(Full Text of Media Statement Issued on 14th January 2014 by Hon. Karu Jayasuriya,MP and Chairman, United Leadership Council of the United National Party)
The upsurge in religious violence in recent times is profoundly damaging to the national psyche and should concern all fair-minded Sri Lankans. Social and religious harmony is the patriotic duty of every citizen, especially in a country that is emerging from 30 years of ethnic conflict.
Last Sunday’s attack on two churches in Hikkaduwa was neither isolated nor accidental. It was merely the manifestation of a greater tragedy that is now engulfing our nation, where religious and ethnic intolerance is being allowed to reign with impunity by the ruling regime, distorting the values inherent to Sri Lanka’s culture, ethos and long respected civilisation.
Continue reading ‘Hikkaduwa Church Attacks Indicate Religious and Ethnic Intolerance is Being Allowed to Reign with Impunity by the Ruling Regime-Karu Jayasuriya’ »
By P. Krishnaswamy
After the Christmas and New Year festivities, the focus is now on the Pongal harvest festival, popularly known as Thai Pongal, celebrated in the first four days of the month of Thai in the Tamil-Hindu calendar.
Traditionally, it is the festival of farmers who depend on Mother Earth, the sun, rain, other natural elements and cows and buffaloes for a bountiful harvest of their staple food, rice.
Continue reading ‘‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils’ »
Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran
Even as newly elected Northern Province chief minister Canagasabapathy Viswalingam Wigneswaran is embroiled in an imbroglio with the Northern Governor GA Chandrasiri over the question of exercising authority in the province,sections of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) are reportedly engaged in surreptitious moves to dislodge the former Supreme court Judge from his post and replace him with present council chairman CVK Sivagnanam as chief minister.
It is reliably learnt through informed sources that an ambitious clique within the TNA is involved in clandestine manoeuvres to garner the support of at least 21 Northern provincial councillors elected from the TNA on the house symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)for the move to remove CV Wigneswaran and replace him with CVK Sivagnanam. The TNA has thirty of thirty-eight members in the Council including the two bonus seat appointees.
Continue reading ‘Conspiracy in TNA to Oust C.V. Wigneswaran as Northern Chief Minister.’ »
Fifth Death Anniversary of the Assassinated “The Sunday Leader” Editor
I vividly remember that long night in Toronto on January 7th/8th 2009 which was daytime in Colombo.The telephone rang while I was reading a magazine article on the wildlife in Sri Lanka. It was Dushi (Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai). She broke the news that Lasantha Wickrematunga had been shot and injured on his way to work.The phone rang again just as I replaced the receiver. It was Marianne (Marianne David)She too had the same news.Later more friends from Sri Lanka called with the same news.
Continue reading ‘Lasantha Wickrematunge Remained Unbowed and Unafraid to the Very End’ »
8 January 2014, five years since they took Lasantha Wickrematunge away. Who these ‘they’ are, no one knows. Or those who know will not say.
One suspect in his murder died in Police custody, the second has been released due to lack of evidence, and all ‘leads’ have led nowhere. The Police is yet to make a breakthrough in the investigation.
Journalist and founder Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha was attacked while on his way to work on the morning of 8 January 2009, at around 10:30 a.m. by armed assassins on motorcycles. They blocked Lasantha’s vehicle before breaking open his window and brutally assaulting him.
Lasantha was taken to the Colombo South General Hospital (Kalubowila), where he died from his head wounds, despite a specialist team of medical personnel carrying out surgery lasting nearly three hours. Three hours during which a huge crowd of journalists and others gathered at the hospital, fearing the worst. And the worst it was. Lasantha had been, in his brother Lal’s words, ‘eliminated’.
Continue reading ‘Lasantha: Five Years On, You Are Still Our Hero’ »
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
The new year started off on a positive note for Canagasabapathy Viswalingam Wigneswaran!
Jan 2, 2014-pic: news.lk-by: Nalin Hewapathirana
The Northern province chief minister was invited by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a discussion on January 2nd.A direct meeting with the Executive President was something the former Supreme court Judge had been trying to secure for a long time during the last quarter of 2013.Now with the dawn of 2014 the much awaited appointment had become a reality.
Continue reading ‘Chief Minister Wigneswaran Must Get Northern Council Working by Dealing Directly With President Rajapaksa’ »
Joseph Pararajasingham (November 26, 1934 – December 25, 2005)
Joseph Pararajasingham who served as Batticaloa district MP for fifteen years was killed eight years ago on Christmas day.Had the Batticaloa parliamentarian been among the living ,he would have turned eighty in November 2014. Despite his many years of service to the people of the East and being described at one time as the ‘uncrowned king of Batticaloa’’ Joseph seems to be a forgotten person now. This commemorative article is to rekindle memories of a man with whom I interacted greatly at a personal and professional level for several decades.
Joseph Pararajasingham was of Jaffna origin and born in Manipay on November 26th 1934. The family moved to Batticaloa when Joseph was three years old. Joseph therefore grew up in Batticaloa and lived there as a “Mannin Mainthan of Mattakkalappu” (Son of the Batticaloa soil).
Continue reading ‘Remembering Joseph Pararajasingham the “Uncrowned King of Batticaloa”’ »
by Harrish Thirukumaran
Universally, Nelson Mandela has inevitably become a humanistic embodiment of democracy, freedom, equality and human rights.
PM Harper in South Africa to pay his final respects to Nelson Mandela-Government of Canada has decisively introduced a set of scholarships under Mandela’s name-pic: pm.gc.ca/
Mandela’s life-altering decisions and actions have formulated his individual moral compass that lives on through his organizational foundation. As implied, social intolerance was one of many key issues that were effectively combated by him within his capacity as a lawyer.
Continue reading ‘2014 New Year’s resolution: Exert the moral responsibility to further brighten the flame’ »
Part VI of VI
By Harrish Thirukumaran
Moses Garub – ‘The Kids-Soup Kitchen’
On the last Namibian Sunday, my group and I had volunteered at a local soup kitchen in Katutura called Moses Garube that was organized by man named Samuel Kapepo. It has been built to help feed poor Namibian street children from succumbing to hunger.
The 2013 Brock University Namibia Group-pic by Dan
It was also a way to raise awareness of the continuous plight of today’s youth by assisting them directly or indirectly in the community. It is routinely opened and ran on Wednesdays and Sundays. Yet, Wednesday operations had been recently shutdown due to the lack of volunteers.
Continue reading ‘What Has Been Achieved from travelling to Africa?: Namibian Experiences of a Student Volunteer’ »
It is a city that many people know very little about in a modern context, yet as Christmas Day approaches, pictures of this seemingly idyllic, peaceful place adorn many mantelpieces.
A Playground and a wall-in Bethlahem-pic: myheartinpalestinell
Modern day Bethlehem is surrounded by a concrete wall which at its highest point is over eight metres tall – twice the height of the Berlin Wall – with three crowded refugee camps within it. Where Christmas all over the world is an opportunity to visit family, this is not guaranteed for those who live in Bethlehem at any point throughout the year. Permission must be sought from the Israeli authorities, even if individuals wish to travel just six kilometres to visit friends or family in Jerusalem.
Continue reading ‘‘O little town of Bethlehem’: A world of collective punishment today in the place where Jesus was born’ »
(Text of a press release issued by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington)
Ayubowan, Vanakkam, Assalamu Alaikum and Happy New Year!
As Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, I am honored and privileged to once again wish you and your families a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. All Sri Lankans were proud to see the incredible developments that took place in our country in 2013, but most importantly, 2013 represents another year of Sri Lanka’s lasting peace.
I wish to express my appreciation to all of you for your deep and strong interest in the well-being and welfare of our motherland, and for your continued support extended to His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa and our Embassy in Washington. So many Sri Lankan-Americans have been committed to giving back to our country, and I thank all of you who have supported Sri Lanka’s development and reconciliation.
Continue reading ‘New Year Greetings from Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya’ »
As the world prepared to celebrate Christmas on the 24th evening, three churches in the South of Sri Lanka were attacked by mobs.
Continue reading ‘Three Churches in Hikkaduwa and Angunukolapalassa Under Attack on Christmas Eve.’ »
By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Rohini Pararajasingam, a Jaffna Tamil woman is unknown to many.
