The Victory Gained by Thomians Despite the Stunning Result of the 137th Royal – Thomian Encounter


By

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

STUNNED!

The word “Stunned” sums up the overall sentiment at the SSC ground on the evening of the 12th day of March, 2016. It didn’t matter which camp you belonged to, whether Royal or S. Thomas’. If you had been following the game from day one, you would have been stunned by the result of the 137th Battle of the Blues.

At the end of the first day, the Thomians were on top. They had started off as favourites and Royal’s gamble in putting the opposition in after winning the toss had well and truly backfired. There was talk of a possible Thora victory. When Royal, in response to the Thomians’ first innings total of 350 for 5 were 122 for 5 shortly after lunch on the second day, possible turned into probable.

Even with Royal clawing back to get to 280 for 7 with 16-year-old fresher Pasindu Sooriyabandara unbeated on 97 at the close, Thomian Coach Dinesh Kumarasinghe was still upbeat. He envisaged his boys picking up quick wickets, then putting up a challenging total and the bowlers finishing off the job, presumably sometime during the third session of the third day.

That is not what happened. Royal, fighting with their backs to the wall on day two, took the fight to the Thomians from the word go on day three. Quick runs and a declaration even though 22 runs in arrears indicated a newfound self-confidence. Things went downhill for the Thomians thereafter and Royal scored the winning runs in rapidly fading light.

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President Sirisena Says Decision on Pre-Fab Houses in North Must be Made by People who Live in them and not Chief Minister Wigneswaran or Cabinet Minister Swaminathan

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said that the fate of ArcelorMittal’s project to build 65,000 pre-fabricated houses for the war-displaced in the Tamil-majority Northern Province, should be decided by the beneficiaries and not by the Central Minister of Rehabilitation D.M. Swaminathan, or the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V.Wigneswaran.

After Swaminathan and Wigneswaran had a spat at a function in Kopay in Jaffna district last Saturday, Sirisena had said that the question of the houses’ suitability should be settled by the people who are going live in them and not those who are not going to.

Wigneswaran had urged the government to “reconsider” the project as the prefab houses built by Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal’s company, ArcelorMittal, are made of steel and PVC which are unsuited to the local climate. The design is also alien to the habits of rural Tamils. For example, there are no chimneys in the kitchens when the rural community uses wood or coal as fuel. Being prefabricated no changes can be made to the house. And LKR 2.1 million a house, it is too expensive.

Countering this, Swaminathan said that the houses are modern, coming with furniture, electric fans and facilities to use cooking gas. And the units will be delivered in record time.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Says Decision on Pre-Fab Houses in North Must be Made by People who Live in them and not Chief Minister Wigneswaran or Cabinet Minister Swaminathan’ »

Joint Opposition Protests Agreements With India But Keeps Silent About Agreements With China

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

A close analysis of how the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime dealt with India and the contradictory policies and statements that emanate, at present, from former Ministers like Prof. G.L. Peiris amply demonstrate that they are playing politics for their advantage using proposed agreements between Colombo and New Delhi. The analysis records that former Sri Lankan High Commissioner to New Delhi under Mahinda’s administration, Prasad Kariyawasam made a controversial statement against Tamil Nadu urging the Central Government of India to take action against Tamil Nadu politicians who had links with the LTTE. New Delhi appeared disturbed by Kariyawasam’s statement. On the contrary the Rajapaksa administration endorsed the statement made by Kariyawasam claiming that the latter made that statement in the interests of the Colombo Government.

Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Y.K. Sinha recently made a serious statement against Opposition politicians in Sri Lanka who attacked the proposed ETCA with India. He expressed shock and dismay over the same politicians who supported the CEPA with India now taking an opposing stand to ETCA. In response to Sinha, Prof. G.L. Peiris who earlier supported CEPA said Sinha was trying to play the controversial character of one of his predecessors J.N.Dixit. Dixit was a controversial character before and after the Indo-Lanka Accord was signed in July 1987 between former Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi and former Sri Lankan President Junius Richard Jayewardene.

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Sri Lanka is Being Redesigned and Reconstituted into a “Semi’Colony” to Serve Strategic Interests of India and USA


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Sri Lanka’s current foreign policy and external alignments are increasingly asymmetrical with the needs of its material base; with its fundamental economic, financial and developmental requirements and interests.

Sri Lanka is being redesigned and reconstituted into what Mao Zedong called a “semi-colony”. A semi-colony is one which does not belong to a single outside power but is shared by several, with each having its sphere of preponderant influence.

The US-Sri Lanka partnership communique issued during Minister Samaraweera’s visit to Washington DC, reveals the extent of the envisaged US ‘engagement’. It is both broad-gauge and deep-going.

It envisages Sri Lanka as the crossroads where the US and India strategically converge. Sri Lanka is to be integrated into the Indo-US strategic grid in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific regions.

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39 MP’s From SLFP Including Mahinda Rajapaksa Will Attend March 17 Rally In Colombo Defying Disciplinary Action Threat Made By Party Leadership – Dullas Alahapperuma

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The Joint Opposition yesterday said that all SLFP MPs within its ranks would be attending a rally to be held on March 17 at Hyde Park, Colombo in spite of a warning from the SLFP leadership that disciplinary action would be taken against them.

Addressing the media at Dr. N. M. Perera Centre, SLFP Vice President and Matara District MP Dullas Alahapperuma said that all 39 SLFP MPs including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would attend the event.

There were 41 SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition, but two of them would go abroad on Thursday, he said.

Continue reading ‘39 MP’s From SLFP Including Mahinda Rajapaksa Will Attend March 17 Rally In Colombo Defying Disciplinary Action Threat Made By Party Leadership – Dullas Alahapperuma’ »

Colombo Port May Be Hit as Chennai Port Commences Supplying Bunker Fuel To International Vessels

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Chennai Port Trust had, on Friday, commenced supplying bunker fuel to ships at anchorage, an official said.

Till recently, international vessels that were passing various Indian sea ports had to go either to Singapore or Colombo for bunker fuel. Chennai Port has now started supplying bunker fuel through barge to vessel berthed at five nautical miles from the port.

“The supply of bunker fuel to ships at anchorage is a business which international ports such as Singapore and Colombo have excelled in. We started this facility with the aim of converting Chennai Port into a bunker hub in India’s East Coast,” said Chennai Port Traffic Manager B.Vimal.

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Regular Visits by Mahinda Rajapaksa to See Detained Suspects in Prison Are Aimed At De-Legitimizing The Judicial Process


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa has recently developed a habit of visiting all kinds of suspects in remand prisons, many of them implicated in offences allegedly committed during the MR reign. Last week, he visited Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera, who was arrested over allegedly keeping an unlicensed elephant calf at his temple, which is an offence under the Fauna and Flora Act, though the prelate claimed that the calf was found abandoned in his temple yard (He was later released on bail.

Earlier, MR visited the imprisoned Galabodaatte Gnanasara Thera, who was indicted for contempt of court and for threatening Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of the missing journalist, Pradeep. Also, the ex-President himself visited military personnel implicated in the alleged abduction of Pradeep Ekkneligoda. He also visited several of his acolytes who were arrested over alleged financial crimes, and of course, his son, Lt. Yoshitha (who is also accused of money laundering).

On the surface, MR’s prison visits are perfectly legitimate. He projects himself as a leader who cares about his followers and loyalists in their (and of course, his) good and bad times. Prison inmates are entitled to visits and he, as a Member of Parliament can exercise his privileges to visit the prison any time he wishes. And he prefers to do so in front of cameras. MR should be showing empathy with the predicament of his loyalists, now being investigated by judicial organs, for he himself and his siblings are now making regular appearances before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power (PRECIFAC).

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Real Responsibility Under Rajapaksa Regime:Whose Finger was Actually On The Trigger ?

By

Vishwamithra1984

The multiple misdeeds, alleged crimes ranging from abductions, assaults to even murder, acts of corruption and nepotism, providing wrong and deceitful information on the economy etc. belong, as already alleged, in the right domain — the Rajapaksa regime. These were all acts of commission. When one adds the acts of omission to this lot, the list rises nauseatingly high and the scope of investigation into them becomes excruciatingly tough.However, at the very outset, allow me to emphasize: ‘Finger on the trigger’ should not be assumed literally as one holding a gun against someone’s head.

The writer uses the metaphor, not to sensationalize the various allegations that are being dangled against some prominent members of the ruling cabal of the last regime, but merely as a figure of speech. The real question that the writer is asking is: Who was really and wholly responsible and accountable? Where did the proverbial buck stop? Yet again, it is, as I wrote in my earlier columns, redundant to keep beating the same drum as the MR regime was defeated in the January 2015 Presidential Elections and that defeat has passed down to history. But keeping them as part of history and not allowing the average citizen to be intimidated, abused and violated by the same perpetrators is as important as protecting what was gained.

For quite some time, allegations have been flying and the average citizen every now and then made a very legitimate inquiry as to why nobody was getting punished for the alleged misdeeds; they expressed utter frustration at the snail’s pace at which the so-called investigations were being dragged on; wild rumours made their usual rounds in drawing rooms inside homes, crowded bars in Colombo clubs and even inside three-wheelers which the average citizen uses for his or her daily regular/irregular commuting. That frustration reached a peak and may have died a natural death as they always do, when a sense of resignation dawns and day-to-day workloads overtake indulgences in unnecessary yet interesting pastimes.

But there is no circumventing the allegation that the members of the former ‘First Family’ were deeply entrenched in almost all the alleged misdeeds; their names came up as the first culprits of corruption, not so much as small-time dealers of the trade of wheeler-dealing, but as major players of some mega deals, sometimes involving foreign governments.

Continue reading ‘Real Responsibility Under Rajapaksa Regime:Whose Finger was Actually On The Trigger ?’ »

Getting Rid of Rajapaksas was Far More Easier Than Getting Rid Of Execrable Practices Which Became The Norm Under Their Rule

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

 “Just as political democracy is all that stands between individuals and an overmighty government, so the regulatory providential state is all that stands between its citizens and the unpredictable forces of economic change.”

– Tony Judt (Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century)

From time immemorial, humans have imaged their heavens, the ones in the sky and the ones on earth. Thomas More, dreamer and politician, saint and persecutor of religious dissenters, called his own version of the ideal state Utopia, a name he coined from the Greek, meaning no place. Perhaps he meant it as a signal or even warning. After all, utopias are not finished products but works in progress. They can be lodestars, but never reachable destinations.

Good governance was an effective electoral slogan. Contrary to the utterances of some ministers, the replacement of the Rajapaksa regime with the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration did not bring about good governance. That change merely enabled the long and never ending walk towards the utopia called good governance. Good governance is not and cannot be an achieved reality; at the very best it can be a set of guidelines to act within and a series of goals to work towards.

In Thomas More’s Utopia, several religions coexist in peace and even atheists are tolerated. Yet as the Chancellor of Henry VIII, More was notoriously intolerant and excelled at and exulted in burning religious dissenters. Politicians cannot be depended on to usher in any utopia, including the ones they themselves imagined.

Everywhere and always, politicians, most politicians, develop a tendency to abuse power irrespective of party or ideological affiliations. The uncouth conduct of the Minister of Higher Education is only the latest indication that getting rid of the Rajapaksas was far easier than getting rid of the execrable practices which became the norm under their rule. The best guarantee that the necessary journey towards good governance doesn’t end on the opposite shore is not action by this or that political leader but an optimum combination of fair laws, strong institutions and a citizenry willing to stand up for their rights.

Continue reading ‘Getting Rid of Rajapaksas was Far More Easier Than Getting Rid Of Execrable Practices Which Became The Norm Under Their Rule’ »

Colombo High Court Revises Kaduwela Magistrates Order and Grants Bail to Yoshitha Rajapaksa and 3 Others in CSN Case

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

The Colombo High Court today decided to revise the Kaduwela Magistrate’s order to remand Yoshitha Rajapaksa and three others over the alleged financial irregularities at the CSN and they were granted bail by High Court Judge A. A. Heiyanthuduwa.

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Outcome of Protest Demonstration at Independence Square Though Positive was Not Achieved By Due Process


By

Gihan de Chickera

A recent online video showing a young couple challenging two security guards who were trying to evict them from Independence Square for spending time there together deserves to be commended, as it highlighted a firm stand taken by citizens against the absurd and arbitrary imposition of a set of hypocritical and misguided rules and morals.

Better still was the news that a demonstration titled ‘Occupy the Square’ had been organised at the same location on March 6, to show solidarity with the aggrieved couple, create awareness on the issue and hopefully push for a removal of the unfair ‘no-couples’ policy. No one expected trouble. Police barriers and water cannons were not required. After all, this was not a protest by workers demanding a liveable wage, undergrads seeking a livelihood or villagers needing clean water to live.

As expected, the demonstration was held peacefully. Solidarity was shown and some awareness was created. What was not expected, however, was that it produced results. And in a country like Sri Lanka where people’s fundamental rights are flouted on a daily basis, this could be considered a victory, albeit a small one, for all like-minded citizens.

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Anti-ETCA Protest March on Thursday Will be a Test of Political Strength Between Maithri and Mahinda Factions of SLFP


By

Rasika Jayakody

As anticipated, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has launched an offensive against the political protest rally to be held in Colombo on Thursday by the UPFA parliamentary dissident faction against the proposed ETCA economic agreement being negotiated with India.

In swift implementation of a party central committee decision, letters have been sent to all SLFP MPs prohibiting them from attending any rallies and demonstrations organised by other political groups.
Although the letter does not directly refer to the rally planned by the UPFA dissidents, who call themselves the ‘joint opposition’ in Parliament, the timing and tone of the SLFP letter indicated that it had some bearing on the dissidents’ event. The letter also says that those who violate the decisions made by the party Central Committee in this regard run the risk of disciplinary action.

At a recent meeting, the Central Committee decided to empower its disciplinary committee to take action against any member violating party discipline, irrespective of their positions in the party.

ETCA protest

This means the SLFP MPs supporting President Sirisena will not attend the demonstration against ETCA. Some Sirisena supporters have actually adopted a stony silence when it comes to the proposed agreement with India. Others, who hold ministerial portfolios under the national unity government, have chosen to support the move.

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Can Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Retain Confidence In Finance Minister Karunanayake After Replacing the Maiden Budget With His Own?

