Re-colonisation Project Transferring Ownership of Sri Lanka from the People to Foreigners

by

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Would you undergo or put a loved one through an unnecessary but quite drastic, risky surgery? This is precisely what the UNP leadership and Chandrika Kumaratunga are trying perpetrate on the Sri Lankan body politic, through a new Constitution.

They seek to effect such change to the Constitution that cannot be limited to reform through the procedure of amendments. But what could such change be?

There is no Sri Lankan commitment to a new Constitution made to the Human Rights Council. Thanks to our neighboring friends, the only reference to a political solution is to the implementation of the 13th amendment, which is far more modest than that which is envisaged by a new Constitution. So it perfectly possible to leapfrog accountability/transitional justice and move directly to the political resolution item of the Geneva resolution, by implementing the 13 amendment, with necessary modifications and improvements.

The government’s contention that there is no reason for the Joint Opposition to oppose the government’s Constitutional project, is another example of the Constitutional bond scam now in play. Firstly the Rajapaksa administration’s joint communiques of May 21st and May 23rd 2009 with the Government of India and the UN SG Ban Ki Moon, and reproduced in the UNHRC resolution of May 27th 2009, did not promise to implement “13 Plus” still less “go beyond 13A”. Of the two communiques only the one with India mentioned 13A and that too was only to “implement the 13th amendment”.

Continue reading ‘Re-colonisation Project Transferring Ownership of Sri Lanka from the People to Foreigners’ »

Minister Champika Ranawaka’s Alleged Attempt to Confine his ex-Valet to Lunatic Asylum Must be Probed by Sri Lanka Medical Council


by C.A. Chandraprema

Last week Harsha Bandara Tilakasiri a former personal staff member and valet to minister Champika Ranawaka made a formal complaint to the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, Professor Carlo Fonseka, alleging that he had been given treatment against his will at the Angoda mental hospital for a mental illness that he never had. The translation of the letter he submitted to the Medical Council goes as follows:

Nikitha Harsha Tilakasiri Bandara
No: 81 Moratuwa Road
Piliyandala
8 February 2017
Chairman
Sri Lanka Medical Council
No: 31 Norris Canal Road
Colombo 10

Complaint into misconduct by a medical professional

I was an executive chef at Water’s Edge Hotel and functioned as a cook and personal assistant to Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. I lived in the minister’s official residence at Wijerama Mawatha. Following differences that emerged with the minister, I was admitted to the Angoda mental hospital. The purpose of this was to label me as a mental patient if at some point I decided to reveal what I knew about him.

I had no mental illness but I was forcibly given medicine and administered electric shocks. This treatment was administered on the instructions of Dr Jayan Mendis. I suffered tremendous discomfort by being treated with electric shocks for a mental illness that I never had.

By administering treatment that has subsequent side effects to person who had no illness, at the behest of Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, the above mentioned medical professional has committed an act of medical misconduct and has acted contrary to medical ethics.

I request that a formal inquiry be conducted into the act of medical misconduct committed by Dr Jayan Mendis.

Sgd. Nikitha Harsha Tilakasiri Bandara

This may have been one of the strangest complaints ever received by the Medical Council. Some weeks ago, when we took this matter up in this column, our position was that the Sri Lanka Medical Council should look into this complaint of a person being treated forcibly at the Angoda Mental Hospital. The altercation over a Korean woman that Harsha Bandara Tilakasiri says took place between him and Minister Champika Ranawaka may be considered scandalous by puritanical types but is of little interest to the ordinary public. However the issue of a person with no mental illness being forcibly treated at a mental hospital certainly is.

Continue reading ‘Minister Champika Ranawaka’s Alleged Attempt to Confine his ex-Valet to Lunatic Asylum Must be Probed by Sri Lanka Medical Council’ »

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias “Col” Karuna Leaves SLFP and Forms new “Tamil United Freedom Party” for North and East

Former Eastern Commander of the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias ‘Karuna Amman’, launched a new political party, “Tamil United Freedom Party” in Batticaloa yesterday, breaking away from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), in which he was Vice President during the previous regime.

Announcing the inauguration of the new party in Focus Hall, Batticaloa, the militant-turned-politician noted there is a need to form a new party to address the concerns of the Tamil speaking people in the North and East, as the current Tamil National Alliance (TNA) continues to fail the people.

Continue reading ‘Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias “Col” Karuna Leaves SLFP and Forms new “Tamil United Freedom Party” for North and East’ »

Hippocrates, Hypocrites and the Lucrative Medical Profession in Sri Lanka

by Reggie Ponnampalam

At the outset, let me categorically state that I am not for SAITM. Then again, I must admit, I don’t have anything against them. Whether they are right in exercising their right is not something I want to write about. It’s just that I am allergic to doctors. I wonder if you remember “Doctor I’m Sick – Of Your Ilk” – Sunday Island 25/SEP/2016. A friend of mine sent me a quote – A doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bill, so he gave him another six months.

We can talk about health services, standards, quality. Around 50 years ago, my family doctor told my mother that I would die if I did not get my appendix operated on. My remedy was “Operation Escape”, a dose of two Disprins once in six months and, although my dad died at 62, with about 10 or 15 doctors as close friends, many of them ‘boozing pals’, I’ve passed his age.

I have a great many friends and classmates in the “Medical Profession”. In 1985, I was visiting my brother in Melbourne and he fell sick. We took him to a hospital and a very professional nurse checked his history, took urine and blood samples and 30 minutes later, we saw the doctor. Etched in my memory is the heated discussion between the nurse and the doctor and the only time the word “Sir” was used was when they addressed the patient (my brother). I must admit I don’t know my elbow from my backbone where medical terms are concerned, but I gauged the nurse presenting a case for ‘remedial’ and ‘precautionary’ when the doctor was angling towards ‘incision’. We ended up with an earful of advice, a bag full of medications and my brother is still ‘alive and ticking’.

Continue reading ‘Hippocrates, Hypocrites and the Lucrative Medical Profession in Sri Lanka’ »

President Sirisena in a Surprise Move Appoints 4 Member Committee Headed by Ex- Supreme Court Judge Nimal Dissanayake to Probe Shortcomings at “Lake House”.

Sri Lanka’s festering tensions between the President and the Prime Minister came out into the open again, this time over the administration of the strategically-important Lake House publishing enterprise.

In a surprise move, President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday night appointed a four-member committee to investigate Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited which is better known as Lake House, a subject under the Media minister.

The committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Nimal Dissanayake was asked to identify management and administrative deficiencies as well as other shortcomings at Lake House.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena in a Surprise Move Appoints 4 Member Committee Headed by Ex- Supreme Court Judge Nimal Dissanayake to Probe Shortcomings at “Lake House”.’ »

Control of Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan will give China Easy Access to Strategic Gulf of Ormuz.

By

G.Parthasarathy

Confident of victory in Sri Lanka’s prolonged and bloody ethnic conflict, President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to develop the port of Hambantota and its neighbourhood, along Sri Lanka’s south-western coast. He was determined to make this region his impregnable political base.

Taking note of Rajapaksa’s aversion to India and the western world, China obliged by offering to undertake a number of projects in and around Hambantota. Given the attention India focused on Colombo port, building and taking control of Hambantota, whose economic viability was questionable, was imperative for China. Beijing decided to acquire naval facilities in Hambantota, in the way as it has taken control of Gwadar in Pakistan.


Questionable projects

Funds for the Hambantota project were made available at near commercial terms by China’s Exim Bank, which extended credit of over $1.2 billion for the construction of the port, and $1.35 billion for a power plant. Assistance was also extended for a southern highway, a tele-cinema park and an airport. Rajapaksa’s ambitions for his constituency also included a sports zone for a proposed international sports meet that was never held and an international cricket stadium. Not a single international cricket match has been played in the cricket stadium. Not a single worthwhile film has been made in the tele-cinema park. All his projects in the constituency have been financial disasters.

Continue reading ‘Control of Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan will give China Easy Access to Strategic Gulf of Ormuz.’ »

Vimukthi Jayasundara Becomes First Sinhalese To Direct an Indian Film and First Sri Lankan to Make a Bengali Movie

By P.K.Balachandran

Links between Indian and Sri Lankan cinemas have had a long history, going back to the late 1940s. But while many Indians have directed Sri Lankan movies, only three Sri Lankans have directed Indian films so far.

The three Sri Lankans are: Batticaloa-born Balu Mahendra, maker of the prize winning Veedu, Sandhya Ragam and Thalaimuraigal; Punguduthivu-born V.C.Guhanathan, who turned out commercially successful films like Thanikkattu Raja and Michael Raj; and Ratnapura-born Vimukthi Jayasundara, who has made the Bengali art film Chatrak.

Of the these, Vimukthi Jayasundara is unique for two reasons: he is the first Sinhalese to direct an Indian movie, and also the first Sri Lankan to make a film in Bengali.

Chatrak (Mushrooms), made in the tradition of the renowned Bengali film maker Ritwik Ghatak, was shown in the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, and also at the Toronto, Pacific Merdian and Vladivostok international film festivals.

Continue reading ‘Vimukthi Jayasundara Becomes First Sinhalese To Direct an Indian Film and First Sri Lankan to Make a Bengali Movie’ »

Will Norway Hand Over Diaspora Tiger Leader “Nediyavan” to Sri Lanka?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Veluppillai Prabhakaran

“What was your first military operation”? was a question posed to Veluppillai Prabhakaran in a media interview many years ago. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) Leader replied ” Alfred Durayappah”. Prabhakaran was of course referring to the popular former mayor and ex-MP for Jaffna Alfred Thangarajah Durayappah who was gunned down within the Jaffna peninsula on July 27th 1975. Prabhakaran and three others Kalapathy, Kirubakaran and Satkunam were responsible for the cold blooded murder which took place opposite the Ponnaalai Varadarajapperumaal temple.

Alfred Thangarajah Durayappah

An assassination of an unarmed civilian holding elected office is generally regarded as an act of terrorism and not as a military operation. But Prabhakaran claiming the murder of Durayappah as his first military operation is indicative of Prabhakaran’s twisted mindset which perceived an act of terrorism as a military operation. This may perhaps throw much light on the personality of the ruthless tiger supremo whose organization was responsible for the murders of many political leaders from the Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka.

Starting with Jaffna mayor Durayappah, Prabhakaran’s LTTE went on to assassinate numerous political leaders including a former Indian Premier, a Sri Lankan president, a Sri Lankan ex- leader of the opposition, Several Cabinet ministers, ex – chairmen of District Development Councils, Parliamentarians and ex – parliamentarians, leaders of rival Tamil militant organizations etc. Many analysts have pointed out that the prevailing crisis of a lack of strong political leadership within the Tamil polity is very much due to the effect caused by the spree of continuous political assassinations by the LTTE.
Continue reading ‘Will Norway Hand Over Diaspora Tiger Leader “Nediyavan” to Sri Lanka?’ »

Moderate Tamils and Muslims in East Perturbed by Wigneswaran& Co Staging “Ezhuga Thamizh”(Arise Tamil) Rally in Batticaloa


By Dharisha Bastians
Reporting from Batticaloa

Mohammed Ibrahim, a 40-year-old Kattankudy businessman, looked up after the gunfire stopped. Dozens of men, who had been kneeling, face down in prayer just like him only moments ago, lay unmoving around him.

On 3 August 1990, Tiger cadres wielding machine guns and hand grenades stormed into two mosques in Kattankudy in the Batticaloa District during Friday night prayers and opened fire. The two mosque attacks claimed the lives of 147 men; nearly all of them shot in the back as they prayed.

For Sri Lankan Muslims living in the embattled north and east, 1990 was a brutal year. Two months after the Kattankudy mosque attack, the LTTE forced nearly 75,000 Muslims living in the north out of their homes overnight in October 1990, in a vicious act of ethnic cleansing.

As the conflict raged, the LTTE grew deeply suspicious, and seeing the Muslims as having become spies for Government troops, they turned their guns on the main minority community living in the Tamil-majority war-zone. The Tigers attacked mosques and burned Muslim homes and shops, sowing deep mistrust between the Tamil and Muslim communities that live cheek by jowl, particularly in the Eastern Province.

Twenty-seven years later, the memory of the Kattankudy mosque attack still looms large in the Muslim majority town. Kattankudy residents never cemented over the bullet holes on the walls of the mosque, and the pockmarked interior remains a grim reminder of the town’s tragic history.

Continue reading ‘Moderate Tamils and Muslims in East Perturbed by Wigneswaran& Co Staging “Ezhuga Thamizh”(Arise Tamil) Rally in Batticaloa’ »

“I am not Against Investigations but I am Just Saying Do It Properly”- Namal Rajapaksa

by

Meera Srinivasan

India misinterpreted the Rajapaksa administration’s relationship with China, but is silent on the current government’s engagement with the rising super power, Sri Lankan parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, the eldest son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said.

“We always made sure that Sri Lankan soil or waters was not used against any other country. And we maintained that during my father’s time on a strict basis,” he told The Hindu in a recent interview.

Formerly a rugby player, he captained the national team, the 30-year-old parliamentarian has since 2010 represented the southern district of Hambantota. Considered a stronghold of the Rajapaksas, Hambantota houses a $1.5-billion port that the former President built with Chinese loans.

“The Hambantota port was initially offered to India, but they did not get back. China came forward,” he said. “We can’t wait… because we have to look at our people’s interests first and our election promises to them.”

Continue reading ‘“I am not Against Investigations but I am Just Saying Do It Properly”- Namal Rajapaksa’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Instructs Authorities to Increase Security for TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran.

By

Saman Indrajith

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday instructed security authorities to increase the security allocated to TNA MP MA Sumanthiran.

Making a special statement in parliament, the Speaker said that he had discussed the issue of MP Sumanthiran’s security with several MPs including party leaders and the latest situation had been assessed before making the decision to call for additional security for the MP. Several MPs have come and met me and forwarded this issue to me. I had discussed it with MP Sumanthiran too. Thereafter I informed relevant security authorities to take measures to assure his safety and to increase the security detailed to him, the Speaker said.

Courtesy:The Island

Sumanthiran MP Moves Adjournment Motion in Parliament Over Peoples Protest in Mullaitheevu and Lashes Out Against Govt for Not Returning Lands

By Dharisha Bastians

The main opposition Tamil National Alliance yesterday accused the Government of apathy towards the plight of its citizens demanding the release of their lands in Mullaitivu, as a protest by residents of Keppapilavu entered its ninth day yesterday.

