Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalist Parties and a Power Sharing Arrangement Based on he Federal Idea.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

President Ranil Wickremesinghe while addressing Parliament on 10 November 2022 invited all Tamil MPs for a discussion on issues facing the Tamil people and about development plans for the North and East. Jaffna district MP and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson , M. A.Sumanthiran responded positively by telling a morning newspaper that the TNA would cooperate. “We will fully co-operate. The resolution of the Tamil national question will be our main focus”said Sumanthiran. Later Sumanthiran reiterated this viewpoint in the presence of President Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting held on November 19th on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of the Presidential Secretariat Northern Province Co-ordination Sub-Office in Vavuniya.

As is well known the Tamil National Alliance is the premier political configuration representing the Sri Lankan Tamils of the Northern and Eastern provinces. The TNA comprises the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk katchi(ITAK) , the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization(TELO) and the Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam(PLOTE). The TNA contesting under the ITAK symbol oh house won ten seats – including one national list MP – in the 2020 Parliamentary elections. The ten MPs are from the electoral districts of Jaffna(3), Wanni(3), Batticalo(2),Trincomalee(1)and Amparai(1). The party – wise breakdown is ITAK -6, TELO-3 and PLOTE -1.

In a bid to present a common Tamil position in potential discussions with President Wickremesinghe the TNA issued an invitation last week to like-minded Tamil nationalist parties to meet at TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan’s Colombo residence and formulate a common approach seeking a political solution “within a federal set up in the NorthEast”. The meeting did not take place as planned last week. Subsequently it has been re-scheduled for Friday 25th November at Sampanthan’s residence in Colombo.

Apart from the three constituents of the TNA namely the ITAK,TELO and PLOTE, invitations have been sent to the Tamil National Peoples Front(TNPF), the Thamil Makkal Theseeyak Koottani(TMTK), Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation front(EPRLF) and “Thamil Theseeyak Katchi(TTK) . The TNPF has two MPs in Parliament while the TMTK has one MP.

Given the inter-party rivalry among Tamil parties in general and the intra-party friction within Tamil parties in particular, it is unclear at present as to whether all invited parties will attend the meeting or consensus would be arrived at. However regardless of inter and intra-party differences the bottom line is that all Sri Lankan Tamil nationalist parties are firmly supportive of a power sharing arrangement based upon federal principles or the federal idea.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalist Parties and a Power Sharing Arrangement Based on he Federal Idea.’ »

Whatever policy compromises the new Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim may have to make to assemble a stable coalition government, he ,like Abraham Lincoln, will be defined by his ability to remain true to his core principles while governing effectively.

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Something extraordinary happened in Malaysia this week. After a bitterly fought general election with no clear winner, the King had the wisdom and the courage to appoint Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s 10thPrime Minister. To those observing from the outside, it was a remarkable sight. So, one can only imagine the gravity of the moment from the point of view of Malaysia’s new Prime Minister.

Anwar Ibrahim travelled to Istana Negara for the ceremony on Thursday from Sungai Long with his wife, the accomplished and independently remarkable Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who for 24 years, has taken her husband’s crusade against corruption and bigotry in Malaysia and made it her own. When Anwar was imprisoned, she stood in for him and embodied his cause with an authenticity and ferocity that saw her become Malaysia’s first ever female opposition leader.

When they arrived at the ceremony, one of the many dignitaries assembled for Anwar’s swearing in was Malaysia’s Chief Justice, Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, the first woman to hold that office, who herself has long stood out as a judge with little patience for corruption or abuse of power. Whether in the 1MDB appeals or in holding firm against other powerful special interests, she has embodied the kind of judicial independence for which Anwar has fought.

As Anwar, the Prime Minister in waiting, took the instrument of his appointment into his hand and began reciting his oaths, he must have felt the weight of every word he swore of the pledge he has long dreamt of taking. Perhaps no Malaysian politician has distinguished himself on the world stage as Anwar did as Malaysia’s finance minister between 1991 and 1998.

Continue reading ‘Whatever policy compromises the new Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim may have to make to assemble a stable coalition government, he ,like Abraham Lincoln, will be defined by his ability to remain true to his core principles while governing effectively.’ »

Tale of a Tiger: Facets of LTTE Supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran’s Life.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This article written in May 2020 is re-posted here WITHOUT ANY CHANGES to denote the 68th birth anniversary of LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran on November 26)

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed 11 years ago in combat with the armed forces of Sri Lanka on 19 May 2009. The longest war in South Asia came to an end after the military debacle of the LTTE on the shores of Nandikadal Lagoon in the Mullaitivu District of northern Sri Lanka.

Though Prabhakaran is no more, the Sri Lankan Tamil people are yet to recover fully from the ravages of the lengthy war fought by the Tigers. At a time when the Sri Lankan media is being saturated with news about the COVID-19 pandemic and impending constitutional crisis, this article intends focusing on the life and times of the man who determined the politico-military course of the island nation for many years.
Continue reading ‘Tale of a Tiger: Facets of LTTE Supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran’s Life.’ »

Great Heroes Day (Maaveerar Naal) was a Partisan Event Of, For and By the LTTE.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj


(This article written in 2021 is being reposted without any changes to denote the 33rd LTTE Great Heroes Day of 27 November 2022)

‘Maaveerar Naal’ or Great Heroes Day (GHD) is observed on 27 November by sections of Sri Lankan Tamils regarded as being generally supportive of the Tigers. It is the day on which fallen members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are commemorated. It was at one time a very important event in Sri Lankan politics. However after the military defeat of the LTTE and the demise of its leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran in May 2009, it has lost much of its lustre and prestige.

Nevertheless the GHD continues to be observed on a minor scale in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and in Western countries where there are substantial numbers of Tamils. Most of the families who lost a loved one in combat conduct poojas or memorial prayers for them on an individual basis on the days they died or the appropriate “Thithi”dates. However there ae attempts to commemorate them collectively on Nov 27. These endeavours are for the most part undertaken by political elements who were/are not of the LTTE.

Continue reading ‘Great Heroes Day (Maaveerar Naal) was a Partisan Event Of, For and By the LTTE.’ »

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Justifies his Invoking Emergency to Control the Protracted Protests and Demonstrations that Gridlocked the Capital and Entry-Exit Points Along Borders;“I am absolutely, absolutely serene and confident that I made the right choice,” says the PM


BY

MARIEKE WALSH, MARSHA MCLEOD AND BILL CURRY

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the threats to Canada’s national security from last winter’s convoy protests were both economic and violent and before he invoked the Emergencies Act the premiers were unable to suggest any alternative to using the sweeping powers to end the protracted demonstrations.

On Friday, the Prime Minister was the final witness to testify at the inquiry studying the act’s use. Mr. Trudeau made the ultimate decision to invoke the never-before-used act on his own on Feb. 14, with the goal of ending protests that gridlocked the capital and jammed several border crossings across Canada.

“I am absolutely, absolutely serene and confident that I made the right choice,” Mr. Trudeau said.

He testified that before he made the decision there was consensus to invoke the act from senior cabinet ministers and top security and civil service advisers. He called a memo from the country’s top bureaucrat in favour of triggering the powers “essential” to his decision – even though that memo lacked a threat assessment. And he told the inquiry that despite the two most serious border blockades resolving, it was his understanding that overall the protests were escalating, not dissipating.’

The Prime Minister testified in a packed hearing room in the heart of the capital – where big rigs and other vehicles dug in last January – as several convoy leaders watched from front-row seats. Convoys of protesters rolled into Ottawa on Jan. 28. The demonstrations soon spread to border crossings, including, most significantly, in Windsor, Ont. However, that blockade was cleared before the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act.
Shannon Proudfoot: It’s Trudeau’s show and Friday he will have to answer for it

Continue reading ‘Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Justifies his Invoking Emergency to Control the Protracted Protests and Demonstrations that Gridlocked the Capital and Entry-Exit Points Along Borders;“I am absolutely, absolutely serene and confident that I made the right choice,” says the PM’ »

“Kaadhal Mannan” Gemini Ganesan: On- screen Romancer and Off-screen Casanova.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Popular Tamil cinema actor Gemini Ganesan whose 102nd birth anniversary was on November 17th , is regarded widely as the greatest romantic lover in Tamil cinema . In a career spanning more than five decades Gemini Ganesan made his mark in Tamil films as the romantic hero par excellence. In fact he was dubbed “Kaadhal Mannan,” meaning “King of Romance”. Though he played a number of diverse roles , it was as a lover on screen that Gemini shone brightly. This hallmark earned him the evergreen laurel of Romance king.

Gemini Ganesan (17 November 1920 – 22 March 2005)


What is most interesting about Gemini Ganesan is the fact that his romantic on-screen and off-screen persona got intertwined in reel life and real life.While the actor hero crooned and danced his way into the hearts of many lovely heroines on screen, the off-screen Gemini too romanced many women in real life. Gemini had four wives plus several liaisons including live -in relationships with attractive women. He himself admitted to his numerous affairs with other married women to the Indian magazine”Debonair” in an interview . When the magazine wanted more details, Gemini declined to elaborate saying, “Gentlemen don’t tell!”

