Lanka’s Ace Netball Shooter Tharjini Sivalingam Out of National Side Due to Problems with Current Netball Administrators and Coach.

By Harsha Amarasinghe

CT Sports: The Sri Lanka netball team is expected to take part in the Asian Championship in July with a fairly inexperienced and weak side sans any senior players. Sri Lanka Netball Association (SLNA) sent a similar side to the World Cup in Australia last year who ended up losing all their matches. Since then unfortunately nothing has changed for the country. Once again they are going to have a tough tournament.

Senior netball star Tharjini Sivalingam ruled out any chance of her returning to the national side in the near future with the current netball hierarchy in the country.

“I firstly want to say that whenever we played for Sri Lanka, we played because of our love for country. We never played for money or anything of that sort because we were never paid on contract basis, but still we gave our all to the country. With these present administrators and coach, I don’t want to play for Sri Lanka. We were the champions of Asia and there was a fear factor about us. During tournaments people will look at us and talk about us because we were that good, but now the national team’s standards have gone down drastically. I would play for my country, I would fight for the coach, only if it is worth it and it is not at the moment,” the giant netballer said.

The 33-year-old Seylan Bank goal shooter also insisted that Sri Lanka is running out of time even if the required changes are made before the Asian Championship.

Continue reading ‘Lanka’s Ace Netball Shooter Tharjini Sivalingam Out of National Side Due to Problems with Current Netball Administrators and Coach.’ »

Company Owned by Person Close to Central Bank Governor arjuna Mahendran Involved in Central Bank EPF Racket Alleges JVP

The JVP yesterday said a Central Bank racket had resulted in a huge loss to the Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF).

Addressing a press conference held at party headquarters former JVP MP cum convenor of the Anti-Corruption Voice, Wasantha Samarasinghe alleged that a company owned by a person close to the Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran was involved in the scandal.

Samarasinghe said losses incurred by the EPF due the scandal must be the biggest issue to be addressed on May Day. “Immediately after the change of government last year, the Central Bank advertised its intention to sell Treasury bonds worth Rs. 1,000 million and sold bonds worth Rs 10,000 million at a higher interest to a company owned by the present Governor’s son-in-law. When the racket was exposed President Maithripala Sirisena ordered that Central Ban Governor be removed. But, the Wickremesinghe government did not follow the presidential order. Now, a second scandal has taken place under the watch of the same Governor.”

Continue reading ‘Company Owned by Person Close to Central Bank Governor arjuna Mahendran Involved in Central Bank EPF Racket Alleges JVP’ »

“TNA Always Stood for Amalgamation of Northern and Eastern Provinces” says TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson M. A. Sumanthiran, MP yesterday told The Island that a resolution seeking the re-merger of the Eastern Province with the Northern Province adopted by the TNA-led Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on Friday (April 22) could be considered by the government as well as all other political parties represented in Parliament.

The TNA comprises the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi, the TELO, PLOTE and EPRLF.

Jaffna District MP and attorney-at-law Sumanthiran emphasised the need to take a look at the NPC’s proposal. It could be considered like any other proposal, Sumanthiran said.

Asked whether the TNA would throw its weight behind the NPC proposal for the re-merger of the Eastern Province with the Northern Province, MP Sumanthiran said that the TNA always stood for the amalgamation of the two provinces.

Continue reading ‘“TNA Always Stood for Amalgamation of Northern and Eastern Provinces” says TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran’ »

“Extremists Asking for Federalism Must Be Ignored and Not taken Seriously” says Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella

By Cyril Wimalasurendre

Extremists were asking for federalism. Such moves should not be taken so seriously. They must be ignored, said Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella in Kandy on Saturday 23.

The Minister said the media should not should not use such demands to set the country ablaze.

Addressing the media, Minister Kiriella said there were extremists in all communities. There were Sinha
la extremists, Tamil extremists and Muslim extremists. But among the masses at least 95% were for peace.

Continue reading ‘“Extremists Asking for Federalism Must Be Ignored and Not taken Seriously” says Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella’ »

Udaya Gammanpila Challenges Pujitha Jayasundara to Arrest Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan and Prove IGP Has a Backbone.

By Harischandra Gunaratna and Dhammika Salawathura

Leader of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, Udaya Gammanpila yesterday said that leader of the Tamil National Alliance R. Sampandan and some members of his party who threatened national security recently by trying to forcibly enter the army’s Gajaba detachment in Paravipachchan in Killinochchi and threatened the officers and thus obstructed their duties had not been arrested, though a complaint had been lodged with the police by the army.

Addressing a news conference at the Dr N.M. Perera Centre at Borella, Gammanpila said “This should be nipped in the bud before it reaches alarming proportions.”

Continue reading ‘Udaya Gammanpila Challenges Pujitha Jayasundara to Arrest Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan and Prove IGP Has a Backbone.’ »

Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki celebrates her 78th birthday on April 23rd. The well known Indian singer of film songs who is praised as the “nightingale of the South” was born on April 23rd 1938 during the British colonial period at Pallapatla in Repalle. The Repalle town is located in the Guntur district of present day Aandhra Pradesh state.

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Janaki hails from a Telugu Brahmin family. Her father Sishtla Sreeramamurthy was a teacher and native physician. In a splendid career spanning over fifty years Janaki has sung over 20,000 songs for films made in 16 different languages.

The Languages are Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malyalam, Tulu, Konkani, Baduga, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Sanskrit, Urdu, English, Japanese, German and Sinhala.
Continue reading ‘Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song’ »

Creating a Liberal Society in Sri Lanka May be Easier Than Creating a Liberal Culture in Our Universities

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for creating a liberal culture in our universities. A noble goal, indeed. Still better if he advocates a liberal society at large in this country. That would be much easier since his government has at its disposal a parliamentary majority to make laws and policy and to revoke discriminatory laws that put the vulnerable communities at harm. He can abolish those antiquated laws such as Penal Code Article 365 A, and launch a public advocacy against all evils such as xenophobia, bigotry and homophobia. Perhaps, doing that would be much easier than reforming universities where the rot runs deeper. Still, reforming university culture is worth a shot, though a long shot, it is .

A liberal society worth trying creating, it should feel more acceptable to minorities than a Dharmista society the late President J.R. Jayawardene pledged to create, since the latter, inadvertently contained a religious invocation that might have alienated followers of other faiths.

They say a liberal polity needs tolerance and respect for individual freedoms, which would be its corner stone. But, there is another prerequisite. A liberal society is possible only as long as the murderers are jailed, thieves are locked up, psychopaths are kept on medication and other delinquents have their freedom of action seriously contained. All the above are the responsibilities of the government which wields the monopoly of legitimate violence. It has to enforce the laws through its organs, no matter the circumstances and the context. After all, modern governments are ruled by laws, not by men.

Continue reading ‘Creating a Liberal Society in Sri Lanka May be Easier Than Creating a Liberal Culture in Our Universities’ »

Rajapaksa-led Joint Opposition Posturing Must Be Treated with Rightful Contempt It Deserves

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The regular posturing by the so-called Rajapaksa-led Joint Opposition calling for the upholding of democratic rights in Sri Lanka must be treated with the rightful contempt that it deserves.

Condemning hypocritical posturing

Even as sanctimonious hypocrisy drips off the tongues of these worthies when they speak with fervor on multifarious topics, ranging from the appointments of the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police to contemplated tax increases, let us remind them of some salient home truths.

In truth, these are individuals who do not have even a smidgen of honesty or integrity to critique the performance of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Government, as problematic as that has become. These were the same hypocrites who stood idly by even as former President Mahinda Rajapaksa literally destroyed the remnants of institutional independence in this unfortunate country, rendering public officers and judges quivering like jellies as they responded to the crack of the Medamulana whip.

When the ugly tentacles of political and family patronage, the likes of which the public had never seen before, reached out to every nook and cranny and public funds were spent with impunity on Rajapaksa-projects that were monumentally useless, engineering much of the current economic crisis that we face, did these characters ever utter a whimper of protest?

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Being Sidelined Under the Rajapaksa Regime Proved an Advantage to Pujith Jayasundara in Becoming IGP

By

Rasika Jayakody

Pujith Jayasundara, now a household name, made history last week as the first Sri Lakan Police Chief appointed by the Constitutional Council set up under the provisions of the 19th Amendment.

The Police Department, an efficient and a well-respected body at the time Sri Lanka received Independence from British rule, was systematically politicised over the past few decades and the Rajapaksa administration, in its ten-year rule, took this issue to a whole new level.

Sometimes, police officers were handpicked for certain positions in the department based on their ‘political loyalty’ and the willingness to go out of the way to pander to the needs of their political bosses.

Under the past administration, the Police Department was at the centre of some major controversies and the public considered it a mere tool in the hands of those in power.

It is in this backdrop that the Constitutional Council making a decision on the new IGP became an event of great significance.

Continue reading ‘Being Sidelined Under the Rajapaksa Regime Proved an Advantage to Pujith Jayasundara in Becoming IGP’ »

International Outcry urging Immediate release in Nepal of Prominent Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit Gathers Momentum

Editors and media figures as well as intellectuals and scholars from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, UK, US, Australia and Sri Lanka have called for the release of Himal editor and prominent Nepali journalist Kanak Mani Dixit who was arrested yesterday in Katmandu by anti-graft officials.

Kanak Mani Dixit, editor of Himal Southasian. File photo: K. Pichumani-pic courtesy: The Hindu

Kanak Mani Dixit, editor of Himal Southasian. File photo: K. Pichumani-pic courtesy: The Hindu

The following is the text of the statement:

It is with deep concern that we have learned of the arrest today of Kanak Mani Dixit, the widely respected founder-editor of Himal Media and a courageous voice for transparency, freedom of expression and democratic rights in Nepal and across South Asia. The charges are related to alleged corruption but Kanak Dixit says it is part of a vendetta pursued against him by people in Government.

We have known Kanak Dixit as a true professional, human rights defender and energetic journalist whose credentials are built on robust research and tremendous courage. Himal Media, a pioneer in South Asia journalism, has published Himal South Asia, Nepali Times and Himal Khabar Patrika (in the Nepali language). He has written extensively for international media including leading newspapers in India and is chairman of Sajha Yatayat, a state run transportation company, which he has been turning around from a loss-making entity.

Continue reading ‘International Outcry urging Immediate release in Nepal of Prominent Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit Gathers Momentum’ »

Why The Arrest of Fearless Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit in Nepal On Charges Of Corruption is absurd

By

Gouri Chatterjee

The year was 2001 but the twin towers in New York were still standing. We could afford to be interested in, no, fascinated by the story of one man’s fortitude in the face of extreme adversity, surviving a dangerous fall in the Himalayas, living not only to tell the tale but going back to his business of doing good with renewed vigour and energy.

That was my first introduction to Kanak Mani Dixit, already well regarded as the go to person in Kathmandu for all matters South Asian, whose ground-breaking news magazine Himal Southasian was held in high esteem by journalists and academics alike in all parts of the world. A fair, genial voice amidst strident, raucous, my-country-right-or-wrong experts that our subcontinent seems to specialise in.

I was with The Telegraph newspaper then and proudly, enthusiastically published Kanak Mani’s first-person account of his fall from a cliff whilst trekking alone in the Annapurna section of the Himalayas in August 2001, how he lay under an anthill for four days with severely damaged neck bones, how he had dug a little pit to collect drinking water and made a flag out of some scraps of plastic, of his deep despondency when he saw what he thought was his rescue helicopter fly away, how he was finally, found by a search party thanks to his cap that was caught on a tree, signalling his location.

Continue reading ‘Why The Arrest of Fearless Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit in Nepal On Charges Of Corruption is absurd’ »

Was President Sirisena Referring to Arjuna Mahendran and R.Paskaralingam in his Polonnaruwa Speech Criticising “Economic Experts”?

By

Gagani Weerakoon

President Maithripala Sirisenain at his home town Polonnaruwa addressing his people to greet them for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year said that he will not allow so-called economic experts to burden the public with increased taxes.

He added that some experts are not aware of the suffering of the people and he will ask such experts to go home. President was commenting on the media reports that the government plans to increase VAT, which is an indirect tax which affects you more if you belong to low income groups.

“I saw in the newspapers that there will be new taxes, especially the VAT which affects the average citizens. I will not allow any economic expert in the government to introduce taxes which adversely affect the poor. I know that some of these experts do not know the suffering of the people, but I will not allow them a free rein. I want to help the poor people and I want to improve their economy. The State’s policy should be geared to assist the people,” he said.

He further stated that he will fully commit himself with a firm determination this New Year to fulfil the aspirations of the people and will not keep any room for those forces that damaged the country, to regain power.

Just two days after Avurudu on 15 April, government announced that they will go ahead with the decision to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by 15% as planned and with effect from 2 May, ironically the day after the May Day of the working community.

It seems, the President was kept in the dark about the recent tax increase even though it was indicated that VAT will be increased by 15% several weeks ago.

With President Sirisena’s New Year lash on economic experts, everyone’s attention was more on finding which economic expert had antagonized the President than on the burden the increased taxation put on the public.

Continue reading ‘Was President Sirisena Referring to Arjuna Mahendran and R.Paskaralingam in his Polonnaruwa Speech Criticising “Economic Experts”?’ »

“Federal Solution”Of Tamil National Alliance is Actually an Independent State in all but Name.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

As the political atmosphere in the South heated up with all the issues relating to May Day, another bombshell came from the north with the Northern Provincial Council adopting a resolution calling for a federal state for the north and east.

Though the government kicked off the constitutional reform process earlier this month, the cry for federalism coming from the north may throw the spanner in the works even before the process has begun.

A few days ago, the TNA leader R. Sampanthan also said that the Tamils were looking for a federal state.

This has serious implications for the political future of President Maithripala Sirisena because votes from the North and East were a major factor in his election victory. MR was ahead in the other provinces.

Continue reading ‘“Federal Solution”Of Tamil National Alliance is Actually an Independent State in all but Name.’ »

Harin Fernando Orders Sri Lanka Telecom Board to Keep Ministry Informed of all Transactions and Projects to Ensure Transparency by Telecom.

By Chris Kamalendran

Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando has directed the board of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to ensure that the ministry is kept informed of all transactions and projects ensuring transparency.

The directive came amidst growing differences between the minister and the board as to who was in charge of the multi-million rupee government controlled company and calls from trade unions for the resignation of the SLT chairman.

The directive was given at a meeting attended by SLT Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena and other board members.

The minister told the Sunday Times he summoned the meeting to resolve disputes on policy matters and had ordered that the ministry be informed promptly about board decisions.