By

Don Manu

If the former president’s astrologer Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena got it wrong and came a cropper predicting Rajapaksa’s political future by gazing at the stars then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was spot on — as he says himself — and hit the bull’s eye when it came to prophesying the doom that awaited the Rajapaksa regime by simply glancing at the bottom line of Lanka’s balance sheet.

Throwing into the dustbin the Government’s maiden budget’s tax proposals presented last year in Parliament by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and replacing them with his own modified set, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Monday that he knew in 2014 the bad economic news that lay in store for the nation and realised then that the Rajapaksa Government’s days were numbered and would not last the fall of 2015.

“It was I who stated first that there would be a national election in 2015,” Wickremesinghe told the House. “I said so at the beginning of 2014. In truth, I made my prediction very much before Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena made his predictions. Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena made his predictions on the basis of formations of stars and planetary constellations. But I made my predictions after analysing the economic situation in the country. After analysing the way the Rajapaksa was mismanaging the country’s economy, I realised that there was no future for that government after 2015.”

Continue reading ‘Can Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Retain Confidence In Finance Minister Karunanayake After Replacing the Maiden Budget With His Own?’ »

Govt Dependency on New Delhi Increases as India Provides Financial Aid Again to Bail Out Sri Lanka


By

C.A.Chandraprema

Despite what appeared to be a concerted effort to deflect public attention with various sideshows like Minister Sarath Fonseka’s maiden speech in parliament, and the arrest of Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka on charges of illegally keeping an elephant, the economy remained the main focus last week with the opposition even hinting at a likelihood of a sovereign default as the 1.1 billion USD currency swap with India came due.

The Financial media reported last Friday that India had agreed to provide another 700 million USD currency swap arrangement until the expected IMF bailout package materialized. That would be the third occasion in which India provided short term external financing for Sri Lanka in the past 12 months.

Sri Lanka entered into currency swap arrangements with India in March 2015 for USD 400 million, and in July 2015 for 1.1 billion USD. This 700 million USD arrangement would be the third such occasion in a matter of 12 months. Sri Lanka has never been this dependent on India at any time in the past. This dependency probably explains the government’s antics over the proposed ETCA with India.

Any hopes of the government being able to raise money on the open market were dashed when Fitch ratings downgraded Sri Lanka’s credit rating and pushed us into the negative outlook category. Even before we were thus downgraded, it was prohibitively expensive to raise money on the open market. The 650 million USD sovereign bond issue in May 2015 had been made at over 6% interest and the 1,500 million USD sovereign bond issue in October 2015 was at a near 7% interest.

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Let Us Sympathise with the Security Guards at Independence Square Portrayed as Villains were Mere Minions Following Orders

by Gamini Weerakoon

The story of a young couple being ordered out of Independence Square by two security guards of a hired private security firm was on the front pages of many daily newspapers. Surprisingly the young man and woman had public support rallying round them and on the next day there was a public demonstration staged in which the youthful Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Harsha De Silva also joined in.

Some subsequent reports said that the two security guards had been sacked while others said they were transferred out from Independence Square and there was jubilation among the pro- lovers’ demonstrators. The Yahapalanaya government leaders need to be commended on their defence of the rights of lovers while Minister Harsha De Silva too receives our encomiums for daring to extend his portfolio from External Affairs to Love Affairs as well. However our sympathies are with the two security guards who are made out to be the villains.

Continue reading ‘Let Us Sympathise with the Security Guards at Independence Square Portrayed as Villains were Mere Minions Following Orders’ »

Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants Govt to Stop Project Signed With ArcelorMittal to Build 65,000 Pre-fab Houses for War-displaced in Northern Province

By P.K.Balachandran

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, has appealed to the Lankan government to reconsider its plan to build 65,000 prefabricated houses for war-displaced persons in the province through a contract with ArcelorMittal, a Luxembourg-based company headed by the Indian billionaire, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal.

Speaking at a function at Koppai to mark the handing over of 700 acres of land to civilians by the army, Wigneswaran appealed to President Maithripala Sirisena, who was present, to give up the housing project on the grounds that it is too expensive and also unsuited to the economic condition of the displaced Tamils.

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All MP’s Unite to Approve Huge Additional Allowances for Themselves while Govt Imposes Additional Taxes on People


By Saman Indrajith

Close on the heels of additional burden placed on taxpayers, the UNP, the SLFP, the Opposition and the Joint Opposition consisting of UPFA rebels, in a rare display of unity, yesterday unanimously approved a range of allowances for MPs. Besides, they agreed to pay a special allowance to the parliamentary staff, according to highly placed sources.

The aforesaid decisions were made at a party leaders’ meeting chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Among those present were Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala, Deputy Chairman of Committees Selvam Adaikkalanathan, Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the Opposition R Sampanthan, Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunatileka, Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe, Dr Wijeyadasa Rajakapkshe, MPs Dinesh Gunawardena, Douglas Devananda, Shanthi Sriskandarasa, MA Sumanthiran, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake and Deputy Secretary General Neil Iddawela.

MPs will be paid Rs 75,000 each to maintain an office in his or her constituency. All members will receive a monthly allowance of Rs 50,000 each for telephone, internet and overseas calls. It was also agreed to pay Rs. 50,000 each as a housing allowance to the MPs who are not resident at the Madiwela MPs housing complex.

These allowances will be in addition to the ones currently being paid to the members, according to sources.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa Faces a “Pons Asinorum” (Bridge of Asses) That He Must Cross

by Rohana R. Wasala

“Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago, If thou but think’st him wronged and mak’st his ear A stranger to thy thoughts”.

– Othello , the eponymous hero of the Shakespeare play

The political stability that Sri Lanka enjoyed for a brief five years after the conclusion of the civil conflict in 2009 accelerated economic development and social progress in a nationally secure, peaceful environment. Of the tangible economic development achieved there was statistical proof; Sri Lanka reached middle income country status. To anyone who looked on the social scene with an unprejudiced mind it was obvious that the general lot of the masses was steadily improving; fast infrastructure development was taking place, with new roads, bridges, schools and hospitals being built across the country and rural electrification projects extended to cover the entirety of remote regions until recently devoid of a power supply; major housing schemes and mega construction programmes building seaports and airports and fisheries harbours were launched and completed with assistance from friendly nations.

National unity that had been seriously threatened by many decades of divisive politics indulged in by a few communalist minority politicians in contemptuous disregard of the innocent wishes of the sensible majority of ordinary masses was gradually being restored and reinforced. But what is the status of the country’s economic prospects today? With the recent downgrading of Sri Lanka’s Long Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) by the international credit rating agency known as Fitch Ratings a Negative Outlook has been assigned to the IDRs, which is likely to adversely affect investor sentiment, not a happy augury for our economic future as a nation. The government is blaming the previous Rajapaksa administration for accumulating enormous debts while completely ignoring the remarkable development that was achieved using those debts.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Faces a “Pons Asinorum” (Bridge of Asses) That He Must Cross’ »

Will Harsha de Silva Stand Up to Tamil Nadu Fishing Poachers in the same way he Took on the Security Guard as Independence Square?

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Last Sunday (March 6, 2016) a protest was held at Independence Square. The ‘call to action’, so to speak, came in the form of a post on social media by unknown persons calling themselves ‘Occupy the Square’. The issue was about a security guard taking issue with a couple for ‘inappropriate behaviour’ at Independence Square. That ‘call’ was shared.

A fair number turned up including the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha de Silva. Harsha came armed with the relevant circular. He took it up with the security personnel. The media picked it up. Action was taken subsequently on the orders of the Prime Minister. Freedom to love and be triumphed.

Then came the discussion. There was a lot of ridicule. Comments such as the following: It was a trivial matter. There are more important things to protest/challenge. It was an NGO affair. Just another protest by people determined to vilify Sinhala Buddhist culture. A distraction, nothing more. An exercise to dress up Harsha De Silva as Superman. Harsha lambasted a security guard over limiting freedom but he won’t dare stand up to foreigners intent on wrecking the country’s independence. I can’t wait to see Harsha take on Tamil Nadu fishermen poaching on Sri Lankan waters. Harsha was addressing his constituency just as Akhila Viraj Kariyawasam was appealing to his in the case of the Kuliyapitiya ‘AIDS Scare’.

Continue reading ‘Will Harsha de Silva Stand Up to Tamil Nadu Fishing Poachers in the same way he Took on the Security Guard as Independence Square?’ »

TNA Wants Govt to Take Political Decision and Release Tamil Detenues Without Treating it as a Legal Issue Alone


By P.K.Balachandran

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) wants the Sri Lankan government to look at the question of releasing the Tamil war-time detainees from a political standpoint, as a measure of ethnic reconciliation, and not just as a legal issue.

TNA spokesman and MP, M.A. Sumanthiran told Express on Friday, that the alliance leader R.Sampanthan has been asking the government to take a “political decision” in the matter and not go by legalities only.

Sumathiran said that the release of the 168 prisoners, 14 of whom are fasting since February 23, has been stalled because the Attorney General (AG) had said that there are legal impediments to their release.

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Former Tamil Political Leader Amirthalingam’s Widow Mangaiyarkkarasi Passes Away in London at 82 Years of Age

Mrs. Mangaiyarkkarasi Amirthalingam the widow of former Sri Lanka Leader of the Opposition and Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF) Leader Appapilaai Amirthalingam passed away at a Hospital in London, UK, on Wednesday March 9th 2016 . Mrs. Amirthalingam who was 82 years of age had been hospitalised a day earlier for a pancreatic ailment on Tuesday March 8th . She had been living in London since 1989 after her husband A. Amirthalingam was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) on July 13th 1989.

Mangaiyarkkarasi Amirthalingam (July 3rd 1933 - March 9, 2016)

Mangaiyarkkarasi Amirthalingam (July 3rd 1933 – March 9, 2016)

Although perceived largely in public life as the wife of Tamil political leader Amirthalingam, Mamgaiyarkkarasi in her own right was active in politics. She used to accompany her husband regularly for political meetings and sang songs on stage in praise of the Tamil language. In later years Mangaiyarkkarasi also addressed meetings and earned a reputation for being an emotional fiery speaker.
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Sri Lankan Cabinet Gives Green Light to US 1.4 Billion $ Chinese Colombo Port City Project That was Suspended Earlier


Ahead of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to China next month, Sri Lanka today gave the go-ahead to the country for the controversy-hit USD 1.4 billion Colombo port city project that was suspended by President Maithripala Sirisena over environmental concerns.

The Sri Lankan Cabinet approved the extension of the agreement on the Port City project for six months.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management has recommended allowing resumption of the project subject to limitations and conditions stipulated in the EIA (environmental impact assessment),” the government said in a statement.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Cabinet Gives Green Light to US 1.4 Billion $ Chinese Colombo Port City Project That was Suspended Earlier’ »

Ex-President’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa went on 27 Foreign Tours During his 100 Month Stint with the Sri Lankan Navy


By Saman Indrajith

Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son, Yoshitha, during his 100 month service in the Sri Lanka Navy had been on 27 foreign trips, Parliament was told yesterday.

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene responding to a question raised by JVP Kalutara District MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that Yoshitha had visited the US, the UK, Ukraine, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Russia, Singapore and New Zealand.

Asked to state to the House the cost of those visits, the Minister said that he would look into the details of expenses and inform the House later.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa went on 27 Foreign Tours During his 100 Month Stint with the Sri Lankan Navy’ »

FCID Files Charges in Courts Against Namal Rajapaksa MP and 7 Employees of Gowers and Hellocorp Companies For Money Laundering

The Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) yesterday filed charges, including those of money laundering, against eight people, including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s eldest son Namal.

After considering the complaint, Court also ordered four bank accounts belonging to a company allegedly owned by MP Namal Rajapaksa to be frozen till investigations were completed.

FCID submitted its report to Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris following an investigation launched into a complaint lodged by the organisation titled Voice Against Corruption (VAC). The complaint accusation MP Namal Rajapaksa of money laundering charges.

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Diluted Resolution to Set Up Constitutional Assembly to Draft Constitution Passed Unanimously by Sri Lankan Parliament

By P.K.Balachandran

The Sri Lankan parliament on Wednesday unanimously resolved to draft a new constitution for the country. An amended resolution, moved by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, was passed without a division.

The PM had introduced a resolution to change the constitution, first on December 23 2015, and it was to have been debated and passed on January 9, a day after the first anniversary of the victory of Maithripala Sirisena in the Lankan Presidential election.

But it ran into rough weather with the bulk of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) of which it is part, moving many amendments which could not be discussed and voted on quickly.

Continue reading ‘Diluted Resolution to Set Up Constitutional Assembly to Draft Constitution Passed Unanimously by Sri Lankan Parliament’ »

Joint Opposition No Faith Motion Against Finance Minister Karunanayake Over Amendments Presented to Budget by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The Joint Opposition declared yesterday that it would move a second no-faith motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as several amendments to the 2016 Budget presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday would increase already burdensome taxes heaped on the masses.

Addressing the media at Dr N. M. Perera Centre in Borella, Colombo District MP Bandula Gunawardena said the government tried to cover up its inability to manage public finances by blaming former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, but there had been no such economic problems under the previous administration.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition No Faith Motion Against Finance Minister Karunanayake Over Amendments Presented to Budget by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’ »

Leading Kandy Christian Mission School Trinity College Admits AIDS Suspect Student Shunned by Other Schools

By P.K.Balachandran

The two-month long impasse over the admission of AIDS suspect Rehan Dilshara to a school in Sri Lanka has ended with Trinity College, a leading Christian missionary school in Kandy, agreeing to take him and meet his expenses.

A Memorandum of Understanding to admit the six-year old from an indigent family, was signed on Wednesday by Andrew Fowler-Watt, Principal of the 159 year-old Anglican mission school, and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Lankan Minister of Education.

Prior to this, every school in the Kuliyapitya area of Lanka’s North Western Province, including government-run institutions, had refused to take the kid on the basis of a rumor that he has AIDS, or his mother, Chandani, has AIDS, or his father had died of AIDS. All this despite government doctors’ certificates to the contrary.