Continue reading ‘“Kaadhal Mannan” Gemini Ganesan: On- screen Romancer and Off-screen Casanova.’ »

M.N. Nambiar: Legendary “Villain” of Tamil Cinema

M.N. Nambiar

M.N. Nambiar

by

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(Legendary “Villain”actor of Tamil cinema M.N.Nambiar passed away fourteen years ago in Chennai on November 19th 2008. I wrote an article about him then which was published in the “Daily Mirror”of Colombo. I am reproducing a slightly edited version of that article on my blog now to commemorate his 14th death anniversary. I am also including at the end two of the many mails sent to me after the article appeared. One is from his son Sukumar Nambiar. The other is from veteran Sinhala actor Henry Jayasena. Sadly both are no more ~ – DBS Jeyaraj)

Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N.Nambiar (89) as he was generally known passed away around 1.00 pm , in Chennai on Wednesday November 19th 2008. The remains were kept at his residence at Gopalapuram for fans and members of the film fraternity to pay their respects to the legendary “villain” of Tamil cinema.

Continue reading ‘M.N. Nambiar: Legendary “Villain” of Tamil Cinema’ »

When Ranil was Prime Minister a Meeting was scheduled with Bill Gates in the US. But it did not happen because the then President Chandrika Dissolved the Wickremesinghe Govt. Had that meeting taken place Microsoft May have started an Enterprise here and Sri Lanka’s destiny could have been different -Eran Wickramaratne MP


SJB MP Mr Eran Wickramaratne speaking in Parliament on the vote of Ministries of Defence and Technology said that the government needs an institution to facilitate the e- government program to run one government to the whole country.

He further said that the present ICT agency – ICTA was created when the President Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister in 2002 when he headed a committee while working as a CEO in a private bank.

Even now the problem was retaining the best people in the field in a typical government service where market rates are much higher than for the senior civil officers in the public sector.

Continue reading ‘When Ranil was Prime Minister a Meeting was scheduled with Bill Gates in the US. But it did not happen because the then President Chandrika Dissolved the Wickremesinghe Govt. Had that meeting taken place Microsoft May have started an Enterprise here and Sri Lanka’s destiny could have been different -Eran Wickramaratne MP’ »

Downfall and Demise of LTTE Deputy Leader “Mahathaya”: How Tiger Chief Prabhakaran got his No 2 Arrested, Interrogated and Executed.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) has ceased to exist as a functioning entity after its military defeat on the shores of Nandhikkadal lagoon in May 2009. The LTTE at its heyday was a very powerful politico-military organization that controlled extensive swathes of territory in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Covering the LTTE in those days was a huge bonanza for journalists as the activities of the tigers – as they were widely known — provided a treasure trove of news stories and articles for members of the scribe tribe.

One of the most sensational happenings within the tiger realm in those days was the downfall and consequent demise of the then LTTE deputy leader Gopalaswamy Mahendrarajah alias “Mahathaya”. The popular and powerful Mahathaya had at one time been the trusted confidante and able No 2 of LTTE numero uno Veluppillai Prabhakaran. However Mahathaya fell foul of Prabhakaran at one point. This resulted in Mahathaya being arrested ,detained and interrogated by the LTTE’s intelligence chief Shanmugalingam Sivashankaran alias “Pottu Ammaan” in August 1993.

Continue reading ‘Downfall and Demise of LTTE Deputy Leader “Mahathaya”: How Tiger Chief Prabhakaran got his No 2 Arrested, Interrogated and Executed.’ »

“If there are plans to initiate another Aragalaya to change the Government, I won’t give space for that. I will get the military and the forces and I will impose the State of Emergency,” states President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament


President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said any unlawful protest movements will not be allowed, warning to deploy military and use emergency powers if necessary.

“If there are plans to initiate another Aragalaya to change the Government, I won’t give space for that. I will get the military and the forces and I will impose the State of Emergency,” he told the House yesterday.

President Wickremesinghe added that any attempts to create another Aragalaya without permits for protests will be prevented and the Police have been instructed to take action to prevent such protests.

“Anyone has the freedom to protest. But, go to the Police and take the permission and then walk on the roads, shout ‘I am a dictator or I am like Hitler’, but just take permission and don’t obstruct traffic,” he said. Wickremesinghe by highlighting how he moved for 17th, 19th and 21st amendments to the Constitutions said he is not a dictator but a democrat.

“Yet, if anyone thinks that they can engage in another struggle without obtaining a licence, stop it. I have instructed the police. If anyone tries to stage a protest to topple the Government, I will not allow it.

Continue reading ‘“If there are plans to initiate another Aragalaya to change the Government, I won’t give space for that. I will get the military and the forces and I will impose the State of Emergency,” states President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament’ »

President Wickremesinghe Proposes All Party Meeting in December 2nd week to Discuss Ethnic Issues and Arrive at a Consensus; Lakshman Kiriella(SJB), Mano Ganesan(TPA) and MA Sumanthiran(TNA) Express Consent to the Proposal


President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday affirmed that he will not dissolve the Parliament amidst an economic crisis, whilst extending an open invitation to all political parties to support the efforts to resolve the ethnic crisis.

“I will not dissolve the Parliament. There is a huge economic crisis. Do it (dissolve the Parliament) after resolving the economic mess. Today people are fed up with the political parties and the politics,” he told the Parliament yesterday.

The President requested both the Government and Opposition parties to finalise the five youth representatives to participate in the committees before the end of next month and to appoint them in January.

President Wickremesinghe said without delivering a system change, politicians will not be able to win the confidence of the people.

“We have not seen any new faces in the Parliament. May it be a new or an old party, the people are the same and they have been rotating. Let’s first give relief to the people and then go for an election to take office,” he said.

President Wickremesinghe also said that until the preferential voting system is scrapped, it will not be possible to eradicate corruption in the country.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Proposes All Party Meeting in December 2nd week to Discuss Ethnic Issues and Arrive at a Consensus; Lakshman Kiriella(SJB), Mano Ganesan(TPA) and MA Sumanthiran(TNA) Express Consent to the Proposal’ »

Now who has the brass to go and ask an Ambassador for a bribe? So you pick the most corrupt minister , to appoint to the Constitutional Council. You have a convicted extortionist as a Chief Government Whip, So so how do we then tell either the IMF or anyone else that we are dealing with corruption? – MA Sumanthiran MP


(Text of Speech made in Parliament by Jaffna District TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran PC on 22nd November 2022)

Thank you Honourable member in the chair today.

The Budget presented by the Minister of Finance who also happens to be the President, is ending today – the 2nd reading debate.

I have consistently recorded my opposition to Minister of Finance being the President. From 2010 onwards in this house, whenever the President in his capacity as Minister of Finance has presented a budget I have recorded that protest and I wish to record that today as well. When a person who is not a member of this House presents the budget as the Minister of Finance, that seriously curtails this House’ ability to be in total control of public finance as the Constitution stipulates in article 148.

This also exposes another thing this time: And that is there’s a 21st amendment to the constitution that, was said to be going back to the 19th amendment, that is doing away with the 20th amendment, and that has been pointed out during that debate. It doesn’t really do that. Under the 19th amendment to the constitution the president could not hold any ministries; not even the ministry of defence.

For the tenure of that president at that time, personal to him, to President Maithripala Sirisena, 3 named ministries were permitted in the transitional provision. Thereafter the president couldn’t hold any ministries. But now the President actually can hold any number of ministries. In fact he can hold all the ministries. So this is another occasion on which we can expose that lie to the country that some reform was made that executive powers were curtailed through the 21st amendment. No! no such thing was done.

Continue reading ‘Now who has the brass to go and ask an Ambassador for a bribe? So you pick the most corrupt minister , to appoint to the Constitutional Council. You have a convicted extortionist as a Chief Government Whip, So so how do we then tell either the IMF or anyone else that we are dealing with corruption? – MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

“Though critical of the Budget,the TNA did not Vote against it because President Wickremesinghe has stated he wants to Resolve the Tamil National Question and has invited Tamil Parties to have Discussions with him”- TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP


(Excerpt of Speech made in Parliament by Jaffna District MP and TNA Spokesman M.A.Sumanthiran M.P on 23rd November 2022)

Thank you Hon. Speaker for the time given to say a few words on the allocation to the Presidential secretariat, Supreme Court, Independent commissions and a long list of 25 institutions.

Before I get to the subject matter, I wish to clarify what we did at the vote last evening, I did explain right at the end of my speech, nevertheless, time was insufficient so therefore I’d like to say that right through the debate on the 2nd reading, all members of the Tamil National Alliance criticised the budget.

