How and Why Buddhist Monk Talduwe Somarama Thero Shot and Killed Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandarananaike Sixty-three Years ago

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sixty-three years ago on September 25th 1959 the Prime Minister Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (SWRDB) of Sri Lanka known as Ceylon then was shot and seriously wounded by a Buddhist monk. Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike succumbed to his injuries and passed away the following day. Thereafter September 26th 1959 got etched as an important date in the post-independence history annals of Sri Lanka.

In later years , political assassinations became a regular feature in Sri Lanka.These killings proliferated when the armed secessionist conflict in the North –East and the attempted insurrections in the South were in progress. Among those assassinated have been an executive President, a leader of the opposition as well as a former leader of the opposition, cabinet ministers and ex-cabinet ministers, Parliamentarians and former Parliamentarians, provincial council ministers, ex-heads of district councils and local authority heads. A head of state survived an assassination attempt but lost an eye.

Continue reading ‘How and Why Buddhist Monk Talduwe Somarama Thero Shot and Killed Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandarananaike Sixty-three Years ago’ »

MHM Ashraff; From Sectarian Muslim Leader to Visionary National Statesman.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

On the fateful morning of 16 September 2000, Mohammed Hussein Muhammad Ashraff(MHM Ashraff) boarded a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Mi-17 helicopter at the Police grounds in Bambalapitiya. The time was 9.30 am. The legendary leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) was at that time, the Cabinet Minister in charge of Shipping, Ports, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in the Government of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

Altogether there were fifteen persons including Ashraff aboard the copter. Nine SLMC party officials and three bodyguards had accompanied Ashraff. There were also two crew members from the SLAF. The flight destination was Ampara/Amparai. Forty-five minutes later Air Traffic controllers lost radio contact with the helicopter being flown by squadron leader Shiran Perera.

Continue reading ‘MHM Ashraff; From Sectarian Muslim Leader to Visionary National Statesman.’ »

Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama: Unforgettable Symbol of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tragedy

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(This article was first published eight years ago to commemorate the 25th death anniversary of Dr.Rajini.It is re-posted here without any changes to denote her 33rd death anniversary)

It was 25 years ago on September 21st 1989 that Dr. Rajini Thiranagama nee Rajasingham was killed in Jaffna. She was 35 years old at the time of her death.The 25th anniversary of her death is to be commemorated through a series of events next week in the northern capital. This is the first time that such a commemoration of Rajini’s memorable legacy is to be held in Jaffna, since the one held in 1989, a month after her death.

Dr. Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama

Dr. Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama (February 23, 1954 – September 21, 1989)

A Commemoration Meeting is to be held at the Medical Faculty, University of Jaffna on September 20th at 9.30 a.m. On the same day at 2 p.m a procession for peace, democracy and social justice will start at the Medical Faculty, University of Jaffna and end at the Veerasingham Hall with a short meeting.On September 21st a seminar will be held at 9 am on the theme “A more just and democratic society”.The venue is the Kailasapathy Hall, University of Jaffna.

Rajini was a contemporary of mine at Jaffna Collge,Vaddukkoddai where I completed my GCE- Advanced Level. Her father Mr.A. Rajasingham was the vice –principal during my time. Rajini born on February 23rd 1954 studied at Jaffna College(JC) from grade one till entering varsity except for a short period at Chundikkuli Girls College in Jaffna town. All of her sisters Nirmala,Sumathy and Vasuki were at JC too. In school she was known as Rajini but later on her name was spelled as Rajani .Yet we the old students of JC continue to refer to her as Rajini and I too am doing so while writing this article.

IMG_8074.PNG

St. James Church graveyard, Nallur-in January, 2012-pic by Saba Thambi

It is hard to believe that twenty-five years have passed since Rajini was brutally gunned down at Thirunelvely, Jaffna on September 21st 1989 while cycling back home from the Jaffna University. She was Professor of Anatomy at the Jaffna Varsity medical faculty. The 35 year old mother of two daughters –Narmada and Sharika- was also a human rights activist, feminist, critic of narrow nationalism and opponent of irresponsible militarism.

Continue reading ‘Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama: Unforgettable Symbol of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tragedy’ »

246 Children Admitted by Parents in Northern Province to Child Care Foster Homes; increase in numbers due to current economic crisis, which has resulted in parents facing financial instability being unable to provide for their children.


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Due to the severity of the economic crisis and the lack of household finances, there has been an increase in the number of children being admitted by their families to children’s homes in the Northern Province.

Statistical data provided by the Child Care and Probation Department of the Northern Province has revealed that as of June 2022, some 246 children have been sent to children’s homes in the Northern Province as a result of the ongoing economic crisis, which has left parents grappling with financial instability, rendering them unable to provide for their children.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (26), Northern Province Commissioner of Child Care and Probation Guruparan Rajendran said that the economic crisis functions as both the direct and indirect factor behind children in the North being sent to children’s homes, since their parents are no longer capable of providing for them.
He also noted that the provincial funds allocated for child care and probation had not been released from the General Treasury due to the financial challenges faced by the Government.

Continue reading ‘246 Children Admitted by Parents in Northern Province to Child Care Foster Homes; increase in numbers due to current economic crisis, which has resulted in parents facing financial instability being unable to provide for their children.’ »

While President Wickremesinghe blunders and the opposition exists in a parallel universe where their electoral victory is written in the stars, the Rajapaksas are back to weaving their web of lies and deception.


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Was there then no essential difference between the ruler and the ruled?” Salman Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence)>

Sri Lanka, unravelled and unravelling, is mesmerised by a new wonder: the Lotus Tower. When that monumental symbol of Rajapaksa folly was opened to the public last week, people thronged to pay the entrance fee, ride to the top and gaze down. A monk enthused that he felt close to the highest of Buddhist heavens. Women thanked Mahinda Rajapaksa for enabling them to have this wondrous experience.
It was as if economic ruin and social collapse was happening in another country, to another people.

According to a survey conducted by a group of doctors, 80% of children in Sooriyawewa in the Rajapaksa home district of Hambantota are malnourished (unlike the international cricket stadium the Rajapaksas built in that water-starved locality that gets the water the people are denied). That distressing statistic alone suffices to bare the vacuity of the Rajapaksa brand of infrastructure-led development. In a 2007 cable, American ambassador, Robert Blake, wrote, “An empty port, an empty airport, and an empty vast convention centre would not generate the benefits that Hambantota needs…” One percent of the money spent on these vanity projects could have provided the people of Hambantota with every possible creature comfort for generations to come. Hambantota was poor when Mahinda Rajapaksa first became president in 2005 and is still poor 17 years later.

Untouched by Rajapaksa development, yet solidly pro-Rajapaksa at every election.

Infrastructure-led development was a key pillar of Rajapaksa economics. Build airports, ports, stadia, expressways, and prosperity will follow. The strategy enabled corruption on unprecedented scale, satisfied Mahinda Rajapaksa’s colossal vanity and, against all reason, increased the family’s popularity. The projects, productive or not, often not, were tabula rasa on which dreams of national glory and illusions of popular prosperity could be inscribed.

An actor playing the role of historian once created for the Rajapaksas a lineage going back to the Buddha via King Dutugemunu. The massive physical infrastructure projects were depicted as modern variants of the infrastructure projects of ancient kings, a historical continuum, Sandahiru Seya the descendent of Runwanweli Seya and Hambantota Port the descendent of Parakrama Samudraya. People were invited to come and admire a breakwater, a runway and a walking path masquerading as a marina.

In that way, an illusion of ownership was created. People came, they admired and they voted.

Continue reading ‘While President Wickremesinghe blunders and the opposition exists in a parallel universe where their electoral victory is written in the stars, the Rajapaksas are back to weaving their web of lies and deception.’ »

MA Sumanthiran PC Citing Mavai Senathirajah vs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge (SC FR 646/2003) Case says Interim Order Issued by Courts in 2006 Upholds TNA Position Challenging the Legality of Setting up High Security Zones

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesperson MP M.A. Sumanthiran PC yesterday (25) observed on social media that the demarcation of high-security zones (HSZ) two days ago in Colombo was not a new practice, charging that such illegal demarcation has been conducted over many thousands of acres of lands in the North and East since at least 1990.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday, Sumanthiran PC pointed out that though people are agitated about the HSZ declared two days ago in Colombo, there had historically been such zones from 1990 onwards in the North and East, which the TNA had challenged in courts in 2003, with the case still pending.

Continue reading ‘MA Sumanthiran PC Citing Mavai Senathirajah vs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge (SC FR 646/2003) Case says Interim Order Issued by Courts in 2006 Upholds TNA Position Challenging the Legality of Setting up High Security Zones’ »

Senior Health Ministry Allegedly Allocating expensive.acutely scarce pharmaceutical drugs and other medical supplies received as donations from various parties to specific patients with connections to themselves being treated in certain hospitals,


By Buddhika Samaraweera

Certain senior officials of the Ministry of Health are working to allocate expensive and acutely scarce pharmaceutical drugs and other medical supplies received as donations from various parties, due to the prevailing shortage of such, to specific patients with connections to the former who are being treated in certain hospitals, The Morning learnt.

In view of the current shortage of drugs and other medical supplies, a number of local and foreign parties, including businessmen, have come forward to donate the necessary drugs and medical supplies.
To donate, they first contact the Health Ministry or the Director of the specific hospital and obtain the relevant permission. Most such donors then contact a company of their choice and provide them with the list and quantity of the relevant drugs and medical supplies, and make the relevant payments. After that, the donor informs the company to send the drugs and medical supplies to the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) under the Health Ministry, or to the director of the hospital concerned.

Continue reading ‘Senior Health Ministry Allegedly Allocating expensive.acutely scarce pharmaceutical drugs and other medical supplies received as donations from various parties to specific patients with connections to themselves being treated in certain hospitals,’ »

Trade Union Co-ordination Committee (TUCC) and the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) challenge President Ranil Wickremesinghe by Asking him to expand the holding capacity of prisons in the country and stating that they will continue their protest movement on an even larger scale in the coming days,


BY Buwanajee Coralage

The Trade Union Co-ordination Committee (TUCC) and the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) yesterday (25) challenged President Ranil Wickremesinghe to expand the holding capacity of prisons in the country, stating that they will continue their protest movement on an even larger scale over the coming days, and that a substantially larger number of protestors, more than the 84 arrested last Saturday (24), would be arrested.

The day that the whole nation would join the protests is not long away, declared TUCC and Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe addressing the media at a media conference organised by the Sri Lanka Trade Union Co-ordination Committee yesterday.

“We, as the trade unions of this country, will not be frightened by imprisonment, and they won’t be able to prevent the people rising against these discriminations, so widen the prisons and the police holding cells. We are ready to fight against this unlawful, undemocratic, crude, and cursed rule in this country,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Trade Union Co-ordination Committee (TUCC) and the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) challenge President Ranil Wickremesinghe by Asking him to expand the holding capacity of prisons in the country and stating that they will continue their protest movement on an even larger scale in the coming days,’ »

Infamous Anti- Islam Monk Gnanasara Thero Participating in Saudi Arabian National day Celebration as Special Guest of Saudi Ambassador is Widely Criticized but Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Remains Unfazed


By Buddhika Samaraweera

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera said that he would not take any notice of the criticism and sarcasm on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook, regarding his participation in an event to mark the Saudi National Day on Friday (23).

Commenting on the social media posts in question to The Morning, he said: “Anyone can criticise or use sarcasm, but who cares about them? When they think they have had enough, they will stop. People in this country only know to sarcastically criticise, but I do not care.”

Gnanasara Thera, who is known to have ideas that in most cases are not in favour of minorities including Muslims, had participated in an event organised for the Saudi National Day held at a leading hotel in Colombo on Friday (23). It was reported that he had attended the event as a special guest on the invitation of the Saudi ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Infamous Anti- Islam Monk Gnanasara Thero Participating in Saudi Arabian National day Celebration as Special Guest of Saudi Ambassador is Widely Criticized but Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Remains Unfazed’ »

S.P. Balasubrahmanyam won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer:Sang over 40,000 songs in 16 languages

By

S. Murali

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (4 June 1946 – 25 September 2020), also referred to as S. P. Balu or SPB, was an Indian musician, playback singer, music director, actor, dubbing artist and film producer who worked predominantly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam.

Affectionately called as ‘Balu’ in his friends’ circle, SPB made his singing debut in 1966 with the Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, and went on to sing over 40,000 songs in as many as 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi.

He also won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer.

He bagged six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his songs in four different languages (Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi), as well as 25 Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for his work in Telugu cinema, apart from numerous other state awards from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Continue reading ‘S.P. Balasubrahmanyam won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer:Sang over 40,000 songs in 16 languages’ »

Using the Archaic Official Secrets to Demarcate Some Areas as High Security Zones: is there fear that the ‘Aragalaya’ may spirit away ‘secret documents’ from places declared as High Security Zones?

By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

Whatever the motivations for the Ranil Wickremesinghe Presidency to drag the Official Secrets Act (1955) out of cold storage and employ its provisions to declare certain places as ‘High Security Zones,’ that decision is both foolish and counter productive.

Waving of the red flag to an enraged bull

The Wickremesinghe Presidency may, perchance be the first executive Office to use this long discarded law in peacetime Sri Lanka. The message that this conveys is deeply unwise. For the nation’s indefatigable protestors, this is the proverbial waving of the red flag to an enraged bull. During the past several months, Sri Lankans furious with politicians who robbed the public purse, refused to be deterred by Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, both familiar weapons in the Government’s arsenal.

If so, it is absurd to think that the much mocked and lampooned Official Secrets Act will fulfil that purpose or deter public unrest. No law, no amount of guns, bristling barricades and armed security forces can stop the infuriated masses. This we saw very well when a President, a Prime Minister and a Cabinet resigned as the back of the Rajapaksa Security State was broken earlier this year. Is it hoped that bringing the Official Secrets Act back from the ‘legal dead’ as it were, will rejuvenate that dream?

This is a law that various Governments had promised to repeal but never quite done so, partly because there was no great public pressure. It had been virtually discarded due to non-use. Its impact is largely on freedom of expression and has been commonly used as such elsewhere, when for example, government servants leaked official secrets to the media. The very term, ‘official secrets’ is a misnomer in a modern information era which this President was instrumental in supporting during better times.

Continue reading ‘Using the Archaic Official Secrets to Demarcate Some Areas as High Security Zones: is there fear that the ‘Aragalaya’ may spirit away ‘secret documents’ from places declared as High Security Zones?’ »

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka says the Official Secrets Act’s Section 2 oes not provide the Minister the authority to designate a sizable portion of the country as a High Security Zone; BASL declares it will carefully review the provisions and take necessary legal measures to protect people’s Fundamental Rights

Any offence committed in the newly declared High Security Zones (HSZ) will enable police to take up the case in the High Courts, a senior official of the Public Security Ministry said.
He said the measure was taken to ensure that administration was continued without interruption.

“All locations declared as HSZs are required to maintain the country’s administration. We cannot afford to witness a disruption of administration as observed earlier this year,” he said.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) reacting to the move said that the Official Secrets Act’s Section 2 permits the designation of any building, ship, or aircraft as a forbidden location but does not provide the Minister the authority to designate a sizable portion of the country as a High Security Zone.

Through an Extraordinary Gazette on Friday, President Ranil Wickremesinghe designated a number of locations in Colombo as High Security Zones, including the President’s House, the Presidential Secretariat and the Supreme Court complex.

Continue reading ‘The Bar Association of Sri Lanka says the Official Secrets Act’s Section 2 oes not provide the Minister the authority to designate a sizable portion of the country as a High Security Zone; BASL declares it will carefully review the provisions and take necessary legal measures to protect people’s Fundamental Rights’ »

Police use tear gas and water cannonsto disperse protesters in Maradana; Video on Social media shows Eranga Gunasekara, national organiser of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) and a Buddhist monk being beaten by cops;83 Protesters Arrested,


By Yoshitha Perera

Police have detained 83 demonstrators, including Eranga Gunasekara, national organiser of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU), the youth front of the JVP, during a protest march yesterday.

Members from the National People’s Power (NPP) along with the SYU yesterday staged a protest in front of the Lipton roundabout demanding the release of protesters who have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and against suppression. They proceeded to march along Dean’s Road where tear gas was used on them.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters on Deans Road, Maradana.

Continue reading ‘Police use tear gas and water cannonsto disperse protesters in Maradana; Video on Social media shows Eranga Gunasekara, national organiser of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) and a Buddhist monk being beaten by cops;83 Protesters Arrested,’ »

Prime Minister’s Motion to set up “National Council” representing all recognised political parties in Parliament passed without a vote but Opposition Parties are Critical of Govt’s move


By Sandun Jayawardana

A “National Council” (NC) with a key responsibility of guiding short, medium, and long-term national policies and representing all recognised political parties in Parliament was passed this week without a vote. Opposition parties though, were critical that the government had diluted the NC and that its original purpose has been lost.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presented the motion to Parliament on Tuesday, noting that it was being presented after reaching agreement with all political parties represented in Parliament.

Chaired by the Speaker, the Council, not exceeding more than 35 members, will also have the responsibility to agree on short and medium-term common minimum programmes to stabilise the economy; and to arrange special meetings with the Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Council, the Chairpersons of the Special Committees and Youth observers of Youth Organisations.
The NC further has powers to request reports from a range of committees, including Sectoral Oversight Committees, the Committee on Public Finance, Committee on Public Accounts (COPA), Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and any committee that controls public finances.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister’s Motion to set up “National Council” representing all recognised political parties in Parliament passed without a vote but Opposition Parties are Critical of Govt’s move’ »

Ukraine President Zelensky’s Announcement about Rescuing 7 Sri Lankans Held as Captives by Invading Russian Forces Shocks Sri Lanka and Entangles Colombo and Moscow in a Potential Diplomatic Wrangle

By

Meera Srinivasan

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly said seven Sri Lankans, who were held by the “invading Russian forces since March” in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, had been rescued from “torture chambers”.

