mass deception and political hoodwinking so that they could be in power forever. Yet, they failed. Vexing of the masses to such an intolerable extent has its own inherent disadvantages. What appears on the shallow surface does not necessarily happen to be deep enough to make the gullible masses suffer to an unending degree.

Nevertheless, the current euphoria they have artificially created about a sibling of Mahinda Rajapaksa and the accompanying message that he would be the next Presidential candidate will not hold any water come the day of reckoning. Their lies and exaggerations have to be met with facts, figures and statistics. Facts are not figments of imagination of some wishful-thinking activists; figures cannot be distorted and stats don’t lie. A phony image created around a demonic political character cannot and should not last, at least for the sake of our nation’s staunch commitment to democracy and freewill. That phony bubble will burst; it’ll shrink and disappear but it would not happen automatically. It must be made to happen by human hand. And that human hand can be provided only by the United National Party (UNP).

Continue reading ‘Almost All The Alleged Atrocities Committed By The Rajapaksa Regime Could Be Attributed To a Particular Member Of The Rajapaksa Family’ »

Does Foremost Place Given to Buddhism in Constitution Enable Govt to Set Up Special Courts to “Hear” Cases Against Buddhist Monks Accused Of Breaking the Law?

There are indications that the Sri Lankan coalition government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinhe of the United National Party (UNP), will accede to the demand for special courts to try cases against Buddhist monks.

There has been a growing demand from influential sections of Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese-Buddhist community to set up special courts to try cases against Buddhist monks, following the jailing of the high profile monk, Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, General Secretary of the radical Buddhist organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) for contempt of court.

The monk had abused and intimidated in court, Sandya Eknaligoda, who had filed a case against the military intelligence for the disappearance of her journalist cum cartoonist husband Prageeth Eknaligoda.

Continue reading ‘Does Foremost Place Given to Buddhism in Constitution Enable Govt to Set Up Special Courts to “Hear” Cases Against Buddhist Monks Accused Of Breaking the Law?’ »

Despite Competition Among His Brothers For The Sri Lankan Presidency, Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants His Son Namal Rajapaksa To Become President.

Sri Lanka’s uneasy coalition is expected to hobble along till the presidential elections next year, but it is not only the government that is in trouble. The opposition too is in trouble, trying to choose a candidate.

The uncertainty over the contender at the 2019 vote is at the nub of wrangling between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as they both harbour hopes of contesting.

Within the opposition ranks, the euphoria that followed the February local council victory has given way to fissures within the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The “Economy Next” political correspondent discusses the options for both the SLPP and the unity government in the next 18 months.

-Sibling rivalry-

Continue reading ‘Despite Competition Among His Brothers For The Sri Lankan Presidency, Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants His Son Namal Rajapaksa To Become President.’ »

Every Pygmy Step Taken By the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Towards Reconciliation Would Be Abandoned Under a Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Presidency

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara


“The arc of the universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.”

Barrak Obama (Speech on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington)

Violence has no place in the teachings of the Buddha. Yet when violence was unleashed on Kandy’s Muslims, in the name of Sinhala-Buddhism, only a handful of Buddhist monks had the moral courage to speak out. Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero was among that handful. Recently he used Buddha’s teachings to enlighten and inform another ‘hot-button’ topic – how the end of the long Eelam War should be commemorated. He did so by asking a rhetorical question – what was Buddha’s teaching about war victory? – and answering with a stanza from the Sukha Vagga (Happiness) in the Dhammapada.

“Victory breeds hatred in the conquered. The defeated live in sorrow. Giving up both victory and defeat, the appeased live in peace.”

Sri Lanka could have based her post-war policy on this stanza alone, and gone a long way towards reconciliation. Instead, it did the opposite; a policy of triumphalism was adopted and every possible humiliation was heaped on the defeated; domination rather than reconciliation was the desired goal. Costly, disruptive and in-your-face military parades to mark war-victory constituted an essential component of this approach, a militarised revelry in which both Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa revelled. It was not commemorating but crowing of the most infantile sort.

This triumphalism – and the concomitant veneration of ‘war-heroes’ – went hand in hand with neglect and even humiliation of flesh-and-blood soldiers. While politicians sang their praise from platforms, the actual soldiers were forced to sweep sidewalks, uproot weeds and clean city parks; even the demand by disabled soldiers for a full pension went unheeded.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration often lacks the moral courage to do the right thing. In many instances, ceasing incorrect practices is as far as the government is willing to go. For instance, the government is yet to implement one of the most sensible recommendations of the LLRC – assign a date to commemorate all those who died in the war, combatants and civilians, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, Burghers, Malays… A commemoration in which everyone can participate equally, as human beings and as Lankans, could have helped in the formation of a truly Lankan nation. The government hasn’t implemented this recommendation, probably because it fears the backlash of the Rajapaksa opposition and extremist Buddhist monks.

What the government has done was to stop some of the more in-your-face practices. It no longer commemorates war-victory with massive military parades. It has also allowed the Tamils to mourn their dead, a basic right the Rajapaksas denied. This year, busloads of Tamils returning after commemoration ceremonies in Mullivaikkal were offered cool drinks by the army – small improvements, but ones that matter. They contribute towards psychological detoxification of society sans which neither peace nor reconciliation is possible.

All that would end, if the Rajapaksas return, especially if that retrogression happens under a Gotabhaya presidency.

Continue reading ‘Every Pygmy Step Taken By the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Towards Reconciliation Would Be Abandoned Under a Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Presidency’ »

Please Write to Your Elected Official Asking them to Stop Immediately the Inhuman Detention of More Than 11,000 Children Being Held Separate From Parents in the USA

By

Bhadri Durgabakshi ·

Life has a strange way of teaching lessons to those fortunate enough to have one. At 28 years, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of raising a baby on my own, in a new country, and carve a path to independence. This meant that I had to leave my infant son at the daycare while I worked. Not having had adequate time to prepare him for this phase, he experienced immense separation anxiety. While the separation was traumatic for both of us, we both knew that at the end of the day we would be together. That was a future we could count and rely on, as certainly as the sun would rise the next day.

This is not the future that more than 11,000 immigrant kids (under the age of 13), being held in detention centers can count on today, in the most civilized of nations. Their parents will not be there to take them home at the end of the day and comfort them. Their parents have not prepared these children to operate without them, because there was no need to. They were taken away suddenly on false pretexts. These children are held in rooms next to their parents, and they can hear their wailing and screams. This is absolutely cruel and inhumane, and cannot be accepted as normal treatment of human beings, in this day, in a country that prides itself as protecting its most weak and vulnerable.

My gut wrenches when I hear news stories about these children languishing in detention camps, where no one is allowed to even hug or comfort them. Society recognizes that minors are incapable of operating as viable human beings and need adults to provide for their basic needs. A pediatrician being interviewed today on NPR recalls a little girl, not more than 2 years of age, having an epic meltdown, in the detention center. She was missing her parents and was inconsolable. The pediatrician was not allowed to hug or comfort her, as this is against federal agency rules, she was told. Two siblings aged 6 and 10 have been prevented from hugging each other. They were doing so to comfort each other, in the absence of their parents. The pediatrician talked about permanent effects on brain development being caused to children who suffer such extreme anxiety and trauma. In which world are we living in now? We live in a country where an adult is not able to pick up a baby to comfort her? And, there are federal regulations stipulating these inhuman decrees. Have we lost all inklings of humanity?

Continue reading ‘Please Write to Your Elected Official Asking them to Stop Immediately the Inhuman Detention of More Than 11,000 Children Being Held Separate From Parents in the USA’ »

Importance of Establishing an Office For Reparations in Sri Lanka.


By Bhavani Fonseka

This week the Cabinet of Ministers approved draft legislation to establish an Office for Reparations in adherence to the commitments made by the Government in 2015. Unfortunately, there is a lack of public knowledge about what reparations are, despite successive Governments providing various forms of reparations over the years. At the time of writing, there was also limited public information on the draft legislation approved by Cabinet. It is disappointing that there is really no concerted effort by the present Government to explain their own proposals and to engage citizens in something that would benefit many people across Sri Lanka.

More concerning than even this absence of information, however, are the attacks by senior members in the Government on proposals to provide reparations to families of former LTTE cadres. It is deeply troubling that senior members of a Government which promised co-existence and reconciliation to all its citizens have a very selective view of victim-hood in a country that has witnessed decades of violence impacting all ethnic and religious groups. It is also a worrying sign of attempts to shape a particular narrative by some with ethno-nationalist tendencies. Any reforms meant at genuine reconciliation must address the diversity of affected individuals and groups, and recognise that victims are not homogeneous. Attempts to shut out some groups from future reparations miss the nuance required of a complex issue with no attempts to understand the grievances of individuals and groups.

What are Reparations?

Continue reading ‘Importance of Establishing an Office For Reparations in Sri Lanka.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Vision and Political Mission

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Viyathmaga”(Erudite Path) is an organization that claims to be dedicated to the goal of “an Intellectually inspired Sri Lanka”. It is said to possess an elitist membership comprising top level professionals, academics and entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka. The Viyathmaga website describes the organization in the following manner -“The Professionals for a Better Future (VIYATHMAGA) is a network of Academics, Professionals, and Entrepreneurs who love the country and wish to contribute actively towards the development of a prosperous Sri Lanka where all citizens can live in peace and harmony. VIYATHMAGA is not a political organisation. It is a civil society movement, wishing to contribute towards the betterment of the country”.

Pic via: facebook.com/gotabayar/

Viyathmaga articulates its vision as seeking to ” mobilize the nascent potential of the professionals, academics and entrepreneurs to effectively influence the moral and material development of Sri Lanka in par with the other developed countries where all citizens live in an environment of equity and fair play, with equal opportunities in the advancement of these ideals”.
Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Vision and Political Mission’ »

USA and Western Nations Wont Allow Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Become President of Sri Lanka;Outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap Bluntly Tells Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap has reportedly shattered the political ambition of former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to become the next President of Sri Lanka.

The US envoy who is scheduled to leave Sri Lanka shortly after having completed his term of office in Sri Lanka is reported to have told Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the US and Other western nations do not welcome the prospects of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa contesting polls and becoming president and are opposed to such a move.

The outgoing Ambassador dropped this political bombshell when he made a courtesy call to bid farewell to ex-president Rajapaksa on Sunday June 10th 2018.


Atul Keshap reportedly told Mahinda Rajapaksa directly that the USA and other Western Nations Are Not In Favour of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becoming Sri Lanka’s President.

He had bluntly told Mahinda not to field Gotabhaya as a presidential candidate.

Continue reading ‘USA and Western Nations Wont Allow Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Become President of Sri Lanka;Outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap Bluntly Tells Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Must Correct His Many Mistakes For The Sake Of The Country If and When He Returns To Power.

By

N.A.De S. Amaratunga

Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa is undoubtedly the most popular political leader at present, and therefore has the potential of coming back to power. If people want him back in power it cannot be stopped and it should not be stopped. Let the people decide. It should not be decided by the US, China, India or any other external agent. The fact that he had been the president twice should not be a valid reason to deny the people their wish. People are concerned about what has been going on under the present regime. Economy has declined as never before, taxes are high and cost of living is climbing, corruption is rampant, foreign interference has become a threat to our sovereignty and the people can sense the perilous situation the country is in.

They cannot help comparing the previous government and the present and see that they were better off under the former. They cannot have any hope the present government could make amends and get the country out of the mess. They see government high ups making all kinds of promises but that’s all they have done for the last three years, and say they are going to solve all the problems and make this land a heaven on earth in the next one and half years. People cannot be fooled all the time. Can anybody find fault with the people if they want to bring back Mahinda Rajapaksa or somebody else with his blessings? Is there anybody in the UNP or JVP who could solve these problems which are their own making? The majority of people have faith only in Mahinda Rajapaksa. Therefore, what the intelligent people should do is not plot to defeat him, for there is no better alternative, but give him good advise to correct his past mistakes, so that if he comes back to power he will be better than what he was from 2010 to 2015.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Must Correct His Many Mistakes For The Sake Of The Country If and When He Returns To Power.’ »

Re-visiting the Communal Conflagration in Polonnaruwa of May 1958 Sixty Years After

By

K.K.S.Perera

When a government, however popular, begins to help racial or religious emotionalism merely because it is a harsh and loud-noised demand made on it, and then interferes in the management and enforcement of law and order for the advantage of its favourites or to win the applause of a crowd, however out of control it may be, disaster is certain.

As rumors spread the town was buzzing with people. They collected in groups in streets, exchanging news about an invasion of Polonnaruwa by Tamils from Trincomalee and from Batticaloa. Land development, Irrigation department and Government farms labour gangs made up a regiment of Sinhalese battalion, and were on the rampage beating up Tamil labourers and officials, looting and raping. Polonnaruwa had just a small police station. Requests for support were not regarded important as the Government seemed unwilling to take the situation in Polonnaruwa seriously. Sinhalese policemen who tried to defend Tamils were attacked by the mobs; a few had severe injuries which proved fatal. However, the colonists who settle down some years ago, under the auspicious of DS Senanayake in 1940s took no part in the rioting. It was mainly the imported labour and squatters who are new to the area.

In 1958 April Ministry of Land and Land Development wanted to transfer 400 labour families of Tamils from Trincomalee displaced by the closing down of Royal Navy Dockyards to be settled in East Padaviya. Sinhala colonists from places like Veyangoda, Kosgoda, Gampaha and some older established Sinhalese who regarded this province as their traditional homeland opposed the idea of Settling Tamils in any part of the Polonnaruwa District.

Continue reading ‘Re-visiting the Communal Conflagration in Polonnaruwa of May 1958 Sixty Years After’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Up in Arms Against Bill to Amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act No 25 of 2002 Saying it will Substantially Change Character of Original Act.