Continue reading ‘Leading Kandy Christian Mission School Trinity College Admits AIDS Suspect Student Shunned by Other Schools’ »

Text of Speech in Parliament on Disappearances and Detenues by Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan

අතුරුදහන් කරනු ලැබූ සහ දිගු කාලයක් බන්ධනාගාරගතව සිටින පුද්ගලයන් සම්බන්ධයෙන් ක්රිඅයාකාරී සැලැස්ම

காணாமல்போகச் செய்யப்பட்டோர் மற்றும் நீண்டகாலம் சிறையிலுள்ளோர் தொடர்பான உடனடிச் செயற்றிட்டம்

PLAN OF ACTION REGARDING VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES AND PERSONS HELD IN CUSTODY FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME


[2.33 p.m.]
ගරු රාජවරෝදයම් සම්පන්දන් මහතා (විරුද්ධ පාර්ශ්වයේ නායකතුමා)
(மாண்புமிகு இராஜவரோதயம் சம்பந்தன் – எதிர்க்கட்சி முதல்வர்)
(The Hon. Rajavarothiam Sampanthan – Leader of the Opposition)

I thank you, Mr. Deputy Chairman of Committees, and the House for the leave granted to me to raise the following matter of urgent public importance, on the Adjournment of Parliament today.

Sir, I move the following Motion with regard to a matter of urgent public importance that I wish to raise.

“The current position of the State/Government in regard to persons who have been victims of enforced disappearances and other disappearances and persons who continue to be held in custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in judicial proceedings where

i. The trial has been concluded and persons sentenced.
ii. Where persons have been charged and the trial is ongoing, and
iii. Where persons have not been charged but continue to be in custody.

Though initiatives have been taken by the State/Government to inquire into this issue and though a long period of time, very many years, have lapsed, there has been no tangible effective final result, so as to mete out justice and alleviate the extreme trauma experienced by the families and next of kin of all these persons.

This continuing uncertainty is a serious impediment to the commencement of the process of reconciliation, and it is therefore imperative that the State/Government should bring this state of uncertainty to an end, through a definite plan of action that will immediately mete out justice and set in motion the process of reconciliation and end the extreme trauma of these families and next of kin. It is incumbent that the Government defines its immediate action plan in this regard.”

Continue reading ‘Text of Speech in Parliament on Disappearances and Detenues by Leader of the Opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan’ »

Mahinda Supporters Spread Propaganda that Rajitha’s Surgery and Deaths of Sobhitha Thero, Warnapala and MKDSG Due to Coconuts Being Dashed by them

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

Coconuts play a vital role in the politics of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his loyalists. They believe that fruitful results are emerging from the lakhs of coconuts they dashed into bits at kovils and temples against the government and its members ‘ Results are surfacing as an outcome of dashing coconuts’, said Mahinda Rajapaksa having paid homage to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. When he made that statement at the entrance to the Temple,Dr. Rajitha Senaratne was bed-ridden in a Singapore Hospital awaiting coronary by-pass surgery.

When Rajitha was airlifted to a Singapore Hospital, Mahinda loyalists used the social media to claim that their exercise in dashing coconuts against the government yielded favourable results. It was the same story that this group spread through the social media outlets when the Ven.Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera passed away in Singapore.

When Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardena also died, these Mahinda loyalists used the facebook and social media to state that Gunawardene faced retribution for what he (Gunewardena) did to Mahinda. When octogenarian politician Dr.WishwaWarnapala who had nothing to do with the past presidential poll passed away last week, Mahinda loyalists spread the same charge against him. So the Mahinda loyalists are of the view that Rajitha had to undergo by-pass surgery for having betrayed Mahinda. In the same trend, this group thinks it can topple the government by dashing coconuts.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Supporters Spread Propaganda that Rajitha’s Surgery and Deaths of Sobhitha Thero, Warnapala and MKDSG Due to Coconuts Being Dashed by them’ »

President Sirisena Appoints Mahinda Amaraweera as UPFA Gen –Secy in Shrewd Move to Counter Mahinda Rajapaksa on Hambantota Home Turf


By P.K.Balachandran

In a shrewd move to counter his rival, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday appointed Mahinda Amaraweera as the General Secretary of the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

Currently Lanka’s Fisheries Minister, Amaraweera is a popular leader from Rajapaksa’s pocket borough of Hambantota in South Sri Lanka. As such, he could help neutralize Rajapaksa in the latter’s own turf.

Amaraweera was with Rajapaksa earlier, but had switched over to Sirisena after the latter won the January 8 2015 Presidential election and took over the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLF)) and the UPFA, of which the SLFP is part.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Appoints Mahinda Amaraweera as UPFA Gen –Secy in Shrewd Move to Counter Mahinda Rajapaksa on Hambantota Home Turf’ »

JVP Threatens to Cordon Of Colombo By Blocking Six Major Roads in Protest Over Fertiliser for Farmers Issue

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The JVP yesterday threatened to block all six roads leading to the Colombo City if the government was not ready to give the fertiliser subsidy to farmers.

JVP trade union wing leader K. D. Lal Kantha said the date of their protest would be announced later as the government intelligence services were all out to sabotage the protest.

He said they would send a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe spelling out their demands.

Continue reading ‘JVP Threatens to Cordon Of Colombo By Blocking Six Major Roads in Protest Over Fertiliser for Farmers Issue’ »

Order Reserved Until March 14th on Revision Application Filed on Behalf of Yoshitha Rajapaksa and 4 Others Before Colombo High Court


By Chitra Weerarathne

Colombo High Court Judge A. A. R. Heiyantuduwa yesterday reserved the order on the revision application filed by Yoshitha Rajapaksa and four other suspects, for March 14.

The revision application is to set aside the Kaduwela Magistrate’s orders that the aforesaid persons be remanded on Jan. 30, 2016 and further remanded on Feb. 11, 2016.

The suspects are charged with acting in violation o the Public Property Act in setting up the CSN Channel.

Continue reading ‘Order Reserved Until March 14th on Revision Application Filed on Behalf of Yoshitha Rajapaksa and 4 Others Before Colombo High Court’ »

Veteran Journalist Victor Ivan Castigates Sri Lankan Media as Being Worse Than The Judiciary

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Having castigated the Sri Lankan judiciary, founding editor of Ravaya Victor Ivan yesterday alleged that the media was even worse.

Victor Ivan said a vast section of the media had pathetically failed to deliver.

Claiming that nothing could be expected of them, the onetime JVP front liner stressed that it would be the responsibility of journalists to make a difference.

The former Ravaya editor was delivering a lecture to students of journalism at the Government Information Department. Among those present at the event organised by Sri Lanka Press Council were University students.

Continue reading ‘Veteran Journalist Victor Ivan Castigates Sri Lankan Media as Being Worse Than The Judiciary’ »

Prime Minister Announces Major Changes to Proposals in First Budget of Govt while Finance Minister Keeps Away

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced changes to the government’s first budget proposals increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) and removing tax relief given to several sectors. Such action. he said, was essential to ‘maintain GDP at 5.4 per cent and the economic growth rate at 6 per cent in 2016.’

Making a special statement, the Prime Minister said:

“I promised this House on Jan 28 that I would make a special statement with regard to the current economic situation in the country in the face of global economic trends and future prospects. I think time has come for me to make that statement.

“We have observed that several persons attempting to create unrest among public by shouting that the country’s economy is in dire straits. Some go abroad and hold seminars to tell Lankans living there that the economy of Sri Lanka has collapsed. That is why I thought of making a statement to the House and state the facts.

“It was I who stated first that there would be a national election in 2015. I said so at the beginning of 2014. In truth, I made my prediction very much ahead Mr Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena made his predictions. Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena made his predictions on the basis of formations of stars and planetary constellations. But I made my predictions after analysing the economic situation in the country. After analyzing the way the Rajapaksa was mismanaging the country’s economy, I realized that there was no future for that government after 2015.

“With the election of Maithripala Sirisena to the Presidency we could turn back the direction the country was being dragged.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Announces Major Changes to Proposals in First Budget of Govt while Finance Minister Keeps Away’ »

8 Reasons Why We Still Need International Women’s Day On March 8th


International Women’s Day, March 8, is a rallying point for feminists worldwide.
Established by the United Nations in 1975, it is a day to celebrate women’s achievements while highlighting remaining gender inequalities. But 41 years later, is it still necessary?

YES!


Women and girls may have scaled unimaginable heights in politics, science, arts, sports and business, but gender equality is not yet a reality anywhere in the world. Here are eight reasons why International Women’s Day is still so needed.

Continue reading ‘8 Reasons Why We Still Need International Women’s Day On March 8th’ »

Indian Envoy YK Sinha Emphatically Critical of Protests Against ECTA in Sri Lanka by Various Groups,Professionals and Politicians.


By Uditha Jayasinghe

India’s top official in Sri Lanka last week slammed the “absurd” and “defeatist attitude” of those protesting an expanded trade agreement between the two countries insisting their concerns are unfounded and would prevent economic growth.

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Y.K. Sinha was emphatically critical of protests against the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), insisting that not only have no discussions been held yet, but Indian labour would not flood local sectors.

“I am surprised by the defeatist attitude being propagated by various groups, professionals and politicians. In an increasingly-globalised world countries that enhance economic cooperation stand to gain an edge,” he told a workshop on non-tariff measures and increasing awareness of Indian standards and regulations under the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Continue reading ‘Indian Envoy YK Sinha Emphatically Critical of Protests Against ECTA in Sri Lanka by Various Groups,Professionals and Politicians.’ »

Inter-ethnic Reconciliation Issues Overshadow Observance of “Mahashivaratri” In Sri Lanka

By P.K.Balachandran

For the first time in the history of the observance of Sivarathri in Sri Lanka, issues of inter-ethnic reconciliation overshadowed religious observances this year.

Even as the All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) urged President Maithripala Sirisena to address the long-standing grievances of the Tamil community and announce alleviating measures to mark Sivarathri, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe urged all, including the Tamils, to play a constructive role in bringing about reconciliation.

“It takes much to achieve freedom, co-existence and equality in challenging times, especially when various attempts are underway to force the country back to dark times. With certain elements striving to create racial and religious disharmony, let us make this a momentous occasion to overcome such pettiness and work towards a constructive engagement with all,” the PM said in his message.

Continue reading ‘Inter-ethnic Reconciliation Issues Overshadow Observance of “Mahashivaratri” In Sri Lanka’ »

Was Patali Champika Ranawaka Involved or Not Involved in the Accident at Rajagiriya in which Two were Injured?

BY Cassendra Doole

The alleged involvement of Minister of Megapolis and Western Province Development, Patali Champika Ranawaka, in an accident on Sunday 28 February, has become a hotly debated topic in political and media circles.

On the day in question, a vehicle belonging to Minister Ranawaka was allegedly involved in an accident with a motorcycle, injuring two riders. Sandeep Sampath, a resident of Meegoda, received serious injuries to his head and is currently at the Intensive Care Unit of the Colombo National Hospital. His pillion rider M. Abeysundara, a resident of Colombo 5, suffered a broken arm.

What ensued in the immediate aftermath of the accident was riddled with accusations and counter-accusations. According to the eyewitnesses to the incident the jeep involved in the accident was driven by Minister Ranawaka and he failed to stop at the scene.

The minister has admitted that it was indeed one of his ministry vehicles that was involved in the accident, but claims that at the time of the accident it was being driven by a driver attached to his ministry.

The eyewitnesses, who lodged a complaint with the Welikada Police, also complain of nonchalant attitude of the Police officers in recording their complaint against the minister.

Continue reading ‘Was Patali Champika Ranawaka Involved or Not Involved in the Accident at Rajagiriya in which Two were Injured?’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Ensures Right of Young Couples to be in Public Places Without Being Harassed by Security Guards on Grounds of Cultural Morality

By

P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday sent out a powerful message to the island nation’s security companies saying that their guards have no right to harass un-married couples in public places on the basis of their own weird ideas of morality.

“The PM has issued instructions to ensure that young people in this country can enjoy their freedom in a decent manner. This is the democracy we fought to establish in this country,” said Dr.Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, who had intervened on behalf of a couple who were harassed by two guards at the Independence Square, a public place in Colombo, last Saturday.

The guards had told the couple that as per the Culture Ministry’s instructions, couples, not accompanied by children, should be chased out.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Ensures Right of Young Couples to be in Public Places Without Being Harassed by Security Guards on Grounds of Cultural Morality’ »

Govt Should Have Demanded Immediate Recall of Indian Envoy YK Sinha For Making Disparaging Remarks Says Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera

By Harischandra Gunaratna

Federation of National Organisations Chairman Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera yesterday flayed the government for being meek and submissive vis-a-vis Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Y. K.Sinha’s disparaging remarks about former Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris.

Dr. Amarasekera, addressing the media at Dr. N. M. Perera Centre at Borella said: “The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government should have demanded the recall of the Indian High Commissioner after declaring him persona non grata due to his derogatory remarks but such bold action could not be expected of a government subservient to New Delhi.

Continue reading ‘Govt Should Have Demanded Immediate Recall of Indian Envoy YK Sinha For Making Disparaging Remarks Says Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera’ »

Police Will “Question” Champika Ranawaka Last During “Probe” of Rajagiriya Accident in Which the Cabinet Minister is Allegedly Implicated


By Madura Ranwala and Norman Palihawadana

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika would be questioned last over the jeep-motorcycle mishap that occurred at Rajagiriya on Sunday night (February 28), in which two youth received injuries, one seriously, Senior Deputy Inspector of Police (SDIG), Pujith Jayasundara told The Island yesterday.

He said the investigation in that regard was being conducted by a special police unit under his supervision.

Asked why the police could not question the minister after two sworn affidavits had been submitted to the police headquarters last Friday identifying Minister Ranawka as the driver of the jeep at the time of the mishap, SDIG Jayasundara said that police would question other witnesses at the time and then question the minister last.

Continue reading ‘Police Will “Question” Champika Ranawaka Last During “Probe” of Rajagiriya Accident in Which the Cabinet Minister is Allegedly Implicated’ »

“No Previous Foreign Envoy Has Challenged the Role of the Opposition Here” Says Prof GL Peiris in Sharp Rebuke to Indian Envoy YK Sinha

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday says that there has never been a previous instance of a foreign envoy challenging the role of the Opposition here.