Continue reading ‘Harin Fernando Orders Sri Lanka Telecom Board to Keep Ministry Informed of all Transactions and Projects to Ensure Transparency by Telecom.’ »

SLFP Maithripala Faction of SLFP and Mahinda Loyalists Combat Each Other Over May Day Rally

By

C.A.Chandreprema

Never in living memory has a May Day rally assumed such importance. From the time things began limping back to normal after the extended New Year holidays, the topic of discussion even in the news bulletins has been the May Day rally organized by the Joint Opposition.

Those who talk about May Day the most are not really members of the Joint Opposition but the Sirisena faction of the SLFP. It is to the latter that the planned Joint Opposition rally in Kirullapone has caused the most angst.

However, given the experience of the recent past, perhaps the Sirisena faction should be happy that Mahinda loyalists will be holding a separate May Day because all of them will be in Kirullapone that day and there would be no one to create disturbances at the Sirisena rally.

It was seen in the recent past that whenever the two factions came together at electoral balamandalaya meetings, there was hooting and unpleasantness.

The general secretary of the UPFA Mahinda Amaraweera has been trying to stop the Joint Opposition from having a separate May Day diplomatically, while others like SLFP general secretary Duminda Dissanayake have been taking a tough approach threatening disciplinary action against members of the SLFP including Mahinda Rajapaksa who do not attend the Galle May Day rally of the SLFP.

If the Joint Opposition cancels the Kirullapone meeting and decides to attend the Galle rally en masse, they will take over the meeting completely, hooting and jeering at all speakers of the Sirisena faction and cheering the speakers of the Mahinda faction.

The Sirisena faction knows that there is a very real danger in this happening, yet they are still trying to get the Joint Opposition to attend the Galle rally.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Maithripala Faction of SLFP and Mahinda Loyalists Combat Each Other Over May Day Rally’ »

Constitutional Council Accused of “Bluffing the People” Over Appointment of new Inspector – general of Police.

The Constitutional Council’s selection of a new IGP through a secret ballot carried out in the absence of two of the three civil society representatives was slammed Saturday as a “historic blunder.”

An activist group known as Decent Lanka 2015 which includes journalist Kusal Perera and lawyer Srinath Perera accused the CC chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of “bluffing” the people.

Jayasuriya did not vote when the Council met on Monday (April 18) in parliament to decide a nominee to be the new IGP from among three candidates — S. M. Wickramasinghe, Pujith Jayasundara and Chandana Wickramaratne.

Jayasundara, 56, was chosen through a secret ballot in sharp contrast to the procedure adopted in choosing the Attorney General in February by the same Council.

Continue reading ‘Constitutional Council Accused of “Bluffing the People” Over Appointment of new Inspector – general of Police.’ »

Prominent Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit Arrested and Detained in Nepal;SAHR Urges Nepal Govt to Release Dixit

The South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) organization has expressed deep concern over the arrest and detention of prominent Journalist and Human rights activist Kanak Mani Dixit in Nepal. SAHR has urged the government of Nepal to immediately release Mr. Dixit The text of a press release issued by SAHR is as follows –

SAHR urges the government of Nepal to take immediate action for the release of Mr. Kanak Mani Dixit
South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a network of human rights defenders based in seven countries in South Asia, is deeply concerned about the arrest and detention of Mr. Kanak Mani Dixit, an eminent journalist and pro-democracy and human rights activist, by the Commission of Investigation on Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on 22 April. Reportedly he has been detained for the alleged charges of illegally amassing property by abusing authority.

Continue reading ‘Prominent Journalist Kanak Mani Dixit Arrested and Detained in Nepal;SAHR Urges Nepal Govt to Release Dixit’ »

Northern Provincial Council Passes Resolution Calling for North -East Merger and Federalism Presented by Chief Minister Wigneswaran

By Dinasena Ratugamage

The Northern Provincial Council yesterday passed a resolution sponsored by the TNA to urge the government to introduce provisions to the proposed new constitution enabling the merger of the North and the East and granting federalism.

The TNA had appointed a special committee which met people and representatives of civil organisations in all districts of the Northern Province before drafting the resolution.

Continue reading ‘Northern Provincial Council Passes Resolution Calling for North -East Merger and Federalism Presented by Chief Minister Wigneswaran’ »

SLFP Intensifies Efforts to Sabotage Kirillapone May Day Rally Organized by Pro-Mahinda Opposition

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The SLFP yesterday announced plans to hold interviews next week to select electoral organisers in an obvious bid to discourage dissidents, particularly members of Provincial Councils from attending Joint Opposition May Day rally at Kirulapone.

SLFP General Secretary and Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake yesterday said that the first round of interviews would commence next Tuesday (April 26).

Addressing the media at SLFP headquarters, Anuradhapura District MP Dissanayake said that a committee comprising senior SLFPers headed by former Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne would conduct the interviews at party headquarters.

Dissanayake succeeded Anura Priyadarshana Yapa soon after the conclusion of January 2015 presidential polls.

Asked by The Island whether the move was meant to intimidate dissidents thereby sabotage the Joint Opposition rally, Minister Dissanayake said elected members of the party couldn’t under any circumstances act contrary to the wishes of the party leadership.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Intensifies Efforts to Sabotage Kirillapone May Day Rally Organized by Pro-Mahinda Opposition’ »

Full Text of Agreement Signed by SWRD Bandaranaike and SJV Chelvanayagam on July 26th 1957.

Full Text of Bandaranaike – Chelvanayagam Pact, 1957

Part A

Representatives of the Federal Party have had a series of discussions with the Prime Minister in an effort to resolve the differences of opinion that had been growing and creating tension.
At an early stage of these conversations it became evident that it was not possible for the Prime Minister to accede to some of the demands of the Federal Party.

The Prime Minister stated that, from the point of view of the government, he was not in a position to discuss the setting up of a Federal Constitution, or regional autonomy, or take any step that would abrogate the Official Language Act.

The question then arose whether it was possible to explore the possibility of an adjustment without the Federal Party abandoning or surrendering any of its fundamental principles or objectives.

At this stage, the Prime Minister suggested an examination of the Government’s draft Regional Councils Bill to see whether provision could be made under it to meet, reasonably, some of the matters in this regard which the Federal Party had in view.

The Agreements so reached are embodied in a separate document.

Continue reading ‘Full Text of Agreement Signed by SWRD Bandaranaike and SJV Chelvanayagam on July 26th 1957.’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Sets The Record Straight On Much Criticised Arcelor Mittal 65,000 Houses Project in North

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs has issued a statement in response to criticism levelled against the Govt approved project of constructing 65,000 houses for war affected civilians in the North through Arcelor Mittal owned by Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal

In the statement issued by the ministry the Sri Lankan Govt position on the controversial project is clearly stated.

The statement explains details of the approved project thus effectively responding to criticism against the project by the Tamil National Alliance


The full statement of the Ministry is given below:

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Sets The Record Straight On Much Criticised Arcelor Mittal 65,000 Houses Project in North’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Defends Controversial Housing Deal With Indian Tycoon Lakshmi Mittal

By P.K.Balachandran

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Resettlement on Friday defended its controversial decision to ask ArcelorMittal, owned by Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, to build 65,000 houses for the war displaced in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Among the bidders, only ArcelorMittal had the required financial wherewithal, and the houses which it is to build, will have far greater facilities than those proposed by its competitors, the ministry said.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran, and building experts, had accused the government of favouritism and slammed the bid to build environmentally unsuitable prefabricated steel and PVC houses at double the cost of building environmentally friendly brick and mortar houses.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Defends Controversial Housing Deal With Indian Tycoon Lakshmi Mittal’ »

Clash of Titans on May Day in Sri Lanka will See Grandstanding like Hitler and Churchill During world war 2

By

Winston de Valliere

While Political parties and Trade Unions flex their muscles to observe May Day in just a week’s time, the enormity of the explosive emotions sizzling just beneath the surface of the two major political parties can be expected to manifest themselves in grandstanding such as that seen in the days of the Second WW by Hitler on the one side and Churchill on the other.

Make no mistake about it May Day in Sri Lanka is just an euphemism for venting political venom on one’s opponents with labour issues being exploited expressly for that purpose. That’s the moral low that Lankan political forces have got mired in. Funding will have come from numerous sources abroad to boost attendance at many rallies in this macabre show of force. Cash, food packets and drinks on the house is the name of the game.

This will be hailed as ‘proof’ of electoral popularity. One can logically, therefore, expect some disturbance of the peace on May Day of which I am not too far wrong in my assessment of the psyche of the masses at the lower spectrum of society who will comprise the majority of those attending some rallies.

Continue reading ‘Clash of Titans on May Day in Sri Lanka will See Grandstanding like Hitler and Churchill During world war 2’ »

President and Prime Minister Decide to Exempt Medicine, Water, Electricity and Essential Items From Value Added Tax Increase

By Chamodi Gunawardana

Following discussions at the Cabinet meeting, VAT exemptions have been made to several sectors, including essential goods, medicines and electricity, in an attempt to protect the public with taxes, the Government said yesterday.

The exemptions came after President Maithripala Sirisena urged the Government not to burden the public with taxes, State Finance Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told the weekly Cabinet briefing.

His comments came after a Treasury official said last week VAT would be raised to 15% from 11% on 2 May to give a much-needed boost to public revenue.

“There is no VAT on all essential goods. There is no VAT on electricity and medicines. The President wants to ease the burden of the poor,” Abeywardena said. “But we have to increase the taxes. Out of total tax, only 4% is from the direct tax and the rest, 96%, is from indirect taxes. We can’t increase Government revenue without increasing indirect taxes.”

Continue reading ‘President and Prime Minister Decide to Exempt Medicine, Water, Electricity and Essential Items From Value Added Tax Increase’ »

Improved Human Rights Situation in South but not as much in North -East SriLanka States UK Report


By P.K.Balachandran

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has reported an improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka since Maithripala Sirisena was elected President in January 2015, though people in the Tamil-speaking North and East continued to face some harassments reminiscent of the war years.

Listing Sri Lanka among the “Human Rights Priority Countries”, the report for 2015 released on Thursday said: “Reversing the downward trend of recent years, the government of Sri Lanka took positive steps to improve freedom of expression (including the media) and freedom of movement, reduce inter-community tensions, and restore the independence of institutions such as the Human Rights Commission.”

Continue reading ‘Improved Human Rights Situation in South but not as much in North -East SriLanka States UK Report’ »

European Commission to Propose Lifting of Ban on Fisheries Exports from Sri Lanka to European Union

By Uditha Jayasinghe

The European Commission yesterday decided to propose the lifting of the ban on fisheries exports from Sri Lanka to the European Union, after over a year of engagement with the Government.

Sri Lanka’s proposal on Thursday will be discussed by the European Union (EU) Fisheries Council at the next available opportunity; the European Commission said in a statement, adding if the Council agrees with the proposal, the ban will be lifted with immediate effect.

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Filmmaker D.B.Nihalsinghe of “Welikathara” Film and “Dimuthu Muthu”Telefilm fame Passes Away

One of Sri Lanka’s foremost filmmakers, D. B. Nihalsingha passed away yesterday afternoon after a brief illness. He was 77. Nihalsingha was the only Sri Lankan to be honoured with the title, ‘Professor in Cinema and Television’

Having made several award winning movies including Welikathara, Maldeniye Simion, Ridee Nimnaya and Kelimadala Nihalsingha made the country’s first tele serial ‘Dimuthu Muthu’ and followed it up with ‘Rekha.’ The cinema veteran was the founding CEO and General Manager of the National Film Corporation from 1972 to 1978.

Continue reading ‘Filmmaker D.B.Nihalsinghe of “Welikathara” Film and “Dimuthu Muthu”Telefilm fame Passes Away’ »

Persecution of Christians in Sri-Lanka Continues Unabated Under The New Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt

Attacks against Christians in Sri Lanka have continued following the change of government in 2015, according to a leading human rights lawyer. A growing number of cases are now linked to local government officials. And Buddhist monks continue to be at the forefront of the persecution.

Officials have been closing churches and prayer meetings. There has also been an increase in the number of Christians being denied burial in public cemeteries.

‘Miriam’ is a human rights lawyer in Sri Lanka. Her real name is being withheld for her protection.

She says: ‘Persecution continues in Sri Lanka, despite the newly-elected government. We have documented more than 120 incidents since the election in 2015. A growing number of incidents are being instigated or carried out by local government officials. This is very concerning.’

Continue reading ‘Persecution of Christians in Sri-Lanka Continues Unabated Under The New Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt’ »

Buddhist Extremists Block Sri Lankan Christians From Using Public Cemeteries


By

Lorraine Caballero

Sri Lankan Christians cannot bury their dead in public cemeteries because Buddhist monks are stopping them from doing so, charity group Release International says.

The persecution of Sri Lankan Christians has now reached the level where Buddhist monks have joined forces with nationalists and prevented Christians from burying their dead in public cemeteries. Local government officials have also been shutting down churches and prayer gatherings in the country.

A prominent human rights lawyer, who spoke under conditions of anonymity, recalled one occasion wherein a Christian burial was interrupted by Buddhist monks. She said the monks suddenly began shouting that Christians cannot bury their dead in that location. The villagers around the public cemetery then came in with the police and drove the Christians out, telling them that they can bury their dead in a faraway place.

The said lawyer also told of an incident when two Buddhist monks interrupted a prayer meeting and began shouting and threatening the pastor leading the gathering. When the pastor filed a formal complaint with the police, he was told that it was his fault.

Continue reading ‘Buddhist Extremists Block Sri Lankan Christians From Using Public Cemeteries’ »

More Than 120 Anti-Christian Incidents Documented in Just Over a Year Since Sirisena was Elected as Sri Lanka President

By

Harry Farley

Sri Lanka has a turbulent history. From multiple invasions and colonial rule to growing nationalism and ethnic conflict, the small island nation has seen it all.

The country’s ’30 year war’ saw violence between the majority Sinhalese ethnic group and the minority Tamil Tiger rebels. However, after the Tamil’s final defeat in 2009, Christians are the new target.

Miriam* (*false name given to protect identity) is a religious liberties lawyer in Sri Lanka who works to defend the Church against increasing levels of persecution. She spoke to Christian Today about her work and the struggles Christians face.

“We thought we were going to see a change for the better after a new government came in in 2015,” she said. The previous administration was heavily influenced by Buddhist extremism and Christians were regularly subject to very violent attacks.

The arrival of new president Maithripala Sirisena bought hope to embattled Christians.

However, in just over a year since Sirisena was elected, more than 120 incidents against Christians have been documented by Miriam’s organisation. Indeed, the number of attacks on Christians has risen.