(Text of Media release Issued by Former sri Lanka president Mahinda rajapaksa on June 17th 2018)

The government has introduced in Parliament, a Bill to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, No. 25 of 2002. The purpose of the original law was to facilitate cooperation between Sri Lanka and specified foreign countries in locating and identifying witnesses or suspects, the service of documents on such persons, the examination of witnesses, the obtaining of evidence, execution of requests for search and seizure, temporarily transferring a person in custody to appear as a witness, facilitation of the personal appearance of witnesses, the location of the proceeds of any criminal activity, and enforcing orders for the freezing of property etc. It applied only to specified Commonwealth countries and to other countries that had signed agreements with Sri Lanka to render mutual assistance in criminal matters.

The Bill to amend Act No: 25 of 2002 will repeal and replace entire sections of the original Act and substantially change its character. The proposed amendment will widen the applicability of the Act to every country that is a party to any international Convention that involves criminal matters. Though the original Act applied only to states, the proposed amendment will make it applicable to international organisations such as the International Criminal Court as well. It will also make documentary evidence and evidence obtained through video conferencing from persons resident in foreign countries admissible in judicial proceedings. The administrative machinery to respond expeditiously to requests from overseas is also to be expanded.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Up in Arms Against Bill to Amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act No 25 of 2002 Saying it will Substantially Change Character of Original Act.’ »

Judicial Proceedings Concerning Ex-Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Make Franz Kafka’s Novel “The Trial” a Current Reality in Sri Lanka.

By

Sarath de Alwis

“Traitors in Black Coats Flocked Together,” was the caption of a news item that appeared on July 9, 2009 in the official website of the Ministry of Defence. The news story identified the five lawyers who represented the Sunday Leader newspaper at a July 9 hearing in a Mount Lavinia court as having “a history of appearing for and defending” LTTE guerrillas.

It carried pictures of three of those lawyers. In addition, the story did something that was remarkably original in our judicial history.

It announced that the ‘original Defence team’ of the defendant newspaper had voluntarily resigned from handling the case citing it was against their ethical and moral standing to oppose a national hero like the Secretary of Defence, who had ‘made Sri Lanka a free country.’

A news report on Thursday announced that the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had undertaken before the Court of Appeal to appear before FCID on June 25 to make a statement.

Franz Kafka haunts Hulftsdorp. Kafka was a literary giant who focused on shame and guilt. He was particularly incisive with the absence of shame and guilt in people wielding power and authority.

With a devastating eloquence, often almost uncanny and frightening, he painted despair, solitude and alienation in biting, abrupt lines. He condemned social orders and systems of administering justice which were moral neutral. He was archetypical inhabitant of the ‘surveillance state’.

The term ‘Kafkaesque’ is used even in this day, to describe the nightmarish legalese resorted to by judges and lawyers who alone can comprehend the logic of illogical situations that often unfold before courts.

The term “Kafkaesque” also describes court proceedings manipulated by a coercive state machine that compels citizens to navigate through procedures that are designed to frustrate those who dare to challenge authority.

Continue reading ‘Judicial Proceedings Concerning Ex-Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Make Franz Kafka’s Novel “The Trial” a Current Reality in Sri Lanka.’ »

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara Quoting Martin Niemöller Makes Brilliant Submissions in Court to Secure Conviction of Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero in Landmark Case.


by Maneshka Borham

In many ways, last Thursday, June 14 was an extraordinary day.

Controversial Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, the firebrand monk who has been the face of fear-mongering and hate speech against minority communities living in Sri Lanka over the past six years, strolled into the Homagama Magistrate’s Court with dozens of young Buddhist monks in tow, crowing that he would continue to serve the country. He was at the suburban courtroom to be sentenced for the crime of intimidating Sandhya Ekneligoda, the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda within the precincts of that same court-house in January 2016.

The Homagama magistrate delivered the guilty verdict last month.

But as the sentencing concluded last Thursday, Gnanasara Thera’s bravado appeared to fail. The magistrate sentenced the BBS general secretary to six months rigorous imprisonment for each of his two convictions, to be served concurrently, meaning that the monk would complete both sentences within six months provided he behaved himself in prison. If not, the sentence would be extended by three months. The monk was also ordered to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to Sandhya Ekneligoda subject to a further Rs 3,000 fine.

At first, the monk looked taken aback by the sentence delivered by Magistrate Udesh Ranatunge – but only for a moment.

Minutes later he was on his feet, ignoring the pleas of his lawyer as he launched into a familiar tirade that questioned both the magistrate’s integrity and his sentence.

In stark contrast, his victim, Sandhya Ekneligoda, wearing a simple white Kandyan sari at the other end of the crowded court room, stood calm and stoic, a smile lingering on her lips and a look on her face that showed she knew she had won this round.

On this day proving that not even a member of clergy could get away by intimidating a witness or victim to a crime especially within a court, Homagama Magistrate Udesh Ranatunge made an example out of the case.

In a court system which rarely convicts clergy, Thursday’s ruling was monumental, with legal experts claiming it may set precedence for similar cases in the future to ensure protection of witnesses and victims of crime.

Continue reading ‘Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara Quoting Martin Niemöller Makes Brilliant Submissions in Court to Secure Conviction of Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero in Landmark Case.’ »

Novel Proposal To Introduce Two Dometicated Cow Elephants Into Sinharaja Forest To Provide “Company”To Last Two Male Elephants Being Suggested By Rain Forest Conservators

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

‘Unique’ within an already ‘unique’ group – this is what the last of the two Sinharaja elephants are!

As there was a deadlock, with President Maithripala Sirisena issuing instructions that moves to translocate (take from one place to another) the pair of elephants be halted forthwith and Wildlife Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka insisting that they need to be translocated, environmentalists are urging a permanent solution to ensure that the elephants remain within the Sinharaja Rainforest.

This was while UNESCO has informed Sri Lanka that no flora and fauna should be removed through man-made actions in this World Heritage Site and Man and Biosphere Reserve, said environmentalists, who pointed out that Sinharaja is also a National Heritage Site which gives it maximum protection.

Such declarations on Sinharaja make it unique, with all flora and fauna including the two elephants becoming unique as well, the Sunday Times learns.

Continue reading ‘Novel Proposal To Introduce Two Dometicated Cow Elephants Into Sinharaja Forest To Provide “Company”To Last Two Male Elephants Being Suggested By Rain Forest Conservators’ »

Does Article 9 of Constitution Giving Buddhism Foremost Place Exempt Abusive Monks Exemption From the Rule of Law?


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

When irrepressible British satirist, soldier and spy Malcolm Muggeridge said, ‘never to forget that only dead fish swim with the stream’, that warning beautifully underscored the tediousness of drifting in comforting safe shallows without challenging the odds in deeper waters.


A woman who challenged the odds

This week, the jail term of six months and fine imposed by the Homagama Magistrate’s Court on General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, Galagodaththe Gnanasara for threatening and intimidating the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, Sandhya in open court and during the hearing of a habeas corpus inquiry more than two years ago, had significant repercussions beyond that individual case.

This was an instance where an individual who had no connection to an ongoing inquiry, hijacked the proceedings, threatened and lectured a party in open court, abusing her in filthy language while also abusing state lawyers in the process. His ‘defence’, if one can call it that, was that he was emotionally overwrought by the sacrifices rendered by the armed forces during the war. Ekneligoda’s disappearance implicated military intelligence officials and the inquiry is still ongoing.

Retribution would have been swift and harsh if any ordinary person had dared to indulge in such extraordinarily thuggish behavior. In this case, justice took a little more than two years to be served but it was, in fact, served. Indeed, even though this legal proceeding was not of a contempt of court nature, the ruling and subsequent jail term legitimately asserted the authority of the judiciary in a country where that term (used interchangeably with contempt of court) has been twisted entirely out of its ordinary meaning. Rather than be utilized to safeguard the integrity of the judicial institution and uphold its standards for improvement, this legal tactic has been employed as a lever to subdue critiques of judicial action and suppress public discussions of the same.

Continue reading ‘Does Article 9 of Constitution Giving Buddhism Foremost Place Exempt Abusive Monks Exemption From the Rule of Law?’ »

Are Norochcholai Residents Being Afflicted With Respiratory Illness and Skin Rashes Due to the Coal Power Generating Plant Situated in the Area?


By Dimuthu Attanayake

Shashikala Harshani is a young mother living in the village of Illanthadiya, Norochcholai, bordering the Coal Power Plant that has been subject to much controversy. When Shashikala’s little girl was born, there was a patch that appeared on her skin, which looked like a kind of rash, on her hand. “We have shown it to doctors and they said it will go away with time. But, it has been five years now. Some doctors say this might be caused due to ash from the power plant, but nobody is sure,” she said.

Noordu Kumari is another resident of the area, who gave birth to a baby with a similar patch on her leg. “It was smaller when she was born but grew bigger with time. The doctors say it will go away,” she repeats.

Young children born with these skin patches have been one concern for the inhabitants of the villages adjoining the Lakvijaya Power Station in Norochcholai. Villagers believe there is a co-relation between these skin conditions and respiratory issues prevalent in the population living around the area and the power plant, even though no causal link has been scientifically established so far by medical experts.

This, however, doesn’t do much to allay the fears of villagers living around the coal power plant, whose three turbines supply 900 megawatts in total to Sri Lanka’s national grid. With an energy crisis looming and the cleaner, cheaper hydro-power capacity no longer sufficient to meet the national demand for power, the Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai has stepped into fill this gap, in spite of constant breakdowns at the power generation facility.

Continue reading ‘Are Norochcholai Residents Being Afflicted With Respiratory Illness and Skin Rashes Due to the Coal Power Generating Plant Situated in the Area?’ »

Tamil Civilians and Rehabilitated Ex-LTTE Cadres Bid “Piriyaavidai” Tearfully at Vishwamadhu in Mullaitheevu District to Col.Bandula Rathnapriya Transferred out to Ambepussa.

By
by Maneshka Borham

Recent tearful scenes to bid farewell to a military officer serving in Vishwamadu, Mullaitivu underscores immediate needs in the impoverished and war-torn region, the continuing stigmatisation of rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadre, and the desperation for humanity and respect in a vulnerable community

In the backdrop of militarisation fatigue and continuing calls for the removal of the armed forces from civilian structures in the war-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces, scenes last week of Tamil civilians and ex-LTTE combatants in Vishwamadu, Mullaitivu bidding a senior military officer tearful farewell on his transfer to Ambepussa, sent shock waves all over the country.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Civilians and Rehabilitated Ex-LTTE Cadres Bid “Piriyaavidai” Tearfully at Vishwamadhu in Mullaitheevu District to Col.Bandula Rathnapriya Transferred out to Ambepussa.’ »

Addl Solicitor -General Viraj Dayaratne Assures Appeal Court That Ex -Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Wont be Arrested by CID Over Weeraketiya DA Rajapaksa Memorial Construction Issue

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Attorney General yesterday assured the court of appeal that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would not be arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department in connection with the construction of D. A. Rajapaksa Memorial at Weeraketiya.

The assurance was given by Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne.

Continue reading ‘Addl Solicitor -General Viraj Dayaratne Assures Appeal Court That Ex -Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Wont be Arrested by CID Over Weeraketiya DA Rajapaksa Memorial Construction Issue’ »

US Ambassador Atul Keshap Appears To Have Started the Gotabhaya Game Dispute or “Gota Keliya Aragalaya” in Sri Lanka

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Just as President Donald Trump appears to have got over his fire and fury fighting with North Korea’s Rocket Man Kim Jong Un, the US Ambassador Atul Keshap appears to have started a presidential battle issue in Sri Lanka or the Gotabhaya Game Dispute or Gota Keliya Aragalaya.

Many have seen the reported Keshap comments to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, about his brother Gotabhaya’s plans or the SLPP / SLFP’s plans for Gotabhaya to be the next president here as an unwanted American interference in Sri Lankan politics. Quite right, Mr. Keshap should know that we oppose any US involvement or interference in any presidential politics here; much more that Americans oppose the alleged Russian interference to ensure the election of Donald Trump as US President.

There are many critics who say we will have to keep a close watch on Facebook and other social media as to how much the US Embassy here, will be throwing its weight in Anti-Gota Politics.

But there are many others who think what Keshap had raised at his very cordial meeting with MR – related news reports not contradicted or clarified by MR or Keshap – was really about American citizenship, and not about the Sri Lankan presidency. Just look at the picture.

Continue reading ‘US Ambassador Atul Keshap Appears To Have Started the Gotabhaya Game Dispute or “Gota Keliya Aragalaya” in Sri Lanka’ »

Atul Keshap’s Talks With Mahinda Rajapaksa Has Brought a New American Twist Into the Politics of Sri Lanka

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The politics of division bothering the governing coalition made worse by the two key politicians associated with questionable donations from Perpetual Treasuries and its associate companies, the focus of political debate in the past three weeks, has been pushed back by the reports of the US Ambassador Atul Keshap’s reported critical comments on the possibility of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa being a candidate for, and possibly the next Executive President of Sri Lanka.

The story was first reported in the Tamil daily “Kaalaikkathi” (Morning Ray) on June 12, 2018, from a special correspondent reporting on what Ambassador Keshap had told former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at a meeting on June 10 at the former president’s residence, which could have been Keshap’s farewell meeting with MR. There was sufficient time for the US Embassy to comment on or contradict the report, which has not been done; and the story has gained wider publicity by being on the blog of journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj, having very good contacts with the political and Tamil media, and has now hit the headlines in the local media.

Continue reading ‘Atul Keshap’s Talks With Mahinda Rajapaksa Has Brought a New American Twist Into the Politics of Sri Lanka’ »

Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy GalagodaAththe Gnanasara Thero Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment , 1500 Rupee Fine and Also Ordered to Pay 50,000 Rs Compensation to Sandhya Eknaligoda.