Continue reading ‘“Though critical of the Budget,the TNA did not Vote against it because President Wickremesinghe has stated he wants to Resolve the Tamil National Question and has invited Tamil Parties to have Discussions with him”- TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Heated argument in Parliament between TPA leader and Colombo District MP Opposition MP Mano Ganesan and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles over the collecting of personal details of Colombo residents” Mano says Tamils are being targeted while Tiran says not only Tamils but Sinhalese and Muslims also


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

A heated argument occurred in the Parliament yesterday (23) between Samagi Jana Balawegaya Opposition MP Mano Ganesan and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles over the collecting of personal details of Colombo residents, with Ganesan levelling allegations that the Police is collecting the personal details of Colombo South residents, targeting Tamils in particular, and Alles flatly denying this, claiming that such data is not only being recorded from Tamil residents, but from Sinhalese and Muslim residents as well.

Ganesan queried as to why the Police is collecting the personal details of Colombo residents, targeting Tamils from Bambalapitiya, Wellawatte, etc., noting that these are peaceful times.

“They are registering information even now. Why is this being done? Isn’t this a peaceful time? There is no war in this country. There is no terrorism. I have spoken to the President, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the National Police Commission (NPC) Chairman, and you (Alles) regarding this issue. This is being targeted at the Tamil residents of Colombo. Don’t do this. Usually, nobody would want to provide their personal details to the Police. Not only to the Police but to anyone. Do understand that well,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Heated argument in Parliament between TPA leader and Colombo District MP Opposition MP Mano Ganesan and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles over the collecting of personal details of Colombo residents” Mano says Tamils are being targeted while Tiran says not only Tamils but Sinhalese and Muslims also’ »

Cabinet Approves proposal by Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles to replace the existing Police Ordinance, No. 16 of 1865, and Include Provisions Covering illicit drugs, social media, human rights, and child abuse.


BY Kiara Warnasuriya

A proposal to replace the existing Police Ordinance, No. 16 of 1865, which has been amended 37 times in the past, especially paying attention to areas such as illicit drugs, social media, human rights, and child abuse, was presented by Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles at the Cabinet meeting held on Monday (21) and was approved by the Cabinet accordingly.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (23), Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security S. Hettiarachchi claimed that many amendments have been made in the past of the Police Ordinance and that therefore, a completely new Ordinance is necessary in order to face contemporary issues.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Approves proposal by Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles to replace the existing Police Ordinance, No. 16 of 1865, and Include Provisions Covering illicit drugs, social media, human rights, and child abuse.’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe Equates Frontline Socialist Party Leader and Australia-Sri Lanka Dual Citizen Kumar Gunaratnam With Sri Lanka Podujana Party National Organizer and USA-Sri Lanka Dual Citizen Basil Rajapaksa in Parliament


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

President Ranil Wickremesinghe charged that Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Leader Kumar Gunaratnam was behind the “aragalaya” – noting that the latter holds Australian citizenship and should thus be rejected by the public in a manner similar to the public backlash against Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) National Organiser and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa – while assuring that a similar protest movement would not be allowed to occur.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday (23), he said that although there are differences within the House, there is no need for intense conflict. He said that the country descended to such a level during the “aragalaya”, and recalled the incidents of houses and properties belonging to MPs being set ablaze and destroyed. He noted that of the 225 MPs in Parliament, 196 were elected by the people, and that thus setting fire to the homes of MPs – be they from the ruling party or the Opposition – is not something that should occur. As these MPs had been elected to office by the people, he said, they should be given the opportunity to work, and be taken care of.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe Equates Frontline Socialist Party Leader and Australia-Sri Lanka Dual Citizen Kumar Gunaratnam With Sri Lanka Podujana Party National Organizer and USA-Sri Lanka Dual Citizen Basil Rajapaksa in Parliament’ »

President Wickremesinghe Completes Two day Observation Tour of the Vavuniya and Mannar districts on a Positive Note; “President is looking forward to setting up a very modern outlook of the Northern region,” ,says Northern Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, during his two-day observation tour to the Northern Province, visited the Mannar District yesterday (20) and discussed with State officials to establish a mega hydrogen project, improved water management system, and reforestation projects to mitigate the effects of global warming; inspected the renovation work carried out to revive the Mannar Dutch Fort for tourism; and engaged in discussions with the Nadukuda fishing village community looking into their issues by ensuring prompt action.

Northern Governor Jeevan Thiyagarajah who also visited with President Wickremesinghe told The Morning yesterday that the President is extremely keen on preserving the historical sites while bringing in development projects to the Mannar District.
“He is extremely keen on preserving the historical sites of Mannar, while he wants to develop the area. He visited the Dutch Fort area and wanted to revive it for tourism,” he added.

He also noted that President Wickremesinghe looked into the possibilities of the green hydrogen project.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Completes Two day Observation Tour of the Vavuniya and Mannar districts on a Positive Note; “President is looking forward to setting up a very modern outlook of the Northern region,” ,says Northern Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah’ »

Ex-finance minister Basil Rajapaksa Arrives in Colombo from USA to a Warm welcome; party members and MPs line up to greet SLPP National organizer with some bowing down before him;leaves Katunayake Airport in Convoy with Police Jeep and Motor Cycle Escort


By Buddhika Samaraweera

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Founder and National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa yesterday (20) returned to the island to a warm welcome by several SLPP MPs and members at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake.

SLPP MPs, including Johnston Fernando, Gamini Lokuge, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Sanath Nishantha Perera, Piyal Nishantha de Silva, and Thenuka Vidanagamage, as well as more than 50 SLPP supporters had gathered at the BIA in Katunayake to welcome Rajapaksa, who arrived in Sri Lanka at around 8.30 a.m. yesterday on the Emirates Airlines flight EK 650.

Rajapaksa resigned as an MP in June 2022 and subsequently left for the US, as according to him, he had accomplished his two primary objectives – to face corruption and fraud-related cases filed against him; and to return incumbent MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was defeated at the 2015 Presidential Election, to a high post in the country.

Continue reading ‘Ex-finance minister Basil Rajapaksa Arrives in Colombo from USA to a Warm welcome; party members and MPs line up to greet SLPP National organizer with some bowing down before him;leaves Katunayake Airport in Convoy with Police Jeep and Motor Cycle Escort’ »

“I’d like to tell our Leader of Opposition to not do things as if he has no shame. I let you contest through my party when you had nothing and no one; you would not have even had a nomination without me. I know that Sajith is someone with no courtesy or respect, or else he would not behave like this.” Says Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage


BY Kiara Warnasuriya

State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage claimed in Parliament last Saturday (19) that she has proven her value to the country through her actions, warning Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa that she will continue to do so despite the Opposition’s efforts to remove her from Parliament.

“I know that the Opposition undertook a major effort to remove me from Parliament, including the Opposition Leader. You appointed a board of lawyers and tried to remove me, but I tell you now, say whatever you want to me and about me, because I have shown through my actions what I can do on behalf of this country, I have vouched for myself. I will continue to vouch for my own actions for this country.”

Gamage further slammed the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) for the recent protest by the female members of the SJB, led by SJB MP Hirunika Premachandra, which, Gamage opined, had lost all cause.
“What shocks me is that the women of this party stand only for the women of the party. They get out on the streets on behalf of the party. If women are protesting, they need to protest on behalf of all women. As a woman, if I were to get on the streets, I would do so on behalf of all the women in this country, regardless of their party, religion, or race.”

Continue reading ‘“I’d like to tell our Leader of Opposition to not do things as if he has no shame. I let you contest through my party when you had nothing and no one; you would not have even had a nomination without me. I know that Sajith is someone with no courtesy or respect, or else he would not behave like this.” Says Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage’ »

Frontline Socialist Party to stage Protest Demonstrations Against Budget; FSP “guarantees” to “invade the streets before the Budget is finalised” to express its “disappointment in the newly implemented economic principles” says Duminda Nagamuwa


BY Buwanajee Coralage

Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) activist Duminda Nagamuwa, addressing the media yesterday (20), said that, as the workers’ struggle centre, the FSP “guarantees” to “invade the streets before the Budget is finalised” to express its “disappointment in the newly implemented economic principles”.

“Before the Budget is approved on 8 December, we guarantee to fire the first shot of disapproval at the new economic principles brought forward by it along with all trade unions in the country,” Nagamuwa further said.

Continue reading ‘Frontline Socialist Party to stage Protest Demonstrations Against Budget; FSP “guarantees” to “invade the streets before the Budget is finalised” to express its “disappointment in the newly implemented economic principles” says Duminda Nagamuwa’ »

Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan urges visiting UN Political and Peacebuilding Director Peter Due’s intervention in hill country Tamils’ issues


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Mano Ganesan told the visiting United Nations (UN) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Director Peter Due last Friday (18) to take up the political issues of the hill-country Tamils, particularly the inhumane conditions prevalent in the plantations, with the highest echelon of the UN.

Ganesan presented Due the document compiled by the TPA, titled the “Aspirations of Tamil people of recent Indian origin towards mainstreaming as full citizens in Sri Lankan polity” on 18 November.
Ganesan said that he also presented a separate document on the food insecurity and impoverished conditions faced by plantation residents.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan urges visiting UN Political and Peacebuilding Director Peter Due’s intervention in hill country Tamils’ issues’ »

“We welcome President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to the North and its Positice Outcome. He should show the same gesture to the Indian origin HillCountry Tamil community” says Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan

(Text of News Release from the Office of Mano GANESAN Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka for Colombo District and Leader of Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) on November 20, 2022 )

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has travelled to the north, opened up presidential secretariat sub office with expressions of positive notions and has assured to appoint multiple numbers of committees to resolve land, housing, health, irrigations issues of the Tamil community. We welcome these gestures and hope those produce results at the ground level.