Prof. Peiris was responding to Indian High Commissioner Y. K. Sinha’s recent verbal attack on the Joint Opposition and reference to former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prof. Peiris.

The former Minister said that a re-read of former Indian High Commissioner J. N. Dixit’s Assignment Colombo would be very worthwhile in the present context. “Are we back to the Dixit era of overlordship?”

Continue reading ‘“No Previous Foreign Envoy Has Challenged the Role of the Opposition Here” Says Prof GL Peiris in Sharp Rebuke to Indian Envoy YK Sinha’ »

Indian High Commissioner YK Sinha Combats Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Joint Opposition Over ECTA


By

T.Ramakrishnan

India’s High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha has taken on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition, an informal coalition of pro-Rajapaksa parties and groups, over the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka.

Referring to reported observations of the former President and members of the Joint Opposition against the ETCA, Mr. Sinha, who did not mention the name of any Sri Lankan leader opposing the pact, told members of the Sri Lanka-India Society on Friday that he was “surprised” to come across Mr. Rajapaksa’s statements in sections of the local press on the issue.

Continue reading ‘Indian High Commissioner YK Sinha Combats Ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Joint Opposition Over ECTA’ »

Deputy Minister Dr.Sudarshini Fernandopulle Calls For Implementation of Death Penalty in Cases Like Rape and Murder of 5 year old Seya Sedemi

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Member of a special parliamentary committee Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle yesterday called for the immediate implementation of the death penalty at least in special cases like the rape and murder of five-year-old Seya Sedewmi.

The Negombo High Court will deliver the verdict on that case on March 15. Seya Sedewmi was abducted, raped and killed during last September.

The committee headed by Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kirielle has been tasked with recommending ways and means of enhancing safety and security of children.

Continue reading ‘Deputy Minister Dr.Sudarshini Fernandopulle Calls For Implementation of Death Penalty in Cases Like Rape and Murder of 5 year old Seya Sedemi’ »

Champika Ranawaka Has Committed Four Offences In Rajagiriya Incident Alleges Udaya Gammanpila

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader Udaya Gammanpila yesterday said that Minister Patali Champika Ranwaka who was alleged to have driven a vehicle belonging to the government and knocked down motorcycle at Rajagiriya and then fled the scene had committed four offences––negligent driving, fleeing the scene of an accident, getting another person to own up to the offence and driving a government vehicle without authority.

On the other hand, Gammanpila said the police had also committed a serious offence by taking down the eyewitnesses’ complaint in a different book instead of the CIB and changing the time of surrendering the vehicle allegedly driven by Minister Ranawaka. “This was a move by the police to mislead the courts, “Gammanpila said, adding that action should be taken against the errant police personnel.

Continue reading ‘Champika Ranawaka Has Committed Four Offences In Rajagiriya Incident Alleges Udaya Gammanpila’ »

Minister Kiriella Should be Thankful the Media was Kind Enough to Expunge the Expletives In His Response


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

By all accounts, the Yahapalana government is going through a rough patch. Some folks quip, tongue-in- cheek that the Joint Opposition’s coconut dashing has begun to work. Whatever the otherworldly forces behind the fallout, this is bad show. The UNP stalwart and the Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella was on record berating in abusive language a journalist after the former was exposed in influence peddling in an academic appointment at the Kelaniya University.

The Minister has sent a letter recommending a supporter be recruited as a temporary lecturer at the university. He later justified the action claiming that ‘he had only exercised the power vested in him under the University Act and had only asked to consider the qualifications of the said individual. (The Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) which played a key activist role in the election of President Maithripala Sirisena has demanded that the Minister should now resign)

Minister Kiriella’s expletive- rich response to an innocuous media query brings him to the good company of a few others political bigwigs in the previous regime, especially Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Mervyn Silva.

Continue reading ‘Minister Kiriella Should be Thankful the Media was Kind Enough to Expunge the Expletives In His Response’ »

Existing Problems With India on Free Trade and Fish Poaching Issues Must be Sorted Out Before Signing ECTA Pact


By

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The government has indicated that they intend signing an Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement with India this month. Neither the Parliament, nor the general public have been officially informed about the contents of this proposed agreement.

From the draft that has been unofficially released to professional associations by Minister Malik Samarawickrema, we gather that the proposed ETCA is not a detailed document but only a framework agreement which would leave the specific details on the trade in goods, trade in services and investment to be worked out later.

It is important that Sri Lanka should have a robust trade relationship with India. A trade agreement should be entered into only after a proper study of the possible problems and impediments that could arise. We must learn from our experiences with the 1998 Free Trade Agreement with India which ran into many problems in implementation.

Issues such as ports of entry, product certification, mutual recognition of standards, Indian state laws governing trade and the caps imposed on certain export items from Sri Lanka all became issues that prevented Sri Lanka from achieving its full export potential to the Indian market.

Continue reading ‘Existing Problems With India on Free Trade and Fish Poaching Issues Must be Sorted Out Before Signing ECTA Pact’ »

“Performing at Independence Celebrations was an Extremely Proud and Humbling Moment for me” – Kishani Jayasinghe

by Kishani Jayasinghe – Wijayasekara

Every Performing Artiste dreams of that one Event – one opportunity that changes the course of his or her destiny. That one unforgettable and special ong/dance/painting/sculpture/role or oration that changes life as they know it and in some cases like this, even defines them.

facebook.com/Kishani-Jayasinghe-Soprano-213034795396089

facebook.com/Kishani-Jayasinghe-Soprano-213034795396089

As an opera singer, I have worked tirelessly for over a dozen years to perfect a highly technical, respected and beautiful form of singing and attempted to perfect a craft that few truly ever master. To be an opera singer – or any performing artist – is to commit to a vocation and not merely a career. I always imagined it would be a particularly moving rendition of Puccini in Italian; or the luscious sophistication of a French Gounod or the musical genius of Mozart in German which would define me. Never did I imagine that a Beloved Song I learnt to sing in primary school in my mother tongue, would be the golden anthem that would affect my life so drastically.

Performing for the 68th Independence Day Celebrations on the 4th of February 2016 at Galle Face Green, was for me an extremely proud and humbling moment. An opportunity to give something back to my beloved country in the best way I could – through song and music, doing what I love. That should and could very well have been the end of it. But as fate determined otherwise, within a few hours, it was picked up by an anti-government website on social media (probably as being an easy target to incite the less well informed – something we will never truly know) and gained such terrifying momentum that within a few days it had turned into a cyber war.
Continue reading ‘“Performing at Independence Celebrations was an Extremely Proud and Humbling Moment for me” – Kishani Jayasinghe’ »

Mahinda Loyalist Group in SLFP Retreats as Maithripala Acts Tough to Take Control of the Party


By

Rasika Jayakody

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which was on the verge of a major split a few weeks ago, is now swiftly consolidating its position in the country’s political sphere ahead of a crucial elections to local government bodies.

Although the formation of a new political party by party rebels is not an impossibility even at this juncture, the SLFP has at least managed to prevent a sizable proportion of party MPs from breaking away from the blue camp.

The SLFP, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, had to make some tough decisions to instil discipline among its party MPs, Provincial Councillors and local government councillors. Some of them even held special conferences to exert pressure on the party’s decision-making bodies to appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the leader of the party, replacing President Sirisena, who became the SLFP Chairman after the Presidential election in January, last year.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Loyalist Group in SLFP Retreats as Maithripala Acts Tough to Take Control of the Party’ »

Ex-Judge Wigneswaran is Like a Jaffna Lagoon Lobster Caught in the Tamil Diaspora Net!

By

Don Manu


P
erhaps it’s the long exposure to the balmy breeze that blows in from the Indian Ocean. Or the cultivated taste for the Palmyrah treacle that flows liberally to the waiting pot. Or even the pungent onion that sprouts in abundance from Jaffna’s fertile soil and is rumoured to make grown men lose their marbles in tears if consumed in excess; but certainly something funny has happened to this former Supreme Court judge Vishwanath Wigneswaran to befuddle his mind and muddle his reasoning ever since he was elected northern chief minister and quit his Colombo born and bred residence to take abode north of the border.

Gone the penetrating legal mind able to hold spell bound both judge and jury with sparkling advocacy suavely advancing the merits of his brief on the grounds of fairness, reason and applicable law. Gone to brutish beast is the sagacity of the judge in him able to adjudicate on disputing issues objectively, equitably and wisely with an eye on public policy. Burnt out now, like the fate of the star of hope he once was to northern Tamils when he first assumed leadership of the northern provincial council, is his enlightened vision to forge a unified Lanka: dried, like a flaccid red chilli, under the harsh merciless Jaffna sun.

Long gone and long forgotten in so short a time is his avowed position not to be a politician but to use the office of the chief minister only to serve his suffering people. He told the Sunday Times on the eve of launching his campaign to be chief minister in September 2013 on the TNA ticket, “I’m not a politician. I’m interested in bringing some relief to people who are suffering. For me, the chief minister post is not a political office. It is an office by which, I could serve the people. I am not a politician. ”

But in recent times he has amply demonstrated that he has not only stepped into the rabble rousing chappals of the normal run of the mill TNA politicians in earnest but that he is willing to emerge as the new jingoist of the dwindling Tamil parade bent on reviving the now dying utopian dream of establishing an Eelam on Lankan soil. If Bodu Bala’s saffron robed Gnanasara is the archetypal southern Sinhala chauvinist then verti-wrapped Wigneswaran is in danger of becoming the northern Tamil lay prototype.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Judge Wigneswaran is Like a Jaffna Lagoon Lobster Caught in the Tamil Diaspora Net!’ »

Basic Incapacity of Govt To Understand What Sri Lankan People expected From The Change In Power Last Year

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

In a typical twist of Sri Lankan humor, there is a sardonic caricature doing the rounds of Ministers in the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition government sporting a ‘satakaya’, the habitual wear closely associated with the Rajapaksa brand of political leadership.


Changing shades of crimson

Initially signifying an earthy affiliation with the village, the ‘kurahan satakaya’ (a shawl in the colour of finger millet) underwent an unfortunate metamorphosis during the second term of the Rajapaksa Presidency. Its colour variation from brown to ominous shades of crimson came to signify a plethora of sins, ranging from corruption to killings.

Some may protest that draping ministerial types of the ‘rainbow revolution’ in this (symbolically) deadly raiment is unfair at the least and grossly exaggerated at the worst. But there is more than a morsel of truth in this satirical characterization when assessed against the outrageous conduct of ruling party politicians elected to power just a few months ago.

Continue reading ‘Basic Incapacity of Govt To Understand What Sri Lankan People expected From The Change In Power Last Year’ »

Economic Distress Faced by Govt is Due to Monthly Salary Hike of 10,000 For 1.3 Million Public Servants

By

C. A. Chandraprema

Last Friday, for the first time since the present government assumed office, a special cabinet meeting was held to discuss the economic situation and a proposal to increase taxes. No official statement has yet been given out about the decisions made at that cabinet meeting or whether a final decision was arrived at all. However news that has leaked out to the press indicates that the government intends increasing the Value Added Tax from the present 11% to 15%. Furthermore, VAT exemptions for telecommunications, private health and private education will be removed. The Nation Building Tax is supposed to remain at the present levels. It is assumed that the present level referred to is the 2% that is still being charged even though the NBT was increased to 4% in the 2016 budget. In addition to this a new tax that will be introduced is the capital gains tax which had been abolished some time ago.

The capital gains tax was introduced along with the quasi-socialist reforms of the S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike government and abolished as the free market economic policy became the norm. Capital gains are the profits that an investor realizes when he sells the capital asset for a price that is higher than the purchase price and capital gains taxes are only triggered when an asset is realized, not while it is held by an investor. An investor can own shares that appreciate every year, but the investor does not incur a capital gains tax on the shares until they are sold. The government needs to demonstrate its ability to pay back the loans they expect to obtain from the IMF as well as on the open market – hence this increase in taxes. In the meantime the corporate income tax rate is also to be retained at the previous level of around 28% without being reduced to 15% as proposed in the Budget for 2016.

Continue reading ‘Economic Distress Faced by Govt is Due to Monthly Salary Hike of 10,000 For 1.3 Million Public Servants’ »

Kandy-born Actor-Politico “MGR” Reigned Supreme in Tamil Nadu Cinema and Politics

MGR T

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

There was a time when the magical initials MGR were a household name in the Tamil-speaking homes of countries with a substantial population of Tamils, including India and Sri Lanka. The initials referred to swashbuckling actor M.G. Ramachandran, who starred as an action hero in over 100 Tamil films. MGR, as he was popularly known, 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.

MGR whose full name was Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran had a Sri Lankan connection! He was born in Sri Lanka! Though MGR was an actor of Malayalee ethnicity who made a name for himself in Tamil Nadu, he was born in Hantane, Kandy. His father, a native of present day Kerala state in India, was at that time teaching in an estate school in Kandy. MGR, the youngest child, was born at home in Hantane on 17 January 1917. He grew up in Kandy till he was two. In 1919 the family returned to India.

Rags to riches tale

It is indeed remarkable that MGR born in Kandy to Malayalee parents later 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. He also took to politics and was first elected as a member of the Legislative assembly in 1967.

MGR16MGR18MGR20MGR23MGR24MGR ODNaan Anaiyittal

MGR became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state in 1977 and remained undefeated till his death in 1987. His life was a rags to riches tale!
Continue reading ‘Kandy-born Actor-Politico “MGR” Reigned Supreme in Tamil Nadu Cinema and Politics’ »

Argument in Jaffna Between Minister Samaraweera – General Gallage and Its Implications

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Our sister paper “Sunday Times”revealed details last week about an incident of friction between a senior cabinet minister and a senior military official that had occurred in Jaffna a few weeks earlier.

Mangala Samaraweera M.P.

Mangala Samaraweera M.P.

The Sunday Times Political column scored a scoop by referring to an exchange of words between Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Sri Lankan Army 51 division commander Major-General Chagi Gallage and the subsequent transfer of the military official from the north. Here are the relevant excerpts –

“Two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera was here (Jaffna) to launch the Government’s website to seek views from the public on the proposed new Constitution. He took the opportunity to address Security Force Commanders and Divisional Commanders at the SF headquarters in Jaffna. He made clear that the Government would protect the interests of the security forces”.