Rohini Pararajasingam goes through her memory lane ~ “We have lost a precious collection of books”, painfully recollects Rohini Pararajasingam
Continue reading ‘The Woman Who Saved 35,000 Books At the Jaffna University Library During the IPKF-LTTE War’ »
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Friends!
It’s Christmas season again!
An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas.
The Many Faces of Christmas – Shaped Wooden Puzzle from Sri Lanka ~ Photographed at an exhibit of over 900 nativity scenes hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eugene, Oregon, USA-pic-by Mary Harrsch
There was a time when carolling was an important part of Christmas. ‘’Carol parties” including someone dressed as Santa claus would visit the homes of church members during night and sing carols.Refreshments would be served at each and every home. A few firecrackers too would be lit.
Continue reading ‘These Are But Five Of My Favourite Christmas Carols’ »
With the Sri Lankan Government openly expressing its wish to review a much-critiqued government-to-government contract entered in 2002, in a bid to take back 99 oil storage tanks located in Trincomalee, diplomatic feathers are said to be ruffled, at both ends.
The storage tanks were handed over to the Indian Oil Corporation’s local subsidiary, Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) PLC in 2002, when the United National Party (UNP) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was in power. The decision has been opposed by politicians, people and trade unions alike at that time. But the political mood in Colombo is fast changing, particularly towards India, a country that the current administration has a strained relationship with, despite the overt niceties.
Continue reading ‘Diplomatic Row Between New Delhi and Colombo Over Sri Lanka’s Attempt to take back Control of 99 Oil Tanks in Trincomalee Leased to India’ »
In the wake of Bangladesh executing Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Qadir Mullah, for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, India fears Islamic terrorist groups targeting Indian interests in the region, including Sri Lanka.
A gravely concerned Indian External Affairs Ministry has urged several South Asian countries, including Sri Lanka to provide enhanced security to Indian diplomatic missions.
Bangladesh executed Mullah on Dec 12. The 65-year-old politician is the first person convicted by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to be executed.
Continue reading ‘Fearing Attacks by “Islamic Terrorist Groups”,India Urges Sri Lanka to Enhance Security for its Diplomatic Missions in the Island.’ »
“There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who think they are sinners and the sinners who think they are righteous.”
They say that thirteen is not a very auspicious number. Originating perhaps from the Last Supper which had only thirteen partaking of it with Jesus Christ at the center, numerical 13 has been plaguing many a member of families who occupy seats of power and influence and they have more often than not, tried to avoid this numerical with disdain and fear. Due to the fear factor especially in relation to the ominous forebodings it had surrounded itself right throughout the history of man, number thirteen has influenced decisions of leaders, both of clergy as well as lay kind. The mere superstitious nature of this baseless fear, however, has had enormous impact on the lives and times of many countries and individual leaders.
While stating categorically that this writer has no such superstitions or ill-based prejudices regarding these numerical occults, it should be stated that the year 2013 stands out as a sinful year in so far as politics and politicians of Sri Lanka are concerned. The spate of sin and rampant evil that spread across the country’s city centers as well as remote villages, where school children and school teachers were subjected to humiliation and dishonor, where innocent bystanders were run over by the maddeningly speeding luxury sports utility vehicles (SUVs) belonging to politicos and their henchmen, where illegal drugs and illicit liquor became readily available merchandize of the average guy and gal, enveloped the population centers and remote hamlets corrupting their denizens and enriching the peddlers of sin and evil.
Continue reading ‘Common Denominator of Dastardly Sins in Sri Lanka in 2013 is that all of them were Committed by Govt Politicos or their Immediate Henchmen.’ »
I met Devyani early this year, at a dinner following a book reading at Columbia. We were seated next to each other and soon started talking about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Devyani had previously spent time in Pakistan. It was a matter of time before we realized that we had common friends from my time in Kabul.
She was genuinely engaged and curious. She asked incisive questions and it was obvious early on that this was some one deeply invested in the future of the region.
It was towards the end of the dinner when I was about to leave, that I knew she was the acting Counsel General.
I was pleasantly surprised. She had none of the airs of self importance or stuffiness of the bureaucracy the Indians are notorious for. I walked away thinking she was nice.
Continue reading ‘Devyani Khobragade: The Person Behind the Headlines.’ »
N. Sathiya Moorthy
In his response to the budget debate in Parliament as Finance Minister, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited the TNA to work with the government for a ‘home-grown solution’ to the ethnic issue. As was to be expected, the TNA leadership, meeting in Vavuniya only days later, rejected the earlier government call for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), one more time, likewise. Sketchy media reports have not indicated that they are opposed to talks, per se.
There is nothing however to suggest that the TNA is against peace talks and political solution, per se. They and their people need it more than the rest. Post-poll in the North, the contours and ground realities have changed. It had changed once earlier after the ‘ethnic war’. None grabbed the opportunity then with the seriousness and sincerity. None seem to be wanting it now, either.
Continue reading ‘The TNA Trusts the International Community More than they Trust Themselves.’ »
Ranil Wickremesinghe, the “Eksath Jathika Pakshaya Nayakathuma” is portrayed as the single cause for the perceived decline suffered by the United National party(UNP).
pic via: facebook.com/UNPofficialpage
It is said that Ranil is a liability to the UNP and that the party can revive and renew itself only after he quits or is jettisoned. Sadly a substantial number subscribing to this view are within the UNP itself.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe, the UNP Leadership and the TINA Factor’ »
During the national debate on whether the Philippines should join the World Trade Organization in 1994-95, proponents promised that joining the organization would help create some 500,000 new agriculture jobs a year. The Philippines, they said, would become a powerhouse exporter of high-value-added crops like broccoli, snow peas, and cut flowers.
In fact, over the next decade, the country was turned from a net agricultural exporter into a net agricultural importer, and employment in agriculture dropped drastically in absolute numbers, from 11.2 million in 1994 to 10.8 million in 2001. In one commodity after another, Filipino producers were driven out of business by cheap subsidized imports of grain, poultry, vegetables, and livestock.
Continue reading ‘WTO Agreement on Agriculture Turns Developing Nations from Dynamic Agricultural Exporters to Troubled Agricultural Importers’ »
Devanagala is a beautiful peaceful village in the central hills about six kilometers from Mawanella on the way to Hemmathagama. The village has been known for the rock called Devanagala Rock. There is a Buddhist temple and an inscription on the rock. According to those in the village Devanagala area was believed to have been the place from where Sinhalese kings dispatched garrisons to different places. Muslims in the village claim that they were settled there by Sinhalese kings to defend the Kandyan kingdom from invaders.
People in the area, both Sinhalese and Muslims alike, have been farmers and small time traders .They were living for generations like one family caring and sharing for each other. Even during the 2001 anti Muslim riots in Mawanella, Devanagala area was unaffected as both Muslims and Sinhalese there lived in traditional harmony.
Continue reading ‘“Maithree Sahana Patahanama” Campaigns to Evict 3000 Muslims from their Homes in Devanagala in Archaeological Buffer Zone Extended by 400 Yards.’ »
P. Chidambaram at a conference on Indian government’s stand on the issue of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Photo: PTI
(Seeking to deconstruct a much-laboured criticism against the Congress in Tamil Nadu and at the national level for being ‘anti-Tamil’ in its approach to the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Union Finance Minister and Senior Congress leader, P. Chidambaram, at a recent meeting in Chennai, argues that the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, continues to offer the best possible solution to resolve the crisis and ensure a better deal for the island’s Tamils. M.R. Venkatesh explores)
Rarely does one openly witness the dilemma of a government’s defence of itself unfolding as a counter-perspective, as was seen over the recent historical narrative about the travails of the ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka and India’s response to it.
Continue reading ‘Chidambaram’s Brave Bid to Clear Congress of anti-Tamil Image Regarding Sri Lanka’ »
by Ramesh Uvais
At a time when one section in society is rather opposed to film stars entering politics, others believe that their star status is a stumbling block to serve the people. Sri Lanka’s political history has evidence of top film world heroes playing heroic roles in politics too.
But the next question that arises is the problem of beauty and brains? Some question the rationale behind voting and electing movie stars to parliament simply for their reel image and not taking into consideration whether such stars have the capacity to do justice to their real life characters. It is virtually a matter concerning beauty and brains. It is no secret that stars with a huge fan base, have become utter flops in the political scenario.
It is in this backdrop that popular actress and tele drama producer Nadeesha Hemamali is taking a plunge into politics. She announced on Thursday that she was contesting the upcoming Southern Provincial Council Elections on the UNP ticket.