Sri Lanka’s highly controversial Buddhist monk, Galagodaatte Gnanasara, was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday for his criminal conduct outside a court house where he threatened violence against Sandya Eknaligoda.

Gnanasara was found guilty on two counts under the penal code which carried a maximum sentence of two years in prison, an unspecified fine and or both. The Homagama magistrate gave him six months of hard labour (rigorous imprisonment) and fined him 1,500 rupees.

He was also ordered to pay 50,000 rupees as compensation to Sandya Eknaligoda for intimidating her in January 2016 at the Homagama courts during proceedings of her husband’s disappearance.

Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy GalagodaAththe Gnanasara Thero Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment , 1500 Rupee Fine and Also Ordered to Pay 50,000 Rs Compensation to Sandhya Eknaligoda.’ »

Outgoing US Envoy Atul Keshap Asked Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa About Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Recent Visit to China says “NewsIn Asia” Website

Mystery surrounds what transpired during outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap’s courtesy call on former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Sunday. On Wednesday, The Island daily quoted a source close to the former President to say that Ambassador Keshap told Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR for short) that his younger brother and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is “unpopular” thereby hinting that Gotabaya will not be able to win the next Presidential election to be held in January 2020.

It is widely rumored that the Joint Opposition and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by MR will field Gotabaya as their candidate because MR himself cannot contest for a third time under the 19 th.Amendment of the constitution enacted in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Outgoing US Envoy Atul Keshap Asked Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa About Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Recent Visit to China says “NewsIn Asia” Website’ »

Unnamed “Spokesman” for Mahinda Rajapaksa Denies Outgoing US Ambasador Atul Keshap Discussed Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy with his Brother the EX-president.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap has told former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that his brother, Gotabhaya was very unpopular.

Indian American Keshap has based his assessment on information received by him, a spokesperson for the former President’s Office told The Island yesterday.Career diplomat Keshap succeeded Michele J. Sison in March 2015. He took over the mission in late August 2015.

Keshap paid a courtesy call on former President Rajapaksa at the latter’s Wijerama Mawatha residence on Sunday evening.

Continue reading ‘Unnamed “Spokesman” for Mahinda Rajapaksa Denies Outgoing US Ambasador Atul Keshap Discussed Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy with his Brother the EX-president.’ »

US Embassy Non-Committal About Meeting Between Atul Keshap and Mahinda Rajapaksa Saying Ambassador Meets Routinely With Leaders and Honours Confidence of Private Meetings By Not Discussing Contents of Those Publicly

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

In response to the news report published on a Tamil daily newspaper in Jaffna regarding a content of a meeting held between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap, the US Embassy today remained non-committal.

When the Daily Mirror inquired about the meeting, the Embassy said that the Ambassador met political leaders as a routine.

Continue reading ‘US Embassy Non-Committal About Meeting Between Atul Keshap and Mahinda Rajapaksa Saying Ambassador Meets Routinely With Leaders and Honours Confidence of Private Meetings By Not Discussing Contents of Those Publicly’ »

Two State Ministers and Five Deputy Ministers from the UNP and UPFA Sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Two new State Ministers and five Deputy Ministers were sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on the morning of June 12th 2018

Ranjith Aluvihare was sworn in as State Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs while Lucky Jayawardana was sworn in as Hill Country New Villages Infrastructure and Community Development.

Continue reading ‘Two State Ministers and Five Deputy Ministers from the UNP and UPFA Sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

US Citizenship Issue Wont be an Obstacle for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Contest the Presidential Elections Says Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader Udaya Gammanpila.

By

Sheain Fernandopulle

The United States (US) citizenship was not a barrier for former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to contest the upcoming Presidential Election, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader and MP Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday.

Addressing a news conference, he said Mr. Rajapaksa had requested him to explain the true legal position and the procedure in respect of renunciation of the US citizenship.

Continue reading ‘US Citizenship Issue Wont be an Obstacle for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Contest the Presidential Elections Says Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader Udaya Gammanpila.’ »

Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Ever Forgive Those of the SLFP Who Crossed Over With Maithripala Sirisena and Helped Defesat Him in the 2015 Presidential Poll?


By

The “Sunday Observer” Political Correspondent

The year was 2007. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his 35-member entourage were returning from a private visit to London, having travelled there in winter to attend his second son Yoshitha’s graduation from Britannia Royal Navy College, Dartmouth.

SriLankan Airlines, fully booked for holiday traffic in peak tourist season, found it could not accommodate the presidential delegation without cancelling seats on its business class sector.

Faced with the prospect of offloading three dozen paying passengers who had booked flights months in advance, the SriLankan CEO Peter Hill – then nine years in the job, made a judgment call. He declined the presidential request.

A seething President Rajapaksa had to charter a Mihin Lanka flight to fly himself and his delegation back to Sri Lanka.

In any sane country, Peter Hill’s actions would have been hailed as being the correct corporate decision for the then profit-making national carrier.

In Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, Hill had his work permit cancelled by the BOI.

Weeks after the incident, in the face of an increasingly souring relationship with the Rajapaksa Government, Dubai-based global carrier Emirates announced it was pulling out of SriLankan which it was fully managing with a 43.6 percent stake in the company. The 10-year contract expired in March 2008 and was never renewed. Emirates described the end of the deal as an “amicable parting”. It was anything but.

The Government celebrated the exit of Emirates by serving milk rice on all its flights. The unions cheered the re-nationalisation of the country’s flag-carrier. Patriotic protectionism was the Rajapaksa way, the regime thundered, no more national assets to be ‘handed over to foreigners..’….

Continue reading ‘Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Ever Forgive Those of the SLFP Who Crossed Over With Maithripala Sirisena and Helped Defesat Him in the 2015 Presidential Poll?’ »

The Troika and the Truth: A Constructive Commentary On Lalith Weeratunga’s Testimony


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I was delighted to read Lalith Weeratunga’s revelatory article ‘The Troika’ (Counterpoint, Daily FT). I regard him as a friend and I respect him as one of the finest public servants we have had. President Rajapaksa could not have had a better Secretary to the President at a crucially testing time in our contemporary history. I have long encouraged Lalith to write his memoirs and I hope what I see in the newspaper is but a ‘teaser’, which will eventuate in a full volume.

Lalith Weeratunga’s account of the Troika is the truth. However, while it is the truth, it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There are important pieces that requires inclusion to establish a clearer account of the times and issues. These are of crucial importance because unless we insert them back in and complete the diplomatic history of that time, we shall be unable to understand what happened in President Rajapaksa’s second term, how we got mired in the war crimes quagmire in Geneva, and the problems we shall have in extricating them even if the Troika returns, even with some in significantly and qualitatively elevated roles.

Lalith’s account is of a golden moment in Sri Lanka’s foreign relations, where we avoided the fate that the Jayewardene administration suffered when it rightly attempted to defeat the LTTE in 1987. That attempt triggered intervention. Under President Rajapaksa, the Troika helped avoid it and secure the space necessary to win the war.

However, Lalith’s account omits the two crucial and inextricably interrelated factors that enabled this success.

Continue reading ‘The Troika and the Truth: A Constructive Commentary On Lalith Weeratunga’s Testimony’ »

The Troika- How Crucial Relations With India Was Managed In The last Phase Of The Separatist War


By Lalith Weeratunga

Background

It is no secret that foreign ministries work in water tight compartments and often under immense pressure. As a result, they cannot be flexible, and quite obviously cannot think out of the box. Even the most experienced foreign service officers have to be cautious when dealing with their counterparts due to sensitivity of the work they handle. In writing a memo, a letter or a communique’, foreign ministry officials take extraordinary precautions, and that’s quite understandable. Because of the visibility they get in the global scene, external affairs or foreign service personnel exercise tremendous caution and hence the stress they experience.

The initiative

In the case of Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry activities too, this lack of space to be innovative has been long observed. It’s no fault of the personnel but that’s the way foreign ministries work; whilst working within the policy framework of the government, the foreign ministry has to ensure that foreign relations and bonds built over decades are not harmed. The period after 1983 was particularly a testing one for our foreign ministry. It has had to defend the government in power and safeguard Sri Lanka’s image at every international forum. Every government that had to face the onslaught of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), required the foreign ministry to defend its action in the struggle against terrorism; it was no easy task. The LTTE had gained a strong foothold in every western capital, and certainly in the minds of the politicians and the populace as a liberation movement. What the LTTE propagated, very often blatant untruths, was absorbed as gospel truth. The reason is clear: the LTTE was able to be flexible in their dealings with foreign governments and decision makers in the world capitals and certainly with the international media, while our foreign ministry even with some of the best foreign service officers Sri Lanka has ever produced managing our missions abroad, had to work within a tight framework. Added to their woes, the budgets they could work with were paltry. Moreover, developing, nurturing and establishing sound interpersonal relationships had certain limits.

Our neighbour, India was the most crucial factor to manage if we were to defeat terrorism and bring peace to our country. This was a well-known fact. In managing India, particularly their foreign office, Sri Lanka needed a broad range of skills and competencies; there was a dire need to establish a mechanism to create a dialogue outside the normal diplomatic channels. In other words, a new relationship had to be created and nurtured. It was no secret that the two countries, India and Sri Lanka, looked at each other with some degree of suspicion, due to a variety of reasons, perhaps an accumulation of misunderstandings that were never cleared.

Continue reading ‘The Troika- How Crucial Relations With India Was Managed In The last Phase Of The Separatist War’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Statement in Parliament About His Relationship With Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Lacks Authenticity


By Narada

The Prime Minster has assured Parliament that he has no clue on the whereabouts of Arjuna Mahendran. On Thursday last week, this paper reported the story with an interesting profile of the Prime Minister that betrayed him experiencing his Pontius Pilate moment of truth. Just as the procurator of Rome failed in washing his hands off that historical travesty, the Prime Minister will not succeed in washing his hands off the Bonds scandal that decidedly derailed the ‘good governance’ agenda.

The Prime Minister seems convinced of his capacity to hoodwink us and our capacity to absorb his deceptions.

He has asserted that he had no dealings with Arjuna Mahendran after he ceased to be Governor of the Central Bank. That is not an accurate statement. After he stepped down from his position in the Central Bank, he continued to be a close confidant and advisor of the Prime Minster.

When the President declined to re-appoint him as Governor of Central Bank, the Prime Minister co-opted him to his economic team.

Arjuna Mahendran accompanied the Prime Minister to Indonesia within weeks of his ceasing to be the head of the ‘big bank’.

Arjuna Mahendran was listed as the ‘Head of the Five-Year Planning Unit’ in the official delegation.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Statement in Parliament About His Relationship With Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Lacks Authenticity’ »

Dayasiri Jayasekara and Sujeewa Senasinghe Are Both Lawyers Professing Ignorance as Their Defence In Charges of Taking Money from Arjun Aloysius


By

Don Manu

If SLFP MP and former Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera found himself in the public dock three weeks ago for accepting a million bucks from Bond Scam Godfather Arjun Aloysius, it was the UNP State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe’s turn this Thursday to make his less than grand entrance to the same public dock of shame and share it with his SLFP counterpart, Dayasiri.

As was the case with Dayasiri three weeks ago when police filed a B report at a magisterial court in connection with the bond scam which claimed he had received a million rupee cheque from Aloysius, the police filed in court this Thursday a further B report which alleged that Sujeewa Senasinghe had received not one million but three million bucks in three cheques from Aloysius liquor company, W. M. Mendis Ltd., the famous arrack distillers.
On Wednesday, State Minister Sujeewa landed at the Karunayake airport to a storm of questioning from the media over the rumour ignited by Dayasiri that there were 118 MPs who had received money from Aloysius. He was asked whether it was true that he had received money from Aloysius.

Sujeewa’s answer was that his election campaign fund was handled by his friends and that he would have to peruse the relevant documents to see whether he had. He was further asked whether he should not have known whether such money had been received. His reply to that was” No, it doesn’t happen that way when you are contesting for an election. I get up at six in the morning and I am constantly on the run till six in the evening. And remember Aloysius is not Prabhakaran.”

No one bothered to ask him what he does after 6pm. Whether he doesn’t consult his election team and inquire as to the state of his finances that keeps his motor running during the day?

The following day, on Thursday, the news broke. The Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate that a state minister of the government had received three cheques worth Rs.3 million in 2015 and 2016 from W.M. Mendis & Company Ltd owned by Arjun Aloysius. The report stated that a former Sub Inspector, who was a member of the state minister’s security detail, had cashed one of the three cheques received in 2015 at a bank in Slave Island. The other two cheques received in 2015 and 2016 were cashed by two other police officers attached to the state minister’s security detail.

Continue reading ‘Dayasiri Jayasekara and Sujeewa Senasinghe Are Both Lawyers Professing Ignorance as Their Defence In Charges of Taking Money from Arjun Aloysius’ »

Four Supreme Court Judges Recusing Themselves From Hearing Case Concerning Gotabhaya Rajapaksa May be Preventing the Arrest of Ex – Defence Secretary

By A “Sunday Observer” Special Correspondent

In 1992, gunmen shot and killed a Colombian judge who was investigating a charge of murder conspiracy against the fugitive drug lord Pablo Escobar. The victim, the Associated Press reported at the time, was 38 year old Miriam Rocio Velez, one of Colombia’s faceless judges whose identities were kept secret to protect them from terrorists and drug traffickers in the troubled country.

In 2000, seven years after Escobar’s death, the judge who signed the notorious drug lord’s arrest warrant in 1987 applied for political asylum in the US, claiming that she was still marked for death.

In 1989, Colombia introduced ‘faceless’ courts to protect judges and witnesses from drug lords.

In lieu of their signature, judges would write a code number on their opinions; the Bench sat behind one-way mirrors, their voices distorted by a special microphone. Judges travelled under armed escort. In response to Bogota’s efforts to prosecute narcotics cases in the early 1980s, the country’s drug mafia launched a campaign of terror against judges. Between 1979-1991, 278 judges were killed in cold-blood.