Major General Chagi Gallage

Major General Chagi Gallage

“Major General Chagi Gallage, General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Army’s 51 Division located in Kopay, who was once in charge of the Presidential Guard under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, proposed that a military representative be included in the Task Force appointed by the Government to enforce provisions of the Geneva resolution”.
Continue reading ‘Argument in Jaffna Between Minister Samaraweera – General Gallage and Its Implications’ »

Indian Envoy YK Sinha Lambastes Prof GL Peiris Without Directly Naming Him For Spreading Misconceptions About Envisaged ETCA Pact With India

By PK Balachandran

The Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Y.K.Sinha, has strongly rebutted “misconceptions and canards” about the proposed Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) and the Indian-aided Emergency Ambulance Service.

Speaking at the “Indo-Lankan Workshop on Non Tariff Measures and Increasing Awareness of Indian Standards and Regulations under the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement” here on Friday, Sinha said that allegations of a “sinister Indian design on Sri Lanka” are coming from “vested interests driven by a political and narrow agenda,” and persons with a “defeatist and protectionist mindset.”

Continue reading ‘Indian Envoy YK Sinha Lambastes Prof GL Peiris Without Directly Naming Him For Spreading Misconceptions About Envisaged ETCA Pact With India’ »

A Maithri-Mahinda Patch-up Of Some Kind that Stumps Ranil Cannot be Ruled Out


By

Malinda Seneviratne

Let me begin by assuming something that defies all logic. Let’s assume that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wants to be remembered as the man who democratized the nation through relevant and robust constitutional amendments that ensure transparency and accountability, re-establishes Rule of Law, gives coherence to the ideal of ‘Separation of Powers’, give meaning to representational democracy (electoral reform a la the 20th Amendment) and complementary measures such as overseeing the passage of the Right to Information Act and inking a Code of Conduct for Parliamentarians.

All of this has been uttered on numerous occasions, while some have been uttered by others who had the opportunity and the power but lacked political will or else were mostly high on rhetoric and pretty low on action. Maithripala Sirisena’s immediate predecessors come to mind.

Ranil Wickremesinghe may not be too different, but then again he is excellently positioned to walk the talk. One cannot be faulted for hoping. There have been two people who had the opportunity to get the job done. Mahinda Rajapaksa used the ‘Sarath Silva Determination’ (also used by his predecessors) to secure a two-thirds majority. Maithripala Sirisena, given the political twist that saw him becoming President, can cobble together the numbers (as was seen in the passage of the 19th Amendment).

Mahinda Rajapaksa used the numbers to further his political interests (the 18th Amendment). If he was interested in legacy and not about political longevity he might have been remembered as the man who rid the country of the terrorist menace and thereafter instituted institutional reform that truly democratized and modernized the nation. Political longevity (who knows) could have been a happy byproduct.

Continue reading ‘A Maithri-Mahinda Patch-up Of Some Kind that Stumps Ranil Cannot be Ruled Out’ »

For the First Time, Chinese Tourists Exceed Number of Indian Tourists Arriving in Sri Lanka

By P K Balachandran

For the first time in the history of Sri Lankan tourism, visitors from China have outstripped those from India. In February, 32,186 Chinese had come to Lanka while those who came from India numbered 26,559, according to official figures.

Till January this year, Indians were leading. In January, there were 28,895 arrivals from India as against 26,083 from China. In December 2015, 35,435 Indians came to Lanka as against 15,843 from China. In 2015 as a whole, 316,247 Indians had arrived as against 214,783 Chinese.

Chinese arrivals have boomed from a mere 8,500 in 2009 to outstrip Indian arrivals now. This despite the fact that the number of direct flights between Lanka and India is much more than between Colombo and destinations in China. There are now 105 flights a week between Colombo and Indian destinations.

Continue reading ‘For the First Time, Chinese Tourists Exceed Number of Indian Tourists Arriving in Sri Lanka’ »

Two Eyewitnesses File Affidavit at Police Headquarters Swearing Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka was Driver of Vehicle Involved in Hit and Run Incident

BY
Cassendra Doole

The two eye witnesses who gave chase to Minister Champika Ranawaka following his hit and run case yesterday, filed an affidavit at the Police Headquarters today (4) regarding the accident.

Speaking to the media shortly after, one witnesses said that the Minister had fled the scene after hitting the two injured victims. The witness – Gayashan – gave chase and cornered the Minister when he identified himself.

Continue reading ‘Two Eyewitnesses File Affidavit at Police Headquarters Swearing Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka was Driver of Vehicle Involved in Hit and Run Incident’ »

Eight Indians Allegedly Involved in Racket Selling Kidneys For Transplanting Detained In Colombo

By

Siranjani Kumari

Eight Indians including two brokers allegedly involved in a kidney racket involving Indians and Sri Lankans were ordered to be detained by Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday for questioning at the Mirihana Detention Centre.

The Colombo Crime Division investigating the alleged kidney racket nabbed six Indians for overstaying their visa, from an apartment at Wellawatta yesterday.

Investigators later arrested two brokers allegedly involved in the racket from a housing scheme at Pamankada on information given by the six Indians.

Continue reading ‘Eight Indians Allegedly Involved in Racket Selling Kidneys For Transplanting Detained In Colombo’ »

“Green Trincomalee Movement” Want India to Substitute Proposed Coal Power Plant at Sampoor with Environment Friendly Solar Power Plant

By PK Balachandran

The “Green Trincomalee” Movement is asking the government of India to give up its plan to build a coal-fired power plant at Sampur in Trincomalee district and build an environment-friendly solar power plant instead.

“We are not against India setting up a power plant at Sampur. We realize that Trincomalee is of strategic importance to India. We also know that Sri Lanka needs power. But in the interest of the people and the environment of Sampur, we urge India to give up the plan to build a coal-fired power plant and instead, build a solar power plant,” said Thirunavukkarasu Gopahan, an activist of the Green Trincomalee movement.

Continue reading ‘“Green Trincomalee Movement” Want India to Substitute Proposed Coal Power Plant at Sampoor with Environment Friendly Solar Power Plant’ »

Meeting Kanhaiya Kumar the Student Leader Who was Arrested for Wanting Freedom in India

By Barkha Dutt

(This is an opinion piece by the only journalist who met Kanhaiya Kumar after his release from jail last night).

The first thing I noticed was his smile – a boyish, toothy grin that travelled all the way up to his eyes that still glimmered with hope and optimism, despite having spent the last 23 days in prison.

The media was being kept at a firm distance from JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar as political leaders of the CPI escorted him under-the-radar from Delhi’s Tihar Jail to Jawaharlal Nehru University and quietly bundled him into a faculty member’s residence. Even as a journalist, I didn’t blame them for their wariness about allowing Kanhaiya, 28, to engage with the press. Given the shameful conduct of three prominent channels, their hyperventilating anchors and worst, the broadcast of a doctored video and morphed photograph to build a ham-handed case of sedition against him, I, too, would have been suspicious.

0404A

0404B

On the leafy campus grounds of the 46-year-old institution was an air of anticipation and excitement as news spread Kanhaiya, their student union’s President, was back. But no one knew where he was or when he would emerge to address them.

As I downed my nth cup of nimbu chai (lemon tea) and thought of the inevitable media scrum that would follow, I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to meet Kanhaiya at all. Then a source tipped us off that the student leader, whose arrest on charges of sedition catapulted him to global headlines and instant stardom, may be at the residence of Professor Ajay Patnaik, a faculty member who stood steadfast in his support for him. And so, we found ourselves standing unannounced at the door of his house, a door that was initially shut firmly in our faces when they saw our cameras.

Continue reading ‘Meeting Kanhaiya Kumar the Student Leader Who was Arrested for Wanting Freedom in India’ »

Kanhaiya Kumar, Out On Bail, Speaks Of ‘Azadi’ Freedom in India On JNU Campus

Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar who was released from jail today on bail received a hero’s welcome at the campus on Thursday evening. In a defiant speech, he took shots at the government tearing into charges of sedition against him and said he had faith in India’s Constitution and democracy.

Here are the highlights of his address:

Continue reading ‘Kanhaiya Kumar, Out On Bail, Speaks Of ‘Azadi’ Freedom in India On JNU Campus’ »

Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka Claims Driver Attached to his Ministry and not he was Involved in Rajagiriya Accident

Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday said that he had nothing to hide about last Sunday’s SUV-motorcycle accident which injured two persons at Rajagririya.

Addressing a meeting at the Kalutara District Secretariat yesterday the minister said:

Continue reading ‘Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka Claims Driver Attached to his Ministry and not he was Involved in Rajagiriya Accident’ »

Did Police Change Name of Driver in Hit and Run Vehicle to “Rescue” the Actual Driver Who Allegedly was Champika Ranawaka?

By

Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

Dramatic turn of events were exposed in Ceylon Today (3 March) by two young men after giving chase to a black SUV jeep that attempted to escape and run, after hitting two motorcyclists in Welikada, Borella, last Sunday (28), under the headline Eyewitness Reveals Champika in Hit-and Run Drama.

The news story, which has already gone viral, gives two conflicting statements. The two young men, after giving chase to the black jeep that sped away after the accident, swear by their statements stating it was Minister Champika Ranawaka, who spoke to them when he was obstructed on trying to escape, and the other being the Police report which allegedly has changed the names of the driver at the time of the accident!

The situation makes it worse by Welikada Police not allowing the petitioners (the young men) to read the report lodged after the accident, the Police officials requesting them to ‘simply sign at the bottom of the report’!

The young men who chased after the jeep insist in their statement that they followed the jeep and blocked it so that the driver had no option but to stop the fleeing vehicle. At that moment they seem to confirm that the driver at the wheel came out stating, “I am the Minister Champika. I admit the fault. Let’s go to the Borella Police”.

Continue reading ‘Did Police Change Name of Driver in Hit and Run Vehicle to “Rescue” the Actual Driver Who Allegedly was Champika Ranawaka?’ »

Joint Opposition Wants Inquiry into Cover Up of Recent Accident in Which Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka was Allegedly Involved in

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Joint Opposition yesterday said that it wanted the National Police Commission (NPC) to inquire into serious accusations directed against the police in respect of the cover-up of a recent accident in which Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was allegedly involved in.

A senior Joint Opposition spokesperson told The Island that the NPC could initiate an inquiry even without having received a complaint as in the case of the brutal police attack on HNDA (Higher National Diploma in Accountancy) students last year.

Twenty-four year old motorcyclist Sadim Sampath, an old boy of D.S. Senanayake, College, injured in Sunday’s accident is being treated at the National Hospital in a critical condition.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition Wants Inquiry into Cover Up of Recent Accident in Which Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka was Allegedly Involved in’ »

Out Of Jail, Student Leader Kanhaiya Kumar Attacks PM Modi In Rousing Speech On JNU Campus


by Sunetra Choudhury

JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar made a fiery speech on the university campus late tonight taking on the Narendra Modi-led government, hours after his release from jail.

“I come from a village. Where there are magic shows. People show magic and sell rings that fulfill all wishes…We have some people like that in our country, who say black money will come back, sabka saath sabka vikas (development for all),” Mr Kumar taking a dig at the BJP’s election promises. “We Indians forget too soon but this time the tamasha (show) is too big and these jumlas (gimmicks) won’t be forgotten,” he said amid applause and laughter from the gathered crowd of supporters.

Continue reading ‘Out Of Jail, Student Leader Kanhaiya Kumar Attacks PM Modi In Rousing Speech On JNU Campus’ »

Full Text of Jawarhalal Nehru University Student union President Kanhaiya Kumar’s Speech Which Led to his Arrest on Sedition Charges


Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar is behind bars after he was charged with sedition and arrested on 13 February following his fiery speech an evening before at the university campus. The speech, which is around 23 minutes long, was delivered in Hindi. Following is a close transcription of the speech and in case of any discrepancy, the Hindi version will be deemed as final:

“The people who burnt the tricolor are the fans of (Veer) Savarkar. They apologised in front of the Britishers. The (Manohar Lal) Khattar government in Haryana, this government had named the airport as Shahid Bhagat Singh as he was a Sanghi. What we mean to say is that we don’t need a patriotism certificate from the RSS.

We don’t need a nationalist certificate from the RSS. We belong to this country and we love the soil. We fight for the 80 percent of the poor population in the country. This is patriotism for us. We have full faith in Babasaheb, we have full faith in our country’s constitution and we want to strongly say that if anyone points fingers on the constitution of this country, be it Sanghi or anyone else, we will not tolerate that finger.

But, the constitution which is taught in Jhandewalan and Nagpur, we don’t believe in that constitution, we have no confidence in the Manusmriti. We, have no confidence in the country’s racism and in the same constitution, Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar talks about constitutional remedies. Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar talks about abolishing capital punishment, Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar talks about freedom of expression, and we are upholding the same rules which is our basic right and our constitutional right, we want to uphold it. It is a matter of shame that today ABVP with the help of its partners in the media, is orchestrating this matter, diluting this matter.

Continue reading ‘Full Text of Jawarhalal Nehru University Student union President Kanhaiya Kumar’s Speech Which Led to his Arrest on Sedition Charges’ »

Mahinda Loyalist MP’s in SLFP May Forfeit Parliamentary Seats Unless They Fall in Line with President Maithripala Sirisena


By Shamindra Ferdinando

State Finance Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena yesterday warned that rebel SLFPers would face further disciplinary action, including the possible loss of parliamentary seats unless they changed their current strategy.

National List MP Abeywardena urged them to toe the party line or face the consequences. The dire warning was given at a media briefing at the SLFP party office at T.B. Jayah Mawatha, close on the heels of President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the SLFP leader replaced 22 electoral organisers.

Asked by The Island whether further action was being contemplated, Minister Abeywardena asserted that those who had been recently punished could switch their allegiance to President Maithripala Sirisena.

However, if they refused to comply with SLFP directives, the party would have no option but to take remedial measures. The State Minister however assured that the party wouldn’t take hasty decisions and would follow proper procedures.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Loyalist MP’s in SLFP May Forfeit Parliamentary Seats Unless They Fall in Line with President Maithripala Sirisena’ »

Logical Errors,Tribalism and the Sining of Our National Anthem in Sinhala and Tamil.