The vibrant actress Nadeesha, who is known for her exceptional acting prowess and outstanding PR skills, said despite a faction opposing or discouraging the entry of actresses into the political sphere she was confident of playing her role well in the world of politics.
Continue reading ‘I am Nadeesha Hemamali and I am Different. Please Mark my words’ »
Geoffrey Dobbs-pic: sundaytimes.lk
The Founder of the Galle Literary Festival, Australian Citizen Geoffrey Dobbs has been denied entry into Sri Lanka yesterday, after he was deported last month, the main opposition United National Party revealed.
The issue of Dobbs’ deportation and rejection was raised in Parliament yesterday with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe speculating that someone in the Government may be eyeing the acquisition of his considerable property in the Galle District.
Continue reading ‘Australian Citizen Geoffrey Dobbs Who Founded Galle Literary Festival Denied Entry Into Sri Lanka’ »
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
Sangeeta Richard-pic via: twitter.com/ShivAroor
On the one-week anniversary of the fast-moving saga of Devyani Khobragade (39), the New York-based Indian diplomat arrested, strip-searched, then released on December 12 over a visa fraud felony, two distinct narrative arcs are discernible.
The first is the one advanced by the Government of India and embellished in the media with details supplied by the father of the Deputy Consul General, former bureaucrat Uttam Khobragade.
The second narrative stems from the U.S., which, except for an unanticipated, fiery statement by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Wednesday evening, has been muted and limited to basic, factual releases, but in reality runs deep with historical precedents.
Continue reading ‘Devyani Khobragade and Sangeeta Richard: A Tale of Two Narratives’ »
Devyani Khobragade-pic courtesy:Reuters
Oath Taking Ceremony-Oct 2013
Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial council is presently entangled in an intricate imbroglio.The newly elected chief minister CV Wigneswaran of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA)is at loggerheads with G.A. Chandrasiri the Governor appointed for the Province by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.This titanic clash between the former Supreme court Judge and the retired Army Major-General has virtually paralysed the Northern Provincial council besides raising Constitutional issues of a controversial nature.
Though the highly personalised nature of the on going tussle may convey an impression that it is a case of Chandrasiri vs Wigneswaran, the problem goes far beyond personal relations.It is at one level an institutional trial of strength between the posts of Governor and chief minister.It could also be interpreted as a tussle between centripetal and centrifugal forces.At another related level it is a public manifestation of the continuing cold war between the Government of President Rajapaksa and the Tamil national alliance.It is also possible that the current imbroglio is a symptom of a deceptive proxy war waged by extremist Tamil Diaspora elements against the Provincial council system itself and that Wigneswaran has wittingly or unwittingly allowed himself to be converted as its cutting edge.
The TNA in general and CV Wigneswaran in particular have sought to paint a picture in which Governor Chandrasiri is portrayed as the villain of the piece. A few like TNA spokesperson Suresh Premachandran charge that the Governor is backed by the President himself. Despite the TNA attempt to lay all blame on the Government and governor a fair scrutiny of the situation would reveal that the TNA cannot be entirely absolved of blame in this matter.Recent events indicate that the TNA could and should have handled the issue with greater finesse and resolved the problem instead of aggravating it.Moreover the political integrity of the TNA too is questionable in this matter.
Continue reading ‘Tussle in North Between Governor Chandrasiri and Chief Minister Wigneswaran Intensifies’ »
“It is more shameful to distrust one’s friends than to be deceived by them.”
~François Duc De La Rochefoucauld
Many moons ago, this writer in his column dated September 28, 2012 wrote thus: “However much the Opposition in general or the United National Party in particular, tries to dislodge the present incumbent regime they will not succeed unless and until they find a game-changing issue. If an issue is found that has the potential for changing the game, the issue itself will find a leader to lead the followers towards the change that is so desired”. Nothing has changed in substance since then except perhaps, the leadership of the United National Party.
On top of the leader, a Council of Leadership has been imposed mainly due to the obscenely devastating results of the Wayamba and Central Provincial Council elections. For the first time since Ranil Wickremesinghe rose to the helm of the UNP, he has conceded some powers to the newly-formed Leadership Council and to what extent this arrangement is going to be practical and legitimate, would be decided only after the proposed ratification by the Annual Convention of the Party scheduled to be held later this year.
Continue reading ‘Ranil,Karu,Sajith,Sobhitha&Shiranee:Who among these can be Trusted to Abolish the Executive Presidency After Becoming President?’ »
Opposition Legislator Dr. Harsha De Silva who has led the charge against the Government’s casino bill, yesterday slammed the regime for attempting to mislead the country and taking the country for fools after it gazetted the controversial James Packer hotel project on Tuesday night.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday De Silva said that Rank Holding Chairman Ravi Wijeratne had told a Sunday newspaper he would open a casino at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha and the Government had held an urgent cabinet meeting the next day despite it being Poya.
De Silva said that the Government had attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with the earlier strategic withdrawal of the casino bill and gazetting it this week using different words.
Continue reading ‘“Govt Withdraws Casino Bill last week and then Gazettes it This week Separately Using New Words”-Harsha de Silva MP’ »
The haunting image — from a reporting assignment over a month ago — of an army of Indian trawlers charging towards the shore of Analativu, a small island in the northern tip of Sri Lanka, remains vivid in my memory.
Though there were no arrests reported that night, the Sri Lankan Navy, on several occasions before and after that, have arrested Indian fishermen on charges of trespassing. Not just in Analativu, but at different points off Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern coasts.
Indian fishermen have, over decades, fished in Sri Lankan waters — some have faced arrests; but the year 2013 has been particularly bad. A total of 600 fishermen from India — all from Tamil Nadu — were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy this year, a sharp increase compared to the last few years (See box). Nearly 400 of the fishermen arrested this year have been released, while about 200 fishermen are currently in Sri Lankan prisons. A total of 107 trawlers were apprehended from the fishermen, of which the Indian side has retrieved about 40 so far.
Satellite images have, beyond doubt, established that Indian fishermen frequently cross the agreed-upon International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) that defines the two nations’ respective fishing zones on either side of it.
Continue reading ‘Satellite Images Establish that Indian Fishermen Frequently Cross IMBL and Fish in Sri Lankan Waters’ »
Confusion and chaos was the order yesterday within the leisure and entertainment industry as well as the Parliament following the gazetting of three integrated resorts involving two of Sri Lanka’s famous corporate names as well as a world famous gaming mogul.
As exclusively reported by the Daily FT, the Government on Tuesday released three separate gazettes approving three multi-billion rupee Integrated Super Luxury Tourist Resorts (IRs) – Waterfront Properties Ltd., with a total investment of $ 650 million, Queensbury Leisure Ltd., by business leader Dhammika Perera with an investment of $ 300 million and Lake Leisure Holdings Ltd., by world gaming mogul James Packer’s Crown Resorts and local partner Ravi Wijeratne, with an investment of $ 350 million.
The gazette figures partly differ from original announcements made by the Government as well as individual firms whilst there was an explicit omission of casinos or gaming activity as well.
Continue reading ‘Govt Issues 3 Separate Gazettes Approving 3 Multi-billion Rupee Integrated Super Luxury Tourist Resorts’ »
In these troubled times, when Sri Lanka’s democracy is gravely threatened by the twin evils of autocratic governance and ineffective Opposition, Sajith Premadasa, the former United National Party Deputy Leader, is busy drawing a self-portrait.
For the second time in two days, Premadasa has openly rejected personal invitations from the UNP Leadership Council to attend its Tuesday and Wednesday meetings. Both invitations were aimed at bringing Premadasa in for discussions with the Leadership Council in a bid to resolve his doubts about the new leadership structure and convince him to take his seat on the nine-member body.
Continue reading ‘Powerful Media Business Tycoons Manipulating Sajith Premadasa in Bid to Oust Ranil Wickremesinghe as UNP Leader’ »
(Full Text of Sree Chithira Tirunal Balarama Varma ,birth centenary lecture titled‘India in a tough neighbourhood” that was delivered at Trivandrum on December 14th 2013. It is being posted here with the permission of ms. Nirupama Rao)
I am deeply honoured to be here at the kind and gracious invitation of Maharaja Sree Padmanabha Dasa Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma at the Kanakakkunnu Palace to deliver the Centenary lecture to honour the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore, Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma whose Birth Centenary is being celebrated today. I know Maharaja Marthanda Varma cannot be here with us today due to unavoidable circumstances. I send him my warmest regards and my respects, and wish him a safe and speedy recovery.