We now request president to show the same gesture to the HillCountry Tamil community within which the plantation segment which has been identified as the most vulnerable segment by the UN and World Bank.

We trust the president should be aware of the facts that food insecurity in SriLanka is highest in the estate sector at 51% while 43% at Urban sector and at 34% in Rural sector.

Continue reading ‘“We welcome President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to the North and its Positice Outcome. He should show the same gesture to the Indian origin HillCountry Tamil community” says Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan’ »

The President cannot escape violations of the law under the direct command of certain senior police officers and responsible ministers, on the basis that they are ‘acting independently.’ On the contrary, he has the responsibility to ensure that these abuses do not happen on his watch.

By

Kishali Pinto- Jayawardene

Sri Lanka’s Department of the Police should stop piously quoting provisions of the Constitution and the law and instead, declare the truth without fear or shame, “we do not respect the law; we will break the law at every chance we get; who is there to stop us?”

Systemic State repression of peaceful protests

That honesty will at least, be a tad more refreshing than the nauseating twaddle that the police spokesperson trots out each time a new scandal on the behaviour of Sri Lanka’s ‘brutes in uniform’ breaks. The latest in this long and sorry line of abusive incidents is last week’s horrendous act of a male police officer grabbing a female colleague by the scruff of her neck with several abusive words thrown while thrusting her into a police vehicle along with female protestors who were peacefully demonstrating their right to protest.

There were many things grievously wrong with this incident, not the least of which concerned the legal grounds for the arrest of the female protestors. Apparently, all they were doing was walking along the road from Panadura to Colombo in protest. Pray on what grounds does this constitute an unlawful act?

The modus operandi of the police seems to be to flood the courts with cases against protestors, whether a prima facie basis exists for these arrests or not.

Continue reading ‘The President cannot escape violations of the law under the direct command of certain senior police officers and responsible ministers, on the basis that they are ‘acting independently.’ On the contrary, he has the responsibility to ensure that these abuses do not happen on his watch.’ »

“We are overspending on the armed forces.The defence budget is 10% of our total budget. Except India,every other country in Asia has 3-5% for defence. Some people say Sri Lanka’s situation is special. What’s special? All these countries have the same issues and problems that we have. We respect our armed forces. This is not to be confused with that.” -Eran Wickramaratne MP


By Marianne David


The main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) will not support Budget 2023 as things stand and will vote in favour only if its proposed changes are accommodated, said SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne, in an interview with The Sunday Morning.

The banker-turned-politician acknowledged that the Government’s goals in terms of revenue and economic growth seemed too ambitious and recommended that the Government should negotiate hard with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order for Sri Lanka to succeed.

He also spoke at length on the Budget proposals in relation to the tax regime, State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) reform, businesses and the banking sector, and protecting the most vulnerable, dissecting key proposals and outlining what they mean for Sri Lanka, its future, and its people, while also listing key measures to build confidence.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

The Government in its Budget 2023 has declared its intention of increasing Government revenue, creating a primary surplus of more than 2% of GDP by 2025, recording an economic growth rate of 7-8%, and increasing FDIs to more than $ 3 billion by 2033. Are these goals realistic or too ambitious?

I think these goals are too ambitious. Government revenue is about 8.3% of GDP. When we took office in 2015, it was about 10% of GDP and when we left office in 2019, it was 13% of GDP. Now it has crashed to 8.3%, so saying that they will get to 15% of GDP even by 2025 is very ambitious.

On the primary surplus, since 1948 Sri Lanka has had a primary surplus only five times. A primary surplus is where your revenues are more than your expenditure before your interest is paid. We’ve had this only five times – a couple of times in the 1950s, once in the 1960s or something, and then in 2017 and 2018 – so getting 2.3% of a primary surplus is also not realistic.

I would say, generally speaking, whether it is the budget deficit or getting your debt as a percentage of GDP to 100, these goals are too ambitious and I would urge the Government to really negotiate hard with the IMF.

Continue reading ‘“We are overspending on the armed forces.The defence budget is 10% of our total budget. Except India,every other country in Asia has 3-5% for defence. Some people say Sri Lanka’s situation is special. What’s special? All these countries have the same issues and problems that we have. We respect our armed forces. This is not to be confused with that.” -Eran Wickramaratne MP’ »

China willing to consider a delay in repayment of the loans, but not a haircut, which is a key requirement of the Sri Lankan Govt.With China holding back on agreeing to a haircut both India and Japan adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.

By the “Sunday Morning” Political Editor

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concerns over the Government’s possible deviation from the ongoing debt restructuring programme, following its move to explore a debt-for-nature swap earmarked at around $ 1 billion, The Sunday Morning learns.

However, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed his officials to commence the process of identifying the projects that could be taken under a debt-for-nature swap, it is learnt.
Wickremesinghe has tasked his Advisor on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene to spearhead the initiative with the support of the Environment Ministry, Presidential Economic Advisor Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).

Given the obstacles and delays faced by Sri Lanka in finalising the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) from the IMF, which has now been pushed back to around March next year, the Government has turned to the environment and climate financing for reprieve from the ongoing economic crisis.

The Government has reportedly commenced talks with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies to explore the possibilities of a debt-for-nature swap programme.

Continue reading ‘China willing to consider a delay in repayment of the loans, but not a haircut, which is a key requirement of the Sri Lankan Govt.With China holding back on agreeing to a haircut both India and Japan adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.’ »

Will Harsha de Silva sacrifice his integrity and block the good and practical aspects of RW’s budgetary proposals Or will he with a group of his party colleagues, support the Budget proposals , taking the country, , on a new path to rapid economic growth?

By Rajasinghe

After the presentation of a budget by the finance minister, the attention of the House, and indeed the country, turns to the first speech made on behalf of the Opposition.

In the good old United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) days, this task fell on Dr. N.M. Perera (NM), with his double doctorate in economics. For well over a decade, NM’s analysis of the budget held the country spellbound by its comprehensiveness, lucidity, and economic savvy. Even his opponents could ‘scarcely forbear to cheer’ those classics, which are now enshrined in the Hansards of that time.

It must be stated however that his observations were not taken seriously by his opponents who were acting according to their own ideologies, which were different from NM’s Marxist convictions. Not only that – when NM presented his budgets as Finance Minister of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s Cabinet, they were criticised by his own Cabinet colleagues like Felix Bandaranaike, backed by the then ‘power behind the throne’ – the PM’s London-returned son Anura. Eventually, the SLFP ministers got together to dismiss NM and his Cabinet comrades Colvin R. de Silva and Leslie Goonewardene. This was another step on the way to the SLFP’s crushing defeat in 1977.

Continue reading ‘Will Harsha de Silva sacrifice his integrity and block the good and practical aspects of RW’s budgetary proposals Or will he with a group of his party colleagues, support the Budget proposals , taking the country, , on a new path to rapid economic growth?’ »

President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Amidst an Economic Crisis,Presents a Budget that Lays the Foundation of a bright Future instead of the traditional measures like Price Reductions,Salary Increases and more State sector Jobs

By Sandun Jayawardana

Over the years, Sri Lankans have got used to expecting price reductions, salary increases, and more state-sector jobs in government budgets.

This, however, was before the country was plunged into a crippling economic crisis.

As such, Budget 2023 presented in Parliament on Monday, had to jettison proposals that went down “the popular route,” President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe explained.

Continue reading ‘President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Amidst an Economic Crisis,Presents a Budget that Lays the Foundation of a bright Future instead of the traditional measures like Price Reductions,Salary Increases and more State sector Jobs’ »

President Wickremesinghe Declares open a Presidential Secretariat Sub office of the Northern Province Development Special Unit in Vavuniya ; assures immediate solutions to land, housing, health, irrigation, and agriculture-related issues in the Northern province


By Chris Kamalendran

A Presidential Secretariat Sub office of the Northern Province Development Special Unit was declared open yesterday by President Ranil Wickremesinghe with an assurance to resolve the outstanding land and other issues.

The sub-office will coordinate with the Presidential Secretariat on development activities and reconciliation matters, Vavuniya District Secretary P.A. Sarathchandra told the Sunday Times.

President Wickremesinghe yesterday met with District Secretaries of Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Mannar and other officials at the Vavuniya District Secretariat. The meeting was attended by Minister Douglas Devananda, K. Thilipan, Selvam Adaikalanathan, Rishard Bathiudeen, Kader Masthan and Charles Nirmalanathan.
Also present were Parliamentarians M.A. Sumanthiran and S. Sritharan.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Declares open a Presidential Secretariat Sub office of the Northern Province Development Special Unit in Vavuniya ; assures immediate solutions to land, housing, health, irrigation, and agriculture-related issues in the Northern province’ »

“Recovery from the crisis we face is not easy, as the situation is not normal. Through the 2023 Budget, we have some fundamental restructuring of the economy and a recovery plan from the second half of next year. Hopefully, we will reach the GDP level of 2019 within four years, by 2026,” States Sri Lankan President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Charumini de Silva

Despite many having pessimistic views about economic revival, President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday sounded confident the country would overcome the crisis aided by strong policy reforms and implementation underscored in 2023 Budget.

