“Govt Does not Require International Assistance to help Koslanda Landslide Victims”says Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera

By
Saman Indrajith

Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said in Parliament yesterday that there was no need for foreign assistance or aid to provide relief to victims of the Koslanda landslide as the government was capable of looking after the affected people.

Making a special statement, the minister said that there were around 1,000 persons in temporary welfare centres and foreign nations, organisations as well as local institutions had offered their assistance to provide relief for the affected people.

“There are lots of groups who may try to make use of this calamity. They may organise campaigns to collect funds and material saying that they would be for the use of affected people, but none of us know where the funds and materials so collected will end up. We request the people not to fall prey to such fraudsters,” the Minister said.

He said that the government had sufficient funds to provide necessary assistance and relief to the people who had become victims of the landslide disaster. “There is no need for international assistance. If anyone wants to provide scholarships or assistance to children affected, then such assistance should be channeled through the government agencies and transparency should be maintained.”

Continue reading ‘“Govt Does not Require International Assistance to help Koslanda Landslide Victims”says Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera’ »

Colombo High Court Sentences Five Tamil Nadu and Three Sri Lankan Fishermen to Death for Smuggling Narcotics.

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Colombo High Court on Thursday awarded the death sentence to five Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in November 2011 on drug trafficking charges.

P. Emerson, P. Augustus, R. Wilson, K. Prasath, and J. Lanklet from Rameswaram spent nearly a year in prison in Jaffna and were later taken to the Welikada prison in Colombo, said sources in the Indian consulate in Jaffna.

The fishermen were charged with smuggling heroin into northern Sri Lanka, an allegation they have strongly denied.

Three Sri Lankan fishermen were also sentenced to death on the same charges.

Continue reading ‘Colombo High Court Sentences Five Tamil Nadu and Three Sri Lankan Fishermen to Death for Smuggling Narcotics.’ »

Charges of Money Laundering of 2 Billion Rupees Filed by Special Court Against DMK Chief Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu,Daughter Kanimozhi and 14 others including ex-DMK minister A.rajah.

Former Telecom Minister A. Raja, MP Kanimozhi, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and 16 others were on Friday put on trial in a 2G scam-related case by a special court, which observed that charges of money laundering are prima facie made out against all of them.

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini framed charges under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under the provision of the Money Laundering Act against 19 accused, including 10 individuals and nine companies, who were charge sheeted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the case.

“All charges are prima facie made out against each accused for laundering of money of Rs 200 crore from DB Group company to Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd,” the judge said.

Continue reading ‘Charges of Money Laundering of 2 Billion Rupees Filed by Special Court Against DMK Chief Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu,Daughter Kanimozhi and 14 others including ex-DMK minister A.rajah.’ »

“Foreign Service has Womanisers and Drunkards ;Some Ministry Secretaries are White Collar Criminals and Culprits Behind big Scandals”-Champika Ranawaka

By

Chamitha Kuruppu

The LTTE is re-emerging and the Government should be held responsible for that, asserts Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, in an interview with the Daily FT.
Minister Ranawaka further says that LTTE leader Prabhakaran may have been defeated but the Government has failed to fully liberalise the country. “The Government is yet to find an answer politically, socially and economically.”

Following are excerpts:

Q: Why are you criticising your own Government?

Continue reading ‘“Foreign Service has Womanisers and Drunkards ;Some Ministry Secretaries are White Collar Criminals and Culprits Behind big Scandals”-Champika Ranawaka’ »

337 Persons from 57 Families in 63 Units from 06 Estate Line rooms Affected by Landslide:522 Survivors Housed in 2 Tamil Schools.

by

Saman Indrajith

Many of the people who perished in the Koslanda landslide had continued to occupy their homes in the landslide prone area despite repeated warnings, Parliament was told yesterday.

Chief Government Whip and Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the area where the disaster occurred had been identified as a landslide prone area way back in 2005.

“It was recommended in 2005 that 75 families be shifted from the place and they were provided with alternative houses and the area was declared a reserve. In 2011 the possible danger of landslides was further confirmed and 35 families were given the option to move to a safer area, according to the District Secretariat.”

However, despite the new land being given, many people had continued to occupy their old homes which were destroyed by the landslide, Minister Gunawardena said in a statement to Parliament.

Continue reading ‘337 Persons from 57 Families in 63 Units from 06 Estate Line rooms Affected by Landslide:522 Survivors Housed in 2 Tamil Schools.’ »

Number of Persons Missing After Badulla District Landslide Disaster Brought down to 192 from 350 but no Hope of Survivors

by

Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Hopes of finding survivors in the landslide-hit village in Haldummulla in the Badulla District were fading, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.

“No survivors have been found so far and I don’t think there could be any survivors,” Minister Amaraweera told The Island after visiting the place for the second day.

“Bad weather is hampering search and clearing operations; rescuers are digging through mud”, he said, adding that there was also a risk in digging the area further as the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has warned that the adjacent hills may collapse and some cracks on the upper crust of the land had been observed.

“We will keep rescue operations going, but under the prevailing conditions it is very, very bleak,” the Minister added.

Continue reading ‘Number of Persons Missing After Badulla District Landslide Disaster Brought down to 192 from 350 but no Hope of Survivors’ »

Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga Blames Govt for Failing to save Lives of People Killed in Landslide Disaster.

by
Saman Indrajith

The government could make excuses but it should accept the responsibility for its failure to save the lives of people who perished in the Koslanda disaster, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said in Parliament yesterday.

Chief Opposition Whip, addressing Parliament soon after the Chief Government Whip and Water Supply and Drainage Minister made a special statement on the scope of the disaster and the action taken by the government, said that the Opposition wished to convey sympathies to those who had lost their near and dear ones on Wednesday.

He said that it was the first time a landslide had destroyed so many lives in the known history of the country.

Continue reading ‘Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga Blames Govt for Failing to save Lives of People Killed in Landslide Disaster.’ »

Ranil Declares Publicly that he is Ready to Challenge Mahinda in Hustings while Sajith Pledges full Support to his Leader.


by

Zacki Jabbar

Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has thrown his weight fully behind his once estranged leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has declared publicly for the first time that he is ready to challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next Presidential Election expected to be held in January 2015,

Premadasa, who only recently was re-appointed Deputy Leader of the UNP told a gathering of over 7,000 of the 12,000 polling booth agents of the party, all clad in green T-Shirts and caps at the Hyde Park in Colombo on Tuesday, that he would work to ensure that Wickremesinghe defeated Rajapaksa and ended ten years of tyranny and unprecedented economic hardships.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Declares Publicly that he is Ready to Challenge Mahinda in Hustings while Sajith Pledges full Support to his Leader.’ »

Over 100 from Tamil Estate Worker Families Feared Dead with More than 300 Missing Due to Landslide Burying Line Room Dwellings.

A landslide in hilly south-central Sri Lanka is believed to have killed more than 100 people on Wednesday as it buried scores of houses, a Government minister said, and the toll is likely to rise.
The landslide hit a village in the tea-growing area of Sri Lanka after days of heavy monsoon rain, with more than 300 people listed as missing.

“More than 100 people are believed to have died,” Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Reuters from the disaster site in the village of Haldummulla, 190 km (120 miles) inland from the capital, Colombo.

IMG_8531-0.PNG

Wasantha Kumari lost her 6 year old daughter from yesterday’s landslide at temporary camp set up at a school -pic courtesy of: twitter.com/rangaba

“We have suspended the rescue operations because of darkness and inclement weather. There is also a threat of further landslides.”

Continue reading ‘Over 100 from Tamil Estate Worker Families Feared Dead with More than 300 Missing Due to Landslide Burying Line Room Dwellings.’ »

Commonwealth Secy-Gen Kamalesh Sharma wants Reduction of Military Role in Civilian Life of the Northern Province

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has called for scaling down Sri Lankan Army’s role in the war—ravaged northern province to address the “legitimate concerns” of the Tamil population.

“The steps that needed to be taken to empower the people affected by the conflict include addressing legitimate concerns about restricted and monitored movement of both the citizens of the province and those visiting them for lawful purposes,” Mr. Sharma said after visiting Jaffna, the erstwhile bastion of the LTTE.

“A continued reduction of the military role in civilian life in the (northern) province was important to see legitimate concerns of Tamils being addressed,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Commonwealth Secy-Gen Kamalesh Sharma wants Reduction of Military Role in Civilian Life of the Northern Province’ »

Massive Landslide at Koslanda Estate in Badulla District Buries more than 150 Line Room Dwellings;Huge Casualties Feared as over 350 Reported Missing.

By

Mirudhula Thambiah and Menaka Indrakumar

More than 350 persons went missing and six bodies were found, following a massive landslide, at the Koslanda Estate in the Meeriyabadda area of Haldummulla in the Badulla District, yesterday morning.

The landslide occurred at around 7:30 in the morning burying more than 150 line room housing units, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) Spokesman, Pradeep Kodippili.

“Line houses from No.7 -12 collapsed, including three houses of estate supervisors.

Two Hindu temples, two garages, four grocery shops, a house of an estate midwife, the estate ward and two government office buildings were completely damaged and buried underneath the mud,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Massive Landslide at Koslanda Estate in Badulla District Buries more than 150 Line Room Dwellings;Huge Casualties Feared as over 350 Reported Missing.’ »

Sri Lanka Visit of Kamalesh Sharma Shows Commonwealth Secy-Gen is no Longer Rajapaksa Govt’s “main Man”.

By
Dharisha Bastians

“This erosion of democracy and fundamental freedoms is no longer only Sri Lanka’s crisis. The fate and future credibility of the Commonwealth is inextricably bound to the actions of its Chair in office…It is your crisis too.”

Mangala Samaraweera, in a letter to C’wealth SG Kamalesh Sharma, April 2014

For 11 months in 2013, Kamalesh Sharma, the Commonwealth Secretary General was Sri Lanka’s main man. In his hands lay the fate of the prestigious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, the biennial summit that attracts over 50 heads of state presiding over former British colonies. Withstanding immense pressure, the threat of funding cuts and intense media scrutiny and humiliation, Kamalesh Sharma was instrumental in ensuring Sri Lanka retained the 2013 CHOGM and assumed the chair of the Commonwealth at the conclusion of the meeting.

Sri Lanka had been bidding for the honour since 2007, when the summit was held in Kampala, Uganda. Former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama led Sri Lanka’s campaign and heads of state in attendance agreed that the 2011 summit would be in Colombo.

Two years later, the bloody conclusion of the war in May 2009 was already casting long shadows. Faced with increasing allegations that Sri Lankan Government troops had committed serious human rights violations during the last stages of the war, Commonwealth Heads of State who met in Trinidad and Tobago in November 2009, opted to defer Colombo’s turn to host the summit by two further years. Australia, one of the Commonwealth’s largest funders agreed to host the 2011 summit in Perth instead, until the heat died down against Colombo and its human rights record.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Visit of Kamalesh Sharma Shows Commonwealth Secy-Gen is no Longer Rajapaksa Govt’s “main Man”.’ »

Why the Oppostion DMK is not Exploiting Jayalalithaa’s Downfall to its Political Advantage in Tamil Nadu State of India.

By
N Sathiya Moorthy

If the already demoralised Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadre beaten by the shocking parliamentary poll debacle in May 2014 thought that the political set-back suffered by rival All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, in the light of a Bangalore court ordering a jail-term for her in September was a boon for their leadership, it’s not to be.

The party, equally unable to shed its inhibitions after the 2011 assembly poll-rout in the state, has since shown that it’s also unwilling to move forward.

As the local media pointed out, the DMK’s nonagenarian supremo M Karunanidhi, took his time reacting to the Bangalore court verdict. When he did so, he referred to AIADMK cadres’ vandalising public property and not the court verdict per se. His first direct reference to the verdict was an exclusive collation of the comments and criticisms of other political parties and their leaders.

Continue reading ‘Why the Oppostion DMK is not Exploiting Jayalalithaa’s Downfall to its Political Advantage in Tamil Nadu State of India.’ »

Sri Lanka Drops from 85 to 99 in Global Index of Countries that are easy to do Business in.


Limitations to freedom of contract and the lengthy times taken to resolve standardised disputes through the courts have made doing business harder in Sri Lanka next year, according to a global survey by the International Finance Corpo-ration (IFC) and World Bank comparing 189 countries.

Sri Lanka dropped 14 notches from its 85th place in 2014 and ranked at 99th out of 189 countries in the “2015 Doing Business Report: Going Beyond Efficiency” released on Wednesday.

The report said it takes almost four years to resolve a standardised dispute through the courts in Sri Lanka and the slow contract resolution process frustrates freedom of contract.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Drops from 85 to 99 in Global Index of Countries that are easy to do Business in.’ »

Ranil Accuses Mahinda of Having Met with LTTE members in the USA and Publicly Challenges President to Respond

By

Ajith Siriwardana

United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today challenged president Rajapaksa to respond to the questions he had raised on whether the latter had met members of the LTTE in America and why the government had not intervened in the case involving the ban on the LTTE — in the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

“I asked several questions from the president, but he has not responded to them as yet. I continue to ask whether he met LTTE members in America, why the government did not intervene in the case in the European Court of Justice, whether it will appeal against the lifting of the LTTE ban and why the government did not take any action against the bank accounts and wealth of the LTTE in America,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.