Continue reading ‘More Than 120 Anti-Christian Incidents Documented in Just Over a Year Since Sirisena was Elected as Sri Lanka President’ »

President Sirisena Gets Govt to Exempt Electricity, Water and Essential Items from Value Added Tax(VAT) Increase From May 2nd

by Zacki Jabbar

The proposal to increase Value Added Tax from 11 to 15 percent would not be imposed on essential items, the government said yesterday.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday that there was no difference of opinion between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister

Ranil Wickremesinghe on maintaining welfare measures for the masses. No other government had provided so much relief to the people in such a short time, he said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Gets Govt to Exempt Electricity, Water and Essential Items from Value Added Tax(VAT) Increase From May 2nd’ »

“Stateswoman” Sirimavo Made History As World’s First Woman Prime Minister

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

A 44 year old Kandyan Sinhalese widow of aristocratic “Radala” lineage gained global fame for her country in 1960 when she became the world’s first woman prime minister. She was none other than Sirimavo Bandaranaike who was sworn in as Prime minister of Sri Lanka known then as Ceylon on July 21st 1960. It is said that the British press had to coin a new description “Stateswoman” instead of the usual statesman after she assumed office. The next woman prime minister was Indira Gandhi who became premier of India on January 24th 1966. Israel’s Golda Meir became the world’s third female Prime minister when she took her oaths on March 17th 1969. This article is to commemorate the birth centenary of Sirima Bandaranaike which is to be celebrated next week.

Sirima Bandaranaike

Sirima Bandaranaike

Apart from being the first female premier Sirimavo Bandaranaike has also been her country’s longest serving prime minister. Her first term was from 1960 to 1965. Her second Prime ministerial term was from 1970 to 1977. During these terms of office Sirimavo as prime minister was head of the govt and effectively ruled the country as the executive presidential system had not been introduced then. In later years she functioned as Prime minister under an executive presidency from 1994 to 2000. Altogther she has served as PM for a total of 18 years. No other has been premier for so many years in Sri Lanka. In addition to being Prime minister, Sirimavo also called Sirima has been Leader of the Opposition during 1965-70 and 1989-1994.
Continue reading ‘“Stateswoman” Sirimavo Made History As World’s First Woman Prime Minister’ »

Is Nephew Ranil Now Doing to China What His Uncle JR Earlier Did to India?

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

There is an amazing similarity between the trip to Sri Lanka by Rajiv Gandhi to sign the Indo-Lanka Agreement in 1987 and the visit to China by Ranil to escape from the Chinese Debt Trap. Ranil’s uncle JR agreed to sign the Indo-Lanka Agreement in 1987 because there was nothing else to do to escape from the Eelam War, India set as a trap to Sri Lanka. JR had set the trap himself. During the 1977 general election, JR ridiculed the former Prime Minister of India and her son politically.

The reason was the Government of Indira which was in power was helping beyond diplomatic limits Madam Bandaranaike’s Government which was in power in Sri Lanka at that time, to secure their political powers. Then Opposition Leader JR knew very well that the strength required by Prime Minister Bandaranaike to suppress JR and his opposition was being provided by Indira. JR predicted that, similar to the loss experienced by Indira-Sanjaya mother-son couple at the 1977 elections in India, the Sirima-Anura mother-son couple would also lose at the general election in Sri Lanka. JR mocked Indira thus, thinking that she would not come back to power. However, before long she did come back to power.

At that time her friend Madame Bandaranaike was in the Opposition. Madame Bandaranaike knew that Indira had something against JR in her mind and sought Indira’s assistance to destroy JR. She pointed out that the foreign policy of the JR Government which was American friendly was a threat to Indira’s India which was friendly towards the then Soviet Republic. Indira’s Government decided to help the Tamil militants in the North and East of Sri Lanka to destabilize JR’s Government and to destroy JR. The war which was created in the North under the blessings of Indira succeeded in destabilizing JR’s Government.

Continue reading ‘Is Nephew Ranil Now Doing to China What His Uncle JR Earlier Did to India?’ »

Pro-Rajapaksa SLFP Group Defies Party Leader Sirisena Again By Holding Separate May day Rally

By

Rasika Jayakody

“Power is given only to him who dares to stoop and take it … one must have the courage to dare.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky –“Crime and Punishment”

Sri Lanka Freedom Party, headed by President Maithripala Sirisena, is now running into a fresh issue with the pro-Rajapaksa group deciding to hold a separate May Day rally, distancing themselves from the May Day event organised by the party.

Non-SLFP partners of the UPFA coalition, including the National Freedom Front, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, are the main organisers of the Rajapaksa group’s May Day rally. In addition, a group of MPs representing the SLFP rebel camp are likely to attend the event. The ‘demographics’ of the participants are not so difficult to figure out as it is the same group who supported Rajapaksa after the Parliamentary election in August, last year.

The SLFP rebels said in no uncertain terms that they would attend the May Day rally organised by the pro-Rajapaksa group, irrespective of any decision by the party Central Committee. They also said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa too would attend the May Day rally, without fearing any disciplinary action by the party.

It is quite evident that the SLFP’s decision-making bodies are now suffering from the ‘cry wolf’ syndrome. When a group of party MPs defied the Central Committee order and attended an anti-ETCA rally organized by the ‘joint opposition’ last month, the party failed to take any disciplinary action, despite numerous threats by party seniors during press conferences held before the rally. Now, pro-Rajapaksa rebels consider the Central Committee’s claims as mere ‘empty threats’. It has plunged the party into a situation where it cannot control the actions of the rebel group anymore.

When a section of party MPs defied the Central Committee decision, some prominent members of the party, including former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, pushed for immediate action against them. During the internal meetings of the party, they repeatedly stressed the need for tough action against those who breached party discipline. However, some members supporting President Sirisena including Minister S B Dissanayake, said jumping into action in haste would further jeopardise the party’s strength. This ongoing debate, however, prevented the party from adopting quick measures to instill discipline among party members.

Continue reading ‘Pro-Rajapaksa SLFP Group Defies Party Leader Sirisena Again By Holding Separate May day Rally’ »

Public Perception of the Government’s Commitment to Eradicating Corruption is Worrying

By

Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

In the transition from the populist authoritarian recent past to government conducted with governance, public trust and confidence in institutions and processes of government is pivotal. That trust and confidence is what provides the oxygen for the transition and the reform it entails – a diminution of it constituting a warning sign of displeasure and disquiet and therefore one to be taken seriously. At the same time, an increase underpins and sustains optimism.

The recent survey by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) where I work is in this regard revealing. The following responses have been thrown up in the recent (late February – March) CPA Democracy Survey on public perceptions and expectations of democracy. True enough, survey results shift and are not carved in stone.

Furthermore, the public can be notoriously fickle. Surveys do however provide an indication at least of trends in opinion and enduring concerns. Sign posts in the storm, perhaps…..?

Public perceptions of faith, trust and confidence in politicians and political parties should be better since they are key players in ensuring the reinstitution of governance in our government. No doubt, the experience of coalition government over the last 15 months and the fight over the heart and soul of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has had its toll on public perception and opinion.

The point may well be made too, that this is a global problem, even one peculiar to long established electoral democracies, as the debate in the US presidential election attests to. As is the case in that election, there needs to be a public debate here too as to the structure and functioning of political parties, their funding and the calibre of candidates they nominate for election.

Neither the March 12 Movement or the Speaker’s attempt to institute a Code of Conduct for MPs will necessarily succeed without the parties themselves recognizing the importance of the issue for the well-being of electoral democracy in the country. This is something that must follow constitutional reform.

Continue reading ‘Public Perception of the Government’s Commitment to Eradicating Corruption is Worrying’ »

People Getting Impatient Over Political Administration Dragging its Feet In Bringing Corrupt Elements of Past Regime to Justice

The

By Vishwamithra1984

“There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge, and fox, and squirrel.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

They call themselves the Joint Opposition. They are a twice-defeated, once at the Presidential and then at the parliamentary elections, lot of parliamentarians and two or three-time Ministers, who ransacked the country’s economy and its invaluable assets of youth and school children. Instead of taking these avaricious political parasites one by one and decimating them to pieces, the writer would prefer to deposit them into one bunch and tear the fabric apart so that the thread that holds all of them would give way.

A majority of those who identify themselves as major players in this irreverent ‘tent’ are facing very grave charges of corruption, nepotism and political mayhem; they have been alleged to have abused their political power to enrich themselves and their kith and kin; some have even been alleged to have committed criminal deeds such as possessing multiple passports; names of a few have been mentioned in murder charges. Whatever may be proven in a court of law, they surly have desecrated every grain of soil they claim to worship. They are a stain on the nation’s past and present. Whatever they were capable of, they indeed have proven to be very able sinners.

Armed with a ‘self-righteousness’ shield, they opined that the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) was absolutely owing to them and them alone. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary soldiers, corporals, lieutenants, captains, majors and colonels of the Army, and first responders and other fighting units of the Navy, Air Force and Police forces were completely ignored and forgotten. Even the then Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka was discarded as non-consequential (his subsequent incarceration is another story altogether).

That self-righteousness obsessed the first family and the resultant arrogance and vanity shielded them and played a pivotal role as armor to hide behind and resort to all sorts of illegitimate, undemocratic and illegal activities. Opposition to this wild behavior was brutally suppressed; whether one comes from the fourth estate or a rural village, dissent of any degree could not be tolerated by the members of the first family. While violating every precept of fair governance, they became immune to the slightest of criticism and public judgment.

Continue reading ‘People Getting Impatient Over Political Administration Dragging its Feet In Bringing Corrupt Elements of Past Regime to Justice’ »

Constitutional Council Has Lost Trust of the People After IGP Appointment says Udaya Gammanpila

By Harischandra Gunaratna

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila yesterday said, according to article 41(C1) of the country’s constitution, when the President recommends someone for a post to the Constitutional Council (CC), the job of the CC was to either endorse it or reject it.

A few months ago, Gammanpila recalled that the President sent names of three persons to the CC for the post of Attorney General, the CC informed the President that he only had to recommend one person and the CC could not select a person from among three names.

Thereafter the President named Jayantha Jayasuriya for the post.

But within a short period of three months he had forgotten the constitutional requirement and once again sent three names to the CC for the post of IGP, the PHU leader pointed out.

Continue reading ‘Constitutional Council Has Lost Trust of the People After IGP Appointment says Udaya Gammanpila’ »

Having Lunch in New York With the Transnational Tamil Eelam Prime Minister Rudrakumaran

Visuvanathan Ruthirakumaran

Visuvanathan Ruthirakumaran

by Sarah Stodder

When I step out of the rain and into the restaurant, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran is already waiting for me. Though I’m seven minutes early, I arrive to find the exiled Sri Lankan lawyer, known to his compatriots as Rudra, sitting at a corner table and peacefully watching the deluge outside.

We’re within walking distance of several Sri Lankan restaurants, but we meet at Rudra’s suggestion at Saravanaa Bhavan, a South Indian eatery on Lexington Avenue and 26th Street. This corner of Manhattan, affectionately called “Curry Hill,” is peppered with restaurants boasting the regional cuisines of India and its neighboring countries. Saravanaa Bhavan specializes in the cuisine of Tamils, an ethnic population with large numbers in India and in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, the teardrop-shaped island off India’s Coromandel Coast.

Rudra is Tamil; for culinary, linguistic, and political reasons, he would prefer to eat at the Indian Saravanaa Bhavan than at a Sri Lankan place, which would serve the cuisine (and, potentially, the politics) of Sri Lanka’s ethnic majority, the Sinhalese. The minority Tamils, led by the militant separatist Tamil Tigers, fought for 26 years for an independent homeland, dubbed Tamil Eelam, in Sri Lanka’s north and east. The Tigers’ tactics, including the invention of the suicide vest, made them a formidable rebel force and landed them on over 30 countries’ terrorism lists. But the Sinhalese-run military finally ended the war in 2009 by annihilating the Tigers’ top leaders—and some 40,000 Tamil civilians, according to the UN—in a final battle around the coastal town of Mullaitivu.

Though he has lived in New York for over 30 years, Rudra has stayed intimately connected to Sri Lanka’s civil war and its ongoing aftermath. During the war, he served as a legal advisor to the Tamil Tiger boss, Vellupillai Prabhakaran. Now, he is Prime Minister of the Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), the first government of its kind in the world. Headquartered in New York, the TGTE continues to peacefully assert what the Tigers asserted violently: the right to a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka’s north and east.

I first heard of Rudra during the year I spent as a Fulbright Scholar in Trincomalee, a majority-Tamil town on Sri Lanka’s eastern coast. My Sinhalese friends saw him either as a terrorist or as the foolish figurehead of a lost cause. My Tamil friends revered him. I sat down with Rudra at Saravanaa Bhavan to learn what motivates him as Tamil Eelam’s current standard-bearer, and to try to understand what drew him, a lawyer and naturalized American citizen, to aid an organization his adopted country labels “terrorist.”

Continue reading ‘Having Lunch in New York With the Transnational Tamil Eelam Prime Minister Rudrakumaran’ »

GMOA Gen-Secy Dr. Nalinda Herath’s Anti-Indian “Malaria” Remarks are Racist,Xenophobic and Bigoted


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) spokesperson wound up the year on the Sinhala calendar in an ugly style. A day before the ‘Parana Avurudda’, Dr. Nalinda Herath, the GMOA’s General Secretary took cheap advantage of a reported detection of a malaria patient, who happened to be an Indian worker in Sri Lanka and advised the public “to be cautious if Indians are around them”.

His logic is no less skewed than if Indian medics ever thought of telling their countrymen to be cautious of Sri Lankan docs, since some of the latter, of course, a few bad apples indeed, are now accused of being part of a kidney racket. (A counsel appearing on behalf of Indian victims earlier told the Colombo Chief Magistrate that over 1,200 Indians have their kidneys removed in Sri Lanka)!

Dr. Herath’s fear-mongering has no statistical value. He is referring to one out of over 300,000 Indian tourists who visited Sri Lanka last year and a few thousand workers who are living here. You are more likely to be killed in a road accident (eight fatalities are reported daily) or die while being transported in a rickety three-wheeler after a heart stroke. GMOA has also vehemently opposed a pilot project for an ambulance service since Indians are involved.

The latest remarks are not just ignorant bunkum, they are racist, xenophobic and bigoted; all the evils that we, as a nation try not to repeat. That an esteemed professional body of the country could stoop to such a low is unprecedented. The only convincing explanation is that morons have hijacked the governance of those organizations, perhaps because saner individuals in the trade are not simply interested in.