Maharaja Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma lived in epochal times in our country’s history, being an important witness to our freedom struggle and also contributing in significant measure, to social reform in Travancore, including the temple entry proclamation, a move of historic proportions and the harbinger of elemental change. I am aware of the deep respect and affection he received from the people of Travancore, his humility and his oneness with the citizens of his State, his pioneering reforms leading to adult suffrage and compulsory education, and his creation of several charitable trusts from his personal resources. He ruled justly, and wisely, conforming to the globally accepted ideal of kingship. He was also ahead of his times in his sensitivity to the preservation of our precious ecology in Kerala, and I recall in this context that he set up the beautiful Periyar game sanctuary. His championing of scientific causes and public health led to the establishment of the Sree Chithira Thirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology, an Institute of National Importance with a special focus on research in cardiology and neurology. The Chithira Heart Valve developed at the institute has helped thousands of patients. His legacy is therefore extremely precious.
Continue reading ‘India would have a legitimate concern about any foreign presence in Sri Lanka that precludes India.’ »
A white, rectangular board with Sinhala and Tamil letters appears once every few metres along the iron fence around a huge expanse of land in the sea-facing town.
‘Ilangai Minsara Sabaikkuriya Kaaniyaagum. Utpravesithal thadai’ [This land belongs to the Ceylon Electricity Board. Entry is banned] reads the board. This is where a 500-MW capacity, coal-fired power plant will come up in a few years from now in a joint project between Sri Lanka and India.
For India, the project is a feather in its cap. It is the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) first international joint venture, through the Trincomalee Power Company Limited (TPCL) where it holds 50:50 stakes with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
For Sri Lanka — which currently consumes 2000 MW of power a day — the 2X250 MW-capacity plant bears promise of meeting the shortfall in its power requirement.
For about 800 families in the area though — primarily Tamils — the project, indirectly, has spelt misery. “The misery of living like refugees in your own place,” as Bagyarathinam Yogeswari put it. She is among those who lost their land due to the upcoming plant. The case of Sampur illustrates the problematic issue of control over land in Sri Lanka’s devolution debate.
Continue reading ‘800 Tamil families displaced in Sampur due to their lands being acquired for private company owned by close relative of President Rajapaksa’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
Mr Akashi was absolutely right when he urged flexibility and reform on the Sri Lankan government and sounded the alarm of serious consequences in Geneva March 2014 (that’s 75 days away, folks) if it failed to shift in the right direction. He did get one thing wrong though. There is neither a “Central government” nor a “Northern provincial government” in Sri Lanka. Those categories and that terminology pertain to a federal system such as that of India.
Constitutionally what we have is a unitary state form in which there is one government and power has been shifted outwards and downward, in specific respects, to provincial councils or administrations. That is the crucial distinction between federalism and devolution. Of course Mr Akashi’s political Freudian slip indicates the view of Sri Lanka and attitude towards it in a large segment of the international community. The treatment of Sri Lanka as already containing two power centres, two capitals, does not help the battle for devolution and only reinforces the propaganda of the Sinhala hawks within and outside the State.
What looks like a sideshow, namely the growing confrontation between Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Governor Chandrasiri, is much more than that. It is the thin end of the wedge of a clash of two projects: that of the strategy of escalating globalisation by Tamil nationalism and narrowing of space by the defence establishment which seems to drive much of state policy at a subterranean level.
Continue reading ‘Diaspora Hawks Have Politically and Ideologically Infiltrated and Influenced the Tamil National Alliance and Northern Provincial Council’ »
David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the formerly `Great Britain has repeatedly not just requested but purported to `demand that the sovereign state of Sri Lanka which ceased to be a colonial possession of Britain 63 years ago, should conduct Credible Transparent and Independent investigations into alleged war crimes. What exactly does Cameron mean by these terms? What does Cameron mean by credible? Does he mean, as I think he does investigations that will yield the results that Cameron wants? Cameron has not seen it fit to elaborate on what he meant; perhaps he was too embarrassed to do so: nor has anyone seen it fit to ask him what exactly he meant.
Continue reading ‘British PM David Cameron Does not have Guts to Prosecute or Take Any Action Against Adele Balasingham’ »
Prof. Carlo Fonseka
Ever since I saw innovative director Jayantha Chandrasiri’s fancifully named “Butterfly Symphony”, the recurring sentiment I associate with it is “beauty”. As it happens, beauty, truth and goodness were the three values secular-minded undergraduates of our time (1950s) fashionably professed to pursue. Butterfly Symphony is a beautiful film. Its rich music composed and conducted by up-and-coming young musician Darshana Ruwan Disanayaka(a known Amadeus Mozart fanatic) is enchantingly beautiful.
In fact it was the heartbreaking rendition in a television ad for the film by superlative vocalist Amarasiri Pieris of the phrase “mata mage novena magema aadarayak thibuna” from the theme song of the film that induced my whole family to see Butterfly Symphony. The film is based on a beautiful fantasy, to wit, the passionate love of a young musician for an older woman whose letter to her betrothed went astray and accidently fell into the hands of the young musician. The musician Vadeesha Devaminda Wickramanayaka is sensitively portrayed by Uddika Premaratna, and the woman Punya by the iconic Yashoda Wimaladharma. Her perfectly proportioned face greatly enhances the beauty of the Butterfly Symphony.
Continue reading ‘Innovative Director Jayantha Chandrasiri’s Film “Butterfly Symphony” Proclaims Intrinsic Potential for Goodness in Human Beings.’ »
Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.
(Presentation by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, MP At the Observer Research Foundation Delhi, December 13th 2013)
I must admit to being deeply worried about the current state of relations between India and Sri Lanka. I contrast this with the excellent situation that obtained in 2009, when India was the chief component of the protective barrier against efforts to stop us eradicating terrorism from our shores. One might have thought that this was a goal the whole world would have supported, but sadly this is not an ideal world and countries will naturally put their own self interest first. Fortunately, not only did India’s interests coincide with our own at that stage, but given the terrible toll terrorism funded by external sources was taking on both our countries, I think it is also true to say that we worked in accordance with the highest moral perspectives.
But the aim we shared then, of eradicating terrorism on our shores, went hand in hand with another commitment, which was the promotion of pluralism in Sri Lanka. This again is a moral goal, but it also has a practical dimension, in that the full incorporation of the Tamil people in the body politic in Sri Lanka would have reduced the potential for future terrorism.
Sadly Sri Lanka has not pursued the Reconciliation process with the commitment it requires. Given its urgency I believe we should try to understand the reasons for this, and try to overcome them. In this process India has a significant role to play.
Continue reading ‘“I am Deeply Worried About Current State of Relations Between India and Sri Lanka”’ »
Islamic Discourses on Veiling, Hijab, Burqa, Chador and covering.
The Quran is the Holy Book of Muslims believed to be the direct and unadulterated word of God transmitted to the Prophet Mohamed (d. 632 C.E), through the archangel Gabriel over a 22-year period, beginning in 610 C.E. The Revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Mohamed is said to have taken place while he was in meditative retreat in Mt. Hira, at the outskirts of Mecca in present-day Saudi Arabia. The Quran was revealed in Arabic, hence the prestigious, sacred, position of the Arabic language among Muslims until today.
The Quran consists of 114 chapters (known in Arabic as suras) and each chapter is subdivided into verses (known in Arabic as ayat).
The majority of Muslims and non-Muslims believe that the Quran explicitly and unequivocally prescribes veiling upon Muslim women. In this section, we propose to present what the Quran says about veiling.
In order to learn what the Quran says about veiling and in what terms this Book addresses the question of women’s clothing, we must look at two main types of passages in the Quran:
Continue reading ‘Islamic Discourses on Veiling, Hijab, Burqa, Chador and covering, a comprehensive write up’ »
By NELL McSHANE WULFHART
Sri Lanka is so jam-packed with alluring outdoorsy activities that visitors often high-tail it out of the capital a day or two after arriving, choosing instead to spend their vacation days lounging on a southern beach, whale-watching off the coast or leopard-spotting in a national park.