That was Escobar’s Colombia.

This is Sri Lanka in 2018, where the announcement by the decision of the fourth Supreme Court Justice hearing former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s case to prevent his arrest by the FCID and CID to recuse herself on personal grounds has sparked public debate.

Continue reading ‘Four Supreme Court Judges Recusing Themselves From Hearing Case Concerning Gotabhaya Rajapaksa May be Preventing the Arrest of Ex – Defence Secretary’ »

Nonsensical Excuses by Politicians Funded by Aloysius Confounds the Imagination But Provides Entertainment Galore to Sri Lankans


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

In retrospect, one of the greatest missed opportunities of the now doomed Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Unity Government was its failure to grab Sri Lanka’s legal system by its ears (metaphorically speaking), cleanse the Bench of corrupt and politically compromised judges against whom files were stacked up aplenty and demonstrate the power of criminal justice reforms for human rights abuses and corruption to all citizens alike through the length and breadth of the country.

A wretched reflection in uncertain times

If conceptualized properly and implemented vigorously with the full might of a political leadership in which the people had placed enormous trust in 2015, this could have formed the lynch pin of a powerful reconciliation strategy, uniting Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and other communities. In this, it cannot even be said that we tried and failed. Instead, it is manifest that we never tried at all. That is a wretched reflection indeed as we head into menacingly uncertain times.

Continue reading ‘Nonsensical Excuses by Politicians Funded by Aloysius Confounds the Imagination But Provides Entertainment Galore to Sri Lankans’ »

Sri Lanka Podu Jana Party Lindula Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Asoka Sepala and SLPP Councillor Anuruddha Manchanayake Arrested Over Suspected Involvement in Abduction of Children and Child Trafficking

by Maneshka Borham

Earlier this week, Lindula Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman and Pohottuwa politico, Anagipura Asoka Sepala found himself embroiled in a child abduction controversy which led to the eventual arrest of the politician along with several others by the Police.

Among the six arrested was also Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Councillor Ishara Anuruddha Manchanayake. The suspects are accused of the abduction and possible trafficking of two minors, allegations of a serious nature.

But the case took an even more dramatic turn when on a tip off received by the Police yet another differently abled 11 year old boy was found, held at Manchanayake’s residence, following his arrest.

While the Agarapathana Police which received the first complaint from the father of two children over a year ago, have earned flak for their inaction, the discovery of another child being held has raised serious questions, on whether those arrested are in fact engaged in the business of child trafficking.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podu Jana Party Lindula Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Asoka Sepala and SLPP Councillor Anuruddha Manchanayake Arrested Over Suspected Involvement in Abduction of Children and Child Trafficking’ »

Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Attends Grand “Ifthar”Ceremony at Galle Face Hotel Organized by an Organization Named “National Muslim Collection”.

As the holy season of Ramadan winds down former Defence Secretary and Viyath Maga Chairman Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week continued to woo the Muslim community for what observers say is a likely presidnetial bid last week, attending a grand Ifthar ceremony at the Galle Face Hotel Colombo on Friday, organised by loyalists.

The Galle Face Ifthar comes on the heels of the widely publicised Beruwela Ifthar, where the former Defence Secretary was greeted and brought into the hall in procession while Muslim attendees recited prayers.

Continue reading ‘Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Attends Grand “Ifthar”Ceremony at Galle Face Hotel Organized by an Organization Named “National Muslim Collection”.’ »

President Sirisena Summons UK High Commissioner James Dauris for 30 Minute “Discussion” and “Requests” British Envoy To Have London Based “LankaeNews”Website Editor Sandaruwan Senadheera Arrested Or Deported to Sri Lanka.


President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday requested Britain to have London-based LankaeNews Editor Pradeep Sandaruwan Senadheera arrested or sent back to Sri Lanka. He made the request during a 30-minute meeting with British High Commissioner James Dauris whom he summoned to his Paget Road residence.

Among those present at the discussion were the President’s Coordinating Secretary Shiral Lakthilaka and Defence Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne .

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Summons UK High Commissioner James Dauris for 30 Minute “Discussion” and “Requests” British Envoy To Have London Based “LankaeNews”Website Editor Sandaruwan Senadheera Arrested Or Deported to Sri Lanka.’ »

“Forgetfulness” of Ex-Minister and Ministers Ravi Karunanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekara and Sujeewa Senasinghe about Financial Help from Sources Linked to Arjun Aloysius.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

President Sirisena recently said Members of Parliament having an Honour prefix before their names should not be charged PAYE tax, because of the honourary nature of their duties. This is certainly confused thinking, not flowing from the 100-day programme he now knows nothing about today.

Let’s get this straight. The “Hon.” Or ‘Garu” prefix is because they are considered Honourable Members of Parliament, a tradition coming from the House of Commons. They are expected to be Honourable in the performance of their duties, tasks and services – for which the country pays them a decent wage; as such they are taxable. There are others who have the “Hony.” prefix for the honorary – unpaid – work they do, such as office-bearers of clubs, professional associations, and other voluntary societies.

It is good to recall the old days before the JRJ Presidency and Proportional Elections, when the names of members of parliament were not used in parliamentary debates or proceedings. They were called Honourable (Hon) Members of their electorates – Hon Member for Kandy, Jaffna, Matara, Colombo Central, etc. Names are now not mentioned because they represent districts, having several electorates, and get votes from the whole district. So let’s put that presidential confusion over Hon. and Hony to rest.

Continue reading ‘“Forgetfulness” of Ex-Minister and Ministers Ravi Karunanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekara and Sujeewa Senasinghe about Financial Help from Sources Linked to Arjun Aloysius.’ »

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport Will Not Have even a Single Scheduled Flight in the Future as “FlyDubai” Airline also Stops Flying Via Hambantota from June 8th.

Sri Lanka is set to establish another world record as its second international airport was left without a single scheduled flight from today (June 8) after the only airline using the jinxed facility scrapped its daily service.

Dubai’s Flydubai announced the sudden withdrawal from the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and offered to refund tickets of a handful who had bought tickets or re-route them to Colombo.

The airport, 250-kilometre (150-mile) drive from the capital Colombo — is located near wildlife sanctuaries and smack in the middle of a migratory route for birds. The airport has been collecting more revenue from local tourists visiting Rajapaksa-era white elephants in the Hambantota district.

Continue reading ‘Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport Will Not Have even a Single Scheduled Flight in the Future as “FlyDubai” Airline also Stops Flying Via Hambantota from June 8th.’ »

Ex- South Eastern University Vice-Chancellor Seeni Mohamed Ismail Being Investigated by UGC for Allegedly Misusing Varsity Funds for Maintaining Private Residence Appointed UNP National List MP.

by Saman Indrajith

Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa yesterday raised concern over former Vice Chancellor of the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, who was under fire for allegedly misusing university funds, being sworn in as an MP.

Seeni Mohamed Ismail was sworn in before Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as a parliamentarian of the UNF government. He filled the seat which fell vacant following the resignation of M.H.M Navavi of the SLMC.

Continue reading ‘Ex- South Eastern University Vice-Chancellor Seeni Mohamed Ismail Being Investigated by UGC for Allegedly Misusing Varsity Funds for Maintaining Private Residence Appointed UNP National List MP.’ »

Political Fall-out of Shutting Down TNL TV Owned By PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Brother Is Causing Serious Damage to President Sirisena Whose Credibility is Increasingly Undermined by his Own Public Statements

President Maithripala Sirisena may have crossed a red line in shutting down the TNL network owned by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s brother in a worsening power struggle that undermines the government.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) which is directly under Sirisena had obtained an order from the Polgahawela magistrate to seal a TNL transmitter alleging it was broadcasting illegally.

Whatever the legal implications, the political fallout of the TRC action is causing serious damage to Sirisena whose credibility is increasingly undermined by his own recent public statements.

Continue reading ‘Political Fall-out of Shutting Down TNL TV Owned By PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Brother Is Causing Serious Damage to President Sirisena Whose Credibility is Increasingly Undermined by his Own Public Statements’ »

Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Got Three Cheques in January,April and May 2016 Amounting to Rs.3.2 Million From Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Owned by Son in Law Arjun Aloysius and Paid Off His Credit Card Bills Alleges Addl Solicitor -General.

By A.J. Abeynayake

State Minister for International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe had received Rs. 3 mn from W. M. Mendis Company, a subsidiary of Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL), the Criminal Investigation department (CID) informed Fort Additional Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne, yesterday.

The CID said that Rs. 3 mn had been received in three cheques between Aug 24, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

W. M. Mendis has been named the third accused in the treasury bond case.

The court was told that of the three cheques received by Senasinghe, two had been encashed by his police bodyguards and the other by a person involved in his political work.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Got Three Cheques in January,April and May 2016 Amounting to Rs.3.2 Million From Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Owned by Son in Law Arjun Aloysius and Paid Off His Credit Card Bills Alleges Addl Solicitor -General.’ »

President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Facing ‘Dhitta Dhammavedaniya Karma’ For Calling Him A Rogue Says Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa


Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the current government had faced ‘Dittadhamma Wedaniya Karma’.
The former President said those who called him a rogue previously are now divided and they accuse each other of corruption.

“The President calls the Prime Minister a thief and the Prime Minister calls the President a thief. This is nothing but Dhitta Dhamma Vedaniya Karma” Rajapaksa said, speaking to media after the swearing-in ceremony of new members of the Maharagama Urban Council.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Facing ‘Dhitta Dhammavedaniya Karma’ For Calling Him A Rogue Says Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

State Minister Sijeewa Senasinghe Received Three Cheques of One Million Rs Each From W.M.Mendis &co a Subsidiary of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd

By

Yoshitha Perera

According to a B report filed in Court today by the prosecution in connection with the inquiry into the CB bond scam, State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe had received three cheques of Rs.1 million each in 2015 and 2016 from W.M. Mendis & Company Ltd., a subsidiary of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd.

The report stated that a former Sub Inspector, who was a member of the state minister’s security detail, had cashed one of the three cheques received in 2015 at a bank in Slave Island.

Continue reading ‘State Minister Sijeewa Senasinghe Received Three Cheques of One Million Rs Each From W.M.Mendis &co a Subsidiary of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd’ »

Facebook Teaching its Staff How to Identify Inflammatory Posts in Sinhala after Anti-Muslim Violence in Sri Lanka.

By Amal Jayasinghe

AFP – Three months after Sri Lanka was rocked by deadly anti-Muslim riots fuelled by online vitriol, Facebook is training its staff to identify inflammatory content in the country’s local languages.

The social network has been seeking penance in Sri Lanka after authorities blocked Facebook in March as incendiary posts by Buddhist hardliners fanned religious violence that left three people dead and reduced hundreds of mosques, homes and businesses to ashes.

Until the week-long ban, appeals to Facebook to act against the contagion of hate speech had been met with deafening silence, at a time when the California-based tech giant was reeling from unprecedented global scrutiny over fake news and user privacy.

“We did make mistakes and we were slow,” Facebook spokeswoman Amrit Ahuja told AFP in Colombo.

The dearth of staff fluent in Sinhala — the language spoken by Sri Lanka’s largest ethnic group — compounded the issue, with government officials and activists saying the oversight allowed extremist content to flourish undetected on the platform.

Continue reading ‘Facebook Teaching its Staff How to Identify Inflammatory Posts in Sinhala after Anti-Muslim Violence in Sri Lanka.’ »

“Common Candidate” Dr.Sudarshini Fernandopulle’s Defeat at Deputy – Speaker Election Due to Failure of Attempt to Unite Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa Factions of SLFP/UPFA.

An attempt by dissidents in the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to unite rivals Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa, received a setback on Tuesday when they failed to get “common candidate” Dr.Sudarshani Fernandopulle elected to the post of Deputy Speaker of Parliament or even get a decent number votes.

Dr.Sudarshani should have got 90 plus votes if Sirisena and Rajapaksa were united. But she got only 53. The United National Party’s candidate Ananda Kumarasiri got 97 votes and won convincingly.

Many MPs of the 224 strong House did not participate in the voting.

Continue reading ‘“Common Candidate” Dr.Sudarshini Fernandopulle’s Defeat at Deputy – Speaker Election Due to Failure of Attempt to Unite Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa Factions of SLFP/UPFA.’ »

Hindu Outfit “Siva Senai” Stages Demonstration in the Nothen Town of Chavakachchei Demanding Ban on Sale of Beef and Cow Slaughter in the “Land of Hindus and Buddhists”.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Last week, members of a Hindu outfit, ‘Seva Senai’, based in northern Sri Lanka, staged a protest in Jaffna, calling for a ban on cow slaughter and the sale of beef in the town of Chavakachcheri.

“This is the land of Hindus and Buddhists. We worship the cow. Our tradition must be respected,” they demanded, days before Ramzan began.

In essence, they were a group of Tamil Hindus, who were asking fellow minorities, Tamil-speaking Muslims, to adhere to Hindu “tradition”.

Continue reading ‘Hindu Outfit “Siva Senai” Stages Demonstration in the Nothen Town of Chavakachchei Demanding Ban on Sale of Beef and Cow Slaughter in the “Land of Hindus and Buddhists”.’ »

Vehicle Belonging to Skills Development Ministry Driven by State Minister Range Bandara’s son Yashodara Crashes into a House at Bangadeniya -Kottapitiya Junction on Chilaw -Puttalam Road at 1.00 a.m. On June 6th.

By Amarananda Wijesekera

A vehicle belonging to the Skills Development Ministry, driven by Yashodara (25), son of State Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources and Disaster Management Range Bandara, crashed into a house at Bangadeniya-Kottapitiya junction on the Chilaw-Puttalam main road at 1.00 am on Wednesday (June 6) causing injuries to the driver.