TNA Jaffna District Legislator M.A. Sumanthiran who moved an adjournment motion in Parliament on the issue, lashed out at the ruling coalition, accusing the Government of reneging on pledges to release private lands in the North and East President Maithripala Sirisena had made before the election.

“When there is a Private Bus Owners strike, this Government responds within 24 hours. This demonstration has lasted nearly 10 days. Is this apathy from the Government because of the ethnicity of the protestors and where they live?” Sumanthiran demanded.

“You wouldn’t dare treat your Sinhalese citizens this way,” the TNA Lawmaker charged, addressing Government members.

Continue reading ‘Sumanthiran MP Moves Adjournment Motion in Parliament Over Peoples Protest in Mullaitheevu and Lashes Out Against Govt for Not Returning Lands’ »

Sri Lanka To Request More Time From UN Human Rights Council to Implement Resolution Setting up Reconciliation and Transitional Justice Mechanism.

By

Dharisha Bastians

Sri Lanka will request more time at the UN Human Rights Council Session that convenes later this month, to implement the October 2015 resolution calling on the Government to establish mechanisms to deal with post-war reconciliation and justice for major rights abuses during the war.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said he would travel to Geneva on 27 February to address the UNHRC, to tell the Council that the Government needed more time to make good on its transitional justice commitments as outlined in the resolution it co-sponsored in 2015.

“Obviously we need more time,” the Foreign Minister told Foreign Correspondents in Colombo on Tuesday night, adding that the extended timeline would not be “forever”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka To Request More Time From UN Human Rights Council to Implement Resolution Setting up Reconciliation and Transitional Justice Mechanism.’ »

If Jayalalithaa Left Will Stipulating That Sasikala Succeed Her as Chief Minister Then Panneerselvam Ready to Accept it


By

Dennis Jesudasan & T.K. Rohit

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who on Tuesday night turned the country’s attention on himself by meditating at Jayalalithaa’s memorial and going all out against AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala, is a tired man. One can empathise with him as he has been constantly meeting his supporters and fielding questions from the media ever since he chose to break his silence over the succession drama that is currently playing out in the party. In this exclusive interview with Dennis S. Jesudasan and T.K. Rohit, he regrets that he was not allowed to see his political mentor during the 75 days that she was in hospital. He promises to remain a loyal AIADMK worker, following in the footsteps of Jayalalithaa till the end.

Excerpts:

What prompted you to speak out against the party leadership now?

I was patient all these days. But if I had remained patient forever, a situation would have arisen where the people of the country would not have known certain truths. When I resigned as Chief Minister, it was portrayed badly and drew criticism for the wrong reasons. This is why I revealed the truth (about my resignation). Those in the party cannot refute it.

Continue reading ‘If Jayalalithaa Left Will Stipulating That Sasikala Succeed Her as Chief Minister Then Panneerselvam Ready to Accept it’ »

Road to Reconciliation May Take De-tours but no U – Turn Assures Mangala Samaraweera

By

Meera Srinivasan

A new Constitution is the most potent weapon for non-recurrence of Sri Lanka’s conflict and would have to be given priority over accountability mechanisms, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

The country, which suffered two youth insurrections and a 26-year-long war, had seen enough violence and bigotry, and needed checks and balances to ensure that the road ahead is peaceful, he told Colombo-based foreign correspondents on Wednesday.

Following the January 2015 election that saw President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe rise to power, the government decided to draft a new Constitution, promising a fair measure of devolution to the minority Tamils.

Six sub-committees came out with reports addressing different aspects of the proposed Constitution. A parliamentary debate on the reports was scheduled for January, but is yet to commence, sparking questions about the delay.

Continue reading ‘Road to Reconciliation May Take De-tours but no U – Turn Assures Mangala Samaraweera’ »

Panneerselvam Speaks Out About How he Was Forced to Resign Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Post to Pave the way for Sasikala.

On Tuesday night, after sitting on a samadhi at Jayalalithaa memorial at Marina beach for about 50 minutes, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam broke his silence – for the first ever time in his political career.

What followed was a carefully crafted attack on his leader, AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, and his colleagues. Panneerselvam noted how reluctant he was to assume the position after Jaya’s death, cited instances where junior members in the cabinet undermined him – some backstabbed – and his performance as the chief minister in the last three months.

This is the English version of that speech:

“I came to Amma’s memorial as my conscience hurt me. I wish to put forth some truths before the people and cadre, because Amma’s soul asked me to do so. I am standing before you because of that.
“Amma was admitted to Apollo hospital and her condition worsened after 70 days. They [Sasikala and family, and their loyalista] came to me and said we have the duty to protect the party and government. I told them that Amma is under treatment…

Continue reading ‘Panneerselvam Speaks Out About How he Was Forced to Resign Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Post to Pave the way for Sasikala.’ »

Govt is Confident About Winning a Referendum on the New Constitution says Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera

By Dharisha Bastians

A new constitution would be Sri Lanka’s most “potent weapon” against preventing a return to violent conflict, Minister Mangala Samaraweera told the Foreign Correspondents Association on Tuesday night.

As fears abound about a deadlock in ongoing constitutional negotiations, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday struck an optimistic note, expressing confidence that the Government could contest and win support for a new constitution in a referendum.

“A referendum is a risk – but I think it’s a risk worth taking,” Minister Samaraweera told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association on Tuesday night.

Continue reading ‘Govt is Confident About Winning a Referendum on the New Constitution says Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’ »

Govt Suspends Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) says Justice Minister; Sumanthiran Assassination Attempt Suspects to be Prosected Under Normal Law.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wiejayadasa Rajapakse yesterday acknowledged the suspension of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) pending introduction of a new Counter Terrorism Law.

Minister Rajapaksa said that as there had been concerns over the operation of the PTA, the government was now in the process of reviewing the anti-terrorism law. Minister Rajapakse said that the review was taking place in the wake of the conclusion of the conflict.

The previous government brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.

The President’s Counsel was responding to Bandula Jayasekera on Sirasa ‘Pathikada.’

Continue reading ‘Govt Suspends Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) says Justice Minister; Sumanthiran Assassination Attempt Suspects to be Prosected Under Normal Law.’ »

Sri Lanka to Give Priority to Constitution Drafting Over Accountability Mechanisms

By

P.K.Balachandran

The Sirisena-Wickremesinge government in Sri Lanka will give priority to drafting a new constitution for the country over setting up war crimes accountability mechanisms like the Judicial Mechanism and the Truth-Seeking Commission, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said here on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Association, Samaraeera said that the new constitution, which is the basic law of the land, would guarantee democracy, equality and fair play – conditions which are essential for national reconciliation.

A new democratic constitution is also an election promise made by President Maithripala Sirisena, he reminded.

Samaraweera said that the constitutional sub-committees’ reports will be placed before the Constitutional Assembly in a few months, and that he is confident that the draft constitution will be passed by the required two-thirds majority, given the present composition of the House. But the result of the mandatory referendum would be anybody’s guess, he added.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka to Give Priority to Constitution Drafting Over Accountability Mechanisms’ »

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Under Pressure From UNP Members to take Over Finance Ministry and Appoint Karunanayake as Petroleum Resources Minister.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe s under pressure from his party to take the finance portfolio and head off internal dissension, sources close to the leadership said Friday.

Stalwarts within the ruling United National Party (UNP) have been speculating about cabinet changes amid unrest over Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s style of leading fiscal policy, the sources said.

“The PM is likely to take over the finance portfolio and get a deputy minister to run the ministry on a day-to-day basis,” one of the party officials said.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Under Pressure From UNP Members to take Over Finance Ministry and Appoint Karunanayake as Petroleum Resources Minister.’ »

TNA Grudgingly Acknowledges Danger Posed by LTTE Rump After Assassination Attempt on Sumanthiran Goes Awry.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

An abortive attempt to assassinate Jaffna District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran in January this year sent shock waves through the Tamil community.

The exposure of the reprehensible conspiracy, by a former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), just before Christmas last year, led to the arrest of five LTTE personnel in separate raids in January.

The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) carried out the arrests, in mid-January soon after a reluctant yahapalana government authorized further investigations into destabilisation project.

However, the government refrained from utilising the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to take the suspects into custody. The decision should be examined against the backdrop of the government being in the process of abolishing the PTA.

The government is seeking a consensus, as regards new national security mechanism, with those countries behind a spate of Geneva Resolutions directed at Sri Lanka since the conclusion of the conflict.

Police headquarters identified those who had been arrested in connection with the assassination attempt so far as rehabilitated LTTE cadres.

The Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) led TNA welcomed the investigation. Having repeatedly categorized those who had been rehabilitated, and released, as well, as still in government custody, as political prisoners, a deeply embarrassed TNA grudgingly acknowledged the danger posed by the LTTE rump as well as extremist elements overseas.

Continue reading ‘TNA Grudgingly Acknowledges Danger Posed by LTTE Rump After Assassination Attempt on Sumanthiran Goes Awry.’ »

Speaker Karu Overrides Premier Ranil to Prevent Breach of Standing Orders in Answering Questions Raised in Parliament.

By

Sandasen Marasinghe and Disna Mudalige

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that he will not allow for the establishing of a new tradition of breaching the existing Standing Orders as long as he is in the chair.

When Social Empowerment and Welfare Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake was about to answer a question raised in Parliament on government lands in the Divulapitiya electorate,the opposition members questioned his right to answer the question creating a tense situation. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that if the relevant Minister or his deputy was not available in the House, the Prime Minister, Chief Government Whip or the Leader of the House may answer the question.

“I will not allow for the establishing of a new tradition of breaching the existing Standing Orders while I am in the chair,” Speaker Jayasuriya said. Then,Chief Government Whip and Parliamentary Affairs and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake answered the question.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Overrides Premier Ranil to Prevent Breach of Standing Orders in Answering Questions Raised in Parliament.’ »

Pigeons Fly From Kilinochchi on Independence Day With Message of Peace to Wattala

A special release of Pigeons on Independence Day took place at the Kilinochchi railway station, with the pigeons returning to their home in Wattala. The event was organized as a special peace event as the pigeons carried messages of unity and fellowship.

The event was attended by religious heads, the GA of the area Mr S. Arumainayagam and senior police officers.

Continue reading ‘Pigeons Fly From Kilinochchi on Independence Day With Message of Peace to Wattala’ »

Auditor-General Wijesinghe Speaks Out In Indirect Response to Finance Minister Karunanayake’s Scathing Criticism

By Chathuri Dissanayake

In an apparent reply to the Finance Minister’s scathing criticism of him, the Auditor General (AG) yesterday said he would always speak openly and strive to maintain the institution’s transparency. dfh

Highlighting that transparency and openness were two of the main features of good governance, AG Gamini Wijesinghe said that he was duty-bound to give information on public assets, especially following the enactment of the RTI Act.

“How can the Auditor General have secrets and form good governance. Transparency and openness are two of the main features of good governance. We are all handing assets that belong to the public so I cannot maintain secrecy on information regarding public assets,” Wijesinghe said while speaking at an event held to present the audited accounts of the Colombo Municipal Council.

“If anyone wants to write secret letters to me then they should first state that. As the Auditor General I will not write any secret letters to anyone. I cannot do so. I will uphold the transparency and sensitivity of the Government service,” he quipped.

Continue reading ‘Auditor-General Wijesinghe Speaks Out In Indirect Response to Finance Minister Karunanayake’s Scathing Criticism’ »

Finance Minister Karunanayake’s Vituperative Comments Against Senior Central bank Officials are Unjustified

By Legal Eye

I was extremely surprised and disappointed by the serious allegations made by the Minister of Finance on 24 January during the debate relating to the purported bond scam, against the Deputy Governor and Secretary to the Monetary Board and a few other officers of the Central Bank. DFT-12-13-9

The Minister alleged that these officers are henchman of former Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and went to the extent ofmaking the grave accusation that one such officer issues emails to the persons who are not entitled to receive such emails from the Central Bank.

As children, we were taught the principle that issues inside should not be made public i.e. ‘athulginipitathatanodew’.I am at a lost to understand why the Minister of Finance under cover of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Actmakes abusive and derogatory comments without taking any initiative to remedy an unacceptable situation if such a situation really exists within his authority.

In terms of the Gazette Order made under Article 44 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 1897/15 –18 January 2015, relating to the Assignment of powers and functions of Ministries, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka comes under the purview of the Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs.

Therefore, the Minister of Finance has no authority over the Central Bank. Hence, an erudite Minister of Finance who had genuine and valid concerns about the conduct of Central Bank officers should have intimated to the relevant Authority that is, Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs (Prime Minister)that he should initiate action through the Monetary Board under the Classification, Control and Appeal rules of the Central Bank to take necessary disciplinary action against any officer of the Central Bank who acts in contravention of the accepted and expected norms of conduct as Central Bank officers.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Karunanayake’s Vituperative Comments Against Senior Central bank Officials are Unjustified’ »

JR Jayewardene Wanted to “Burn Jaffna To The Ground” Twice in 1987 But Lankan Armed Forces Refused to Avoid Unacceptable Casualty Toll.

By

Amit Baruah

Sri Lanka was forced into making a deal with India as its own armed forces had twice refused to “take Jaffna”, then President J.R. Jayewardene has been quoted as saying in a declassified document, nearly 30 years after the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was deployed in the island nation.

Signing of the Accord-1987-pic via: The Hindu

Jayewardene told visiting American diplomat Peter Galbraith that he had twice ordered his troops to take Jaffna — “burn the place to the ground” — and they had talked him out of it on grounds of unacceptably high casualties.

A little over 1,200 Indian soldiers died in IPKF operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in northern and eastern Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. In May 1991, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had signed the July 1987 peace deal with Jayewardene, was assassinated by the LTTE.

In response to significant promises of devolution of powers to the Tamil minority and recognition of Tamil as an official language, India agreed to provide military assistance — the IPKF — to ensure peace according to the 1987 Gandhi-Jayewardene accord.

Continue reading ‘JR Jayewardene Wanted to “Burn Jaffna To The Ground” Twice in 1987 But Lankan Armed Forces Refused to Avoid Unacceptable Casualty Toll.’ »

Overseas LTTE Backed Plot To Assassinate TNA MP Sumanthiran in Jaffna Revealed

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Nallavan” (not his real name) is a Tamil youth living in a Northern village. He was a former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization who had surrendered to the armed forces in May 2009.