Mr. Zelenskyy drew attention to the “seven citizens of Sri Lanka”, who were “students of Kupiansk Medical College”. “Back in March, they had been captured by Russian soldiers and subsequently kept in a basement.

Only now, after the liberation of the Kharkiv region, were these people rescued. They are being provided with proper medical care,” he was quoted as saying by a Ukrainian media outlet, widely cited by Sri Lankan media.

The development came as a shock to many in Sri Lanka, as there had been no reports of Sri Lankans missing in Ukraine or being held in captive by Russian forces. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Sri Lankan authorities facilitated the return of over 90 Sri Lankans, including 16 students living in Ukraine.

According to official sources in Colombo, Sri Lanka was not aware of seven other Sri Lankans caught or trapped in Ukraine.

Continue reading ‘Ukraine President Zelensky’s Announcement about Rescuing 7 Sri Lankans Held as Captives by Invading Russian Forces Shocks Sri Lanka and Entangles Colombo and Moscow in a Potential Diplomatic Wrangle’ »

First List of MPs Representing Recognized Political Parties in Parliament Nominated to the “National Council” released by Speaker; Second list of nominees to be announced shortly, Number of MPs in Council Restricted to 35 or less


The Speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament on Friday (sep 23) presented the first list of Members of Parliament, who have been nominated to the ‘National Council’, which had been established according to the proposal presented by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Presenting an amendment, the chief Government Whip said that the ‘National Council’ chaired by the Speaker should consist of not more than 35 MPs representing recognized political parties in parliament. The list includes the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Government Whip and the Chief Organizer of the Opposition.

Continue reading ‘First List of MPs Representing Recognized Political Parties in Parliament Nominated to the “National Council” released by Speaker; Second list of nominees to be announced shortly, Number of MPs in Council Restricted to 35 or less’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe says Queen Elizabeth II Looked Exhausted After spending half a day with outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Incoming Premier Liz Truss

President Ranil Wickremesinghe says anyone spending half a day with outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and new PM Liz Truss will be exhausted.

He said that the late Queen Elizabeth II looked exhausted after meeting Johnson and Liz Truss two days before she passed away.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe says Queen Elizabeth II Looked Exhausted After spending half a day with outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Incoming Premier Liz Truss’ »

If the Opposition had adopted a policy of supporting Ranil at least on a short-term basis with the view to overcoming the crisis facing the country, it would have been possible undoubtedly, to bring about a positive change in the Country

By

Victor Ivan

“The Aragalaya had a sensitive heart, but it lacked a mature brain and intellectual prowess”

In what sense does the Aragalaya become important to us? What expectations has it generated? Has it been successful in achieving them? It can be considered as the biggest and the most popular uprising that erupted since Sri Lanka had entered the modern era. It was organised in a few days.

The Hartal of 1953 was an aggressive public uprising that took place in one day. It was smaller in size compared to the present Aragalaya. The Aragalaya has recorded the most active and maximum public participation on 9 July when President Gotabaya was compelled to flee the country. The number of people who came to Colombo city on that day to participate in the Aragalaya is said to be several millions, but my opinion is that it could have been between half a million to one million people. Although the struggle was not able to break the authority of the Rajapaksas completely, it was capable of demolishing the public recognition of the authority wielded by the Rajapaksas to a large extent.

Ranil’s advent to power was an incidental outcome of the Aragalaya and not something planned by it deliberately. Ranil’s arrival has not brought any positive change in the ugly look of the Government, but it was able to reverse the disastrous course of the Government which it followed up to then, and direct the country which was moving towards complete devastation to a path conducive to overcoming the crisis the country was facing. If the Opposition had adopted a policy of supporting Ranil at least on a short-term basis with the view to overcoming the crisis facing the country, undoubtedly, it would have been possible to bring about a positive change in the extent to which President Ranil has been compelled to depend on the Pohottuwa Party. However, it appears that the ambition of the official Opposition party has been to trap Ranil in the grip of the Pohottuwa and make him dependent on it.

Continue reading ‘If the Opposition had adopted a policy of supporting Ranil at least on a short-term basis with the view to overcoming the crisis facing the country, it would have been possible undoubtedly, to bring about a positive change in the Country’ »

A 25-point common framework for a re-founding of the center-left.

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

1. The last time the Sri Lankan citizenry suffered materially in a manner remotely similar to the current suffering was in 1970-1977. The leader of the day never led the nation again. It took 17 years and her rebellious daughter, who was not associated with the suffering of the past and who professed drastically different economic policies, to get the party re-elected.

2. Today’s Pohottuwa will never be re-elected while under Rajapaksa dominance and any Rajapaksa will take decades – while the memories of generations fade, together with the narrative–to be elected to the country’s top spot (as in the case of ‘Bongbong’ Marcos).

3. This leaves a simple choice for SLPP members: (a) dump the Rajapaksas and free the SLPP (b) denounce the Rajapaksas and flee the Rajapaksa camp immediately, or (c) go down with the ship at the next election and every election after that for decades.

4. SWRD Bandaranaike and his Silent Revolution of 1956-1959 were dualistic, but was primarily progressive and secondarily reactionary. It was progressive in its social, economic and foreign policy aspects and reactionary in its linguistic aspect. SWRD strove to reverse that reactionary aspect with the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact but he was blocked from doing so. (Had he been an elected President he could have seen it through).

5. What remains valid in SWRD policies are the progressive aspect of 1956, fused with the B-C Pact of 1957, but with an honest and total rejection of Sinhala Only and the majoritarian, exclusivist or hegemonistic ethno-nationalism that gave rise to it.

Continue reading ‘A 25-point common framework for a re-founding of the center-left.’ »

President Wickremesinghe Designates Several areas Within and around Colombo as High Security Zones by Gazette Proclamation; Public Gatherings and Protest Demonstrations Banned Within HS Zones;Parking Restricted


Several areas in and around Colombo have been declared as High Security Zones by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Accordingly, areas around the Parliament Complex, Supreme Court Complex, High Court Complex in Colombo, Magistrate Court Complex in Colombo and Attorney General’s Department, Presidential Secretariat, President’s House, Sri Lanka Navy Headquarters and Police Headquarters have been declared as High Security Zones.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Designates Several areas Within and around Colombo as High Security Zones by Gazette Proclamation; Public Gatherings and Protest Demonstrations Banned Within HS Zones;Parking Restricted’ »

Archaeology Dept’s Illegal Attempts to Construct New Structures in Krunthoormalai and Allocate Land in Koneshwaram Temple area to “outsider”traders must be stopped immediately states TNA MP Sumanthiran in Parliament;also requests Palaly Airport taxes to be Waived as in the case of Mattala

(Text of Speech made by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran M.P. in Parliament on 22nd September 2022)

Thank you Hon. Deputy speaker for the opportunity to speak a few words at today’s debate. The Hon. Minister for aviation was here for a moment ago, I want to raise a matter with regard to Palali air Port. That’s an International airport, it was opened, and there were flights from Madras, then due to Covid all flight were suspended.

Now, this has not resumed yet, and even when it resumes the cost of the airfare is prohibitive. The reason for that is that the airport taxes are so high that people will not be able to afford it – the Hon. Minister is now coming into the Chambers.

I have spoken to the Hon. Minister about it, the Mattala airport – airport taxes have been waved and we have been asking that the Palali airport taxes also be waved. Because unlike Mattala, Palali when you resume, will have a steady traffic and that’ll be good for our economy. And therefore I am requesting the minister again to please wave the airport tax for Palali airport and there will be a steady stream of traffic.

So as we deal with the issues today, in the North and the East, there are other issues that people are facing particularly with regard to the Lands.

Continue reading ‘Archaeology Dept’s Illegal Attempts to Construct New Structures in Krunthoormalai and Allocate Land in Koneshwaram Temple area to “outsider”traders must be stopped immediately states TNA MP Sumanthiran in Parliament;also requests Palaly Airport taxes to be Waived as in the case of Mattala’ »

The “Repeal PTA” mobile signature collection campaign Vehicle that began its Journey from Northern Kankesanthurai reaches Galle Face Green; Several Politicians from Different Parties other than the SLPP address Multi-ethnic gathering;Opposition MPs Argue with Police Over Attempts to Obstruct Campaign

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The “Repeal PTA” mobile signature collection campaign reached Colombo’s Galle Face yesterday (22), after travelling across the country from Kankesanthurai, resulting in an argument with the heavy police presence in the area about the purpose and result of the gathering at the iconic venue.

Organised by the youth organisation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Galle Face gathering was attended by Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Opposition MP M.A. Sumanthiran PC and ITAK MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MPs Tissa Attanayake, S.M. Marikkar, Mujibur Rahuman, and Eran Wickramaratne, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader and SJB MP Rauff Hakeem, Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda, SJB member and former MP Hirunika Premachandra, Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin, and actress Damitha Abeyratne. In addition a number of trade unions (TUs) and civil and political organisations were also in attendance, all of whom demanded that the Government repeal the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) and release of all prisoners held arbitrarily.

Continue reading ‘The “Repeal PTA” mobile signature collection campaign Vehicle that began its Journey from Northern Kankesanthurai reaches Galle Face Green; Several Politicians from Different Parties other than the SLPP address Multi-ethnic gathering;Opposition MPs Argue with Police Over Attempts to Obstruct Campaign’ »

How can you withdraw from the UNHRC 30/1 resolution that you yourself co-sponsored and agreed to when you were the Justice Minister and the Incumbent President the Prime Minister in Sep 2015 ? MA Sumanthiran MP asks Justice Minister Dr.Wijedasa Rajapakshe.


(Text of Speech made by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran M.P. in Parliament on 22nd September 2022)

The Government is now facing a challenge in the UN Human rights council, Hon. Minister of Justice is here, and that’s good, I want to refer to some matters that concern him as well. In September 2015, the Sri Lankan government co – sponsored a resolution call HRC 30 / 1. Co – sponsoring means you agree, you sign on to that resolution which then means it is your resolution.

Now in that resolution while Hon. Minister of Justice you were the Hon. Minster even then at that time, there was a clause that Sri Lanka agreed, operation paragraph 6 of that resolution, in which it was agreed that Commonwealth and other foreign Judges, defence lawyers authorised prosecutors and investigators will participate in a process. Commonwealth and other foreign Judges, originally that draft you know Hon. Minister, said Foreign Judges. It was at the request of the Sri Lankan government the words “Commonwealth” also was added, Commonwealth and other Foreign Judges.

Continue reading ‘How can you withdraw from the UNHRC 30/1 resolution that you yourself co-sponsored and agreed to when you were the Justice Minister and the Incumbent President the Prime Minister in Sep 2015 ? MA Sumanthiran MP asks Justice Minister Dr.Wijedasa Rajapakshe.’ »

ITAK President “Maavai” Senathirajah Refutes Media Reports of Party Pressure being Exerted on TNA Leader Sampanthan to Resign as Trinco MP; “We have not taken any decision nor do we request our Leader to resign. We cannot remove him either,” says Maavai


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Denying news reports to the contrary, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Leader Mavai Senathirajah yesterday (21) said that the party has not taken any decision nor requested the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader and Trincomalee District MP R. Sampanthan to resign from his Parliamentary seat.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday, Senathirajah noted that no such request had been made from Sampanthan, nor had such a decision been taken for the latter to resign from his post as an MP.
“We have not taken any decision nor do we request our Leader to resign. We cannot remove him either,” he said.

Continue reading ‘ITAK President “Maavai” Senathirajah Refutes Media Reports of Party Pressure being Exerted on TNA Leader Sampanthan to Resign as Trinco MP; “We have not taken any decision nor do we request our Leader to resign. We cannot remove him either,” says Maavai’ »

Sri Lanka keeps pressing China for a $4 billion loan but talks dragging on for several months appear to have not yielded an agreement. Rather than restructure Sri Lanka’s existing debt, Beijing has indicated it would prefer to instead extend new loans to an already heavily indebted economy.

By

Ananth Krishnan and Meera Srinivasan

China has offered Pakistan’s visiting Army Chief technical help as the country deals with record floods, but did not announce any substantial financial assistance which its “all-weather” ally has been seeking.

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, facing financial stress, have been engaged in long-running talks with Beijing for assistance, but with negotiations in both cases having made little headway, both countries have turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their new IMF commitments are now likely to impact their owed payments to China, which has lent the two countries more than $26 billion in the past five years.

Following talks in Xi’an between Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe, the Chinese side expressed willingness to provide technical assistance for flood relief work, Pakistan’s official Inter Services Public Relations said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka keeps pressing China for a $4 billion loan but talks dragging on for several months appear to have not yielded an agreement. Rather than restructure Sri Lanka’s existing debt, Beijing has indicated it would prefer to instead extend new loans to an already heavily indebted economy.’ »

“Beware of officials who mislead the parliament with distorted figures” Eran Wickramaratne tells the President and Govt. “Launch investigation on excise tax leakage during yahapalana regime” suggests SJB MP

SJB, MP Eran Wickramaratne warned the new President and the government not to get caught up in corruption, theft and irregularities and said that if they get caught up in them, the country will never be able to be rebuilt.

Speaking in Parliament today (21) he also emphasized the importance of being careful about officials who presented distorted figures by misleading the parliament responsible for financial responsibilities.

He reminded them that during 2020, the official figure of Budget deficit shown was 9.6 % of GDP. It was shown in a fraudulent manner by shifting Rs 420 billion spent in 2020 to the expenses of year 2019 under the cash basis account system.

Speaking further in Parliament he said that there should be an end to misleading Parliament and thereby the people of this country. The reason for the economic crisis is the mismanagement of governance and the financial policies. In 2019, taxes were reduced, and tax exemptions were given. According to the statistics of the Department of Budget, the revenue in 2021, which was 13.5%. of GDP fell to 8.7%. The number of taxpayers’ files has come down from1,705,000) to five 500,000. The PAYE taxpayers’ number was reduced to mere 32,000 from 1.1 million.

Continue reading ‘“Beware of officials who mislead the parliament with distorted figures” Eran Wickramaratne tells the President and Govt. “Launch investigation on excise tax leakage during yahapalana regime” suggests SJB MP’ »

“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy” says Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage


BY Buwanajee Coralage

In Sri Lanka, all fruitful initiatives for national growth have always been blocked by antiquated cultural arguments, claimed State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage while addressing Parliament yesterday (21).

“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy. Trapped within a framework limiting the scope for growth and reasoning such with ethics, but all the while conducting unethical activities behind a veil, this country’s growth has been limited due to this mindset. An attitudinal change within the leaders and the people is directly needed in this country and till this change is made, this country’s growth will be stagnant,” she said.

Continue reading ‘“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy” says Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage’ »

Though Mangala has left this earth, his radical centrist ideology still exists in the hearts of the Sri Lankan youth and clear-minded citizens. And if our country is to truly ever thrive again, Mangala’s ideology must be protected, it must blossom, it must become our national ideology.


By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

In many ways, the economic collapse of Sri Lanka became a near certainty in the weeks after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected President. In hindsight, it is clear to all that his government’s number one priority was consolidating their power and punishing those it saw as their enemies. Its next priority was enriching themselves. To the extent that they had anything resembling a policy focus, every major initiative taken by the Rajapaksas only served to further sabotage and doom our economy.

But there was a darker, even more bitter and consequential turning point in our nation’s story than the election of November 2019. It was the loss our country suffered on 24 August 2021, with the demise of Mangala Samaraweera.

I say this not only because he was one of my closest friends – a man I deeply admired and trusted implicitly. He too had implicit faith in me and never doubted me. Especially during the years in which we both served in the Yahapalanya government, Mangala and I would meet almost daily, whether at our homes or offices. It is safe to say that neither of us ever took a decision of any consequence without consulting the other. Despite the intimacy of our friendship, neither of us blindly agreed with or followed the other.

Continue reading ‘Though Mangala has left this earth, his radical centrist ideology still exists in the hearts of the Sri Lankan youth and clear-minded citizens. And if our country is to truly ever thrive again, Mangala’s ideology must be protected, it must blossom, it must become our national ideology.’ »

The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists at The Hague in Netherlands issues indictment against the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoS over the murder of editor and Attorney-at-Law Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009.

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists at The Hague, the Netherlands, yesterday (19) issued an indictment against the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), which it found guilty over the murder of editor and Attorney-at-Law Lasantha Wickrematunge.
Judge Eduardo Bertoni, who is part of the panel of judges of the Tribunal, noted that the indictment was filed on the basis that the prosecutor holds the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka responsible for the grave violation of the international human rights of the slain journalist.

He further stressed that the indictment was filed specifically on the right to life, the right to freedom of expression, and the right to effective remedy.

Continue reading ‘The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists at The Hague in Netherlands issues indictment against the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoS over the murder of editor and Attorney-at-Law Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009.’ »

Farewell Queen Elizabeth II: Ceremonial splendour in London gives way to a quiet burial in Windsor as Britain says goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch


By

Caroline Davies

After the majestic funeral pomp and military spectacle, unsurpassed in the nation’s living memory and watched across the world, the final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II would belong only to her family.

Night had fallen as she was laid to rest next to the Duke of Edinburgh in the George VI Memorial Chapel, Windsor, in private and away from cameras.

With only her family present, it was a wholly intimate ceremony, one for a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother who also was a Queen.

The contrast with the earlier grandeur of Britain’s official goodbye, with its pipers, buglers and muffled bells, its kings, queens, prime ministers and presidents in the gothic splendour of Westminster Abbey, could not have been more marked.
Or with the ritual and symbolism, burnished over centuries, of the committal service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Continue reading ‘Farewell Queen Elizabeth II: Ceremonial splendour in London gives way to a quiet burial in Windsor as Britain says goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch’ »

Six Tamil Parties to Submit Joint Letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe about Alleged Attempts by Eastern Province Governor to Engineer Demographic Changes Affecting the Tamil people in Trincomalee District

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

A letter signed by the political parties of the North and the East opposing the demographic changes in the Trincomalee District will be handed over to President Ranil Wickremesinghe upon his arrival from the UK.

Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK) Leader and MP C.V. Wigneswaran, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Leader Mavai Senathirajah, Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Leader Suresh Premachandran, People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) Leader D. Siddharthan, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) Leader Selvam Adaikkalanathan, and Tamil National Party Leader N. Srikantha are the signatories.

These parties are of the view that the change in the demography of the district will result in a definite geographical division between the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Continue reading ‘Six Tamil Parties to Submit Joint Letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe about Alleged Attempts by Eastern Province Governor to Engineer Demographic Changes Affecting the Tamil people in Trincomalee District’ »

Queen Elizabeth was vested with a sacred duty to hold together a country which, in the ensuing decades, became more diverse, fissiparous, irreverent and distracted than it had ever been before. And so she did!

For the millions who watched on June 2nd 1953—for it was the first time in history that a British coronation had been televised—the most moving part of the ceremony came near the end. It was then that the imperial state crown, encrusted with 2,868 diamonds and weighing more than a kilogram, was placed on the pretty, dark and fragile head of Elizabeth Windsor, proclaiming her, in the eyes of all, Queen Elizabeth II.

For her, though, according to the few people who knew her well, the most charged part of the service had come earlier, in the only part which was not shown. Then, like monarchs before her back to medieval times, she had stripped to a shift behind screens and been anointed with holy oil: a sign that her election came not just from good Hanoverian blood, but from God. It was a reminder that kingship was a holy and permanent duty. And it was a lesson she never forgot.

Tirelessly, the small and somewhat dumpy figure, with a large handbag and a taste for spring-bright coats, travelled the country and overseas. She was the target of much gentle mockery for her social chat (“Have you come far?”), her sempiternal gloves and hats and her high, clipped diction, all from another age. With that ribbing went an instinct to protect her, though it was clear, from the level stare and the flashes of dry wit in her speeches, that this was quite unnecessary, thank you. Outrage swept the British press when heedless foreign leaders touched her, Michelle Obama even stroking her back, but she would calmly ignore it.

As a result of thousands of little human interactions—posies received, tribal dances watched, buildings opened, ships launched, waves bestowed—the institution of the monarchy burrowed deeper into public affection, at home and in the Commonwealth, in a way that was surprising in the 20th century and even more in the 21st.

Continue reading ‘Queen Elizabeth was vested with a sacred duty to hold together a country which, in the ensuing decades, became more diverse, fissiparous, irreverent and distracted than it had ever been before. And so she did!’ »

Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan Notes Appreciatively that upcountry Tamil Sri Lankans are, as a minority ethnic community are being gradually given due recognition by the international community.


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

While appreciating the stance taken by United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Tomoya Obokata regarding the labour conditions of plantation workers at the ongoing 51st UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session last week, Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Mano Ganesan noted that upcountry Tamil Sri Lankans are, as a minority ethnic community, gradually being given due recognition by the international community.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (19), Ganesan said that upcountry Tamils have gradually emerged as an ethnicity that is reaching world communities, more so now than during previous times.
“Now, slowly, the world is beginning to know upcountry Tamils along with the Eelam Tamils,” he added

Continue reading ‘Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan Notes Appreciatively that upcountry Tamil Sri Lankans are, as a minority ethnic community are being gradually given due recognition by the international community.’ »

Sri Lanka was Utterly Changed by JR Jayewardene in Three Important Spheres.


D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“All changed, changed utterly” is a powerful line from “Easter, 1916”, the famous poem of William Butler Yeats. The poem by W.B .Yeats was about the Irish easter uprising in 1916 , its cruel suppression and how all changed utterly in Ireland.”A terrible beauty is born”says Yeats.

In Sri Lanka “all changed” and “changed utterly” with the ascension of Junius Richard Jayewardene to the premier seat of power in 1977. J.R.Jayewardene known popularly as “JR” ushered in political, economic and electoral changes that utterly changed Sri Lanka. Those of us who are old enough to have experienced this change, are witnesses to the transformation brought about by JR Jayewardene. As to whether this utter change has made Sri Lanka better or worse remains debatable still.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka was Utterly Changed by JR Jayewardene in Three Important Spheres.’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe and USAID Chief Samantha Power Have One on One Meeting Prior to Official Meeting but US envoy Juiie Chung Exerts Pressure and gets “permission” to sit in one what was Supposedly a one on one Conversation.


(Excerpted from the Political Column spearing in the “Sunday Morning”of September 18th 2022)

USAID Chief Power during her brief visit to Sri Lanka met with President Wickremesinghe, Opposition legislators, farmers, civil and business communities and the PTA was also a focal point in her discussions.

Wickremesinghe and Power had a one-on-one meeting as well. When Power and her delegation arrived at the President’s Office, the President’s staff had requested Power if she was first willing to meet Wickremesinghe for a one-on-one meeting prior to the official meeting. Power had expressed her willingness

. However, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung had not been too pleased and asked if the official meeting was to take place. Upon being informed that the official meeting would be after the meeting between the President and Power, the USAID Chief had met the President.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe and USAID Chief Samantha Power Have One on One Meeting Prior to Official Meeting but US envoy Juiie Chung Exerts Pressure and gets “permission” to sit in one what was Supposedly a one on one Conversation.’ »

President Wickremesinghe Issues Directive to set up an accelerated national multi-sector combined programme to ensure that no citizens should starve due to lack of food and children should not be victims of malnutrition;president’s Office sends out Circular to ministries, provincial council chief secretaries, district and divisional secretaries for Implementation

The President’s Office has directed state institutions to ensure that no citizens should starve due to lack of food and children should not be victims of malnutrition.

A circular has been sent out to ministries, provincial council chief secretaries, district and divisional secretaries to implement a series of decisions and an accelerated national multi-sector combined programme to ensure food security and protect children from malnutrition.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Issues Directive to set up an accelerated national multi-sector combined programme to ensure that no citizens should starve due to lack of food and children should not be victims of malnutrition;president’s Office sends out Circular to ministries, provincial council chief secretaries, district and divisional secretaries for Implementation’ »

State agents are acting with impunity against public figures with no fear of popular reprisal. That signifies a change in the methods of the Deep State. Evidently, all pretences have been dropped. What we are up against now is a fully fledged police state and these words are not used lightly either.


By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

Hawks may cry till the cows come home (to horribly malign that popular idiom) but as another ‘Geneva session’ takes place with the customary trumpeting, a few home truths must be recognised, as unpalatable as those may be.

Geneva promises defeated by action at home

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister who also doubled up as the personal lawyer of former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa not so long ago, has bleated his ‘reassurances’ of preserving democracy before the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council a few days earlier. But he must surely understand how hollow his words sound, even to himself. There is no point in mouthing the promise that, ‘notwithstanding severe constraints and challenges, Sri Lanka remains firmly committed to pursuing tangible progress in the protection of human rights and reconciliation through independent domestic institutions.’

What do those words even mean, pray? Are politicians so immune to common sense if not a basic sense of reality that they fail to comprehend the absurdities of their own lies? This is a rhetorical question, let me be clear. It is very obvious that they are, in fact, so immune. But even as a nod to our own sanity, we must ask the question as to how and in what manner can Sri Lanka promise to secure ‘human rights’ and ’reconciliation’ when the State has directed its formidable guns under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) on citizens exercising the right to peaceful protest in the heart of Colombo?

Continue reading ‘State agents are acting with impunity against public figures with no fear of popular reprisal. That signifies a change in the methods of the Deep State. Evidently, all pretences have been dropped. What we are up against now is a fully fledged police state and these words are not used lightly either.’ »

Sri Lanka having a president of the calibre of Ranil instead of Gotabaya can be considered an accidental outcome of the Aragalaya, which is beneficial for the country

By

Victor Ivan

After Ranil Wickremesinghe became the President, the dominance the Aragalaya had gained over the Government was suppressed by the police and the security forces without causing loss of lives or major injuries to the protestors. If it was not done, the authority of the Government would have collapsed completely, and the country would have plunged into a terrible state of anarchy; and the balance of payments crisis also would have plummeted into an uncontrollable point.

By that time, the official opposition of the country too, had become an active participant of the Aragalaya. So much so, breaking the dominance of the Aragalaya came under strong opposition not only of the protestors themselves, but also of the movement of the official opposition as well. By the time the new president ended the dominance gained by the Aragalaya, the belief of the protestors as well as the official opposition was that by taking the struggle one step further would enable them to topple the Government and capture the ruling power of the country.

Although there is no room for such a change of power within the existing political system, not only the young protesters but also the educated elderly professionals and even the experienced leaders of trade unions who supported the Aragalaya, quite uncritically, were unable to realise the simple fact that under the present constitution of Sri Lanka it would not be possible to change the Government during the period within two elections.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka having a president of the calibre of Ranil instead of Gotabaya can be considered an accidental outcome of the Aragalaya, which is beneficial for the country’ »

Inebriated State Minister from Political Family pulls out Personal Pistol and Shoots in air Bringing Part of the Ceiling down Injring one at Party hosted for new State Ministers by President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Brother Channa Wickremesinghe

(Excerpted from the “Ceylon Politics”Column in “Ceylon Today” by Gagani Weerakoon)

Channa Wickremesinghe, younger brother of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, hosted a party for State Ministers who recently assumed duties. A majority of the invitees were in attendance.
As the night grew many State Ministers who attended the wine and dine session appeared overly inebriated. A State Minister who hailed from a political family was quite ‘high’ and was seen being very vocal and animated.

Continue reading ‘Inebriated State Minister from Political Family pulls out Personal Pistol and Shoots in air Bringing Part of the Ceiling down Injring one at Party hosted for new State Ministers by President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Brother Channa Wickremesinghe’ »

Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena named as a suspect by Colombo Magistrate Courts in a case pertaining to the 2019 Easter terror bombings; Mr. Sirisena asked to appear in Colombo court in October


By

Meera Srinivasan

A Sri Lankan court on Friday named former President Maithripala Sirisena a suspect in a case pertaining to the 2019 Easter terror bombings and directed him to appear in court this October.

The Magistrate Court in Colombo’s Fort area gave the orders in response to a private plaint filed by Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, a member of the National Catholic Committee for Justice to Easter Sunday Attack Victims, local media reported.
For more than three years now, Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church, and families of the victims of the gruesome serial blasts — that killed about 280 people and left hundreds injured — have been demanding justice.

Continue reading ‘Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena named as a suspect by Colombo Magistrate Courts in a case pertaining to the 2019 Easter terror bombings; Mr. Sirisena asked to appear in Colombo court in October’ »

Tamils Detained Under Prevention of Terrorism Act to be Released soon, President Ranil Wickremesinghe tells Samantha Power, Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID);“We have agreed on a formula that will set off the period in detention against the judgement, and since they have all had more than ten years, no judgement will be more than ten years”says Ranil

By

Gagani Weerakoon

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said if Parliament fails to reach an agreement on electoral reforms, he will hold a referendum and ask the country which system they prefer.

He said he will convene Parliament to state unequivocally that they must agree on electoral reform, despite the fact that the parties are arguing among themselves.

He made these remarks during a meeting with Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), who was in Sri Lanka on a two-day official visit.

The President also said they would bring anti-terrorist legislation.

Continue reading ‘Tamils Detained Under Prevention of Terrorism Act to be Released soon, President Ranil Wickremesinghe tells Samantha Power, Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID);“We have agreed on a formula that will set off the period in detention against the judgement, and since they have all had more than ten years, no judgement will be more than ten years”says Ranil’ »

‘We will revive and upgrade the Free Trade Agreement with India into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership’ states Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka will revive its Free Trade Agreement with India and upgrade it to a “a comprehensive economic and technological partnership”, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said, signalling Colombo’s willingness to revisit a stalled pact.

Addressing the Sri Lanka India Society on Thursday, Mr. Wickremesinghe said his government would take steps for better trade integration with India.

“We will revive and upgrade the Free Trade Agreement into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership. We started that in 2018 and 2019,” he said referring to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that was later known as the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA). Both versions of the proposed agreement sparked stiff resistance within Sri Lanka, as critics feared it would impact Sri Lankans’ job prospects with more competition from Indians.

Continue reading ‘‘We will revive and upgrade the Free Trade Agreement with India into a comprehensive economic and technological partnership’ states Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean has turned Sri Lanka into the regional ‘punching bag said President Ranil Wickremesinghe while addressing the irst ever graduation ceremony of the National Defence College in Colombo

By

Gagani Weerakoon

Addressing the first ever graduation ceremony of the National Defence College in Colombo, President Wickremesinghe said the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean has turnedSri Lanka into the regional ‘punching bag’.

He pointed out that there are around 17 ports operated by the Chinese in the Indian Ocean and they are all commercial ports, adding that, Hambantota is also a commercial port and not a military port.

Speaking further he said the Indian Ocean region should be open to all to ensure freedom of navigation for commercial viability. He noted that Sri Lanka will not participate in military alliances and does not want the problems of the Pacific coming into the Indian Ocean. In this scenario, he urged regional nations to come together to look at how best to maintain stability.

Continue reading ‘Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean has turned Sri Lanka into the regional ‘punching bag said President Ranil Wickremesinghe while addressing the irst ever graduation ceremony of the National Defence College in Colombo’ »

Kingmaker Role of “lankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi” in Dudley Senanayake’s National Govt.

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Part One – The Tamil Factor in Sri Lanka’s First UNP- led “National” Govt of Premier Dudley Senanayake

When the March 22nd 1965 election results were announced no single party had obtained a simple majority on its own. It was a hung parliament. As stated in the first part of this article last week,The UNP had obtained 66 seats. The SLFP came next with 41 seats. The Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(TAK) was third with 14 seats.The prevailing Parliamentary arithmetic after the elections indicated that the ITAK with its 14 seats held the balance of power . . What happened thereafter will be related in detail in this article’s second and final part.

When the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK) known in English as the Federal Party became the determining factor in government formation after the 1965 general election, the party was faced with a historic opportunity. It could be a “Kingmaker” by supporting the United National Party(UNP)led by Dudley Senanayake or be a “Queenmaker”by throwing in its lot with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike. In such a situation the ITAK/FP leader Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayagam was ardently wooed by both sides. His arrival from Jaffna to Colombo was anxiously awaited by both sections.

Continue reading ‘Kingmaker Role of “lankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi” in Dudley Senanayake’s National Govt.’ »

“Emperor of Tamil Pop Music” AE Manoharan’s Futile Attempt to be a Film Star in Tamil Nadu.

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Blessed are those Sri Lankans who have lived in different parts of the country, travelled widely within its borders and interacted with all people cutting across ethnic and religious barriers during times of peace and tranquillity in the past. Those who have had such broad experiences unsullied by narrow sectarianism know that the Island is truly “God’s own country” populated by a friendly, good-natured people.

Anthonyppillai Emmanuel Manoharan known to the world at large as A. E. Manoharan was one such person. Manoharan was a multi-faceted personality possessing many talents. He was a singer, musician, broadcaster and stage and screen actor but it was his singing that brought him great success and honour.

What was most commendable and praiseworthy in many of his songs was his discernible love and affection for Sri Lanka and her people. This was vividly reflected in his songs. He sang of Lanka and its beauty, of its landscapes, mountains, rivers, people, arts, heritage, places of worship and above all the unity amidst diversity of her people.

Continue reading ‘“Emperor of Tamil Pop Music” AE Manoharan’s Futile Attempt to be a Film Star in Tamil Nadu.’ »

Frontline Socialist Party Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda tells Press Conference that “people had no option but to take to the streets to chase out the incumbent govt”; Jagoda says “Ranil Wickremesinghe says that he has no home to go. He should not go home, he should be sent to a prison for the crimes he had committed”

By Saman Indrajith

The Frontline Socialist Party, on Tuesday, said that people had no option but to take to the streets to chase out the incumbent government.

“The government has not learnt that people engage in protests because they no longer can put up with hardships. We have no other option but to beat off this government. Ranil Wickremesinghe says that he has no home to go. He should not go home, he should be sent to a prison for the crimes he had committed,” FSP Education Secretary, Pubudu Jayagoda, told a press conference held in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Frontline Socialist Party Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda tells Press Conference that “people had no option but to take to the streets to chase out the incumbent govt”; Jagoda says “Ranil Wickremesinghe says that he has no home to go. He should not go home, he should be sent to a prison for the crimes he had committed”’ »

Newly drafted resolution on Sri Lanka, co-sponsored by the Core Group of countries on Sri Lanka, Comprising the UK, Canada, Germany, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and the US presented at the ongoing 51st United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

A fresh draft resolution on Sri Lanka, which was co-sponsored by the Core Group of countries on Sri Lanka at the ongoing 51st United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, noted the need for power devolution, the conduct of polls, addressing the plight of missing persons, replacing the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, and accountability for protest-related violence, whilst recognising the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to address the economic crisis, including the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

This newly drafted resolution on Sri Lanka, co-sponsored by the Core Group of countries on Sri Lanka, namely, the UK, Canada, Germany, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and the US, was made public yesterday (14).

Continue reading ‘Newly drafted resolution on Sri Lanka, co-sponsored by the Core Group of countries on Sri Lanka, Comprising the UK, Canada, Germany, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and the US presented at the ongoing 51st United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva’ »

How a 22 Year old Sri Lankan Journalist Became Famous in his Family Circle as “The boy who shook hands with the Queen of England, and the Duke of Edinburgh”.

By

Shavindra Fernando

It was on October 22 in 1981 in Colombo.

I was 22, the youngest of the Sri Lanka Press Corps of around a dozen reporters, who were afforded an audience with the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh in Colombo. I was a reporter for the Ceylon Daily Mirror of the Times of Ceyon.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s tie pin at the Trenchard House reception was a green elephant. Much to the horror of the few British diplomats present, one of our reporters (from the UNP party journal, Siyarata) touched Prince Philip’s tie and said “Sir you are wearing our party colours and our green elephant”.