That is however sad since those organizations are meant to contribute constructively to the national discourse and policy.

Continue reading ‘GMOA Gen-Secy Dr. Nalinda Herath’s Anti-Indian “Malaria” Remarks are Racist,Xenophobic and Bigoted’ »

President Sirisena will send home Officials and Economic Experts Recommending Measures such as Increasing Value Added Tax

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday vowed not to allow any tax increases that would burden the general public.

Addressing a ceremony at Polonnaruwa to mark the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the President said there were media reports that the government was preparing to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) on essential commodities. But, he would not allow additional burdens to be heaped on poor masses, according to the President’s Media Unit.

“If there are any officials or economic experts who recommend measures such as increasing VAT aggravating the suffering of people, I am not ready to listen to them; I will send them home,” the President has said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena will send home Officials and Economic Experts Recommending Measures such as Increasing Value Added Tax’ »

President Sirisena Stands by his Solid Adherence to the Rajapaksa Government during the War and is Opposed to the Western Witch Hunt

By

Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha

(Text of a presentation by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha at the ‘Afkar-e-Taza: Rescuing the Past, Shaping the Future’ Seminar held in Lahore on April 3rd 2016)

The world seems to be at boiling point at present given the increasing impact of terrorist activity. Civilian populations are subject to ruthless attacks in Africa, the Middle East and now both Europe and Asia. Typically, there is much less attention to what happens in our part of the world, which I believe may explain why there seems no adequate response to deal with the menace. Western powers engage in long distance operations that result in more civilian deaths, in the less developed world, and the occasional claim that an identified terrorist has been killed. But the reach of the terrorist organizations seems only to grow in the face of such operations.

There has indeed in recent years been only one unquestionable success in dealing with terrorism. In 2009 Sri Lanka defeated a terrorist movement that had pioneered suicide killings, with responsibility for several incidents where the victims had been numbered in hundreds. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had also killed two heads of government and destroyed several leading moderates of the ethnic group which it claimed to be liberating, namely the Tamils of Sri Lanka (Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India, President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka, Messers Amirthalingam, Yoheswaran, Sam Tambimuttu, Neelan Tiruchelvam, Lakshman Kadrigamar, Mrs Sarojini Yoheswaran, Ketheswaran Loganathan, Alfred Duraiyappa, etc).

And yet, far from this achievement being recognized, and efforts made to replicate it, Sri Lanka became the object of relentless persecution by the Western bloc at the United Nations. While the Sri Lankan government certainly blundered in not dealing firmly with allegations against it, and also in failing to address comprehensively the problems that had created the terrorist movement, the manner in which it has been hounded deserves careful analysis. Not least, one needs to examine the role of the Obama administration, in playing to a public gallery of bleeding hearts whilst continuing a far more ruthless war on those it feared than had been engaged in by previous American Presidents.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Stands by his Solid Adherence to the Rajapaksa Government during the War and is Opposed to the Western Witch Hunt’ »

TNA Leader Sampanthan wants President Sirisena to Review Govt Initiative to Build 65,000 Houses for War Displaced in North


Tamil National alliance Leader and Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan has expressed concerns over the envisaged project by arcelor Mittal to construct 65,000 houses for war displaced families in the north and has urged the Government to urgently review the proposed govt initiative.

Sampanthan in a letter sent to President Maithripala Sirisena has acknowledged that the housing situation is dire for 137,000 homeless families in the north but seeks a review of the current initiative to build 65,000 houses due to several concerns needing to be addressed

The Trincomalee district Parliamentarian has also sent a letter in similar vein to Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also


The full text of the letter sent to President sirisena is reproduced below –


18th April 2016

His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena
Presidential Secretariat
Galle Face
Colombo 01

Your Excellency,

Initiative to construct 65,000 Houses for Conflict-affected Families in the Northern and Eastern Provinces

I write consequent to a unanimous decision of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary Group to raise very serious concerns in respect of the above matter.

The housing needs of the North and East are indeed dire. It is estimated that 137,000 houses are necessary to meet the housing needs of the North and the East following the devastation of the war. This issue must be addressed. The TNA thus welcomes the Government’s recognition of this, and its resolve to initiate a project to provide housing for conflict affected families.

However, the serious concerns relating to the initiative in question repeatedly raised by a wide ranging group of civil society activists, professionals, and politicians cannot be ignored. This includes the recent report of experts of the University of Moratuwa on the suitability of the abovementioned steel houses.

Continue reading ‘TNA Leader Sampanthan wants President Sirisena to Review Govt Initiative to Build 65,000 Houses for War Displaced in North’ »

“Stop The Proposed Bridge Over Palk Strait Before It’s Too Late” – An Open Letter to the President, and the Prime Minister


By
K. Godage


An Open Letter to the President, and the Prime Minister

Your Excellencies,

Tamil Nadu appears determined to annex Sri Lanka. This news is certainly not the most auspicious note on which to commence our New Year. The Indian Union Minister Radhakrishnan had said this week that the Centre was firm in its proposal to build a bridge across the Palk Strait, connecting Dhanushkodi, the eastern tip of Rameshwaram island and to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.

Talking to reporters in Tamil Nadu he had said that the project was in the preliminary stages but the Indian Government was firm in going ahead with it and realise the dream of Mahakavi Bharathi.
He has also said that the Sri Lankan Government was expected to give its nod for the project, we do hope that this is most definitely NOT TRUE for that would, without doubt, spell the end of our National Unity Government.

Radhakrishnan has further stated that once the project was executed, Danushkodi, which became a ghost town after the 1964 cyclonic storm, would flourish and the extension of a four-lane highway from Paramakkudi to Rameshwaram and later to Lanka, would be automatically implemented!

Continue reading ‘“Stop The Proposed Bridge Over Palk Strait Before It’s Too Late” – An Open Letter to the President, and the Prime Minister’ »

Legendary 93 Year old Hindi Film Actor Dilip Kumar Admitted to Mumbai Lilavati Hospital for respiratory Problems

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Veteran Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar, aged 93, has been admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai.

“Dilip Kumarji was admitted to Lilavati hospital at 2am on Saturday with respiratory problems. He’s not in ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” Dr Jalil Parkar of Lilavati hospital told ANI news agency.

“Doctors are keeping a close watch on Dilip Kumar,” he added. The actor’s family said there is no cause for alarm.

The legendary actor was born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) in pre-partition India as Mohammad Yusuf Khan but adopted the screen name of Dilip Kumar. Critics have acclaimed him as one of the greatest actors in the century-old history of the Hindi cinema.

Continue reading ‘Legendary 93 Year old Hindi Film Actor Dilip Kumar Admitted to Mumbai Lilavati Hospital for respiratory Problems’ »

India and Sri Lanka May Finalise Agreement to Build Bridge Linking Both Countries Discloses Indian Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari

India and Sri Lanka could soon finalise an agreement for building a bridge connecting both the countries, Indian union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.

“The project is under consideration, it is under discussion. But nothing has been finalised,” Mr Gadkari told journalists at the Foreign Correspondents Club in New Delhi.

He said discussions have been held on the issue with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.

The Sri Lankan side is also “interested” in the project, he said, adding that even the Asian Development Bank has made a recommendation to that effect.

Continue reading ‘India and Sri Lanka May Finalise Agreement to Build Bridge Linking Both Countries Discloses Indian Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari’ »

Rajapaksas Conspire To Create Split Between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

An unscheduled meeting that took place last week between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa managed to create ripples in political circles, especially among members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The Rajapaksas have now resorted to the latest conspiracy of trying to drive a wedge between the Prime Minister and President Maithripala Sirisena.

Divide and rule has been the policy of the Rajapaksas that was clearly witnessed during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first term in office. Rajapaksa ensured that divisions and political defections plagued the main political parties enabling him to create an environment where he could rule as he pleased with minimal opposition.

The Rajapaksa clan is once again trying to create a division and this time around, the targets are Wickremesinghe and Sirisena.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksas Conspire To Create Split Between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt in Practice Directly Contradicts Its Good Governance Rhetoric

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There is a view taken by some who are engaged in the process of constitutional reform that a new or radically revised constitutional document for Sri Lanka will be the proverbial panacea for many if not all the country’s ills.

This is however dangerously misleading. The question is simple. If provisions of the existing Constitution, (including amendments with their warts and all) are not adhered to properly, what possible faith can citizens have in a new document, the beautiful gloss of which will be limited to the paper that it is printed on?

Government doing itself a disservice

This question becomes relevant in light of practice by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition government which directly contradicts its good governance rhetoric. As pointed out in these column spaces on many occasions, the standard at which observance of the Rule of Law ought to be measured is most emphatically not by comparison to the Rajapaksa years.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt in Practice Directly Contradicts Its Good Governance Rhetoric’ »

Low and Middle Income Groups Will Be Hit Hard By Govt Decision to Increase Value Added Tax (VAT) To 15% From May 2nd

Low and middle income groups will be worst hit by the Government’s move to raise Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15 percent from May 2.

Set to rise are their telephone, water and electricity bills. This is on top of their having to pay more for consumer items, medical bills and even private education.

The budget 2016 had proposed a two-band VAT rate – 8 and 12.5 percent instead of a single rate of 11 percent. This was, however, not implemented. In March, the Cabinet of Ministers accepted a recommendation from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to raise it to 15 percent.

Continue reading ‘Low and Middle Income Groups Will Be Hit Hard By Govt Decision to Increase Value Added Tax (VAT) To 15% From May 2nd’ »

Preliminary Report of Moratuwa University Experts Finds Many Flaws in Arcelor Mittal 65,000 Housing Project For North

By Namini Wijedasa

The proposed steel houses for the war-affected have inadequate foundations, insufficient roof support, are at risk of corrosion, are poorly ventilated and have no hearth and chimney, Moratuwa Universtiy experts have found after a detailed technical study.

The controversial dwellings — erected by the Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal — also have poor or non-existent capacity for extension or repair, a much shorter life span than block wall houses, are unlikely to create a sense of ownership, unlikely to foster the local economy and generate employment and are at least double the cost of a block wall house, the experts have warned.

These conclusions were published in the preliminary report of Prof. Priyan Dias and Dr Rangika Halwatura (both engineers) and Architect Varuna de Silva. They spent two days in the Jaffna Peninsula comparing the model steel houses erected by ArcelorMittal with block wall houses of which more than 50,000 houses have been constructed over the past five years.

Continue reading ‘Preliminary Report of Moratuwa University Experts Finds Many Flaws in Arcelor Mittal 65,000 Housing Project For North’ »

Kitchen Blowtorch in Luggage of Sri Lankan Chefs Returning from Culinary Exhibition in Singapore Caused Security Scare For Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL 309

A kitchen blowtorch in the checked-in luggage of a team of Sri Lankan chefs returning after a culinary exhibition in Singapore led to the recall of a SriLankan Airline flight soon after it had taken off from the Changi International Airport on Thursday.

The drama unfolded when five Sri Lankan chefs were returning to Colombo after they participated in FoodAsia2016, an International Exhibition of Food and Drinks. They were initially detained for interrogation by the authorities there before the flight departed on the night of April 14.

However, shortly after takeoff, UL flight 309 was instructed to return to Changi Intentional Airport due to “security reasons”. Upon its return, the Singapore Police’s airport division had requested that all check-in luggage be subject to screening once more and also interviewed a few passengers, a statement from SriLankan Airlines said.

Continue reading ‘Kitchen Blowtorch in Luggage of Sri Lankan Chefs Returning from Culinary Exhibition in Singapore Caused Security Scare For Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL 309’ »

Pragmatic India Prepared to Compete With China Where It Must and Co-operate Where It Can

by C. Raja Mohan

As the Indian public discourse on China continues to oscillate between unmitigated romanticism and unreasonable hostility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has settled down to a pragmatic engagement with Beijing.

The NDA government’s three-way dialogue with the Chinese leadership next week, involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, is likely to reflect some of this new realism.

The UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh struggled to overcome many of the traditional weaknesses of India’s China policy — the temptation to mask real differences, hide deep resentments in soaring rhetoric on friendship, pretend great convergence on global issues, and resist the natural expansion of India’s economic cooperation with China.

Modi has begun to turn this policy on its head. Delhi now acknowledges the enduring contradictions between the interests of the two countries at the bilateral, regional and global level, seeks to manage those responsibly, refuses to limit its relationship with other countries by looking over its shoulder at Beijing, and rolls out the red carpet for Chinese capital.

Continue reading ‘Pragmatic India Prepared to Compete With China Where It Must and Co-operate Where It Can’ »

Will India Revive Relations With Rajapaksas to Teach Maithri – Ranil Govt a Lesson ?

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

India maintained strict silence on Ranil’s visit to China. Only India is aware of the secret behind that silence. Subsequent to Mahinda’s defeat, his brother former Defence Secretary Gotabaya said at a conference that Indian Defence Adviser Ajit Doval had told him to halt the Colombo Port City (Chinese) Project. Gotabaya said, his brother’s government got involved in problems with India because of the decision the government took not to halt this project. If Doval had told Gotabaya to halt the Colombo Port City Project then there is no reason for them not to tell the same thing to either Maithri or Ranil.

However, during his tour of India it was reported that India had given their approval for the project.
The maintenance contract for the roundabout close to the Colombo Port City Project at the Galle Face had been handed over to the Kingsbury Hotel located nearby during the period of the Rajapaksa Government.

Recently when the Kingsbury Hotel expressed their willingness to hand over the maintenance to another institution, the Indian Oil Company (IOC) expressed their desire to take over the contract of maintenance.

Continue reading ‘Will India Revive Relations With Rajapaksas to Teach Maithri – Ranil Govt a Lesson ?’ »

“Yahapalanaya” Govt of Maithri-Ranil in Stunning Policy Turnaround on Budget Provisions and China Relations.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

Sri Lanka entered the traditional New Year with the yahapalana government literally standing on its head. The present government described its first mini-budget in January last year as a Robin Hood budget where the rich were robbed to give concessions to the poor. Indeed there was no doubt that in the early days the government did both – robbing the rich as well as giving concessions to the poor. They introduced several one off taxes such as the ‘Super Gains Tax’ of 25% on all entities that had profits of over Rs. 2,000 million in the 2013 tax year, the one billion rupee levy on casinos, the one billion rupee levy on satellite TV operators having more than 50,000 subscribers, the Rs. 250 million levy on all mobile telephone operators, the special levy of Rs 250,000 on every bar and liquor sales outlet were among many such measures to ‘rob’ the rich.