By

Prof.Carlo Fonseka

My respected senior colleague Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera argues that because unitary states have one national anthem, states that have one national anthem must be unitary states (Feb. 19). The logic underlying this reasoning is like that of a dentist who argues that because healthy adult men have 32 teeth, those who have 32 teeth must be healthy adult men! Or because dogs eat meat, those who eat meat must be dogs. This is an outrageous logical howler unworthy of any kind of professional. As any student of elementary logic will tell you, from the proposition “if p, then q” it is invalid to infer “if q, then p”.

In his History of Western Philosophy Bertrand Russell says that “logical errors are … of greater practical importance than many people believe” [because] “they enable their perpetrators to hold the comfortable opinion on every subject in turn”. The United States of America is a federal state, but it has only one national anthem. Belgium is a unitary state, but its national anthem is sung in French and Flemish. In the unitary state of Sri Lanka, our national anthem has been translated verbatim into Tamil and is sung in Tamil according to the same tune and musical accompaniment by Tamil-speaking people.

Continue reading ‘Logical Errors,Tribalism and the Sining of Our National Anthem in Sinhala and Tamil.’ »

Why There Are Doubts And Misgivings In Sri Lanka About The Govt Proposed ECTA Pact With India


By

Prof. G.L.Peiris

In the current debate about the proposed Economic and Technological Co-operation Agreement with India, and its impact on Sri Lanka’s vital economic interests, there are some central issues which must be seen in sharp relief.

It is surely obvious that empirical experience of the working of agreements already in force, provides the most reliable indication of what can realistically be expected, if the scope of such agreements is to be significantly widened. Apart from this, the issue of respect for the rights and interests of the other party is an overriding factor.

Continue reading ‘Why There Are Doubts And Misgivings In Sri Lanka About The Govt Proposed ECTA Pact With India’ »

Was Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka Involved in a Road Accident in which Two Persons were Injured?

By Madura Ranwala

Senior DIG Western Province Pujith Jayasundara yesterday said the police were ready to ascertain the veracity of the claims that Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was involved in a road accident which injured two persons, if a complaint was lodged to that effect.

“We have not received any complaint of Minister Ranawaka’s involvement in the accident. A driver attached to the Power and Energy Ministry has come forward admitting that he was driving a Ministry vehicle when it hit a motorcycle. If anyone lodges a complaint against Minister Ranawaka, we are ready to investigate it.”

Asked why the driver had been to the Borella police instead of going to Welikada police station as the accident had occurred in Rajagiriya the SDIG said that he had done so for fear of being assaulted.

Continue reading ‘Was Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka Involved in a Road Accident in which Two Persons were Injured?’ »

Dematagoda Chaminda Injured as Prison Vehicle With Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra Murder Suspects Attacked by Gunmen

A group of unidentified gunmen yesterday afternoon opened fire on a prison vehicle carrying the suspects held in connection with the killing of former PA MP and presidential advisor Bharatiya Lakshman Premachnadra. Ravi Jayanath alias Dematagoda Chaminda was seriously injured in the attack which took place in the Dematagoda police area.

Continue reading ‘Dematagoda Chaminda Injured as Prison Vehicle With Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra Murder Suspects Attacked by Gunmen’ »

Mahinda Led Opposition Trying to Bring Down Ranil by Attacking ECTA Pact With India and Set Country on Fire!

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

The Editor of the Indian Express newspaper Shekar Gupta interviewed then President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2008 in which Mahinda made very interesting observations. Mahinda claimed the Indo-Lanka Agreement signed in 1987 was the best solution to the ethnic crisis and praised the introduction of the 13th Amendment as also the best solution and noted that former Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi had thought wise in 1987 ( two decades before that interview) to propose a viable solution.

This is what Mahinda told Shekar in brief about the IPKF presence in Sri Lanka following the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord: “President Premadasa committed a grave error by demanding the withdrawal of the IPKF. It soured Indo-Lanka relations. The Sri Lankan community should have been thankful for the services rendered by the IPKF. They sacrificed their lives for the unity of Sri Lanka. If the IPKF was permitted to stay a bit longer, we would have gained victory? But Premadasa succumbed to the pressure mounted by southern extremists and sent the IPKF away”.

The same Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked and criticized the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 and the IPKF as an Opposition MP on 26 May 1989 in Parliament in the following manner; “The IPKF had been brought here. The country has experienced many problems as a result of its presence. The IPKF was brought to suppress the Northern people, kill the Tamils and Muslims, violate their fundamental rights and that scenario had spread to the South (interruptions by the government benches). Read this Amnesty International report. It says…’ In late 1987 there were increasing allegations that members of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) deployed in the North and East as part of the July peace accord were responsible for rape and other acts of brutality against Tamil civilians'”.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Led Opposition Trying to Bring Down Ranil by Attacking ECTA Pact With India and Set Country on Fire!’ »

Are The Views Of The TNA And The Diaspora More Important Than Those Of The SLFP?


By
Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

With every major step it takes in every important direction, the Wickremesinghe- administration seems to run into difficulty, losing popularity and social legitimacy. The further it goes on any front, the narrower its social support becomes. To put it more simply, with every step it takes, fewer people seem to go along with the Government while more people seem to dissent. Overall there is a palpable sense of discontent and dismay. What is the reason for this apparent erosion?

An answer may reside in a remark made the other day by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe at the Colombo conference of the Asian section of the International Democratic Union, the global network of Rightist and Centre-Right parties that Mr. Wickremesinghe affiliated the UNP with, breaking with the practice of his predecessors. Well groomed and in his ideological comfort zone, the PM was relaxed enough to speak his mind.

The TV news showed him saying that “the last decade was negative for Sri Lanka”. Obviously he is not speaking of the second Rajapaksa term. The “last decade” that he speaks of takes us back to 2006. It encompasses the entire Rajapaksa tenure including the hard fought and hard won victory of 2009 which reunified the territory of the island and ushered in a stable peace after thirty years. Of course it also includes the years of rapid de-mining and near-miraculous reconstruction and modernization which eliminated most signs of the long and devastating war and transformed the face of the country.

Continue reading ‘Are The Views Of The TNA And The Diaspora More Important Than Those Of The SLFP?’ »

Tamil Leadership and Elite Must Come Out Of Their Shells And Be Seen As Average ‘Sri Lankans”Not Just as “Tamils”.

By

Vishwamithra 1984

“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”
-Charles de Gaulle

When we discuss in our high-sounding socio-political conversations of reconciliation or accommodation, we simply mean a genuine feeling of empathy, based fundamentally on compassion and kindness. Whether one is a Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim or a Burgher, reconciling oneself to the feelings, ambitions and desires of the other is not an easy human endeavour.

Centuries-long myths have taken their toll and prepped the hearts and minds of our people. And it is not specific to Sri Lanka alone. All humankind has proven to be most receptive and consequently susceptible to the moods of the contemporary world. From the dawn of time, man has ventured out to be part of a group, family or a sect. Instead of living alone, he had realised that numbers give not only strength, they give a sense of belonging.

That sense of belonging gave man his desire and ambition to endeavour out together and conquer what was to be conquered. That desire for conquest is still going on unrelentingly.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Leadership and Elite Must Come Out Of Their Shells And Be Seen As Average ‘Sri Lankans”Not Just as “Tamils”.’ »

Possible for Tamils to Embrace Buddhism While Retaining Their Identity as Tamils


By Sharmini Serasinghe

Many amongst our parliamentarians ought to be told that it is far wiser to keep their traps shut and be thought of as fools, than open it and remove all doubt!

The latest to put his foot in the mouth; a seemingly favourite pastime of many a politico, is the Minister of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Mano Ganesan.

The Minister of Indian origin appeared to be speaking on behalf of the majority of Tamils of Sri Lanka, when he claimed that “most” Tamils feel that the Government’s claim of 22,254 Tamil Buddhists in the island was a “gross exaggeration”.

So what, if there are 22,254 Tamil Buddhists in the island?

Continue reading ‘Possible for Tamils to Embrace Buddhism While Retaining Their Identity as Tamils’ »

There is Clearly a Concerted Effort By The UNP To Destroy The SLFP Completely.

By

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The SLFP is now in danger of losing its identity as a political party.

I take pride in the fact that I built the strongest SLFP government in our party’s history during my tenure in power. That government was so strong that it could be defeated only by conspiratorially creating divisions in the party and a section of the SLFP joining the UNP in its campaign of vilification and false propaganda against my government.

The UNP by itself was in no position to defeat the SLFP government that I built. Even after the defeat of my government, the president of the country is the present leader of the SLFP. The cabinet is equally divided between the UNP and the SLFP in what has been called a national unity government. Yet the policy of this government is decided by the UNP, resulting in a situation where the SLFP has been held captive and forced to follow the UNP line. The SLFP is now in danger of losing its identity as a political party.

Continue reading ‘There is Clearly a Concerted Effort By The UNP To Destroy The SLFP Completely.’ »

Ex – Tiger Operative Emil Kanthan Expected to Expose Details of Alleged Secret Deal Between Mahinda Rajapaksa and LTTE During 2005 Presidential Poll

The alleged deal arrived at with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in 2005 by former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to win Presidential elections by getting the tigers to enforce a boycott of polls in Tamil areas in return for an enormous amount of money is expected to be exposed in great detail in the near future.

A key figure of the LTTE intelligence wing identified by the name Emil Kanthan who allegedly engaged with the Mahinda Rajapaksa camp in this exercise on behalf of the LTTE is now willing to return to Sri Lanka and reveal complete details about the alleged deal to Sri Lankan law enforcement and legal authorities.

The person known as Emil Kanthan who is resident in a western country at present is expected to return to Lanka and voluntarily surrender himself to court as part of an unofficial understanding reached with an influential component of the upper echelons of the Sirisena – Wickremesinghe” Government.

Continue reading ‘Ex – Tiger Operative Emil Kanthan Expected to Expose Details of Alleged Secret Deal Between Mahinda Rajapaksa and LTTE During 2005 Presidential Poll’ »

Govt Suffers Big Blow as Fitch Downgrades Sri Lanka Ratings Due to increasing refinancing risks, growing debts and decline of reserves.


Delivering a major blow to the unity Government, Fitch yesterday downgraded Sri Lanka’s ratings to B+ Outlook Negative from BB- on account of increasing refinancing risks, growing debts and decline of reserves.

Under the new ratings Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) changed to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-’. A Negative Outlook has been assigned to the IDRs, Fitch noted in a statement. The issue ratings on Sri Lanka’s senior unsecured foreign- and local-currency bonds are also downgraded to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-’. The Country Ceiling is downgraded to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-’ and the Short-Term Foreign-Currency IDR is affirmed at ‘B’.

Several key rating drivers were also given by Fitch to explain the decision. These included increased refinancing risks, significant debt maturities, weaker public finances and decline in foreign exchange reserves. However, continued strong macroeconomic growth, positive human development indicators and relative political stability keeps Sri Lanka above some peers, the statement observed.

Continue reading ‘Govt Suffers Big Blow as Fitch Downgrades Sri Lanka Ratings Due to increasing refinancing risks, growing debts and decline of reserves.’ »

Higher Education Minister Kiriella States he has Authority to Give Direction to Universities While Irate FUTA Dons Berate Him

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has, in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, accused Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella of an attempt to have a particular individual appointed a temporary lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Kelaniya. The minister has made a written request to the Kelaniya University in this regard, university lecturers claim.

The FUTA has brought to the attention of President Sirisena that Minister Kiriella attempted to appoint a member to the Council of the University of Kelaniya on a previous occasion.

The FUTA has condemned Kiriella’s conduct as unethical and irresponsible. University teachers have told the President that the minister’s action runs counter to the government’s policy of good governance.

The FUTA dons have called for an assurance from the President that the universities will be free from political interferences. The full text of the FUTA letter, signed by its President Dr Rangika Halwathura and Secretary Shyama Banneheke.

Continue reading ‘Higher Education Minister Kiriella States he has Authority to Give Direction to Universities While Irate FUTA Dons Berate Him’ »

President Sirisena Replaces 22 “Mahinda Loyalist Catchers” with 22 “Maithripala Loyalist Catchers” as SLFP Organizers


by Dasun Edirisinghe

President Maithripala Sirisena appointed 22 new SLFP organizers yesterday, replacing some members who are openly backing the Joint Opposition led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Accordingly, Minuwangoda SLFP Organiser and Convener of the Joint Opposition, Gampaha District MP Prasanna Ranatunga, has been replaced with his brother and former MP Ruwan Ranatunga. Central Provincial Council Minister Thilina Bandara Tennakoon appointed as the Senkadagala electorate organiser. The post was earlier held by MP Dilum Amunugama.

Western Provincial Council Minister Sumith Lal Mendis has been appointed the Co-Organiser of the Kalutara electorate. MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena was the Organiser of Kalutara earlier.

Chairman of the Mulleriyawa-Kotikawatte Pradeshiya Sabha Prasanna Solangaarachchi has been appointed the Kolonnawa SLFP Organiser. Former MP Duminda Silva held that post earlier.

Maharagama SLFP Organiser Kanthi Kodikara has been replaced with Western Province Chief Minister Isura Dewapriya and Dehiwela SLFP Organiser Dhanasiri Amaratunga with by Keerthi Udawatte.

According to changes introduced yesterday, 17 new electoral organisers as well as five district organisers have been appointed.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Replaces 22 “Mahinda Loyalist Catchers” with 22 “Maithripala Loyalist Catchers” as SLFP Organizers’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Says he will be Arrested soon with other UPFA Leaders Like Weerawansa,Welgama,Basil,Namal and Rohitha

By Cyril Wimalasurendre

KANDY – Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said in Kandy that he was among the UPFA members to be arrested soon.

MP Rajapaksa identified National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP Kumara Welgama, MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena, former MP Basil Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa as some of those to be arrested. The former President was addressing the media outside Sri Dalada Maligawa.

Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Parliament on Friday that the government was planning to arrest ten UPFA members in March.

The former President said: “I, too, will be arrested. We are closely watching the situation.”

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Says he will be Arrested soon with other UPFA Leaders Like Weerawansa,Welgama,Basil,Namal and Rohitha’ »

President Sirisena Intervenes Directly to Alleviate Some of the Hardship Felt by Farmers Due to Finance Ministry Measures.