He said he had responded to a question raised by the president about whether he had met LTTE members in Europe and awaited the president’s response to his question.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Accuses Mahinda of Having Met with LTTE members in the USA and Publicly Challenges President to Respond’ »

Inquiry Launched into Allegations About “Sexual Bribes”by Sri Lanka Woman Cricketers to get Selected for National team.

By

Channaka de Silva

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Executive Committee decided at an emergency meeting yesterday to conduct an immediate inquiry into claims that members of Sri Lanka women’s cricket team management and national selectors had to be bribed sexually by Sri Lanka women’s cricketers if they were to get selected to the national team and keep their places.

These shocking allegations had been made in a local media report last week, and the exco members had felt it required immediate attention.

SLC Vice President Mohan de Silva, Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, Assistant Secretary Hirantha Perera and chief men’s national selector Sanath Jayasuriya have been appointed to a committee to investigate the allegations.

Continue reading ‘Inquiry Launched into Allegations About “Sexual Bribes”by Sri Lanka Woman Cricketers to get Selected for National team.’ »

Gamini Fonseka and Lester James Peries: Cinematic relationship of an actor and director

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ten years ago on 30 September the brightest light of Sri Lankan cinema went out. Gamini Fonseka, the monarch of Sinhala moviedom, passed away peacefully on that day. Gamini Fonseka was my favourite actor on the Sinhala silver screen and became an important part of my childhood. This week’s ‘Spotlight’ focuses on him on the occasion of his 10th death anniversary.

Gamini Fonseka and Lester James Peries

Gamini Fonseka and Lester James Peries

Since I have written several articles in the past about the personality of Gamini and the remarkable highlights of his successful acting career, I thought of deviating from the beaten track this time and writing this column differently. What I want to do here is to focus on the professional interaction between the actor Gamini Fonseka and the director Lester James Peries.
Continue reading ‘Gamini Fonseka and Lester James Peries: Cinematic relationship of an actor and director’ »

If Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Candidate Backed by China who will be Candidate Backed by India and USA?

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

New Delhi had reportedly expressed displeasure to Sri Lankan Defence Secretary over the berthing of a Chinese submarine when the latter visited the Indian capital recently. It was during the same period that an official of the Indian Consulate located in the North was stranded at a security checkpoint, unable to proceed to the peninsula.

This official who had come to the Indian High Commission in Colombo from Jaffna had been returning to the peninsula when security men at a checkpoint had questioned him whether he had obtained permission from the defence authorities to enter the North.

The official had been confused with this first experience encountered during his service period in Sri Lanka. The official had not been aware that permission from the Defence Ministry was mandatory even to diplomatic circles to enter the North. Though the official was granted permission to enter the peninsula after communicating with top defence officials, the Indian High Commission is now discussing this embarrassing incident with higher ranks in the government.

Continue reading ‘If Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Candidate Backed by China who will be Candidate Backed by India and USA?’ »

How would JR,Lalith or Gamini Handle the Situation if they were Leading the UNP Right now?


By
Vishwamithra 1984

“Any nation that thinks more of its ease and comfort than its freedom will soon lose its freedom; and the ironical thing about it is that it will lose its ease and comfort too.”

~W. Somerset Maugham

It is indeed a fascinating exercise to speculate. Not only is it fascinating but taken in the context of great uncertainty that shrouds today’s issues, it is intriguing and educating to find out the strategic thinking and the tactical moves that the old Masters would have used to engineer and bring about a collapse of an ostensibly formidable power.

Meeting atHyde-Park, Colombo-Oct 28, pic via: https://www.facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

Meeting atHyde-Park, Colombo-Oct 28, pic via: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

The obvious counter to the basic premise of this argument is: If J R, Gamini or Lalith were alive today, there would never have been a President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mahinda Rajapaksa — yes, but as President — no way. Therefore, this piece should be only read in the context of the basic premise being treated as speculation or conjecture. But I have no doubt that in that speculative exercise we will find some fascinating facts, illuminating examples and some uncanny parallels.

How would J R, Gamini or Lalith have, individually as well as collectively, managed the current dual crisis — on the one hand, the United National Party and the Opposition and on the other, a corrupt and nepotistic regime headed by one single family.

Continue reading ‘How would JR,Lalith or Gamini Handle the Situation if they were Leading the UNP Right now?’ »

Tamil National Alliance May Field a Presidential Candidate of its own to Demonstrate its hold over the Tamil Masses.

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

Cabinet spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella’s declaration earlier in the month that incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa would order presidential elections in the first half of January has made political parties in Sri Lanka, particularly the divided Opposition, active all over again.

The ruling combine had done it about a year ago when rumours had it that President Rajapaksa would amend the Constitution to have the polls advanced to 2014. Like this time, then again ruling party spokesmen had mentioned that astrologers had identified dates favourable to President Rajapaksa, and the latter would take the final call.

The Constitution provides for an incumbent President to order fresh elections any time after the end of four years of his six-year term. President Rajapaksa’s second term is not due to expire before November 2016. By amending the Constitution after winning similarly-advanced elections in January 2010, six months after the successful conduct of ‘Eelam War IV’ he had got Parliament to remove the two-term upper-limit for the incumbent through the controversial 18th Amendment.

A past-master at weakening political adversaries at a time of his choosing and exposing inherent differences in their collective camp, President Rajapaksa’s current efforts could still be one more of the kind. It is possible that he is also weighing the mood of the voter before taking a decision. He has limited time at his disposal to take that decision now, if he decides on early polls, but it would also ensure that the Opposition has even less time to come together and fight on a common platform. At least Minister Premajayantha has claimed now, the ruling SLFP had launched its presidential poll campaign a month ago.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance May Field a Presidential Candidate of its own to Demonstrate its hold over the Tamil Masses.’ »

How Kumar Sangakkara Touched the Hearts of Tamils who Love their Country and Cricket.

By

Theviyanthan Krishnamohan

Many anecdotes have been written about both Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Cricket. The story of Sri Lanka’s World Cup triumph in 1996 is more than an anecdote – it is incredible enough to be pigeonholed as a fairy tale.

But if there is one thing about Sri Lanka that has been made to languish in gray pastures, it is Sri Lankan Tamil’s love for cricket.

Sangakkara mobbed by Tamil youths in the north -pic courtesy of: Sportskeeda

Sangakkara mobbed by Tamil youths in the north -pic courtesy of: Sportskeeda


Sri Lankan Tamils and their love for cricket

On the eve of the 1996 World Cup final, a clique of Tamil youths in the war torn Jaffna, stealthy bicycled passed army camps to purchase Kerosene oil. The oil was not supposed to light lamps for study sessions at night. The Kerosene oil would be poured into motors that pumped water out of the deep wells found in Jaffna. The water gushing out of the pump would be directed onto a turbine. A dynamo connected to the turbine would give power, sufficient enough to make a portable TV run. This is how the Jaffna Tamils witnessed the emphatic victory of Sri Lanka in 1996, under the sky that was glistened by rockets, shells and missiles.
Continue reading ‘How Kumar Sangakkara Touched the Hearts of Tamils who Love their Country and Cricket.’ »

Man Tasked by TNA to Collect Signatures on War Crimes Complaint Forms to UN Arrested in Mulankavil and Brought to Colombo for Questioning.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Acting on information received from the public, the police have arrested a person tasked by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to collect signatures on blank ‘UN war crimes complaints forms’ in the Vanni region.

A senior security official said that the suspect had undergone compulsory LTTE combat training for about a month during the war.

Responding to a query, the official alleged that the suspect had been seen in the Mulankavil area, arrested over the weekend and brought to Colombo for further questioning.

Continue reading ‘Man Tasked by TNA to Collect Signatures on War Crimes Complaint Forms to UN Arrested in Mulankavil and Brought to Colombo for Questioning.’ »

External Affairs Minister GL Peiris has let himself be Converted into an English Language translator and Sopkesman for Defence Ministry Policies-Dayan Jayatilleka

By

Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

The General Court of the European Union (EU) on 16 October annulled measures taken by the Council of the EU by lifting certain restrictions placed against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), namely the designation of them as a terrorist organization and the freezing of their funds. The Court in addition ordered the Council of the EU, which lost the case filed by the plaintiffs, the Tamil Eelamist pro-LTTE Diaspora, to pay its own costs and the costs of the LTTE. Although, the Court decision will come into effect only after three months, the defendants, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the European Commission were ordered to bear their own respective costs.
Ceylon Today called on former Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka to express views.


Q:
What led to the Court of Justice of the EU giving a legal ruling lifting certain restrictions imposed on the LTTE, on a ban which was in effect since 2006?

A: I completely dismiss the suggestions by sections of the Opposition that the removal of the LTTE from the list of proscribed organizations by the EU Court is some kind of tactic of the government of Sri Lanka for electoral or financial advantage. This is totally farfetched. The problem is far more serious.
The removal of the Tigers off the proscribed list by the EU Court is a symptom in the first place of the deterioration in Sri Lanka’s relationship with Europe and in the second place the change in European public and institutional opinion concerning Sri Lanka and in the third place the retreat of the Sri Lankan State in the global arena and its successive defeats in the Cold War that is being waged against this country.

It is in short yet another failure of the diplomacy of the Government of Sri Lanka especially on the Western front.

Continue reading ‘External Affairs Minister GL Peiris has let himself be Converted into an English Language translator and Sopkesman for Defence Ministry Policies-Dayan Jayatilleka’ »

Northern Provincial Council Opposition Leader Thavarajah Lambastes TNA Inefficiency and Hypocrisy.


By

Ravi Ladduwahetty

Northern Provincial Council Opposition Leader Sinnathurai Thavarajah charged yesterday (27) that the TNA led Northern Provincial Council (NPC) could not get even its legislation right despite Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran being a retired Supreme Court judge.

“This is serious, that the TNA has submitted only three statutes within the last one year, two of which have been passed and the third, which has been rejected,” Thavarajah charged at a news conference at the Information Department auditorium yesterday, to mark the first anniversary of the NPC in office.
He also said that he pointed out the flaws in one of the finance statutes which was passed when he addressed the NPC sessions from 9:50 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., uninterrupted except for the lunch and tea breaks, which the TNA had later accepted as true and correct.

He claimed that he would have submitted four statutes per month had he been the Chief Minister.
He also alleged that the third statute, for the establishment of a Chief Minister’s Fund, was rejected by the Governor, being in contravention of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Northern Provincial Council Opposition Leader Thavarajah Lambastes TNA Inefficiency and Hypocrisy.’ »

TNA Northern Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan Appeals to Extend Deadline for Completion of Probe into Sri Lanka by the UN.

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

MS. Ananthi Sasitharan

MS. Ananthi Sasitharan

Accusing the military of suppressing information as regards war crimes allegedly committed by the military during the last phase of the Vanni assault, Northern Provincial Councillor, Ananthy Sasitharan has urged Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to extend the deadline for the completion of the ongoing investigation.

Ananthy has made her appeal to OHCHR through three senior external experts, namely Martti Ahtisaari, Silvia Cartwright and Asma Jahangir tasked to advise and support still unidentified war crimes investigation team.

Her request was made on behalf of the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) running Northern Provincial Council (NPC) administration.

Continue reading ‘TNA Northern Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan Appeals to Extend Deadline for Completion of Probe into Sri Lanka by the UN.’ »

20,000 Land Permits Given by President in North without Consulting Provincial Council as Required by Law

by

M.A. Sumanthiran M.P.

(Extracts from speech in Parliament by TNA national list parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran during Land alienation bill debate on October 20th 2014)

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

HON. M.A. SUMANTHIRAN ON THE LAND ALIENATION BILL EXTRACTS OF SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT ON 20TH OCTOBER 2014 UNLAWFUL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL ALIENATION OF LAND

The Bill that has been presented in the preamble says that first, it is in furtherance of the development policies being promoted by the Government and in the backdrop of a globally integrated environment that it is deemed expedient and necessary to ensure the prudent use of land which is a limited resource. Now this ideal is most welcome and the Bill as a whole, or at least in the direction that it moves, is a welcome one. But there are several inadequacies in this; several shortcomings in this. During the course of my speech I will endeavour to identify some of those. The second preamble talks about the National Policy: “and whereas it is the National Policy to regulate the use of lands”. I want to pause there for a moment.
Continue reading ‘20,000 Land Permits Given by President in North without Consulting Provincial Council as Required by Law’ »

“Did President Rajapaksa Abolish 17th Amendment and Bring 18th Amendment to Constitution Because of Tamil Eelam”? asks TNA leader R.Sampanthan.

By

Lakshmi Jayakodi

Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), R. Sampanthan says that the TNA has discussed about a common candidate with all parties including President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Excerpts:

Q:
Is the TNA ready for the upcoming elections?

A: Elections have not been announced yet but the developments indicate that there will be the Presidential Election at the beginning of the next year. After the Presidential Election is called, we can know who will contest. Perhaps, the incumbent President may contest. I have no idea whether he can or cannot. We are waiting to see. TNA has not taken any decision yet. We will discuss about elections with our people after the election is announced.