This was followed by unprecedented concessions given to the poor. The salaries of public servants were increased by Rs. 10,000 per month – a feat that no previous government would have even dreamed of carrying out. They reduced fuel prices, the price of electricity and gas and at least for a while brought down the prices of several foodstuffs. Samurdhi welfare payments were increased. For several months, things went well, the rich were robbed and the poor were pampered but now the bubble has burst. The rich can no longer be robbed but the poor have to be pampered so the emphasis has now shifted from robbing the rich to pamper the poor to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Continue reading ‘“Yahapalanaya” Govt of Maithri-Ranil in Stunning Policy Turnaround on Budget Provisions and China Relations.’ »

Will India Not Go Ahead With Colombo Proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) as a “Warning” To Sri Lanka?

By

Gagani Weerakoon

The Yahapalana Government lead by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, seems to have taken a complete U-turn in its foreign policy adopted over a year ago, with the latter taking up his maiden visit to China last week to negotiate inking several strategic economic agreements.

Upon reaching China, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe received a right royal welcome by Chinese counterparts on Wednesday after which the two countries signed few strategically important agreements.

Sri Lankan delegation that arrived in China was warmly welcomed at the Beijing International Airport by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Kon Suang Yu of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Sri Lankan Ambassador in China Dr. Karunasena Kodithuwakku. Thereafter, they were carried in a special motorcade to the China World Hotel, where they stayed.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe during his tour conducted talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Chinese National People’s Congress Committee Yang Jan.

In what seemed to be an attempt to clear the air between the two countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke highly of the long-term friendship between the two countries, and their support to each other on issues of core interests and major concern.

Continue reading ‘Will India Not Go Ahead With Colombo Proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) as a “Warning” To Sri Lanka?’ »

Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL 309 Ordered to Return While in Mid- Air to Changi Airport by Singapore Authorities For Security reasons

SriLankan Airlines flight UL 309 was instructed to return to Changi International Airport by the Singapore authorities due to security reasons soon after it was airborne to Colombo on April 14.

The flight later arrived in Colombo at 0042 hrs on April 15, 2016 with a total delay of 3 hours.
Issuing a statement, the SriLankan said that “upon its return to Singapore, the airport division of the Singapore Police Force requested that all check-in luggage was screened once more and also interviewed a few passengers.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL 309 Ordered to Return While in Mid- Air to Changi Airport by Singapore Authorities For Security reasons’ »

Finance Ministry Announces 15 % Increase in Value Added Tax(VAT) from May 2nd 2016


The Value Added Tax (VAT) is to be increased to 15% with effect from May 02, 2016, the Finance Ministry announced.

Accordingly, VAT will also be imposed on supply of telecommunication services, import or supply of telecom equipment or machinery, high tech equipment including copper cables for telecom industry and supply of healthcare services.

Continue reading ‘Finance Ministry Announces 15 % Increase in Value Added Tax(VAT) from May 2nd 2016’ »

Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Consultant Vidya Amarapala Resigns Due To “Panama Papers” Exposure Controversy


Megapolis and Western Development Ministry today said though there was a concerted effort by certain interested parties to link Ministry Consultant Vidya Amarapala to the so-called black money scandal ‘Panama Papers’ he had never been involved in such illegal transactions and added, Mr. Amarapala had decided to resign from his post to facilitate any possible inquiry.

The attention of the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry has been drawn to the listing of the name of Ministry consultant Vidya Amarapala in the Panama Papers exposure.

Panama is considered a haven for high-end tax dodgers in the world.

The tax evaders and holders of slush fund accounts have used company ‘Mossack Fonseca’ as a front to stash away their ill-gotten lucre.

Continue reading ‘Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Consultant Vidya Amarapala Resigns Due To “Panama Papers” Exposure Controversy’ »

“Arcelor Mittal Given Tender Because Local Contractors or Investors Are Incapable of Undertaking Project to Build 65,000 Houses “Explains Cabinet Minister DM Swaminathan

The construction of 65,000 houses for conflict affected families in the North-East will begin in the next two months and the selection of beneficiaries is being carried out by District and Divisional Secretaries of the two provinces right now, a senior Cabinet Minister said.

Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M.Swaminathan speaking exclusively to Daily Mirror from India yesterday said there would be no calling of new tenders or revisit of the tender offered to Arcelor Mittal Construction in France or call tenders afresh as requested by the Joint Opposition.

Continue reading ‘“Arcelor Mittal Given Tender Because Local Contractors or Investors Are Incapable of Undertaking Project to Build 65,000 Houses “Explains Cabinet Minister DM Swaminathan’ »

Construction of China Funded Colombo Port City Project Likely to Commence in May 2016.

Work on the Colombo Port City Project will begin in May this year, State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Niroshan Perera said.

The Minister said that all agreements had been finalized. “Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who handles the subject of National Polices and Economic Affairs had finalized all agreements during his recent State visit to China and therefore it would be possible to begin the project in May this year.

Continue reading ‘Construction of China Funded Colombo Port City Project Likely to Commence in May 2016.’ »

The Difference Between Uncle” Juius Richard Jayewardene and “Nephew” Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Sp economic reality dawned and the UNP leadership had to eat humble fortune cookie. China is back in the game in a major way, which is a good thing because it partially and temporarily stabilizes the economic crisis while re-balancing the island’s recently lopsided external relations. Ironically, the restored Chinese footprint may eventually be larger than it was under the Rajapaksa administration.

The China re-set was inevitable, and only proves the crass unrealism of the Yahapalana ideologues who went on an anti-Beijing binge. The Rajapaksas have been proven right in their strategic assessment that Sri Lanka’s destiny lay in Asia, and that China was Sri Lanka’s most indispensable and valuable friend. But they were wrong in putting all their eggs in the Beijing basket in the postwar second term.

Instead of a policy of multi-polar balancing a Lakshman Kadirgamar (and of course SWRD and Sirimavo Bandaranaike), the UNP-led Government has adopted a policy of multiple and multiplying dependence, lurching drunkenly in one direction and another. With its chronic political dysfunctions and developmental disability, it will beg, borrow and steal, and is parcelling off and selling as much of the country to as many buyers as it can beckon. It is external players rather than the Sri Lankan people and state who will be the biggest shareholders of the country and controllers of its destiny.

Post-Beijing, the Government is likely to overcompensate other external players who scramble to offset the Chinese return. An ethnically bipolar Sri Lanka with (I) its strategic Northern and Eastern border zone constitutionally converted into a mini-Tamil Nadu — a self-governing federal enclave and penetrable state let and (II) the ‘Hanuman Bridge’ which establishes contiguity with Tamil Nadu and encourages and enables irredentism, are likely give-aways.

Continue reading ‘The Difference Between Uncle” Juius Richard Jayewardene and “Nephew” Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

If Dudley Senanayake Had Said “Yes” To Marriage Proposal, Sirima Ratwatte May Not Have Wedded SWRD Bandaranaike

By Charnika Imbulana

Today (13 April 2016) marks the 43rd death anniversary of Dudley Shelton Senanayake, the second Prime Minister of our country, then Ceylon.

On this date every year as a tribute to this gentleman politician, his life is reminisced. I have in these columns for many years on such occasion given details of many aspects of his life and times – some researched, some I have experienced myself, and others quoting first-hand accounts of what was related to me – all worthy of putting pen to paper all the same.

The current and future generations must surely know. Yes, there lived political leaders who are worthy of being spoken of in volumes. Yes there lived such politicians when politics was conducted in the way it should be. It was then more the norm than the exception, although today it is the contrary.

When Dudley Senanayake departed unexpectedly from this world, he was not the Premier, nor a leader of the Opposition but yet an unprecedented crowd, estimated at well over one million, thronged to Colombo for his funeral in 1973. An aerial snapshot taken by Daily Newspapers of Independence Square at the time of Dudley’s cremation shows a sea of heads as far as the eye can see – this itself was testimony to how he was regarded by the nation.

Born on 19 June 1911 to Molly Dunuwila and Don Stephen Senanayake, Dudley was the eldest of their children, two sons and a daughter. Dudley was identified as the mischievous one. Both Dudley and his brother, Robert received their secondary education at the prestigious S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia where their illustrious father D.S. Senanayake (the first Premier of Ceylon) also studied from 1892 to 1902. Dudley excelled in his studies and sports.

Continue reading ‘If Dudley Senanayake Had Said “Yes” To Marriage Proposal, Sirima Ratwatte May Not Have Wedded SWRD Bandaranaike’ »

The story of a weeping island… Sri Lanka’s lamentable limp towards progress


By Vishwamithra1984

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
~George Bernard Shaw

The roads look narrower than they really are. It’s the optics. Not that they have shrunk in their measure; the traffic has increased to such a choking level, once broad-looking motorways can no longer accommodate the daily-increasing numbers of vehicles, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers are all competing for the same narrow space. Honking kills you and the congestion chokes every breathing person in or on these moving wheels; humanity’s busy schedules keep getting busier and the roadways resemble more like parking lots. The effects of the free-market economy are taking their toll.

When one adds the expansion of the human population into the mix, the choking process assumes its own destructive dimensions. Nobel laureate Pearl S Buck said “when man demands no more the earth too shall die”. Of course, Buck expressed this in the context of the suffocating effects the Chinese policies had, both on the economy and society, at the time. Nevertheless, the latter part of the Twentieth Century and the last one and half decades of this Century in Sri Lanka have proven beyond doubt that an unregulated market place, if left alone to the vultures of the capitalist class of businessmen, would be disastrous to a country as well to its majority of citizens.

What was ushered in 1977 by the J R Jayewardene Government was a brutal necessity. The ’70 to ’77 Government of Sirimao Bandaranaike along with the left parties ran the Sri Lankan economy to the ground. Instead of expanding the size of the economic ‘cake’ so that more pieces could be cut, the leftist polices of the ’70 to ’77 Government virtually shrank the economy and started cutting smaller pieces. Populist economic policies carried the day during the 1970 election campaign (rice from the Moon proclamation by Mrs. Bandaranaike etc.); once in power, the obsolete Marxist economic policies and doctrinaire approach to the country’s burning issues overtook any rational and realistic adoption of policies and principles. The great experimentations of the ‘Double Doctor’ aka N M Perera failed miserably.

Continue reading ‘The story of a weeping island… Sri Lanka’s lamentable limp towards progress’ »

Muted Role Of Main Opposition TNA Deprives Itself From Integrating With National Level Politics


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

It has been a long time since we last heard from the Opposition, I mean the TNA-led main Opposition. Even when there are occasional isolated voices, such as by the National List MP M.A. Sumanthiran, they too appear to be too little, too late.

Last time the Opposition Leader Rasavarodhayam Sampanthan spoke out was several months back, about the release of Tamil inmates incarcerated under terrorism related charges, that too was after a hunger strike launched by the prisoners.

Recently, MP Sumanthiran raised concerns over the tender procedure adopted for the construction of 65,000 houses for the war-affected families in the North-East. His remarks (though belated) follow similar concerns raised by the local construction industry, civil society and even the Northern Chief Minister C. Wigneswaran.

They all noted the lopsided tender procedures, which have favoured the Indian multinational Arcelor Mittal at the expense of local construction companies, concerns over inflated prices of the housing units and the absence of secondary benefits to the local communities. MP Sumanthiran has echoed those concerns.

But, it is rather unusual for the TNA to take so long to raise a matter which has acute implications for its constituency in the North.

Continue reading ‘Muted Role Of Main Opposition TNA Deprives Itself From Integrating With National Level Politics’ »

If Corrective Action Is Not Taken To Change Worrisome Trajectory Of This Govt a Rajapaksa-Return May Occur

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

From a strategic point of view, it was a great sleight of hand for this Government to have successfully ‘packaged’ the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as a notable constitutional gain for Sri Lanka, despite its many problematic provisions.

Some of these seemingly progressive but actually deadening provisions include bringing back the 17th Amendment’s Constitutional Council (CC) but without its majority of independent members. The failure of the current politically constituted CC to announce transparent procedures regarding the nomination of persons to constitutional commissions and key posts is a case in point. The 19th Amendment’s inclusion of a retarded Right to Information clause which is directly at odds with the Right to Information Bill is another illustration.

Frolicsome antics of the animal kind

Also unacceptable is a crafty constitutional allowance permitting a bloated number of ministers under the euphemism of a ‘national government.’ Lest we forget, this was exactly the criticism that was leveled against the Rajapaksa regime, without the convenient cover of a ‘national government’ at the time.

Continue reading ‘If Corrective Action Is Not Taken To Change Worrisome Trajectory Of This Govt a Rajapaksa-Return May Occur’ »

Evolving Sri Lanka Foreign Policy Recognizes Country Cannot Ignore or Trifle With Dominant China Even At Risk of Antagonizing India

By

Don Manu

There is no such thing as a free Chinese takeaway; and, if the visiting Lankan high powered delegation led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe fancied otherwise, the Chinese hosts made pretty certain the guests got the message crystal clear when the fortune cookie, opened after the diplomatic feast of niceties was over, revealed the thumping bill of fare.

In a special report published in China’s state owned Global Times on Thursday, the article warned that Pakistan could no longer provide China a strong foothold due to its “calamitous state” of security and ominously stated that, as a result, Lanka was of great strategic importance to China.

“Currently, the China-funded constructions in Pakistan cannot serve as a strong foothold for China, given the calamitous state of Pakistan’s security. Sri Lanka can be of great importance for China in the security strategic layout in the Indian Ocean. It will not only provide security assurances for nearby navigation channels, but will also promote the 21st Maritime Silk Road,” the Globe Times stated on the day the Lankan Prime Minister was to kick of his begging mission in Beijing where he was expected to ask the Chinese government to waive off certain loans and restructure some of the $8 billion Chinese debt.

Continue reading ‘Evolving Sri Lanka Foreign Policy Recognizes Country Cannot Ignore or Trifle With Dominant China Even At Risk of Antagonizing India’ »

Move to Give President Sirisena’s Brother and SL Telecom Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena a 725,000 Rupee Housing Allowance Challenged by Minister Harin Fernando


A decision reportedly taken by the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) board to approve a huge monthly housing allowance of Rs. 725,000 for its Chairman P.G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena has been challenged by Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando.

The minister told the Sunday Times yesterday that he had told the Prime Minister that the figure approved for the housing allowance was too high and a review was needed.

“I am responsible to Parliament as the SLT comes under the purview of my ministry. I cannot change a decision taken by the board as its chairman has been appointed by the President,” he said.

Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena is the brother of the President.