The Prince and the Queen were amused, laughed, and the Prince explained that it was a symbol of elephant conservation, a global organization which he headed. We had about an hour with the Royals, drinks flowed freely, we reporters were all high and spoke freely, and the accompanying British press and regular Royal staff entourage who were not a part of this tiny gathering said later, that they were taken aback, as to how freely the Royals had entertained us. Some of the British reporters had never had such a reception.

In retrospect, I believe the Royals felt that despite our relative Sri Lankan “press” disregard for propriety and decorum, we reporters warmly and genuinely reflected the public feeling of goodwill that still existed towards the British Royals in Sri Lanka. But none of us were as forward as the UNP Siyarata reporter, and we knew he was a political intruder who had been included by our government, when he had no business to be there as a reporter of a party newspaper.

Continue reading ‘How a 22 Year old Sri Lankan Journalist Became Famous in his Family Circle as “The boy who shook hands with the Queen of England, and the Duke of Edinburgh”.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Asia Cup Winning Cricket and Netball Teams Embody the Resolve of a Nation that has seen Adversity, Suffered untold Horrors and yet Overcame all Challenges, Smiling Through it all.This Self-belief is in Sri Lankan DNA


By

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

World champions they are not. In times gone by, Sri Lankan teams secured silverware on the world’s premier cricketing podiums. But not since 2014 when they won the Asia Cup. Since then, not even close. The glory days of the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium were stuff for those so bereft of reasons to cheer that they had to make do with grainy archival footage in the almost sepia colours of years past. Sometimes even of matches played before they were even born.

Prof Arjuna Desilva with Sri Lankan cricket captain

One swallow does not a summer make, and a scintillating performance in the Asia Cup T20 final on Sunday does not make Sri Lanka world champs. Nevertheless, considering that they bested two teams highly regarded as contenders for the world title in Australia, i.e., India and Pakistan, the tag ‘world beaters’ is not altogether inappropriate.

Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainty and sometimes what marks the superior outfit is the resolve, tenacity, recalibration and execution to take the team across the line after being tripped or having stumbled. All things considered, one might even say that Sri Lanka from the get go to literally the final delivery of the tournament had set out to prove just that. And that they did.

This team, led by Dasun Shanaka, hardly warranted mention in previews of the tournament a few weeks ago. Although in Wanindu Hasaranga they had a world class bowler who could also wield the willow to good effect when needed, even he was forgotten in the rush to compare and contrast the two favourites, India and Pakistan. A first night drubbing at the hands of Afghanistan only went to justify such dismissal. Sri Lanka was there to make up the numbers. That’s it.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Asia Cup Winning Cricket and Netball Teams Embody the Resolve of a Nation that has seen Adversity, Suffered untold Horrors and yet Overcame all Challenges, Smiling Through it all.This Self-belief is in Sri Lankan DNA’ »

WELL WON::Even in the desert sands, Dasun Shanaka’s men felt at home and during Sunday’s final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka defied the odds to defeat Pakistan by 23 runs. -THE HINDU


Originally pencilled in as the host, it was fitting that Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup even if the championship was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The debilitating economic crisis in the island-nation meant that Sri Lanka had to shift the continental tournament’s base to the UAE but even in the desert sands, Dasun Shanaka’s men felt at home.

And during Sunday’s final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka defied the odds to defeat Pakistan by 23 runs.

Continue reading ‘WELL WON::Even in the desert sands, Dasun Shanaka’s men felt at home and during Sunday’s final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka defied the odds to defeat Pakistan by 23 runs. -THE HINDU’ »

Outgoing UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michele Bachelet’s Up to date Report on Sri Lanka presented to the Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka concludes that the current administration “appear[s] to reflect a continuity with the past.”


By
Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

The Sunday papers in Colombo gave a heads-up on the new resolution (currently at the stage of the ‘Zero Draft’) on Sri Lanka reportedly being negotiated at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, revealing that “the Zero Draft resolution seeks to recommend action against political leaders and state officials responsible for economic crimes that have adversely impacted on human rights in Sri Lanka.”

The news reports indicate that “…The names of ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, former Finance Minister, Basil Rajapaksa, have figured in these consultations…reference is to be made to then President Mahinda Rajapaksa…”

Evidently, two of the Rajapaksa brothers, former President Gotabaya and former Finance Minister Basil have come up in discussions in relation to economic crimes, while the third, former President Mahinda, President during the last stages of Sri Lanka’s war against the Tigers, is to be mentioned “for not fulfilling ‘assurances’ given to Ban Ki-moon, then UN Secretary General, during his visit to Sri Lanka on May 26, 2009”. This covers between them, transgressions of pretty much most of the social, economic, civil and political rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe needn’t feel left out because he will find that his own recent ‘see-if-I-care’ violations of the rights of protesters, more in-your-face than any since the war, hardly went unnoticed by the OHCHR fact-finding mission recently in Colombo, which included them in the Human Rights High Commissioner’s Report.

Together, these personalities comprise the larger part of the top rank of the ruling elite in Sri Lanka over the last decades. No one should be surprised that Sri Lanka is in unprecedentedly deep crisis.

Continue reading ‘Outgoing UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michele Bachelet’s Up to date Report on Sri Lanka presented to the Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka concludes that the current administration “appear[s] to reflect a continuity with the past.”’ »

India Voices concern at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva over the “lack of measurable progress” in Sri Lanka’s Committed political solution to the ethnic issue “through full implementation of 13th Amendment of the Constitution, delegation of powers to Provincial Councils and holding of Provincial Council elections at the earliest”


By

Meera Srinivasan

India on Monday voiced concern over the “lack of measurable progress” in Sri Lanka’s promised political solution to the long-pending Tamil national question, while making an unusual reference to the crisis-hit island nation’s “debt-driven” economy in the context of its current crisis.

In its statement at the 51 st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, India said it has “always believed in the responsibility of States for promotion and protection of human rights and constructive international dialogue and cooperation” guided by the U.N. Charter.

“In this regard, the Indian delegation notes with concern the lack of measurable progress by Government of Sri Lanka on their commitments of a political solution to the ethnic issue — through full implementation of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, delegation of powers to Provincial Councils and holding of Provincial Council elections at the earliest,” India said.

Continue reading ‘India Voices concern at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva over the “lack of measurable progress” in Sri Lanka’s Committed political solution to the ethnic issue “through full implementation of 13th Amendment of the Constitution, delegation of powers to Provincial Councils and holding of Provincial Council elections at the earliest”’ »

India’s Evolving Tradition of Electing Presidents Symbolizing the Diversity of Her People

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka’s nearest neighbour and closest friend, India celebrated her 75th anniversary of gaining freedom from British rule on the 15th of this month.. “Incredible” India also made history last month by electing a woman from a tribal community as the Republic’s 15th President . 64 year old Droupadi Murmu was sworn into office after being elected India’s President last July. She is India’s first president hailing from the “AadivaasI” community or people from scheduled tribes. Droupadi Murmu is the second woman and youngest person to be elected president of India.t


President Smt Droupadi Murmu taking the National Salute from Tri Services Guard of Honour at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Presidents of India

Droupadi Murmu was born as Puti Biranchi Tudu on 20 June 1958 in the Uparbeda village of India’s eastern state Orissa now known as Odisha. She hails from the Santhal ethnic group of India’s scheduled tribes. The Aadivaasis or tribal people comprise 8.6% of India’s population. Droupadi Murmu worked as a clerk and teacher before taking to politics as a member of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). She has served as a local authority councllor. Member of the legislative assembly and state minister. Droupadi Murmu was also appointed as Governor of Jharkand State by the Narendra Modi Government from 2015 to 2021. She has suffered immense personal tragedies in having lost her husband,two sons,mother and brother within a span of 7 years from 2009 to 2015.The only living family member is her daughter.

Continue reading ‘India’s Evolving Tradition of Electing Presidents Symbolizing the Diversity of Her People’ »

Sri Lanka Muslim Expatriates’ Council will Take up issue of Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA) related Human Rights Violations Affecting Muslims in Sri Lanka During UN Human Rights Council Sessions in Geneva


By Mirudhula Thambiah

Sri Lankan Muslim expatriates yesterday (11) voiced disappointment over the current implementation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) against muslims in Sri Lanka, and stressed that they would take up the human rights violations in relation to this rigid law at the 51st United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions scheduled to commence today (12) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sri Lanka Muslim Expatriates’ Council International Affairs Co-ordinator Aiyoob Azmin told The Morning that human rights violations relating to the PTA should be raised during the UNHRC sessions, and that their organisation would mainly focus on the implementation of this draconian law against the muslims in Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is yet unsolved and continues to create immense human suffering, but the PTA continues to be in force. State-level abuse of this law, illegal arrests, detentions, and repression continues,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Muslim Expatriates’ Council will Take up issue of Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA) related Human Rights Violations Affecting Muslims in Sri Lanka During UN Human Rights Council Sessions in Geneva’ »

“The United States stands ready to participate in the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt. It is imperative that all of Sri Lanka’s creditors, most notably the People’s Republic of China cooperate in this process openly and on comparable terms with each other.” Says Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID


By

Meera Srinivasan

China must cooperate with Sri Lanka in its debt restructure process, Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said on Sunday, while assuring Colombo of the U.S.’s support.

Sri Lanka, which opted for a preemptive sovereign default in April amid a rapid downturn, must negotiate with its diverse creditors — International Sovereign Bond holders, multilateral agencies, bilateral creditors such as China, Japan, and India — and restructure its outstanding debt to them, in order to qualify for a $2.9 billion-package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Addressing a media conference at the end of her two-day visit, Ms. Power said: “The United States as a creditor, and as a member of the Paris Club, stands ready to participate in the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt. It is imperative that all of Sri Lanka’s creditors, most notably the People’s Republic of China cooperate in this process openly and on comparable terms with each other.”

Continue reading ‘“The United States stands ready to participate in the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt. It is imperative that all of Sri Lanka’s creditors, most notably the People’s Republic of China cooperate in this process openly and on comparable terms with each other.” Says Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID’ »

NPP Parliamentarian Dr. Harini Amarasuriya and former MP Hirunika Premachandra accuse prison authorities of mistreating actress cum “Aragalaya” activist Damitha Abeyratne after visiting her at Welikada Jail

By Buddhika Samaraweera

National People’s Power (NPP) MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya and former MP Hirunika Premachandra accused the prison authorities of mistreating actress Damitha Abeyratne, who was arrested and then placed in remand custody for allegedly forcibly entering the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo during the massive public protests in July.

Dr. Amarasuriya, after visiting the Welikada Prison last Saturday (10) to inquire about the well-being of Abeyratne, told the media that she had to wait outside for more than 45 minutes to enter the prison. Noting that she, as an MP, is entitled to visit prisoners, she said that it is however questionable as to why the prison authorities did not allow her to enter for a long period of time.

“I came to see Abeyratne, but the prison officials did not allow me to go in for a long time. They said that they can’t allow me to go in without permission from the Chief Jailor.

Continue reading ‘NPP Parliamentarian Dr. Harini Amarasuriya and former MP Hirunika Premachandra accuse prison authorities of mistreating actress cum “Aragalaya” activist Damitha Abeyratne after visiting her at Welikada Jail’ »

Several key “Aragalaya” activists Arrive in Geneva to voice out against what they claim is Govt repression and raise awareness about the arrest of Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF) Convenor Wasantha Mudalige. During UN Human Rights Council Sessions


By Dinitha Rathnayake

Several key activists of the “aragalaya” are in Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The UNHRC will hold its 51st regular session starting today (12) until 7 October at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Social activist Shehan Malaka, Attorney-at-Law Nuwan Bopage, and author Sunanda Deshapriya are among the “aragalaya” members who have reached Geneva, Switzerland to voice out against what they claim is Government repression and raise awareness about the arrest of Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF) Convenor Wasantha Mudalige.
Speaking to The Morning, Bopage said they will deliver their speeches to the UNHRC today.

Continue reading ‘Several key “Aragalaya” activists Arrive in Geneva to voice out against what they claim is Govt repression and raise awareness about the arrest of Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF) Convenor Wasantha Mudalige. During UN Human Rights Council Sessions’ »

Sri Lanka’s political leadership must learn that, by forsaking the lessons that the first wave of protests have taught us, they risk second and third waves of far deadlier agitations.No one can say that they were not forewarned.

By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

It is entirely fitting that, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, while swearing in an obscene number of State Ministers including those who assaulted peaceful protestors at the Galle Face Green on May 9th 2022, had the profound gall to issue a directive this Friday instructing the ‘frugal’ manner in which state funds must be spent.

Insanity of the ship of State

What is ‘frugal’ about appointing all these state ministers when the economy has been destroyed by these very individuals forming part of the administration that brought Sri Lanka to its knees?

It would have been ‘frugal’ not to have appointed them in the first instance, quite apart from the fact that some of these worthies should be prosecuted for their thuggery. Veritably this is the insanity that comprises the ship of State in Sri Lanka.

Are these state-ministerships, rewards for their brutish actions perforce? This is to insult the good intelligence of the citizenry, whether the President acts on his will or at the crack of a whip elsewhere.

The directive, issued by his Secretary, calls upon secretaries of ministries ‘to make special arrangements for the management of public expenditure’ in view of severe economic difficulties.

This is farce at its highest and cruelest extent.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s political leadership must learn that, by forsaking the lessons that the first wave of protests have taught us, they risk second and third waves of far deadlier agitations.No one can say that they were not forewarned.’ »

The SLPP-led coalition is shattered and now the SLPP itself has suffered a schism. The ruling party, no longer a ruling coalition, is barely clinging to a simple majority in Parliament. In a clearly positive development, a significant centre-left space has reopened in Sri Lankan politics.

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose political support base the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and its allies secured a two-thirds majority in Parliament and leveraged it to pass the hyper-centralising 20th Amendment to the Constitution, Sri Lanka had its most unipolar political moment since 1977-’78, which resulted in two civil wars and an external intervention.

Though the 20th Amendment still remains on the books and is wielded by an unelected President, leaving the fundamental task of toppling a new tyranny yet to be undertaken, the unipolar moment in Sri Lankan politics is over. That horror will almost certainly never return in my lifetime.

The SLPP-led coalition is shattered and now the SLPP itself has suffered a schism. The ruling party, no longer a ruling coalition, is barely clinging to a simple majority in Parliament.

In a clearly positive development, the exits made by various tendencies of the 2020 ruling coalition has led to a significant centre-left space reopening in Sri Lankan politics. That space is not obvious because of its splintering but it has nevertheless been re-born.

Continue reading ‘The SLPP-led coalition is shattered and now the SLPP itself has suffered a schism. The ruling party, no longer a ruling coalition, is barely clinging to a simple majority in Parliament. In a clearly positive development, a significant centre-left space has reopened in Sri Lankan politics.’ »

Sparks fly in Parliament as Opposition Raised the Issue of \ The arrest of award-winning actress Damitha Abeyratne who had been at the forefront of the ‘aragalaya’ (struggle),


By Sandun Jayawardana

The arrest of a prominent ‘aragalaya’ activist and a contentious debate on malnutrition among the country’s mothers and children saw sparks fly between the government and opposition benches in Parliament this week.

The arrest of award-winning actress Damitha Abeyratne, who had been at the forefront of the ‘aragalaya’ (struggle), saw opposition MPs raise vociferous protests on Thursday (8). Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, who had been to see Ms Abeyratne at the Fort police station after her arrest the previous evening, raised the matter just as Parliament sessions commenced.

He told the House that the actress had not been involved in any violence. She had not taken part in any illegal activity or caused damage to state or private property. “She was simply exercising her rights and I urge the government to release her,” Mr Premadasa said.

Continue reading ‘Sparks fly in Parliament as Opposition Raised the Issue of \ The arrest of award-winning actress Damitha Abeyratne who had been at the forefront of the ‘aragalaya’ (struggle),’ »

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be the new divinity, saint, aacharya, sacred preacher or teacher in this fight against corruption in Sri Lanka.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has brought us to a crisis that seems worse than what the politicians did by bringing us to bankruptcy. It is the process of recovery – with that shaky pledge of US $ 2.9 billion in four years, to overcome the unprecedented economic turmoil.Among the IMF aims to stabilize the economy,
protect the livelihoods of the Sri Lankan people, and prepare the ground for economic recovery and promoting sustainable and Inclusive growth, is the fight against corruption.

Economists and specialists in Good Governance would have much to think and say about the IMF, its goals, plans, history and all that. We have some politicians who are hugely against the IMF and others who are in favour of it, or wholly supportive of it. But this call against corruption is a message that the Sri Lankan people have been waiting for from our political leaders, from whatever party or colour, from Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs, Heads of State Institutions and all others for more than two decades. All who have remained disgustingly silent other than the occasional political hurrah shouts.

The IMF may be the new divinity, saint, aacharya, sacred preacher or teacher in this fight against corruption in Sri Lanka. It certainly brings new courage to the people to launch a serious and meaningful fight against the system of governance – apart from political crookedness – that has been, and remains the biggest weight, pulling our country and people to the very bottom of the social structure.

Continue reading ‘The International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be the new divinity, saint, aacharya, sacred preacher or teacher in this fight against corruption in Sri Lanka.’ »

Island-wide signature campaign calling for the repeal of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to Commence from Kankesanthurai in the North to Hambantota in the South


(Text of Press Release Issued on Behalf of the Ilankai Thamilarasu Katchi (ITAK)Youth Front, Justice for All and the Alliance of Trade Union & Mass organisations)

An island-wide signature campaign has been launched calling for the repeal of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) brought in 1979 as a temporary provisions Act for six months but continues to be in operation for over 40years.