Continue reading ‘“Did President Rajapaksa Abolish 17th Amendment and Bring 18th Amendment to Constitution Because of Tamil Eelam”? asks TNA leader R.Sampanthan.’ »

Kanda Sashti: Ornate Kandan, obliterate obstacles ♫

by K. Thirukumaran

Kanda Sashti, the annual fasting days in devotion of Lord Murugan falls this year from Friday October 24 – 29th.

Kathirgamam-Kataragama Temple-pic: Taken on July 29, 2014- by AlGraChe

Kathirgamam-Kataragama Temple-pic: Taken on July 29, 2014- by AlGraChe

“Why does by Fasting the soul renews life” queries Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar to Lord Krishna in one of his poems. That was preceded by query, “Why in ailment, one be laying down?”
Continue reading ‘Kanda Sashti: Ornate Kandan, obliterate obstacles ♫’ »

Is Mahinda Going to Make Same Mistake in 2015 as JR Jayewardene did in 1982 by Holding Referendum to Extend Parliament?

BY

DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

It was Ceylon Today and its sister paper Mawbima which got the most important news story of the year 2014; a story which if it proves accurate, may be the one that determines the destiny of this country. With perfect editorial judgment, the Ceylon Today issue of October 24th 2014 ran the story as its page one lead. The headline read: ‘REFERENDUM IN THE OFFING?’

The operative paragraph of reporter Rashini Mendis’ story read as follows:

“After the next Presidential Election is held early January, the government could hold a referendum to extend the life of the present Parliament by a further six years, under powers vested in the Executive, Minister of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation, Jayaratne Herath hinted. He made this observation during an event to mark the assuming of duties of Deputy Minister of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation, V. Radhakrishnan, yesterday.”

While this could be either kite flying or whistle blowing by the Minister, it must be taken with the utmost seriousness by the citizenry. The worst, most dangerous single political decision I have witnessed in this country in my lifetime was President Jayewardene’s decision immediately after his handsome win at the Presidential election of October 1982, to hold a Referendum instead of the scheduled parliamentary election. The sheer savagery that Sri Lanka descended to for three decades, can be traced back to that single decision which shut off the safety valves of a parliamentary election and disconnected the feedback loops that operate only in a functioning electoral democracy with a parliament that accurately reflects the balance of political forces. What was done in the name of stability and security triggered decades of bloody volatility and utter insecurity.

Continue reading ‘Is Mahinda Going to Make Same Mistake in 2015 as JR Jayewardene did in 1982 by Holding Referendum to Extend Parliament?’ »

Foreign Passport Holders born in Sri Lanka do not need Defence Ministry Permission to Visit the North.


By

Camelia Nathaniel

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) revealed that all foreign passport holders are required to register with the MOD prior to travelling to the North. However, this regulation will not be strictly implemented for those born in Sri Lanka who hold foreign passports.

According to MOD sources, Sri Lankan expatriates who visit Sri Lanka to meet their families in the North are not required to obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Defence, but foreign nationals wishing to travel to the North either as tourists or in connection with projects will need prior permission from the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Passport Holders born in Sri Lanka do not need Defence Ministry Permission to Visit the North.’ »

28 Persons Including Envoy Prasad Kariyawasam Deny Sajin Assaulting Nonis Incident in Writing to President Rajapaksa.

By

Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

A confidential report, containing written submissions of 28 persons, with regard to the fracas between former Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Britain, Dr. Chris Nonis and Monitoring MP External Affairs Ministry, Sajin Vaas Gunawardene, in New York recently, had been submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Ceylon Today is in possession of this report, which was submitted to the President by the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo. All written submissions are in the nature of criticizing Dr. Nonis over the reported incident.

The Ministry, on the directives of the President, called for an inquiry into the incident. Accordingly, 28 persons had sent in written submissions denying an incident of assault on Dr. Nonis.

Continue reading ‘28 Persons Including Envoy Prasad Kariyawasam Deny Sajin Assaulting Nonis Incident in Writing to President Rajapaksa.’ »

Catholic Church Under Pressure to Defy Tradition and let Pope Francis Visit Sri Lanka in January 2015 Despite Impending Presidential Poll.


By Leon Berenger

Senior police and government officials and Catholic Church representatives will meet early next week to discuss security and other arrangements for the visit of Pope Francis in mid-January amidst continuing security concerns if the visit coincides with a possible Presidential election.

A senior church official told the Sunday Times arrangements would have to be finalised before the visit of a Vatican delegation to Sri Lanka from November 2. He said security would be a key issue they would be looking at.The moves came as the Catholic Church was still awaiting a response to a letter sent by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith to President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking clarification on whether the visit of Pope Francis could go ahead or be cancelled because of a possible Presidential election in early January.

The security measures to be discussed would include emergency-evacuation methods in case of unrest or any other related trouble in the wake of a presidential election, the official added. The delegation comprising senior officials of the Vatican’s Protocol Division is expected to be in Sri Lanka for at least three days, Catholic Church Spokesperson Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini told the Sunday Times.

Continue reading ‘Catholic Church Under Pressure to Defy Tradition and let Pope Francis Visit Sri Lanka in January 2015 Despite Impending Presidential Poll.’ »

President Rajapaksa is like the Emperor Without Clothes when he says his Govt has nothing to hide.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

During last year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was so bold as to state at a news conference broadcast around the world that Sri Lanka has a legal system and “if anyone wants to complain about human rights violations, whether it is torture, whether it is rape … we have a system…we will take action against anyone. So we are open. We have nothing to hide.”
The truth however belies the brashness of this claim.

Unforgivably assinine state repression

If this Government has nothing to hide, why it is so afraid of its own shadow as to arbitrarily and suddenly enforce restrictions on the travel of non-Sri Lankans to the North? Why did its agencies think it fit recently to disrupt a wholly innocuous commemoration event for perhaps the North’s best known human rights defender, Dr. Rajani Thiranagama who, as irony would have it, was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) when she spoke out against injustice? Could there be a better instance of unforgivably assinine state repression than this?

And why are dissenters regularly subjected to death threats when they cross the unwritten line in challenging this regime? Are these actions of a Government which ‘has nothing to hide’? One cannot surely think so.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa is like the Emperor Without Clothes when he says his Govt has nothing to hide.’ »

Sajith Unwilling to lead UNP “Jana Jaya”Campaign while Pressure Mounts on Ranil to Select Common Candidate and not Contest.


Even if the UNP is now in election mode in a limited way, the attention of the party appears to be still focused on putting its house in order. On Thursday evening, leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had another round of talks at his office at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha with his deputy, Sajith Premadasa. Also present were Party Chairman Kabir Hashim and Wickremesinghe’s close friend Malik Samarawickrema, who holds no position in the party now, except for being a member of the Working Committee.

No details of the discussion were immediately available. However, one source said the discussion centered on tasks to be entrusted to Premadasa as the Deputy Leader. Premadasa had earlier placed a list of demands through a broker to be forwarded by General Secretary Tissa Attanayake to Wickremesinghe. The UNP leader did not accept the list and has insisted that no such demands would be heeded. The matter, the source said, figured at the talks with Premadasa raising issue about his role. He had said that General Secretary Tissa Attanayake had told Tiran Alles (an MP of the Democratic National Alliance) that the requests he made to accept the post of Deputy Leader had been agreed to.

Wickremesinghe was to reply that the functions Premadasa had sought belonged to the party and hence he was not in a position to confer them on others. It was suggested that Premadasa together with party chairman Kabir Hashim should spearhead the party’s Jana Jaya or People’s Victory programme. It envisages strengthening the party’s grassroots level organisations. However, Premadasa did not appear enthusiastic, said the source. The meeting ended inconclusively. The source said Wickremesinghe may seek another meeting with Premadasa. Matters relating to the upcoming presidential election and the budget debate were also discussed.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Unwilling to lead UNP “Jana Jaya”Campaign while Pressure Mounts on Ranil to Select Common Candidate and not Contest.’ »

Visibly Angry Mahinda walks out of Meeting with Jathika Hela Urumaya but Later Telephones Omalpe Sobitha Thera to Apologize.

Presidential security men escorted President Mahinda Rajapaksa from Battaramulla to Nugegoda and took a circuitous route. It was almost 6.30 p.m. when he arrived at his official residence.By then, a delegation from the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had started a meeting with UPFA leaders. It was more an exchange of pleasantries and did not focus on the subject matter then.

The JHU delegation was led by Party Leader Venerable Omalpe Sobitha Thera and included Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and Nishantha Warnasinghe. Representing the UPFA were its General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayantha, Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Dullas Allahapperuma. External Affairs Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena was seen walking in and out when the meeting was under way.

After Rajapaksa took the chair, the meeting assumed a more formal atmosphere. He first hurriedly gleaned through a three-page document encompassing the resolutions adopted at the JHU’s 11th annual convention. It was held last Sunday at the National Youth Service Council auditorium in Maharagama. In fact, last Monday, a day ahead of their meeting, the JHU had delivered to Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga a copy of the same document.

The gloves come off

Almost as the President finished reading, Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera began to brief Rajapaksa on the JHU’s position. He said that his party was satisfied with the first five years of Rajapaksa’s presidency since 2005. The JHU was also happy with the period after the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). However, the JHU was not pleased with what was happening in the UPFA Government from 2010 till 2014, he declared. There were many issues domestically, internationally and on the economic front. The Government was spending enormously but there were little or no returns to the people. The JHU had been speaking a lot on this issue but nothing had happened, he said.

Continue reading ‘Visibly Angry Mahinda walks out of Meeting with Jathika Hela Urumaya but Later Telephones Omalpe Sobitha Thera to Apologize.’ »

Abolishing Executive Presidency and Reverting to Parliamentary Governance will lead to Chronically Unstable Govts.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

In the context of the present raucous cry for the abolition of the executive presidency emanating from certain NGOs, political parties and prominent individuals, the question we have to ask ourselves is whether these people have given adequate thought to what we will be doing by abolishing the executive presidency and reverting back to a parliamentary form of government.

In order to form an informed opinion on this matter we have to look back at the 31 years of parliamentary government in this country before the presidential system was introduced.

Continue reading ‘Abolishing Executive Presidency and Reverting to Parliamentary Governance will lead to Chronically Unstable Govts.’ »

All Politics is Perception,Posturing and Positioning.

By

Nishthar Idroos

“It’s the battle for your mind” “It’s the battle for your mind” voiced the lanky character in the “Hampada” denim and casual T shirt in classroom no 4. His husky voice reverberating through the corridor. It was our Marketing Instructor lecturing in a cramped-up room many years ago in downtown Colombo. I was able to unearth the notes of this exercise kept in a remote section of my house and infested with small insects.

The Instructor was explaining to the class the concept of Positioning in the complex and often absorbing realm of Marketing. He continued “it’s not as what you do to the product, but what you do to the mind, not anyone’s mind; it’s the mind of the prospect, voter, traveller and whoever the target may be. It’s the communication process between two distinct, identified sources” It was a very interactive class, exhilarating and immensely informative. I vividly recall discussing many situations concerning the topic in a distinctly Sri Lankan context. It ranged from Siddhalepa to President Premadasa.

What I remember most was discussing President Premadasa’s ascent to the pinnacle of his political career and the corresponding positioning strategy that took him there. The class represented members of both sexes from all religious hues with a median age of 32 hailing from a typical semi-urban demography. One of the tasks we had to accomplish was to describe the President in one or two words without the neighbor noticing it. The real challenge was to describe him in just a word or two. We were given small sheets of paper; we had to write on it, roll it up and hand it over.

Continue reading ‘All Politics is Perception,Posturing and Positioning.’ »

Veteran Tamil actor S.S. Rajendran passes away at 86

by B. Kolappan

Tamil cinema’s yesteryear actor S.S. Rajendran known as SSR — a contemporary of Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran in cinema and politics — who was battling for life at a private hospital in Chennai, breathed his last on Friday. He was 86.

S.S. Rajendran known as SSR — a contemporary of Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran in cinema and politics — breathed his last on Friday, Oct 24

S.S. Rajendran known as SSR — a contemporary of Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran in cinema and politics — breathed his last on Friday, Oct 24

Born in Sedapatti, Madurai district, SSR, like all his contemporaries cut his teeth in the Boys Company and later in the theatre troupe run by T.K.S Brothers. He was also a good singer and a few could match his Tamil pronunciation.
Continue reading ‘Veteran Tamil actor S.S. Rajendran passes away at 86’ »

Describing Himself as a “Godaya”, President Rajapaksa Presents his 10th Budget that Provides Something for Everybody with 2015 Presidency Poll in mind.

by

Saman Indrajith

*Rs. 25,000 minimum monthly income for public servants

*CoL allowance up by Rs. 2,200; Rs. 5,000 allowance for doctors

* Allowances for university teachers and non-academics increased

* University intake to be increased to 100,000 by 2020

* Employer’s EPF contribution increased to 14%

* Special tax on vehicle imports; USD 100 per casino entry

* Guaranteed price of paddy up from Rs. 34 to Rs 40 per kilo

* Basic minimum salary of Rs. 10,000 for private sector

* 5,000 new teacher assistants to be recruited

* Mahapola grant increased to Rs 4,000

* Economic growth of 8.2% expected

* Budget deficit to be reduced to 4.6% of GDP

At The Parliament of Sri Lanka-pic via: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

At The Parliament of Sri Lanka-pic via: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday presented his tenth budget in Parliament. Having presented the budget for the next fiscal year, a smiling President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked the opposition, “How is the Budget presented by a godaya [a country bumpkin]?”