Speaking in first in-person public forum on Budget since presenting the reforms and relief oriented 2023 Budget as Finance Minister in Parliament on Monday, he delivered the keynote at the popular and high-profile post-Budget Forum organised by the Daily FT in partnership with the University of Colombo MBA Alumni Association yesterday at Shangri-La Colombo.

“Are we going to be the Asian version of Argentina? Or can we make it successful? In my view, Sri Lanka has to win with the framework underlined through 2023 Budget,” Wickremesinghe stressed.

Continue reading ‘“Recovery from the crisis we face is not easy, as the situation is not normal. Through the 2023 Budget, we have some fundamental restructuring of the economy and a recovery plan from the second half of next year. Hopefully, we will reach the GDP level of 2019 within four years, by 2026,” States Sri Lankan President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Determined to Ensure the Passage of President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 2023 Budget with Two-thirds Majority; SLPP National Organizer and Dual Citizen Returns to Sri Lanka from the USA on 19th November to Engage ib Politics and Prepare for Local Authority Elections

By

JAMILA HUSAIN

Former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa who resigned from his parliamentary seat during the recent political crisis will return to Sri Lanka on Saturday after leaving for the United States in September and will now initiate discussions to gain a 2/3rd majority for the budget, the Daily Mirror learns.

Political sources said that Rajapaksa left the USA last night and will arrive in Sri Lanka on Saturday and will also begin to restructure the SLPP as he did prior to the Presidential Election in November.

Continue reading ‘Former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Determined to Ensure the Passage of President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 2023 Budget with Two-thirds Majority; SLPP National Organizer and Dual Citizen Returns to Sri Lanka from the USA on 19th November to Engage ib Politics and Prepare for Local Authority Elections’ »

Slain Feminist Academic and Human Rights Activist Dr.Rajani Thiranagama’s Appears as a Character in Shehan Karunatilaka’s Booker Prize Winning Novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.


By

Narmada Thiranagama

(The writer lives in London and does policy work on labour market justice and workers’ rights for a trade union.)

“All the most powerful forces are invisible” observes Maali, the narrator of Shehan Karunatilaka’s Booker Prize-winning The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. “Love, electricity, wind. And the waves following a bomb blast.” Unspoken is the other powerful and invisible force animating his book: grief.

The book is set in 1989, a bloody year in Sri Lanka. Maali Almeida dies, wakes up in purgatory and finds himself amongst the ghosts of the newly dead and those who refuse to move on. Chief among them is a woman in a white sari who helps guide him on his journey. Maali recognises her, from her face and her ‘toothpaste smile’, as a Tamil human rights activist assassinated by the Tamil Tigers.

At this point, I too had a moment of recognition: this was Dr Rajani Thiranagama — feminist, academic, scientist, a fighter for truth and justice. She is also my darling Amma, who I lost when she was 35 and I was 11.

Continue reading ‘Slain Feminist Academic and Human Rights Activist Dr.Rajani Thiranagama’s Appears as a Character in Shehan Karunatilaka’s Booker Prize Winning Novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.’ »

There is no point in engaging with President Ranil Wickremesinghe unless he openly commits to basing the discussion on a federal constitution says TNPF Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam MP


By
Meera Srinivasan

Reaching out to Sri Lanka’s Tamil parties in Parliament on November 10, President Ranil Wickremesinghe invited them for a discussion this week, and pledged to resolve their pending issues before the island nation’s 75 th Independence Day falling on February 4, 2023. However Tamil politicians, who are yet to receive a date for the said meeting, are highly skeptical.

Many Sri Lankan leaders have in the past promised, and invariably failed, to deliver a political solution to the island’s Tamil national question. Most recently, the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, in power between 2015 and 2019, attempted to draft a new constitution but did not complete the task, much to the disappointment of Tamils who backed their government. “Let us all get together and make it a point to solve this problem by our 75th anniversary of Independence. We don’t need others to intervene in our country’s matters. We can solve our issues,” Mr. Wickremesinghe told Parliament last week.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the largest grouping of legislators from the north and east, welcomed his call and expressed readiness to “fully cooperate”. TNA Leader and 89-year-old parliamentarian R. Sampanthan, who has been trying to negotiate a constitutional settlement with various Sinhalese leaders for decades, has said that he hopes the President’s pledge is genuine this time.

Continue reading ‘There is no point in engaging with President Ranil Wickremesinghe unless he openly commits to basing the discussion on a federal constitution says TNPF Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam MP’ »

BJP led Indian Central Govt Moves Supreme Court seeking a review of its order prematurely releasing six convicts serving life imprisonment for the Rajiv Gandhi assassination in 1991: “Granting remission to Duly Convicted terrorists of a foreign nation was a matter which had international ramifications” Says Union Govt

BY
KRISHNADAS RAJAGOPAL

The Centre on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of its order prematurely releasing six convicts serving life imprisonment for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

The Union government contended that the court did not afford it adequate opportunity of hearing before ordering the immediate release of the convicts.

The government said the convicts had not made the Union a respondent in the Supreme Court despite being a “necessary and proper party” in the litigation.

“This procedural lapse on the part of the petitioners resulted in non-participation of Union of India in subsequent hearings of the case… absence of Union of India’s assistance to the Supreme Court while adjudication of the matter has resulted into admitted and glaring breach of principles of natural justice and has, in fact, resulted in the miscarriage of justice,” the Centre argued.

The government further argued that it was “extremely crucial” to highlight that out of the six convicts who were granted remission, four were Sri Lankan nationals.

Continue reading ‘BJP led Indian Central Govt Moves Supreme Court seeking a review of its order prematurely releasing six convicts serving life imprisonment for the Rajiv Gandhi assassination in 1991: “Granting remission to Duly Convicted terrorists of a foreign nation was a matter which had international ramifications” Says Union Govt’ »

Malaysian youth, who are about to vote for the first time in a General Election will want to see politicians push to make Malaysia closer resemble Singapore than Sri Lanka. They will not be swayed by nationalist promises of preferential treatment

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

There is something about Malaysia, something special that you cannot describe unless you have lived there. The people in Malaysia are kind, friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand. There is more natural beauty in every nook and cranny of Malaysia than anyone will ever get to see in a single lifetime, from lush forests and pristine mountains to spectacular beaches and magnificent coral reefs. The ‘tiger cub’ economy not only survived Covid but is bouncing back strong.

And yet, the country feels like it is at a crossroads, and GE15 may well determine the destiny of the country. In many ways, this election will determine whether Malaysia will stay on the path to becoming a first world developed nation, or whether it will fall into stagnation or worse.

The future of any country rests with the best and the brightest of its youth. Unlike at any other election since independence, the youth – those aged 18 to 30 – will make up nearly a third of the electorate. In today’s globally connected world, the things that matter to these young Malaysians are very similar to the priorities of their peers who are beginning to decide the fates of governments everywhere.

This may be the first generation that doesn’t naturally inherit the political allegiances of their parents. They know more than their parents or grandparents about what they are entitled to expect, based not on historical standards, but on what rights and opportunities are available to their peers abroad. They value equality of opportunity, freedom from corruption and persecution and the efficiency and transparency of government service. By and large, they have little interest in nationalist or ethnic group identities or preserving patriarchies and patronage networks.

Continue reading ‘Malaysian youth, who are about to vote for the first time in a General Election will want to see politicians push to make Malaysia closer resemble Singapore than Sri Lanka. They will not be swayed by nationalist promises of preferential treatment’ »

Tamil politics has been governed by a” priori” principles rather than a shrewd sense of time and place.No agreement between President Wickremesinghe and the Tamil politicians can stick in a context of economic contraction, austerity and polarising economic policies.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka


(Excerpted from the “Lanka Guardian Colu,m” appearing in the “Daily FT” of 17 November 2022 under the heading “Ranil’s ‘Big Bang’ Budget bomb and the tempting of Tamil politicians)

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has invited all Tamil MPs for discussions on resolving the problems of the Tamil people before the 75th Independence Day which falls on 4 February 2023. He has flagged his development plans for the North and East, especially Trincomalee.

The Tamil MPs have assented, with the more prominent TNA MPs understandably signalling that they would prioritise the political and Constitutional goals.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is a stand-in President, continuing what’s left of the term of his elected predecessor who was ousted by a momentous civic uprising. Furthermore, he is not elected to the President or the Parliament, nor yet is the party he leads. He has no mandate to negotiate anything with the Tamil parties and certainly no mandate to deliver on anything, however laudable.

M.A. Sumanthiran has reminded the President of his 2016 Constitutional draft and suggested that he carry it forward. This suggestion omits the glaring fact that whatever mandate Wickremesinghe had for that particular project evaporated in 2020 when he and his party utterly failed to be elected to Parliament, and therefore any resumption of that venture would be completely illegitimate.