He was incarcerated for a period of time and released after undergoing a process of rehabilitation. Life in a post-war Northern environment was painfully difficult because Nallavan could not get gainful employment anywhere. Neither did he have adequate financial resources to go abroad. Nallavan lived with an aged aunt and engaged occasionally in manual work as a casual worker whenever possible.

Nallavan was approached by a former LTTE cadre called “Master” in November last year. Master asked “Nallavan” to hoist the LTTE flag clandestinely at particular places in Kilinochchi on November 26th night. The following day Nov 27th was the “Maaveerar Naal” or Great heroes day of the LTTE. He was offered 5000 rupees for it. Nallavan being hard -pressed accepted the offer and executed the assigned task. He was promptly paid the sum promised.

A few days later “Master” came to meet Nallavan in the company of another ex-tiger with a disfigured hand. They had a proposition. Nallavan was asked to join them on a new mission. He was told that there was a “contract” to kill an important Tamil politician. Nallavan would be given fifteen lakhs of rupees payment. Also safe passage would be provided for him if necessary to go to India and from there to Europe via a south-east Asian country. The duo said some tiger leaders living overseas had wanted this done and guaranteed payment and safe passage. Nallavan said he could arrive at a decision only if he knew who the target was. When the ex-tiger duo revealed the name of the target Nallavan was shocked.

The Tamil politician target was Maithiaparanam Abraham Sumanthiran the Tamil National alliance MP from Jaffna district. When told that the contract was to kill Sumanthiran, a horrified Nallavan refused vehemently. He said that he had been observing Sumanthiran’s politics in recent times and had been impressed by him. Nallavan said the war was now over and that Tamils must live in Sri Lanka with equal rights. He said Sumanthiran along with people like Sampanthan and Senathirajah were doing their best to win back the lost rights of Tamils without violence through democratic methods. Besides as a lawyer Sumanthiran was helping in the cases of so many Tamils including ex – tiger cadres. Nallavan also said that laying hands on someone like Sumanthiran would upset the present situation of fragile peace and invite massive state suppression.
Continue reading ‘Overseas LTTE Backed Plot To Assassinate TNA MP Sumanthiran in Jaffna Revealed’ »

Multi-Ethnic,Tri-Lingual School for Sinhala,Tamil and Muslim Students to be Built in Polonnaruwa With 300 Million Rupees From India.

India and Sri Lanka have entered into collaboration to build a multi-ethnic tri-lingual school in a north central district of the island nation that would provide opportunities to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students to learn in a multi-cultural environment.

The MoU was signed by India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Secretary to the Ministry of Education Sunil Hettiarachchi.

Continue reading ‘Multi-Ethnic,Tri-Lingual School for Sinhala,Tamil and Muslim Students to be Built in Polonnaruwa With 300 Million Rupees From India.’ »

Group of Women in Batticaloa Utilise New Right To Information (RTI) Act to Renew Search for “Missing” Loved Ones .

By

Meera Srinivasan

Last week, when Sri Lanka’s Right To Information Act came into effect, a group of women in Batticaloa had a plan.

Last week, when Sri Lanka’s Right To Information Act came into effect, a group of women in Batticaloa had a plan.

After years of petitioning government offices and testifying to innumerable commissions, they decided to use the brand new Act, to seek information about their missing relatives.

“We set out at eight in the morning, and went from one office to the other until 5.45 p.m.,” P. Deepa told The Hindu over telephone.

Continue reading ‘Group of Women in Batticaloa Utilise New Right To Information (RTI) Act to Renew Search for “Missing” Loved Ones .’ »

Sri Lanka Must Have Its Own Version Of Development With An Agriculture First Economy.


By

Eranda Ginige

If I had a dollar for every time somebody said “Sri Lanka should be like Singapore”, I’d be a rich man. The odd thing is most of those people have never visited Singapore. Somehow we are made to believe Singapore as the perfect development standard, a utopian state where everything is so organised, a chewing-gum-less world, and a heavenly place where its people live happily ever after. But that’s a different debate.

There is an urban myth that the father of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew saw the great city of Colombo in the 1950s and vowed to make Singapore modelled after it. I’m yet to see hard proof he ever said that. The closest statement is him saying that “the British left behind a sound social and economic infrastructure (in Ceylon)” which is debatable. The iron-fisted patriot who ruled Singapore for over 30 years has been rather critical about Sri Lanka’s choices time after time. He clearly learned from our mistakes, but it’s naïve to say that Singapore was modelled after Colombo.

It’s easy to be a genius in hindsight. Lee Kuan’s choices were as risky as Bandaranaikes’ or Jayewardene’s or Premadasa’s; his contemporaries. Different circumstances lead to different outcomes.

All we can do is learn from the past. And the one lesson we can learn from the past is that no country can copy another country’s development. Perhaps we should stop trying to be like Singapore or the USA or China, instead start creating our own identity of development. Here are three places to start from:

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Must Have Its Own Version Of Development With An Agriculture First Economy.’ »

AIADMK Gen Secy Sasikala Elected Party Leader in Legislative Assembly on Feb 5th Will Become Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Feb 9th

By

Dennis Jesudasan

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam proposed her name at a meeting of party MLAs in Chennai.

V.K. Sasikala

AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala was on Sunday elected as the Leader of the Legislature party by the MLAs in the party head office in Chennai paving the way for her swearing in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Ms. Sasikala will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on February 9.

The development came exactly two months after Jayalalithaa’s death. Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam proposed her name in the MLAs’ meeting and she was unanimously elected as the Legislature party leader.

Mr. Panneerselvam has sent his resignation to the Governor.

Continue reading ‘AIADMK Gen Secy Sasikala Elected Party Leader in Legislative Assembly on Feb 5th Will Become Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Feb 9th’ »

CV Wigneswaran Boycotts Independence Day Event In Jaffna Town and Participates in Protest Meetings in Mullaitheevu District

By P.K.Balachandran

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, boycotted the 69 th. Sri Lankan Independence Day function here on Saturday, and instead attended protest meetings held at Keppapilavu and Puthukudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu district.

The Governor of the Northern Province, Reginold Cooray, hoisted the national flag, but the Chief Minister chose not to be present.

A small section of radical Tamil nationalists led by Northern Provincial Council members M.K.Shivajilingam and Ananthy Sasitharan, observed the day as a “Black Day” for the Tamils. Wearing black bands and scarves and covering their mouths with black cloth, they held a demonstration in front of the District Secretariat putting forth five demands.

Chief Minister Wigneswaran drove to Keppapilavu to join the protest against the military’s refusal to give back 530 acres of land seized from the local people during the war which ended in 2009. After addressing the protesters he went to Puthukudiyiruppu were there was an agitation to recover 19 acres pf private land from the military.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Boycotts Independence Day Event In Jaffna Town and Participates in Protest Meetings in Mullaitheevu District’ »

Will Proposed Counter -Terrorism Act (CTA) Be Even More Draconian Than Existing Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA)?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Is the essentially combative tone adopted by the Government to the Juan Mendez report finding that a “culture of torture” is still being practised in Sri Lanka quite wise, one might ask?

Of course, we live in an age where, confounding his own advisors and despite solid evidence to the contrary, the President of the United States is on record stating bombastically that ‘torture works’ as an interrogation method.

Key Mendez findings

But Sri Lanka’s state representatives have long adopted a far more devious method of denial. The immediate response has always been to rebut off hand, allegations that torture is commonly practised.

That reaction does not appear to change, let it be the ‘yahapalanaya government’, or any other. So this blunt rejection as reported in this newspaper last week is unsurprising. Yet the larger question is whether a more sober appraisal will not actually help the country more than an obstinate ostrich-like denial.

Continue reading ‘Will Proposed Counter -Terrorism Act (CTA) Be Even More Draconian Than Existing Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA)?’ »

President Sirisena Condemns “Opportunistic Forces” Campaigning Against Reconciliation as “Enemies of the Country”.

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dubbed those “opportunistic forces” which are campaigning against the on-going ethnic and religious reconciliation process as enemies of the country.

“The government’s endeavor for reconciliation and communal harmony has been praised locally as well as internationally. The opportunistic forces that are against the on-going reconciliation process are against the country,” the President said in his address to the nation at the 69 th.Independence Day military parade here on Saturday.

“We are a nation that deserves to live a prosperous life in a country where peace and justice and equality prevail,” he added.

“There is a new meaning in today’s freedom as we are talking about a freedom that blows freely across the skies. This is an era in which human freedom, media freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom to gather freely blow across the skies.”

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Condemns “Opportunistic Forces” Campaigning Against Reconciliation as “Enemies of the Country”.’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Intensifies Efforts to Topple Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt

By K. Ratnayake

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged his supporters to help him topple the government. Addressing a January 27 rally of tens of thousands in the Colombo suburb of Nugegoda, Rajapakse denounced the government as “corrupt” and declared he was “ready to lead the force” to bring it down.

Promoted as “The beginning of the struggle,” the event was part of intensifying efforts by Rajapakse, a group of sitting parliamentarians, known as the Joint Opposition (JO), and their supporters to return him to power.

The escalating conflict between the Rajapakse-led JO and the administration of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is an expression of deepening political instability within the ruling elite. Colombo faces escalating balance of trade and foreign debt problems and growing struggles of workers and the poor against its social austerity measures.

Currently 45 members of parliament, including Rajapakse, back the former president, and sit on the opposition benches. The group includes a faction of Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the SLFP-led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Sirisena has the support of just 50 MPs. Wickremesinghe heads the United National Party (UNP).

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Intensifies Efforts to Topple Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt’ »

Attempt to Smuggle Out Valuable “Valampuri Sangu” From East Lanka Detected by Police

By
P.Sivaramakrishnan

Seven people are in custody after appearing in court, charged with trying to sell the 18-inch shell.

Police say the conch might have fetched $70,000 (£60,000). Its sale is banned under an international convention.

It is feared that Sri Lanka is emerging as a hub for the illegal export of rare seashells.

The right-handed conch could have fetched thousands of dollars~pic: R.Uthayakumar-BBC

The conch is in the custody of Sri Lanka’s wildlife department.

Dr AK Kumaraguru, an expert on marine and coastal studies, told BBC Tamil that “right-twisted conches are extremely rare and could be one in 10 million”.

The shells are fished for their commercial value, but are also of huge significance in the Hindu religion, he says.

Genetic mutations are cited as an important reason for right-handed shells. Variations in their colour and pattern occur naturally.
Pure white right-handed conches are considered very sacred by Hindus and are highly sought after in the Indian Ocean, particularly off south India and Sri Lanka.

Shells are getting rarer on Sri Lankan beaches~pic by: R.Uthayakumar-BBC

The illegal trade in sea shells is said to be worth millions of dollars.

“There is little data on trade levels both legal and illegal; most available information is based on casual observations, incomplete figures, reports from shell collectors or fishermen and brief studies carried out by scientists,” the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) secretariat in Geneva told the BBC.

Seashells are protected by law in Sri Lanka, but marine life experts say that lack of strict implementation has allowed the illegal export trade to thrive.

Marine life activists say finding seashells on Sri Lanka’s beaches is becoming increasingly difficult. courtesy: BBC

68 Years of Independence, Nation Building and the Future of Tamils in Sri Lanka


by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

image courtesy of: thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

image courtesy of: thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

Sri Lanka will Celebrate its Sixty-eighth Anniversary of Independence from the United Kingdom this Thursday. The country then known as Ceylon obtained full freedom from the British on February 4th 1948.Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka / has faced many challenges and problems in the past 68 years. We have had military coup attempts, communal riots, pogroms, armed revolts, external military intervention, assassinations of heads of state, terrorist violence and above all a long secessionist war that threatened to tear apart the country.

What Sri Lanka can be proud of as Asia’s oldest Democracy is the fact that despite many formidable challenges and crises the country continues to be democratic.Flawed but Democratic!On January 8th this year the Sri Lankan people did the nation proud by voting out the incumbent executive president and bringing about effective regime change through the ballot amidst extremely difficult circumstances

The separatist war waged by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) was over in 2009 and the country was unified militarily but whether the nation has been united politically remains an unanswered question yet. A silver lining was visible in the 2015 presidential polls when voters cutting across racial and religious boundaries acted as one nation in electing their president.

Sunrise at Polhena, Matara, Sri Lanka. A place where we see both sunrise and sunset-Pic by: uditha wickramanayaka

Sunrise at Polhena, Matara, Sri Lanka. A place where we see both sunrise and sunset-Pic by: uditha wickramanayaka

It is however too early to state whether this act of unity can be the harbinger of hope for the future.
Continue reading ‘68 Years of Independence, Nation Building and the Future of Tamils in Sri Lanka’ »

Sumanthiran’s Prominent Role in Tamil Politics and The Plot to Assassinate Him

By Manekshaw

Plans to assassinate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Mathiaparanam Abraham Sumanthiran, who is a confidant of TNA Leader and Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, have been unearthed by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) with the arrest of five suspects.

The preliminary investigation carried out by the TID has brought to light that the assassination plot was hatched with the involvement of certain pro-LTTE activists abroad.

In a vacuum state, where only a handful of intellectually sound politicians remain in the present Tamil political scene following the assassinations of several refined politicians, Sumanthiran’s entry into Tamil political scene was much appreciated with his prominent role played in bringing out the UNHRC resolutions in Geneva against the Lankan Government on alleged war crimes, from 2012 onwards.

Despite being closely in touch with the LTTE, under the banner of the Tamil National Alliance, almost all the Tamil politicians lived in fear for their lives prior to the end of civil war in 2009.

Continue reading ‘Sumanthiran’s Prominent Role in Tamil Politics and The Plot to Assassinate Him’ »

Pro-LTTE Elements in TNA Forced to Accept Reality in the Case of Tiger Attempt to Assassinate Sumanthiran MP

By

M.S. M. Ayub

The news on the assassination attempt on Parliamentarian and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran that was broken by the Daily Mirror on January 21 has put many political parties in a difficult position.

According to the news item and the feature article by veteran journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj, who is domiciled in Canada, the plot to harm the TNA’s rising star had been hatched by the Norway based LTTE activists and many people seem struggling to corroborate it with their ideologies.

It was an irony that the LTTE remnants have targeted a leading member of the main Tamil political party coalition, who has been defending the rights of the Tamils including the LTTE in Sri Lankan courts for more than a decade.

It was more ironic as the TNA was formed at the instance of the LTTE in October, 2001 and it described the rebel organisation as the sole representative of Tamils, until the latter’s leaders were decimated by the security forces in May, 2009.