Continue reading ‘Move to Give President Sirisena’s Brother and SL Telecom Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena a 725,000 Rupee Housing Allowance Challenged by Minister Harin Fernando’ »

Will Sri Lanka Become a Puppet Regime of the US Like Philippines And Many Others?


By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The red-carpet welcome accorded to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Beijing on his just-concluded official visit, and the understandings reached, send a reassuring signal that China continues to be an all-weather friend to Sri Lanka.

This is in spite of the uncertainties that characterized the relationship during the 2015 presidential election campaign when the yahapalana camp engaged in anti-China rhetoric and Chinese-funded projects came in for some flak.

Alongside reports of renewed goodwill, what do we make of the Prime Minister’s remarks at a naval officers commissioning ceremony in Trincomalee days before his departure to Beijing? In this speech he calls on the SL Navy to ready themselves to ‘protect international trade routes from the Maldives to the Straits of Malacca’ – clearly aligning himself with US strategic interests in the region.

The position he articulated here cannot be viewed as being politically neutral. The US’s policy of re-balancing its forces (‘Pivot to Asia’) involves a shift of the US’s strategic focus in order to contain the rise of China. During his visit to Colombo in May last year US Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that “the United States is already providing leadership on maritime security in the Indian Ocean in association with close friends and allies across the region.” And the UNP-led government is eager to fall in step, it appears. Given the huge disparity in power between the two navies it’s obvious who would be calling the shots in any envisaged cooperation.

Continue reading ‘Will Sri Lanka Become a Puppet Regime of the US Like Philippines And Many Others?’ »

Is Fourth Coming of Mahinda An Effort to Save His Country Or His Degenerate Family From The Laws Of The Land?


By

Gomin Dayasri

Look around and pick a leader capable of pulling the country fallen into an awful rot; landingin the bin is a responsibility shared. To reach a level of sensibility is the initial task-not to touch greatness, bespoken on political platforms. It discounts politicians that enjoyed/s power – in past and present tense. Virtually impossible based on their past performances. Don’t be nihilistic-think differently. Make an effort to retract the slide downhill, before climbing an anthill. Hit ground level and take stock of the findings on soil. Descend from dizzy heights to unaccustomed reality, difficult for an over inflated nation after defeating terrorism.

The ‘glory men’ are at the cleaners.

All is not lost. There are a few in every political party, hibernating in a year around winter unwanted by the leadership; making it near impossible to find a footrest to touch rank.

They speak their minds unguardedly to the leaders. When desperation strikes, they are the coming men.

Wait in hope for that day, Sri Lanka is not a losers’ paradise.

Continue reading ‘Is Fourth Coming of Mahinda An Effort to Save His Country Or His Degenerate Family From The Laws Of The Land?’ »

“Colombo Port City And Megapolis Projects Are Opportunities For Everyone To Make Money” – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said his government has addressed India’s security concerns over the newly-modified US$ 1.5 billion Colombo Port City project.

Addressing a press conference in Beijing before wrapping up his four-day visit to China, the Prime Minister ruled out chances of an India-China clash to gain control of the Indian Ocean.

“There is no question of a security problem. The Indian security issues have been addressed by us. There will be further discussions with India,” PTI quoted Wickremesinghe as saying.

Responding to media queries about US$ 8 billion Chinese investments including the Port City project made during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime, which sparked off security concerns in India, the Premier said Sri Lanka has discussed the concerns with India and was prepared to discuss further.”Port city and Megapolis is not a threat to anyone. It’s an opportunity for everyone to make money,” he said.

Continue reading ‘“Colombo Port City And Megapolis Projects Are Opportunities For Everyone To Make Money” – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Colombo Wants Beijing to Invest $ 8 Billion Owed By Sri Lanka To China for Equity In Infrastructure Projects


Sri Lanka has asked China to swap some of the $8 billion it owes Beijing for equity in infrastructure projects and offered to sell stakes in its companies to Chinese ones, Colombo officials said on Saturday.

The ouster of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who steered Sri Lanka toward China until his 2015 election defeat, was a setback for relations as his successor has reviewed projects to check if they were fair and legal.

Now President Maithripala Sirisena’s government, faced with falling foreign reserves, a balance of payments crunch and few, if any, alternative investors, is heading back into China’s embrace, albeit asking for better terms.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Wants Beijing to Invest $ 8 Billion Owed By Sri Lanka To China for Equity In Infrastructure Projects’ »

Krishantha Prasad Cooray Assumes Duties As New Chairman Of Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc,- The Owning Company Of Hilton Colombo.

Krishantha Prasad Cooray has finally assumed duties as the new Chairman of Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc, the owning company of Hilton Colombo.

Cooray is a private sector executive counting years of experience in the corporate sector and an academic background in Political Science and Law. He also serves on the Board of DFCC Bank.

His appointment to Hilton Colombo’s owning company was announced late last year but subsequent events forced a delay in him assuming duties.

Apart from Cooray, several others have been appointed to the Hotel Developers new Board along with a few re-appointments from the previous Board, which was constituted by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake when Hotel Developers came under Finance Ministry during the interim Government’s cabinet.

Continue reading ‘Krishantha Prasad Cooray Assumes Duties As New Chairman Of Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc,- The Owning Company Of Hilton Colombo.’ »

Cabinet Minister D.M.Swaminathan Answers Doubts Raised In Interview About Arcelor Mittal Northern Construction Project for 65,000 Houses.

Cabinet Minister D.M.Swaminathan

Cabinet Minister D.M.Swaminathan

By

Zahra Imtiaz


Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs Minister, D. M. Swaminathan who is currently at the centre of the controversy surrounding the 65,000 housing project insists that the hype is more to do with the politics of the North rather than a lack of transparency in its tender procedure.

Excerpts:

Q. What is the current status of the housing project in Jaffna?

A. It was taken up in the cabinet meeting this week and a special committee comprising of the President, the Prime Minister and myself was appointed to review issues of land in the project. There has been no stoppage in the project. Only a land issue.

Q. It was reported that a special committee headed by the President and the Prime Minister were reviewing the project? And that they were to reconsider who they would award the project to?

A. No. The President said that there was no problem with the construction, only an issue with land.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Minister D.M.Swaminathan Answers Doubts Raised In Interview About Arcelor Mittal Northern Construction Project for 65,000 Houses.’ »

“Current Predicament Due to Bad Economic Policies Of Successive Govts” Says Economist Dr. Arusha Cooray

Dr Arusha Cooray

Dr Arusha Cooray


“Mirror Business” conducted an email interview with Dr. Arusha Cooray, the Lankan born Professor of Economics at the Nottingham University Business School (Malaysia), over the current economic situation of Sri Lanka. Dr. Cooray’s work is widely published and she is one of the leading academics in the field of economics Sri Lanka has produced.

Sri Lanka’s economy is currently undergoing extremely testing times amid depleting foreign reserves, an unsustainable debt pile and a looming balance of payment (BoP) crunch. The bad economic policies of successive governments are at fault for the current predicament the country is in, but the present global economic developments also haven’t been in favour of the US $ 82 billion economy.

Following are the excerpts of the interview.

Q:
What is your opinion of the current status of the Sri Lankan economy?

Continue reading ‘“Current Predicament Due to Bad Economic Policies Of Successive Govts” Says Economist Dr. Arusha Cooray’ »

Successful Outcome of Ranil’s China Visit is a Big Blow to Indian Foreign Policy Machinations in Sri Lanka.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The fact that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe went to China at all reveals many things. Many believe that the Indian intelligence outfit RAW played a major role in bringing the present government into power by organizing the minorities. However it appears that the Indians don’t have as strong a hold on their supposed protégé’s as first thought.

The halting of the Chinese Port City project was a constant and plainly stated Indian demand when the Rajapaksa government was in power. Now the present government too has given the Chinese the go ahead to build the Port City and are trying to negotiate further Chinese involvement in Hambantota.

The Chinese may now in fact be better off than they were before, because earlier it was one political party seeking Chinese involvement in Sri Lanka – now both the main political parties are seeking Chinese involvement in Sri Lanka. Earlier the Indians had at least one major political party that would toe its line against the Chinese; now it has none.

One reason the government is keen to sign at least an ETCA framework agreement with India would be to placate the obviously furious Indians. As far as Indian foreign policy goes this is yet another fiasco like the involvement of the IPKF in the north and east in the late 1980s. The Indians tried to impose their will on Sri Lanka by sending troops to this country and at the hands of the LTTE, they faced more casualties than they had ever sustained even in the wars with China and Pakistan.

They had to leave SL with their tails between their legs and to make matters worse, for two decades the Indian central government never dared commemorate the Indian soldiers who had died in Sri Lanka for fear of rubbing Tamil Nadu on the wrong side. What has now happened to the Indians is even worse. The very government that they helped bring into power is opening the doors for China to come in. This is truly the land of Ravana as far as the Indians are concerned. Whatever they touch in this country blows up in their faces.

Continue reading ‘Successful Outcome of Ranil’s China Visit is a Big Blow to Indian Foreign Policy Machinations in Sri Lanka.’ »

The Right To Care And The Responsibility To Protect Belong To All Sri Lankans Irrespective Of Ethnicity Or Religion.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.”
Fredrick Douglassi

The Panama Papers reveal a truth which is timeless and universal. Power and corruption are conjoined twins. The 148 politicians implicated so far, by the 11.5 million files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, span every divide, starting with race, religion and ideological persuasion. They have one common denominator – the possession of power; and a willingness to use that power to their own financial advantage.

The Panama Papers is a reminder that no country, no political class is immune to corruption. But in a functioning democracy there is a slight chance of achieving a degree of accountability, however minute or ephemeral; in a non-democracy no such possibility exists.

The Icelandic Prime Minister didn’t admit to any wrongdoing, didn’t want to resign. But he was forced to ‘step down’ due to an outburst of popular anger. No such fate is likely to befall Russian President Vladimir Putin, implicated in the scandal through close associates. Mr. Putin’s spokesman condemned the Panama Papers as a conspiracy, hatched to destabilise Mr. Putin before the upcoming election.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is in hot water, trying desperately to answer questions about his father’s offshore fund and persistent tax avoidance. Families of several top Chinese politicians, including the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping, are implicated in the scandal. Beijing’s reaction was to dismiss the leaks as ‘groundless’ and ensure that Chinese citizens cannot search the internet for information about their leaders’ kleptocratic practisesii.

Pakistani President has promised an independent investigation about the offshore accounts of his children. The Saudis and the Emirates haven’t turned a hair, even though the Saudi king is among those implicated in the scandal.

(Amongst those mentioned in the Panama Papers are three Lankan clients, though their names are yet to come to light.)

Continue reading ‘The Right To Care And The Responsibility To Protect Belong To All Sri Lankans Irrespective Of Ethnicity Or Religion.’ »

Indian Security Concerns Have Been Addressed Over Chinese Investments in Sri Lanka Says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in Beijing

BEIJING: Ruling out chances of India-China clash to gain control of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said his government has addressed New Delhi’s security concerns over the newly- modified USD 1.5 billion Colombo Port City project.

“There is no question of security problem. The Indian security issues have been addressed by us. There will be further discussions with India” on this, Wickremesinghe told the media here wrapping up his four day-visit during which he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

“We have discussed with India also. We are prepared to discuss it further,” he said answering a volley of questions about USD eight billion Chinese investments including the Port City project made during former Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime, which sparked off security concerns in India.

Continue reading ‘Indian Security Concerns Have Been Addressed Over Chinese Investments in Sri Lanka Says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in Beijing’ »

Many Prominent Sri Lankans “Near and Dear” to Past and Present Political Leaders Named in “Panama Papers” but no Politician Directly Involved.

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Contrary to speculation Sri Lankan politicians are not among those named in Panama Papers (a vast collection of documents pertaining to massive secret investments in far-flung tax havens).

However, among those Sri Lankans who had been named in the Panama Papers are in a range of lucrative sectors mainly among captains of private industries including leisure, tourism promotion, travel industry, health care, capital market promotion, power generation for the state sector, state procurement, and major automobile importer and at least one former head of cash-strapped state enterprise.

Informed sources identified some of those named as near and dear to politicians, both past and present.

Continue reading ‘Many Prominent Sri Lankans “Near and Dear” to Past and Present Political Leaders Named in “Panama Papers” but no Politician Directly Involved.’ »

Sri Lanka Signs Comprehensive Implementation of Investment, Economic and Technological Agreement (CIIETA) With China During Prime Minister Ranil’s Tour


Chinese President Xi Jingping yesterday commended the decision by the Sri Lankan Government to restart the port city project and pledged to encourage financing and investment of future projects as well as appointing a three member committee to oversee future ventures.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met with Xi during a State ceremony presided over by the Chinese President on Friday where the two had discussions on future engagement between the two countries. Xi also commended efforts by the Sri Lankan Government to convert the $1.4 billion port city project into a larger financial hub as outlined by the Budget last year, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“The Chinese president also praised Sri Lankan efforts to establish a free trade zone for Chinese companies in Hambantota and agreed to encourage Chinese companies to start projects in Sri Lanka. President Xi also predicted that such a move would result in significant technology transfer and economic development for Sri Lanka,” the statement said.

President Xi Jinping also said China only considers policies and people of Sri Lanka when supporting and not the individuals or political parties.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Signs Comprehensive Implementation of Investment, Economic and Technological Agreement (CIIETA) With China During Prime Minister Ranil’s Tour’ »

President Sirisena Reverses Earlier Order to Remove 103 Army Personnel From Personal Security Assigned to Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa

by Anura Balasuriya

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that President Maithripala Sirisena had ordered the Defence Ministry to reverse its decision to withdraw half of the soldiers in the former’s security contingent following objections raised in parliament by two UPFA MPs.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Reverses Earlier Order to Remove 103 Army Personnel From Personal Security Assigned to Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

“Maestro” Lester James Peries: Doyen Among Sinhala Film Directors .

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“If we adopt the Auteur theory to look at the body of work of Lester what stands out is his humanism, we are here concerned mostly about humanism as it developed in western society after the Renaissance and became a strong influence on Lester James Peries” – Dr.Sarath Amunugama (2012 Lester James Peries Oration)

Lester James Peries

Lester James Peries

“Maestro” Lester James Peries will celebrate his 97th birthday next Tuesday. The master movie maker of Sinhala Cinema was born on April 5th 1919. Lester James Peries is the man whom I regard as the greatest Sri Lankan film maker of them all!

This article is a birthday tribute to the nonagenarian Lester now basking in the serene, golden twilight of his illustrious life. I have already written many articles about the man and his movies in the past.Still, one does not tire of writing about a favourite subject again and again. Besides it always feels good when writing about the film director who drew the “rekava”for Sinhala cinema’s destiny and is its most treasured ”nidhanaya”.