He was responding to a UNP MP who had claimed that the country was being ruined by a cabal of ‘country bumpkins’. Earlier, the government advanced the presentation of the budget by about one month in view of an early presidential election expected during the second week of January next year.

President proposed to increase the minimum monthly income of public servants to Rs. 25,000 inclusive of a 2,200-rupee cost of living allowance increase with effect from January 2015. The special allowance for state employees will be added to their basic salary while the minimum salary will be increased to Rs. 15,000 per month.

Continue reading ‘Describing Himself as a “Godaya”, President Rajapaksa Presents his 10th Budget that Provides Something for Everybody with 2015 Presidency Poll in mind.’ »

Will the TNA Reveal Truth About Killing of Kingsley Rasanayagam by LTTE Ten Years ago?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The assortment of political parties known as the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) is regarded as the premier political configuration representing the Sri Lankan Tamils in Parliament, the Northern and Eastern provincial councils and various local authorities in the north and east.The TNA has in recent times ardently supported the ongoing probe on Sri Lanka being conducted by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. No other political grouping in Parliament has openly declared its support for the UN investigation in the manner that the TNA has.

Kingsley Rasanayagam

Kingsley Rasanayagam

The TNA seeks to take the moral high ground in justifying its stance on this account. It is supportive of the UN probe on the basis that the complete truth about the past needs to be confronted by the Sri Lankan people to achieve justice based unity and peace. True accountability is essential for genuine reconciliation and ethnic amity argues the TNA.The TNA advises the Government to support the UN investigation.

Continue reading ‘Will the TNA Reveal Truth About Killing of Kingsley Rasanayagam by LTTE Ten Years ago?’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Compares Canadian Situation after Terrorist Attacks to What Prevailed in Sri Lanka Before July 1983.

by

Shamindra Ferdinando

Regretting the loss of lives due to unprecedented terrorist attacks in Canada during the week, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said the situation there was very much similar to that of Sri Lanka in the early 80s.

The Defence Secretary likened the threat faced by Canada to the situation that prevailed in the northern region before the LTTE ambushed an army patrol on the night of July 23, 1983 and claimed the lives of 13 servicemen.

Two separate incidents on Monday (Oct 20) near Montreal and on Wednesday in capital, Ottawa (Oct 22) claimed the lives of two soldiers and two terrorists.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Compares Canadian Situation after Terrorist Attacks to What Prevailed in Sri Lanka Before July 1983.’ »

President Rajapaksa Insulted Tamils by Describing the TNA as a Dog in the Manger-MA Sumanthiran M.P.

By

Ananth Palakidnar

Q
: What is your opinion on the European Court of Justice (ECJ) annulling the restrictive measures taken against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)?

A: The European Court of Justice in its verdict has stated that the objective test which had been carried out by the Council and Commission of the European Union , together with two member States , the UK and the Netherlands were unsatisfactory in the decision taken on proscribing the LTTE. The matter was entirely dealt according to the law of the European Union. No one can influence the legal systems in place in Europe or elsewhere in the Western countries. So it is absurd to say that the verdict has been in favour of the LTTE and the decision would be a boost to revamp its activities.

The European Union Court of Justice has stated the manner the proscription was imposed was not acceptable and it has given the time to the defendants to present their case with the precise objective test. Since the LTTE has denounced violence, the defendants have to prepare themselves in justifying their position during the time frame the ECJ has offered them.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Insulted Tamils by Describing the TNA as a Dog in the Manger-MA Sumanthiran M.P.’ »

American Jesuit Priest Fr.Harry Miller,Resident in Batticaloa for 66 Years Given Citizens Peace Award for 2014.

The National Peace Council has awarded its Citizens Peace Award for 2014 to Reverend Father Benjamin Henry Miller for his long years of service to the war affected people of Sri Lanka, especially during the period of war. Since 1948, when Fr Miller, known as Harry, arrived at the Jesuit Mission in Batticaloa from the United States, he has spent 66 years in Sri Lanka during which he served as an educator, priest, protector and witness.

In his early years in Sri Lanka, Father Miller taught physics, English and history, and coached the soccer team at St. Michael’s College, a boys’ school. Later when violence and war broke out, Fr Miller was one of the founders of the Batticaloa Peace Committee and the Batticaloa Council of Religions as lasting initiatives to find a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

The National Peace Council honors the work of Fr Miller with the Batticaloa Peace Committee which began as a group of concerned citizens and gave advice on legal procedures surrounding detention and how to find those in detention. They took up these cases with the authorities, publicized the cases where it might help, and shared the information with national and international human rights organisations, diplomats, journalists and NGOs. In recognition of their non-partisan role, and their positive role in the reconciliation process, the security forces gave the Batticaloa Peace Committee the role of conduit to hand-over released prisoners.

Continue reading ‘American Jesuit Priest Fr.Harry Miller,Resident in Batticaloa for 66 Years Given Citizens Peace Award for 2014.’ »

Seven Reasons to Worry About Sri Lanka’s new Legislation restricting Foreign Ownership of Land.

By

The “Curionomist”

“Whereas in furtherance of the development policies being promoted by the Government in the backdrop of a globally integrated environment, it is deemed expedient and necessary to ensure the prudent use of land which is a limited resource, in a manner that preserves the national interest”

This is the opening section of the new Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Bill that the government presented to Parliament this month. There has been a lot of debate on this piece of legislation for some months now. It was first mentioned as far back as November 2012, in the Budget 2013 speech. I, too, did some work on it a few months ago together with the private sector to look at what kind of a fallout it would have on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and what revisions ought to be considered to avoid such a fallout. Most did not dispute that land is a matter of strategic national interest and that having stronger controls can be justified. But not seeing beyond this, to the implications for business and investment, is what was troubling. Yet, despite best efforts by many, it was passed early this week (subject to some minor Amendments).


Let me recap here some of the key features of the forthcoming Act.

7 Features

Continue reading ‘Seven Reasons to Worry About Sri Lanka’s new Legislation restricting Foreign Ownership of Land.’ »

Present Parliament may be Extended for Six Years more by a Referendum after Presidential elections Hints Govt Minister.

By

Rashini Mendis

After the next Presidential Election is held early January, the government could hold a referendum to extend the life of the present Parliament by a further six years, under powers vested in the Executive, Minister of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation, Jayaratne Herath hinted.

He made this observation during an event to mark the assuming of duties of Deputy Minister of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation, V. Radhakrishnan, yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Present Parliament may be Extended for Six Years more by a Referendum after Presidential elections Hints Govt Minister.’ »

Mahinda went to Vatican to Ensure that Pope Francis Visited Sri Lanka in January 2015 Despite Presidential elections being Held.

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

The visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka still hangs in the balance. This uncertainty is also apparent in a letter sent to the President by Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

The Cardinal had inquired from the President to inform him whether the Pope should arrive or not, in case a Presidential Election is called during that period. Mahinda went to Vatican to meet the Pope in the company of the Cardinal. Prior to that visit, Mahinda had decided to hold an election.

However, Mahinda’s visit to Vatican raised eyebrows because whenever a Pope visits another country, there is no tradition that the Head of State of that respective country making a prior visit to Vatican to extend an official invitation. Many are of the view that Mahinda followed a tradition. But the reality is otherwise.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda went to Vatican to Ensure that Pope Francis Visited Sri Lanka in January 2015 Despite Presidential elections being Held.’ »

European Union Monitoring Sri Lanka Closely Discloses David Daley the EU Envoy in Colombo.

By

Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

The European Union (EU) is closely monitoring the recent developments in Sri Lanka, including the domestic reconciliation process.

EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, David Daly, told Ceylon Today, that the Presidential Commission appointed to probe the missing persons is a recent development and the EU has always encouraged Sri Lanka. .to have its own strong independent credible domestic process, which is a part of the US resolution placed in Geneva.

He said, “Whether the recent development constitutes that or not, ‘that remains to be seen’ and too early to comment on it.”

Continue reading ‘European Union Monitoring Sri Lanka Closely Discloses David Daley the EU Envoy in Colombo.’ »

Aftermath of “Attack in Ottawa”: “We have to be careful as a society to not generalize events like these to the community on the whole”

Peter Mansbridge, CBC National Anchor hosted a special segment of “Security Panel” on its flagship nightly current affairs program on October 22, 2014, on the topic of the aftermath of “Attack in Ottawa”.

mansbridge-ottawapanel-221014-still_lead_media_image_1

The discussion panel featured, Ray Boisvert-Former Assistant Director; Adrienne Arsenault – Senior CBC Correspondent and Amarnath Amarasingam-Radicalization Expert/ Postdoctoral Fellow, Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University

Continue reading ‘Aftermath of “Attack in Ottawa”: “We have to be careful as a society to not generalize events like these to the community on the whole”’ »

Can Karu Jayasuriya Re-position Himself as the most Viable Alternative to Mahinda Rajapaksa?


BY

DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

Do you watch ‘Boston Legal’?

We do, by which I mean my wife Sanja and I, and we like it. Of course it is one of the few programs we enjoy equally, since she finds my favorites, such as ‘True Detective’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Bridge’, and ‘Sons of Anarchy’, which reflect my obsessions with the dialectic of evil and justice, the figure of the anti-hero and the struggle for a code of violence, far too…violent. I find Comedy Central too lightheartedly escapist. Domestically, a bipartisan consensus is reached in our preference for ‘Homeland’— the selectively violent but cerebral espionage thriller—and of course ‘Boston Legal’ and ‘Castle’. Which brings me to the Presidential candidacy and the question: who can be a consensus candidate of the Opposition?

In ‘Boston Legal’ the other night, Denny Crane,( played by William Shatner, whose a sartorial flamboyance and egotism ,but not his Republican conservatism, reminds me of my late father in his heyday), advises his colleague and old flame played by Candice Bergen, that in a trial by jury, the trick is to “keep it simple”. He advises her – and reminds her by silently mouthing a prompting in court– to close the address to the jury with the line “it’s that simple”. They win the excruciatingly difficult case.

So it is with elections as well as the choice of candidates. Let’s start with the regime’s candidacy. The Oppositional civil society effort to prevent Mahinda Rajapaksa from running a third time is stupidly counterproductive. Who does it think will be the candidate if Mahinda were to be disqualified? Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, that’s who—and he will secure the support of the Buddhist clergy, the JHU, BBS, NFF, the armed forces and their families and the Sinhala Buddhist business community including its chauvinist yuppies. Against Ranil, Sajith or Karu, he’d probably win this time around. Would the opposition, especially the civil society opposition, like that prospect?

Continue reading ‘Can Karu Jayasuriya Re-position Himself as the most Viable Alternative to Mahinda Rajapaksa?’ »

“Grim Reminder that Canada is not Immune to these types of Attacks but we will not be Intimidated” – Stephen Harper.

(Address to the Nation by Stephen Harper the Prime Minister of Canada in Ottawa)

“My fellow Canadians, for the second time this week there has been a brutal and violent attack on our soil.

PM Harper marks the 100th Anniversaries of the Royal 22e Régiment and Valcartier Garrison in Quebec - Oct 14, 2014-pic: pm.gc.ca

PM Harper marks the 100th Anniversaries of the Royal 22e Régiment and Valcartier Garrison in Quebec – Oct 14, 2014-pic: pm.gc.ca

“Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Corporal Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.

“Corporal Cirillo was killed today – murdered in cold blood – as he provided a ceremonial Honour Guard at Canada’s National War Memorial.

“That sacred place that pays tribute to those who gave their lives so that we can live in a free, democratic and safe society.

“Likewise, our thoughts and prayers remain also with the family and friends of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed earlier this week by an ISIL-inspired terrorist.
Continue reading ‘“Grim Reminder that Canada is not Immune to these types of Attacks but we will not be Intimidated” – Stephen Harper.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa has very big head start as battle lines get Drawn for Presidential Poll.


By

Dharisha Bastians

Battle lines will be drawn this week when President Mahinda Rajapaksa moves to present his Government’s Budget for 2015, setting the stage for his re-election campaign, expected to kick off officially about six weeks from now.

It is the country’s worst kept secret that the Budget presentation has been advanced by several weeks in order to facilitate President Rajapaksa’s preferred dates to announce a presidential election early next year.

Committee stages and second and third readings of the Budget will all be concluded before the announcement is expected shortly after the President completes his fourth year of his second term in office on 18 November.

Incumbency and enormous resources and untrammelled executive power within his grasp, President Rajapaksa looks set to optimise his head start in the presidential campaign, setting himself up as a clear frontrunner before the poll is even announced.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa has very big head start as battle lines get Drawn for Presidential Poll.’ »

Catholic Church in State of Confusion about Pope Francis Visit to Sri Lanka as President Rajapaksa has not replied Cardinal Malcolm ranjith’s Letter seeking Clarification on Elections.