However, on the other hand, one might also argue that there is nothing to be surprised as this was the terrorist organisation that eliminated Appapillai Amirthalingam, the TULF leader, who was one of those who toiled hard to internationalise the Tamil Eelam struggle in the late eighties.


It is not sure whether the TNA leadership would have admitted the version given by the Police on the plot, had the target of the assassins been a leader of a Southern or Eastern political party.

However, with the prey being a top leader of it, the party is in a difficult position and has been compelled to accept the reality.

Continue reading ‘Pro-LTTE Elements in TNA Forced to Accept Reality in the Case of Tiger Attempt to Assassinate Sumanthiran MP’ »

Norway Ready to Assist According to International Procedures With Lankan Investigation into Sumanthiran Assassination Attempt


by Shamindra Ferdinando

The Norwegian embassy has indicated Norwegian readiness to assist an ongoing investigation into the alleged involvement of Norway based Tamil diaspora elements in an attempt to assassinate Jaffna District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran.

Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka on behalf of the Government constituent, JHU recently alleged that Norway based eelam activists had been behind the assassination bid. Acting on information provided by an ex-LTTE cadre, the police have so far arrested five members of the LTTE.

It is alleged that Norway based LTTE elements had given the contract to a group local Tigers to carry out the assassination using claymore mines. Police investigators have recovered two claymore mines since the arrest of five of the local suspects.

Since the conclusion of the war in May 2009, there had been no attacks on Tamil politicians by the LTTE rump.

Continue reading ‘Norway Ready to Assist According to International Procedures With Lankan Investigation into Sumanthiran Assassination Attempt’ »

Neelan, Sumanthiran and the Perils of “Traitorization” For the Tamil People


By

Dharisha Bastians


“Amirthalingam was called a traitor and killed. Neelan Thiruchelvam was called a traitor and killed. Over 30 years we have lost all these people. And after killing them, what have we achieved? So now you call Sumanthiran a traitor and kill me also. Tell me, what are we going to do after that?”

– TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran addressing a public meeting in Vavuniya in October 2016

When the LTTE resolved to kill Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam 18 years ago, its weapon of choice was a suicide bomber, drawn from its elite karum puligal or Black Tiger cadre.

Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam

The unit was revered within the separatist group, accorded the highest honours the Tigers could bestow in life and in death. LTTE Leader Prabhakaran’s genius lay in his ability to inspire a culture of martyrdom in his guerrilla fighters. All Tiger combatants wore a capsule of deadly cyanide around their necks, choosing death over capture by Government troops. But the call of the Black Tiger was even greater. In the Tiger ethos, there was no greater sacrifice than the embrace of death to further the cause of Tamil freedom. Untitled-534

Once they were entrusted a mission, Black Tigers were granted the honour of an audience with Prabhakaran. During this morbid last supper, the Tiger Supremo would hail the courage of his suicide cadres, and march young Tamil men and women – burning with self-sacrificial fervor – out to meet a gruesome death.

The suicide cadre was picked for the LTTE’s most significant attacks – Black Tigers led attacks against two Sri Lankan Presidents, an Indian Prime Minister, several ministers, top military targets and devastating onslaughts on the country’s infrastructure.

The Tigers, who glorified death and brutality, stood for everything that Neelan Thiruchelvam stood against. The sanctity of human life was everything to the moderate Tamil legislator, a man of such intellect and legal skill that the space his death left in contemporary politics and the realm of the law has never been filled. He was counted among a shrinking group of Tamil moderates who did not believe in the Tiger way, who remained convinced that violence would only perpetuate ethnic strife; that war was a cruel and ultimately self-defeating path to winning Tamil rights.

MA Sumanthiran

Thiruchelvam put his faith in negotiation and constitutionalism as a means to achieve political autonomy. He believed extensive power sharing – rather than separate statehood – would offer Tamil people a chance to finally guide their own political destiny.

For this crime, the LTTE marked Neelan Thiruchelvam out for a traitor’s death.

Continue reading ‘Neelan, Sumanthiran and the Perils of “Traitorization” For the Tamil People’ »

Five Ex-LTTE Cadres Arrested In Connection With Plot to Assassinate TNA Parliamentarian Sumanthiran Are Remanded Till Feb 13th.

By

Col. R.Hariharan

Sri Lanka police’s Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) arrested in all five rehabilitated LTTE cadres for allegedly plotting to assassinate MA Sumanthiran, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Member of Parliament, known for his moderate views. The TID is reported to have recovered two Claymore mines and large quantities of cannabis from the homes of four of them arrested on January 14 and produced before Kilinochchi district court on January 20. According to Daily FT of Colombo a fifth person Vijayan was also subsequently arrested in the same case.

Significantly, they were not arrested under the infamous Prevention of Terrorism Act but charged with possession of explosives and narcotics. They have been remanded to custody till February 13.

Continue reading ‘Five Ex-LTTE Cadres Arrested In Connection With Plot to Assassinate TNA Parliamentarian Sumanthiran Are Remanded Till Feb 13th.’ »

Indian Entrepreneurs Want Road Across Palk Straits Linking Rameswaram to Thalaimannar.

By PK Balachandran

An entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu exhibiting his machine at the Jaffna International Trade Fair 2017.
JAFFNA: Representatives of Indian companies who exhibited their products at the Jaffna International Trade Fair from January 27 to 29, were unanimously of the view that for the development and trade and investment between India and the Tamil-speaking Northern Province of Sri Lanka, the construction of a road linking Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu with Thalaiamannar in North Sri Lanka is a must.

“Better connectivity is the bottom line for the development of trade and investment,” said Harish Singla of Goyum Screw Press from Ludhiana.

Goyum Screw Press is one of the 65 Indian companies from the small and medium scale sector which participated in the fair partly sponsored by ASSOCHAM of India.

“Having to land our goods at Colombo in the south, we take another eight hours to reach Jaffna in the far North. This journey puts investors and traders off. It would make matters straight and simple if we are able to go by road from Rameswaram to Thalaimannar across Palk Strait and thence to Jaffna,” explained Amandeep Azad of Azad Engineering Company based in Ghaziabad.

Continue reading ‘Indian Entrepreneurs Want Road Across Palk Straits Linking Rameswaram to Thalaimannar.’ »

“Wigneswaran Has Joined Hands With the LTTE,Its Supporters and NGO’s To Destroy The Country’s Harmony” – Dayasiri Jayasekara

By

Chaturanga Pradeep

Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran had become nothing but a ghost, who instigated disharmony between the Tamil and Sinhala communities in the country, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said today.

Addressing the weekly Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) media briefing, the Sports Minister requested Tamil people in the North to come forward against the Chief Minister’s racist statements, which posed a threat to national harmony.

Continue reading ‘“Wigneswaran Has Joined Hands With the LTTE,Its Supporters and NGO’s To Destroy The Country’s Harmony” – Dayasiri Jayasekara’ »

Prof GL Peiris Asks Why the 5 Ex-LTTE suspects in Sumanthiran Assassination Case Are Not Charged Under PTA?

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Alleging that five former LTTE cadres arrested in connection with an alleged attempt to assassinate TNA lawmaker M.A. Sumanthiran had been produced before the Kilinochchi Magistrate and District judge and remanded till Feb 13 on a charge of possessing explosives and narcotics instead of under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said the government should explain its position vis-a-vis key anti-terrorism legislation.

A government that had been preaching to the public of the importance of the Right to Information shouldn’t keep the people in the dark regarding vital matters, he said.

Continue reading ‘Prof GL Peiris Asks Why the 5 Ex-LTTE suspects in Sumanthiran Assassination Case Are Not Charged Under PTA?’ »

No Response From Norway to Champika Ranawaka’s Allegation About a Sri Lankan Norwegian Being Involved in Sumanthiran Assassination Attempt.


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Norwegian embassy refrained from responding to serious accusations that a Norwegian or Norwegians of Sri Lankan origin had been involved in an alleged assassination attempt on Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran in January, this year.

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has alleged that Norway based Tamil diaspora elements conspired to have attorney-at-law Sumanthiran assassinated during a recent visit to the Jaffna peninsula.

The Island efforts to obtain a response from the Norwegian embassy on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were in vain. The diplomatic mission refrained from responding to our emails and those who had been authorized to address media issues weren’t available. The embassy refrained from contacting The Island though the hand phone number of the News Editor was made available.

Continue reading ‘No Response From Norway to Champika Ranawaka’s Allegation About a Sri Lankan Norwegian Being Involved in Sumanthiran Assassination Attempt.’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Blames Present Govt Actions For Alleged Resurgence of LTTE in Sri Lanka

By

Meera Srinivasan

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has accused the Sri Lankan government of dropping its guard on the LTTE by scaling down intelligence operations in the island’s Tamil-majority north and east.

Commenting on the recent arrest of four ex-LTTE members, for allegedly plotting to assassinate Tamil legislator M.A. Sumanthiran, the two-time President said: “They [Maithripala Sirisena government] removed military camps and reduced the level of intelligence operations. Now they are seeing the results of that irrational action,” according to a PTI report on Wednesday.

In January, Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) arrested five men, four of whom were formerly with the LTTE. They reportedly plotted to kill Mr. Sumanthiran, a Tamil National Alliance MP who has been a key negotiator, along with Leader of Opposition and TNA leader R. Sampanthan, engaging the government on Tamils’ expectations.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Blames Present Govt Actions For Alleged Resurgence of LTTE in Sri Lanka’ »

Police (TID) File Report in Kilinochchi Court Stating TNA MP Sumanthiran Was Target Of Assassination Plot.

By Dharisha Bastians

The country’s counter-terrorism authorities have officially informed a court in Kilinochchi that Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Legislator M.A. Sumanthiran was the suspected target of an assassination attempt on 13 January 2017.

Filing a report in the Kilinochchi Magistrate Court yesterday, the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) said it was investigating five suspects currently in police custody about a suspected plot to kill the TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian earlier this month.

So far, the TID reports to court only indicated that the suspects in custody had been targetting the assassination of a politician. Yesterday’s B report (B 85/2017) filed in the Kilinochchi Magistrate Court explicitly mentions Sumanthiran as a suspected target.

Continue reading ‘Police (TID) File Report in Kilinochchi Court Stating TNA MP Sumanthiran Was Target Of Assassination Plot.’ »

President Sirisena Must Eject Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Before the “Titanic” Hits An Iceberg And Sinks.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“Revolution will be in the air in 2017…It will not be hard to find parallels ­between the conditions that produced upheaval in the past and the rebellious mood in the year ahead.”

– ‘The World in 2017’, Daniel Franklin, Editor, The Economist (London)

Watching the live telecast of the parliamentary debate on the bond scam, the predominant impression I was left with was that the PM has a crisis of legitimacy; the bond scam has blown a hole below the watermark of his incumbency. The SLFP and JVP speakers went for the jugular during the debate and there was blood in the water.

At the Nugegoda rally on January 27, 2017

Attending the mammoth Nugegoda rally on January 27, 2017 and participating as a speaker who had not only been on the stage and read out MR’s message two years before at the same venue in February 2015 but also been among the handful including Wimal and Udaya who planned that ‘patriotic fight-back/MR comeback’ initiative at a working dinner in January 2015, I noted the expansion of the crowd in 2017 and the sustained, blistering attack on the PM (albeit with some sardonic sideswipes by MR at his successor).

The spirit of the huge 2017 rally, both of the speakers and the crowd, was best summed up in Stephane Hessel’s famous phrase and title of his pamphlet, ‘Indignez Vous!’ which translates as ‘Time for Outrage!’ If Nugegoda 2015 was a ‘Time for Resistance’ in the face of the defeat some weeks before, Nugegoda 2017 was a ‘Time for Outrage’. Nugegoda 2015 heralded a political guerrilla war and the uprising of a patriotic political resistance movement. Nugegoda 2017 witnessed a shift in the mood and the correlation of forces due to a deepening of the crisis.

From political guerrilla war the Opposition had graduated to frontal, political, social and ideological battle. The patriotic popular–democratic (or populist) movement has shifted from the defensive to the offensive; from resistance to revolt; from guerrilla combat to a strategy of political insurrection.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Must Eject Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Before the “Titanic” Hits An Iceberg And Sinks.’ »

Wijemuni The Naval Rating who Struck Rajiv Gandhi with Rifle Arrested for Predicting Death of President Sirisena

By P K Balachandran

Vijitha Rohana Wijemuni, a former Sri Lankan naval rating who shot into infamy for hitting Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi with his rifle butt at a Guard of Honor here on July 30, 1987, and who has been predicting the death of President Maithripala Sirisena by January 27 this year, was arrested by the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigations Department on Tuesday.

After his release from prison in the Rajiv Gandhi assault case, Wijemuni had been a practicing astrologer, appearing on TV and also using the social media to publicize his predictions.
In December last year, he got into trouble by using the social media to announce his prediction about President Sirisena’s death by a specific date. He even declared that he would stop reading horoscopes if his prediction was proved false.

On December 21, 2016, the then Secretary to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Mass Media Nimal Bopage demanded that the Sri Lanka Police investigate a potential assassination plot on the President allegedly devised by this “cyber astrologer.”

Continue reading ‘Wijemuni The Naval Rating who Struck Rajiv Gandhi with Rifle Arrested for Predicting Death of President Sirisena’ »

Tamil Nadu State Farmers Withering Under Worst Drought In Living Memory Due To Failure Of Two Monsoons.

By T.S. SUBRAMANIAN

IT was after 8:30 p.m. that we reached the house of Aravindh in Kulimaathur village in Tiruvaiyaru taluk of Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. We knocked on the door; a young girl, obviously his sister, opened it. We enquired if it was Aravindh’s house when her father, S. Asaithambi, stepped onto the verandah. Asaithambi went inside the house and returned with a framed picture of his son with a legend that read: “K.S.A. Aravindh Mazhavarayar. Flowered: 23.09.1991. Fell off: 15.12. 2016.”

Aravindh, 25, was a diploma holder in information technology but was interested in farming, the family’s occupation. He could drive tractors, for which he had a licence. Breaking down as he narrated the events that led to his son’s death, Asaithambi said: “I told him not to dig the borewell but he went ahead. Rains had failed so the borewell had to be drilled deeper and deeper, up to 68 feet. We struck no water.” Aravindh then drilled another borewell, which too did not yield water. The work on the two borewells cost Rs.40,000. The family had been cultivating rice on 2.6 hectares of land taken on lease from a trust 25 years ago. It also owned five hectares. The north-east monsoon, between October and December, failed and there was no water in the Odai irrigation canal, which is fed by the Cauvery river. A nearby drainage canal called Konakarungal Aru, too, dried up.