Continue reading ‘Vehicle Belonging to Skills Development Ministry Driven by State Minister Range Bandara’s son Yashodara Crashes into a House at Bangadeniya -Kottapitiya Junction on Chilaw -Puttalam Road at 1.00 a.m. On June 6th.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Parliament That Steps Are Taken to Extradite Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and Bring Him Back to Sri Lanka.

By

Methmalie Dissanayake

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said in the Parliament that steps are being taken to bring back Former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Arjuna Mahendran to Sri Lanka according to the Extradition Law.

Wickremesinghe made this remark while answering a question by Chief Opposition Whip and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Dissanayake queried as to what steps had been taken from the Government’s side to produce Mahendran to the relevant local Court thus far.

Responding to this, Wickremesinghe noted that the Laws of Singapore do not allow its citizens to be arrested based on Interpol’s Red Warrants.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Tells Parliament That Steps Are Taken to Extradite Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and Bring Him Back to Sri Lanka.’ »

Interpol Asked to Issue Red Notice Against Former Ambassador to USA Jaliya Wickramasuriya and UAE Formally Requested to Deport Former Envoy to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga From Dubai.

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that he had not been in contact with former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran since the latter had left the Central Bank.

The PM was responding to a question by Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake, who asked why he could not make a personal effort to bring back the former CB Governor.

Continue reading ‘Interpol Asked to Issue Red Notice Against Former Ambassador to USA Jaliya Wickramasuriya and UAE Formally Requested to Deport Former Envoy to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga From Dubai.’ »

Divisions Within the Joint Opposition Caused the Defeat of Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle at the Deputy Speaker Election States Cabinet Spokesperson Dr.Rajitha Senaratne.

By

Zahrah Imtiaz

Co-cabinet spokesperson, Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday stated that the vote against Dr. Sudharshani Fernadopulle was not personal and that it was the split within the Joint Opposition that had led to her loss.

“It was nothing to do with the individual.We saw that many in their camp, especially the Rajapaksas had left by the time the vote was taken”, Minister Senaratne addressing the weekly media briefing said yesterday.

Explaining the reason as to why there were two candidates put forward for the Deputy Speaker post, Senaratne said Dr. Fernandopulle’s nomination was done at the very last moment.

According to the agreement between the UNP and SLFP, if the position of Speaker went to the UNP, the position of Deputy Speaker was destined go to the SLFP.

Continue reading ‘Divisions Within the Joint Opposition Caused the Defeat of Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle at the Deputy Speaker Election States Cabinet Spokesperson Dr.Rajitha Senaratne.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy Cannot Ignore the Tamil Nationality Question and/or Omit Proposing a Solution.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“This is a sign of just how managerial and technocratic we have become; so much so that mediocre utilitarianism confuses itself with professionalism. And all of this is in place of what could be called humanism.”
— John Ralston Saul, ‘Voltaire’s Bastards’

From President Sirisena’s whistle-blowing ‘State bank privatization plot’ speech to the surrounding social anomie, we are living through “a great variety of morbid symptoms” which appear “in this interregnum” as described in Antonio Gramsci’s classic passage with the opening definition “the crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born.”

Is the post-2019 future to be a rightwing “Authoritarian Populism” as Stuart Hall named the Thatcher (or more broadly the Thatcher-Reagan) phenomenon? Or is it to be a left-of-centre, progressive and democratic populism in which nationalism is part of the protean mix? Is the patriotic populist vision of a strong State and strong leadership, to be of the centrist Putin-Erdogan variety or the rightist Trump-Netanyahu variety?

Any design for a new vision for Sri Lanka should centrally and explicitly address the mounting social crisis. A front page lead of an English language newspaper (May 27) disclosed that 40% of Colombo’s children are malnourished. The overall malnutrition figure for most provinces is a shocking 25%-30% i.e. 2 or 3 out of every 10 persons! The report was based on a presentation on May 24 to a Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on Women and Gender and the Children’s caucus, by Dr. Thusitha Wijemanna.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy Cannot Ignore the Tamil Nationality Question and/or Omit Proposing a Solution.’ »

Ananda Kumarasiri(UNP) with 97 Votes Is Elected as Deputy – Speaker Defeating Dr.Sudharshini Fernandopulle(SLFP) Who Got 44 Votes in Secret Ballot;73 MP’s Absent at Voting Time with TN,JVP and Group of JO Parliamentarians walking Out.

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe’s candidate MP Ananda Kumarasiri defeated SLFP Maithree-faction candidate Dr Sudarashini Fernandopulle by 44 votes to secure the post of Deputy Speaker in parliament yesterday.

MP Kumarasiri received 97 votes while MP Dr Fernandopulle received 53 votes. One vote was declared invalid.

Matara District UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana proposed the name of Moneragala District UNP MP Ananda Kumarasiri for the post of Deputy Speaker. It was seconded by Kurunegala District MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha.

UPFA MP SB Dissanayake said: This is a position allocated to the SLFP. Therefore, an SLFP MP should be appointed to this post. I propose the name of Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle for the post of Deputy Speaker.

MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara seconded MP Dissanayake’s proposal.

Continue reading ‘Ananda Kumarasiri(UNP) with 97 Votes Is Elected as Deputy – Speaker Defeating Dr.Sudharshini Fernandopulle(SLFP) Who Got 44 Votes in Secret Ballot;73 MP’s Absent at Voting Time with TN,JVP and Group of JO Parliamentarians walking Out.’ »

UNP Amenable to SLFP Govt Group MP Angajan ramanathan Becoming Deputy – Speaker But it was TNA Which Opposed His Nomination States Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

By Skandha Gunasekara

UNP candidate Ananda Kumarasiri was elected Deputy Speaker of Parliament yesterday, defeating the SLFP candidate Dr. Sudharshani Fernandopulle with a majority of 44 votes.

The voting, done through a secret ballot, took close to two hours to complete and resulted in 97 voting in favour of Kumarasiri while Fernandopulle received 53 votes.

The process began at around 2.30 p.m. when UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana nominated MP Kumarasiri for the post of Deputy Speaker, which was seconded by UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamah.

UPFA MP S.B. Dissanayake then proposed Dr. Fernandopulle for the post of Deputy Speaker.

“This is a position allocated for the SLFP, therefore an SLFP MP should be appointed. I nominate MP Fernandopulle,” he said.

Continue reading ‘UNP Amenable to SLFP Govt Group MP Angajan ramanathan Becoming Deputy – Speaker But it was TNA Which Opposed His Nomination States Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.’ »

TNL Chairman Shan Wickremesinghe Will Take Legal Action Against Telecomminications Regulatory Commission Over Unjust Sealing of Transmission Tower.


By

Lahiru Pothmulla

TNL Chairman Shan Wickremesinghe today said the move to shut down their Polgahawela transmission centre was not only unjust but also sudden and that he would take legal action against the TRCSL.

He said he was not informed of the court order which had been obtained by the TRCSL to search the transmission centre.

Continue reading ‘TNL Chairman Shan Wickremesinghe Will Take Legal Action Against Telecomminications Regulatory Commission Over Unjust Sealing of Transmission Tower.’ »

Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera Regrets Shutting Down of TNL by TRC Saying He came To Know About it only an Hour Before.


By

Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera

Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said today he regretted the shutting down of the transmission centre belonging to TNL television at Polgahawela and assured that he would submit a report in parliament on the matter.

In response to a question raised by joint opposition MP Wimal Weerawansa, Mr. Samaraweera told parliament that he did not have much information on the matter and assured him that he would look into it and submit a report to parliament soon.

“I got to know about it only an hour before it was shut down. I tried to contact the chairman of the TRC but I couldn’t get through to him,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera Regrets Shutting Down of TNL by TRC Saying He came To Know About it only an Hour Before.’ »

Wimal Weerawansa Condemns “Undemocratic” Shutting Down of TNL By TRC Controlled By President Sirisena Due to Infighting Between UNP and SLFP.

By Saman Indrajith

NFF leader Wimal Weerawsansa yesterday asked in parliament whether the shutdown of the transmission tower of TNL, which is owned by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s sibling by Telecommunication Regulatory Commission under President Maithripala Sirisena was a result of political tug o war between the SLFP and the UNP?

MP Weerawansa said the transmission tower of TNL TV at Polgahawela had been sealed by the TRC yesterday. “We do not agree with the political line of the TNL. It is owned by the brother of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.

But we do not approve of such action against a media institution. It is undemocratic. “This is a government which came to power, promising media freedom. I hope the media minister will reveal why the TNL tower has been shut down.”

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa Condemns “Undemocratic” Shutting Down of TNL By TRC Controlled By President Sirisena Due to Infighting Between UNP and SLFP.’ »

President Sirisena Gets TRC Under His Purview To Shut Down Telshan Network( TV Owned by Premier Wickremesinghe’s Brother After TNL Criticised him.

A television network owned by the family of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was suspended by the island’s telecom regulator Tuesday, worsening a power struggle in the fractious ruling coalition.

The closure of Telshan Network comes days after the station criticised President Maithripala Sirisena, who promised to end an era of draconian restrictions on the country’s media.

Sirisena, who rules in an unsteady alliance with Wickremesinghe, has specific oversight of the telecom regulator and the decision has aggravated frictions between the men.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Gets TRC Under His Purview To Shut Down Telshan Network( TV Owned by Premier Wickremesinghe’s Brother After TNL Criticised him.’ »

Wildlife and Sustainable Development Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma’s Ad -Hoc Decision To Relocate Last Two Elephants in Sinharaja Forest to Horowapothana Criticised Severely By Wild Life Experts and Enthusiasts.


by Maneshka Borham

In a country that is home to an estimated 6,000 elephants, the current number of these gentle giants in the wet zone areas of Sri Lanka are few and far between. Once hunted widely during the Colonial period, the increasing human population in lowland areas with the land being used to grow cash crops meant, elephants were almost eliminated from the wet zones, save a few from the protected Sinharaja and Sri Pada forest reserves. Today, in the world famous Sinharaja Rainforest only two known elephants remain, making them a rarity.

However, a recent decision made by the Deputy Minister of Wildlife and Sustainable Development, Palitha Thewarapperuma to relocate these free roaming elephants to a holding centre located in Horowapothana, in the country’s dry zone has rung the death knell for these magnificent creatures, say wildlife experts and activists. The controversial move has even prompted environmentalists to call for the removal of both, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Wildlife and Sustainable Development, according to them, due to ad hoc decisions being made recently to the detriment of wildlife.

Continue reading ‘Wildlife and Sustainable Development Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma’s Ad -Hoc Decision To Relocate Last Two Elephants in Sinharaja Forest to Horowapothana Criticised Severely By Wild Life Experts and Enthusiasts.’ »

Ananda Kumarasiri(UNP),Dr.Sudharshini Fernandopulle(SLFP) and Angajan Ramanathan(SLFP) Contest for Deputy – Speaker in Parliamentary Poll by Secret Ballot

By
Disna Mudalige

A secret vote will be taken up in Parliament today(June 5) to elect a Deputy Speaker, Parliament Serjeant-at-Arms Anil Parakrama Samarasekara said.

He told the Daily News that ballot boxes and other arrangements necessary for a secret vote will be facilitated today.

The SLFP has proposed the name of National List MP Angajan Ramanathan, while the UNP has decided to field Monaragala District MP Ananda Kumarasiri for the Deputy Speaker post.

The Joint Opposition has decided to propose the name of Gampaha District MP Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle.

Continue reading ‘Ananda Kumarasiri(UNP),Dr.Sudharshini Fernandopulle(SLFP) and Angajan Ramanathan(SLFP) Contest for Deputy – Speaker in Parliamentary Poll by Secret Ballot’ »

“Do Not Relocate Last Two Wet Zone Forest Elephants in Sinharaja Rain Forest Urge Organizations to Sirisena -Wickremesinghe Govt

The Organisations listed below are appalled that a political decision has been made to capture and relocate the last two elephants remaining in the Sinharaja Rainforest, a World Heritage Site. This comes about, according to media reports, in the wake of a villager on the borders of the forest going out of his home in the middle of the night, without a torch or other illumination, to defecate in the open. There had been an elephant feeding there and, sadly, this man’s life came to untimely end.

Walking out in the middle of the night in areas bordering any forest, without the advantage of a light, has its perils, and not just from elephants. This unfortunate man may have met his end from the bite or attack of half a dozen other creatures that inhabit Sinharaja and its boundaries. Had his death been caused by any other, this matter would have been recorded as an unfortunate accident but as it was an elephant, the unscrupulous have taken advantage of this.

Yet there is a draft National Management Plan for the Conservation of the Wild Elephant in Sri Lanka, a comprehensive document that addresses all aspects necessary to preserve the last populations of the wild elephant, inclusive of measures to reduce human-elephant conflicts that often result in tragedy for both; as it has and will, in this case. This document has sat on the shelves of the Ministry of Wildlife awaiting adoption for some time now.

Continue reading ‘“Do Not Relocate Last Two Wet Zone Forest Elephants in Sinharaja Rain Forest Urge Organizations to Sirisena -Wickremesinghe Govt’ »

Ex-Navy Commander and Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne Faces Imminent Arrest For Allegedly Helping “Navy” Sampath the Main Suspect in Abduction and Murder of 13 Children Evade Arrest

Sri Lanka’s senior-most defence official, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, faces imminent arrest following allegations that he shielded the main suspect in the abduction and murder of 11 children.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) told the Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne that Admiral Wijegunaratne during his term as navy commander had repeatedly protected the chief suspect known as “Navy Sampath.”

The magistrate told the CID that there was no impediment to arresting anyone obstructing the course of justice. The court has also called for a parallel case against those blocking the arrest of the main suspect.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Navy Commander and Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne Faces Imminent Arrest For Allegedly Helping “Navy” Sampath the Main Suspect in Abduction and Murder of 13 Children Evade Arrest’ »

Gotabaya’s Presence and Speech at the “iftar” ceremony in Beruwela Sends an Unambiguous Signal to Sirisena and Wickremesinghe That the Muslims are not to be Taken for Granted.