By Rashini Mendis and Lakshmi Jayakody

pic via: facebook.com/news.va.en

pic via: facebook.com/news.va.en

Confusion reigns heavy over next January’s planned visit of Pope Francis, with the Catholic Church at crossroads, following the delay by the government to confirm, whether the presidential election is likely to coincide with the Pope’s visit.

Catholic Church spokesman Rev, Cyril Gamini told our sister paper Mawbima that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has written to President Rajapaksa asking the latter to inform the church about the date of election, which the Cardinal claims is an urgent necessity.

The Catholic Church earlier pointed out to the government that it was not appropriate for the Pope to visit any country at times of national elections.
Continue reading ‘Catholic Church in State of Confusion about Pope Francis Visit to Sri Lanka as President Rajapaksa has not replied Cardinal Malcolm ranjith’s Letter seeking Clarification on Elections.’ »

Acts Specified in Article 2 of Genocide Convention have Been Undeniably Perpetrated on the Tamil People -Tamil National Alliance.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), in a special statement today, has noted that acts specified in article 2 of the Genocide Convention of 1948 have undeniably been perpetrated on the Tamil people by functionaries of the Sri Lankan state over several decades.

TNA031414

The TNA however said it would be improper and inappropriate for the Northern Provincial Council or any other political body to make pronouncements in the form of resolutions or otherwise on matters of evidence and law currently being considered by the UN led investigation team and that any such pronouncement would undermine the due regard, respect and right to independent functioning properly due to the investigations team.
Continue reading ‘Acts Specified in Article 2 of Genocide Convention have Been Undeniably Perpetrated on the Tamil People -Tamil National Alliance.’ »

People who lost lands and property in Northern Province due to Terrorism asked to Submit Details to Defence Ministry.

A survey is to be conducted by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development to find people who had lost their properties and lands in the Northern Province, since 1980, due to terrorism.

Continue reading ‘People who lost lands and property in Northern Province due to Terrorism asked to Submit Details to Defence Ministry.’ »

Attack in War Memorial and Parliament at Canada’s Capital Ottawa: One Soldier and Assailant killed. One security guard injured. Over 30 shots fired in shocking incident

By
Les Whittington& Joanna Smith

OTTAWA — A Canadian soldier was killed and a Parliament Hill security guard wounded Wednesday morning in a chaotic attack on the nation’s capital that police believe involved more than one assailant. One assailant was killed.

CPL Nathan Cirillo, Canadian Soldier & Tomb Guard, who was brutally murdered in the terrorist attack

CPL Nathan Cirillo, Canadian Soldier & Tomb Guard, was killed in the terrorist attack-pic courtesy of: twitter.com/SeanParnellUSA

Shootings occurred at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill. Contrary to early reports, no shooting occurred near the Rideau Centre mall, Ottawa police said.

Witnesses described seeing the soldier, who was serving as a ceremonial guard at the foot of the cenotaph, shot at point-blank range before the gunman ran off in the direction of Parliament Hill.

Sirens blared and buildings in the area went under lockdown as police and soldiers continued the manhunt into Wednesday afternoon.

Police said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that nobody had been arrested. Police are going on the assumption there is more than one shooter.

Continue reading ‘Attack in War Memorial and Parliament at Canada’s Capital Ottawa: One Soldier and Assailant killed. One security guard injured. Over 30 shots fired in shocking incident’ »

Shooting in Parliament and War Memorial in Ottawa by Dark-complexioned man wearing scarf:Timeline of Events


By
Sarah Boesveld

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

9:52 a.m. Gunfire at the National War Memorial. Reporter there said he saw one man go down and another run. He heard four shots.

9:54 a.m. Gunfire in Parliament’s Centre Block.

9:56 a.m. Reports of dozens of shots fired in Parliament. A reporter sees a motionless body on the ground outside the Library of Parliament.

Meanwhile, at the War Memorial, reports emerge that it is a soldier that was shot.

9:58 a.m. CPR being performed on the soldier by passersby.

9:59 a.m. Confirmed that “active shooter” still in the halls of Parliament.

10:00 a.m. Ottawa police tactical unit arrives at Parliament Hill.

Continue reading ‘Shooting in Parliament and War Memorial in Ottawa by Dark-complexioned man wearing scarf:Timeline of Events’ »

Ben Bradlee the Crusading Editor of “Washington Post” who Directed Coverage of Watergate Scandal dies at 93.


By

MARILYN BERGEROCT & Ashley Southall

Benjamin Crowninshield "Ben" Bradlee (August 26, 1921 – October 21, 2014)

Benjamin Crowninshield “Ben” Bradlee (August 26, 1921 – October 21, 2014)

Ben Bradlee, who presided over The Washington Post’s exposure of the Watergate scandal that led to the fall of President Richard M. Nixon and that stamped him in American culture as the quintessential newspaper editor of his era — gruff, charming and tenacious — died on Tuesday. He was 93.

Mr. Bradlee died at home of natural causes, The Post reported.

With full backing from his publisher, Katharine Graham, Mr. Bradlee led The Post into the first rank of American newspapers, courting controversy and giving it standing as a thorn in the side of Washington officials.

When government officials called to complain, Mr. Bradlee acted as a buffer between them and his staff.

“Just get it right,” he would tell his reporters. Most of the time they did, but there were mistakes, one so big that the paper had to return a Pulitzer Prize.

Mr. Bradlee — “this last of the lion-king newspaper editors,” as Phil Bronstein, a former editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, described him — could be classy or profane, an energetic figure with a boxer’s nose who almost invariably dressed in a white-collared, bold-striped Turnbull & Asser shirt, the sleeves rolled up.

Continue reading ‘Ben Bradlee the Crusading Editor of “Washington Post” who Directed Coverage of Watergate Scandal dies at 93.’ »

20 Injured,3 Hospitalised as Police use Rubber bullets, Batons, Water Cannon and Tear Gas to Stop Undergraduates Protesting in Parliament.

A female undergraduate was hit in the abdomen with a tear gas canister fired at close range when the police yesterday (21) brutally attacked students from all State universities who marched to Parliament seeking solutions for their legitimate demands.

Police Special Task Force (STF) and Anti-Riot Squad personnel unleashed a vicious barrage of rubber bullets fired at close range whilst water cannons sprayed murky brown coloured water piercing the smoky fog of tear gas, resulting in three hospitalisations and 20 being injured.

Continue reading ‘20 Injured,3 Hospitalised as Police use Rubber bullets, Batons, Water Cannon and Tear Gas to Stop Undergraduates Protesting in Parliament.’ »

LTTE Revival Attempt leader Theiveegan’s mother Rajithamalar Sundaralingam (57) Stopped at Katunayake from Going to Canada with Valid visa.

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

CanadaFL112711

LTTE members and supporters active overseas had launched a special project to secure asylum for close relatives of dead LTTE cadres, a senior security official alleged yesterday.

The official was responding to a query by The Island regarding the arrest of Sundaralingam Rajithamalar (57), mother of Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan killed during an army operation at Vedivachchikallu, south of Nedunkerni last April.

Rajithamalar was prevented from leaving the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) yesterday morning, though she had a valid Canadian visa.

Continue reading ‘LTTE Revival Attempt leader Theiveegan’s mother Rajithamalar Sundaralingam (57) Stopped at Katunayake from Going to Canada with Valid visa.’ »

GL Peiris States Geneva Ambassador Residence Contract was not given to Person with LTTE links and that Kshenuka Seneviratne was not Involved in deal.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday strongly defended Foreign Secretary Kshenuka Seneviratne as regards the renovation of the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva in 2009.

Full text of the media statement issued by the Ministry of External affairs is as follows-

“Extensive publicity has been given during the last few days to a series of allegations that Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, has been guilty of impropriety in connection with the award of a contract for the renovation of the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva in 2009″

Continue reading ‘GL Peiris States Geneva Ambassador Residence Contract was not given to Person with LTTE links and that Kshenuka Seneviratne was not Involved in deal.’ »

“Remote Control Rule” in Tamil Nadu with Panneerselvam as Puppet Chief Minister and Jayalalithaa as Controlling Puppeteer.

by

N Sathiya Moorthy

[After presenting a bouquet to greet his leader, J. Jayalalithaa, on her victory O. Paneerselvam, seeks her blessings at her Poes Garden residence, Feb 2002]

[After presenting a bouquet to greet his leader, J. Jayalalithaa, on her victory O. Paneerselvam, seeks her blessings at her Poes Garden residence, Feb 2002]

While there is likely no bar on Jayalalithaa meeting with Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his cabinet colleagues, she may not see senior government officials or see official files.

By asking J Jayalalithaa to direct her All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam party cadres not to indulge in acts of violence while granting her bail, did the Supreme Court shift the responsibility of the state on the law and order front to an individual?

While hearing Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s personal submission on threats of violence against him while hearing Jayalalithaa’s bail petition, the first bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu told her senior counsel Fali S Nariman that there had to be directions against such incidents.

Nariman submitted that Jayalalithaa herself would issue a statement in this regard — which the AIADMK headquarters promptly did before the day was out. In the statement, Jayalalalithaa asked party cadres not to indulge in violence.

In the AIADMK, her word is gospel for everyone down the line, to the last man and woman. The cadres can be expected to be more than careful in not jeopardising Amma’s freedom even remotely.

Continue reading ‘“Remote Control Rule” in Tamil Nadu with Panneerselvam as Puppet Chief Minister and Jayalalithaa as Controlling Puppeteer.’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe and Champika Ranawaka Must Engage and Bring the UNP and JHU Together.

By

Vishwamithra 1984

UNP9912

An Open letter to Ranil W and Champika R…

“I shall argue that strong men, conversely, know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.”

~Andrew Carnegie

This missive is addressed to Ranil Wickremesinghe and Champika Ranawaka, the Leaders of the United National Party (UNP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) respectively. But it is not a “for your eyes only’ memorandum. Whoever wishes to read it could read the letter and draw his or her own conclusions and make their own assertions.

JHU050613

The country is evidently heading for a crucial election. The Presidential Elections which everyone is talking about and getting ready for is no election to elect Provincial Councilors or Pradesheeya Sabha members whose scope of work and horizon of vision are limited and perennially lacking in the national context. All Provincial Council administrations, except perhaps in the Northern Province, are blindly subservient to the ‘Center’, treating the terrain as a breeding ground for corrupt and nepotistic practices rather than for future parliamentarians.

Those who are already warming the governing seats in these councils are running amok, as was seen in the last five years and paying ‘puja’ to, as Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke quite rightly called, the “family politburo’ in order to receive more favorable grants and wishes for their own unsophisticated advancement.

It is in that context that the leaders of the UNP and JHU should look at the forthcoming Presidential Elections. It is incumbent upon them, if they are really serious about displacing the current President from office, to explore all possibilities, not just one or two, to secure an electoral victory at the Presidential Elections. What does Ranil have to do and what does Champika have to accomplish in order to come to a common understanding and launch a combined effort to achieve victory?
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe and Champika Ranawaka Must Engage and Bring the UNP and JHU Together.’ »

Dr.Subramanian Swamy wants India’s Highest National Honour “Bharat Ratna” to be Conferred on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for Eliminating the LTTE.

New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his government confer Bharat Ratna on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa under whose leadership the LTTE was eliminated.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Subramanian Swamy wants India’s Highest National Honour “Bharat Ratna” to be Conferred on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for Eliminating the LTTE.’ »

Saying 54 Committed Suicide&139 Died of Heart Attack Due to her Arrest,Jayalalithaa Orders 300,000 Rupees to each Family.

Putting up a brave front, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa on Sunday assured party workers that she will come out of the present case as she had successfully faced many challenges, saying her “public life amounted to swimming in a sea of inferno.”

In her first statement after walking out of the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison at Bangalore on Saturday, the former chief minister said she had been facing challenges in life for long.

“I have successfully come out of them. With your love and the grand support of the people of Tamil Nadu by my side, I am not going to be cowed down or lose heart,” said Ms. Jayalalithaa, who was sentenced to four years in prison in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.

Continue reading ‘Saying 54 Committed Suicide&139 Died of Heart Attack Due to her Arrest,Jayalalithaa Orders 300,000 Rupees to each Family.’ »

Rajapaksa Regime Continues to Increase Fuel,Electricity and Gas Prices after Winning Every Election”-Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Dharisha Bastians

The United National Party had built a middle class in Sri Lanka that the Rajapaksa administration has destroyed over the past decade, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe charged yesterday.

Speaking to UNP polling agents in Kotte yesterday, Wickremesinghe claimed that while President Mahinda Rajapaksa had promised that the savings from concluding the war would be passed on as a dividend to the people, this had not transpired.

“The middle class, the common people and the farmers find it very difficult to survive today. After winning every election, the Rajapaksa regime claimed it had obtained a mandate from the people, and continued to increase fuel, electricity and gas prices,” the Opposition Leader said.

He added that all the while, members of the Rajapaksa administration had been living the high life.

The Opposition Leader reiterated his demand for a Rs. 10,000 wage hike for public servants and up to 25% reductions in electricity tariffs.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksa Regime Continues to Increase Fuel,Electricity and Gas Prices after Winning Every Election”-Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Superstar Rajnikanth Writes to Jailed-bailed Jayalalithaa Greeting her as “respected Jayalalithaaji”and wishing her “Happy Deepavali”.