“Except for a couple of light spells it did not rain at all,” said Asaithambi. This led to a total loss of the “samba” paddy crop, which should have been harvested in January 2017. “The samba had stunted growth” for want of water, he said.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu State Farmers Withering Under Worst Drought In Living Memory Due To Failure Of Two Monsoons.’ »

CV Wigneswaran Wants Northern Provincial Council To Set Up An Independent War Crimes Accountability Mechanism

By

P.K.Balachandran

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka Tamil-majority Northern Province C.V.Wigneswaran has suggested that the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) explore the legal possibility of instituting its own independent war crimes accountability mechanism in the absence of an international judicial mechanism recommended by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in September 2015.

Wigneswaran said this on Monday while speaking at a function in Vattakandaal Tamil Mixed School in Mannar district, where 60 to 70 people including Principal V.Sundaramoorthy and teachers T.Mahendiran and S.Ratnadurai were gunned down by the Sri Lanka Army on January 30, 1985.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Wants Northern Provincial Council To Set Up An Independent War Crimes Accountability Mechanism’ »

Five Suspects Arrested Over Plot To Assassinate TNA MP Sumanthiran Produced At Kilinochchi Court And Remanded Until Feb 13th

T
By Dharisha Bastians

Another suspect has been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) told a court in Kilinochchi yesterday.

Vijayan from Mannar is the fifth suspect to be arrested in the case. The interrogation of four ex-LTTE cadres arrested earlier this month in connection with the case and further inquiries had led to Vijayan’s arrest, Daily FT learns.

Continue reading ‘Five Suspects Arrested Over Plot To Assassinate TNA MP Sumanthiran Produced At Kilinochchi Court And Remanded Until Feb 13th’ »

Time Has Never Been Better For Mahinda rajapaksa’s Momentous Return To Power.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa will no longer be hiding behind his couriers of the joint opposition (JO). Last week, he emerged from the shadows of Abeyaramaya to boldly announce at a rally in Nugegoda that after coming to power, he would recover billions that have allegedly been looted by the incumbent government.

His rally at Nugegoda was said to be a very expensive affair: going by the expenses incurred for the number of buses used to transport protestors from distant places to Colombo, their pocket money, ‘bath packets’ and generous flow of booze to keep everyone fired up, his financers had to foot a hefty bill. It was his second coming party, so it ought to be a grand one. It was not so much about the numbers in attendance, but the maximum effect and appearance.

Otherwise, why would organisers pick a place that got overcrowded even for a Vesak Bakthi Geetha show?

This Nugegoda joint overflows with just a couple of thousand people, causing maximum traffic jam, chaos and inconvenience so that the entire city feels the protest vibes. Unemployed graduates knew the trick and now the former president is putting it to good use.

Time has never been better for Mr. Rajapaksa’s momentous return. Regressive populism has made a comeback with a vengeance everywhere. Demagoguery has become the standard form of politics. Bigotry, racism, xenophobia are no longer frowned upon. His art of politics has prevailed in more stable democracies, recently. Then, why not Sri Lanka?

Continue reading ‘Time Has Never Been Better For Mahinda rajapaksa’s Momentous Return To Power.’ »

Hunger Strike in Vavuniya Called Off Due to State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene’s Benign Intervention

By Dharisha Bastians

Family members of disappeared persons, who began a hunger strike in Vavuniya earlier this week, called off their fast on Thursday after State Minister of Defence Ruwan ​Wijewardene intervened and promised that the issue would be discussed at a meeting in Colombo on 9 February.

A hunger strike by families of the disappeared entered its fourth day in Vavuniya yesterday, with Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran urging President Maithripala Sirisena to intervene and end the crisis.

The health of at least five fasting members had deteriorated since the protest began.

Continue reading ‘Hunger Strike in Vavuniya Called Off Due to State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene’s Benign Intervention’ »

Representatives of 65 Indian Companies Attending Jaffna International Trade Fair 2017 Evince Interest in Doing “Business” in North

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) will explore the “virgin market” in Jaffna, located in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, for possible business collaborations and to help commercially rebuild the former war-zone, a representative of the trade body said.

Representatives of about 65 Indian companies, ranging from textiles to engineering, are participating in the Jaffna International Trade Fair 2017 that commenced on January 27.

Continue reading ‘Representatives of 65 Indian Companies Attending Jaffna International Trade Fair 2017 Evince Interest in Doing “Business” in North’ »

Probe Into Lasantha Wickrematunge Murder Takes A Twist After Interrogation of Sarath Fonseka By CID

by Nirmala Kannangara

The investigation into the murder of founding editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge has taken a stunning twist after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) interrogated Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, whose involvement in the high profile assassination has long been suspected.

Field Marshal Fonseka, who is also the Minister for Regional Development, was summoned to the fourth floor of the CID headquarters and has been questioned for over five hours on January 20, and in a stunning show of confidence appeared hours later on the Sirasa TV Satana programme and revealed what he had told CID detectives earlier that day.

The former army commander, stressed that he had never had any dealings or falling out with Wickrematunge, despite repeated hints and rumors by key figures in the former regime that he was the mastermind behind Wickrematunge assassination and other attacks on media figures. Instead, he pointed the finger directly at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, highlighting that they were the ones who had serious disputes with Wickrematunge.

With regard to the means of bringing about the assassination, Fonseka had alleged on a TV program that Gotabaya Rajapaksa directly centralised and supervised all security and intelligence operations in and around Colombo from the Ministry of Defence, through a separate chain of command packed with loyalists, bypassing the normal organisational structures of the three armed forces and the police. It is through this group, he alleges, that the Rajapaksas put together a faction to plan high profile assaults, abductions and murders of media personalities and others, under the auspices of the targets being a threat to national security.

However, the Field Marshal is yet to provide any hard evidence of these claims, and efforts by The Sunday Leader to confirm them sparked a surprising controversy.

Fonseka himself, when contacted by this newspaper, elaborated on what he had told the CID

Continue reading ‘Probe Into Lasantha Wickrematunge Murder Takes A Twist After Interrogation of Sarath Fonseka By CID’ »

“Mahinda Rajapaksa Put Sri Lanka’s Economy Into Intensive Care Unit” – Charges Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Directing a blistering volley at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe went on the offensive over the weekend, recalling the latter’s white elephant projects and introduction of the 18th Amendment. The PM warned that no one would be allowed to derail the country’s growth.

Responding to Rajapaksa’s statements at the Nugegoda rally last Friday, Wickremesinghe spared no punches at the former President’s track record when in office but refrained from making any statements on the internal functions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Instead, he dwelt extensively on Rajapaksa’s decision to implement the 18th Amendment, which removed the two-term limit for Sri Lankan presidents under the Constitution and opened up the chance for him to run for an unprecedented third term.

“They said that ministers of our Government would be at the rally but not even a Provincial Council Minister was there. At the rally, Rajapaksa said that he would have retired if President Maithripala Sirisena had not come forward as the common candidate.

Continue reading ‘“Mahinda Rajapaksa Put Sri Lanka’s Economy Into Intensive Care Unit” – Charges Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

LTTE Cadres Released By Mahinda Rajapaksa Responsible For Plot to Assassinate Sumanthiran says Champika Ranawaka.

by Anuradha Hiripitiyage

Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Champika Ranawaka has claimed that the four former LTTE cadres nabbed by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) for plotting to assassinate TNA MP, M.A. Sumanthiran had been among Tigers released during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime without any investigation.

Addressing a ceremony held at the Wilfred Senanayake Club Hall in Homagama on Saturday to mark the launch of a book ‘Peraliya Medin’ by former Homgama Pradeshiya Sabha member Tharindu Dileepa Gamage, the Minister said the Rajapaksa administration had released 12,600 former LTTE cadres without any investigation. The four arrested by the TID for planning to kill MP Sumanthiran was among those 12,600 LTTE cadres.

Ranawaka said It was high time that Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from active politics instead of threatening to topple governments. If he did so he would have the honour and future generations would recognize him as a great leader or otherwise he would go down as a man driven by hunger for power.

Continue reading ‘LTTE Cadres Released By Mahinda Rajapaksa Responsible For Plot to Assassinate Sumanthiran says Champika Ranawaka.’ »

Re- Discovering My Mother


BY SANJA DE SILVA JAYATILLEKA


TWO VIEWS OF A REMARKABLE WOMAN – 1

It’s only a couple of weeks ago I discovered this photograph of my mother as a young lady in her early twenties, just back from the University of Delhi having completed her BSc (Honours) degree. My cousin Omali found a family portrait amongst her dad’s clothes after his death earlier this month. It was in some ways a discovery of hidden treasure. I had never seen my mum this way. A well-educated young lady still to discover her future, but already of great composure and confidence.

Turning into an adult as independence dawned in Ceylon, her journey to Delhi University with two other young ladies who remained friends for life, was to be able to take over the institutions as the British left while not only keeping to those standards but raising them. Throughout her life she strove to achieve this, getting her MSc from the University of Boston and being offered another scholarship to complete her PhD there in what would have been a rare achievement for an Asian woman in the early sixties, but being married by then, had to reluctantly refuse, due to family pressure to return to Ceylon.

Continue reading ‘Re- Discovering My Mother’ »

Vasudeva Nanayakkara Tells Parliament It Was A Blessing For Him to be Under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “Thattama”(Buttocks)

By

Don Manu

During the course of the Parliamentary debate this Tuesday on the COPE report on the Central Bank bond issue, Ratnapura District MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara revealed one of his best kept secret kinks: he loves being smothered and considers it a great blessing – provided of course, the cushioned rear belongs to the Rajapaksa powdered anatomy.

After hurling a string of offensive expletives which had Dr. Harsha de Silva advising the geriatric politician to mind his language, Vasudeva launched an attack on the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and said that everything is under the prime Minister’s ‘thattama’ or buttocks.

Continue reading ‘Vasudeva Nanayakkara Tells Parliament It Was A Blessing For Him to be Under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “Thattama”(Buttocks)’ »

Crowd at Friday’s Nugegoda Rally Was Larger Than Crowd at First “Mahinda Sulanga” Rally in Nigegoda.

by C.A.Chandraprema

The crowd at the Joint Opposition rally held last Friday in Nugegoda was much larger than the crowd that attended the first ‘Mahinda sulanga’ rally in Nugegoda in February 2015. Thereby the Joint Opposition broke its own record for organising what is by far the largest gathering ever held in Nugegoda.

The fact that there was such a turnout despite overcast skies the whole day and torrential rains in many parts of the country was telling. Unlike at previous such meetings that this writer has observed, this was an uncommunicative and almost unfriendly crowd. Attempts to engage people in conversation elicited only grunts and monosyllables. Everybody wanted to listen to the speeches that were being made even though nothing new was being said.

At previous meetings, people did not seem to have come to listen to speeches but to express solidarity with a cause. But this time, people were very serious, with hardly a smile on their faces, they were listening to the speeches as if their lives depended on it.

A request to raise their hands and cheer elicited a single minded response even from the fringes of the crowd on the Nawala and Pagoda Roads with people lustily bellowing their allegiance to the cause. Each person seemed to be bound to the stage, not to his fellows around him. In this writer’s view, two years from now, the Joint Opposition will continue to draw record crowds. But by that time, the assembled multitude may not be a crowd but a mob.

It was Dayan Jayatilleke who used the phrase ‘Nugegoda man’ to describe the crowd that attended the first ‘Mahinda sulanga’ rally. Now it appears that Nugegoda man is multiplying and evolving and the mood of the multitude is changing.

Continue reading ‘Crowd at Friday’s Nugegoda Rally Was Larger Than Crowd at First “Mahinda Sulanga” Rally in Nigegoda.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Impressive Legal System Has Degraded Over Three Decades Into One Characterised by Pervasive Impunity

By
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

British poet and laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s mournful call that “the old order changeth yielding place to the new…‘ is an ageless reminder of the loss of once cherished values in these uncertain times.

Deprivation of voices of reason

The world now steps perilously into a future in which ancient demons of racial profiling, ultra-nationalism and rampant sexism are encouraged by a boastful and self-obsessed leader of the United States, whose penchant for pummeling state policy and abusing opponents (including the media) through the unruly medium of twitter has overstepped the bounds of propriety.

It is wondrous therefore that the first triumphant opposition rallies to the new US President were by women. Thronging major cities, they had apparently ‘disturbed’ his enjoyment of brazenly won power. This defiance can only intensify as civil rights, once taken for granted, are relentlessly rolled back.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Impressive Legal System Has Degraded Over Three Decades Into One Characterised by Pervasive Impunity’ »

“Thomians Young and Thomians Old, Thomians Staunch And True, Rally Round The College Flag, the Blue the Black and Blue”

by Anura Gunasekera

Recently, Divesh Alek Gunasekera, not quite six years of age, dressed in the regulation blue shorts and white shirt, walked in through the gates of S. Thomas’ , Mt. Lavinia, and thus became a Thomian. His maternal grandfather Chamlal, paternal grandfather Anura and father Isuru , preceded him on this same journey, having made it in 1950, 1955 and 1981, in that order.

So , young Divesh inherits a rich tradition , a glittering tapestry stretching back to 1851, encompassing academics, sports, other extra-curricular activities and , more interestingly, stories both written and unwritten , of the school; or, more appropriately, “College”, as we always refer to the place, perhaps in unconscious arrogance that STC is the only institution that deserves that title, and that when one says ” College”, it can only mean STC, Mt. Lavinia.

pic courtesy of: Mihindu Panangalage – via Facebook

Divesh has the advantage of the Thomian history that his two grandfathers and father will pass on to him. He will benefit from the accumulated wisdom , and stories, of two generations which will enable him to integrate in to the Thomian family with ease. Perhaps, one day, he may also understand the personal importance of being a Thomian, a concept that is difficult to convey to non-Thomians.
Continue reading ‘“Thomians Young and Thomians Old, Thomians Staunch And True, Rally Round The College Flag, the Blue the Black and Blue”’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Accuses Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Govt of Corruption and Stealing State assets

By Dharisha Bastians

Borrowing several battle-cries from the opposition campaign that ousted his administration two years ago, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed a massive political rally in Nugegoda yesterday, accusing the national unity Government of corruption and vowing to recover stolen state assets when he regains political power.