By

Sarath de Alwis


“The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Man must prove the truth, i.e., the reality and power, the worldliness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.”

Karl Marx -Theses on Feuerbach 1845

Gotabaya Rajapaksa may or may not have read Karl Marx. But he is certainly proving that Marx is right about power and the reality of power.

He is in a quest for power. The people in general have a pretty good idea of how he would use power, if he gets it and when he gets it.

The Muslims gathered for an Iftar event at Beruwela, last week, encountered firsthand, what Karl Marx meant in stressing that Man must prove the truth- the worldliness of his thinking and practice –relating power to reality.

The Beruwela event demonstrates that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not only as clever as the devil but is twice as pretty. Just as he reached out to the merchant princes at the Shangri-La, he has now made a convincing overture to the Muslim middle class. The intent was to repair and restore his ties with the Muslim community, disastrously ruptured by his early open and later clandestine support for extreme groups such as, Bodu Bala Sena and Ravana Battalion.

The immediate goal was to allay any lingering Muslim apprehensions over his Presidential bid. Beruwela was a masterpiece of political ice-breaking.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya’s Presence and Speech at the “iftar” ceremony in Beruwela Sends an Unambiguous Signal to Sirisena and Wickremesinghe That the Muslims are not to be Taken for Granted.’ »

Jean Arasanayagam Wins 2017 Gratiaen Prize for Best Creative Writing in English for Her Book of Poetry “Life of the Poet”.

By
NAN

I was delighted when my friend Jean Solomons, now Arasanayagam, won the Gratiaen Prize for the best work of creative writing in English in the year 2017. Double glory as this award celebrated its 25th anniversary, founded in 1993 by Michael Ondaatje with the money from winning the Man Booker Prize for his novel The English Patient. Jean won the prize for her book of poetry titled The Life of The Poet, published by Sarasavi Publishers.

The prize winning book

Jean courier-posted a copy of the book which I received on Thursday ( May 31), so I will not attempt commenting on its content. I have read much of Jean’s earlier poetry and find she is truly poetic, her poetry being deep in significance and poetic excellence. Whatever the content matter, her poems come across strongly evocative, their effect on the reader always definite, oftimes stunning. Her language is crisp and one single line may encapsulate a whole spectrum of meaning coupled with rich imagery. Her poetry on Jaffna and the civil war, and on discrimination whether racial or religious, are sharper and actually breathtaking in their effect.

Continue reading ‘Jean Arasanayagam Wins 2017 Gratiaen Prize for Best Creative Writing in English for Her Book of Poetry “Life of the Poet”.’ »

Lester James Peries The Father of Sinhala Cinema Whose Working Language was English Made Films in the Language of Cinema.

By

Dr.Carlo Fonseka

(Talk given by Prof Carlo Fonseka at a commemoration meeting held in St Mary’s Church Bambalapitiya on May 28.)

On April 29, 2018, Dr Lester James Peries, the greatest film-maker on earth at that time, was going on his 100th year. Then he radically changed course and embarked upon the journey “to the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns” as Shakespeare’s soliloquizing Hamlet memorably put it. We are assembled this evening in this church where Lester regularly worshipped, to pay homage to the memory of the great man whose cinematic art helped to make our lives in this world more enjoyable and meaningful.


Context

To set the context in which Lester did his work, let us recall that he belonged to a special subgroup of gifted people in this country. To name but a few of them, apart from Lester himself, it included his brother Ivan Peries the famous painter. Then there was the Cambridge educated lawyer and legislator, Sir James Pieris who in the 1920s led the Ceylon National Congress and was the Vice-President of the Legislative Assembly. There was also his Cambridge-educated lawyer son Charles Jacob Pieris who however, abandoned the law and studied classical Western music. He returned to Sri Lanka, took the name Deva Surya Sena and became an accomplished musician. He focused on our folk songs and vannams. He was a member of the Anglican Church and as it happened, composed a Sinhala liturgy based on the Gajaga Vannama.

Continue reading ‘Lester James Peries The Father of Sinhala Cinema Whose Working Language was English Made Films in the Language of Cinema.’ »

Upgrading of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to “A” Category from “B” Category is a Matter of Deep Satisfaction But Further Institutional Strenthening of HRCSL Needs to take Place

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Even before the Rajapaksa Presidency passed the 18th Amendment, we had been reassured by successive Governments (with more than a hint of perfunctory condescension), that Sri Lanka’s Rule of Law institutions were working well, even if not perfectly well.

Administering last rites to governance

Those reassurances contrasted strangely with the actual realities. Weak laws were passed with deliberate contradictions that made it difficult for institutions created therein to be structurally independent. Furthermore, those venturesome enough (or perchance indeed foolhardy) to take on the challenges of working in these bodies were constantly sniped at from political quarters, debilitating their integrity and delegitimizing the institutions that they were a part of. At its highest level, the judiciary remained plagued by clouds of political controversy that finally enveloped the very Office of the Chief Justice in their deadly reach and which has never quite dissipated since then.

To be clear, the 18th Amendment passed by a Rajapaksa Parliament merely administered the last rites with a flourish to the sad remains of independent institutions established with the proud ambition of safeguarding rights of Sri Lankans. What occurred thereafter reflected, of course, the ugliest of scenarios when retired judges, lawyers and other more dubious characters, (including some purporting to lay claim to academic credentials), openly and shamelessly colluded with the political establishment which had, by that time, begun to violate rights with an exuberance that exceeded even its none too saintly predecessors.

An immediate victim of these tumultuous happenings was the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) in regard to which public disapproval was unprecedented at the time. As the HRCSL looked determinedly away from its statutory task of speaking up for unfortunate victims, including those who had been brutally tortured from the North to the South, faith in its independent and impartial functioning plummeted to the lowest ebb.

Continue reading ‘Upgrading of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to “A” Category from “B” Category is a Matter of Deep Satisfaction But Further Institutional Strenthening of HRCSL Needs to take Place’ »

Is President Sirisena With Those Who Got Him Elected as Executive President Or with Those Who Opposed Him Then?

By

Rajan Philips

President Sirisena once again stole his own political thunder last week with a headlines grabbing outburst while appearing uninvited at a commemoration event to mark the 76th birth anniversary of the late Sobitha Thera. The outburst and the news reports of it are remarkable for not what the President said at the meeting, but for what he failed to say. He gravely omitted to mention the SINGLE ISSUE for which Sobitha Thera launched a movement and even sacrificed his life, namely, the abolition of the executive presidency. Instead, the President used the occasion for pouring vitriolic sarcasm on the Prime Minister and grandstanding that the late Thera “never asked the common candidate to loot the Central Bank” as one daily reported.

The outburst was also full of outright lies – about the 100-day Programme, dissolving parliament etc., which have since been publicly repudiated for what they are by Lal Wijeynayake, well known Lawyer and LSSPer, and the UNP’s Kabir Hashim. Mr. Sirisena took credit for swearing in, in his first act as President in January 2015, Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister even though the UNP had only 47 MPs in parliament. What the President did not say is the fact that the SLFP/UPFA who had a near two-thirds majority did not challenge Ranil Wickremesinghe’s lack of majority in parliament to be Prime Minister, because the SLFP MPs accepted the meaning of the defeat of President Rajapaksa to be a defeat of the whole SLFP/UPFA government. The tragic-comic yahapalanaya story is that after three years in office, it was President Sirisena who unsuccessfully tried to get the SLFPers (split between the government and opposition) to vote against his own Prime Minister in a motion of no confidence in parliament.

The President flung another boomeranging bombshell at the commemoration event. He contended that anyone who is interested in knowing the truth about the investigation into what is now officially acknowledged as the murder of (Rugger Player) Wasim Thajudeen, should only ask the late Thajudeen’s family members or the Lawyers looking after their interests. Why so? If the President has knowledge of interference in police work and if he knows that the police are being prevented from exposing the suspects and filing charges against them, shouldn’t he put an end to these interferences and allow the police to complete their work. Is there someone else more powerful than the President who can overrule the President and stop the police and prosecutors from completing their investigation and prosecuting the accused in court? Hasn’t the family of Thajudeen been traumatized enough through the wild-goose-chase of an investigation, and shouldn’t they be at the least spared of public references from political platforms?

Continue reading ‘Is President Sirisena With Those Who Got Him Elected as Executive President Or with Those Who Opposed Him Then?’ »

President Sirisena is an Experiment Which has Outgrown its Laboratory, with Unintended Consequences .


By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

“You are my creator, But I am your master……
Mary Shelley (1818)

Given the trend of tirades, it is not unreasonable to expect that President Sirisena will wake up one of these days and disclaim everything he did and said in 2015. The change maker is clearly out, though the charlatan arguably never left. The hope around and pegged to him is long gone. There is, short of a miracle, nothing progressive that he was the face of, and championed, when first seeking office that will now come to pass. This includes, above all else, a new constitution. There is an increasing manic tinge, of someone increasingly unhinged, that colours his pronouncements. A video last week of him disavowing any knowledge around actions he clearly and very publicly took credit just after coming to office went viral, which in this case, would have added to his insecurities about social media.

From the titan who took on a terrible regime, he is now greatly reduced – a moral, political, ethical and personal deflation that is almost entirely self-inflicted. President Sirisena is now a caricature of himself, a necessary evil to engage with but entirely peripheral as a person. There is no pleasure in seeing this. What a monumental fall from the person we emphatically cheered on, hoarse, tired and in a general state of sheer disbelief, a little over three years ago.

In his defence, the lofty garb of idealism that once adorned him wasn’t bespoke. The political project to have him run for Presidency was strictly utilitarian based on a simple equation around who could win against Mahinda Rajapaksa at a time when he was, constitutionally, set to rule for life. The selection of Sirisena wasn’t based on anything remotely presidential in him. He wasn’t an idiot, but he was useful. An intended outcome was needed, and he was the best vessel. Sirisena as a presidential mendicant had what Fonseka as presidential aspirant, in 2010, did not – the element of surprise and public appeal, not arising from any great service or intellect, but as a consequence of a lifetime of political mediocrity singularly defined by loyalty to the SLFP. All bets in, the gamble paid off, perhaps surprising those now in power more than those who were ousted.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena is an Experiment Which has Outgrown its Laboratory, with Unintended Consequences .’ »

Grand Coalition of the Corrupt That Transcends Political Divisions Among Politicians,Officials and Entrepreneurs Defended By Top Legal Professionals Possessing the Best Brains of our Society.

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

Among politically significant developments to have occurred during the past week or so, three stand out. They, not necessarily in the order of their importance, are: (a) Revelations made by MP Dayasiri Jayasekera about business donations to election funds of politicians, (b) the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution, and (c) Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s launching of his 2019-2020 election campaign. This essay examines only the first.

Campaign donations

Dayasiri Jayasekara is the first MP who has openly admitted to accepting Rs. 1 million as donation from a company linked to Arjun Aloysius who is alleged to have masterminded the massive Central Bank bond scam in 2015. According to media reports, there are altogether 118 MPs, representing both, the ruling coalition and the opposition, who are alleged to have shared a total donation of Rs. 1.8 billion from the Aloysius fund. MP Jayasekera has challenged the other 117 colleagues to come out and admit it in public. Only Sarath Fonseka, Minister of Wildlife, has so far responded to Jayasekara’s call, which many of his MP colleagues are very likely to ignore.

In terms of the volume of cash involved, the Aloysius-Jayasekera transaction is a relatively small donation. But, that does not make the episode any less dramatic.

In a press conference, MP Jayasekara, himself a lawyer, has made some astonishing admissions that are great quotations for any political science student of elections and campaign funding. He said, the amount he received, — a mere Rs. 1 million – was such an insignificant share of the total amount of donations that businessmen make during election campaigns that it was ‘like a coconut husk in the ocean.” Aloysius, according to Jayasekera, has distributed Rs. 1. 8 billion among 118 MPs of the ruling coalition as well as the opposition. He also protested: “Why single me out? 118 MPs have done it.” He also revealed: “Many businessmen do it. Aloysius is not an exception.”

Continue reading ‘Grand Coalition of the Corrupt That Transcends Political Divisions Among Politicians,Officials and Entrepreneurs Defended By Top Legal Professionals Possessing the Best Brains of our Society.’ »

President Sirisena Has Reached The Identical Point That Alice in Wonderland Reached When she Met The Cheshire Cat.


By Sarath de Alwis

President Maithripala Sirisena is unlikely to command a chapter or earn a paragraph in our post-colonial history. He will, of course, be a footnote in the convoluted chapter on our struggle to return to a parliamentary democracy for when we succeed in ditching the travesty – the executive presidency.

The man was doomed from the start. His character and character flaws are straight from the Russian novel where Fyodor Dostoevsky has described his kind. “But man is a fickle and disreputable creature and perhaps, like a chess-player, is interested in the process of attaining his goal rather than the goal itself.”

His presidency of the last three years is a bad Russian novel.

Today, he is the character out of Pushkin. “It’s a lucky man, a very lucky man, who is committed to what he believes, who has stifled intellectual detachment and can relax in the luxury of his emotions – like a tipsy traveller resting for the night at a wayside inn.”

The President’s reference to burglarizing of the ‘Big Bank – Maha Benkuwa’ did not create any waves.

Instead, his remark about helicopters was noted, picked up and soon snowballed into an unusual uproar and an exceptional extravaganza of political rhetoric. That says a lot about our mass media, social media and our opinion makers.