By
B. Aravind Kumar & Sruthisagar Yamunan

JJRK

A very personal and touching greetings by actor Rajinikanth and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi to AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Sunday have given a jolt to Tamil Nadu BJP.

In his letter, Mr. Rajinikanth, who is being wooed by the State BJP for several months now, said he was “very glad” to see her, a neighbour, back home in Poes Garden.

Addressing her as “Respected Jayalalithaaji,” he said he was praying for good times for her. “Always wishing you well for good health and peace,” he signed off with a ‘happy Deepavali’ greeting.

AIADMK leaders view it as a gracious, humane gesture and point out that the sympathy to her extended outside the cadre base, including those in high places.

With the BJP trying hard to rope him in to provide an iconic face to it, he could have extended his greetings to her in an effort to ward off any possible hindrance to the release of his movie Lingaa slated for a December release.

Continue reading ‘Superstar Rajnikanth Writes to Jailed-bailed Jayalalithaa Greeting her as “respected Jayalalithaaji”and wishing her “Happy Deepavali”.’ »

Govt charge that Ranil Wickremesinghe met LTTE Diaspora Representatives is”an Outright Lie” states UNP Leadership council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya M.P.

By

Dharisha Bastians

The United National Party has hit out against allegations by the Government that the main opposition party had been involved in a recent court ruling lifting sanctions against the LTTE in the European Union, calling it petty politicking for the forthcoming election season.

UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said in a statement issued yesterday that the European Court of Justice ruling relaxing the terror controls on the LTTE was a failure of the Government, which should appeal the ruling legally by making submissions to the court.

“The UNP has never held a soft position towards the LTTE. Even the simplest minds will understand that if that were true, the LTTE had no reason to enforce a boycott to ensure the defeat of an UNP candidate at the 2005 presidential election,” Jayasuriya said in a media statement.

Continue reading ‘Govt charge that Ranil Wickremesinghe met LTTE Diaspora Representatives is”an Outright Lie” states UNP Leadership council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya M.P.’ »

Pvt Transport Minister C.B.Ratnayake Admits Lifting of EU Ban on LTTE will Boost Mahinda’s Election Campaign while Collecting Signatures for Petition against the move.

By

Franklin R. Satyapalan

Minister of Private Transport C.B. Ratnayake said yesterday that the European Court of Justice decision to lift the European Union Ban on the LTTE would have adverse effect on the initiatives taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to establish peace in the country. It would however unwittingly boost President Rajapaks’a bid to retain the presidency for a third term.

The minister who represents the Nuwara Eliya District is spearheading a campaign to collect 18 million signatures of Sri Lankans from Dondra to Point Pedro against lifting of the EU ban on the LTTE.

Continue reading ‘Pvt Transport Minister C.B.Ratnayake Admits Lifting of EU Ban on LTTE will Boost Mahinda’s Election Campaign while Collecting Signatures for Petition against the move.’ »

UPFA Gen Secy and Cabinet Minister Susil Premjayantha Confirms Presidential Election will be held in January 2015.


by

Maheesha Mudugamuwa

UPFA General Secretary and Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premjayantha yesterday confirmed that the presidential election would take place in January next year.

Addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Head Office in Colombo he said that the election would not be an issue for the scheduled visit of Pope Francis from January 13 to 15.

He also said that the SLFP had started its election campaign last month and stressed that it had an early preparedness for elections as usual.

Continue reading ‘UPFA Gen Secy and Cabinet Minister Susil Premjayantha Confirms Presidential Election will be held in January 2015.’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran sends out Confusing and Contradictory Signals to India.

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

In a single stroke, Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Tamil Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran seems to have sent out confusing and contradictory signals to India. On the one hand, he wants India to play an active role in finding a ‘political solution’ to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. On the other, he boycotted the India-funded Colombo-Jaffna railway inauguration.

It was the second Wigneswaran-type ‘boycott’ of India, citing the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the reason – however justified or otherwise that be. Earlier, he had stayed away from the Sri Lankan delegation at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration in May 2014.

The boycott at the time owed not to who had invited him for participation – the Sri Lankan Government, and not the Indian counterpart. Such a line might have been justified, even if only up to a point. It owed near-exclusively to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa heading the nation’s delegation – as was to have been the wont.

In his own way at the time, President Rajapaksa had sent out a signal to the Tamils of Sri Lanka – maybe, as they had apprehended, for India and the rest of the world to witness – when he invited Chief Ministr Wigneswaran (among the nine in the country) to join his Delhi delegation. In his own way, President Rajapaksa was also sending out a positive signal to India, by inviting Justice Wigneswaran to be on that delegation.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran sends out Confusing and Contradictory Signals to India.’ »

Jan 2015 Visit by Pope Francis to Sri Lanka may not take place if Presidential Elections are Scheduled a month before or after Pope Coming to Island.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis


Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, has sought President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s early advice whether the visit of Pope Francis should go ahead or be cancelled in the light of the upcoming presidential election. The three-day visit is scheduled to begin on January 13 next year.

The request has gone in the form of a letter sent to President Rajapaksa this week. The Cardinal told the Sunday Times, “I wrote a confidential letter. I cannot tell you anything more. I am awaiting a response.”

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith


Continue reading ‘Jan 2015 Visit by Pope Francis to Sri Lanka may not take place if Presidential Elections are Scheduled a month before or after Pope Coming to Island.’ »

Loan Conditions Eased by China in Return for Operating rights to four berths in Hambantota harbour Next Year


By Namini Wijedasa

SLC31412

News that Sri Lanka had granted Chinese state-owned companies operating rights to four berths at the Hambantota Port once they are completed next year has caught the shipping industry unawares.

There had been no tenders or prior announcements. But Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath B Wickrama says the Government had agreed to such an arrangement with the Hambantota Port’s Chinese lenders as far back as 2010.

“We had an understanding with them when we took the loan,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Times. The loan agreement was signed with the Treasury.

He also revealed that, in exchange for these operating rights, the Chinese have consented to ease loan conditions. “That loan was a huge loan,” he said. “The Chinese Government (has) agreed to relax the loan conditions as well. So the terms of our Phase I loan and Phase II loan are being rearranged. Those negotiations are now ongoing with the Treasury.”

Continue reading ‘Loan Conditions Eased by China in Return for Operating rights to four berths in Hambantota harbour Next Year’ »

Govt Officials in North Boycott Opening of Mobile Service by Chief Minister Because Wigneswaran Boycotted President Rajapaksa.

Central Government officials boycotted a Northern Provincial Council mobile service, in what has been described as tit-for-tat, after Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneshwaran kept away from the District Development Council (DDC) meeting presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Jaffna on Monday.

Chief Minister at Muruganantha college-Sep 8, 2014

Chief Minister at Muruganantha college-Kilinochchi-Sep 8, 2014

The mobile service was organised in Nedunkerny in Vavuniya to resolve public problems related to land, passports, birth and death certificates and development activities among others. It was held on Friday and Saturday. However, only NPC officials took part in the event, while Central Government officials from Vavuniya kept away.

Vavuniya’s District Secretary Bandula Harishchandra said the mobile service was arranged without the consent of the Governor and the Chief Secretary, and hence, the officials did not attend the event.

“They should have consulted the Governor or the Chief Secretary, who in turn would have contacted us to make the arrangements,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Govt Officials in North Boycott Opening of Mobile Service by Chief Minister Because Wigneswaran Boycotted President Rajapaksa.’ »

UNP Formulates 7 Point Minimum Common Programme for Enlisting Support to Contest Presidential Elections

UNP8712


The poll fever at last has extended to the main Opposition. The United National Party is also making a strong effort to go into election mode. One of the moves the party initiated this week is a shift in posture. It now wants it known that it has still not formally named a presidential candidate and a decision is pending.

This is in marked contrast to the discussion at the so-called G-20 meeting in the Parliament complex on October 10. Except for Daya Gamage, a financier of the UNP and its national organiser, all others in this group are MPs. The group has been named by leader Wickremesinghe to deal with matters related to the presidential election. This is including all media activity.

At that meeting Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa moved that the party should immediately announce that Wickremesinghe should be the party’s presidential candidate. The proposal was strongly endorsed by General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and Rosie Senanayake MP. However, as revealed in these columns last week, Wickremesinghe was not in favour of the move. He said such an announcement should only be made after the official proclamation was made. This assertion left little doubt that eventually Wickremesinghe would be the UNP’s presidential candidate.


Why then is a change in posture?

Continue reading ‘UNP Formulates 7 Point Minimum Common Programme for Enlisting Support to Contest Presidential Elections’ »

“A Pure Tomorrow Movement” Athureliye Rathana Thera’s “Ultimatum to President rajapaksa is Backed by Jathika Hela Urumaya

JHU020713


It is less than a handful who could muster such a political event with the hierarchy of the Government and the main Opposition in attendance.If that was a feat last Tuesday, the blunt message delivered by the convener was unsurpassed. A touch of irony was that it came from a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) partner, a live wire that espoused the cause of the majority Sinhala-Buddhist people in the ruling coalition.



Venerable Athureliye Rathana Thera,
founder of Pivithuru Hetak (A Pure Tomorrow) issued an ultimatum to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the upcoming presidential election should not be held without amendments to the Constitution first. Charging that the conduct of such election had neither been discussed with partners in the UPFA nor the Cabinet of Ministers, he demanded that, “polls should be according to the laws of the country and not according to an individual’s astrological charts.” He warned that “We will do everything possible, Sathyagrahas and protests included.”


Adding weight to Ven. Rathana Thera’s ultimatum is that he is a key player in the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and one of its MPs. His party is fully behind him. The JHU, whose annual convention takes place today, is set to endorse the new movement’s plan of action. Thus it will become part of the JHU’s own efforts too. Immediately thereafter a party delegation is set to meet President Rajapaksa next week to discuss the demands.

Continue reading ‘“A Pure Tomorrow Movement” Athureliye Rathana Thera’s “Ultimatum to President rajapaksa is Backed by Jathika Hela Urumaya’ »

Resumption of Train Service Provides Northern Farmers and Fishers Fresh Opportunities to Market Their Produce Effectively.

By

Arjuna Hulugalle

For those who have ceaselessly worked over the years to maintain the integrity of the country in its broadest sense, seeing the old, the young and the children waving the national flag gave hope for Peace, Unity and Stability in our nation. The train to Jaffna had brought with it a long awaited mutation and answered a deep seated yearning of all the “common” people from North, South, East and West. It is now for the leaders not to fail them.

Yal Devi at Jaffna-Oct 13, 2014-

Yal Devi at Jaffna-Oct 13, 2014-pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

Hardly, forty eight hours passed after the train service was inaugurated when the farmers of the Northern Province, a set of practical men and women saw a new vista which had eluded them for years. The Train was a new life line. The Northern Farmer and fishermen is a tribe of diligent men. The Train if used properly will give them a boost, which no hand out of the Government or an NGO can achieve. It is regaining their self respect by trading the fruits of their labour with markets that need them. It was so before the war and it could be so even now.

Continue reading ‘Resumption of Train Service Provides Northern Farmers and Fishers Fresh Opportunities to Market Their Produce Effectively.’ »

Travelling by Train Between North and South in the good old days without any Fanfare


by

A C B Pethiyagoda

pic courtesy of:  yamu.lk

pic courtesy of: yamu.lk

“Jaffna, here I come” proclaims President Mahinda Rajapaksa with arms lifted high as the Yal Devi Express comes into the Jaffna Railway Station after a lapse of 24 years. This was the caption of the front page picture in The Island newspaper on Tuesday 14 with all other newspapers and TV news channels highlighting this glad news. My first thought on seeing these pictures was that I had approached the rail station and alighted from the Jaffna train very many times long ago, with of course no fanfare. All of us Lankans are glad this link with the northern peninsula has been restored and grateful to the Indian subsidiary IRCON International which restored the line in three stages: Omanthai to Kilinochchi; Kilinochchi to Pallai and then to Jaffna.

The Jaffna Night Mail

My mind went back to my first train trip to Jaffna about sixty years ago as a teenager when I studied for the Higher School Certificate Examination (HSC) in agriculture at Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai, after successfully passing the Senior School Certificate Exam from Trinity College Kandy. After that initial journey, within a span of two years, I was a fairly frequent traveler in the Night Mail to Jaffna, (no Devi or Royalty then!). It was heavily patronized by Jaffna men working in Colombo and elsewhere in the South with their families left behind in their places of birth in the Peninsula.

I would entrain from the Fort Railway Station around 6.00 o’clock in the evening. Needless to say I traveled third class with uncushioned wooden seats relatively uncrowded unless it was a weekend with a public holiday attached at either end. There was the first class carriage with its immaculately upholstered seats and berths covered in white; the second class compartments with comfortable sleeperettes and a fine restaurant car catering to these two classes with good China and silver plated cutlery. I cannot recall the exact price of the ticket, but I am certain it was less than fifty rupees – third class. The journey took approximately twelve hours.

Continue reading ‘Travelling by Train Between North and South in the good old days without any Fanfare’ »

Why President Rajapaksa is Disqualified to Contest Presidential Polls a Third time.