In a fim making career spanning more than five decades Lester James Peries has made 20 feature films inclusive of “Pinhamy” in 1980. The first of his feature films was the path –breaking “Rekava” or line of destiny in 1956. His final feature was “Amma Waruney” or an Elegy to a mother released in 2006. Lester James Peries has also made eleven short films most of them in documentary mode. The first of these short films was “Soliloquy” made in 1949 and the last “Kandy Perahera” filmed in 1973.

The greatness of Lester James Peries however cannot be measured by the quantity of his output. It is the qualitative nature of his films that elevated him to commendable heights. Lester James Peries is acknowledgedly the pioneer of authentic Sinhala cinema. It was he who created in every sense of the term an indigenous cinema in both substance and style. It was also Lester who first gained worldwide recognition for Sinhala cinema.Lester James Peries became a national icon identified with the sphere of Sri Lankan cinema over the years.
Continue reading ‘“Maestro” Lester James Peries: Doyen Among Sinhala Film Directors .’ »

Sri Lanka Launches “Seychelles Connection Probe” Into Offshore Financial Dealings of Certain Politicians and Companies

By Zacki Jabbar

With the so-called Panama Papers taking the world by storm, the government said yesterday that it was examining the dealings of some Sri Lankan politicians and companies with offshore financial dealings.

Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development Eran Wickremeratne told the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, that investigations had led them to Seychelles, where 14,000 shell companies had been incorporated but only 204 real owners had been identified.

A Sri Lankan bank had opened a branch in Seychelles and air links had also commenced during the last Rajapaksa government, he noted.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Launches “Seychelles Connection Probe” Into Offshore Financial Dealings of Certain Politicians and Companies’ »

Current 92 Member “Yahapalanaya” Govt has 47 Cabinet Ministers,20 State Ministers and 25 Deputy Ministers

By Saman Indrajith

Government yesterday told Parliament that it had 92 cabinet, state and deputy ministers and invited more and more Opposition MPs to join as what was in power was a national government.

Chief Government Whip and Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunatillake said the government had 47 Cabinet ministers including President Maithripala Sirisena, 20 State Ministers and 25 Deputy Ministers.

Continue reading ‘Current 92 Member “Yahapalanaya” Govt has 47 Cabinet Ministers,20 State Ministers and 25 Deputy Ministers’ »

Parliament Told that 7 Army and 3 Navy Personnel in Custody Under PTA;4 Other Soldiers and 4 Policemen also Detained Under Different Laws

Seven army personnel and three naval ratings had been taken into custody under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act since Janauary 14, this year, parliament was told yesterday.

A document tabled by Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake said that four other army personnel and four police personnel, too, have been taken into custody since Jan 14 under the provisions of other laws.

Continue reading ‘Parliament Told that 7 Army and 3 Navy Personnel in Custody Under PTA;4 Other Soldiers and 4 Policemen also Detained Under Different Laws’ »

Sri Lanka Adopts Pragmatic Approach In Attempt to Strike a Balance Between China and India

By

T.Ramakrishnan

A year ago, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had just returned to power after a gap of over 10 years, chose Guruvayur, a temple town in Kerala, to make a pertinent observation on his country’s ties with two big neighbours: “Sri Lanka is neither pro-India nor pro-China,” he said. His comments came at a time there were concerns in India about China’s rising involvement in Sri Lanka.

It was during the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa that Chinese presence in Sri Lanka became more perceptible through its involvement in big-ticket infrastructure projects such as the $1.4-billion Colombo Port City Project.

Even though, in the run-up to the January 2015 presidential election, Mr. Wickremesinghe had campaigned against the project, the new government took a more pragmatic approach.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Adopts Pragmatic Approach In Attempt to Strike a Balance Between China and India’ »

Royal- Thomian, World Cup And The Power of Cricket To Unify Divided Communities of South Asia

By

Marwaan Macan-Markar

On a Saturday in March, as Colombo sizzled under a fierce sun, Sri Lanka’s 66-year-old Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe took a break from politics to return to the world of his youth.

The occasion was a cricket match between his high school, Royal College, and crosstown rival S. Thomas’.

The match has been played for 137 straight years, a record in cricketing annals.

To the uninitiated, the premier’s presence — complete with a canary yellow shirt, the color of his alma mater — might have looked like an embarrassing attempt to cling to adolescence. But appearances can be deceptive, perhaps never more so than with oddities such as this Sri Lankan event centered on an English sport introduced, like the schools themselves, during the island’s years of British colonization.

The prime minister was simply following the tradition that the country’s political leaders attend the annual match if they hail from either school.

Continue reading ‘Royal- Thomian, World Cup And The Power of Cricket To Unify Divided Communities of South Asia’ »

TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran Seeks Answers From UNP Cabinet Minister DM SWaminathan About How Arcelor Mittal Got Project to Build 65,000 Houses


Tamil National Alliance Jaffna District MP and Lawyer M. A. Sumanthiran has sought more information from the Minister of Prison reforms,Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu religious affairs minister D.M. Swaminathan on the proposed project of building 65,000 houses for the conflict affected people of the Northern and Eastern provinces.

D.M. Swaminathan & M.A. Sumanthiran

D.M. Swaminathan & M.A. Sumanthiran

The Jaffna district parliamentarian has In a letter written to the minister stated that “While acknowledging the dire need for housing in the North and appreciating the willingness of the Government to heed to it” he considers “it important that such construction process is undertaken in a transparent manner with the present and future wellbeing of the conflict-affected families in mind” and so requires the pertinent information.

Sumanthiran MP has compiled a set of questions in his letter dated April 7th 2016 and requests answers from Minister Swaminathan within two weeks on or before April 21st 2016

The full text of the letter is as follows –
Continue reading ‘TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran Seeks Answers From UNP Cabinet Minister DM SWaminathan About How Arcelor Mittal Got Project to Build 65,000 Houses’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Meets Prime Minister and Asks Ranil not to Withdraw Army Commandos Assigned for his Protection

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Claiming continuing LTTE threats to his life, former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa has appealed to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to rescind a government decision to withdraw a contingent of army commandos assigned for his security.

Former President met Premier Wickremesinghe at the latter’s office in parliament on Tuesday (April 5).

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP yesterday explained the circumstances under which the former President had made representations to Premier Wickremesinghe as regards the threats faced by him.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Meets Prime Minister and Asks Ranil not to Withdraw Army Commandos Assigned for his Protection’ »

Proposal to Increase Allowances for Parliamentarians to go Ahead Despite Public Outcry Against Move

by Saman Indrajith

Party leaders have decided to grant increased allowances to MPs following representations made by several Tamil party leaders.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has told the party leaders that the plan to grant increased allowances for MPs could be approved if party leaders backed the move.

TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran said at the meeting that it was unreasonable to have withdrawn the proposal for enhancing allowances and facilities for MPs, especially for those who were elected from districts far away from Colombo and they had found it very difficult to attend parliamentary sittings and committee meetings in Parliament due to high expenses involved in travelling and living in Colombo.

Leader of the House and University Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella, Mano Ganesan and Douglas Devananda spoke in support of MP Sumanthiran’s view, according to sources.

Continue reading ‘Proposal to Increase Allowances for Parliamentarians to go Ahead Despite Public Outcry Against Move’ »

Govt Suspends Project to Build 65,000 Houses for Northern IDP’s Pending Special Committee Review Headed by President and Prime Minister

In an unexpected turn of events, the Sri Lankan government has now decided to temporarily suspend the project to construct 65000 houses for IDPs in the Northern province.

Before making the sudden decision on Wednesday morning, the government almost finalized an agreement with Arcelormittal – an Indian steel giant owned by businessman Lakshmi Mittal – with regard to the construction of houses.

However, highly placed government sources said a special committee, headed by the President and the Prime Minister, would review the project.

Continue reading ‘Govt Suspends Project to Build 65,000 Houses for Northern IDP’s Pending Special Committee Review Headed by President and Prime Minister’ »

Tragic Tale of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna

By

Vishwamithra 1984

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”-Confucius

April 5 marks the 45th Anniversary of the famous 1971 insurrection. It claimed many thousands of lives; destroyed an untold number of families, small businesses and aspirations of a whole generation. It was led by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). JVP has a storied history. Ever since its beginnings in the late Nineteen Sixties, first as a revolutionary movement and then as a recognised political party, it has been amongst the leaders in the following five categories:

* A Marxist-Socialist political entity with no tolerance for the capitalist system

* Draws its mainstay from the youth of the country

* An ostensible appeal to the downtrodden classes and castes in Sri Lanka

* Sustaining an aura of authenticity and sincerity in commitment to the cause

* Led by a demagoguery populist leader .

It is not the intention of the writer to pen a historical narrative of the development of the JVP. Many books and essays have been written and orations delivered by many pundits and luminaries on the saga of a movement that progressed from a ‘cellish’ political organisation into a full-blown party.

It was instrumental in not only triggering two violent uprisings on two different occasions, but lending leadership and then spearheading both revolts. Those two revolts led to the death and destruction of many Sri Lankan youth, families and properties. All hallmarks of an unorganised uprising, an insurrection whose fundamentals were at best, childishly clumsy and organisationally juvenile and at worst, brutally phoney and blatantly insincere. The youth of any country, the late Tyrone Fernando, a former Minister described as far back as 1975, as the ‘barometer of change’.

Continue reading ‘Tragic Tale of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’ »

A President More Concerned with Party Leadership, A Prime Minister Fire-Fighting on Many Fronts and Ministers In Between.


By

Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

It has been some years since I wrote a column for a mainstream newspaper. Looking back on it, I gave up writing for a combination of reasons, which oscillated from being bored and tired of saying the same thing to focusing on more practical action to effect change.

The change happened in that in those two decisive national elections of 2015, we came out of the darkness of impunity, profligacy and loot to a new dawn of hope and expectation that we could function yet again, at least, as a formal democracy, albeit flawed and not the populist majoritarian autocracy the previous regime had cowed most of us into.

It is now some fifteen months since that dawn. The mist has yet to clear and clear it must to reveal the broad sunlit uplands of the promised and expected governance, reconciliation and unity.

The Yahapalanaya coalition government is having more than a bad press; it is in danger of being handed an unpromising prognosis in public perception and this far, far too early in the day. The indictments of Rajapaksa apparatchiks and residual hangers — on notwithstanding, what the current dispensation needs to be concerned about is the perception amongst others that they cannot cope, coordinate, make policy with a reasonable shelf life and sing from the same hymn sheet.

A lack of focus seems to be a popular verdict — a President more concerned about the leadership of his party, a Prime Minister who seems to be fire-fighting on a number of fronts and with ministers in between of varying degrees of competence and a loquacity approaching the biblical Tower of Babel.

Continue reading ‘A President More Concerned with Party Leadership, A Prime Minister Fire-Fighting on Many Fronts and Ministers In Between.’ »

Committee of 21 Parliamentarians with Ranil Wickremesinghe as Chairperson Appointed To Steer Constitutional Assembly.

By

Saman Indrajith

The Constitutional Assembly, which met for the first time yesterday, appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe unanimously for the post of Chairman of the Steering Committee vested with the task of preparing a new Constitution for the country.

When it met with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya presiding, Chief Government Whip and Parliament Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka proposed the name of Premier Wickremeisnghe to the post of Chairman of Steering Committee of the Assembly and the names of 20 other MPs as members of the committee.

Gampaha District UPFA parliamentarian Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle seconded the proposal by Minister Karunathilaka.

Continue reading ‘Committee of 21 Parliamentarians with Ranil Wickremesinghe as Chairperson Appointed To Steer Constitutional Assembly.’ »

Sri Lankan Govt to Go Ahead With Project of Building 65,000 Houses For Displaced in North and East Despite Efforts to Obstruct It.

By

T. RAMAKRISHNAN

Dismissing objections to the project of building 65,000 houses in the civil war-hit Northern and Eastern Provinces, the Sri Lankan government has decided to go ahead.

In an interview with The Hindu at his office on Monday evening, Minister in charge of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Prison Reforms D.M. Swaminathan said the project would take off “in a couple of months.”

At present, the process of receiving feedback on the project was under way and this would go on for a few more days. Two model houses had been put up in Jaffna.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt to Go Ahead With Project of Building 65,000 Houses For Displaced in North and East Despite Efforts to Obstruct It.’ »

Ranil’s China Visit Aims at Reviving China Funded Megaprojects Under Rajapaksa regime and Promote Direct Chines Investment Instead of Aid

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s three-day visit to China beginning on Wednesday, is aimed at putting Lanka on a new economic trajectory with new systems in place to revive the ailing mega projects of the Rajapaksa era and to make the proposed US$ 1.4 billion Colombo Port City an international business hub with its own financial and other laws.

The difference between the Rajapaksa regime and the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is that while the former simply got the Chinese to put up infrastructural facilities with money loaned by them, without a thought for their economic viability, the present government wants China to ‘invest’ there to make them money spinners for Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Ranil’s China Visit Aims at Reviving China Funded Megaprojects Under Rajapaksa regime and Promote Direct Chines Investment Instead of Aid’ »

India Gifts 150 Boats and Fishing Equipment Worth 100 Million Sri Lankan Rupes to aid 300 Fishermen in Mullaitheevu District

By

T. RAMAKRISHNAN

Three hundred fishermen of Mullativu, one of the most backward districts in Sri Lanka and where the civil war came to an end in a brutal way, will get 150 boats and fishing equipment.

The boats and the equipment will be “gifts” of the Indian government, which will spend SLR 100 million.

Continue reading ‘India Gifts 150 Boats and Fishing Equipment Worth 100 Million Sri Lankan Rupes to aid 300 Fishermen in Mullaitheevu District’ »

“Diesel Mafia” Racketeers Within Electricity Board Responsible For Power Outage Crisis Alleges Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka

By

Priyantha Kodippili


During an interview with the Minister of Megapolis and Western Province Patalie Champika Ranawaka on the issues that surfaced with the power outages that affected the entire country, he categorically stated that this was the work of a Mafia within the CEB.

Q.
You were once the Minister of Power. What was this issue connected with the power supply?

I wish to state frankly that in Sri Lanka there was no power issue that occurred due to an unavoidable situation. As a former subject minister who held the office for four years, and as a person who has a wide knowledge in this field, I firmly state that there was no “Black Out.” In other words, there was no unavoidable power failure. It should be first defined that what a power failure is and what a black out is. Black out means a total power failure in the system. Normally a power failure could occur due to a transformer blast due to lightning. During a cyclonic situation there could be destructions to the circuit. These all could occur due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, and power cuts could be experienced. Other than that, when urgent maintenance work was being done, there could be power interruptions. These are done after prior notice and they are referred to as ‘Scheduled Power Cuts’.