During this period, we have witnessed its use to crush dissent against the government of the day. As it has been done consistently in the past, it continues even today. Especially, this particular act is being used to oppress the peaceful protestors of the Galle face “Aragalaya”

This country-wide mobile Signature campaign from Kankesanthurai to Hambanthota will begin tomorrow (10/09/2022) from Mavittapuram, Kanthaswami Kovil, at 9.00 am. This is to urge the government to honour its promise to repeal the PTA.

We humbly invite everyone to join us tomorrow at this launch and sign the Petition calling for the repeal of the PTA,

K. Seyon – Ilankai Thamilarasu Katchi Youth Front

M. A. Sumanthiran – Justice for All

Joseph Stalin – Alliance of Trade Union & Mass organisations

How can the Government delegation to UNHRC now refuse UNHRC mechanism to gather evidence of human rights violations in Sri Lanka having in 2019 allowed foreign agencies to investigate 21/4 Easter Sunday attacks?

By M.M.Zuhair

At a time when the country is increasingly dependent on the assistance of foreign countries to tackle the deepening economic crisis and the steeply rising cost of living, the Government must objectively address the human rights concerns alleged against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC) commencing sittings in Geneva.

Addressing the media in Colombo last Monday, Foreign Minister M. Ali Sabry was quoted by Associated Press (AP), that the Government cannot agree to any “external mechanism, external evidence gathering mechanism, charging citizens outside the country, getting hybrid judges to come and hear the cases, all these are against the Constitution. So we can’t agree to that”.

Continue reading ‘How can the Government delegation to UNHRC now refuse UNHRC mechanism to gather evidence of human rights violations in Sri Lanka having in 2019 allowed foreign agencies to investigate 21/4 Easter Sunday attacks?’ »

President Wickremesinghe Imposes Strictures on all 37 newly Appointed State Ministers in a bid to Utilise Public Fubds Frugally amidst Economic Crisis; separate Expenditure Head will not be Allpcared to State Ministries

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has emphasised that all authorities should make every effort to utilise public funds spent by the Government in a frugal and efficient manner, taking into account the severe economic difficulties that the Government has to face in the current economic and social climatallocated e of the country.

President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake has instructed all the secretaries of the ministries yesterday to make special arrangements for the management of public expenditure.
The President’s Secretary has issued these instructions to all Ministry Secretaries informing that the 37 State Ministers appointed by the President with effect from Thursday should act according to those terms while carrying out their duties.

Accordingly:

1. A separate expenditure head is not allocated for State Ministries. Secretaries will not be appointed for those Government ministries and the most senior additional secretary should be employed among the additional secretaries of those ministries to facilitate the work of the State Ministers under each scope

2. The Ministry to which the relevant State Ministers have been appointed should meet the staffing requirements from the currently approved staff. Requests for creation of new posts should not be submitted to the Department of Management Services

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Imposes Strictures on all 37 newly Appointed State Ministers in a bid to Utilise Public Fubds Frugally amidst Economic Crisis; separate Expenditure Head will not be Allpcared to State Ministries’ »

Appointment of Lohan Ratwatte,Sanath Nishantha and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan as State Ministers Critized by Human Rights Watch; all three are allegedly implicated in Human rights Abuses charges HRW

By

Meenakshi Ganguly
South Asia Director h-Human Rights Watch

On Thursday, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed 37 new ministers to his government.

In the latest alarming indication that his new administration is not committed to protecting human rights, ending impunity, or upholding the rule of law, three of the appointees are implicated in serious rights abuses.

Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, better known as Pillayan, is a former member of the armed separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who was personally implicated in abducting children and other abuses.

Continue reading ‘Appointment of Lohan Ratwatte,Sanath Nishantha and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan as State Ministers Critized by Human Rights Watch; all three are allegedly implicated in Human rights Abuses charges HRW’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe directs Ministry of Public Administrations & Home Affairs to declare September 19 a day of mourning for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Ranil Tweets “queen was a symbol of stability and endurance and will be greatly missed.”


Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed the Ministry of Public Administrations & Home Affairs to declare September 19 a day of mourning in view of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

A statement from the president’s office said on Friday September 09 that the national flag will be hoisted at half-mast.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe directs Ministry of Public Administrations & Home Affairs to declare September 19 a day of mourning for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Ranil Tweets “queen was a symbol of stability and endurance and will be greatly missed.”’ »

India announces a day of National Mourning on Sunday, September 11, to mark the passing of the Queen of United Kingdom, Elizabeth II;As per the protocol, the National Flag would be flown at half-mast on Sunday and there will be no official entertainment that day.


By

Suhasini Haidar

India announced a day of National Mourning on Sunday, September 11, to mark the passing of the Queen of United Kingdom, Elizabeth II.

The government announced the day of mourning on Friday, adding that President Droupadi Murmu, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent condolence messages to the U.K. royal family and government.

“In their messages, they noted that she was a stalwart of our times; a compassionate personality and provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people,” a government statement said.

Continue reading ‘India announces a day of National Mourning on Sunday, September 11, to mark the passing of the Queen of United Kingdom, Elizabeth II;As per the protocol, the National Flag would be flown at half-mast on Sunday and there will be no official entertainment that day.’ »

“The Queen’s life spanned the entire history of modern Britain. She was born when Britain ruled a global empire of some 600 million people. She died when Britain was a medium-sized northern European country with an uncertain future”- The Guardian


(Text of Editorial in “The Guardian” headlined “The Guardian view on the death of Queen Elizabeth II: the end of an era”)

News of Queen Elizabeth’s death was not wholly unexpected. She lived to the great age of 96. After enjoying markedly good health for so long, the oldest monarch in British history had recently appeared more fragile. She had understandably become a more private woman since the death of Prince Philip last year and had been less publicly visible, undertaking lighter duties. All of us knew that this moment was approaching.

It arrives nevertheless as a national shock, but also as a shared moment of reflection, and as the start of a new and unwritten chapter for the British monarchy and the country itself. The Queen’s death brings personal loss for those close to her, and she had also been a constant presence in millions of lives. The longest monarchical reign in British history, stretching more than 70 years, is over. But the record book is less important than the widely shared sense of what has now slipped away, never to return.

The Queen’s life spanned the entire history of modern Britain. She was born when Britain ruled a global empire of some 600 million people. She died when Britain was a medium-sized northern European country with an uncertain future. She came into the world before all British adults had the vote. At 10, she witnessed the abdication of her uncle that made her heir to the throne. At 14, she lived through the existential threat to the nation that followed the fall of France. As monarch, her first prime minister was Winston Churchill, who had participated in a cavalry charge at Omdurman in 1898, yet she had already been on the throne for 23 years before the current prime minister, her 15th, was even born.

Continue reading ‘“The Queen’s life spanned the entire history of modern Britain. She was born when Britain ruled a global empire of some 600 million people. She died when Britain was a medium-sized northern European country with an uncertain future”- The Guardian’ »

Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa Urges Release of Actress cum Aragalaya Activist Damitha Abeyratne and Ignites Heated Argument in Parliament with Prasanna Ranatunga,Namal Rajapaksa and KPS Kumarasiri

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

A request by Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa from Leader of the House Minister Susil Premajayantha to take necessary steps to release actress and activist Damitha Abeyratne ignited a heated debate between the Opposition and Government in Parliament yesterday (8).

Abeyratne, who was arrested by the Police on Wednesday (7) during the ‘black hour’ protest for allegedly forcibly entering the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo during the public protests in July, was placed under remand custody until September 14 when she was produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Speaking in Parliament ahead of the remand order, Premadasa claimed that the Government was carrying out a witch-hunt targeting Abeyratne, who is a member of the ‘Aragalaya’ protest movement, and using State brutality and terrorism. He claimed that he was well aware that she was not involved in any act of violence, other illegal activities, or causing damage to public or private property.

“She has only exercised her human rights such as the freedom of speech, protest, and movement. That is why I request Premajayantha to intervene to release her. This arrest has been made falsely, and with no reason. I am sorry to say this, but this Government cannot stand artists, young people, and university students,” he claimed.

At this point, Chief Government Whip Minister Prasanna Ranatunga was observed interrupting Premadasa.

Continue reading ‘Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa Urges Release of Actress cum Aragalaya Activist Damitha Abeyratne and Ignites Heated Argument in Parliament with Prasanna Ranatunga,Namal Rajapaksa and KPS Kumarasiri’ »

Barring a few, all newly appointed State ministers, including some tainted by allegations of corruption and violence, are from the Rajapaksas’ Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) or its long-time allies.


By
Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka on Thursday appointed 37 State ministers, including one from the Rajapaksa family, as President Ranil Wickremesinghe expanded his government amid efforts to set the country’s battered economy on a recovery path.

Barring a few, all newly appointed ministers, including some tainted by allegations of corruption and violence, are from the Rajapaksas’ Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP or People’s Front) or its long-time allies.

They held similar, or in some instances, same positions, in the former Rajapaksa administration that was booted out by a historic people’s uprising.

Continue reading ‘Barring a few, all newly appointed State ministers, including some tainted by allegations of corruption and violence, are from the Rajapaksas’ Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) or its long-time allies.’ »

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history dies peacefully at Balmoral Castle at the age of 96.;Prince Charles, 73, is now King, Charles 111 and the Duchess of Cornwall is now Queen Consort.


By
Caroline Davies

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, has died at the age of 96.

Prince Charles, 73, heir to the throne since the age of three, is now king, and the Duchess of Cornwall is now Queen Consort.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and the Queen Consort will
remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

The royal family’s official website carried the message: “Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022” along with the official statement issued by Buckingham Palace.

In statement, the new king said: “The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

Continue reading ‘Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history dies peacefully at Balmoral Castle at the age of 96.;Prince Charles, 73, is now King, Charles 111 and the Duchess of Cornwall is now Queen Consort.’ »

Court of Appeal issues notices on Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) parliamentarian and Newly Appointed State Minister Sanath Nishantha to appear in court on September 13 over two contempt of court cases filed by two lawyers.

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Court of Appeal today issued notices on Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) parliamentarian Sanath Nishantha to appear in court on September 13 over two contempt of court cases filed by two lawyers.

The lawyers Vijitha Kumara and Priyalal Sirisena had filed these applications against Puttlalam District Parliamentarian Sanath Nishantha for committing the offence of Contempt of Court under the provisions of constitution.

Court of Appeal two-judge-bench bench comprised Justice Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and Justice R. Gurusinghe.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal issues notices on Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) parliamentarian and Newly Appointed State Minister Sanath Nishantha to appear in court on September 13 over two contempt of court cases filed by two lawyers.’ »

37 State Ministers Sworn in Before President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sep 8th; Rajapaksas Begin Return to Govt with Shasheendra Rajapaksa becoming Irrigation State Minister;Majority of ministers are from the SLPP.

37 State Ministers were sworn in before President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat in the morning of September 8th 2022.

Sri Lanka Freedom Party Parliamentarians Jagath Pushpakumara, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Chamara Sampath Dasanayake and Lasantha Alagiyawanna have taken oaths as State Ministers before the President

The Sworn in State Miisters and the portfolios assigned

Jagath Pushpakumara – State Minister Foreign Employment

Ranjith Siyambalapitiya – State Minister of Finance

Lasantha Alagiyawanna – State Minister of Transport

Dilum Amunugama – State Minister of Investment Promotion

Kanaka Herath – State Minister of Technology

Janaka Wakkumbura – State Minister of Provincial Councils, and Local Government

Shehan Semasinghe – State Minister of Finance

Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva – State Minister of Agriculture

Thenuka Vidanagamage – State Minister of Urban Development and Housing

Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon – State Minister of Security

Rohana Dissanayake – State Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs

Arundhika Fernando – State Minister of Urban Development and Housing

Vijitha Berugoda – State Minister of Piriven Education

Lohan Ratwatte – State Minister of Plantation Industries

Tharaka Balasuriya – State Minister of External Affairs

Sanath Nishantha- State Minister of Water Supply

Indika Anurudhdha – State Minister of Power and Energy

Siripala Gamlath – State Minister of Highways

Shantha Bandara – State Minister of Media

Anuradha Jayaratne – State Minister of Justice and Prisons Affairs

S. Viyalendran – State Minister of Trade

Sisira Jayakody – State Minister of Indegenious Medicine

Piyal Nishantha De Silva – State Minister of Fisheries

Prasanna Ranaweera – State Minister of Small and Medium Scale Industries Development

D. V. Chanaka – State Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation

D. B. Herath – State Minister of Livestock Development

Shasheendra Rajapaksa – State Minister of Irrigation

Dr. Seetha Arambepola – State Minister of Health

Cader Masthan – State Minister of Rural Affairs

Ashoka Priyantha – State Minister of Home Affairs

Aravind Kumar – State Minister of Education

Geetha Kumarasinghe – State Minister of Women and Child Affairs

Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan – State Minister of Rural Roads Development

Dr. Suren Raghavan – State Minister of Higher Education

Diana Gamage – State Minister of Tourism

Chamara Sampath Dassanayake – State Minister of Primary Industries

Anura Paquel – State Minister of Social Empowerment.

COURTESY:DAILY MIRROR

“ I am facing a different situation to what other UNP leaders had to face I have no UNP government. I have no UNP parliament team..Today, we have to all come together in governing this country and with the support of several other parties, including the SLPP”- President Ranil Wickremesinghe

(Text of Speech made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the 76th anniversary celebrations of the United National Party (UNP held at the Sugathadasa Indoor stadium on September 6th 2022).

“We have gathered today for the party’s anniversary celebrations, for the first time, after the Covid-19 pandemic. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of you. Not just for being here, today, but for having faith in the UNP, even during the difficult period. Therefore, I extend my gratitude to you all. Today we commemorate our past leaders D.S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, Sir John Kotelawala, J.R. Jayewardene, R. Premadasa and D.B. Wijetunga who built this country. We have learnt from them and I am here as a result of what I have learnt from them.

I address you today as the 4th State Leader from this party. I am facing a different situation to what other UNP leaders had to face. I have no UNP government. I have no UNP parliament team. Today, we have to all come together in governing this country and with the support of several other parties, including the SLPP. Why? Because today we have to face a grave crisis. I don’t think the country had to face such a crisis in its history. The economy has collapsed and we have to find solutions. I have come in the middle of this crisis.

Today, unlike other UNP leaders, I am unable to make appointments. The people are pressurized and some can’t even afford three meals. They are unemployed. I can only give you sweat, effort and criticism. But, I boldly declare that with our sweat and effort, we will resurrect this country.Last year, we celebrated our anniversary, through zoom technology. That day, I made a special statement to those who participated. I told them that today the youth of this country despises politics. The government is hoodwinking the people and the Opposition is limited to only criticism.

Continue reading ‘“ I am facing a different situation to what other UNP leaders had to face I have no UNP government. I have no UNP parliament team..Today, we have to all come together in governing this country and with the support of several other parties, including the SLPP”- President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

“The Next Objective of the “Aragalaya” (Struggle)Must be to Build a new Leadership and send 100 Brand New Faces to Parliament” suggests Dr. Pathum Kerner of “Gota Go Home”Protest Fame

The next objective of the “aragalaya” (struggle) should be to build new leaders to be sent to Parliament, stated “aragalaya” leaders.

Dr. Pathum Kerner, a prominent figure amidst the “GotaGoHome” campaign, which sought to hold former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa accountable for his perceived mistakes, said that the next struggle should be to build new leaders to be sent to Parliament.
“The country is the most valuable. Let’s make 100 brand-new faces. It’s up to you. Before the next vote, prepare your leadership,” he urged the public on social media.’

Meanwhile, a satyagraha protest titled “black hour” was organised against the Government urging the latter to step down at the Diyatha Uyana yesterday (7).

Continue reading ‘“The Next Objective of the “Aragalaya” (Struggle)Must be to Build a new Leadership and send 100 Brand New Faces to Parliament” suggests Dr. Pathum Kerner of “Gota Go Home”Protest Fame’ »

President Wickremesinghe’s tax proposals constitute a commendable first step. These are probably the most progressive taxation measures proposed by a Lankan administration in decades


By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The Basil Rajapaksa faction…were demanding positions as state ministers…with perks and privileges (including) one private secretary, one media secretary, and three coordinating secretaries. All are entitled to separate vehicles… State ministers are also entitled to five office staff members, three vehicles, and other perks and privileges enjoyed by the ministers.” – The Sunday Times (28.8.2022)

Public policy subverted for private gain; laws broken with impunity in the certain knowledge there will never be a reckoning. Unintelligent governance brought us to our knees. Lankagama-Neluwa road is a microcosm of that expressway to disaster.

In 2020, President Gotabaya ordered the army to build the road in 90 days. About 8 km sliced through Sinharaja, a world heritage primary rain forest. No Environment Impact Assessment was obtained. In 2021, Minister Johnston Fernando proclaimed that the road was built without harming the environment.

Environmentalists claimed that the real purpose of the road was to service a hotel owned by a Rajapaksa offspring. PM Mahinda’s second son Yoshitha’s name was widely mentioned. He rejected the charges and threatened legal action. A Ravindu Soyza came forward claiming the hotel as his. The story became buried under an avalanche of newer troubles: exploding gas cylinders, fertiliser ban, COVID-19.

Turns out a Rajapaksa scion did own the hotel. Not Yoshitha but Rohitha; the youngest of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s three sons; the one who told an interviewer that he’d seen the world and would travel to space next. The hotel, Sinharaja Green Ecolodge, was burned down on 10 May. The police, investigating that crime of arson, revealed the name of the true owner in an official announcement.

While apprehending the arsonists, there are some related matters the authorities should not disregard. Why did Ravindu Soyza claim ownership of the hotel? When his older brother Yoshitha was accused of being the owner, why didn’t Rohitha Rajapaksa come forward to reveal the truth? How did Rohitha Rajapaksa, who has no known locus of employment or source of income, raise funds to purchase a hotel in such a prized location? Does he pay personal income taxes? Did President Gotabaya order the construction of the Lankagama-Neluwa road sans an EIA as an uncle’s gift to a nephew?