Clockwise from top left: Pettah, Colombo’s main market; a train ride along the Indian Ocean; “string hoppers”; beach at Galle Face Green; colorful textiles at Barefoot; the Ministry of Crab. Center: sunset in Mount Lavinia.-pic: Kuni Takahashi
Yet Colombo is fast becoming a draw in itself.
Continue reading ‘36 Hours in Colombo, Sri Lanka’ »
Pondy: Bharathiar statue in Bharathi park named in honour of Subramanya Bharathi. Photo: G Krishnaswamy
by Olympia Shilpa Gerald
Today Easwaran Dharmarajan Koil Street is choc-a-bloc with traffic that pours to and fro, from outside the boulevard area to the heritage quarter.
Retail stores, street-side shops and Puducherry’s temple elephant call the bustling street their home. But if we could turn back time to eighty years or so, this was the street where lived, walked and sang, one of the most popular poets of the last century.
Continue reading ‘Subramania Bharati may not have been from Puducherry, but this coastal town was very much a part of the poet he became’ »
Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne
In a fiery scandal which erupted recently, the Coordinating Secretary to the Prime Minister was alleged to have intervened to release a heroin container from the Customs. In the light of the scandal, Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe had tendered his resignation to Prime Minister and Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs D.M. Jayaratne. However, he said in his resignation letter that he had no connection whatsoever with the alleged incident of importing heroin or releasing a heroin container from the Customs. Daily Mirror spoke to Mr. Weerasinghe regarding the allegations:
Continue reading ‘“I Must Tell you Frankly that I was Never Involved in a Heroin Haul”- Coordinating Secretary to Prime Minister’ »
Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran
(Full Text of Statement made by C.V.Wigneswaran, Northern Province Chief Minister while presenting the Annual Financial Statement and Appropriation Statute to the Council for the year 2014 on 10/12/2013)
Hon’ Chairman, Hon’ Ministers, Hon’ Members of the Provincial Council belonging to the ruling party as well as the opposition!
Continue reading ‘If International Community shows laxity, lethargy and indifference the plight of the Tamil speaking people would become irreversible’ »
by DushiYanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
“We will destroy the idiocy
Of denigrating womanhood” ~ Mahakavi Subramaniya Bhaarathiyaar, (11 December 1882 ~11 September 1921), (Tamil Poet, Reformer and Freedom Fighter who supported the women and their rights)
Statue of Great Tamil poet Mahakavi Subramaniya Bhaarathiyaar stands tall in Jaffna Peninsula, North of Sri Lanka
Mahakavi Subramaniya Bhaarathiyaar was very well known for his passionate poems and his active role in Indian independence movement. He was and still known as people’s poet and freedom fighter. Bharathiyaar has written many poems on women’s freedom, caste and patriotism.
Continue reading ‘Subramaniya Bhaarathiyaar: Remembering a Remarkable Poet ♫’ »
By Matthew Taylor and Nick Hopkins
More than 500 of the world’s leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter.
Clockwise from top left, eight of the people who have signed the petition: Hanif Kureishi, Björk, Arundhati Roy, Don DeLillo, Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard, Margaret Atwood and Martin Amis
The signatories, who come from 81 different countries and include Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Orhan Pamuk, Günter Grass and Arundhati Roy, say the capacity of intelligence agencies to spy on millions of people’s digital communications is turning everyone into potential suspects, with worrying implications for the way societies work.
Continue reading ‘500 World’s leading authors Including 5 Nobel Prize Winners Condemn State surveillance of personal data and Demand “Digital Bill of Rights” to Curb Abuses’ »
“It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well” – US President Barack Obama
In a single moment 58 years ago today, Rosa Parks helped change this country.-pic via twitter.com/BarackObama (December 1)
The Sri Lankan Government is taking some aspects of its role a Chair in Office of the Commonwealth of Nations very seriously.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa for instance, embracing his dual role as President of the Republic and Commonwealth Chair, issued not one but two messages of condolence to South African President Jacob Zuma on the passing of the world’s most beloved statesman and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela.
Continue reading ‘Govt Fails to Rap UPFA MP Suriyapperuma for Calling President Obama “Kalla” (Nigger) in Parliament’ »
By D. B. S. JEYARAJ
“Maaveerar Naal”or “Great Heroes Day” was observed annually on November 27th in a grand manner by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for many years in the past.
Tree Planting Event in Jaffna on Nov 27, 2013
The yearly event lost its lustre after the military debacle suffered by the tigers in May 2009.Despite the LTTE ceasing to exist as a viable entity in Sri Lanka after the military defeat,tiger and pro-tiger elements in the global Tamil Diaspora and Tamil Nadu strove to retain the mystique of “Maaveerar Naal”by organizing various activities related to the Great Heroes Day abroad.
Continue reading ‘LTTE “Great Heroes Day” Is for Tigers Alone and Not For All Tamils’ »
Filmmaker K. Balachander drew deeply from Bharathi’s social consciousness.
Statue of Great Tamil poet stands tall in Jaffna Peninsula, North of Sri Lanka-pic by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
K. Balachander’s films, many of them trendsetters, explored themes of societal change, empowerment of women, defence of the downtrodden. Listen in as he pays tribute to the poet:
Continue reading ‘Video: K. Balachander on Bharathiyar’ »
“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” ~ Warren Bennis
pic: courtesy of UKInSriLanka
In a most intimate sense, the author of Arthashastra (Science of political economy), believed to have been written in the 4th Century BC, has painted a masterpiece of political craft on a canvas whose brush marks and intricate lines go beyond the mundane, probes deep into that region of intelligence which is possessed by the rarest of the rare and depicts a superlative effort of intellectuality and sublime brainpower devoid of emotion and pettiness.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Today is Suffering From the Void of Good Leaders’ »
Whilst a never ending torrential thunderstorm enveloped Johannesburg yesterday, many world leaders gathered to pay their respects to the man reverentially referred to as “ Madiba “ – Nelson Mandela.
Heads of states had quickly re-scheduled their diaries in order to be seen to be paying their respects to the man seen by the world as the ultimate living embodiment of the human spirit – a man who showed the world that decisions and actions should be guided by love, justice and peace and not by anger, bitterness or hatred.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka-What We Can Learn From Nelson Mandela’ »
No matter how famous you are, it appears, few can resist the appeal of the selfie.
David Cameron, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Barack Obama pose for a selfie. Michele Obama, meanwhile, remains focused on Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
As Barack Obama and David Cameron joined tens of thousands of South Africans paying their respects to Nelson Mandela at a memorial service in Johannesburg, they took advantage of the unusual number of dignitaries gathered in one place to pose for a self-portrait with Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister (and daughter-in-law of Neil Kinnock).
Continue reading ‘David Cameron and Barack Obama pose for selfie with Danish PM’ »
My name is Fathima Sahar, a first year student at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Moratuwa. I am one of three students who are affected by the ban on the niqab by the University.
I thought of writing this because our side of story has been literally ‘veiled’ away from the public. The media that reported the issue only spoke to the University authorities and did not contact us. The University too, that is so eager to see our faces did not want to hear our voices, ideas and thoughts.
Continue reading ‘Wearing of “Niqab” banned Unilaterally by University of Moratuwa’ »
by Slavoj Žižek
Mandela must have died a bitter man. To honour his legacy, we should focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to
In the last two decades of his life, Nelson Mandela was celebrated as a model of how to liberate a country from the colonial yoke without succumbing to the temptation of dictatorial power and anti-capitalist posturing.
‘It is all too simple to criticise Mandela for abandoning the socialist perspective after the end of apartheid: did he really have a choice? Was the move towards socialism a real option?’ Photograph: Media24/Gallo Images
In short, Mandela was not Robert Mugabe, and South Africa remained a multiparty democracy with a free press and a vibrant economy well-integrated into the global market and immune to hasty socialist experiments.
Continue reading ‘If Nelson Mandela really had won, he wouldn’t be seen as a universal hero’ »
by Chris McGreal
Among those eulogising Mandela are people who once damned him as a terrorist and supported apartheid
Margaret Thatcher with Nelson Mandela in 1990. Photograph: Georges Dekeerle
Nelson Mandela Square sits at the entrance to the glitziest shopping mall in what is reputed to be the wealthiest square kilometre in Africa. Towering over the cafes around the northern Johannesburg piazza, as if guarding the diamond jewellers and designer clothes shops within, is a six metre tall, 2.5 ton statue of the great man dancing.