The Government was guilty of treason, Rajapaksa said, accusing them of selling off state institutions, property and harbours to foreigners. The ex-President turned Member of Parliament for the Kurunegala District also issued a tacit warning to all those looking to invest in state owned assets that a future government he leads would be looking to reclaim them.

“When we come back to power, we will reclaim all these state assets,” he warned.

President Maithripala accepted that the Government was corrupt, Rajapaksa charged. “But the taste of the hopper is too good to resist,” he quipped.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Accuses Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Govt of Corruption and Stealing State assets’ »

Plot to Assassinate Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian Uncovered


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lankan authorities have uncovered a plot to assassinate Tamil legislator M.A. Sumanthiran, The Hindu has learnt. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s office sent a message to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian from Jaffna district about a “serious security threat” to his life that Mr. Sumanthiran needed to be aware of.

A well-placed source in the government, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that “such a message was delivered to Mr. Sumanthiran”.

The message, said to have been based on high-level intelligence reports, was passed on around the time when four men, who are former LTTE cadres, were arrested in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province earlier this month.

Continue reading ‘Plot to Assassinate Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian Uncovered’ »

First Sinhala Talkie “Broken Promise” was Released 70 Years Ago on Jan 21 1947

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

History was made 70 years ago when the film ‘Kadawunu Poronduwa’ (Broken Promise) premiered at the Kingsley Theatre in Colombo on 21 January 1947. The Chief Guest was D.S. Senanayake, Minister of Agriculture and Lands under the State Council system of governance during the penultimate stages of British rule. Senanayake went on to become the first Prime Minister of independent Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known then, within a year of this premiere.

‘Kadawunu Poronduwa’

The presence of Senanayake, who was also then the leader of the House, at the first screening of a film denoted the importance of the event. ‘Kadawunu Poronduwa’ was no ordinary film. It was the first-ever Sinhala “talkie” meaning a film where the characters on screen spoke and sang in the Sinhala language. Until then films shown in the island were in languages like English, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil or Telugu but not in Sinhala. Thus the screening of ‘Broken Promise’ was indeed of historic importance and was duly acknowledged so by the country’s most senior Minister and future Prime Minister being present as Chief Guest at the first screening.
Continue reading ‘First Sinhala Talkie “Broken Promise” was Released 70 Years Ago on Jan 21 1947’ »

Magical “MGR” Charisma of Kandy- Born Actor-Politico M.G.Ramachandran.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

January 17th 2017 was declared a holiday in the southern Tamil Nadu state of India. This was to acknowledge and celebrate the birth centenary of Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran or MG Ramachandran who served as chief miister of Tamil Nadu for 10 years from 1977 to 1987. It is the political party he founded in 1972 – All India Anna-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham_-that is in power today in the state. Various events were held throughout Tamil Nadu to honour the memory of a larger than life personality known to millions of people by three letters of the English alphabet denoting the initials of his names – MGR!

MGR though ethnically a Malayalee made a name for himself as an actor in Tamil films and followed it up by becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state. MGR who started acting in minor roles from 1936 got his major break as lead actor in 1947. Thereafter for 30 years till 1977 he was the uncrowned king of Tamil cinema as the biggest box office attraction of them all. The swashbuckling actor starred as an action hero in over 100 Tamil films. In a film career spanning four decades from 1936 to 1978, MGR acted in 136 films. Most of his movies minted money at the box -office. This was the time when the magical initials MGR comprised a household name in the Tamil-speaking homes of countries with a substantial population of Tamils, including India,Malaysia,Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran (17 January 1917 – 24 December 1987),

MGR had a huge following of fans in Sri Lanka during the time he sparkled on the silver screen. Among his fans in the island were a large number of Sinhalese and Muslims too.
Continue reading ‘Magical “MGR” Charisma of Kandy- Born Actor-Politico M.G.Ramachandran.’ »

CV Wigneswaran Wants Govt to Remove Ban on All Proscribed Tamil Diaspora Organizations With Suspected LTTE Links

By P.K.Balachandran

The chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has appealed to the government to de-proscribe all the Tamil Diaspora organisations and stringently scrutinize only select individuals.

Wigneswaran was speaking at a function in Jaffna on Thursday to inaugurate a consular section of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry there.

“Let me suggest not to embark on selective de-proscription but to de-proscribe all organizations and have a process of very stringent vetting of individuals coming over,” he said.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Wants Govt to Remove Ban on All Proscribed Tamil Diaspora Organizations With Suspected LTTE Links’ »

Sri Lanka Could Re-negotiate UNHRC Resolution With Donald Trump and Theresa May Suggests Dayan Jayatilleka

By P.K.Balachandran

The views of US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May on matters of national security offer a “window of opportunity” to the Sri Lankan government to re-negotiate the September 2015 UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on it, says Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka, former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN in Geneva and France.

The UNHRC resolution, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka at the instance of the US and other Western powers, has tied down the island nation to steps which could demoralize its Security Forces and compromise national security. It ought to be re-negotiated in the light of the latest thinking in Washington and London, Jayatilleka told Express on Thursday.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Could Re-negotiate UNHRC Resolution With Donald Trump and Theresa May Suggests Dayan Jayatilleka’ »

War Affected Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Women in East Evolve Into Community Counsellors.


By
Meera Srinivasan

When Thangamanikkam Saradadevi, Vellathambi Junaida and Jayadeepa Padmasri sat on a panel listening to hundreds of people in Batticaloa speak of their missing relatives, of land occupied by the military and of their waning patience, they could instantly relate to them.

Healing process: (From left) Thangamanikkam Saradadevi, Vellathambi Junaida and Jayadeepa Padmasri, part of a task force counselling war victims. | Photo Credit: Picasa-via: The Hindu

This was not merely because the three women were trained as counsellors but also because they were fellow survivors of Sri Lanka’s brutal war and familiar with all that it took away and left behind.

Ms. Deepa, as Jayadeepa prefers being called, has been searching for her husband who went missing in May 2009, barely two years after their wedding.

A decade after Ms. Saradadevi’s husband was shot dead by the Army, her son was conscripted by the LTTE.

Ms. Junaida saw the LTTE go after her relatives, as they did after many Muslim families in the North and the East.

Continue reading ‘War Affected Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Women in East Evolve Into Community Counsellors.’ »

President Sirisena Claims Credit for Kicking Out Arjuna Mahendran and Appointing Indrajit Coomaraswamy as Central Bank Governor.

By Dharisha Bastians

Delivering a thinly veiled indictment against the UNP for failing to act on the alleged treasury bond scam, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday took full credit for sacking former Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran in the interest of the country.

“It was I who kicked out Arjuna Mahendran. It was I who appointed Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy as Central Bank Governor, and that is an appointment the whole world has hailed,” he charged. President Sirisena said that the decision was made for the sake of the country.

The President strongly criticised both the Government and the Opposition over their handling of the adjournment debate in Parliament on the COPE report on the Central Bank bond transaction on Tuesday.

“Both parties messed it up. The answer to allegations of corruption is not to say what about the corruption that happened before. Corruption is wrong, whoever is behind it. ”

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Claims Credit for Kicking Out Arjuna Mahendran and Appointing Indrajit Coomaraswamy as Central Bank Governor.’ »

Opposition Leader Sampanthan Accuses Govt and Opposition of Being “Hand in Glove When It Comes To Corruption”.

When it comes to corruption, the country’s two main political parties are hand in glove, Opposition Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan told Parliament on Tuesday, as he issued a fiery warning that corruption could pave the way for dictatorship and the termination of democracy.

Speaking at the adjournment debate on the COPE report on the alleged Central Bank bond scam, the 84-year-old Leader of the Opposition said neither of the two main parties had made honest endeavours to bring an end to corruption, and accused the UNP and the SLFP of colluding and protecting each other on corruption issues.

“The people are sick of this, they are sick of all of you. They believe you must be packed off and maybe they would prefer a dictator to take over,” Sampanthan asserted, in a clear and concise eight-minute speech.

Continue reading ‘Opposition Leader Sampanthan Accuses Govt and Opposition of Being “Hand in Glove When It Comes To Corruption”.’ »

Finance Minister and Prime Minister Flay Auditor- General In Parliament

The Auditor General took centre stage in Parliament yesterday as both the Government and the Opposition stepped up to define the parameters of his powers after the contentious official released a decade’s worth of bond transaction details made by the Central Bank to COPE.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke returned to the House on the offensive, slamming the Auditor General for allegedly releasing the report to JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake, despite COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti clarifying at the start of proceedings that Ratnayake was given the report as he took over as COPE Chairman during a leave of absence by Handunetti.

Karunanyake was also supported by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who explained that the Central Bank was removed from the Finance Ministry purview to resolve “conflicts of interest” in fiscal discipline and budgetary oversight. “After several reminders, the Auditor General has delivered a set of volumes without a signed audit examination report. That information has also been delivered without using a closed official envelope, despite the sensitivity of information contained in the volume. Further, the examination requested has not been completed as yet.

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Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream at Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s Office

By

C.A.Chandraprema

In January last year, the Prime Minister appointed an 11 member body styled the ‘Consultation Task Force on Transitional Justice and Reconciliation’ comprising of the following individuals. Manouri Muttetuwegama – Chairperson , Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – Secretary, Shantha Abhimanasingham PC, Visaka Dharmadasa, Dr. Farzana Haniffa, K. W. Janaranjana, Prof. Sitralega Maunaguru, Mirak Raheem, Prof. Gameela Samarasinghe, Prof. Daya Somasundaram and Gamini Viyangoda. This task force should not be confused with that other reconciliation body headed by former president Chandrika Kumaratunga which functions under the presidential secretariat. What we are referring to here is a body appointed by the Prime Minister, functioning under the Prime Minister’s Office.

The task that this body was entrusted with was to ‘seek the views and comments of the public on the proposed mechanisms for transitional justice and reconciliation, in the October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka’. This task force has now put out a voluminous report making among other things, the following observations and recommendations.

Continue reading ‘Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream at Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s Office’ »

Ravi Karunanayake Wants Legal Action Taken Against Auditor-General For Alleged Misconduct On Releasing Treasury Bond Scam Report

By Saman Indrajith

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told parliament yesterday that legal action should be taken against the Auditor General and his officials for not complying with the ministry’s request to provide a sensitive report pertaining to the treasury bond scandal and providing the same to another parties.

The minister said the Auditor General had not provided him with the report and given it to JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake thereby breaching his privileges. “MP Ratnayake on Tuesday said in parliament that the auditor general had given him the report. It was a report that I had asked for. I also produce a letter by Attorney General to Auditor General informing the latter to give me the report. The report is a sensitive one containing secret information.

The report says it is only for the eyes of the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the President. Only they are permitted to access such sensitive information. The auditor general has given the report to an MP. He has done so even without putting it in an envelope. The investigations with regard to this issue is still in progress. This action has amounted to breaching my privileges.

Continue reading ‘Ravi Karunanayake Wants Legal Action Taken Against Auditor-General For Alleged Misconduct On Releasing Treasury Bond Scam Report’ »

Finance Minister Karunanayake Accuses Central Bank Officials of Feeding Information on Treasury Bond Scam to Opposition

By the Daily FT News Desk

The parliamentary opposition was unified in its scathing criticism of the Government when the report of the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) on the controversial Central Bank treasury bond transaction was taken up for debate yesterday.

The auction allowed a company linked to the son-in-law of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to make millions in profits from the sale of Government securities. In October 2016, the parliamentary oversight committee COPE found that Mahendran was “directly responsible” for the bad transaction and recommended legal action against the former Governor and other Central Bank officials for negligence and a full investigation into Perpetual Treasuries, the company that profited from the auction.

The main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA), JVP and Joint Opposition flayed the Government for its failure to charge perpetrators of the controversial treasury bond auction in February 2015, just six weeks after President Maithripala and his UNP led administration was swept to power.

The Government hit back with charges of corruption at the Central Bank during the term of the previous regime and accused Bank officials of leaking information to the opposition.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Karunanayake Accuses Central Bank Officials of Feeding Information on Treasury Bond Scam to Opposition’ »

Assets of Perpetual Treasuries Grew By 1853% in 2 years While Other Primary Dealers Growth was 31% only

by Saman Indrajith

The Perpetual Treasuries Limited had recorded an excessive profit of more than Rs 13 billion during the 21 months from January 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said.

He was moving an adjournment motion in Parliament yesterday on the COPE report on the Central Bank Treasury Bonds investigation. He said the Perpetual Treasuries had purchased bonds worth of Rs 227 billion during the 14 months from February 28, 2015 to May 31, 2016. Out of that Rs 141 billion worth bonds had been purchased directly while Rs 86 billion worth bonds had been purchased through other institutions such as state banks.

He pointed out 95 per cent of those bonds had been sold back to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) at the secondary market. He said according to a monetary board report that came out last November the EPF had suffered a loss of Rs 14.9 billion during the above mentioned 14 months.

Continue reading ‘Assets of Perpetual Treasuries Grew By 1853% in 2 years While Other Primary Dealers Growth was 31% only’ »

Appeal Filed Against Colombo High Court Order by Slain Tamil MP Raviraj’s wife Sasikala Fixed for support on March 3 by Court of Appeal

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (24) fixed for support on 3 March the appeal filed by Appellant Sasikala Raviraj, the wife of slain TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj, against the order of the Colombo High Court in her husband’s murder case.

The bench comprised Justices Deepali Wijesundera and Lalith Jayasuriya.

Continue reading ‘Appeal Filed Against Colombo High Court Order by Slain Tamil MP Raviraj’s wife Sasikala Fixed for support on March 3 by Court of Appeal’ »

Anti-Corruption Front Complains to President Sirisena About Arjuna Mahendran Continuing to Influence Decisions of Monetary Board and Central Bank

By Dharisha Bastians

Local corruption watchdog the Anti-Corruption Front yesterday wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena, urging him to ban former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran from attending meetings at the Ministry of Finance and continuing to influence the decisions of the Monetary Board.

Former Governor Mahendran, who was deprived of a service extension after an investment firm linked to his son-in-law was alleged to have illegally profited from a controversial sale of Government bonds, regularly attends a meeting convened at the Ministry of Finance every Tuesday and Thursday which is also attended by the current Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, the ACF told the President.

The Anti-Corruption Front claims that Mahendran, who is implicated in the Central Bank Bond scandal, currently acts as an “advisor to the Finance Ministry on the Central Bank”, a charge denied by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

According to ACF’s letter to President Sirisena, the meeting is usually attended by the CBSL Governor Dr. Coomaraswamy, Treasury Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga and advisor to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs R. Paskeralingam.