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe’s tax proposals constitute a commendable first step. These are probably the most progressive taxation measures proposed by a Lankan administration in decades’ »

Central Bank Governor States that there is no Practice of Revealing IMF programs to Parliament early; “Memorandum of Economic Policies signed between IMF and Finance Minister “has never been tabled in the parliament to my knowledge and has not even been submitted to the cabinet” says Dr.Nandalal Weerasinghe


Sri Lanka had no practice of revealing International Monetary Fund programs to parliament early and tax changes can only be revealed to the parliament at the time of implementation, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka has had 16 IMF programs in the past after balance of payments trouble was triggered by Sri Lanka’s intermediate regime central bank which prints money to suppress market interest rates leading to forex shortages.

Sri Lanka’s finance minister usually signs a memorandum of economic policies with the IMF as part of a program, Governor Weerasinghe said.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Governor States that there is no Practice of Revealing IMF programs to Parliament early; “Memorandum of Economic Policies signed between IMF and Finance Minister “has never been tabled in the parliament to my knowledge and has not even been submitted to the cabinet” says Dr.Nandalal Weerasinghe’ »

The Tamil Factor in Sri Lanka’s First UNP- led “National” Govt of Premier Dudley Senanayake

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Reaching a viable agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and forming an inclusive cabinet are currently the twin urgent priorities of the Government headed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

On the economic front both President Wickremesinghe and Central Bank Governor Dr.Nandalal Weerasinghe have been optimistic about reaching a staff level agreement with the IMF. According to a Reuters report the staff level agreement has been reached with the IMF and details would be formally announced on Sep 1st 2022. The staff level preliminary agreement will be followed by debt re-structuring talks with creditors especially China. Some observers have opined that the process could take at least 3 to 6 months before a satisfactory arrangement is arrived at.

On the political front, President Wickremesinghe has been diligently striving to form a multi-party Government comprising all political parties represented in Parliament. Forming such an inclusive Govt is very likely to strengthen the Sri Lankan side in negotiations with the IMF as well as creditor entities and nations. Despite protracted discussions this goal seems rather elusive at present. This is chiefly because the chief opposition party the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) as a party is unwilling to join what is formally referred to as an all – party Govt.

Continue reading ‘The Tamil Factor in Sri Lanka’s First UNP- led “National” Govt of Premier Dudley Senanayake’ »

“We will begin a ‘Devani Aragalaya’ (Second Struggle)to bring in vast reforms shortly. I won’t live to see the country reaping the harvest of these changes. However I intend to build a better nation for the future generations”says President Ranil Wickremesinghe

By

Yohan Perera

Highlighting that a ‘Devani Aragalaya’ (A second struggle) will be launched for a systems change shortly, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said the parties will finalise an agreement on the proposed National Council.

Speaking during a gathering held to mark the 76th anniversary of UNP, the President said Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had informed him that parties will finalise an agreement on the National Council next week.

“We will begin a ‘Devani Aragalaya’ to bring in vast reforms shortly. I won’t live to see the country reaping the harvest of these changes. However I intend to build a better nation for the future generations,” he said.

Continue reading ‘“We will begin a ‘Devani Aragalaya’ (Second Struggle)to bring in vast reforms shortly. I won’t live to see the country reaping the harvest of these changes. However I intend to build a better nation for the future generations”says President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

United National Party’s 76th Anniversary celebrated with the theme “let us Build Together” at Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo with Party Leader President Ranil Wickremesinghe Presiding over Ceremonies


The United National Party’s (UNP) 76th anniversary was held yesterday (6) at Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the first time in 28 years that the UNP celebrated its anniversary with its leader as the President of Sri Lanka.

“Let’s Build Together” was the theme of this year’s UNP anniversary, and was the first UNP anniversary following Ranil Wickremesinghe’s assumption of the Presidency.

Continue reading ‘United National Party’s 76th Anniversary celebrated with the theme “let us Build Together” at Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo with Party Leader President Ranil Wickremesinghe Presiding over Ceremonies’ »

Undedrlying Reasons for Sri Lanka’s economic Collapse are past impunity for human rights abuses, economic crimes and Corruption ’ says UN Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet in UNHRC Report


By

Meera Srinivasan

Linking Sri Lanka’s past record on human rights record to its current economic crisis, the U.N. Human Rights Chief on Tuesday said “impunity” for human rights abuses, economic crimes, and corruption was the “underlying” reason for the country’s collapse.

A report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, released days ahead of the 51st session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, noted that Sri Lanka is facing a “devastating” economic crisis, and urged the international community to support Sri Lanka in its recovery. “For sustainable improvement, however, it is vital to recognise and assist Sri Lanka to address the underlying factors, which have contributed to this crisis, including embedded impunity for past and present human rights abuses, economic crimes and corruption,” the top U.N. official said.

The report, prepared by the office of Michelle Bachelet, who recently completed her term, said the broad-based demands by Sri Lankans from all communities for accountability and democratic reforms presented “an important starting point for a new and common vision for the future”. It was a reference to the demands of the mighty people’s movement that ousted the Rajapaksas earlier this year, in the wake of the harrowing economic downturn.

Continue reading ‘Undedrlying Reasons for Sri Lanka’s economic Collapse are past impunity for human rights abuses, economic crimes and Corruption ’ says UN Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet in UNHRC Report’ »

“As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger,” says Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss in a brief address to the nation as Country faces looming recession, high inflation, a historic energy price shock, and a sinking currency.


By Max Colchester and David Luhnow

Liz Truss became Britain’s third prime minister in just over three years on Tuesday, taking power in a nation that faces a toxic brew of looming recession, high inflation, a historic energy price shock, and a sinking currency.

Ms. Truss, 47, met Queen Elizabeth II in Balmoral, Scotland, to be formally appointed to form a government, taking over from Boris Johnson. Hours later, standing on a rain soaked Downing Street in London, she outlined an ambitious agenda of tax cuts and greater spending to boost sluggish growth in the world’s sixth-biggest economy.

“As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger,” she said in a brief address to the nation.
The former foreign minister, a member of the ruling Conservative Party, faces as difficult an economic challenge as any recent British leader, troubles of the country’s own making and the result of Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II, in Ukraine. The pound this week sank to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since 1985, and the currencies could reach parity for the first time in their more than two-century pairing.

Economists expect the British economy to fall into a mild but relatively long recession. Inflation is at a 40-year high at 10.1% and could hit 13% by year-end, according to the Bank of England. Unions are increasingly striking as real wages fall at their fastest rate in 20 years. Public school teachers and doctors are among those threatening strikes in coming months.

The ruling Conservatives, who have been in power for 12 years, trail the opposition Labour Party by roughly 10 percentage points in leading opinion polls.

Continue reading ‘“As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger,” says Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss in a brief address to the nation as Country faces looming recession, high inflation, a historic energy price shock, and a sinking currency.’ »

“What kind of prime minister will Liz Truss be? Britain’s new Leader is a small-state conservative in a big-state era”-The Economist

Declinism, that dull fear of Britain’s sunset, has shaped the country’s post-war politics. It propelled Harold Macmillan’s wish to enter the European Economic Community, the eu’s precursor, and fuelled Margaret Thatcher’s economic revolution. And now it has helped Liz Truss into Downing Street.

The Economist

On September 5th Ms Truss was declared the winner of the ballot of 172,000 Conservative members to replace Boris Johnson as the Tory leader; tomorrow, she will fly to Balmoral Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s remote Scottish home, where she will be invited to form a government.

Ms Truss won the contest in large part because she is cheerful, a characteristic she shares with Mr Johnson. On the campaign trail, she would dismiss the warnings of hard choices from Rishi Sunak, her rival in the protracted final stage of the contest. “I don’t agree with this declinist talk,” she’d say. “I believe our country’s best days are ahead of us.”

Such optimism struck a chord among party activists. Her colleagues think her positivity might appeal to the broader electorate, too. “It’s boosterism without Boris,” says a cabinet minister. “It’s a gamble, but it might be a very powerful cocktail.”

Whereas Mr Johnson’s government often seemed to run on optimism alone, Ms Truss promises substance as well as sunshine. She is a self-styled radical, and perhaps the keenest disciple of the Thatcherite tradition to hold the office since Thatcher’s own exit from Downing Street 31 years ago.

She has grand ambitions to transform Britain’s sluggish economy so it does not end up as a low-growth, high-tax social democracy. For her, this is a moral choice as much as an economic one: who wants to live in a society where the state takes half your income?

Yet she is triply constrained. Her free-market instincts are at odds with the need to intervene to navigate an immediate cost-of-living crisis. Household gas and electricity bills will jump by 80% in October; businesses are seeing even bigger spikes. By January 2025 she must contest a general election in which she will face the judgment of a deeply dissatisfied public.

She inherits a country in dismal spirits: 69% of Britons, including 60% of Conservative voters, agree that the country is “in decline”, according to polling by Ipsos for The Economist. And the party she now leads has grown insurrectionary: it has deposed her two immediate predecessors and is unenthused by her. She will bash at the walls like a wasp in a bell jar.

Continue reading ‘“What kind of prime minister will Liz Truss be? Britain’s new Leader is a small-state conservative in a big-state era”-The Economist’ »

Central Bank Governor Dr.Nandalal Weerasinghe Tells Sri Lankan Parliamentarians that Rich people must bear hardships caused by the Economic Crisis and not Poor People alone ;low-income groups should be protected and money should be allocated for social security networks.


Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe recently told a forum of Members of Parliament that the crisis-led hardships must be faced by the rich as well, not just by the poor.

“If the economic difficulties faced by low-income groups increase, such groups may take to the streets and because of this, riots may occur in the country.

Therefore, by dividing the economic burden between the high-income and low-income groups, the economy should be stabilised by controlling the discomfort caused to the low-income groups,” Weerasinghe had said.

He also said that in the event of an economic crisis, the low-income groups should be protected first and therefore money should be allocated for social security networks to protect them.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Governor Dr.Nandalal Weerasinghe Tells Sri Lankan Parliamentarians that Rich people must bear hardships caused by the Economic Crisis and not Poor People alone ;low-income groups should be protected and money should be allocated for social security networks.’ »

Appapillai Amirthalingam: From Enfant Terrible of ITAK to TULF Elder Statesman

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Friday August 26th was the 95th birth anniversary of well-known Sri Lankan Tamil political leader and one-time leader of the opposition Appapillai Amirthalingam. The ‘enfant terrible ‘of the “Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi”(ITAK) who later metamorphosed into the elder statesman of the Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF), strode across the Tamil political stage for nearly four decades. A lifetime of toil and service to his community was cut short on 13 July 1989 when he fell victim to bullets fired by LTTE operatives in Colombo.This column focuses this week on Amirthalingam who was referred to affectionately by his followers as Amir, Amir Annan and Amuthar.

Amirthalingam contested the Vaddukkoddai seat as an ITAK/FP candid unsucessfully in 1952. In 1956 he won Vaddukkoddai and held the same seat continuously through the March 1960 July 1960, and March 1965 elections. In May 1970 be was toppled by former school principal A. Thiyagarajah of the Tamil Congress. After seven years Amirthalingam returned triumphantly to parliament with a thumping majority in 1977. Only this time he contested the Kankesanthurai constituency which had been represented earlier by his leader SJV Chelvanayagam.

Continue reading ‘Appapillai Amirthalingam: From Enfant Terrible of ITAK to TULF Elder Statesman’ »

Sri Lankan govt reiterates that it would not accept any external mechanism on war-time accountability; “But external mechanism, we are not agreeable… because our Constitution does not allow that,” Says Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, without elaborating on the constitutional provisions that prohibit it.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Ahead of the UN Human Rights Chief’s latest report on Sri Lanka, and a likely resolution at the coming session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Sri Lankan government reiterated that it would not accept any external mechanism on war-time accountability.

Addressing a media conference in Colombo on Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry said Sri Lanka “needs all partners” for its economic recovery, days after the government formalised an IMF staff-level agreement for a provisional $ 2.9 billion programme.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan govt reiterates that it would not accept any external mechanism on war-time accountability; “But external mechanism, we are not agreeable… because our Constitution does not allow that,” Says Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, without elaborating on the constitutional provisions that prohibit it.’ »

Mikhail Gorbachev was a tender-minded tragic figure who by his inexplicable confusion and conversion assisted the suicide of the Soviet Union as a superpower.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Watching Mikhail Gorbachev at the World Festival of Youth and Students in the Summer of 1985, I had a thought which I later recorded in an article in the Sri Lankan newspapers. I felt, and wrote, that “at last we have a Soviet leader we do not have to be embarrassed about”.

Pic via: @NobelPrize

I was born in the year of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), 1956. For my generation of the global community represented at the World Festival of Youth and Students, the only Soviet leader of our lifetime who could be admired was Yuri Andropov, and his tenure at the top was a tragically short episode.

Two years after the 1985 World Festival, at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution, Fidel Castro was prophetically warning in Moscow that “one day we may awake and find that the Soviet Union has disappeared”. He added that he wouldn’t be surprised. Something had begun to go very wrong. By 1991, Fidel’s prophecy had come true.

Continue reading ‘Mikhail Gorbachev was a tender-minded tragic figure who by his inexplicable confusion and conversion assisted the suicide of the Soviet Union as a superpower.’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake’s release and the cases against him on Contempt of Court certainly raises many issues about how our legal system covers or addresses the subject of Contempt.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Ranjan Ramanayake’s refusal to accept any official position shows a commitment to independent action after gaining limited freedom from imprisonment.

The limited freedom that Ranjan has received with no civic rights is in fact a huge insult to one who has been an active politician elected to parliament by the people with a huge mandate.

The whole principle of release from prison is giving the person the ability to carry on what has been one’s system of living. The absence of civic rights to Ranjan is a denial of his system of life – politics, representation of and service to the people – that prevailed before he was sentenced to prison by the Supreme Court.

Ranjan’s present release and the cases against him on Contempt of Court certainly raises many issues about how our legal system covers or addresses the subject of Contempt.
The reality is that we do not have a Contempt of Court legislation passed by our Parliament, through 74 years of independence. Such legal delays are not confined to Contempt of Court, but several other important areas of action – social, economics, and human rights too.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake’s release and the cases against him on Contempt of Court certainly raises many issues about how our legal system covers or addresses the subject of Contempt.’ »

Sri Lankans from different Walks of Live Gather in Large Numbers in an Expression of Gratitude to Thank India for all of the support extended to Sri Lanka towards overcoming the economic obstacles the country has been facing in Recent Times

In what could be called a spontaneous outpouring of gratitude, huge number of Sri Lankans from all walks of life came together and filled the Grand Marquee to thank India for all of the support extended to Sri Lanka towards overcoming the economic obstacles the country has been facing.

In attendance was The High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka H.E Gopal Baglay and Hon. Minister of External Affairs Mr Ali Sabry.
The event was organized by Sri Lankans with the thought of extending appreciation for the lifeline India threw to Sri Lanka at a time when the country was facing unprecedented challenges as a nation since independence.

Several distinguished Sri Lankans expressed their sentiments of goodwill towards their neighbour India, stressing on the common cultural and social values the two countries share. A citizens’ outpouring of gratitude towards India for reaching out to Sri Lanka in her time of acute need, was not only timely but also appropriate given the consistent level of co-operation between the two countries.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankans from different Walks of Live Gather in Large Numbers in an Expression of Gratitude to Thank India for all of the support extended to Sri Lanka towards overcoming the economic obstacles the country has been facing in Recent Times’ »

Life may have resumed as normal for many. But the poor are squeezed just that little bit more and worse is anticipated, all in the name of economic reforms to return Sri Lanka from bankruptcy. On its part, the State has regrouped, predictably using all the formidable weapons in its arsenal.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

For a President once feted as a war hero, to creep back stealthily to a country that he fled from in panic as the angry public roared outside his gates less than two months ago, is classic filmfare.


Losing the dignity of citizenship

But this is not the stuff of celluloid. Rather, it is the grim and ugly reality of the Sri Lankan State reasserting itself in full measure. This time around, the ire of the State is aimed at the citizenry in full rather than selected targets in the majority or minorities as is its wont.

Households implacably slipping below the poverty line and unable to afford basic nutrition according to estimates by the World Bank, realise that truth to their painful cost. Once human beings disappeared in Sri Lanka, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim.

Now, the thread of social existence, the dignity of earning one’s daily bread through humble but honest toil, indeed, the fundamental pride in citizenship itself has disappeared. How can there be any earning of daily bread when the price of a loaf of bread itself has quadrupled in the last six months?

Eggs have disappeared from public view much like the middle class itself has disappeared and basic utilities have risen to unaffordable levels for a quarter of the population.

This link between public suffering in daily nightmares of existence from the North to the South and stupendously corrupt politics which brought the nation to its bankrupt knees, had been shouted out by enraged protestors over the past several months.

It was this which propelled mass protests, bringing ordinary people in their thousands to Colombo to surround houses of the politicians who had ruined them.

Continue reading ‘Life may have resumed as normal for many. But the poor are squeezed just that little bit more and worse is anticipated, all in the name of economic reforms to return Sri Lanka from bankruptcy. On its part, the State has regrouped, predictably using all the formidable weapons in its arsenal.’ »

President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Succeeds in Getting interim budget passed with 115 Majority; 120 MPs from Different Parties Vote for while 5 from JVP and ACTC vote against.Most MPs Abstain or are Absent


By Sandun Jayawardana

President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s interim budget, with ambitious goals of significantly increasing government revenue and reducing public debt by 2025, was passed by Parliament on Friday (2) in a vote where many in the opposition chose to abstain.

National Peoples’ Power (NPP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake asked for a division on the second reading of the interim budget, known as the Appropriation (Amendment) Bill at the end of a three-day debate on Friday evening. The bill was passed by a majority of 115 votes, with 120 MPs voting for and just five against.