Continue reading ‘Mandela: never forget how the free world’s leaders learned to change their tune’ »
By Latheef Farook
On Saturday 8 May 2010 afternoon the Urban Development Authority, UDA, under the Defense Ministry, deployed police and special forces to destroy number of houses at Mews Street in Slave Island in the heart of Colombo.
All except one house, owned by a Tamil, are Muslim owned. Those who lived there were forced out of their homes with their belongings thrown into streets.
The evicted people said that they have title deeds of ownership of the land, documents to prove the houses are legal and were living there for decades. They worked in and around there and earned their livelihood .Their children too went to schools in the area.
Continue reading ‘“Mihindusenpura” Homes in Dematagoda Promised to Evicted Muslims of Slave Island Given to Tilanga Sumathipala Supporters from Borella’ »
by PARSHATHY. J. NATH & K. JESHI
Talk about Chennai, and images of frothy filter coffee, ancient temples and the Marina Beach rush to our minds. However, this is also a city of fishermen who live in matchbox houses, devadasis who lead radical lives, and people with prejudices.
The Hindu Nirmala Lakshman, director, Hindu Group of Publications, during the book reading of her Degree Coffee By The Yard organised by Coimbatore Book Club in Coimbatore Photo: K. Ananthan
These untold stories come alive in Degree Coffee By The Yard, written by Nirmala Lakshman.
Continue reading ‘Nirmala Lakshman affectionately narrates stories of Chennai in her book “Degree Coffee By The Yard”’ »
By Nelson Mandela
NEW PILLARS FOR A NEW WORLD
As the 1980s drew to a close I could not see much of the world from my prison cell, but I knew it was changing.
There was little doubt in my mind that this would have a profound impact on my country, on the southern African region and the continent of which I am proud to be a citizen. Although this process of global change is far from complete, it is clear that all nations will have boldly to recast their nets if they are to reap any benefit from international affairs in the post-Cold War era.
Continue reading ‘South Africa’s Future Foreign Policy’ »
Lorraine Klaasen-pic via: LorraineKlaasen.com
Lorraine Klaasen performing CBC’s tribute to Nelson Mandela
Music played a vital role in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement.
So CBC Music commissioned Montreal singer Lorraine Klassen to write a song to celebrate Mandela’s life. Lorraine was born and raised in Soweto, South Africa, and she’s the daughter of the legendary South African jazz singer, Thandie Klassen.
Continue reading ‘Nelson Mandela Tribute: “Now is the Time” by Soweto Native and Montrealer Lorraine Klaasen’ »
“No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn.”
Dr. Maya Angelou (b: Apr 4, 1928)
Video message delivered by Dr. Maya Angelou on behalf of the American people in memory of Nelson Mandela.
Continue reading ‘His Day is Done – A Tribute Poem for Nelson Mandela by Dr. Maya Angelou’ »
by Meera Srinivasan
Between classes on Friday, their last working day before Christmas break, a few children at one of the oldest public schools in Jaffna were running about, giggling and chasing one another. The name plate outside had in bold letters its name: ‘Nadeswara College, Kanakesanthurai’.
TRADING SCHOOLING FOR SECURITY? Nadeswara College, Jaffna, whose old building was reportedly demolished to make way for the Sri Lankan army’s High Security Zone. — PHOTO: MEERA SRINIVASAN
With walls crowned with tin sheets posing for classrooms, and a tiny room that says “principal’s office”, the school — founded in 1901 — struggles for space.
Continue reading ‘Homes, schools and livelihoods sacrificed in the name of security in Jaffna’ »
by Niran Anketell
(This piece contains material extracted from a longer article by the author titled “Selling Justice Short: Sri Lankan Civil Society and Individual Criminal Liability for Atrocity Crimes” presented at “Ethical Futures: Dialogues on State, Society and Ethical Existence”, a conference hosted by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in May 2013. Final publication forthcoming)
As the dust settles on the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo, the press has reported that Sri Lanka may be considering the establishment of a South Africa style Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the assistance of the Commonwealth and South African government.
Continue reading ‘Why South African Model of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Will not Work in Sri Lanka’ »
M.A.Sumanthiran M.P.-pic courtesy of: Knowledge Box
by M.A.Sumanthiran M.P.
Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants. - Edmund Burke (1729–1797)
Last week in Parliament, I pleaded with my fellow MPs to listen to the voices of moderation. I appealed to them to do their best to prevent extremist forces on either side from destroying our future. Now I appeal to the members of the public to do the same. Do not for a moment underestimate the power that still resides in you, the reasonable-minded citizens of this country. Your leaders still fear the shame you might impose on them for extremist views.
Continue reading ‘Paving the Middle Path: Why we must empower moderate voices’ »
Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran
by Somapala Gunadheera
The Indian Express of December 06, has published the following news item under the heading, “North CM on War Path with Sri Lankan Government”: “After a month of cooperation with the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, the Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking Northern Province, C V Wigneswaran, has switched to confrontation.
Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister on the Warpath with Rajapaksa Regime’ »
By- Sharmini Serasinghe
“Kamalini my dearest friend
your smile and the magic of the aura,
that radiates around your vibrant self
always lit up the darkest of times
Continue reading ‘Kamalini Selvarajan-A Child of a Lesser God!’ »
Kamalini Selvarajan, my friend and colleague at Rupavahini- Sri Lanka’s national Television, has been diagnosed with Dementia!
Kamalini is an iconic TV personality and film star. She was, and is still loved by all, irrespective of caste, creed or race.
Continue reading ‘Sincere Well-wishers Requested to Donate Funds for Kamalini Selvarajan Diagnosed with Dementia’ »
Director-cinematographer Balu Mahendra
BY Karthik Subramanian
At 74, Balu Mahendra could have easily rested on the laurels of a lifetime of influential filmmaking and cinematography. A true representative of the golden era of ‘film’ cinematography, he has instead chosen to take the leap into digital filmmaking. His upcoming film Thalaimuraigal (generations) has been shot entirely with the humble Canon 5D DSLR, essentially a still camera that could also shoot video.
“It cut cost of filmmaking dramatically. The entire camera and lenses — I used only regular camera lenses by the way — cost me just Rs. 3.5 lakh,” he said in a brief chat with The Hindu at his film school ‘Pattarai’ in Vadapalani.
Continue reading ‘Cinematographers Discuss Transition from Film to Digital in Tamil Nadu Cinema’ »
BY Sonia Nazareth
In a world where what we consume is getting increasingly full of polite, socially-approved and rather safe flavours, Zimbabwe’s home to both the complex and the unusual. If you’re on the tourist trail, around a national park especially, the first thing you learn is to be adventurous with your taste buds.
Most buffets feature an assortment of acquired tastes. Think marinated crocodile, impala, kudu, wildebeest, buffalo and warthog fillet steaks, offered with baguette-seed rolls and garnished with lettuce and chips. On several occasions, I encounter a head chef haloed by wood-smoke and the sweet fragrance of roasting, beaming over his succulent preparations with as much pride as a child showing off his latest toys.
Continue reading ‘Tasting Marinated Crocodile and Impala, Kudu, Wildebeest and Warthog Steaks in Zimbabwe’ »
DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
“… I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot…” (Mandela, 1964)
“We in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty…” (Mandela, 1991)
The great Sri Lankan editor and Newsweek columnist Tarzie Vittachi, who preferred Jung to Freud, used to say that “everything is about something else”. So it is with the obituaries of Nelson Mandela. What is said by the western liberals and their pro-western Lankan epigone is not as important as what is left unsaid. The eulogies for Mandela have gutted him and turned him into a stuffed figure.
Continue reading ‘How the Crushing Military Defeat of Cuito Cuanavale Helped Mandela Emancipate South Africa’ »
Lakshman Hulugalle-pic: nldb.gov.lk
Another event of significant embarrassment to the UPFA Government was the sudden closure of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) retrospectively from November 1, thus evicting, unceremoniously, its Director General Lakshman Hulugalle. He was, however, adamant that his position still remains though the MCNS was wound up.
The claim is similar to a chauffeur saying I am still the driver when his boss had sold the vehicle. There was only a two line terse announcement in a news alert of the Government – news.lk – about the closure. It said: “Presidential Secretariat confirms Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) has been dissolved by the Defence Ministry with effect from November 1.”
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Presidential Spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake was also quoted by the local media making the same statement.