By

Dr Reeza Hameed

President Rajapakse’s eligibility to seek a third term as President has become a contentious issue ever since former Chief Justice Sarath Silva declared several weeks ago that President Rajapakse is legally barred from contesting a third time. Some commentators have challenged Sarath Silva’s views and Chinthaka Mendis was one of them (see Chinthaka Mendis, ‘Why Sarath Silva is wrong’, September 14, 2014, The Island). In my view, Sarath Silva is right in his assertion that President Rajapakse is disqualified from bidding for a third term and that the Eighteenth Amendment did not remove the disqualification to which he became subject no sooner he was elected for a second term.

pic via: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

pic via: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

The view that President Rajapakse is disqualified to contest a third term follows from a reading of the Constitution as amended by the Eighteenth Amendment, read together with the Interpretation Ordinance. A correct interpretation of the Constitution would lead one to the conclusion that the Eighteenth Amendment was only prospective in its operation and despite that amendment President Rajapakse’s disqualification continues.

Continue reading ‘Why President Rajapaksa is Disqualified to Contest Presidential Polls a Third time.’ »

European Conspiracy to Condemn Sri Lanka for Human Rights Violations while Removing Ban on the LTTE

by

C.A.Chandraprema

EU12712

The fact that the General Court of the European Court of Justice has rendered invalid the listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organization in the EU has caused much consternation in Sri Lanka. It has to be noted that bodies like the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights often deliver judgments that cause much distress in member states of the EU itself so it’s hardly surprising that we would find one of their rulings disconcerting.

The decisions of these courts is one of the main reasons why the Conservative government in Britain is promising to have a referendum before the end of 2017 to decide whether Britain is going to remain a member of the EU or not. Reading the judgment of the ECJ, it appears on the face of it that the EU Council did put up a fight to keep the LTTE on the list of terrorist organizations and subject to financial sanctions and asset freezes. But certain circumstances makes one wonder whether there was some unholy collusion within the EU structure to have the ban on the LTTE lifted.

Back in 2006 when the EU finally made the decision to include the LTTE in its list of terrorist organizations it was amidst great reluctance on the part of some EU states. Mangala Samaraweera was then the foreign minister of the UPFA government and it was he who was involved in the negotiations with the EU states to have the LTTE declared a terrorist organization. It had been an uphill struggle all the way and the LTTE would never have been declared a terrorist organization in the EU if not for the unstinting support of the last Republican government in the USA.

Continue reading ‘European Conspiracy to Condemn Sri Lanka for Human Rights Violations while Removing Ban on the LTTE’ »

UNP must get all opposition parties to support the UNP nominee for Presidential elections as the common candidate.


By

C.A.Chandraprema

It now seems almost a certainty that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will be contesting Mahinda Rajapaksa even though the UNP’s decision making bodies have not yet made a formal decision to that effect. Those who were in favour of the UNP leader contesting the presidential poll under the green colour and the elephant symbol expect thereby to rally support for the party countrywide and capitalize on the recovery seen in the Badulla district at the recent Uva PC elections. They also entertain the hope of victory if the overwhelming majority of the minority vote comes to the UNP. There was (and still is) another school of thought in the party that in order to ensure victory, all the political parties in the South like the JVP and Fonseka’s party also have to be taken on board and if what is required for this is to field a candidate from outside the political party system that everyone can agree on, then the party should make the sacrifice and take a step backwards and support the common candidate. The latter group also argues that if the objective is to abolish the executive presidency, then there is no point on insisting on a UNP candidate for what would essentially be an interim presidency to abolish the institution.

The latter group’s argument certainly has logic to it. But what they have not considered is what would happen if the so called common candidate from outside the party system is defeated. As of now, this group is so sure of victory if a common candidate acceptable to all parties is fielded, that they are willing to risk everything on one massive wager. But they have to ask themselves whether the risk is worth it. If the UNP agrees on a common candidate from outside for a second time and loses, that will have a devastating impact on the party. At the parliamentary elections that follow upon the presidential election, the UNP will be decimated and it may take another ten years to recover from a blow like that. Besides for a national party to encourage their rank and file to vote outside the party is suicidal. The SLFP has never encouraged their members to vote for outsiders at national elections. In 1994, Chandrika Kumaratunga collected small parties around herself, instead of asking her party to vote for some common candidate outside the party.

Continue reading ‘UNP must get all opposition parties to support the UNP nominee for Presidential elections as the common candidate.’ »

President Rajapaksa sending clear signals to Sinhala-Buddhist constituency that he is standing between Sri Lanka and Tamil separatism

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

In Paris, April 8, 2009-pic: Geoff Wong

In Paris, April 8, 2009-pic: Geoff Wong

The decision of Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran to boycott all functions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his politico-administrative turf seems to have been born out of sheer Tamil frustration at not being able to get their constitutional due under 13-A. So should be the Northern Provincial Council decision in not associating with the presidential visit. It’s only half true, though.

In the reverse, continual attempts by President Rajapaksa to reach out to the Tamils of the war-torn North should be seen as the Government’s desperation at wanting to do the right thing by the community, to whatever extent possible. In this, the role of the President as the Head of the Sri Lankan State should not be confused with his political role as the leader of the ruling SLFP-UPFA. This does not mean that the Government has done enough.

Nor should the Tamil thinking, as always in the post-war years, be limited to the incumbent’s intentions to run for a third term in a row, after amending the Constitution to facilitate the same after re-election in 2010. If so, they are in danger of misunderstanding the limited or larger signals emanating from the majority Sinhala-Buddhist polity. The latter is not confined to either President Rajapaksa or the SLFP-UPFA combine.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa sending clear signals to Sinhala-Buddhist constituency that he is standing between Sri Lanka and Tamil separatism’ »

“Ravana Balaya” Buddhist Monks led by Saddhatissa Thera Clash with Foreign Employment Bureau Chairman Amal Senadhilankara.

By

Nirmala Kannangara

General Secretary of Ravana Balaya, Ven. Saddhatissa Thera accused the management of Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) of failing to ensure the safety of migrant workers in Middle East countries.

Following last Thursday’s incident at the SLBFE where the Buddhist monks led by Saddhatissa Thera had a heated argument with the Bureau Chairman Amal Senadhilankara over the issues faced by the migrant workers in the Middle East countries, Saddhatissa Thera said that Senadhilankara was over agitated as he (Saddhatissa Thera) had to reveal the truth of the fate of our migrant workers in the Middle East countries.

“All our attempts to meet Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera to discuss these issues failed and that was why we informed SLBFE Chairman’s office that we want to meet him.

Continue reading ‘“Ravana Balaya” Buddhist Monks led by Saddhatissa Thera Clash with Foreign Employment Bureau Chairman Amal Senadhilankara.’ »

Sajin Vaas Gunawardane Keeps Silent when Journalists asked him about Chris Nonis assault Incident and not Getting an Audience with Pope.

By

Hemanth De Silva

External Affairs Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardane said yesterday the EU decision to lift the ban on the LTTE was a shot in the arm for the LTTE and the diaspora.

He told a media conference held at the Balapitiya SLFP head office that with this decision all EU members would regard the LTTE as a legitimate organization.

Mr. Gunawardane remained mum when journalists asked him about his alleged assault on former Sri Lankan High Commissioner Chris Nonis and on reports that he was not allowed to the Vatican during the recent visit by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Sajin Vaas Gunawardane Keeps Silent when Journalists asked him about Chris Nonis assault Incident and not Getting an Audience with Pope.’ »

Jayalalithaa not released from Jail on Friday as Court Order did not reach on time but release scheduled for Saturday.

As soon as news of Jayalalithaa’s bail reached them, jubilant All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadre gathered outside the Parappana Agrahara, Central prison complex on Friday. They were desperate to catch a glimpse of their general secretary by evening, but were in for yet another disappointment as the formalities for her release could not be completed in time.

Former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa arrives at the HAL Airport after being released on bail from Central Prison at Parappana Agrahara in Bangalore on Saturday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash-courtesy: The Hindu

Former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa arrives at the HAL Airport after being released on bail from Central Prison at Parappana Agrahara in Bangalore on Saturday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash-courtesy: The Hindu

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Prisons) P.M. Jayasimha said: “Ms. Jayalalithaa could not be released from prison on Friday since we did not get the court orders in time. Her release is an eventuality on Saturday.”

He added that he met her on Friday after she was granted bail. “She was calm and her health is also fine,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Jayalalithaa not released from Jail on Friday as Court Order did not reach on time but release scheduled for Saturday.’ »

Breaking 3 week Silence, Jayalalithaa From Jail, asks AIADMK Cadre not to Defame Judiciary and Appeals for Calm.

By

B. Aravind Kumar

Breaking her nearly three-week long silence since she was lodged in a Bangalore prison after being convicted by a special court there in the assets case, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Friday evening called upon her party cadre not to say or do anything that could besmirch the Judiciary’s majesty at any level, and help in upholding peace and order in Tamil Nadu.

In an appeal from jail following her lawyer’s assurance to the court, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that as the leader of the party founded by M.G. Ramachandran and one that was inspired by the ideals of C.N. Annadurai, she continued her service in public life by drawing strength from the path shown by the party’s founder-leaders to “have the heart to bear any adversity.”

Jayalalithaa asks cadre not to defame judiciary

Ms. Jayalalithaa has asked party workers not to defame the judiciary and help to maintain law and order in the State.

Continue reading ‘Breaking 3 week Silence, Jayalalithaa From Jail, asks AIADMK Cadre not to Defame Judiciary and Appeals for Calm.’ »

India, Sri Lanka and the Legacy of the British Empire:Review of Harshan Kumarasingham’s A Political Legacy of the British Empire


By

Kalana Senaratne

In our long discussions about Sri Lanka’s post-independence political history, India’s large shadow falls inevitably upon us, bringing with it a curious and mixed effect; it is both alarming and inspiring at times, but also quite disheartening and dispiriting on other occasions. We were both part of the British Empire, both Mother Lanka and Mother India, but an analysis of our respective post-colonial histories shows the contrast; and as a consequence, there is, somewhere in the air, a sense of jealousy too, drifting from here to there. How differently have we grown since then, how strangely have we acted and reacted, and in what mysterious and frightening ways have our paths crossed over the past few decades?

It is the crucial first decade of this post-independence story which forms the central topic of Harshan Kumarasingham’s wonderful work, entitled: A Political Legacy of the British Empire: Power and the Parliamentary System in Post-Colonial India and Sri Lanka. Published in 2013, the book examines this first decade of, what Kumarasingham calls, the two “Eastminsters”; i.e. countries which altered and adapted the Westminster system to suit their own soil while maintaining core Westminster institutions and conventions (p. VIII). The emphasis placed on this first decade is most apt, for he correctly considers those years to be forming the “critical juncture period” which led to “path dependent” outcomes. Certainly, the manner in which the political leaders intervened in the political affairs of their respective countries has come to have a lasting effect.

Continue reading ‘India, Sri Lanka and the Legacy of the British Empire:Review of Harshan Kumarasingham’s A Political Legacy of the British Empire’ »

Enough Reason to Sack SB Dissanayake-In Another Country,In Another Time…..

BY
MALINDA SENEVIRATN​E

There are those in which world who don’t mince their words. Being forthright has its pluses and minuses. Honesty is rewarded but then again in this day and age deceit is far more profitable. A silver tongue that is owned by a person of integrity is quite potent. The Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake is not such a man.

He doesn’t mince his words, this everyone knows. Integrity is not his strongest suit. He has a loose tongue which has got him into trouble many times, even earning him a jail sentence on one occasion. Just the other day, after students of Sabaragamuwa University tried to block him from attending the opening of a new hostel, ‘SB’ blurted out, ‘ඡන්ද කාලේ නිසා ඉවසනවා…නැත්තම් අට්ටාලවලට සලකන හැටි අපි දන්නවා’ (we are restraining ourselves because it is election time…or else, we know how to ‘treat’ these “shelters” [where students conduct satyagrahas]).

He was able to attend the function thanks to the road being cleared by water cannons. A few days later some thugs ‘treated’ the attalaya and some students whom he had earlier referred to as flies, ants and leeches (මුන් මැස්සෝ කූඩැල්ලෝ කූඹියෝ). They were assaulted. The ‘Attaalaya’ was destroyed. Few would believe that SB didn’t have a hand in all this. And this, going by SB’s un-minced words and what they implied was ‘soft stuff’ (in view of impending elections). We can only imagine what kind of ‘treatment’ the likes of SB have dished out and envisage dishing out in other times.

Continue reading ‘Enough Reason to Sack SB Dissanayake-In Another Country,In Another Time…..’ »

Referendum to Establish Independent Tamil Country must be held in Tamil Nadu State of India and not in Sri Lanka.

By

Udaya P. Gammanpila

The Scottish Government held a referendum on 18 September 2014, to seek public opinion on gaining independence from the United Kingdom. Fifty five per cent of the people voted against independence at that referendum. Inspired by this referendum, Tamil separatists now propose holding a similar referendum in the North and East of Sri Lanka, to determine the declaration of a separate State called Tamil Eelam. Although Sri Lankan media have not paid adequate attention to this move, it has now become a hot topic in international media. Hence, it is pertinent to analyze the relevance of that Scottish referendum in Sri Lanka.