By

Uditha Jayasinghe

Stepping in to balance the market, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday issued instructions to fix a maximum price of Rs. 2,500 for a sack of 50kg fertiliser of any brand which is given to the farmers and also increased taxes on potatoes and big onions with immediate effect.

Under his instructions the Finance Ministry increased the import tax for potatoes and big onions with effect from midnight yesterday.

The President gave these instructions at a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the issues faced by the farmers island-wide, a statement issued by his office said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Intervenes Directly to Alleviate Some of the Hardship Felt by Farmers Due to Finance Ministry Measures.’ »

Lt.Yoshitha Rajapakse suspended From the Navy with Effect From Feb 28th 2016 Announces Sri Lanka Navy


The Sri Lanka Navy yesterday announced that Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa had been suspended from the Navy with effect from 28 February.

He was suspended from naval service upon the direction of the Defence Ministry. The ministry said this decision was taken in regard to a request made by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) to allow it to hold an independent investigation over allegations leveled against Yoshitha.

The Navy media spokesman said Yoshitha’s salary and other allowances will halt according to the constitution of the Sri Lanka Navy as amended by Special Gazette Notification 1010/1 of 1998.

Continue reading ‘Lt.Yoshitha Rajapakse suspended From the Navy with Effect From Feb 28th 2016 Announces Sri Lanka Navy’ »

President Sirisena Irked by Foreign Minister Samaraweera Contradicting him in Washington May Appoint Strong SLFP’er as State Minister of Foreign Affairs

By

Gagani Weerakoon

The Head of the State and his Foreign Minister seem to stand poles apart when it comes to getting foreign expertise in the process of investigating war crime allegations.

This was evident when Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera clearly stated Sri Lanka is open to international actors in the war crimes probe and zeroed President Maithripala Sirisena’s remarks on the matter as mere personal opinion.

Samaraweera made these remarks while participating a Q & A session following his address on “Advancing Reconciliation and Democracy” at a leading think-tank, the US Institute of Peace in Washington DC, on 25 February 2016.

Interestingly, Samaraweera was introduced to the audience by Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who dubbed the Foreign Minister as a key player in the remarkable transformation in the US-Sri Lanka relationship.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Irked by Foreign Minister Samaraweera Contradicting him in Washington May Appoint Strong SLFP’er as State Minister of Foreign Affairs’ »

Inability to Understand fundamental Legal Principles in Regard to Crimes of Sexual Abuse.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardena

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to pretend that sexual violence is not on the rise in Sri Lanka. In past weeks alone, particular incidents included the rape and murder of a thirteen year old girl in Vavuniya as well as another teenager in Mawathagama while a six year old boy was sexually abused and killed in Sampoor.

Efforts to enforce tougher sentencing

These are poignant and outrageous cases which reverberate in the public conscience as much as the murders of little Seya Sadewmini from Kotadeniyawa and Vidhya Sivaloganathan from Pungunduthivu. There are countless other unnamed innocents. The problem is that isolated cases lead to public anger which then fades away. Meanwhile, the crisis of sexual violence continues even as state authorities remain lethargic.

The failure of the system is evidenced at all levels. In the first instance, there is an absence of proper police investigations with little forensic analysis or basic law enforcement skills being employed. Examples of those wronged are many, the latest being the schoolboy who was unjustly imprisoned on suspicion of involvement in Seya’s murder. Meanwhile, the peculiar tradition of unarmed suspects being shot while in police custody continues.

Continue reading ‘Inability to Understand fundamental Legal Principles in Regard to Crimes of Sexual Abuse.’ »

India is Essentially a Nation-wannabe Political Entity that Poses off as a Superpower-wannabe One.

By

Malinda Seneviratne

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was spot on when chided those who are raising a hue and cry about the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) with India. His point was simple: how can you object to something that does not exist? Correct. There’s no ETCA. Yet.

That’s the catch. Yet. And it works both ways. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva responding to those who have expressed various concerns about ECTA has affirmed his Prime Minister’s position. However, he has thought fit to comment on possible content.

De Silva chose to focus on the issue of whether or not Indian IT professionals could open up businesses in Sri Lanka and thereby post a threat to local IT professionals. He points out that three of the four modes of the international service trade are already in operation in Sri Lanka but that the fourth, ‘the presence of a natural person’ is not under discussion.

All good. But all beside the point. And this holds for all the lovely ‘don’t-worry’ statements coming from Government spokespersons on matters relating to trade and other relations between India and Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘India is Essentially a Nation-wannabe Political Entity that Poses off as a Superpower-wannabe One.’ »

Is Maithripala Faction of the SLFP Obstructing Ranil Wickremesinghe led Efforts to Introduce a new Constitution Abolishing the Executive Presidency?

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The main issue of the week past was supposed to be the commencement of the constitutional reform process with the passage of the Prime Minister’s resolution on parliament sitting as a committee of the whole house to draft a new constitution for Sri Lanka. The debate on the PM’s resolution was held, but no vote was taken and the whole constitutional reform process seems to be in a state of limbo.

The fact that such a thing could happen after the prime Minister accepted all the amendments put forward by the SLFP Maithri-group speaks volumes about the situation in the so called national unity government.

As exclusively reported in this column at that time, the SLFP Maithri group wanted the word ‘new’ from expunged from the phrase ‘new constitution’ so that what would be drafted would not be a new constitution but only amendments to the existing one.

Furthermore, the SLFP Maithri-group wanted the entire preface to the resolution deleted barring the first sentence. The paragraphs in the preface that were deleted referred to the repeated pledges that President Sirisena had given that he was going to abolish the executive presidency.

Continue reading ‘Is Maithripala Faction of the SLFP Obstructing Ranil Wickremesinghe led Efforts to Introduce a new Constitution Abolishing the Executive Presidency?’ »

Chief Minister Wignesewaran Defends Northern Minister Ayngaranesan Over 11 Charges of Corruption Amounting to 40 Million Rupees

Though the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) earned a name for passing a record number of resolutions in the recent past, this week the councillors were at loggerheads when Chief Minister C.V. Wigneshwaran moved a resolution against a resolution that had already been passed.

He claimed that the reason for submitting his own resolution was that one of the provincial ministers had been falsely accused of corruption charges. At a previous council sitting, a resolution was passed against Ponnuthurai Ayngaranesan, Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Services. The resolution made eleven corruption charges against him.

The council decided that there should be a full probe. The resolution alleged that the minister was involved in a fraud amounting to Rs. 40 million.

Continue reading ‘Chief Minister Wignesewaran Defends Northern Minister Ayngaranesan Over 11 Charges of Corruption Amounting to 40 Million Rupees’ »

Sri Lankan Tamils Critical of Tamil Nadu Film Lyricist Vairamuthu Writing an Epic Poem About Their Political Struggle

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Tamils, whether living in the island or overseas, have a dim view of Tamil Nadu poet and lyricist Vairamuthu’s intention to write a kavyam (epic) on the Lankan Tamils’ liberation struggle.

While acknowledging Vairamuthu’s capabilities as a lyricist, poet and writer, Lankan Tamils wonder if he is driven by the right impulses. They doubt if he has the requisite empathy and sincerity to truly reflect the depths of the struggle.

Vairamuthu had been declaring his intention to write a book on the Eelam struggle for years.

He reiterated his resolve when he came to Mullaitivu in North Lanka in January to participate in Pongal celebrations there. But the moment he mentioned his intention, caustic remarks questioning his qualification to undertake the task went viral in the social media.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamils Critical of Tamil Nadu Film Lyricist Vairamuthu Writing an Epic Poem About Their Political Struggle’ »

Present “Yahapalanaya” Leaders Must not use VIP Conversion Kit to Travel in Luxury on Planes Says Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Text of Press Communique Issued by the Media Centre of Former President and Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapakse)

Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake said at a press conference yesterday that president Mahinda Rajapaksa had ordered a luxury cubicle worth four million US Dollars to be fixed onto aircraft used by him and that because of the agreement that has been signed, President Sirisena is unable to reverse the order.
Mr. Ramanayake further stated that it was because of such abuse of power that former president Rajapaksa has had to face various commissions of inquiry today.

During the last presidential election campaign, President Rajapaksa was falsely accused of having ordered a private plane for himself. Now they say fairly truthfully, that this was only a kit to convert a part of an ordinary airliner into a luxury cubicle. These are VIP conversion kits which can be installed after removing several seats in commercial airliners and are supplied free as a complimentary accessory when new commercial passenger planes are ordered.

Continue reading ‘Present “Yahapalanaya” Leaders Must not use VIP Conversion Kit to Travel in Luxury on Planes Says Ex – President Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

JVP Vows to Torpedo ETCA Pact with India Even if Parliament Passes it

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The JVP on Thursday vowed not to allow the government to implement the highly controversial Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with the Indian government even if it was passed by Parliament. It said it would go all out to torpedo it.

Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), JVP trade union wing leader said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in spite of his aggressive behaviour both inside and outside Parliament was not in a position to implement ETCA due to protests by the working class.

He said ETCA was not a new thing, but the old CEPA in all but name. The Wickremesinghe government had in 2002 introduced the CEPA but it had now been brought back under a different name by the present UNP-led government.

Continue reading ‘JVP Vows to Torpedo ETCA Pact with India Even if Parliament Passes it’ »

Supreme Court to Hear Fundamental Rights Petition Filed by Gnanasara Thera Against Two Homagama Police Officials on March 17&18

By Chitra Weerarathne

The fundamental rights violation petition filed by Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara thera against two police officers of Homagama police station and the IGP will be called before the Supreme Court on March 17 and 18, 2016.

The respondents cited in the petition are officer-in-charge of miscellaneous complaints of Homagama police, Inspector Wijeratne, Headquarters Inspector of Homagama, Upul Hewage, the IGP and the Attorney General.

The petitioner has said that the police on Jan. 26, 2016 arrested the petitioner on a complaint of an alleged abuse, made by Sandya Ekneligoda, while she was leaving the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. A ‘B-report’ was filed by the police.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court to Hear Fundamental Rights Petition Filed by Gnanasara Thera Against Two Homagama Police Officials on March 17&18’ »

Wimal Weerawansa led National Freedom Front Will Launch Street Protests if Govt Goes Ahead with ETCA Agreement with India


by Dasun Edirisinghe

The National Freedom Front (NFF) led by former minister Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said it would take to streets if the government inked the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had threatened in Parliament to go ahead with the project regardless of protests.

Weerawsansa said PM Wickremesinghe had threatened all media as well as the major trade unions of the country and condemned PM’s dictatorial stance.

Weerawansa accused Minister Digital Services and Infrastructure Harin Fernando of deploying his thugs to disrupt the peaceful protest by the Government Medical Officers’ Association opposite the Badulla General Hospital.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa led National Freedom Front Will Launch Street Protests if Govt Goes Ahead with ETCA Agreement with India’ »

Only MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena Allowed to Make Special Statements on Behalf of UPFA’s Joint Opposition Group Announces Speaker’s Office


by Saman Indrajith

The Speaker’s Office yesterday announced that only MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena of the Joint Opposition group of the UPFA would be allowed to make special statements under the provisions of the Standing Order 23-2.

With UPFA parliamentary group leader Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva’s permission Deputy leader of the UPFA and MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena would be allowed to make special statements, Speaker’s Media Secretary Chaminda Gamage said.

Continue reading ‘Only MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena Allowed to Make Special Statements on Behalf of UPFA’s Joint Opposition Group Announces Speaker’s Office’ »

GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya Speaks Out Against Signing ETCA Agreement with India and Ambulance Service Being Given to India

By

C. A. Chandraprema

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has spearheaded opposition to the proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. This opposition was based on the information that the government had communicated to the GMOA about the proposed agreement. Politicians at all levels parliamentarians, political party leaders, and even the cabinet appear to have been kept completely in the dark about this agreement a draft of which had been secretly sent around to selected trade associations on condition of maintaining secrecy. It was the GMOA that blew the whistle on the whole process by publishing on their website the draft of the proposed ETCA with India. In this interview, C. A. Chandraprema speaks to Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, President of the GMOA about the proposed agreement and the preparations being made to commence an Indian ambulance and pre-hospitalisation care service in Sri Lanka.

Q. The press reported the Prime Minister as having said during his tour of Hambantota that the GMOA had published a false copy of ETCA on their website. The government was keeping the draft of the ETCA with India a closely guarded secret and it is from the GMOA website that we all obtained a copy of the draft. So it is important to establish the authenticity of that document. Was it Minister Malik Samarawickrema who gave you that copy of the ETCA draft?

A. We have to be thankful to Minister Malik Samarawickrema. Before he came into the picture, all our meetings were with officials of the Trade Ministry and none of them gave us a proper set of documents. We got documents in a very unacceptable manner without signatures. Some of the documents that we got through the OPA were ones that Sri Lankan delegates at conferences had obtained from their Indian counterparts. For the first time we got a proper set of documents (which have not been finalised yet) from Mr Malik Samarawickrema. He also gave us a copy of a speech made by the Prime Minister on this matter and we uploaded both on our website and circulated them to our members. The draft of the ETCA with India was emailed to us by Mr Samarawickrema’s ministry. This is not a final document because they have invited the GMOA and other professional groups for another round of discussions. This document was emailed to us to initiate a dialogue.

Continue reading ‘GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya Speaks Out Against Signing ETCA Agreement with India and Ambulance Service Being Given to India’ »

Govt Claim of 22,254 Tamil Buddhists Being in Sri Lanka May be for “Propaganda Purposes” Says Tamil Govt Minister Mano Ganesan


By P.K.Balachandran

Tamils are disputing the Sri Lankan government’s claim that there are 22, 254 Tamil Buddhists in the country.

Most Tamils feel that this is a gross exaggeration. The Minister of National Dialogue, Mano Ganeshan, told Express, that the claim might have been made “for propaganda purposes”, to show the dominant Sinhalese-Buddhists that significant inroads have already been made into the largely Hindu Tamil minority.

But the government’s claim is based on the 2012 census, says Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunartilleke. He told parliament earlier this week, that there are 22,254 Tamil Buddhists in the island, 11 of whom are monks.