Ex-Central Bank Governor Mahendran is also a regular attendee at these meetings, the ACF claimed. Mahendran “advises Coomaraswamy on decisions that should be taken by the Monetary Board,” the anti-corruption activists charged.

Continue reading ‘Anti-Corruption Front Complains to President Sirisena About Arjuna Mahendran Continuing to Influence Decisions of Monetary Board and Central Bank’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Ready to Reveal Name of Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Killer if CID Questions Him.

By Norman Palhawadana

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that the people of this country knew very well who was behind the killing of former “Sunday Leader” editor Lasantha Wickramatunge and if the CID questioned him about the killing he would reveal the identity of the killer.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Ready to Reveal Name of Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Killer if CID Questions Him.’ »

Return of Rajapaksas to Power Seems Possible Again as Resentment Rises Against Ruling Regime

By

SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda

“We’re not the same guys who used to tell you various things and then forget about it three days later… We want the world to know that we’re different—that we’re going to do what we say we’re doing.”

–Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, to National Geographic (November 2016)

Politics is shaped by leaders’ ability to deliver. It is all about doing and achieving, “doing what you say what you say you are going to do,” to paraphrase Dr. Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s current deputy minister of foreign affairs. It is not about good intentions; it is about getting results. It is not about pleasing outsiders; ultimately it is about keeping your own people happy, satisfying their aspirations, reassuring them, protecting them, and advancing their interests. This is the fundamental truth that is beginning to dawn on Sri Lanka’s body politic.

Led by President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition government has now been in power for two years. This government was welcomed, even celebrated abroad, earning glowing praise from the United States, the European Union, India, and the Western media for its good intentions and heartfelt commitments to human rights, minority concerns, democracy, and transparency. At home, however, these plaudits have failed to resonate and the administration’s achievements are the subject of fierce debate. There is now a deep groundswell of dissatisfaction, discontent, and disillusionment with the present, combined with deep unease about the future.


“Two years ago everyone I met said they had voted for a change, for Yahapalanaya [the catchphrase of the Sirisena campaign], for this ‘good governance’ government. Now I can hardly find anyone who says that they did. People are asking, what kind of change have we got? “

So said Sisira, who has been a bus driver for the last 15 years. Although he is from the deep south, from “Rajapaksa country,” he had voted against the previous president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the last two elections.

Continue reading ‘Return of Rajapaksas to Power Seems Possible Again as Resentment Rises Against Ruling Regime’ »

Amparai District Muslim Farmers Plead with Indifferent “Good Governace”Govt to Return 2878 Acres of Agricultural Land Seized During War

By P K Balachandran

Muslim farmers in Amparai district in Eastern Sri Lanka are pleading with the government to return 2878 acres of agricultural land which ought to have been given back to them when the 30-year war ended in 2009.

The non-return of these lands has affected 1406 families, who find that the end of the war has brought no relief to them in economic terms, according to K.Nihal Ahamed, Co-ordinator of the Ampara District Alliance for Land Rights (ADALR).

The ‘Good Governance’ government of Maithripala Sirisena is as indifferent to their pleas as the previous government led by the hawkish Rajapaksa, ADALR stated.

Continue reading ‘Amparai District Muslim Farmers Plead with Indifferent “Good Governace”Govt to Return 2878 Acres of Agricultural Land Seized During War’ »

President Sirisena Instructs Attorney-General to Appoint Special Presidential Commisson to Probe Central Bank Treasury Bond Fraud Allegations


President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Attorney General to take immediate steps to appoint a Special Presidential Commission to inquire into the allegations of malpractices in the bond issue of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and take required legal action, President’s Media Division said in a release yesterday.

It said: A gazette notification to appoint a Commission comprising a judge of the Supreme Court, a judge of the High Court and an expert in auditing will be issued this week. The Commission is mandated to submit a report within three months.

The President called upon all relevant parties to extend fullest cooperation to the Commission to successfully carry out its assigned duties.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Instructs Attorney-General to Appoint Special Presidential Commisson to Probe Central Bank Treasury Bond Fraud Allegations’ »

Tamil daily “Virakesari” Calls for Wordwide “Tamil Spring”Protest in Support of the Sri Lankan Tamil Cause As in the case of “Jallikkattu”.

By P.K Balachandran

Sri Lanka’s largest selling Tamil daily Virakesari has, in an editorial on Monday, called for a Jallikattu type non-partisan, peaceful, world-wide mass struggle in support of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause.

Expressing amazement at the way Tamils in Tamil Nadu and abroad spontaneously rose in defense of a cultural right shunning political parties and film stars in the process, the paper said the “Tamil Spring” India saw kindles the hope that the Tamils across the world will unite to uphold the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils in a similar manner.

Noting that the Jallikattu struggle across the globe achieved victory when the Tamil Nadu government, backed by New Delhi, announced immediate legislation to enable Jallikattu to continue despite a pending court case, Virkesari said that if the people of Tamil Nadu had only united in this way and resolutely and peacefully agitated to get India to stop the war in 2009, so many Sri Lankan Tamils would not have been killed at the time.

Continue reading ‘Tamil daily “Virakesari” Calls for Wordwide “Tamil Spring”Protest in Support of the Sri Lankan Tamil Cause As in the case of “Jallikkattu”.’ »

Buddhist Monk Thiniyawala Palitha Thera Perceived as UNP Lackey Files Petition in Court Challenging COPE Report on Treasury Bond Scam to Obstruct Scheduled Parliament Debate


A Buddhist monk appointed by the Finance Ministry to the Lanka Hospitals’ (Apollo) Board of Directors has filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition challenging the report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) on the bond issue — just days before Parliament debates the matter.

The petitioner, Ven Thiniyawala Palitha Thera, is claiming that the COPE report is “littered with inconsistencies and/or contradictions and/or misrepresentations” which, he says, “makes certain findings and/or statements in the COPE report unsafe, and/or prejudiced and/or biased…” He claims it is therefore a violation and infringement of his fundamental rights.

The Parliament debate on the Central Bank bond issue is scheduled to start on Tuesday. Ajith P Perera, a UNP member of COPE, is on record saying that the party does not intend to postpone or avoid the debate. With Ven Palitha Thera’s FR petition before the Supreme Court, however, there could be an attempt to scuttle it on the grounds that the matter is sub judice, political analysts say.

Continue reading ‘Buddhist Monk Thiniyawala Palitha Thera Perceived as UNP Lackey Files Petition in Court Challenging COPE Report on Treasury Bond Scam to Obstruct Scheduled Parliament Debate’ »

Mahinda Tells Maithripala’s Chief Minister Emissaries That SLFP Quitting UNP Led Govt Is Necessary For Electoral Agreement

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa has indicated that there couldn’t be a consensus between his grouping and the SLFP under the present circumstances.

Former President Rajapaksa has declared that his grouping wouldn’t accept any arrangement at the expense of the party against the backdrop of the SLFPers in government pursuing an agenda inimical to the party.

The SLFP-led Joint Opposition comprises nearly 50 elected members of parliament whereas the parliamentary group loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena is comparatively smaller. Recently Priyankara Jayaratne quit President Sirisena’s camp.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Tells Maithripala’s Chief Minister Emissaries That SLFP Quitting UNP Led Govt Is Necessary For Electoral Agreement’ »

Wimal Weerawansa Became A Multi-Millionaire After Joining The Cabinet of Mahinda Rajapaksa

By

Nirmala Kannangara

The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) is to file further ‘B’ reports in courts against the renegade Marxist Weerasangilige Wimal Weerawansa for his alleged involvement into many other large scale scandalous corruptions that has cost the country millions of rupees during the Rajapaksa regime.

Weerawansa who is now in remand prison for misusing public funds, was operating a small communication centre in Kadawatha and his family’s sole asset was a four perch land in Millegahawatte, Pahala Biyanwila, Kadawatha at the time he entered parliament in 2000 from JVP. Since the monthly remuneration as an MP had to be given for the party as the JVP’s policy decision, his sole earnings came from the communication income.

However after extending his support to Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2008, he became a multi- millionaire in no time which is yet to be investigated by the investigators. It was only after the fall of the previous regime, upon receiving complaints, the FCID, the Bribery Commission and the Presidential Investigation Commission initiated investigations as to how this wheeler-dealer made money through various nefarious deals.

Weerawansa who is famous for his breast-beating displays of patriotism in political platforms portraying himself as a patriotic and clean politician despite his connections to corrupt activities is to face a lot consequences unless politicians in the present regime interfere with the ongoing investigations.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa Became A Multi-Millionaire After Joining The Cabinet of Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

CID to Interrogate Ex- Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Over the Assassination of “Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga

By Hemantha Randunu

CID would soon interrogate former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on the murder of former Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, Police headquarters sources said yesterday.

The former defence secretary would be questioned on the matters transpired during the interrogation of former Army Commander and Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who had been questioned by the CID last Friday for more than six hours, the sources said.

On the issues that surfaced from the information elicited from the field marshal, the former defence secretary Rajapaksa and several other top officials of their Joint Operational Headquarters are to be questioned.

Continue reading ‘CID to Interrogate Ex- Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Over the Assassination of “Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga’ »

Seven Lessons to Be Learnt From The Youth Upsurge Against The Ban on “Jallikkattu” Sport.

By

Col R.Hariharan

The nine-day long youth upsurge against the ban on Jallikattu – a traditional form of bull running during the Pongal celebrations – is expected to peter out after the ruling AIADMK’s stop-gap chief minister O Panneerselvam managed to defuse the situation, at least partially, with the cooperation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promulgate an ordinance to lift the ban.

The government may be able to handle it even if it is continued as sections of the agitators would seek a permanent solution through an enactment.

The whole episode has seven takeaways for the governments at the Centre and states, civil society organizations and youth leaders all over the country. These are:

1. It is much more than a lot of bull: Though Jallikattu ban remained the core issue of the agitation, it became a vehicle for assertion of Tamil identity which attracted mass participation.

Tamil identity, perhaps an amorphous phrase, describes the feeling that comes through one’s upbringing with distinct language and traditions in Tamil socio-cultural of environment. It transcends religious, caste and community affiliations.

Continue reading ‘Seven Lessons to Be Learnt From The Youth Upsurge Against The Ban on “Jallikkattu” Sport.’ »

SLFP Decisions on Constitutional Reform are a Betrayal of Mandate Received by President Sirisena on Jan 8th 2015

(Excerpts From the “Sunday Times”Political Column)

President Maithripala Sirisena has given the green light to Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) ministers to convey their January 3 decisions on constitutional reforms to different sections of society.

This is notwithstanding an earlier move to convene an SLFP Central Committee (CC) meeting where these decisions were to be endorsed. The fact that the ministers are going ahead first making their position publicly known, a party source said, would only mean that Sirisena, the SLFP leader, had chosen to first have consultations. He will report the outcome thereafter to the CC, the source added.

The first such meeting by SLFP ministers took place on Thursday evening with a representative group of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) at its headquarters in Bauddhaloka Mawatha. The ACBC was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1955 and is a premier Buddhist organisation. Its general objectives are, among others, (a) to promote, foster and protect the interests of Buddhism and of the Buddhists and to safeguard the rights and privileges of the Buddhists; (b) to promote co-operation among Buddhists and Buddhist associations; (c) to represent the Buddhists and act on their behalf in public matters affecting their interests.

Seven SLFP ministers who took part in the two-hour talks made clear their party’s position in respect of the proposed constitutional changes. Among the highlights were:

Continue reading ‘SLFP Decisions on Constitutional Reform are a Betrayal of Mandate Received by President Sirisena on Jan 8th 2015’ »

Justice Minister Rajapakshe’s Rejection Of CTF Report And Unwarranted “Ethnicised”Comments Smack of Racism

By Ayesha Zuhair

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Minister in charge of Justice, Wijedasa Rajapakshe has declared that he has “no confidence” in the government appointed Consultation Task Force (CTF) on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by thevery government in which he is a Minister. (Daily Mirror, 07 January 2017).

Rajapakshe’s decision to express his lack of confidence in an important Task Force nearly one year after its appointment and many moons of hard work culminating in the public release of its final report on January 03, 2017 is inexplicable to say the least. He may have forgotten that the CTF was appointed by none other than his party leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

It is not just an affront to the 11 members who comprised the CTF but also to the Cabinet of Ministers which is still to consider the report. Even more significantly, the Minister’s statement discounts the 7,306 submissions made during the consultations– in effect, dealing a body-blow to the democratic process of listening to the people’s views on the matters tasked by the government to the Consultation Task Force.

All those who made oral and written submissions to the Task Force will no doubt be shocked by the Minister’s dismissive remarks. The report itself notes the duality in attitudes of the people who appeared before the CTF. Considerable frustration, bitterness and anger had been expressed at yet another initiative despite failure of past efforts to provide relief or redress. Still, there was the expectation and yearning that this particular exercise would be different. However, the Justice Minister’s statement at this juncturewill only exacerbate scepticism about the government’s sincerity in taking forward its reconciliation programme. His comments will add to ethnic polarisation in Sri Lanka, withthe number of those who feel that this government only pays lip-service to reconciliation likely to shoot up.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Rajapakshe’s Rejection Of CTF Report And Unwarranted “Ethnicised”Comments Smack of Racism’ »

President Sirisena Expresses Concern But Project to Build Tyre Factory in Horana Rolls On.


By Namini Wijedasa

Controversial businessman Nandana Lokuwithana has begun clearing the land in Horana where he proposes to set up a tyre factory, even before the lease agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) is signed.

Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena has sent a note via the Prime Minister’s office to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) flagging some concerns regarding the project.

It points to the losses the BOI will incur in leasing out 100 acres to Mr. Lokuwithana’s Rigid Tyre Corporation (Pvt) Ltd at a fraction of the investment agency’s floor price for the land. It also observes that other investors have been allocated land at higher prices and underscores the importance of a level-playing field.

Contrary to reports, however, President Sirisena has not suspended the project nor called for it to be halted. Skills Development Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said he had directly confirmed this with the President. “No such thing has happened,” he told the Sunday Times. “The President said that such a decision should be taken by the BOI and that any questions should be directed to it.”

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Expresses Concern But Project to Build Tyre Factory in Horana Rolls On.’ »

Govt Must Be Sincere About National Human Rights Action Plan(NHRAP)and Not Use It For International Consumption Only


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

An unseemly and wholly unnecessary uproar arose this week over a proposed clause in Sri Lanka’s National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP, 2017-2021), which had apparently mentioned the need for a two-thirds majority in Parliament to pass a State of Emergency.