Continue reading ‘Tamil politics has been governed by a” priori” principles rather than a shrewd sense of time and place.No agreement between President Wickremesinghe and the Tamil politicians can stick in a context of economic contraction, austerity and polarising economic policies.’ »

“My “Bappa” Egerton Cooray never held powerful positions, was never ambitious and yet in my opinion he was the finest human being in the Cooray family”


By

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Siblings have common traits and but each is nevertheless unique. All my uncles were greatly loved, but loved differently for different reasons. It is the same with Egerton Cooray, my father’s younger brother. Unlike most of his siblings, Egerton Bappa never held powerful positions, was never ambitious and yet in my opinion he was the finest human being in the Cooray family and undoubtedly the most light-hearted of the lot.

He was fond of all his siblings and was very loyal to each of them, but had an extra warm and special bond with my father, which perhaps made him extra special to me. He had an exemplary life. He had a very simple lifestyle and was a truly humble human being. He never aspired the heights most of his brothers reached, but never grudged their success, always full of admiration and always content with what he had.

Egerton Bappa revelled in the circumstances he found himself in, never lost his sense of humour and was always ready to laugh at himself. In fact it was impossible to offend him. He took rebuke with a smile, often cutting in by saying ‘I did something wrong and you are going to blast me, aren’t you?’ How could one not find that endearing?

Continue reading ‘“My “Bappa” Egerton Cooray never held powerful positions, was never ambitious and yet in my opinion he was the finest human being in the Cooray family”’ »

“Nicaragua Turning into a “One party One Family” State Under President Daniel Ortega and wife Rosario Murillo as Vice President; Of the ruling couple’s nine children, eight have posts in government or help run public companies – The state now looks like a family business!

They were to be a “civic fiesta”, said Brenda Rocha, the boss of Nicaragua’s electoral council. Instead, Nicaragua’s municipal elections on November 6th were a farce. The ruling party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, took control of all 153 municipalities, after capturing the remaining 12 that were run by other parties. Nicaragua is now, in effect, a one-party state. Some would say one-family.

The election tops off years of creeping authoritarianism in the country, which is run by President Daniel Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla, and Rosario Murillo, his wife and vice-president. Mr Ortega became president in 1979, after taking part in a revolution against the last of the Somozas, a kleptocratic dynasty with American backing which had ruled for 43 years. Mr Ortega lost an election in 1990 and stepped down. Since coming back to power in 2007, he has vowed not to lose it again.

On returning to office he cosied up to businessmen and won over the Roman Catholic church with one of the world’s strictest abortion bans. Between 2008 and 2015 Nicaragua bought $4.5bn of Venezuelan oil at discounted prices. The proceeds from selling it were funnelled into banks owned by the ruling party and lavished on Mr Ortega’s supporters. The economy grew on average by 5% a year between 2010 and 2017. The share of people living on less than $3.20 per day fell from 27% in 2005 to 10% by 2017. With potential critics silenced or bought off, Mr Ortega took over all branches of the state. The Supreme Court (widely considered to be controlled by Mr Ortega) abolished term limits and expelled the leader of the opposition and 16 of his supporters from Congress.

Continue reading ‘“Nicaragua Turning into a “One party One Family” State Under President Daniel Ortega and wife Rosario Murillo as Vice President; Of the ruling couple’s nine children, eight have posts in government or help run public companies – The state now looks like a family business!’ »

“Seventy-five years after independence, can we be satisfied with the status quo? Where did we go wrong? How did we go wrong? Queries President Ranil Wickremesinghe while presenting the 2023 Budget Themed “Towards a New Beginning”

(Towards a New Beginning:TFull Text of 2023 Budget Speech – 2023
made by Sri Lankan President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament on 14 November 2022)

Honorable Speaker,

A glimmer of hope on emerging from the economic abyss is currently visible, as a result of the strenuous and difficult policies we have been compelled to adopt during the past few months. After the era of waiting in queues for days and various protests, our distress has been eased to some extent, reaching a sense of satisfaction.
Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are currently in progress. We are in dialogue with India and China on debt restructuring, and confident that these discussions will lead to positive outcomes.

Inflation could be controlled to some extent due to the recent action in this regard. Similarly, the rupee is strengthening. We expect to sustain these developments. I am confident that by moving along the same path, we will be able to stabilize the economy within the next year.

But we cannot be satisfied and therefore must start a new journey.
Presenting the Interim Budget proposals last August, I stated that the purpose of these proposals is to lay the basic foundation for transforming the economy that has continued to exist in our country. On that occasion I proposed, that the process of building a new economy suitable for the modern world, would be initiated through the budget proposals of 2023.

Seventy-five years after independence, can we be satisfied with the status quo? Where did we go wrong? How did we go wrong? Continue reading ‘“Seventy-five years after independence, can we be satisfied with the status quo? Where did we go wrong? How did we go wrong? Queries President Ranil Wickremesinghe while presenting the 2023 Budget Themed “Towards a New Beginning”’ »

Dr.Sudharshini Fernandopulle, John Seneviratne and Piyankara Jayaratne Refute Claims that they have joined the SJB Coalition led by Sajith Premadasa: “President Ranil Wickremesinghe is doing something to alleviate the crisis, this is not the right time to upset the apple cart”Says Seneviratne


BY Isuru Panditha

Two independent Opposition MPs who were among the five such MPs who are reported to have joined with the Samagi Jana Sandhanaya led by the main Parliamentary Opposition Party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), namely John Seneviratne and Piyankara Jayaratne, yesterday (15) denied claims of joining any such coalition.

In a media briefing held after a discussion took place at the Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa’s Office on Monday (14) between some MPs of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Party’s breakaway faction – led by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, who became an independent MPs in the Opposition since the outset of the “aragalaya” – and Premadasa, Yapa asserted that they were entering into a coalition led by the SJB.

Soon after the news circulated about their alliance, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle denied the claims and stressed that she has been working as an independent Opposition MP.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Sudharshini Fernandopulle, John Seneviratne and Piyankara Jayaratne Refute Claims that they have joined the SJB Coalition led by Sajith Premadasa: “President Ranil Wickremesinghe is doing something to alleviate the crisis, this is not the right time to upset the apple cart”Says Seneviratne’ »

Political Party Leaders have a Moral Responsibility to find out if any of their party’s MPs have dual citizenship and if so ask them to resign their posts. Will they do so?

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

After the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed by Parliament last month and the Speaker signed and put into force, no one with dual citizenship can enter into the Parliament. It has also become impossible for them to contest any election and come to positions elected by the people. It is in keeping with the dignity of their posts that the so-called people’s representatives who are now in Parliament admit to holding dual citizenship and resign their posts. But three weeks later, none of our MPs have done so.

Ten MPs are said to have dual citizenship. Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leader Champika Ranawaka has stated this openly. If there are indeed ten such people, they are illegally sitting on the chairs of Parliament. Look at how Sri Lankan democracy is being ridiculed if there are illegal representatives within the country’s highest legislative council.

All members of the current Parliament were elected at the August 2020 general election. At that time, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which had a provision prohibiting dual citizens from contesting elections was in force. It is obvious that the MPs, who are said to hold dual citizenship, have concealed the truth when they filed nomination papers to contest that election. They have hidden the truth not only to the Election Commission, but also from the leaders of their parties. Or it must be said that the leaders nominated them as candidates despite knowing the truth.

The major issue in the matter is the problem facing the state institutions involved, including parliament, in identifying dual-citizenship MPs.

Continue reading ‘Political Party Leaders have a Moral Responsibility to find out if any of their party’s MPs have dual citizenship and if so ask them to resign their posts. Will they do so?’ »

Sri Lanka has Avoided a ‘crash-landing’ of economy and Instead Turned it into a Soft Landing at a Lower Point says Central Bank Governor Dr.Nandalal weerasinghe

Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said yesterday (15) that Sri Lanka was able to avoid the crash-landing of its economy, and turn it into a soft landing, but at a lower point.

“If we had not taken those macroeconomic measures, the situation would have been much worse,” he stated.

Commenting on the 2023 Budget presented to Parliament on Monday (14), the CBSL Governor emphasised that this stability could be carried forward with necessary reforms.

Sri Lanka needs to implement Budget proposals and reform measures to start earning crucial foreign exchange to help stabilise its economy and ensure it does not return to crisis, the Central Bank chief said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has Avoided a ‘crash-landing’ of economy and Instead Turned it into a Soft Landing at a Lower Point says Central Bank Governor Dr.Nandalal weerasinghe’ »

It appears that the President and his team do not wish the people to express their opposition to the economic reforms, either through elections or public protests.


BY Dr. Jehan Perera

(The writer is the Executive Director of the National Peace Council)

The primacy being given to the defence budget at a time of cost-slashing in virtually every other area is a pointer to the Government’s reliance on the security forces to maintain and exhibit political stability, and tighten its grip on power. It is also a reflection of the Government’s fears that the worst is still to come.