The President’s remarks did have an impact on two professional journalist friends of this writer. One said that the President was unhinged. The other described it as an outburst. This writer does not intend to quarrel with either of them. They are what constitute the urban liberal middle class of our land.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Has Reached The Identical Point That Alice in Wonderland Reached When she Met The Cheshire Cat.’ »

Four Supreme Court Judges Have So Far Recused Themselves From Hearing Fundamental Rights Petition Filed By Ex – Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

By
Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Four Supreme Court Judges have declined to sit on the Bench to hear the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, citing personal reasons.

Supreme Court Judges Eva Wanasundara, Buwaneka Aluvihare, Priyantha Jayawardena and Murdu Fernando have so far declined to sit on the Bench regarding a Fundamental Rights petition filed by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in 2015.

Accordingly, this petition is to be heard on November 27, under a different Bench not comprising these four Supreme Court judges.

Continue reading ‘Four Supreme Court Judges Have So Far Recused Themselves From Hearing Fundamental Rights Petition Filed By Ex – Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.’ »

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran Boycotts Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Visit to North And Sends Letter With Demands To the Govt Instead of Facing PM Directly.

By

Manekshaw

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe travelled to Jaffna last week and when the Sri Lanka Air Force VIP helicopter touched down at the Jaffna Municipal Council grounds, he was received by one of the leading business magnates in Jaffna T. Thuvarakeswaran who is the brother of the late UNP Parliamentarian T. Maheswaran and the brother in law of State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe descended from the SLAF chopper amidst heavy showers and tight security, to once the location of the Jaffna Municipal Council, where stood a building very much similar to the Jaffna Public Library building in architecture. However, the LTTE demolished the majestic Jaffna Municipal Council building, which even housed a cinema, by detonating dynamites, when there were moves by the Army to take over the building, in the early eighties. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s Jaffna itinerary focused on having meetings with Government officials in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, to assess the progress of the post-war development activities.

Continue reading ‘Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran Boycotts Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Visit to North And Sends Letter With Demands To the Govt Instead of Facing PM Directly.’ »

CID Tells Court Of Chief of Defence Staff Ravi Wijegunawrdene’s Suspected Connection to Evasion of Arrest By Naval Officer Prasad Hettiarachchi Allegedly Responsible for Disappearance of 11 Children

By

Kavindya Perera

The CID yesterday (31), informed Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne that former Navy Commander and current Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunawardene was connected to the disappearance of Lieutenant Commander Prasad Hettiarachchi, a suspect charged with the abduction and disappearance of 11 children.

Attorney Achala Seneviratne, appearing for the aggrieved parties, questioned the CID on the progress made in their investigations into Hettiarachchi’s disappearance.

Continue reading ‘CID Tells Court Of Chief of Defence Staff Ravi Wijegunawrdene’s Suspected Connection to Evasion of Arrest By Naval Officer Prasad Hettiarachchi Allegedly Responsible for Disappearance of 11 Children’ »

UNP Will Launch Its “Sathya”(Truth) Campaign Through its New Central Media Unit to Reveal Truth About President Sirisena’s Allegations says Newly Appointed Party Spokesmand Propaganda Chief Harin Fernando.

By

Yohan Perera

The United National Party (UNP) would reveal the truth and would respond to the statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena on the Hundred-Day Programme from next week, its newly appointed Spokesman Harin Fernando said yesterday.

“ We will speak about the programme and other things from next Monday when we launch out ‘Sathya (Truth) Campaign,” Minister Fernando said in response to a question raised by journalists as to how would the UNP respond to the sentiments expressed by President Sirisena on the Hundred-Day-Programme.

“We will launch the UNP’s Central Media Unit and the ‘Sathya’ Programme on Monday.

Continue reading ‘UNP Will Launch Its “Sathya”(Truth) Campaign Through its New Central Media Unit to Reveal Truth About President Sirisena’s Allegations says Newly Appointed Party Spokesmand Propaganda Chief Harin Fernando.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Asks Presidential Secretary Thrice To Send Him the Names of 118 Persons Including MP’s Who Allegedly Took Money from Arjun Aloysius But No Response From Austin Fernando So far.

By

Sandun A Jayasekera and Ajith Siriwardana

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has written to the Secretary to President Austin Fernando to send him the list of names mentioned in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) Report as those who had allegedly received financial gratuities from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. boss Arjun Aloysius.

Mr Jayasuriya has made the request several times to Mr Fernando but there has been no positive response up to now.

An official of the Speaker’s Office told the Daily Mirror that a third request had been made to the Presidential Secretariat a few days ago by Speaker Jayasuriya under the Parliamentary Privilege as the issue involved Parliamentarians.

“Speaker Jayasuriya expects a positive response by next week from Mr Fernando as the disclosure of those names is of national interest,” the official added.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Asks Presidential Secretary Thrice To Send Him the Names of 118 Persons Including MP’s Who Allegedly Took Money from Arjun Aloysius But No Response From Austin Fernando So far.’ »

President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Must Go To the Sinhala People and Explain the Need for a New Constitution” – TNA Leader Sampanthan Tells US Delegation.

(Text Of Press Statement Issued Through the Media Office of the Tamil National Alliance on 30.05.2018)

The visiting United States House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Delegation led by Hon. McClellen Thornberry met with the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance Mr. Sampanthan today in Colombo.

Mr. Sampanthan briefed the delegation on the current political situation in the country and emphasized the importance of both President and Prime Minister Working together in order to find solutions to fundamental issues and taking this country forward. “We are unhappy about the way the country is progressing,” Mr. Sampanthan told the delegation.

Answering a question Mr. Sampanthan said, that “the majority of the people in this country are willing to address the national issue once and for all. What is lacking is that the courage from the Sinhala leaders to go out to the people and explicitly tell them on the need for a new Constitution and the benefits of framing a new Constitution he said. Some Sinhala political leaders are trying to satisfy the hardliners than being just and equal to all people in this country, they cannot go on this path forever, it will only end up in history being repeated Mr. Sampanthan said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Must Go To the Sinhala People and Explain the Need for a New Constitution” – TNA Leader Sampanthan Tells US Delegation.’ »

Right to Information Commission Expresses Concern Over Clause 9 of Proposed Audit Bill Seeking to Prevent RTIC Access to Audit Reports.

(TEXT OF STATEMENT ISSUED ON JUNE 1st 2018 BY RIGHT TO INFORMATION COMMISSION ON PROPOSED AUDIT BILL)

In accordance with its duty to secure the effective implementation of Sri Lanka’s Right to Information Act, No 12 of 2016 (RTI Act) in Sri Lanka, the Right to Information Commission (RTIC) emphasizes the importance of upholding the public right to know which is a core principle of the RTI Act.

It is reminded in this regard that the RTI Act is premised on the principle of maximum disclosure while protecting specific interests (national security, privacy, law and orderetc). These interests are, in turn, subjected to an overriding public interest test. As such, the RTI Act does not place specific categories or classes of documents or the functioning of specific offices beyond the reach of information requesters.

Consequently draft laws currently in the public domain that proposes to place selected state offices on an advantaged position as against others and enforce general prohibitions on citizens asking for information on the due and proper functioning of such offices raise legitimate concerns as to whether this will create exclusive domains of privilege for those offices.

Continue reading ‘Right to Information Commission Expresses Concern Over Clause 9 of Proposed Audit Bill Seeking to Prevent RTIC Access to Audit Reports.’ »

President Sirisena Claims He Saved the State Banking Sector From Collapsing by Thwarting Despicable Attempt to Transfer Funds From State Banks to Private Banks after Three Year Battle.

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday lambasted the top UNP leadership alleging that he thwarted a despicable attempt to transfer funds from state banks to private banks. Had that move succeeded entire state banking sector would have collapsed, President Sirisena said, recalling how he managed to halt the move after a three month long battle.

President Sirisena said so at a commemorative event to mark the birth anniversary of Yahapalana architect the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI).

Among those in the audience were Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, MP, Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale and member of the Constitutional Council A.T. Ariyaratne.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Claims He Saved the State Banking Sector From Collapsing by Thwarting Despicable Attempt to Transfer Funds From State Banks to Private Banks after Three Year Battle.’ »

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Says he Too Received About 100,000 Rupees From Businessman Arjun Aloysius During the Last Election campaign.

Cabinet Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that he, too, received about Rs100,000 from tainted businessman Arjun Aloysius at the last parliamentary polls.

Continue reading ‘Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Says he Too Received About 100,000 Rupees From Businessman Arjun Aloysius During the Last Election campaign.’ »

“Who Provided Helicopters to Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to go to Tangalle Unharmed After the Presidential Election Results were Announced? Asks President Maithripala Sirisena

By

Ariyaratna Ranabahu

President Maithripala Sirisena said today the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, who came forward to set up a Government through a common candidate, never asked that common candidate to loot the Central bank.

The President expressed these views at the 76th commemoration of the late Ven. Sobitha Thera held at Foundation Institute in Colombo.

President Sirisena, who paid a surprise visit to the event, said he had not received an official invitation to attend the event.

Continue reading ‘“Who Provided Helicopters to Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to go to Tangalle Unharmed After the Presidential Election Results were Announced? Asks President Maithripala Sirisena’ »

Ex-Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s “Economic Vision for 2020 -2030” Is a Policy Blueprint for an Authoritarian Regime in Sri Lanka.

By Pani Wijesiriwardane

Former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s recent “Economic Vision for 2020–2030” document is a policy blueprint for an authoritarian regime in Sri Lanka.

Addressing the annual conference of the extreme-right Viyath Maga (Professionals for Better Nation) this month, Rajapakse called for a complete overhaul of the economy in order to exploit “windows of opportunity” for international investment. The essence of his speech was that “economic development” requires vicious law and order measures.

The Viyath Maga conference was attended by 2,000 invitees at the ultra-expensive Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo on May 13. Participants included former president Mahinda Rajapakse, retired military leaders, business chiefs, highly-paid professionals, some Buddhist clergy and Sinhala extremists.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s “Economic Vision for 2020 -2030” Is a Policy Blueprint for an Authoritarian Regime in Sri Lanka.’ »

Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran is Probably Plotting to Use Another Generation of Tamils as Pawns to Advance his Personal Political Ends.


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

A decision by a local bank to suspend two of its employees for commemorating the war dead of the final phase of the Eelam war has now caused a fresh wave of controversy. The ‘disciplinary action’ was purportedly taken after Sinhala nationalist social media highlighted the incident.

The Bank said in a media statement, “HNB takes very seriously any sentiment or act that is in violation of, or poses a threat to the morale of citizens of Sri Lanka. As a Bank that stands for all Sri Lankans, our goals, interests and initiatives are all aligned to the vision and greater good of our Country.”

“We regret an unauthorized incident that took place recently in one of our branches, which does not reflect the values of the Bank. The matter has been investigated and necessary action taken.”

The management response has however drawn condemnation from Tamil society, and Tamil diaspora groups, who are unlikely to have accounts on the HNB anyway, have called for a boycott of the bank.

Continue reading ‘Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran is Probably Plotting to Use Another Generation of Tamils as Pawns to Advance his Personal Political Ends.’ »

Premier Wickremesinghe Outlines Development Plans For the North Which is the Poorest Province in Sri Lanka

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday focused on the need to link the Northern Province with southern development corridors to develop its economy focusing on agriculture, fishing, tourism and manufacturing.

Wickremesinghe speaking in Kilinochchi during a visit to the war-affected Province noted that despite the war ending nine years ago, the region had not seen an economic regeneration. He pointed out that despite the development of infrastructure significant challenges, especially on poverty, water and housing access remained in the area and required Government assistance. He acknowledged the region would need a multipronged approach including better education and employment opportunities to improve its GDP contribution and provide better living standards for its residents.

Continue reading ‘Premier Wickremesinghe Outlines Development Plans For the North Which is the Poorest Province in Sri Lanka’ »

If UNP and Liberal Establishment Dont want Gota as Presidential Candidate They Must Revise 19 Amendment to Let Mahinda Contest the Presidential Poll.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka


First of a Two -part Article

Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad, said the old line. I’d modify that and say that whom the Gods wish to destroy they first render stupid.

There are two sorts of folks in Sri Lanka who are being driven stupid so to speak. One consists of politicians, ideologues and intellectuals who are pro-government and of liberal persuasion. The other are the same categories of persons who adhere to the Tamil nationalist cause.

Let’s review the first lot, first. The liberals earnestly wish that Ranil and Maithri renew their political marriage vows, and believe that the UNP and SLFP can together defeat the rising Rajapaksa tide. They also wonder whether Mahinda Rajapaksa can be inveigled into supporting either the 20th amendment or the new Constitution—and thereby stop the Gotabhaya surge.

Continue reading ‘If UNP and Liberal Establishment Dont want Gota as Presidential Candidate They Must Revise 19 Amendment to Let Mahinda Contest the Presidential Poll.’ »

Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants Offensive Political Strategy Saying Tamils Must Fight Like Muhamed Ali Punching While the Rival is Tired.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka



Second of a Two-part Article

At the beginning of the first part of this article ,I referred to two groups of people whom the Gods are driving stupid as a prelude to driving them mad, which itself is a prelude to destruction. The first group was the pro-regime or anti-Rajapaksa liberals. The second group consists of the Tamil nationalists.

The Tamil nationalists are behaving in such a manner as to secure the electoral victory of the hardest line Sinhala nationalists around. This is not the first time they have behaved thus. Every time they expect the world to support the Tamil cause and the Sinhala nationalist to lose all external support—thereby ending up with the victory of the Tamil project of self-determination. It has never worked. It won’t work this time either.

The Tamil nationalists have not learnt from the example of Anton Balasingham who knew when the Tamils should stop, not push beyond a certain point, abandon the offensive strategy and consolidate their gains, adopting a defensive strategy if needed. He argued as much in 2002 (the April 2003 Tokyo conference was the case in point) and lost the argument.