Scotland is a very old country which possesses evidence of human habitats since 12,000 years ago. It emerged as a nation in the 5th century. By the 18th century, it had developed as a commercial, industrial and intellectual hub in Europe. The 18th century was so fateful for Scotland that it disappeared from the world map as a result of the Scottish king becoming the king of England as well. In fact, royal gain was a loss to the nation.

Continue reading ‘Referendum to Establish Independent Tamil Country must be held in Tamil Nadu State of India and not in Sri Lanka.’ »

Inapproriate Attempt to Rename Elphinstone Theatre After Gamini Fonseka is a Cheap Bid for Political Popularity.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

It is easy to recall the quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet.”

We seem to be increasingly obsessed with the changing of names, whether the new names have any relevance to a place or event, or not; and there is nothing sweet about this whole idea.

The latest in this name change craze is the news that once the refurbishing of the Elphinstone Theatre at Maradana is completed it is to be named Gamini Fonseka Theatre or Rangahala, in memory of that great star of the Sinhala cinema.

Continue reading ‘Inapproriate Attempt to Rename Elphinstone Theatre After Gamini Fonseka is a Cheap Bid for Political Popularity.’ »

Newly Restored Northern Trains Earn 3 Million Rupees in Four Days but there is no Huge Profit.

By

Sanath Desmond and Lahiru Pothmulla

The Railway Department has earned over Rs. 3 million in four days from trains running along the newly-restored northern line to Jaffna, Superintendent of Railways G.W. Sisira Kumara said.

He said the average income from the air-conditioned inter-city express was Rs. 5 lakhs. “This is a generous income. We get a fair income from the normal express trains as well,” he said.

This however had not earned in a huge profit for the department, he said. “We can cover maintenance costs with this money but there is no huge profit. This is a service to the people by the government,” Mr. Kumara said.

Continue reading ‘Newly Restored Northern Trains Earn 3 Million Rupees in Four Days but there is no Huge Profit.’ »

“Elections Commissioner who Deprived me of Voting Rights is a Scarecrow and a Disgrace to Ambalangoda People” says General Sarath Fonseka


by

Kamal Bogoda

SF82512

Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) and former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that depriving him of his right to exercise his franchise by the Elections Commissioner with a presidential election on the horizon demonstrated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scared of facing him in a presidential contest.

Addressing a news conference at Kotte, the war winning general challenged President Rajapaksa to face him at the forthcoming presidential election.

“The Democratic Party will not give in to the repressive action of the President and his cohorts and there are persons in our party who could garner more votes than I and we will take a decision to field one of them as a presidential candidate if the need arises and the Democratic Party will do everything necessary to oust Rajapaksa,” Fonseka vowed.

Continue reading ‘“Elections Commissioner who Deprived me of Voting Rights is a Scarecrow and a Disgrace to Ambalangoda People” says General Sarath Fonseka’ »

Former Army Chief and Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka to be Disenfranchised by Elections Commissioner on Advice from Attorney-General.

By

Ranjan Kasthuri

pic via: facebook.com/sarathfonseka

pic via: facebook.com/sarathfonseka

The name of Sarath Fonseka the former army commander and the leader of the Democratic Party is to be removed from the voters list by the Election Commissioner on the instructions of the Attorney General.

This decision had been taken after the Elections Commissioner requested Attorney General for a ruling on whether Mr. Fonseka was entitled to vote.

Continue reading ‘Former Army Chief and Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka to be Disenfranchised by Elections Commissioner on Advice from Attorney-General.’ »

How Jayalalithaa Sparkled on Silver Screen in her Actress Avatar as Uncrowned Queen of Tamil Cinema.

by

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The recent conviction and consequent imprisonment of Jayalalithaa Jayaram on charges of acquiring disproportionate wealth during her past term of office (1991-96) has resulted in the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister being under media spotlight for many days now. This week’s ‘Spotlight’ column too will be about Jayalalithaa but the focus will be on certain aspects of her family background, early life and scintillating career as a film star and not on her politics or present plight.

JJM

People looking at her physical corpulence – which may be a sign of her ill-gotten opulence – would not believe that the rotund lady of today was at one time slim and lissom. Indeed she was and a ravishing beauty too! As a sparkling actress on the silver screen, Jayalalithaa was the uncrowned queen of Tamil cinema during the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies of the last century. She was the dream girl of many a teenager and the favourite pin-up star of myriad fans.
Continue reading ‘How Jayalalithaa Sparkled on Silver Screen in her Actress Avatar as Uncrowned Queen of Tamil Cinema.’ »

As it happened: a minute-by-minute account of Jayalalithaa bail hearing

By

Krishnadas Rajagopal

10.30 am: The First Court of the country presided by a bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu and Justices Madan B. Lokur and A.K. Sikri assembles for the day. The courtroom is jam-packed. Many lawyers from Tamil Nadu and AIADMK cadre present in the inner sanctum of the court and also visitors’ gallery.

IMG_8393.PNG

11.30 am: Senior advocate Fali S. Nariman, for former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, enters the courtroom in his quiet fashion. Lawyers make way as the senior advocate proceeds to the front row reserved for lawyers in the inner sanctum. He is accompanied by senior advocate KTS Tulsi, who represents two of the accused.

11.40 am: Item 65 on the board is called. Arguments commence with Mr. Nariman driving right into the Karnataka High Court’s bail order. He says the High Court judge has committed an error. Says the High Court refers to the 2012 case law – State of Maharashtra Through CBI, Anti Corruption Branch, Mumbai vs. Balakrishna Dattatrya Kumbhar – which deals with stay of conviction and not suspension of sentence.

Continue reading ‘As it happened: a minute-by-minute account of Jayalalithaa bail hearing’ »

Supreme Court Stays Sentence and Grants Bail to Jayalalithaa,Sashikala, Ilavarasi&Sudhakaran While Subramanian Swamy Tells Court he faces Threat.

by

J.Venkatesan &Krishnadas Rajagopal

In a big relief to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered her release on bail in the Rs. 66.65 crores disproportionate assets case in which she was sentenced to undergo four years’ simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100 crores.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justices Madan B. Lokur and A.K. Sikri also granted bail to the three other accused Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi on their furnishing two solvent sureties to the satisfaction of the special judge, Bangalore. The Bench stayed the operation of the sentence imposed by the trial court on the four accused.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Stays Sentence and Grants Bail to Jayalalithaa,Sashikala, Ilavarasi&Sudhakaran While Subramanian Swamy Tells Court he faces Threat.’ »

Jailed Tamil Nadu Ex-Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Granted Interim Bail till December 18th by Supreme Court

By

Krishnadas Rajagopal

AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, who was sentenced to four years’ simple imprisonment and imposed a Rs. 100-crore fine for her offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on Friday.

The interim bail is applicable till December 18, 2014. The Chief Justice has asked for paperbook to be ready by then, after which a date will be set for the appeal hearing.

“Not a day’s time more will be given after December 18,” Chief Justice of India Dattu said

Continue reading ‘Jailed Tamil Nadu Ex-Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Granted Interim Bail till December 18th by Supreme Court’ »

“No one can ever call Ranil Wickremesinghe a Rogue, a Racist or an Undemocratic Person-Harin Fernando

By

Chamitha Kuruppu

The UNP’s biggest stumbling block has been the deep divisions within the party, especially between the Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa factions, said newly-appointed Deputy National Organiser of the United National Party and Opposition Leader of the Uva Province Harin Fernando.
“Sajith Premadasa’s re-entry and appointment as the Deputy Leader is indeed a positive move and a popular choice, for which I have been personally lobbying. Everybody is watching and expecting Sajith Premadasa to work tirelessly to establish credibility among his supporters and lead the party to a resounding victory,” Fernando asserted, in an interview with the Daily FT.

Following are excerpts:

Continue reading ‘“No one can ever call Ranil Wickremesinghe a Rogue, a Racist or an Undemocratic Person-Harin Fernando’ »

“I am the only Sinhala Speaking Tamil Politician Recognized by the Sinhala People too”-Mano Ganesan

By

C.A.Chandraprema


Leader of the Democratic People’s Front and former Colombo district parliamentarian Mano Ganesan who now commands over 15% of the Colombo city vote speaks to C.A.Chandraprema about his choice of a common opposition candidate for the forthcoming presidential election and the logic of ethnicity based politics.

Q. If we start off from the most important current controversy, are you in favour of an apolitical common candidate from outside the party system or are you willing to support a UNP candidate at the forthcoming presidential election?

A. The candidates have been shortlisted now. The apolitical candidate is Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera and the political candidate is Ranil Wickremesinghe. As a party leader in the opposition, I cannot commit myself to a candidate at this moment. A common understanding has not been arrived at yet.

Q. In your view, who would have a better chance of defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe or Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera?

A. Both have the ability of winning as the common opposition candidate. We are now close to finalising a decision on the candidate. But I cannot divulge anything now. I can say that both Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera will play important roles in the common opposition. The UNP cannot think of defeating Mahinda on its own. In fact Mahinda is also not contesting alone but with an alliance. So the UNP needs to get accustomed to the culture of political alliances.

Continue reading ‘“I am the only Sinhala Speaking Tamil Politician Recognized by the Sinhala People too”-Mano Ganesan’ »

AIADMK Elements Target Judges and Defame Judiciary for Sentencing their “Goddess”Jayalalithaa to Jail for Corruption

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

Can courts punish popular leaders for offences under the law?

That is the question that is being debated by supporters of former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa following her conviction by a special court in Bangalore which handed down a four-year jail term and Rs 100 crore fine on her in a corruption case.

That is also the kind of defence the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supporters and sympathisers are proffering over the violent protests unleashed across Tamil Nadu, and to a much lesser extent in Bangalore, following her conviction and imprisonment, saying it was an inevitable consequence of a member of the subordinate judiciary punishing a mass leader.

But that cannot explain the cadre conduct. It cannot explain away why those cadres read meanings and motives into the judgment, and made defamatory statements on television and in posters that they had plastered all across the state.

Continue reading ‘AIADMK Elements Target Judges and Defame Judiciary for Sentencing their “Goddess”Jayalalithaa to Jail for Corruption’ »

TULF Gen-Secy V. Aanandasangaree Welcomes Resumption of Trains to North and Thanks President Rajapaksa for Returning Jewellery to the People.

(Full text of an open letter sent by Veerasingham Aanandasangaree, Secretary General of the Tamil United Liberation Front(TUL to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa)

“His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse
President of Sri Lanka

Your Excellency,

Official Visit to the North

I wish you all success in your historical three day visit to the North.

Commencement of the Yarl Devi train service to and from Jaffna and the implementation of certain important projects are very much welcomed by the people of the North.

Whatever valuable and useful project you may undertake in the North, the Tamil people may not give you any credit until you make the Tamils genuinely feel that you are the President not only for the North and East but of the entire country and that you are treating every one equally.

Continue reading ‘TULF Gen-Secy V. Aanandasangaree Welcomes Resumption of Trains to North and Thanks President Rajapaksa for Returning Jewellery to the People.’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Concerned Over EU Annulling LTTE Proscription as People of Sri Lankan Origin in Europe may be Pressured by Tigers again.


The External Affairs Ministry has, in a media statement, expressed the government’s concern over the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) yesterday (16), to annul the EU regulations proscribing the LTTE.

The Full text of the External Affairs Ministry statement is as follows :

“The defendants of this case have been the Council and Commission of the European Union, together with two member states, the Netherlands and the UK.

“Expectedly, the ECJ judgment requires in-depth study by all the defendant parties. It is noteworthy that the Court has stressed the annulments to be “on fundamentally procedural grounds” and “do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group.”

Further it is observed from the decision of the ECJ that “the effects of the annulled measures are maintained temporarily in order to ensure the effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Concerned Over EU Annulling LTTE Proscription as People of Sri Lankan Origin in Europe may be Pressured by Tigers again.’ »

European Union General Court Annuls Anti-Terrorism Sanctions Against LTTE on Technical Grounds but Keeps Assets Frozen.

European Union judges have struck down anti-terrorism sanctions imposed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)organization by citing a technicality, but ruled that the assets of the Sri Lankan group should remain frozen for the time being.

The bloc’s lower court said a decision by EU leaders in 2006 to place the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on a list of terrorist organisations had been based on “imputations derived from the press and the Internet” rather than on direct investigation of the group’s actions, as required by law.

However, the court rejected the LTTE’s contention that it was exempt from EU anti-terrorism legislation because it was engaged in an “armed conflict” with the Sri Lankan government and bound by the laws of war. The court, which stressed it was taking no view on whether the LTTE was a terrorist organisation, said EU laws on terrorism also applied to armed conflicts.

Reproduced below is the full text of the Press release issued by the EU in this regard –

General Court of the European Union
PRESS RELEASE No 138/14
Luxembourg, 16 October 2014

Judgment in Joined Cases T-208/11 and T-508/11
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) v Council

The Court annuls, on procedural grounds, the Council measures maintaining the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the European list of terrorist organisations.

Continue reading ‘European Union General Court Annuls Anti-Terrorism Sanctions Against LTTE on Technical Grounds but Keeps Assets Frozen.’ »