The three NPP MPs were joined by the two MPs from the All Ceylon Tamil Congress in voting against the bill. There were 43 abstentions. The main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) chose to abstain, as did 13 Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MPs led by former minister Dullas Alahapperuma who had crossed the floor on August 31 to sit with the opposition. MPs representing the group led by former Minister Wimal Weerawansa also chose to abstain. MPs from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) were not present when the vote was taken.

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Chairman and former President Maithripala Sirisena, General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara and Shan Wijeyalal De Silva were not present at the time of voting.

Continue reading ‘President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Succeeds in Getting interim budget passed with 115 Majority; 120 MPs from Different Parties Vote for while 5 from JVP and ACTC vote against.Most MPs Abstain or are Absent’ »

“We have to adopt multiple approaches to get more efficient State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs),” says LIRNEasia Chairman Prof. Rohan Samarajiva; outlines ways in which SOE reforms could be carried out to enable Sri Lanka’s economic recovery.

By Marianne David

“We have to adopt multiple approaches to get more efficient State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs),” said LIRNEasia Chairman Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, in an interview with The Sunday Morning, outlining ways in which SOE reforms could be carried out to enable Sri Lanka’s recovery.

While welcoming the move to establish an SOE Restructuring Unit as proposed in the interim Budget, Prof. Samarajiva however noted that more needed to be done. He also asserted that everyone had a role to play in Sri Lanka’s recovery, pointing out that “we have to straighten out this country together”.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Speaking at the #ReformNow conference recently, you said ‘the State has no capacity to privatise anything today’. Where do we go from here?

Apparently the President has also understood this fact and Rs. 200 million has been set aside to establish an SOE Restructuring Unit. That is a good start, but it is not enough. When you work within government, you have to first understand the constraints in setting up such a unit.

In 2003, when we were setting up the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), we figured that if we were going to have people who were capable of managing the best in the ICT sector, we had to pay them decent salaries. But from the day ICTA was created, there was an ongoing battle with the Administrative Service, which wanted salaries to be brought down and all these conventional government rules applied. That will repeat itself here as well.

Let’s assume we can get over that. Even then, this will require a significant mobilisation of external consultants. We have to understand that people may have knee-jerk reactions to this, but you have to spend significant amounts of money to get the right kind of experience. On the local side, you need people who are knowledgeable and self-confident, who can manage the consultants.

I think we have a good start. We need to quickly get over the problem of how this is to be structured, how we recruit the right kind of people, and how the technical assistance is to be funded.

Continue reading ‘“We have to adopt multiple approaches to get more efficient State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs),” says LIRNEasia Chairman Prof. Rohan Samarajiva; outlines ways in which SOE reforms could be carried out to enable Sri Lanka’s economic recovery.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be given a security detail from the Police and the Army in accordance with the privileges of an Executive President says Public Security Minister Tiran Alles


By Asiri Fernando

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) will be given a security detail in accordance with the Constitution following a threat assessment, Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles said yesterday (3).

“He will be offered a security detail from the Police and the Army in accordance with the privileges of an Executive President. Sri Lanka has done so with several former presidents and their families,” Minister Alles told The Sunday Morning.
He pointed out that former First Lady Hema Premadasa and former Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa remained under the protection of the State in accordance with the Constitution.

According to Alles, a protection group for the seventh Executive President will be formed, similar to the units formed for the previous presidents. This will be made up of Police and Army personnel, depending on the threat assessment that will be carried out.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be given a security detail from the Police and the Army in accordance with the privileges of an Executive President says Public Security Minister Tiran Alles’ »

Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrives in Colombo’s Bandaranaike International airport under cover of darkness and is whisked away in a heavily guarded convoy of vehicles after Sri Lankan Ministers garland and welcome him back,


By

R.K.Radhakrishnan

Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Colombo’s Bandaranaike International airport exactly the same way he left the country seven weeks ago—under cover of darkness and shrouded in secrecy—aided by Sinhalese politicians who closed ranks.

Just past midnight on September 3, a Singapore Airlines flight brought the former President back to his country. He was whisked away in a heavily guarded convoy of vehicles while media persons scrambled to confirm if indeed Gotabaya had arrived.

Sri Lankan media reported that he was met at the airport by Sri Lankan Ministers. They garlanded him and welcomed him back, an act which was unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

The same Ministers had distanced themselves from him as a restive crowd demanded the resignation of the government and forced the resignation of key Ministers and bureaucrats.

Continue reading ‘Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrives in Colombo’s Bandaranaike International airport under cover of darkness and is whisked away in a heavily guarded convoy of vehicles after Sri Lankan Ministers garland and welcome him back,’ »

Ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa Returns to Sri Lanka From Thailand by Singapore Airlines Flight; ariives at Katunayake Airport amidst tight security ;welcomed by SLPP MPs ,ministers and ex-ministers who take him to Colombo in a motorcade


Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday returned to the country from Thailand, nearly two months after he fled the country following a massive uprising against his government over the island nation’s worst-ever economic crisis.

Mr. Rajapaksa, 73, fled the country on July 13 after months-long mass public demonstrations demanding his immediate resignation on July 9 gained momentum after protesters stormed the President’s House in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital.

Mr. Rajapaksa arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport amidst a heavy security presence. After being received at the airport by several ministers and Parliamentarians of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, Mr. Rajapaksa left the airport in a heavily-guarded motorcade.

Continue reading ‘Ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa Returns to Sri Lanka From Thailand by Singapore Airlines Flight; ariives at Katunayake Airport amidst tight security ;welcomed by SLPP MPs ,ministers and ex-ministers who take him to Colombo in a motorcade’ »

Envisaged sea cucumber farm project with Chinese Investment in Pungudutivu off Jaffna Peninsula Causes local fishermen to raise concerns over its potential impact on their livelihoods, marine ecosystem, and land.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Citing media reports of a Chinese firm investing in a sea cucumber farm in Pungudutivu, off Jaffna Peninsula in northern Sri Lanka, local fishermen have raised concern over its potential impact on their livelihoods, marine ecosystem, and land.

“We recognise the need for investment in our war-affected region, but the sea cucumber farms are mainly for exports. They will only bring more harm than benefit for those of us living here,” said Annalingam Annarasa, President of the Jaffna Fisheries Federation. The commercial ventures, they fear, could adversely affect the local marine ecology on which their livelihoods rely.

Small-scale artisanal fishermen like him see the government’s recent push on aquaculture as the latest blow to their livelihoods, already precarious due to the relentless bottom-trawling by Indian fishermen in their seas for years, and the drastic, nearly four-fold increase in kerosene price last month.

In 2021, Sri Lanka exported about 336 tonnes of sea cucumber to China, Singapore, and Hong Kong, according to local media reports.

Continue reading ‘Envisaged sea cucumber farm project with Chinese Investment in Pungudutivu off Jaffna Peninsula Causes local fishermen to raise concerns over its potential impact on their livelihoods, marine ecosystem, and land.’ »

“Why has President Wickremesinghe signed the three Detention orders under the PTA in Sinhala instead of Signing in English as he normally does? Is there a change in personality? Is he appealing to some sections in the country by signing in Sinhala and that too on detention orders? -MA Sumanthiran

(Text of speech made in Parliament by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran on 01st September 2022 during the interim budget debate)

நன்றி பிரதித் தவிசாளர் அவர்களே, எனக்கு முன்னதாக பேசிய அமைச்சர் யாழ்ப்பாண பிரதேசத்திலே வெங்காய உற்பத்தியைப் பற்றிச் சொன்னார், மண்ணெண்ணெய் அவர்களுக்கு கொடுக்க வேண்டும் என்று பேசினார், ஆனால் இன்றைக்கு இரண்டு மாதங்களுக்கு மேலாக மண்ணெண்ணெய் இல்லாமல் அவஸ்தை படுகிறார்கள். விவசாயிகள் நீர் இறைக்கிற இயந்திரத்திற்கு மண்ணெண்ணெய் இல்லாமல் அவஸ்தை படுகிறார்கள், மீனவர்கள் கடலுக்கு செல்வதற்கு தமது படகு இயந்திரங்களுக்கு மண்ணெண்ணெய் இல்லாமல் அவஸ்தை படுகிறார்கள். இந்த விடயத்தை எவ்வளவு தடவைகள் எடுத்துக் கூறியும் அதற்கு எந்தவிதமான பதிலும் கிடைக்கவில்லை, கிடைத்த ஒரேயொரு பதில், 87 ரூபாவாக இருந்த மண்ணெண்ணெய் 340 ரூபாவாக 253 ரூபாவினாலே அதிகரிக்கப்பட்டதாக வந்த அறிவிப்பு. அறிவிப்பு மட்டும் தான், மண்ணெண்ணெய் வரவில்லை. மண்ணெண்ணெய் விலை அதிகரிப்பு அறிவிப்பு தான் வருகிறது அனால் மண்ணெண்ணெய் வரவில்லை.

முன்பதாக மீன்பிடி அமைச்சர் பேசினார், பானையில் இருக்கின்ற நண்டுகள் பற்றியெல்லாம் பேசினார், அவர் ஏதோ ஒரு உலகத்திலே இருக்கிறார், கொதிக்கிற பானையில் நண்டு விழுந்து சாகுதாம், வெளியால் பாய்ந்து சாகுதாம் என்று தன்னுடைய நிலையைப்பற்றி உருக்கமாக பேசிவிட்டு சென்றிருக்கிறார். ஆனால் கஷ்டப்படுகிற விவசாயிக்கும் கடற்றொழிலாளிக்கும் எந்த நிவாரணமும் கொடுக்கப்படவில்லை. இந்த வரவு செலவு திட்டத்தில் கூட, இந்த இடைக்கால வரவு செலவு திட்டத்தில் கூட ஒரு முன்மொழிவு இருக்கின்றது, மண்ணெண்ணெய் பாவிப்பவர்களுக்கு நிவாரணம் கொடுப்பதாக ஒரு முன்மொழிவு இருக்கின்றது. ஆனால் ஒதுக்கீட்டைப் பார்த்தால் ஒரு சதம் கூட அதற்கு ஒதுக்கப்படவில்லை.

There’s a subsidy that has been promised for kerosene, but no funds have been allocated, zero rupees have been allocated for that. This is in contrast to 46,000 billion that has been allocated for social safety net. We welcome that, in contrast I can site the health allocation, 248 billion a 3 % increase for health allocation, so what is in words as promised in the budget proposals you can also see it in rupees.

I am just contrasting that, with the promise to grant relief to kerosene users, yet no allocation is made. Now this is significant because the whole approach of this government is to silence the middle class and upper – middle class. So you are making petrol available now, you are making super diesel available now, but diesel is in short supply, and there is no kerosene.

Your priority must be the other way around- you must address the needs of those who need it most. Not the upper middle class. But you are doing that because you think, if you silence the upper middle class, then you can get by with blue murder- blue murder is what is happening around the country all round, every day we here of shooting; people being shot dead here, there, everywhere. Police are not investigating any of those crimes.

Continue reading ‘“Why has President Wickremesinghe signed the three Detention orders under the PTA in Sinhala instead of Signing in English as he normally does? Is there a change in personality? Is he appealing to some sections in the country by signing in Sinhala and that too on detention orders? -MA Sumanthiran’ »

Sri Lanka Reaches Staff Level Agreement with the International Monetary Fund subject to the approval by IMF management and the Executive Board in the period ahead:IMF will Provide a new 48-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) amounting to US$2.9 billion

An IMF mission led by Peter Breuer and Masahiro Nozaki visited Colombo from August 24 to September 1, 2022 to continue discussions on IMF support for Sri Lanka and the authorities’ comprehensive economic reform program.

At the end of the mission, Messrs. Breuer and Nozaki issued the following statement:

“The Sri Lankan authorities and the IMF team have reached a staff-level agreement to support the authorities’ economic adjustment and reform policies with a new 48-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with a requested access of about SDR 2.2 billion (equivalent to US$2.9 billion)”

“The new EFF arrangement will support Sri Lanka’s program to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, while safeguarding financial stability, reducing corruption vulnerabilities and unlocking Sri Lanka’s growth potential,” the IMF said in a statement.

“The agreement is subject to the approval by IMF management and the Executive Board in the period ahead, contingent on the implementation by the authorities of prior actions, and on receiving financing assurances from Sri Lanka’s official creditors and making a good faith effort to reach a collaborative agreement with private creditors. Debt relief from Sri Lanka’s creditors and additional financing from multilateral partners will be required to help ensure debt sustainability and close financing gaps.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Reaches Staff Level Agreement with the International Monetary Fund subject to the approval by IMF management and the Executive Board in the period ahead:IMF will Provide a new 48-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) amounting to US$2.9 billion’ »

Sri Lanka has reached only a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prior to a staff-level agreement for an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) states former Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Deputy Governor Dr. W.A. Wijewardena


By Imesh Ranasinghe

Sri Lanka has only reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prior to a staff-level agreement for an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), stated former Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Deputy Governor Dr. W.A. Wijewardena, clarifying a report by Reuters published yesterday (31 August).

“The IMF has neither confirmed nor denied the Reuters report. We don’t know whether it’s true or not. But preliminary means we need to have further consultations. This is not the final agreement,” he stated.

Reuters reported yesterday, quoting four sources, that Sri Lanka and the IMF have reached a preliminary agreement on an emergency loan, while a formal announcement in this regard will be made today (1).

Following the report, IMF Senior Mission Chief for Sri Lanka Peter Breuer and IMF Mission Chief for Sri Lanka Masahiro Nozaki said in a statement that the IMF Mission in Colombo has extended its stay by one day, as discussions are still underway with the authorities. They had stated that they planned to conclude the mission and issue a press release today.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has reached only a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prior to a staff-level agreement for an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) states former Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Deputy Governor Dr. W.A. Wijewardena’ »

Sri Lanka Reaches Preliminary Agreement with the International Monetary Fund(IMF); Formal Announcement likely to be made on Thursday Sep 1st


by Uditha Jayasinghe

Sri Lanka and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have reached a preliminary agreement on an emergency loan to the crisis-hit country and a formal announcement will be made on Thursday, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The debt-laden island nation had sought up to $3 billion from the global lender as it struggles with its worst economic crisis in more than seven decades. Sri Lankans have faced acute shortages of basic goods and sky-high prices for months.

Spokespersons for the IMF and the Sri Lankan government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Reaches Preliminary Agreement with the International Monetary Fund(IMF); Formal Announcement likely to be made on Thursday Sep 1st’ »

“Sri Lanka will be a critical test of Chinese willingness to co-ordinate with other lenders. The hope now for Sri Lanka is that Zambia’s deal has set a precedent for China to co-ordinate with other creditors”- The Economist


Few moments better encapsulate the hope and hubris of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure binge, than the inauguration of Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port City in 2014. Xi Jinping, China’s president, attended in person, nodding approvingly as a project manager introduced the $15bn plan to build a high-tech offshore financial centre with a marina, hotels and luxury homes on 665 acres (269 hectares) of land reclaimed from the sea off Sri Lanka’s capital. Local officials likened the project to Dubai and Singapore.

Mr Xi called it a “major hub” of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—the part of Belt and Road that aimed to reshape ocean trade by financing ports and related infrastructure without the pesky conditions that Western and multilateral lenders demand.

Flash forward to August 2022 and the future of Sri Lanka—let alone Colombo Port City—hangs in the balance. Crippled by fuel and food shortages, the country is seeking a bail-out from the International Monetary Fund after defaulting on its debt in May. Pakistan, another big borrower, is also in the midst of an imf bail-out and dozens more Belt and Road countries are facing debt distress.

The extent to which China, the world’s biggest official creditor, bears responsibility is hotly debated. But what matters now is how it responds. Sri Lanka will be a critical test of Chinese willingness to co-ordinate with other lenders, potentially at the expense of Mr Xi’s original geostrategic goals.

Continue reading ‘“Sri Lanka will be a critical test of Chinese willingness to co-ordinate with other lenders. The hope now for Sri Lanka is that Zambia’s deal has set a precedent for China to co-ordinate with other creditors”- The Economist’ »

Jaffna University Students’ Union Lashes out Against Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong at Media briefing;signing of agreement between Jaffna Agriculture faculty and Chinese Agricultural institute indefinitely postponed;Chinese envoy’s visit to Jaffna cancelled.

By P.K.Balachandran

The Jaffna University Students’ Union has lashed out at the Chinese envoy in Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, for extending support to the Sri Lankan government’s stand on the war crimes issue that is to come up for discussion at the UN Human Rights Council’s session in September.

In an article sent to the Sri Lankan media recently, the envoy had indicated that China would support Sri Lanka in contrast to some countries which had either ruled or invaded Sri Lanka in the past. The allusion was to the Western powers and India.

Continue reading ‘Jaffna University Students’ Union Lashes out Against Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong at Media briefing;signing of agreement between Jaffna Agriculture faculty and Chinese Agricultural institute indefinitely postponed;Chinese envoy’s visit to Jaffna cancelled.’ »

Mikhail Gorbachev who ended the cold war was the last leader of the Soviet Union and the architect of its dissolution

The two great heroes in Mikhail Gorbachev’s pantheon were 19th-century socialist thinkers, Alexander Herzen and Vissarion Belinsky, whose main concerns were the dignity of the individual, and whose books he knew almost by heart. When they appeared on the Russian stage, in Tom Stoppard’s trilogy “The Coast of Utopia”, he went to see them. At the end of the performance he was called on stage and given a standing ovation by an audience that, for the most part, had scarcely been born when, in 1985, he became the last general secretary of the Soviet Union.

The perestroika (“restructuring” or “reformation”) which he started never reached the destination he wanted, a democratic, humane socialism—perhaps because that destination was Utopia, rather than a real place. To the elite of modern Russia, he seems an oddity if not a traitor: a fool who brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and made no money out of it. He had power, a comfortable life and the fate of hundreds of millions of people in his hands—and he let it all go when, on December 25th 1991, he resigned as president of the Soviet Union.