Prabhakaran won the argument and lost the war. Chief Minister Wigneswaran among others, is arguing for an offensive political strategy on the part of the Tamils, when they should be digging in for a defensive one.

Continue reading ‘Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants Offensive Political Strategy Saying Tamils Must Fight Like Muhamed Ali Punching While the Rival is Tired.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Resorts To Chauvinistic Rhetoric In Praising Armed Forces in a Bid to Counter Challenge Posed By Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By K. Ratnayake

President Maithripala Sirisena devoted his speech at a ceremony celebrating the 2009 defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to eulogise the military and issue Sinhala chauvinist appeals.

Sirisena, who is also the commander in chief of the Sri Lankan armed forces, presided over the so-called national war heroes’ day on May 19, marking the ninth anniversary since the end of the bloody 26-year communal war.

Sirisena’s craven praise for the military is a measure of his dependence on it. He is leading a politically fragile government with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and facing mounting social opposition by workers and the poor. A rival group led by former President Mahinda Rajapakse is challenging his coalition government.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Resorts To Chauvinistic Rhetoric In Praising Armed Forces in a Bid to Counter Challenge Posed By Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Why “Velvet Glove” To JVP and “Iron Hand” to LTTE When Both are Failed Terrorist Organizations?

By Air Vice Marshal(Retd) A B Sosa VSV psc

In the past couple of weeks there have been divergent views expressed whether our brethren living in the North should be permitted to commemorate the deaths of their kith and kin and friends on the anniversary of the day that the LTTE was eliminated from our country. In this context, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna [ JVP ]has been allowed to commemorate annually the demise of their leader Rohana Wijeweera and their comrades who were killed by the Services, Police and pro government unofficial troops.

The justification for this double standard is that the aim of the LTTE was to separate the country and declare Eelam whilst the JVP was motivated to overthrow the Democratically elected Government and form a Revolutionary undivided dictatorial government under the leadership of Rohana Wijeweera and his politbureau. The atrocities and activities of the LTTE are well documented and several books authored by those who had to face the brunt of their attacks commencing 1980 up to 2009 have been published.

Continue reading ‘Why “Velvet Glove” To JVP and “Iron Hand” to LTTE When Both are Failed Terrorist Organizations?’ »

Snap Presidential Election Possible At Anytime after 9 January 2019

By C.A.Chandraprema

As the month of June approaches, we realise that the incumbent President now has only 18 full months in office before the last date by which a presidential election should be held and a new president declared elected.

According to Article 31(3) of the Constitution, the poll for the election of the President has to be held not less than one month, and not more than two months before the expiration of the term of office of the President in office. Going by this constitutional requirement, the last day by which the presidential poll will have to be held, is the 9th December 2019 because President Maithripala Sirisena’s term in office ends on 9 January 2020.

According to Section 2(1) of the Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981, when the Commissioner of Elections is required by the Constitution to conduct a presidential election, he has to fix a date for the nomination of candidates which is not less than sixteen days and not more than one month from the date of publication of such Order. The date on which the poll is taken has to be a date not less than one month and not more than two months from the date of nomination. Thus, when we work backwards from the last day on which the next presidential election should be held that is, 9 December 2019, we find that the latest that nominations for the presidency can close will be 9 November.

Continue reading ‘Snap Presidential Election Possible At Anytime after 9 January 2019’ »

Gota’s Viyathmaga and a Govt at a Standstill.

By Dr Nalaka Godahewa

American economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell once said, “The big divide in this country is not between Democrats and Republicans, or men and women, but between talkers and doers ”

When a powerful minister of the government gets into a panic and issues a press statement criticizing a speech made by an ordinary citizen at a non political event there is some thing bizarre about it. That is exactly what minister Malik Samarawickrama did a few days ago. When we see his statement challenging the economic views expressed by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in his capacity as the chairman of Viyathmaga at the recently concluded Annual Convention 2018, invariably the above quote by Thomas Sowell comes to our mind. Minister Samarawickrama represents a government, which has only been talking for more than three years whilst miserably failing in delivery. On the other hand Mr Rajapaksa comes with a proven track record of delivering results whenever he was entrusted with responsibility. So here is a clear divide between a talker and a doer.

Continue reading ‘Gota’s Viyathmaga and a Govt at a Standstill.’ »

Kumar Sangakkara Can Become the National Leader of Sri Lanka Like Emmanuel Macron In France



By

R. Jayaratne


An Open Letter To The Former Cricket Captain

Dear Kumar Sangakkara,

Thank you very much for directing public attention, once again, to the subject of maladministration of Sri Lanka Cricket at the recent Colombo Club meeting despite being an unpleasant task to take upon at an otherwise pleasing event. As is evident, the problem continues with impunity despite your bringing it to the fore internationally, as far back as 2011, at your much hailed MCC ‘Spirit of Cricket’ Cowdrey Lecture. You were praised for your outspokenness on the lack of accountability and transparency in Sri Lanka’s cricket administration and its loss of credibility and integrity due to a mad power struggle.

It is no mean achievement to have your eloquent speech described as the most important in cricket history. It enhanced your international reputation as an eminent personality.

No doubt, the public share in your continued disillusionment with the deplorable standards of governance, accountability & transparency & mounting corruption, cronyism & authoritarianism which have blurred SLC’s vision, mission and goals.

Continue reading ‘Kumar Sangakkara Can Become the National Leader of Sri Lanka Like Emmanuel Macron In France’ »

Sandhya Ekneligoda Gets Justice After Courageous Legal Struggle Against Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thera

By

Anurangh Singh

When the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena threatened her in open court in January 2016, a new battle-front opened for Sandhya Ekneligoda, wife of missing journalist Prageeth. Braving threats and intimidation, even as she battled separately to find Prageeth, Sandhya saw the criminal intimidation case against Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera to its finish last week. After years of running amok and spewing extremist views and hate speech with impunity, the controversial clergyman finally had a day of reckoning when the Homagama Magistrate pronounced the monk guilty of criminally intimidating the missing journalist’s wife last Thursday

From a series of cases filed in relation to the abduction of Prageeth Ekneligoda, one saw its conclusion on May 24, having found Ven. Galabodaaththe Gnanasara Thera guilty on two charges. Though this is an unplanned, additional case that sprung up based on the actions of the controversial monk, the missing journalist’s wife Sandhya, turned disappearances activist feels a sense of relief that the case is over and justice prevailed.

“This monk has hurt so many people, I am glad that at least through this court case, there has been justice for his crimes,” the journalist’s wife said outside the courtroom on Thursday after the guilty verdict was read. Head bowed inside the courtroom the Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary
who is facing several other criminal charges, listened silently while Homagama Magistrate Udesh Ranatunge pronounced him guilty of criminally intimidating Sandhya Ekneligoda inside the same courtroom two years ago.

Continue reading ‘Sandhya Ekneligoda Gets Justice After Courageous Legal Struggle Against Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thera’ »

Viyathmaga,Facebook,Godahewa and Zuckerberg.

By

Sarath de Alwis

At long last, the gauntlet thrown down during the recent hoopla at the Shangri-La has been taken up. Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera has not only taken it up but has decided to run the gauntlet. The metaphor is appropriate. It describes the painful but necessary task of confronting something or someone that is intrinsically abhorrent.

Mangala Samaraweera is perhaps the only Minister in this Government who is ideologically alert to the menace in the form of the former strongman Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

‘Viyathmaga’ is not what it claims to be, says Mangala. Instead, the name of the movement that seeks to instal the former Defence Secretary as President of the Republic is a ‘Vipathmaga’ he asserts.

It is not, as the ‘intellectual movement’ seeks to posit, the erudite path traced by professionals, entrepreneurs and academics. It will be ‘vipathmaga’ or a path of pitfalls and peril.

Continue reading ‘Viyathmaga,Facebook,Godahewa and Zuckerberg.’ »

Dayasiri Jayasekara Says Political Revenge Is Being Taken Against Him For Voting for No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

by Uditha Kumarasinghe

Former Sports Minister and UPFA Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekara has run into a storm of controversy after it was revealed in court last week that he accepted Rs 1 million in campaign donations from a company linked to Perpetual Treasuries which is at the centre of the Bond scandal. In an interview with Sunday Observer, Jayasekera said he had received the money during the 2015 General Election campaign but in no way acted to defend the interests of the company. He called the latest allegations levelled against him ‘mud-slinging’ by poltiical rivals

Q: That you had received a cheque for Rs. one million in 2015 from Walt and Row Associates affiliated to primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. has become politically, most controversial, today. Would you like to explain?

A: This incident took place on July 13, 2015. At that time, I was the North Western Province Chief Minister and handed over nominations to contest the August 17 Parliamentary election. During our election campaigns, various people extended support. I admit, the said company too had given me some money for my campaign, but I never represented their interest at any time. Actually, this is not Perpetual Treasuries but a different company. It is a known fact that some businessmen extend support not only to Parliamentarians but also to some Pradeshiya Sabha members during election campaigns. When this incident happened, I was not a Parliamentarian nor a member of the COPE. Even after being elected to Parliament and also as a member of COPE, I never acted to defend the said company. The cheque had not been issued in my name so that I don’t even remember the person who gave me the cheque.

Continue reading ‘Dayasiri Jayasekara Says Political Revenge Is Being Taken Against Him For Voting for No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.’ »

Colombo’s Capitalist Class Brazenly Genuflected Before Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa


By

Kishali Pinto Jayaardene

When the king cobra kills, it is said that its glare is so unnerving that the victim is fascinated first into a state of terrified immobility before the strike occurs, paralyzing through the injection of a potent neurotoxin that immobilizes the central nervous system. The victims, (including humans if the dose is large enough), can feel impending death but be completely powerless to prevent it, sans immediate recourse to anti-venom treatment.

Political chicanery, natural disasters and human misery

In some ways, it feels as if Sri Lanka is in that advanced state of paralysis as the country lies transfixed in a state of apathy with a quarreling National Unity Government, overtly ambitious constitutional reforms going nowhere and urgent economic problems of the populace remaining unsolved. One disaster after another continues to hit the most vulnerable as the monsoon rains envelop the land bringing deaths and homelessness in their wake. First the drought, then the rains hammer Sri Lanka with equally devastating effect and we have no mitigation system in place beyond politicians distributing relief to desperate people.

Indeed there is an inescapable link between political chicanery, natural disasters and human misery. Corruption, unplanned developments and unauthorized constructions have meant that natural disasters turn deadlier each year. Even as Colombo was built up to be the ‘prettiest city in Asia’ during the Rajapaksa years, its wetlands were mercilessly encroached on with political patronage and no regard for the law. Now as rain waters routinely flood the city, we see one direct consequence thereof.

Continue reading ‘Colombo’s Capitalist Class Brazenly Genuflected Before Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

Glimpses of Life With Lester James Peries In The City of Lights


By Ahmed A. Jawad

High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Canada

I had just arrived on a sunny, hot Parisian afternoon on posting at our Embassy in May 1995. “Good afternoon, call me Lester,” he said rather casually in response to my “good afternoon, nice to meet you, Dr. Peries.” I had never met the legend before and only read about his exploits in the media. Having Leonard Woolf’s ‘The Village in the Jungle’ as a text for the Advanced Level, our English Literature teacher insisted that we see ‘Baddegama’.

Over the next few years, it was a privilege to closely associate with the great man and listen to his unconventional views on matters ranging from French culture, history, cuisine and Left Bank politics among a host of other matters. He had a critical eye, seeing something special in ordinary things and something unique in extraordinary things. Everyday life was a reel of sorts where there was something worthy of a deeper look. One felt that he was observing everything around intensely as if looking through the camera; the rather thick pair of spectacle lenses adding to the aura of seriousness.

Continue reading ‘Glimpses of Life With Lester James Peries In The City of Lights’ »

Sri Lankan Marine Biologist Asha de Vos Winner of British Council’s Global Alumni Award for the Professional Achievement Category


Following prestigious national awarding ceremonies hosted by the British Ambassador/High Commissioner in more than ten countries, and high-profile digital campaigns to celebrate 63 regional finalists, and 21 regional winners, the British Council has announced the names of three outstanding global award winners of the Study UK Alumni Awards. All are alumni of UK universities, representing three countries and four UK higher education institutions across the UK. They have been recognised for their outstanding achievements as professionals, entrepreneurs and social change makers.

Winner of the Global Alumni Award for the Professional Achievement category is Asha de Vos, a marine biologist from Sri Lanka who is passionate about conserving the world’s oceans, and blue whale research in the Northern Indian Ocean. Asha is the founder of Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organisation, Oceanswell, which works to change the trajectory of the world’s oceans by empowering and inspiring people to be custodians of the oceans. Asha studied for her BSc in Marine and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews, and her MSc in Integrative Biosciences at the University of Oxford.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Marine Biologist Asha de Vos Winner of British Council’s Global Alumni Award for the Professional Achievement Category’ »

International Cricket Council Launches Probe Into Match Fixing Allegation About Tharindu Mendis, Tharanga Indika and Robin Morris Plotting to Tamper With Galle Stadium Pitch For England Vs Sri Lanka Match.

The International Cricket Council has begun investigating allegations that two Sri Lankans agreed to tamper with the pitch at Galle to change the outcome of a Test match against England later this year.

Sri Lanka cricket said it will fully co-operate with the ICC investigation.

“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to state that it has zero tolerance towards corruption and will take immediate action against any person involved in the alleged incident, if found guilty,” SLC said in a statement.

The ICC said it took the allegations contained in an Al Jazeera documentary to be broadcast today (Sunday) very seriously and also wanted the Doha-based news network to share its evidence and supporting material with the investigators.

Continue reading ‘International Cricket Council Launches Probe Into Match Fixing Allegation About Tharindu Mendis, Tharanga Indika and Robin Morris Plotting to Tamper With Galle Stadium Pitch For England Vs Sri Lanka Match.’ »