Continue reading ‘Govt Claim of 22,254 Tamil Buddhists Being in Sri Lanka May be for “Propaganda Purposes” Says Tamil Govt Minister Mano Ganesan’ »

Dingiri Banda Wijetunga: From “Deaf and Blind” Prime Minister to “Dearly Beloved” President

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

DBW

The Birth Centenary of Sri Lanka’s third Executive President Dingiri Banda (DB) Wijetunga was celebrated last week. DB Wijetunga was born during British rule on February 15th 1916.He passed away on September 21st 2008 at the age of 92.DB as he was popularly known served as President from May 1st 1993 to November 12th 1994. Earlier he held the post of Prime Minister from March 6th 1989 to May 1st 1993.DB Wijetunga was also leader of the United National Party(UNP)from May 7th 1993 to November 12th 1994.

An important event commemorating his birth centenary was the unveiling of DB Wijetunga’s portrait at the parliamentary complex in Sri Jayawardenepura. Among distinguished participants at the ceremony were Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

While speaking at the function premier Wickremesinghe observed that the “ former President had always said whatever he had to say in simple and short language without wasting the time of others”.

picture via: @ParliamentLK

picture via: @ParliamentLK

Referring to the fact that Wijetunga who had been Prime minister under President Ranasinghe Premadasa had become President following the assassination of the former, Wickremesinghe stated “”DB Wijetunga was the first President elected from Parliament in the country. He had become the President of the country with the consent of both the government and the Opposition.” Incidently Ranil Wickremesinghe was Prime minister when DB Wijetunga was President.
Continue reading ‘Dingiri Banda Wijetunga: From “Deaf and Blind” Prime Minister to “Dearly Beloved” President’ »

“Danno Budunge” – Kishani Sang the Wrong Song in the Wrong Style in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time.

By Prof. Susirith Mendis

I have been reading many commentaries and opinions on the above matter in the press, blogs, facebook and other media. There has been a plethora of views and opinions expressed. So I thought adding my few cents worth will not cause any further serious harm than already caused.

I am of the view that the human voice, as expressed in harmonious and melodious song, is the greatest of human gifts. It is a capability – or call it creative talent if you like – that can be naturally expressed without any other artificial aid. Painting and art require paints, brushes, paper, canvas and easels; other musical talents require instruments; authors need ink, paper and vocabulary. But the singer needs absolutely no aid; just only the sound created from the air expelled from one’s lungs beautifully and sonorously percolated through nature’s finest musical instrument, the human larynx. The other, to my mind, a lesser natural unaided talent is dancing. But that is another matter.

I believe that the operatic voice from soprano to baritone or bass (or even the much maligned castrato), developed by the European musical tradition to be the supreme form of the human voice.Therefore, you would not be surprised when I say that if I had the good fortune to have a genie trapped in a bottle, I would ask as my first wish prior to releasing ‘it’ (him?) that I be given the best singing voice ever! So that I may have the supreme satisfaction of beating Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and even that incomparable black velvet of a baritone Paul Robeson into a cocked hat!

Continue reading ‘“Danno Budunge” – Kishani Sang the Wrong Song in the Wrong Style in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time.’ »

Sri Lanka has 22,254 Tamil Buddhists Including 11 Tamil Monks States Document Tabled in Parliament

By Saman Indrajith

There were 22,254 Tamil Buddhists and 11 Tamil Bhikkus in the country, Parliament was told yesterday.

A document tabled in response to a question raised by UNP Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana by Chief Government Whip and Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said that a census regarding Tamil Buddhists had not been conducted by the Ministry of Buddhasasana or the Department of Buddhist Affairs.

Yet according to the results of the census carried out by the Department of Census and Statistics in 2012, the country had 22,254 Tamil Buddhists and 11 Tamil monks.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has 22,254 Tamil Buddhists Including 11 Tamil Monks States Document Tabled in Parliament’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Whose Sons are Married to Sinhalese is Against Mixed Marriages Until Tamils Gain Equality


By P.K.Balachandran

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil majority Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, touched off a new political controversy when he said in Jaffna on Monday, that he does not favor Sinhalese-Tamil marriages before the Tamils get equal rights in the country.

Wigneswaran was responding to Provincial Governor Reginold Cooray’s suggestion at the 9 th National Scouts Jamboree, that Sinhalese-Tamil marriages be encouraged to bring about national reconciliation.
The Governor was only reflecting a general Sinhelese view that ethnic admixture will obliterate the Sinhalese-Tamil ethnic division, and there will be no basis for the Tamils’ seeking a separate ethnic enclave in the North and East of the island.

Perhaps the Governor, who is a Sinhalese, also thought that Chief Minister Wigneswaran would welcome mixed marriages as his two sons are married to Sinhalese. But he was wrong.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Whose Sons are Married to Sinhalese is Against Mixed Marriages Until Tamils Gain Equality’ »

Namal Rajapaksa Says He is not Afraid and is Ready For Any Arrest in “Daily Mirror” Interview


By

Priyantha Kodippily


Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, son of the former president responded to the many allegations thrown against the Rajapaksa regime.


Excerpts –


Q: It’s a very bad time for you, isn’t it?

It is the nature of politics. Politicians do not have power for ever; it comes intermittently. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power there was not a trace of revenge on political opponents. But today even the children of opposition members are subjected to revenge. This happened whenever the UNP came into power. They even deprived Madam Sirimavo of her civic rights. But what is surprising is its continuance even under a consensus government.


Q: When you were in power did you imagine the situation you are facing today?

We have to come to terms with volatile situations if we are to remain in politics. But we never expected them to take revenge on us, my mother and brother as they too have families.

Continue reading ‘Namal Rajapaksa Says He is not Afraid and is Ready For Any Arrest in “Daily Mirror” Interview’ »

Is the Maithripala – Wickremesinghe Govt in Fear of Facing a Military Coup?

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

It was reported that the Commanding Officer in Jaffna, Major General Chagi Gallage, was transferred to Army Headquarters in Colombo last week, following a heated argument with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

The Major General was transferred to Colombo following the Foreign Minister’s refusal to include two military officers in the committee proposed by the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. The minister’s refusal led to a heated argument between the duo, reports stated.

Gallage is an officer who earlier served in the Security Division of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Having won the 2010 presidential election, Mahinda arrested then Gen. Sarath Fonseka and elevated Gallage within the Army. Gallage who headed the Presidential Security Division was also appointed Military Intelligence Chief by Mahinda.

Hence, there’s no doubt that the pro-Mahinda loyalists within the Army are trying to stifle the success of the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe Government which is ready to win the challenge from Geneva.

Continue reading ‘Is the Maithripala – Wickremesinghe Govt in Fear of Facing a Military Coup?’ »

Govt is Promising to Give Birth to a Child whose Horoscope has a Raja Yoga by Introducing ETCA Agreement with India says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe


By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that the Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement would be inked by mid-2016 and a special Indian delegation was scheduled to arrive in the country on March 04 to discuss its content.

PM reads The PM said the final draft of the agreement would be prepared after those discussions and could be presented to Parliament. But, he would not let anyone instigate people against the ETCA, he warned.

“By introducing the ETCA, we are promising to give birth to a child whose horoscope has a Raja Yoga. So, do not bother to check the horoscope of the baby not yet born,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Govt is Promising to Give Birth to a Child whose Horoscope has a Raja Yoga by Introducing ETCA Agreement with India says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’ »

Requiem for Morals and Ethics – Foreboding Dark Clouds Hovering Over Sri Lanka!

By- Sharmini Serasinghe


“An established morality is as necessary as good government to the welfare of society. Societies disintegrate from within more frequently than they are broken up by external pressures”

– Judge Patrick Arthur Devlin

Given the manner in which this land is touted as the “Miracle of Asia” by some, living in a state of utopia, as well as branded and marketed as a Buddhist country; the cradle of Theravada Buddhism, first-time visitors to this land may be pardoned, if they expect to see, the majority of its citizenry claiming to be Buddhists, walking around with halos, over their heads.

The reality behind this facade of pious sobriety is, a much depraved society, manifesting all its ugly forms, making the stark absence of, an established morality in this country, obvious.

The seemingly ceaseless propensity towards moral degeneration is all around us today. Not a day goes by, without a murder, rape, child abuse, thuggery, drug abuse related offences, sexual harassment of women, antics of corrupt-to-the core politicians, journalists, the police and some in academia; medical, legal, education etc., being reported. Most even make it to the headlines.

Much like the clichéd ‘2500 year old culture’ of this land, which remains today as material ruins of ancient monuments and edifices; so is our moral culture; in ruins. Hence ‘culture’ as in refinement of the mind, morals and taste, is deafening in its absence.

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Fr. Emmanuel and Surendiran of Global Tamil Forum Cause Security Concerns for President Sirisena’s Entourage at Berlin Marriott Hotel

By

Gagani Weerakoon

The presence of certain controversial individuals in the close proximity of President Maithripala Sirisena on few occasions during his historic State visit to Germany kept the atmosphere heated among the Sri Lankan delegation even though the actual Berlin remained as low as 100 – 70 Celsius.

The President and the Lankan delegation arrived in Berlin by Qatar Airways QR 77 flight on 16 February 2016 at around 6:45 in the evening and were received by Karunatilaka Amunugama, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Berlin and Jürgen Christian Mertens, Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany.

He was later accorded a grand State welcome replete with a guard of honour by the German tri-forces under the auspices of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

While many claim this was the first time in 43 years, a Sri Lanka’s Head of State was visiting Germany in an official capacity, it is evident, President Sirisena was the third Lankan Leader to visit Germany on an official invitation in almost half a century.

On 10 September 1974, world’s first woman Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike undertook a visit to West Germany at the invitation of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

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Rajiva Wijesinha’s Latest Book Reveals With Details the Existence of a Veritable Conspiracy Against Sri Lanka

By

Tamara Kunanayakam

(Presentation made on 18 February 2015 by Tamara Kunanayakam On the occasion of the Launch of Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha’s book – “Triumph and Disaster: The Rajapaksa years ‘Success in War: My time at the Peace Secretariat, 2007-2009”)

Rajiva’s latest book, Triumph and Disaster: the Rajapaksa Years, is a remarkable documentary of the first Rajapaksa years that constituted a turning point in Sri Lanka’s recent history. The book celebrates the victory over LTTE terror, which had determined almost every aspect of our lives for a quarter of a century.

It provides an exceptional insight into the work of a state institution that played a central role, even as it had to adapt to changing circumstances when the LTTE forced a radical shift from talks across the negotiating table to a brutal war in which it transformed civilians into cannon fodder. It is a profound personal account of the events as they unfolded between June 2007, when Rajiva was appointed Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, and the end of the war in May 2009. In June 2008, he was also appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, and his account, therefore, also includes insights gained while he was there. Apart from providing fascinating reading, painting as it does a vivid image of the characters and events,the duplicityand the intrigues, substantiated by a wealth of documentation, I found in his book pieces of the puzzle that were missing in my own analysis, from my Geneva vantage point.

When I say Geneva, I don’t mean only the year I spent as Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations. I mean most of my adult life, which I spent in Geneva, studying and working in and around the UN System, of which more than 10 years were in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. I had seen and experienced the functioning of the UN System from various angles: – as a student at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, which trained international civil servants; then, as an international civil servant; and, more recently, as Permanent Representative of a Member State.

Unlike the LTTE yesterday, the separatist lobby today, and their Western backers, the major failure of successive Sri Lankan governments was an underestimation of the international dimension of the conflict. In my view, it is this understanding that permitted the LTTE then, and the separatist lobby today, to occupy the international space fully, made easier by the absence of the Government in this domain. My presentation will, therefore, essentially focus on the chapters that address this dimension.

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Over 600 Govt Doctors in Uva to Stage Demonstration at Badulla Hospital Protesting Over UNP Minister Harin Fernando Describing GMOA as Group of Villains.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Government doctors in the Uva province yesterday expressed their displeasure at what they called snide comments made by Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure (TDI) Minister and Badulla District MP Harin Fernando against Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President, Dr Anurudda Padeniya.

The controversial comments the minister made at a media briefing in Badulla were telecast by Derana TV news on Saturday (20).

Uva Provincial Coordinator and General Committee Member of the GMOA EX-Co, Dr. Palitha Rajapaksa said more than 600 doctors would stage a protest at 12 noon today (23) at the Provincial General Hospital, Badulla against the minister. He said Fernando’s conduct was unbecoming of a responsible minister.

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UNP and SLFP Members of Govt Parliamentary Group to Meet Separately for First time Due to Caustic Remarks of Mangala Samaraweera

By Daya Lankapura

The government parliamentary group that has met so far as a single entity is scheduled to meet as two separate groups for the first time at 11.30 am today at the Parliament complex.

The UNP group will meet under the leadership of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, while the SLFP MPs of the government would gather with Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva presiding.

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TULF Secy – Gen Anandasangaree Requests President Sirisena to Release Persons Detained Under the PTA by Adhering to Provisions of the Indo – Lanka Agreement

Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Secretary – General and former Jaffna district Parliamentarian Veerasingham Anandasangaree has in a letter written to President Maithripala Sirisena requested that prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) be released by adhering to provisions of the Indo – Lanka Agreement signed on July 29th 1987.

The full text of the letter is as follows –

Your Excellency

Release the Political Prisoners under the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord

It is with deep regret that I wish to point out to you that those detained under the PTA have once again notified their intention of restarting the Hunger Strike that they called off twice earlier on the presumption of getting released, based on the assurance given to them by some Politicians.

I presume, at the time of writing this letter, fifteen of them would have started their fast. They allege that only fifteen of them are taken to courts off and on and that every time they are taken to courts, they are told by the judge that he has no powers to take a decision about their release. That is the reason they say, that they have now undertaken this fast.

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Vestiges of Bridge Erected at Kitulgala for Film Classic “Bridge on The River Kwai” In Danger of Being Demolished


By P.K.Balachandran

Vestiges of a bridge which was erected over the Kelani river at Kithulgala 92 km from the Sri Lankan capital for the shooting of the iconic Hollywood film Bridge On The River Kwai 60 years ago, are now in danger of being wiped out, causing dismay among film buffs.

A still of the bridge from the movie The Bridge On The River Kwai

A still of the bridge from the movie The Bridge On The River Kwai

A government plan to build a power plant nearby will lead to the blasting of the site and the annihilation of the last remains of the bridge which are a major tourist attraction.

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