This does not bode well for the people, who are hoping that the country will overcome its worst-ever economic crisis soon. President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s accession to power was greeted with the hope, beyond its query of legitimacy, that he would be able to navigate through the prevailing political instability and access international support through his familiarity with international systems. This hope has yet to materialise. The last significant economic support to the country came from India before President Wickremesinghe took office.

At present, hopes are pinned on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) giving the country the loans it needs, which will be a green light to other credit agencies to resume business with Sri Lanka, which has been ostracised since it defaulted on its debt in March of this year. President Wickremesinghe has been forthright in saying that the Budget reflects the economic targets set by the IMF. The President has also promised to disclose the IMF proposals, which have so far remained a tightly guarded secret to the general public, which has in turn created doubts as to its impact on the standards of living for the majority of the people

.
The anger at the sacrifices that the IMF package is likely to call for may be directed against the President by potential successors. Other aspiring leaders in both the Government and the Opposition have been conveying the message that they will protect the people better if they get the chance.

Continue reading ‘It appears that the President and his team do not wish the people to express their opposition to the economic reforms, either through elections or public protests.’ »

Veteran Actor Krishna Renowned as the ‘Daring and Dashing Hero’ of Telugu Cinema passes away at 79; father of Actor Mahesh Babu was at one time Described as the James Bond of Telugu films


BY SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO,R. RAVIKANTH REDDY

Krishna Ghattamaneni, fondly referred to as Superstar Krishna by legions of Telugu cinema viewers and hailed for his iconic portrayal of Alluri Seetharama Raju, breathed his last at 4:10 a.m. on Tuesday (Nov 15).

He was being treated at Continental Hospitals in Hyderabad, reportedly following a cardiac arrest. He was 79 and is survived by a son and actor Mahesh Babu, and daughters Padmavati, Manjula, and Priyadarshini. Krishna’s passing comes barely weeks after the demise of his first wife Indira Devi on September 28, 2022. His second wife Vijaya Nirmala passed away in 2019. His eldest son Ramesh Babu too is no more.

Condolences have been pouring in from film personalities across the country, political dignitaries, and millions of fans. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao condoled the death while TPCC president, A. Revanth Reddy hailed him as a hero who brought dynamism into Telugu films introducing Hollywood kind portrayals.
Career spanning more than five decades

Continue reading ‘Veteran Actor Krishna Renowned as the ‘Daring and Dashing Hero’ of Telugu Cinema passes away at 79; father of Actor Mahesh Babu was at one time Described as the James Bond of Telugu films’ »

Freedom of the press has come under increasing pressure, risk, threat, and targeted assault in India over the past eight years, after a BJP-majority gov came to power at the Centre, setting the stage for a communal-authoritarian offensive that has been termed “the second coming of Hindutva.”


By

N.Ram

(N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and Frontline , is currently a Director in The Hindu Group Publishing Private Limited. He is the recipient of several journalism awards and of the Padma Bhushan (for journalism), 1990, and Sri Lanka Ratna, 2005).

The military-style “search and seize” raid conducted on October 31, 2022 by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police at the offices of The Wire and the homes of its three founding editors, Siddharth Varadarajan, M.K.Venu, and Sidharth Bhatia, deputy editor Jahnavi Sen, and product-and-business head Mithun Kidambi marks a new low for media freedom in India.

The police seized various devices and the hard disks of two computers used by the accounts staff under cover of investigating a criminal case. This case is based on a complaint made by Amit Malviya, a BJP leader who heads the ruling party’s national Information Technology department, that the three Meta stories published earlier in October by The Wire were a conspiracy to harm his reputation through forgery.

The Wire placed on record its demand for the hash value—a unique numerical value used to ensure the integrity of a device and its data—of the mobile phones, iPads, computers, and hard disks seized and for cloned copies of the devices and hard disks seized to be kept at a neutral place. But this reasonable and lawful demand was simply ignored.

The First Information Report (FIR) registered by the police against the journalists covers charges under the Indian Penal Code of “cheating and dishonesty” (Section 420) , “forgery for purpose of cheating” (468), “forgery for the purpose of harming reputation” (469), “using as genuine a forged document or electronic record” (471), “punishment for defamation” (500), all read along with provisions covering “punishment for criminal conspiracy”(120B) and “acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention” (34).

Continue reading ‘Freedom of the press has come under increasing pressure, risk, threat, and targeted assault in India over the past eight years, after a BJP-majority gov came to power at the Centre, setting the stage for a communal-authoritarian offensive that has been termed “the second coming of Hindutva.”’ »

While their release is no occasion to celebrate, contrary to what sections of the media and the political class seem to believe, it is not one for lamentation either. A sense that 31 years of imprisonment is punishment enough does indeed prevail.

(TEXT OF EDITORIAL APPEARING IN “THE HINDU” OF 14 NOVEMBER 2022 UNDER THE HEADING “A SENSE OF AN ENDING”)

The release of the six remaining convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case marks the end of a tragic episode that began with India’s disastrous involvement in Sri Lanka’s internal strife in the 1980s. The assassination in May 1991, ordered by the LTTE leadership and carried out by a suicide bomber, caused revulsion.

However, over time, the prolonged incarceration of the seven persons ultimately found guilty evoked some public sympathy. Political parties in Tamil Nadu campaigned for the release of the four convicts on death row and three serving life terms.

The Supreme Court commuted the death sentences to life in 2014. A resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu Cabinet in 2018 for releasing them under Article 161 of the Constitution was not acted upon by the then Governor for a long time.

Ultimately, he forwarded it to the Centre for its opinion. The Court, earlier this year, found no constitutional basis for the Governor’s action and invoked its extraordinary powers to order the release of A.G. Perarivalan. The same benefit has now been extended to others. While their release is no occasion to celebrate, contrary to what sections of the media and the political class seem to believe, it is not one for lamentation either.

Continue reading ‘While their release is no occasion to celebrate, contrary to what sections of the media and the political class seem to believe, it is not one for lamentation either. A sense that 31 years of imprisonment is punishment enough does indeed prevail.’ »

President Wickremesinghe presents crucial Budget aimed at ‘recovery and reform’ of Sri Lankan economy;govt plans to achieve economic growth of upto 8%, annual growth of $3 billion from new exports, and over $3 billion in FDIs in the next decade


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka will adopt policies geared towards a “social market economy”, to achieve high growth, increased export revenue and Foreign Direct Investment, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday, presenting his first annual Budget since assuming charge in July.

The Sri Lankan economy plunged into its worst ever crisis this year. As the island’s acute Balance of Payments problem rapidly drained its foreign reserves, the government opted to default on its $51-billion debt in April. Through the following months, citizens endured severe shortages of essentials, including food items, fuel, and medicines. Sri Lanka witnessed an unprecedented people’s uprising that ousted former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe presents crucial Budget aimed at ‘recovery and reform’ of Sri Lankan economy;govt plans to achieve economic growth of upto 8%, annual growth of $3 billion from new exports, and over $3 billion in FDIs in the next decade’ »

Sensational Capture and “Unofficial” Execution of JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Patabandi Don Nandasiri Wijeweera known to the world at large as Rohana Wijeweera was killed 33 years ago on 13 November 1989.The revolutionary leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or People’s Liberation Front was 49 years old at the time of his death.

Patabendi Don Jinadasa Nandasiri Wijeweera (14 July 1943 – 13 November 1989)

The mastermind behind two bloody insurrections – in 1971 and from 1987 to 89 – was taken into custody on 12 November in the Kandy District and brought to Colombo. With Wijeweera’s capture and execution, the second JVP insurgency petered down gradually and ended.

The second JVP insurgency lasting for more than three years resulted in thousands of people being brutally killed by both the JVP as well as the counter insurgency forces comprising Police, paramilitary and security personnel. While no reliable estimates are available of the number of killings done by security personnel and other agents of the state, there are official figures of the killings done by the JVP.

Continue reading ‘Sensational Capture and “Unofficial” Execution of JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera.’ »

“State Terror” in Colombo: The “Officially Sanctioned Unofficial Execution” of Tamil MP Nadarajah Raviraj

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The election of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s fifth executive president in November 2005 saw the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) intensifying. The new president appointed his US citizen younger brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the all-powerful secretary of Defence. Gotabaya retired colonel of the Sri Lankan army his erstwhile comrade at arms and fellow Anandian General Sarath Fonseka as the Army commander. Thereafter the war effort progresse under the Political, Administrative and Military leadership of the president, defence secretary and Army chief respectively. Ultimately the LTTE was militarily defeate on the banks of the Nandhikkadal lagoon in May 2009.

The Rajapaksa Government believed in the credo of the end justifying the means. Therefore the Rajapaksa regime resorted to several “unorthodox” measures during the war. One of these was what is described in human rights parlance as “officially sanctioned unofficial executions”. Assassination became a weapon of the dirty war. Two of the earliest victims were two members of Parliament belonging to the Tamil National Alliance(TNA).