NHRAP limited to grand expectations

Ministers loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena indulged in a frantic thumping of chests by insisting that the President had steadfastly ‘intervened’ to remove that clause from the NHRAP. Indeed unwitting observers might have been forgiven for mistaking the innocuous NHRAP for a document that had actual force in law. This was aggravated moreover by reports that the proposal had been ‘rescinded’ by the President.

The truth is far from the case. The NHRAP pioneered by one Ministry or the other had long been a document of grand rhetoric and grander exhortations but with little practical impact. Under the Rajapaksa Presidency, the issuing of the NHRAP lapsed into sheer farce as its promises were immediately contradicted by flagrant violations of rights protections and the loss of independence of the judiciary and the police. It was a document to be jeered at rather than taken seriously.

As a pure matter of degree, the contradictions between principle and practice under the Unity Government are certainly not as blatant as they were under the Rajapaksas. However there is no reason to believe that this NHRAP is attended with the requisite degree of sincerity that should actually be evidenced.

Continue reading ‘Govt Must Be Sincere About National Human Rights Action Plan(NHRAP)and Not Use It For International Consumption Only’ »

Animals Trapped by Moragahakanda Reservoir Waters Being Rescued and Relocated by Wildlife Officials and Volunteers

By Malaka Rodrigo

Operations to rescue and relocate small wild creatures trapped by the waters of the Moragahakanda reservoir are continuing.

Filling of water at the reservoir began on January 11.

Department of Wildlife Conservation officers with support from volunteers began rescuing wildlife species that had been trapped by the rising waters.

“Giant squirrels, squirrels, wild cats, reptiles, lizards, monitor lizards and snakes top the list of animals that we rescued,” says Wildlife Department’s chief veterinary surgeon, Dr Tharaka Prasad who led the rescue.

Continue reading ‘Animals Trapped by Moragahakanda Reservoir Waters Being Rescued and Relocated by Wildlife Officials and Volunteers’ »

Around 800 Families Living Near Beira Lake to be Relocated for Clearing 152 Acres in Colombo for Mixed Development Projects

By Damith Wickremasekara

Initial preparations for the development of 152 acres around the Beira Lake with mixed development projects and hotels, will get off the ground next month, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said.

Mr. Rupasinghe said the project will begin by clearing the waterways by blocking illegal water outlets and sewerage lines into the lake. In addition, around 800 families, including those living on unauthorised lands will be relocated.

The families will be provided housing in high-rise flats to come up close to the location.

Continue reading ‘Around 800 Families Living Near Beira Lake to be Relocated for Clearing 152 Acres in Colombo for Mixed Development Projects’ »

Is Sri Lanka Ready to Cope with Surging Economic Nationalism and Trade Protectionism of USA and European Union?

By

Mano Ratwatte

On Jan 20th President Trump warned the world about global free-trade in his inaugural speech. He said “Buy American Hire American and America First” . Trump fired quite a few shots across the bow at the nations he felt are not giving him a fair deal. TPP is dead and NAFTA will be renegotiated while Sri Lanka is in a hurry to “ECTAfy”

President Trump’s era on the government web began almost immediately with the wiping out of Obama-era initiatives and a new brand of policy pronouncement. The Department of Labor’s report on lesbians, bisexuals, gays and transgender people in the workplace and Whitehouse’s report on the threats of Climate Change are no more on the World Wide Web.

In its place there were two brand new policy directions1

Continue reading ‘Is Sri Lanka Ready to Cope with Surging Economic Nationalism and Trade Protectionism of USA and European Union?’ »

CV Wigneswaran’s Canada “Visit” Exposes Deep Divisions Within TNA and the Northern Provincial Council.

By Manekshaw

The Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran returned to Colombo on Monday (16) after a hectic one week’s tour in Canada.

Before heading to the airport, Wigneswaran addressed a public meeting attended by nearly 600 Lankan Tamil expatriates at the Scarborough University Pan Am stadium.

Wigneswaran, in the last lap of his tour in Canada, which is under freezing conditions these days, was coughing while addressing the gathering and said that his restless hectic tour was the reason for his cough.

At the end of his address he said he was returning to his motherland to continue with duties for his people.

Wigneswaran twice earlier when he attempted to travel to Canada, was not given a visa by the Canadian High Commission in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran’s Canada “Visit” Exposes Deep Divisions Within TNA and the Northern Provincial Council.’ »

Sri Lankan Tamil Ministers in Govt Divided Over Housing for War Displaced Issue:DM Swaminathan Pushes for Steel but Vijayakala Maheswaran Wants Brick

By P.K.Balachandran

The Sri Lankan government continues to be divided on a proposal by Lakshmi Mittal’s company ArcelorMittal to build 65,000 prefabricated houses made of steel and PVC in the Northern and Eastern Provinces for the war-displaced families.

While Rehabilitation Minister D.M.Swaminathan, who mooted the project, is certain that it is on, the Minister for Child Affairs, Vijayakala Maheswaran, told parliament on Thursday, that it is not on, and that only brick houses will be built.

To allay the impression that the ArcelorMittal houses are unfit for habitation, the Ministry of Rehabilitation issued a statement on Friday saying that the houses have been found to be fit by the Department of Civil Engineering of the Engineering Faculty of Peradeniya University.

“The pre- fabricated houses are the best option to meet the high demand for housing in the war affected Northern and Eastern provinces,” the university’s study said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamil Ministers in Govt Divided Over Housing for War Displaced Issue:DM Swaminathan Pushes for Steel but Vijayakala Maheswaran Wants Brick’ »

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Panneerselvam Will Inaugurate “Jallikkattu”Event at Alanganallur on Jan 22nd at 10 am.


Even as protestors at the Marina refused to budge till a permanent solution is found to the jallikattu issue, TN CM O Panneerselvam on Saturday announced that an ordinance has been passed for conduct of the sport.


The bull taming sport is set to take place in Alanganallur and other places in the state on Sunday. The chief minister will personally inaugurate the Alanganallur event at 10 am.

In other places, the ministers from those districts will inaugurate jallikattu events at 11 am.

OPS released a statement which said:

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Panneerselvam Will Inaugurate “Jallikkattu”Event at Alanganallur on Jan 22nd at 10 am.’ »

Jallikkattu Ordinance Provides Temporary Relief to Tamil Nadu But Fight for a Permanent Solution Continues.

By

Ragamalika Karthikeyan

The ordinance for the conduct of jallikattu is here, and the supporters of the bull taming sport have got a temporary relief. But even as the fight for a permanent solution continues, one question on everyone’s mind is whether this ordinance will withstand the scrutiny of the courts.

This question is especially relevant since the Tamil Nadu government had brought in a law in 2009 for the regulation and conduct of the sport, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in its 2014 verdict in the jallikattu case.

So why should this ordinance be any better?

The short answer: They’ve got the assent of the President of India this time around.

Continue reading ‘Jallikkattu Ordinance Provides Temporary Relief to Tamil Nadu But Fight for a Permanent Solution Continues.’ »

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee Gives Assent to Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao Promulgating Ordinance Making Jallikkattu Legal in the State.

It’s a temporary win, but nonetheless a big win for the people’s movement at Marina, Alanganallur and many other parts of Tamil Nadu. TN Governor Vidyasagar Rao has promulgated an ordinance making jallikattu legal in the state.

The Governor’s assent comes after the ordinance draft was approved by the Home Ministry and Law Ministry. Through the centre, the President Pranab Mukherjee gave his go ahead for Tamil Nadu’s ordinance to allow jallikattu in the state.

What does it mean for the state?

Continue reading ‘Indian President Pranab Mukherjee Gives Assent to Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao Promulgating Ordinance Making Jallikkattu Legal in the State.’ »

“We Will Make America Great Again”- Text of 45th US President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address

Read President Donald Trump’s inaugural address as prepared for delivery:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.

President Donald J. Trump delivering inaugural address, Jan 20, 2017

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.

We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Continue reading ‘“We Will Make America Great Again”- Text of 45th US President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address’ »

What is Donald Trump Likely to Achieve in Power? -The Economist

MUCH of the time, argues David Runciman, a British academic, politics matters little to most people. Then, suddenly, it matters all too much. Donald Trump’s term as America’s 45th president, which is due to begin with the inauguration on January 20th, stands to be one of those moments.

The Economist ~ Jan 21, 2017

It is extraordinary how little American voters and the world at large feel they know about what Mr Trump intends. Those who back him are awaiting the biggest shake-up in Washington, DC, in half a century—though their optimism is an act of faith.

Those who oppose him are convinced there will be chaos and ruin on an epoch-changing scale—though their despair is guesswork. All that just about everyone can agree on is that Mr Trump promises to be an entirely new sort of American president. The question is, what sort?
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Donald John Trump Sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America

By Julie Pace

Pledging to empower America’s ‘‘forgotten men and women,’’ Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

PIC VIA: facebook.com/WhiteHouse

Looking out over the crowd sprawled across the National Mall, Trump painted a bleak picture of the nation he now leads, lamenting ‘‘American carnage,’’ shuttered factories and depleted U.S. leadership. President Barack Obama, the man he replaced, sat behind him stoically.

Trump’s address lasted just 16 minutes. While his inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.

Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through. After the swearing-in, more protesters registered their rage in the streets of Washington. Police in riot gear deployed pepper spray and made numerous arrests after protesters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, denouncing capitalism and Trump.

The new president’s first words as commander in chief were an unapologetic reprisal of the economic populism and nationalism that fueled his improbable campaign. He vowed to stir ‘‘new national pride,’’ bring jobs back to the United States, and ‘‘eradicate completely’’ Islamic terrorism.

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President Sirisena Wants Emergency to be Declared With Simple Majority by Parliament Instead of Two -Thirds Majority.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maithripala Sirisena has directed that proposed National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NHRAP) shouldn’t in any way be an obstacle to imposition of Emergency Regulations.

President Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces had instructed that a controversial clause pertaining to the declaration of Emergency be removed forthwith.

Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe called the NHRAP as the second such report since Sri Lanka’s victory over the LTTE. Samarasinghe handled the first report that dealt with 2013 to 2016 period.

Samarasinghe has revealed the intervention made by President Sirisena recently at a meeting attended by members of the UNP-SLFP coalition cabinet.


Addressing the media at SLFP office at the T.B. Jayah Mawatha on Thursday, Minister Samarasinghe quoted President Sirisena as having said that the parliament should retain the right to impose Emergency Regulations with a simple majority. President Sirisena has pointed out that the proposal to subject Emergency regulations to a two-thirds majority in parliament could cause unnecessary problems, hence the decision to abolish that particular clause.

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Ratifying and Implementing 27 International Conventions by Sri Lankan Govt is Sole Criteria for Restoration of GSP Plus says European Union.

The European Union has said that the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions signed by successive Sri Lankan governments were the only criteria on which the incumbent Government application to regain the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) would be assessed.

These conventions relate to international human rights, labour rights, environmental standards and good governance.

The government would have to make further progress in implementing the conventions and to cooperate with the EU to monitor implementation and address shortcomings.

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2nd “Ezhuga Thamizh”(Arise Tamil)Rally To Be Held in Batticaloa by Tamil Peoples Council Postponed From Jan 21st to Jan 28th

By Dharisha Bastians

The second ‘Eluga Tamil’ rally expected to be held in Batticaloa tomorrow has been postponed after Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran was undecided about attendance and provincial education authorities decreed that Saturday 21 January would be a school day, organisers said.

Organisers announced that the rally had been tentatively postponed for 28 January after a massive Pongal festival organised by the TNA in Batticaloa also threatened to overshadow tomorrow’s planned demonstration.

The Tamil People’s Council (TPC), a civil society organisation led by Chief Minister Wigneswaran, was to hold the second of the ‘Eluga Tamil’ (Rise Tamil!) rallies in the Eastern Province town, after the group’s first demonstration in Jaffna drew thousands in September 2016.

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“Sri Lanka Hopes to Offer Trincomalee Harbour to India” Reveals Lankan Cabinet Minister Sarath Fonseka in New Delhi


By

Kallol Bhattacherjee

Sri Lanka is in talks to offer the port of Trincomalee to India!

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue here, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Colombo’s Minister of Regional Development, said that the decision on offering the port to India will be taken soon.

“Talks are at present going on between India and Sri Lanka and we hope to offer the Trincomalee port, which is one of the best deep sea ports in the world, to India,” said Mr. Fonseka speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue.

Trincomalee has been on the table for sometime as Sri Lanka wants to maintain a neutral stand and provide equal access to its ports to both China and India.

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Sri Lankan Tamils Demonstrate in Support of Restoration of “Jallikkattu” in Tamil Nadu


By P.K.Balachandran

Though there is no Jallikattu tradition in Sri Lankan Tamil villages, the Tamils of the island nation have enthusiastically joined the Jallikattu restoration movement now going on in Tamil Nadu by organizing demonstrations in support of it.

Photo courtesy of: Kayalvizhi-via Dharshu Dharshana

On Wednesday, a demonstration was held by Junior Rotarians opposite the Nallur Kandswamy temple in Jaffna. A call has been given to attend a similar demonstration in Chavakachcheri on Saturday.

According to reliable sources, some North Sri Lankan provincial ministers and members of the Northern Provincial Council are behind the demonstrations as they see them as a strategy to win over the Tamil Nadu Tamils to the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka.

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Appeal Filed by Slain Tamil MP’s wife Sasikala Raviraj Dismissed by Appeal Court as Petitioner or Her Lawyers were not Present.

By S.S. Selvanayagam and Dharisha Bastians

The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the appeal filed by the wife of slain MP Nadarajah Raviraj against the ruling of the Colombo High Court in her husband’s murder case.

The bench comprised Justices Deepali Wijesundera and Lalith Jayasuriya.

The judges dismissed the appeal because the aggrieved party Sasikala Raviraj and her lawyers were not present in court when the case was taken up. Counsel Anuja Premaratne appeared for two of the accused – Chandana Kumara and Gamini Seneviratne – who are cited as respondents in Sasikala Raviraj’s appeal of the High Court verdict.

Attorney at Law Premaratne argued that the case should be dismissed since the application for the appeal had not been supported since the appellant and her lawyers were absent in court.

Deputy Solicitor General Thusidh Mudalige appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.

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