He had spent eight hours in a meeting with Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s president and his bitter rival, discussing the transfer of power. Afterwards, he went to lie down in his office—for the last time. When Alexander Yakovlev, his closest comrade, walked in, he saw tears in Mr Gorbachev’s eyes. “You see, Sasha,” said the president, “this is how it goes.”

Continue reading ‘Mikhail Gorbachev who ended the cold war was the last leader of the Soviet Union and the architect of its dissolution’ »

“I would say that the 225 MPs are hanging on by force. They do not have the people’s mandate anymore……… I fully agree that all 225 MPs must go and a new government with new faces and the right kind of vision must come to power.”- Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in Interview with “The Hindu”


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a consequence of the corruption over two Rajapaksa regimes, said former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, admitting she is “thrilled” by the aragalaya or people’s movement that overthrew them recently.

“When our systems have crashed and been destroyed consciously, how do you change things…the only way to change is through a socio-political upheaval, a revolution,” she told The Hindu, in an interview on the dramatic changes that Sri Lanka witnessed in recent months, amid a crippling economic crisis.

In her view, the island nation had reached the stage where, with two Rajapaksa regimes, “everything that was bad and hateful was stabilised in power…today we are bankrupt only because of the corruption of the [Rajapaksa] family and their acolytes,” said the two-term President and survivor of an attempted assassination by the LTTE.

Observing that she would “wait and watch” how President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who relies on the Rajapaksas’ party in parliament, fares, Ms. Kumaratunga contended that his government must opt for an economic model that combines a social welfarist model with a liberal economic logic.

While Colombo might have challenging foreign policy choices ahead, especially while negotiating external assistance, the government must opt for a “dynamic non-alignment” policy, she noted, accusing the Rajapaksa administrations of “veering too much towards one country”.

“I am personally very thankful that India has come in, giving us all this aid when they could have stood back and waited because they were not very happy with the Rajapaksa government’s policies,” she said.

For over 15 years now, former two-term President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has stayed out of active politics. She re-emerged as a key player in the formation of the Yahapalanaya [good governance] coalition — of Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe — in 2015, only to witness the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of the Bandaranaike clan collapse after the Rajapaksas carved out their own party from it. Speaking to The Hindu at her Colombo residence recently, Ms. Kumaratunga reflects on the staggering developments in Sri Lanka over the last few months, and the way forward for the country’s political and economic progress.

Excerpts…

Continue reading ‘“I would say that the 225 MPs are hanging on by force. They do not have the people’s mandate anymore……… I fully agree that all 225 MPs must go and a new government with new faces and the right kind of vision must come to power.”- Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in Interview with “The Hindu”’ »

The political class as a whole is not going to let people’s power decide as to how they should act. Even though the opposition parties speak in support of the ‘Aragalaya’ movement, they still support the govt’s current repressive measures in their heart of hearts.


By

V.Thanabalasingham

Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from the post of Prime Minister on May 9. On June 9, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa resigned as a Member of Parliament. Following a mass uprising on July 9, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the Presidential Palace, flew abroad, and resigned from there. These three “9ths” have secured a permanent place in Sri Lankan political history.

This seems to have given some opposition parties a delusion that they can topple the government if they protest on the 9th. Therefore they declared August 9 as a day of mass protest and called upon the people to gather in Colombo.

The purpose of the call was to send President Ranil Wickremesinghe-led government home. Even though the Janata Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) and Frontline Socialist Party were behind the call, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya’s Member of Parliament, former army chief Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, was in the frontline calling upon people to participate in the “‘final battle”. On July 9, the day of the historic popular uprising in the capital, the protestors were seen chasing away other politicians but a section of them was seen happily welcoming Fonseka. That reception seems to have given him a delusion that he has huge support in the protest movement. Fonseka behaved as if he was the main spokesman of the ‘Aragalaya’ movement both inside and outside Parliament.

He termed the orders issued by the government to suppress the popular protest as ‘illegal’ and appealed to the army not to follow those orders. Although 13 years have passed since he retired from the post of the army chief, he appeared confident that the soldiers will heed his request. Samagi Jana Balawegaya did not fail to declare that they had nothing to do with his call.

As expected, people were not interested in participating in the final battle on August 9. Those who called for that protest could not mobilize people in large numbers. Some trade union movements and supporters of the respective parties took out protest marches in some places. No one claimed to have seen the Field Marshal at any of those demonstrations.

Continue reading ‘The political class as a whole is not going to let people’s power decide as to how they should act. Even though the opposition parties speak in support of the ‘Aragalaya’ movement, they still support the govt’s current repressive measures in their heart of hearts.’ »

President Wickremesinghe rolls out sweeping reforms and relief via mini-Budget to appease crisis-hit vulnerable groups;“I am well aware of the difficulties faced by many due to the ongoing crisis.That’s why I decided to cut some of the capital expenditure and find room to provide enhanced support for vulnerable communities,” Ranil Tells Parliament.


President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday rolled out sweeping reforms and relief via the mini-Budget to appease crisis-hit vulnerable groups as well as kick-start recovery in the economy.

The interim Budget was replete with reforms, especially in the public sector and included mandatory exit by December by all Government and semi-Government employees who are over 60 years old, from 65 reducing the retirement age to 60; restructuring of State-Owned Enterprises and consolidation of identified Local Government Authorities.

It also included provisions to accommodate the policy package introduced in January 2022, provisions for strengthening social safety net programs (Rs. 163 billion inclusive of Rs. 133 billion loan from the World Bank), additional cost (Rs. 263 billion) due to increased interest payments in 2022, provisions (Rs. 250 billion) for financing obtained through the Indian Line of Credit and increased cost of fertiliser subsidy (Rs. 63 billion), among others.

The Government has also directed around Rs. 300 billion out of capital expenditure and less priority spending allocated in the original budget 2022 for these purposes, including the provision of relief to those who are affected by the economic crisis.

“I am well aware of the difficulties faced by many due to the ongoing crisis. That’s why I decided to cut some of the capital expenditure and find room to provide enhanced support for vulnerable communities,” President told Parliament.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe rolls out sweeping reforms and relief via mini-Budget to appease crisis-hit vulnerable groups;“I am well aware of the difficulties faced by many due to the ongoing crisis.That’s why I decided to cut some of the capital expenditure and find room to provide enhanced support for vulnerable communities,” Ranil Tells Parliament.’ »

President cum Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Presents Sri Lanka’s interim budget which is intended to lay the foundation for a progressive economy even as it provides a buffer to the poor who are bearing the brunt of the current unprecedented economic crisis.

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lanka’s interim budget presented by President cum Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in parliament here on Tuesday, is intended to lay the foundation for a progressive economy even as it provides a buffer to the poor who are bearing the brunt of the current unprecedented economic crisis.

“The Interim Budget is basic to the formulation of a national economic policy in accordance with the new world order. Based on this foundation, the Budget for the year 2023, will initiate the process of creating a new economy,” Wickremesinghe said.

First and foremost, he called for an attitudinal change towards the political economy and appealed for the rejection of old ideas which have pushed the country downhill.

“From the time the Government nationalized businesses, most of the tax revenue of our country has been spent to cover their losses. Funds which have to be utilized for the necessities of the community, are being wasted on keeping these companies afloat. Government should be formulating policies and implementing them. However, presently the Government does everything and the people also expect such from the country’s administration,” he said.

“We have not been following appropriate policies, not only in relation to state enterprises, but also in attracting foreign investments. Continuously, there has been no proper use of the nation’s resources, that too in the guise of seeking to protect state assets,” he said.

“If we can nourish our minds with creative thoughts, according to the current trends of the modern world, then we can solve the economic crisis,” he added.

Continue reading ‘President cum Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Presents Sri Lanka’s interim budget which is intended to lay the foundation for a progressive economy even as it provides a buffer to the poor who are bearing the brunt of the current unprecedented economic crisis.’ »

The ongoing crackdown on the protest movement needs to cease. Its excessive nature is discrediting the government in the eyes of the international community as well as within the country. The blame for this is falling squarely on the president


By Jehan Perera

The ruling party has requested President Ranil Wickremesinghe to facilitate the return of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the country and his appointment as prime minister. The former president left the country when large numbers of protestors who had been actively protesting against the economic collapse and corruption in the country took over his presidential residence.

Few would wish to see a former president going from country to country seeking asylum. Even those who have supported the protest movement are unlikely to oppose his return to the country. However, any attempt to promote his active participation in political affairs is likely to be controversial and would also go against the “GotaGoHome” struggle’s main objective and can undermine the government.

The primary target of the protest movement was the former president who was held responsible, as the political leader holding the most power, for the economic crisis in the country. There were other reasons as well, such as his ill-advised decision to ban chemical fertilisers and convert Sri Lankan agriculture to organic status overnight. This policy brought visible disaster to farmers within a few months.

Further, appointing the former president as prime minister will necessarily displace the sitting prime minister, Dinesh Gunawardena, who is a leader of an influential faction within the government and is also personally close to President Ranil Wickremesinghe in a way that makes a partnership possible. The fact that the prime minister is the person who will succeed the president if anything should happen to the president is also likely to play a role in the final decision on this matter.

Continue reading ‘The ongoing crackdown on the protest movement needs to cease. Its excessive nature is discrediting the government in the eyes of the international community as well as within the country. The blame for this is falling squarely on the president’ »

Sri Lankan Airlines Group to be restructured by inviting foreign operators to take up 49% equity stake and management;Govt Unable to fund Loss making National Carrier any longer


By Nisthar Cassim

Saddled with nearly half a trillion rupee accumulated losses and $ 1 billion in debt and dues, SriLankan Airlines Group is to be restructured inviting foreign operators to take up 49% equity stake and management to ensure the national carrier no longer becomes a burden on the public.

Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday revealed the way forward for Sri Lanka’s flag carrier which he will propose to the Cabinet of Ministers for final approval. The rationale for critical restructuring and the process were shared with trade unions, industry stakeholders and media.

Minister de Silva said given the country’s financial, forex and economic crisis, the Government can no longer fund the national carrier which for the past 10 years had made a collective loss of Rs. 435 billion. Latest FY22 saw the worst performance with Rs. 165 billion loss, largely due to 40% depreciation of the rupee whilst in the past 2019 Easter Sunday and COVID pandemic impacted its performance.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Airlines Group to be restructured by inviting foreign operators to take up 49% equity stake and management;Govt Unable to fund Loss making National Carrier any longer’ »

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera defends decision to increase electricity tariffs, citing spendthrift generation plans and unsuitable policies adopted by successive governments pushed for the inevitable upward adjustments.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera yesterday in Parliament defended the decision to increase electricity tariffs, citing spendthrift generation plans and unsuitable policies adopted by successive governments pushed for the inevitable upward adjustments.

Speaking during an adjournment debate on electricity tariff hike, he pointed out that electricity users would not have been shocked if timely revisions were implemented from time to time, whilst diversifying the power generation mix with cost-effective and renewable sources.

Continue reading ‘Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera defends decision to increase electricity tariffs, citing spendthrift generation plans and unsuitable policies adopted by successive governments pushed for the inevitable upward adjustments.’ »

Indian Media had analyses of how Yuan Wang-5 berthing in Hambantota would compromise the security of India’s naval bases and satellite and missile launch sites The plain truth is Yuan Wang-5 is capable of carrying out all these actions even without docking in Hambantota port.

By

Col R.Hariharan


(The writer is a retired military intelligence specialist on South Asia associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies)

The controversial visit of China’s “spy ship” Yuan Wang-5 to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port from August 16 to 22 is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most commented news story, next only to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s escape in stealth from the island-nation a few weeks earlier. The reason is not far to seek; the research ship belongs to the PLA’s 5th branch – the Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) created in December 2015 to carry out space, cyber and electronic warfare. The ship is equipped with advanced electronic equipment, sensors and antennae to assist PLA’s land-based stations in tracking satellite, rocket and ICBM launches within a range of 750 km.

Sri Lanka’s foreign affairs ministry originally allowed the vessel to dock in Hambantota from August 11 to 17. India expressed its security concerns over berthing the ship in Hambantota as soon as reports indicated that the ship was heading to the Sri Lankan port. The US also had expressed its security concerns. Perhaps in deference to India’s concerns, the ministry in a message to the Chinese embassy asked the visit be delayed until further consultations.

The Chinese embassy clarified that the maritime research vessel’s visit was for replenishment and refuelling and did not pose a threat to any security or economic interests. It eventually succeeded in pressuring Sri Lanka’s defence ministry to allow the research vessel to berth in Hambantota port from August 16 to 22, after laying down conditions that it would switch off its tracking equipment.

The media pundits in India went to town with analyses of how the ship’s berthing in Hambantota would compromise the security of our naval bases and satellite launch sites and missile launches. The plain truth is Yuan Wang-5 is capable of carrying out all these actions even without docking in Hambantota port. Many analyses across global media had been cautioning the US of China overtaking it as a strategic power. These analyses were basically revisiting the bogey of China’s growing military prowess in the Indo-Pacific.

Social media castigated Sri Lanka for its “ungratefulness” to India, which had gone all out to lend a helping hand in times of Sri Lanka’s economic distress, unlike China. Some critics called it a violation of the India-Sri Lanka Accord 1987, though the Accord has no specific clause forbidding the berthing of warships of other countries in Sri Lanka ports in peacetime. Moreover, Sri Lanka had been repeatedly reassuring India at various levels that it would not allow the use of its soil to pose a security threat to India.
The controversy over Yuan Wang-5’s visit is timed to draw attention away from growing India-Sri Lanka relations, which are on the apogee. Probably it is also aimed at reminding Sri Lanka that it cannot afford to ignore China’s interests, now embedded in the body politic of the island-nation. Moreover, for some time now, Sri Lanka is in talks with India at multiple levels to upgrade its transactional relations into a strategic relationship.

These efforts have encouraged India to extend all out support to the people of Sri Lanka to meet their essential economic and energy requirements after the country went bankrupt. India’s support has continued, in spite of political uncertainties in the country after the unceremonious exit of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the ascent of Ranil Wickremesinghe as president.
It is worthwhile to examine the Yuan Wang-5 issue in the larger context of the strategic dynamics of the Indo-Pacific. Alfred North Whitehead, mathematician and process philosopher considers “symbolism as no mere idle fantasy or corrupt degeneration. It is inherent in the very texture of human life.” His words: “there is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us” have great relevance in understanding the substance behind China’s acts of symbolism.

India celebrated Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav—75 years of India’s independence—on August 15. On that day, the Xinjiang command conducted live-fire drills near the LAC with a “new type of surface-to-air missile” at an altitude of more than 4,500 metres (14,760 feet). A report in the South China Morning Post quoted military observers to say the weapons appeared to be HQ-17A air defence missiles, part of an integrated system that can fit in a single vehicle. Yuan Wang-5 steaming into Hambantota a day after India’s Independence Day is also symbolic of China enforcing its writ in Sri Lanka despite India’s security concerns.
More than all this, Yuan Wang-5 is a demonstration of PLASSF capability as part of China’s power projection in space and cyberspace. The SSF is also designed to coordinate intelligence sharing and operations in the informatized battlefields in real time. Informatization has been the mantra of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ever since PLA thinkers drew many lessons from their observations of the US Gulf War (1991) and Iraq War (2003). In their assessment, the US used effective coordinated employment of global media, international law, and other psychological warfare techniques. The use of these techniques collectively referred to as “three warfares” could enhance results as military operations became more and more dependent on information technology tools.
The concept of “three warfares” was incorporated in the PLA Political Work Regulations for future conflicts in 2003. This has resulted in increased coordination of civil and military organs of state since then to get the best results of “three warfares”.
The timing of the Yuan Wang-5 controversy is uncanny. On June 6, India successfully carried out the training launch of the intermediate range ballistic missile Agni-4 from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off Orissa under the aegis of the Strategic Forces Command. The visit of Yuan Wang-5 is perhaps China’s way of flaunting its capability to track India’s ICBM launches. A month later, PLA tested an advanced PHL Multiple Lau¬nch Rocket System (MLRS) at an altitude of more than 5,300 metres in the Xinjiang Region.
India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has been on a mission for some time to lay bare China’s double speak on matters related to India in many international forums. Only a month earlier, the 16th round of border talks between Corps Commanders of India and China ended in yet another stalemate. Last week in Bangkok, Jaishankar said the relationship between India and China is going through an “extremely difficult phase” after the Galwan incident in the Ladakh border in 2020. He emphasised that the Asian Century will not happen if the two neighbours could not join hands. “We very much hope that wisdom dawns on the Chinese side,” he said while replying to a question in Bangkok.
Now on a six-day tour of South America, Jaishankar said China has cast a shadow on bilateral ties by disregarding border pacts with India. He said the relationship cannot be a one-way street. “They are our neighbour and everybody wants to get along with their neighbour…But everybody wants to get along with their neighbour on reasonable terms. I must respect you and you must respect me,” he added. The EAM said “from our point of view, we’ve been very clear that if you have to build a relationship, then there has to be mutual respect. Each one will have their interests and we need to be sensitive to what the concerns are, of the other party.”
Sri Lanka is caught not only in the midst of muscle flexing between India and China in the Indian Ocean region, but it is also facing the flak of the strategic maelstrom blowing across the Indo-Pacific, after the visit of the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on August 2. President Xi Jinping had spoken to POTUS Joe Biden, a month earlier to prevent the visit.

According to media reports, President Biden not only told Xi that he “could not oblige” as the US Congress was an independent body, but also warned the Chinese president against taking any “provocative and coercive” actions if the visit took place. Pelosi’s visit may be considered a big loss of face for Xi, particularly when he is poised to be re-elected as the CCP General Secretary in the next few months. The invectives China has used to condemn the US and its allies on this issue show that the stand-off over Taiwan is likely to continue for some time. We can expect the spill over of the continuing US-China confrontation in the Indian Ocean region in the coming months. It is imperative that China’s symbolic acts are studied to gauge the substance behind them to understand its intentions.

**************************