Continue reading ‘National Security Media Centre Director-General Lakshman Hulugalle Was Fired by President Rajapaksa Due to Sex and Gambling Scandal’ »
Minister Douglas Devavnanda and President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Nallur Temple-April 2010
A pre-emptive strike by President Mahinda Rajapaksa appears to have saved his Government from one more accusation before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva — last week’s murder of Daniel Rexian (42), Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) in Delft, the furthest inhabited island off the northern Jaffna peninsula.
Accusations, including some from sections of the UPFA partner, the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), were initially levelled against the Sri Lanka Navy that has a unit on the islet.
Continue reading ‘Sordid Tale of EPDP Northern Provincial Councillor Kamalendran Killing EPDP Delft Pradeshiya Council Chairman Rexian’ »
Kandasamy Kamalendran, Leader of the Opposition of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) (left) carries the coffin containing the body of Daniel Rexian, Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha of the Island of Delft. Kamalendran has now been arrested together with Rexian’s wife Anita for the alleged murder of the Chairman.
by Manik de Silva
December 5 marked the tenth death anniversary of Rienzie Wijeratne, unarguably the best known press photographer of his day who had a long and distinguished career at Lake House and thereafter worked for a few years for some other newspapers before he immigrated to Canada with his wife, Sheila.
Continue reading ‘Tenth death anniversary of Rienzie Wijeratne, Press Photographer Par Excellence’ »
(Full text of statement made by Nelson Mandela from the dock at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage at Supreme Court of South Africa, Pretoria on April 20 1964)
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela(July 18, 1918-December 5, 2013)
I am the First Accused. I hold a Bachelor`s Degree in Arts and practised as an attorney in Johannesburg for a number of years in partnership with Oliver Tambo. I am a convicted prisoner serving five years for leaving the country without a permit and for inciting people to go on strike at the end of May 1961.
Continue reading ‘I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities’ »
The Empire State Building lit in the colors of the South African flag in honor of Nelson Mandela, Dec 6, 2013-pic: twitter.com/nbcnightlynews
When I reported from South Africa in the 1960s, the Nazi admirer B J Vorster occupied the prime minister’s residence in Cape Town. Thirty years later, as I waited at the gates, it was as if the guards had not changed. White Afrikaners checked my ID with the confidence of men in secure work. One carried a copy of Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. “It’s very eenspirational,” he said.
Continue reading ‘Mandela Legacy: Ending Racial Apartheid and Retaining Economic Apartheid’ »
Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view. Right now, you are anxiously pacing the corridors of your condos and country estates, looking for the right words, the right tributes, the right-wing tributes.
Continue reading ‘Mandela was About Politics, Race, Freedom and even Force and Cannot be Reduced to a Reggae Tune About Love’ »
pic via: https://twitter.com/billclinton/
By BILL KELLER
Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. He was 95.
Continue reading ‘Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95’ »
WHO was the greatest of the statesmen of the 20th century?
Discard the mass murderers such as Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong; set aside the autocratic nationalists like Gamal Abdel Nasser and the more admirable but probably less influential anti-communists like Vaclav Havel; then winnow the list to half a dozen names. On it would perhaps be Mohandas Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Jack Kennedy and Nelson Mandela. For many people, in many lands, the most inspirational of these would be the last, who died on December 5th, aged 95.
Continue reading ‘Nelson Mandela: The Long Walk is Over’ »
AMONG Nelson Mandela’s many achievements, two stand out. First, he was the world’s most inspiring example of fortitude, magnanimity and dignity in the face of oppression, serving more than 27 years in prison for his belief that all men and women are created equal.
Nelson Mandela on the roof at Kholvad House. Photograph courtesy of Ahmed Kathrada-via: facebook.com/nelsonmandela
During the brutal years of his imprisonment on Robben Island, thanks to his own patience, humour and capacity for forgiveness, he seemed freer behind bars than the men who kept him there, locked up as they were in their own self-demeaning prejudices. Indeed, his warders were among those who came to admire him most.
Continue reading ‘The greatness of Nelson Mandela challenges us all’ »
South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.
Mr Mandela led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison for his political activities.
He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital.
Announcing the news on South African national TV, President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela was at peace.
“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.
Continue reading ‘South Africa’s Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg’ »
IT’S now over a week since I returned from Jaffna and the images still both haunt and inspire me. The visit I made to the north of Sri Lanka was fascinating — you can get all the briefings you like but nothing can replace seeing the situation for yourself.
Continue reading ‘“I’m Determined That we Play our Part in Building a Brighter Future for the People of Sri Lanka”’ »
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
(This short article written as a tribute was published in “The Sunday Leader” of Colombo after the death of ♥ Gemini Ganesan ♥. It is being reproduced here without any changes due to requests by many readers who are fans of the Romance king of Tamil cinema who was born on November 17th 1920)
Gemini Ganesan one time heart throb of Tamil cinema passed away peacefully in his sleep at 1.30 am on March 22nd at his residence in Nungambakkam, Chennai. In a career spanning five decades the octogenarian made his mark in Tamil films as the romantic hero par excellence and was known as “kaadhal Mannan” (King of Romance).
His on screen and off screen persona were intertwined and the evergreen Gemini with four wives had several liaisons with attractive women. As Tamil Nadu chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram remarked his death is truly “an end of an era in Tamil cinema”.
Continue reading ‘Gemini Ganesan ♥ Romance King of Tamil Films ♫’ »
(Legendary “Villain”actor of Tamil cinema M.N.Nambiar passed away five years ago in Chennai on November 19th 2008. I wrote an article about him then which was published in the “Daily Mirror”of Colombo. I am reproducing a slightly edited version of that article on my blog now to commemorate his 5th death anniversary. I am also including at the end two of the many mails sent to me after the article appeared. One is from his son Sukumar Nambiar. The other is from veteran Sinhala actor Henry Jayasena. Sadly both are no more ~ - DBS Jeyaraj)
Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N.Nambiar (89) as he was generally known passed away around 1.00 pm , in Chennai on Wednesday November 19th 2008. The remains were kept at his residence at Gopalapuram for fans and members of the film fraternity to pay their respects to the legendary “villain” of Tamil cinema.
Continue reading ‘M.N. Nambiar: Legendary “Villain” of Tamil Cinema’ »
October 1st was the 85th birthday of Sivaji Ganesan one of the brightest stars among the Tamil Film firmament. V.C. Ganesan known as Sivaji Ganesan was widely regarded as the greatest Thespian of Post –Independence Tamil Cinema. This doyen among Tamil actors was one of my favourites. An updated version of an article written by me earlier is being posted now to commemorate his birthday.
Sivaji Ganesan (October 1, 1928-July 21, 2001)
Sivaji spoke Tamil on screen the way it should be spoken.It is no exaggeration to say that he was the role model for many in pronouncing Tamil dialogue in dramas.
Continue reading ‘Sivaji Ganesan: Greatest Thespian of Post-Independence Tamil Cinema’ »
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
(This article was first published in the Indian newsmagazine “Frontline” of Feb 13-26 1999 Vol 16-No 04 as part of the Symposium on Sri Lanka’s Cultural Experience.It is reproduced here without any changes)
Semiyon (AE Manoharan) and Philomina (Chandrakala)
TAMIL cinema in Sri Lanka, it may be argued, is yet to grow beyond its nascent stage. While thousands of Tamil films have been made in India and hundreds of Sinhala movies have been produced in Sri Lanka, the number of Sri Lankan Tamil films produced so far has not touched the three-digit mark.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamil Cinema and the Search for a Distinct Identity’ »
“That was his dream and hope to his last breath”
Good bye my Gurudewa
By DR THUSHARA RODRIGO
“The light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere”. This is exactly what I felt when I heard the sad news of our beloved Gurudewa’s passing away just within a few hours of my landing in Sri Lanka.
The words I quoted were those of Pundit Nehru, which he uttered spontaneously on hearing of the death of Mahatma Gandhi.
Continue reading ‘Extend a hand of friendship and love to those from other races and religions and treat Sri Lanka as a multicultural nation: Tribute to R.I.T. Alles’ »
pic via: facebook.com/BasilRajapaksa
(Excerpts from Speech made in Parliament by Economic Development minister Basil Rajapaksa while winding up the Budget debate on behalf of the Govt)
“This is Sri Lanka’s 68th budget. The United National Party(UNP) has presented 34 budgets. With this budget, the coalition governments led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party too have presented 34 budgets. This is the first time the number of budgets presented by both sides have become equal. The Mahinda Rajapaksa Government will have to present many more budgets in the future.
Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Appeals to Tamils and TNA to Resolve the National Problem on “Our Own” Without Foreign Interference’ »
by Rex Clementine
Some sportsmen are still remembered fondly although they are long retired. The thrills they provided the fans through their exceptional skills could be forgotten as time passes by, but the things they stood for in life are long revered. Strong leaders aren’t the most popular ones.
1996 World Cup-winning former captain Arjuna Ranatunga shacking hands with Sachin Tendulkar
The decisions they have taken in life for the common good have their admirers and critics. As a captain and later an administrator Arjuna Ranatunga was such a leader. The Emperor of Sri Lankan cricket turns 50 today and looking back at all those years he has few regrets.
Continue reading ‘“Captain Cool” of Sri Lankan Cricket is Fifty Not Out!’ »
By N. Sathiya Moorthy
That TNA leader R. Sampanthan made clear the TNA MP Sritharan’s glorification of the LTTE and Prabhakaran in Parliament was not in tune with the party line has to be taken at face-value.
It cannot, however, stop the possible resurrection of the LTTE’s ghost in the post-CHOGM permissiveness than any time in the post-war past.
Continue reading ‘Is the TNA Trying to Resurrect the LTTE Spectre ?’ »
R.I.T. Alles, Former Principal of D.S. Senanayake College Passes Away
By K. Thirukumaran
Founding principal of D.S. Senanayake College (DSSC), Colombo 7, Sri Lanka R.I.T. Alles passed away on Nov 28.
He was formerly a teacher at Royal College and after DSSC served as the State Secretary for Ministry of Education from 1989 to 1993 and was the Chairman of the Gateway Group.
Continue reading ‘R.I.T. Alles: Founding Principal of Post-Independence Sri Lanka’s only Trilingual post-Secondary School’ »
Dhammika Perera-pic courtesy: Forbes.com
By Jon Springer
Dhammika Perera didn’t become one of Sri Lanka’s richest people by luck. It was actually by design. Back in 1999, when he was 32, he developed a 20-year plan for his fledgling businesses with the help of a mentor.
His audacious goal: Become the country’s leader in each of 12 sectors by 2019. He’s already succeeded in 9 of the sectors, building best-in-class companies in tourism, banking, apparel and other industries. Indeed, his Royal Ceramics Lanka appeared in 2010 and last year on FORBES ASIA’s list of the best 200 listed Asia-Pacific companies with under $1 billion in annual sales.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Dhammika Perera’s Master Plan’ »
Karu Jayasuriya M.P.
(Text of statement issued by Karu Jayasuriya Gampaha district MP and Leader of UNP united leadership council)
Many Sri Lankans are unaware of the heavy price that we have to incur in the coming weeks and months for the enormous cost borne for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that was recently concluded.
pic via: facebook.com/KaruJayasuriya
The public cannot be blamed for this since the Government has purposefully left everyone in the dark regarding the exuberant expenditure for the event. Though the opposition has repeatedly asked for accounts for this event the Government has not shown an iota of transparency. What was the cost of all those vehicles that were imported and the numerous contracts given to decorate the city?
Continue reading ‘Only 23 Heads of Govt Attended CHOGM Conference in Colombo and not 37 as Stated by Rajapaksa Regime’ »
There’s a new emperor in town
The posters and hoardings to celebrate President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ascension to the Chair of the Commonwealth, a grouping mostly made up of territories of the former British Empire, must have been ready weeks in advance.
Celebrating Birthday-Nov 18-, 2013-pic via: twitter/com/RajapaksaNamal
By happy coincidence, the President was also celebrating his 68th birthday and his eighth year in office this week.
Continue reading ‘Will President Rajapaksa Crowned as Commonwealth Emperor Have Early Polls in 2014?’ »
Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda remains disillusioned about the electoral defeat at the Northern Provincial Council Poll on September 21. Mr. Devananda, the leader of EPDP, is a strong advocate of the Provincial Council (PC) system. Also, EPDP is a militant group that laid down arms soon after the introduction of the system in 1987 under the Indo-Lanka Accord. During a recent interview with Daily Mirror, he speaks out his sentiments on the elections and the way forward for his party.
Continue reading ‘“If I Contested I Could have Brougt More Votes”-Douglas Devananda’ »
Florence-on-the-Elbe, they used to call the historic German city of Dresden, before it began to turn to ash that evening in February 1945. Inside of days, the United Kingdom and the United States bomber command dropped some 3,900 tonnes of ordnance over the city, creating an inferno which would claim an estimated 25,000 lives.
The military utility of the slaughter is still debated by historians: proponents claim it destroyed key Nazi communication hubs, and broke the will of Germans to resist; opponents say it was vengeance, plain and simple.
Continue reading ‘War Against LTTE in Sri Lanka: When and How Much Ethical is it to Kill in War?’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
At the end of weeks of competitive, though not confrontational politics on the streets, and precedent-setting constitutional calculus in court rooms, Parliament and elsewhere, the ‘numbers’ prevailed.
President Yameen (L) meets former President Gayoom (R)-pic: presidencymaldives.gov.mv
Reflecting the dynamics of coalition politics in the Maldivian context, visible since the first multi-party presidential polls of 2008, Abdulla Yameen, officially the candidate of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) but supported by a near-equal number of voters from outside, won the nation’s presidency by a wafer-thin majority against former President Mohammed ‘Anni’ Nasheed, leader of the Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), in a closely-fought second-round, run-off polls, on Saturday, 16 November 2013.
Continue reading ‘Maldives: It’s President Yameen – and promise of reconciliation’ »
While the Sri Lankan government has so far given the impression that it does not take offence to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh skipping the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said on Sunday that he was disappointed with Dr. Singh’s absence.
Continue reading ‘“We are Asians. We Like Indians. Dr.Singh Should Have Been Here” – Basil Rajapaksa’ »
Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in an interview said not many civilians were killed in the war although LTTE propagandists tried to exaggerate the numbers to defame the Sri Lanka Army and the Government.
Continue reading ‘“You Dont Need to Come to Politics to Serve the Country” – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that UK Premier David Cameron was playing politics in Colombo to placate the LTTE rump back home.
pic courtesy: BBC
Cameron’s strategy was obviously influenced by the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Tamils against Genocide, he said.
Continue reading ‘David Cameron Playing Politics in Sri Lanka to Placate LTTE in Britain Says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday assured politicians and people of Jaffna that he would take up issues such as devolution, freedom of expression and alleged land-grab by the army with the Sri Lankan government.
pic via: Channel 4
Mr. Cameron’s visit to the town garnered considerable attention amid the buzz around the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which was declared open in Colombo on Friday.
Continue reading ‘“Jaffna Buddhist Association” Launches Counter Demonstration when Cameron was Meeting Northern IDP’s’ »
by Meera Srinivasan
British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the Sabapathipillai Welfare Centre at Chunnakam, about 10 km from Jaffna town, on Friday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron talks to villagers of an IDP camp in Jaffna on Friday, Nov 15-pic: The Hindu
He walked into the narrow lanes with tiny homes adjacent to each other and talked to some residents. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran helped with translation.
Continue reading ‘British PM David Cameron Talks to Northern Tamil IDP’s With TNA MP MA Sumanthiran’s Help’ »
By Dharisha Bastians in Jaffna
British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday became the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka’s North, using his three hour tour to focus on press freedom, land and political rights of the Tamil people four years after the end of the war.
Prime Minister David Cameron is the first world leader to visit the north of Sri Lanka since 1948~Crown copyright
Prime Minister Cameron stole the spotlight after the Commonwealth summit opened by visiting a camp holding the internally displaced in Chunnakam and stepping in at the besieged Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper, in addition to holding discussions with the new provincial political leadership in the formerly embattled region.
Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Tells David Cameron that Primary Problem in North is Military Governor Countermanding Orders Given by Chief Minister’ »
Days ahead of being crowned king of the Commonwealth of Nations, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a jubilant mood. The Sri Lankan Head of State is often pictured beaming with pride at various precursor events leading up to the main Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that will get underway at his namesake theatre tomorrow morning.
His good spirits are such that not even the spontaneous meeting with the controversial Channel 4 news team that obtained accreditation and arrived in Sri Lanka to cover the summit could mar the mood.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Causes Embarrassment to Commonwealth “Friends” Australia and New Zealand’ »