Continue reading ‘“Diesel Mafia” Racketeers Within Electricity Board Responsible For Power Outage Crisis Alleges Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka’ »

FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam’s Mother Rajamani Gunaratnam Fearful Over Her Son’s Safety in Anuradhapura Prison

By Chamodi Gunawardana

Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) politburo member Kumar Gunaratnam’s mother Rajamani Gunaratnam yesterday urged the Government to provide Sri Lankan citizenship for her son.

Speaking at a media briefing organised by the FSP she claimed she was afraid for her son’s life after he was transferred to the Anuradapura Prison from the Kegalle Prison.

“He was sentenced to one year in jail for violating immigration law and detained at the Kegalle Prison. Now he has been transferred to Anuradapura Prison which is really far away from our residence. Therefore I am unable to visit him regularly,” she claimed.

Rajamani insisted the Government’s decision to move Gunaratnam to Anuradapura from Kegalle would threaten his safety.

Continue reading ‘FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam’s Mother Rajamani Gunaratnam Fearful Over Her Son’s Safety in Anuradhapura Prison’ »

Sri Lankan Narcotics Kingpin Triad Comprising Muas Mohammed, Sundarage Sumudu Tharanga and Bandara Anil Rohan Arrested by Police.

By Madura Ranwala

The Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested three Sri Lankan heroin kingpins in connection with the latest and biggest ever haul of heroin detected in the southern sea in a joint operation with Sri Lanka Navy last Wednesday and brought ashore on Friday.

The narcotics weighed 110 kilos and 14 foreign drug smugglers were earlier taken into custody with a multi-day fishing craft used to smuggle the contraband. Navy spokesman Captain Akram Alavi initially told media on Friday the heroin detected weighed 101 kilos.

Police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the main drug lord involved in distributing heroin in the country had been arrested by the officers of Emigration and Immigration at the Bandaranaike International Airport around 12.15 a.m. yesterday when he arrived in the country from India.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Narcotics Kingpin Triad Comprising Muas Mohammed, Sundarage Sumudu Tharanga and Bandara Anil Rohan Arrested by Police.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Visit to China Shows Sri Lankan Domestic Politics Is Returning To Reality


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will visit Beijing this week; his first to China since becoming the Prime Minister. Not only would his much anticipated visit bring clarity to Sri Lanka’s recently troubled ties with China, it would also signal that, at a domestic level, Sri Lankan politics is returning to reality. It may be tempting to read geo-politics into the recent strains on the bilateral relationship, but it was local politics that was the primary catalyst.

China got caught in the middle of a no-holds-barred election campaign between the ex-president and the incumbent. Beijing’s cozy relations with the former regime, which anyway had few good international friends, became a convenient target. Since the main accusation against the Rajapaksa regime was corruption, the main financier of most of Rajapaksa’s landmark projects could not go unscathed. In the election platforms, China became the fountainhead of all evil.

It was a major turnaround of things, no less dramatic than the fall of ex-president Rajapaksa himself from all mighty heroic king to a zero kleptocrat or at least it was projected to be so.

Not long ago, China was held with affection by many millions in the South for maintaining a ready supply of weapons to fight terrorism, at a time most other states refused to sell us weapons and defend the country at the UN. Suddenly to their bewilderment, the Chinese found themselves at the other end of the equation: The neo-imperialist that ripped the country off through its unsolicited projects and has propped up a corrupt regime.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Visit to China Shows Sri Lankan Domestic Politics Is Returning To Reality’ »

Why Is Govt Letting Arcelor Mittal “Construct”65,000 Pre-fabricated Houses Costing One Billion US Dollars in North?


By

Niyanthini Kadirgamar

In the post-war North and East housing is a dire need. The provision of permanent housing, as well as livelihood creation, is pivotal for the resettlement of communities. As such, a Cabinet decision to build 65,000 houses for war-affected communities seemed to be a move in the right direction for a Government that came into power on promises of reconciliation and economic prosperity.

However, with a foreign contractor about to be handed the task of handling the housing project, many have now labelled the initiative a disaster deal and hope is fast fading. The deal will offer Arcelor Mittal, a company headquartered in Luxemburg, a contract to build 65,000 prefabricated steel houses, which are to be imported and assembled within a short period of time.

That the drop in steel prices in the world market and losses for the world’s leading steel producer led to the decision to seek out a post-war destination to export ready-made steel is understandable. However, as to why the Sri Lankan Government agreed to make Sri Lanka a dumping ground for a multinational is more baffling. Does this point to a continuing failure to initiate reconstruction and curb increasing economic costs such as that seen during the rule of the previous Government?

Continue reading ‘Why Is Govt Letting Arcelor Mittal “Construct”65,000 Pre-fabricated Houses Costing One Billion US Dollars in North?’ »

Prof.G.L.Peiris Warns Police Of Legal Action If CID Does Not Furnish Certified Copy of acting IGP’s Directive to Quiz Him Over Detection Of Explosives In North

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has told the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that he reserved the right to take legal action against its refusal to furnish a certified copy of Acting IGP S.M. Wickremesinghe’s directive that he be summoned to record a statement pertaining to the recent detection of explosives in the Chavakachcheri police area.

Prof. Peiris has requested a certified copy thrice. Subsequently, Prof. Peiris told the CID to include his request in the statement recorded in connection with the Chavakachcheri detection.

Prof. Peiris called for a copy of Acting IGP’s directive after the CID admitted the absence of first information to pave the way for the former Minister to be summoned.

Continue reading ‘Prof.G.L.Peiris Warns Police Of Legal Action If CID Does Not Furnish Certified Copy of acting IGP’s Directive to Quiz Him Over Detection Of Explosives In North’ »

Growing Disconnect Within Govt Itself As Well As Between The Political Leadership And The People.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Sri Lankans were blithely reassured this week by President Maithripala Sirisena that they need not fear the Ides of March anymore, taking into account the annual critical focus on the country by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

But in truth, this claim is unduly optimistic.

Reducing of the ‘yahapalanaya’ brand

If the concerns of the Wanni’s war afflicted are not prioritized in transitional justice initiatives and the end result contemplates superficially attractive ‘packages’ stamped with the ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance) seal, international scrutiny may return, albeit in a different form.

More ominously, disaffection in the North will simmer. This will only allow unscrupulous politicians to take advantage if and when the occasion so presents itself. Our ill-omened history surely teaches us this. The Government’s record so far is not reassuring. One recent example is the housing project in the former war theatre caught up in a tug of war for profits between competing political interests and corporate interests. This has left displaced people (the unfortunate would-be occupiers) out in the cold, with the possibility of having to settle for sub-standard housing units.

Continue reading ‘Growing Disconnect Within Govt Itself As Well As Between The Political Leadership And The People.’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Visit to China Expected to take Bi-lateral relations to a new Level

Forthcoming bilateral talks with China were expected to advance relations between the two countries to a new level, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Office said in a statement issued yesterday.


Premier Wickremesinghe is scheduled to leave for Beijing on Wednesday (April 6) for a three-day visit

Text of PM’s Office statement is as follows –

“This is his first visit as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to the People’s Republic of China, since the Good Governance Government of President Maithripala Sirisena was formed in January last year.

On this visit, he will be holding high level discussions with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of The National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang. These discussions are expected to advance the relations between the two countries to a new level.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Visit to China Expected to take Bi-lateral relations to a new Level’ »

Joint Opposition on the Offensive Demanding LG Polls Puts “Delaying” Sirisena Govt on the Defensive

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The Joint Opposition launched a signature campaign last week demanding that the local government election which had been postponed Since March 2015 be held. With this we saw the government explaining that they can’t hold the LG election just yet until the delimitation of the wards has been completed.

The Chairman of the Elections Commission also came on TV to explain that their hands are tied because the delimitation of the wards was not complete.

The Minister of Local Government Faizer Mustapha came on TV to assure the public that the delimitation will be over by August and the Elections Commissioner said that they need two and a half months to hold the election after the delimitation is complete.

If the government sticks to these timeframes, we may have the LG elections at the end of this year or early next year.

In any event this is the first time since 1975 that the government has been dodging an election though games of staggering Provincial Council elections instead of having them all on the same day have been played.

Nearly three decades ago, in 1987 when the present Pradeshiya Sabha system was first introduced, the boot was on the other foot. The UNP government of the day wanted to hold the local government election but the opposition parties including the SLFP, SLMP, MEP, CP, and NSSP wanted to boycott the LG elections held that year on the grounds that their participation in the local government election would give the government an opportunity to legitimize their rule in the context where the UNP government had extended the life of the 1977 parliament through a referendum.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition on the Offensive Demanding LG Polls Puts “Delaying” Sirisena Govt on the Defensive’ »

Prof.G.L.Peiris used as Political Cat’s paw by Rajapaksa camp to Magnify Detection of Explosives in North as Major National Security Threat

By

Rasika Jayakody

The ‘Tiger card’ was the trump card constantly trotted out by the Rajapaksa regime, especially when they faced crucial elections during the last five years of its rule. With the collapse of that regime, the pro-Rajapaksa camp, over the past year, had different ways of pulling out the ‘Tiger card’ in attempts to turn the tables on its political opponents.

On the one hand, they promote a constant ‘gratitude’ to the former President for the defeat of the LTTE by the armed forces in 2009. This ‘gratitude’ to one personality ignores or belittles the other major players who brought an end to the Eelam insurgency and the numerous other factors that also contributed to its defeat. The Rajapaksa followers would claim ad nauseam on electoral platforms was that it was the Rajapaksas who allowed the country and its citizens to ‘breathe freely’, liberating them from the clutches of terrorism.

On the other hand, they also use the ‘Tiger card’ to create a fear psychosis among citizens, claiming that any reduction of Rajapaksa influence would make way for the resurgence of Tigers. Highly sensitive terms such as ‘national security’ are often invoked by the pro-Rajapaksa politicians to try to preserve the image of the top brass of the past regime in the face of serious bribery and corruption charges now being leveled against them. Such Tiger claims were often heard during periods of elections when rabble-rousing was needed to garner the support of segments of the more conservative Sinhala voters.

Continue reading ‘Prof.G.L.Peiris used as Political Cat’s paw by Rajapaksa camp to Magnify Detection of Explosives in North as Major National Security Threat’ »

Lands Seized by LTTE During Conflict Still Occupied by “Tiger” Families States Northern Governor Reginald Cooray

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Northern Governor Reginald Cooray on Thursday said that families of LTTE cadres continued to occupy lands which had been seized during the conflict even six years after the conclusion of the war.

Addressing the media at his official residence at Battaramulla, Governor Cooray said that the LTTE, too, had seized land by evicting people. However, today the focus was only on land taken over by the military.

The former parliamentarian pointed out that the LTTE as well as other armed groups had carried out indiscriminate abductions during the conflict though the military was solely targeted.

The Governor said that the military shouldn’t be discriminated against. During the war, the LTTE, too, established high security zones in the Vanni region to protect its runways and key military bases.

Continue reading ‘Lands Seized by LTTE During Conflict Still Occupied by “Tiger” Families States Northern Governor Reginald Cooray’ »

101 Kilos Of Heroin Smuggled in Fishing Vessel With Crew of 10 Iranians and I Pakistani Seized in Southern Sri Lanka Seas by Navy and Police

By Madura Ranwala

The Navy and the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB), in a joint operation, yesterday took into custody the biggest ever haul of heroin brought into the country via sea; it weighed 101 kilos. Eleven foreign drug smugglers—a Pakistan national and 10 Iranians—were also arrested.

The heroin had been smuggled from Pakistan to Sri Lanka in multi-day fishing craft via the southern seas, sources said.

Continue reading ‘101 Kilos Of Heroin Smuggled in Fishing Vessel With Crew of 10 Iranians and I Pakistani Seized in Southern Sri Lanka Seas by Navy and Police’ »

Frontline Socialist Party Activists Storm Immigration and Emigration Office at Punchi Borella Protesting Over Kumar Gunaratnam Issue

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) supporters yesterday stormed the Immigration and Emigration Office at Punchi Borella.

Protesters accused the Immigration and Emigration of facilitating a government project to expel their leader Kumar Gunaratnam (49) arrested by the government on a charge of violating Immigration and Emigration laws.

Gunaratnam was arrested last November for overstaying his visa.

Having caused damage to public property and clashed with the police they dispersed.

The police said that the majority of those who had been involved in the protest were university students.

Continue reading ‘Frontline Socialist Party Activists Storm Immigration and Emigration Office at Punchi Borella Protesting Over Kumar Gunaratnam Issue’ »

“My View Is That Tamil Anti-Muslim Hatred Is Much Greater Than That Of The Sinhalese”

by Izeth Hussain

I have argued for many years that the Sinhalese side can safely give any amount of devolution to the Tamils without that leading to separation by a supposedly ineluctable linear progression. Separation can take place only if the Sinhalese side is unable to prevent it, because of defeat in war or intervention by a foreign power or for some other reason.

I never had a reply to that argument, obviously because at the theoretical level that argument is unassailable. But what about the practical level?

The ground realities can change in such a way that what is valid at the theoretical level can become invalid at the practical level. That indeed, I must acknowledge, has happened to my argument.

Continue reading ‘“My View Is That Tamil Anti-Muslim Hatred Is Much Greater Than That Of The Sinhalese”’ »

Senior Journalist Prasad Gunewardene Passes Away at the age of 61 on March 30th – Funeral on April 3rd .

He was stubborn as a mule, ate what he pleased, refused to see a doctor, take meds and get a medical checkup when it was necessary. He always said, “You’ll know what’s wrong with you only if you get a checkup, not if you don’t.” Prasad chose to be blissfully oblivious until he passed away at the age of 61 on March 30.

Prasad Gunewardene

Prasad Gunewardene

Prasad Gunewardene started his illustrious career in journalism that span nearly 40 years, in 1978 at Sun Newspaper and subsequently Dawasa, both now defunct. From then on he worked at a number of newspapers. He was the Parliamentary lobby correspondent and News Editor at The Island, former Asian Tribune Colombo Correspondent, Senior Associate Editor of both Sunday Observer and Daily News, Editor of now defunct Friday magazine, Acting Editor of Lanka Puwath News Agency, Associate Editor of Ceylon Today and Senior Deputy Editor at The Nation.

Continue reading ‘Senior Journalist Prasad Gunewardene Passes Away at the age of 61 on March 30th – Funeral on April 3rd .’ »