Continue reading ‘“State Terror” in Colombo: The “Officially Sanctioned Unofficial Execution” of Tamil MP Nadarajah Raviraj’ »

While Evading Accountability Issues, Sri Lanka Created “Strange Institutions”like the LLRC in a Strategic Move to Provide “Fig Leaf “Excuses for Countries not wanting to Take a Strong Position on Accountability for Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva


By
Amanda Taub

A decade ago, Kate Cronin-Furman, then a Ph.D. student in political science at Columbia University, noticed something odd.
The government of Sri Lanka, which the United Nations and international observers had accused of killing tens of thousands of civilians during the final phases of that country’s devastating civil war, had started creating what Cronin-Furman called “strange institutions” that were supposedly tasked with accountability for atrocities during the war.

“There was a Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission. There was a so-called Army Court of inquiry. There were a couple of other commissions set up,” said Cronin-Furman, who is now a political science professor at University College London.

These proliferating new commissions and courts seemed to accept, for the first time, the possibility that atrocities had taken place, even though the Sri Lankan government was still furiously denying that. But the new institutions seemed to bring few if any results, and accordingly did nothing to stem the torrent of international criticism from survivors’ groups and human rights organizations, or from the countries that had backed calls for an international inquiry.

So why create them?

Answering that question led Cronin-Furman to a much bigger question: whether, and how, international pressure can convince states to change their behavior, with a specific focus on something they tended to be very, very reluctant to do: provide accountability for mass atrocities. Her answer is the subject of her new book, “Hypocrisy and Human Rights.”

To my great surprise, I found it actually gave me some hope about the way power works and can be worked with. Here’s my conversation with Cronin-Furman, edited for length and clarity, about the issue.


Amanda Taub: When you went looking for an explanation for these strange institutions, as you called them, what did you discover?

Continue reading ‘While Evading Accountability Issues, Sri Lanka Created “Strange Institutions”like the LLRC in a Strategic Move to Provide “Fig Leaf “Excuses for Countries not wanting to Take a Strong Position on Accountability for Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva’ »

For the first time since Sri Lanka’s independence from British colonial rule, the “Aragalaya” made the country’s politicians cower in fear. That fact, must be distinguished from the political factions which captured the struggle, polluted the core and led to the near extinction of the ‘Aragalaya.’


By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

When there is muttering in some quarters as to, ‘what has the Aragalaya achieved?’, an easy answer comes to mind.

The gains of the “Aragalaya’

Notwithstanding the predictable corruption of that struggle by the political establishment which is a point that I will return to later, this spontaneous eruption of massive public fury for the first time since Sri Lanka’s independence from British colonial rule, made the country’s politicians cower in fear. That fact, in and of itself, must be distinguished from the political factions which captured the struggle, polluted the core and led to the nearextinction of the ‘Aragalaya.’

To be clear, that extinction process was hastened by lawyers who stood on ‘Aragalaya’ platforms loudly proclaiming that the Constitution and the law should be tossed into the dustbin and by tousled youth intoxicated with power who declared that, the nation’s leader must be a person ‘approved’ by them.’ Neither was it edifying to see their comrades storming into the state television studios, demanding that all programmes must be stopped and, only ‘Aragalaya’ news telecast.

Indeed, that thread of immature arrogance reflected, uncannily, the arrogance of the very political rulers who were the target of their anger.

Politicisation of the ‘occupation of Galle Face Green’ came from many quarters, all with political aims and ambitions in mind. Captains of industry linked to the (then) opposition United National Party (UNP) wanted the Rajapaksas out and ‘their man’ put in, thus, ‘funding the struggle in several ways, to fade away when that shift of power took place.

Continue reading ‘For the first time since Sri Lanka’s independence from British colonial rule, the “Aragalaya” made the country’s politicians cower in fear. That fact, must be distinguished from the political factions which captured the struggle, polluted the core and led to the near extinction of the ‘Aragalaya.’’ »

The Sinhalese are generally inclined to think that their ethnic group is the highest or the best of all ethnic groups in the world. At the same time, they tend to look down upon the people who are not from the Govigama caste It is also a feature found in Tamil society as well.

By

Victor Ivan

What is the root cause of the great collapse, failure and bankruptcy of Sri Lanka? The most popular belief has been that it was due to corruption of politicians and the bureaucracy. Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda, one of Sri Lanka’sm foremost biodiversity experts in his recent speech at the convocation of the Sri Jayewardenepura University, stated that the actions initiated by the Government disregarding common sense is the root cause of the present crisis facing the country.

Printing money in enormous amounts as much as Rs. 2.3 billion in paper by the Central Bank to overcome the balance of payments crisis, change of the agriculture policy overnight and switching from the use of chemical fertilisers to organic fertilisers, promoting Dhammika Paniya as a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic, are three examples cited to show the actions taken disregarding common sense or rather ignoring scientific considerations.

There is a great deal of truth in what Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda says. But acting without common sense or disregarding science is not something that has fallen all of a sudden from the sky during the regime of Gotabaya; and it can be considered as a weird situation that has been developing in the country over a long time.

Continue reading ‘The Sinhalese are generally inclined to think that their ethnic group is the highest or the best of all ethnic groups in the world. At the same time, they tend to look down upon the people who are not from the Govigama caste It is also a feature found in Tamil society as well.’ »

There are enough Basil Rajapaksa loyalists managed by “His Masters Voice” Sagara Kariyawasam in the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna to create problems if President Ranil Wickremesinghe wants to be his own man.

By Rajasinghe

It all started when Basil Rajapaksa (BR) decided to leave Sri Lanka in a hurry when the Aragalaya had toppled brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) and driven brother Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) to Trincomalee under the care of the Navy to hide in a secure camp to escape a lynching.

BR’s attempt to leave Katunayake via an Emirates flight to Dubai and Los Angeles was thwarted by immigration and the airline’s officials. He left a few days later after ensuring that his nominee Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) was guaranteed safe passage to the presidency with the backing of his Pohottuwa (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna – SLPP) acolytes. But he left behind a fractured SLPP and a spokesman who is continuously vilified not only by the Opposition but also by his own party members.

Continue reading ‘There are enough Basil Rajapaksa loyalists managed by “His Masters Voice” Sagara Kariyawasam in the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna to create problems if President Ranil Wickremesinghe wants to be his own man.’ »

The Govt had better realise that if it tries to postpone the LG polls again, it will face an even bigger political risk, for the people will pour into the streets demanding a general election. It has a choice between trouble and double trouble!


(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of 12th November 2022 under the Heading “Govt. can choose between trouble and double trouble”)

Government politicians may pretend that they are not scared of anyone or anything, but all it takes to make them head for the hills is to say, “Election”. Such is these worthies’ fear of facing the people despite their braggadocio.

SLPP leaders recently told a group of their party supporters that local government LG elections would be postponed for two years, dissident SLPP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera has told the media. If his claim is true, then the government is contemplating a blatant violation of the election laws, according to which the Election Commission now has to hold the LG polls before the end of March 2023.

Legal experts inform us that any attempt to put off the LG elections further can be challenged in courts, and it will be an open-and-shut case.

The Opposition has warned that it will be left with no alternative but to take to the streets in case of another poll postponement. So, the government will have more problems to contend with, on both legal and political fronts if it seeks to put off the LG polls once again.

Continue reading ‘The Govt had better realise that if it tries to postpone the LG polls again, it will face an even bigger political risk, for the people will pour into the streets demanding a general election. It has a choice between trouble and double trouble!’ »

Indian Supreme Court Orders Release of the remaining six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case- Nalini Sriharan, Santhan alias Raviraj, Murugan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran alias Ravi. Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna ordered that “the appellants are directed to be set at liberty if not required in any other matter”.

by Ananthakrishnan G

THE SUPREME COURT Friday set free all the six convicts serving life terms for the assassination in 1991 of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, extending to them the benefit of its order releasing co-convict A G Perarivalan nearly six months ago.

Hearing pleas by the six convicts, a bench of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna noted that the death sentence of the applicants had been commuted to life terms earlier on account of delays. “We direct that all the appellants are deemed to have served their sentence. The applicants are thus directed to be released unless required in any other case,” the bench said.

Those who have been allowed premature release are Nalini Sriharan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, V Sriharan alias Murugan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran alias Ravi.

Continue reading ‘Indian Supreme Court Orders Release of the remaining six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case- Nalini Sriharan, Santhan alias Raviraj, Murugan, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran alias Ravi. Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna ordered that “the appellants are directed to be set at liberty if not required in any other matter”.’ »

“We Cant help wondering whether some in the Govt ranks Know that they are going to stay for a long time in Prison and so are creating luxurious apartments in prisons beforehand so that when they go there they can live in comfort.”- MA Sumanthiran MP

(Text of Speech made by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran in Parliament on 10th November 2022)

Thank you Hon. Deputy Speaker for the time given to speak on this very important amendments that have been presented today, I wish to flag just two issues, one is with regard to the amendment to Poisons, Opium and dangerous drug amendment .

There is a concern that the bail application has to now be made through the Court of Appeal instead of High Court. Now this is a very serious issue, this is not a question of making bail stringent. This is a question of access to Justice.

I am saying that because Court of Appeal sits only in Colombo, whereas now with the provincial High Courts you can go to your provincial capital. In lots of instances High Court sit in more than one city or town in a province, and you can make an application.

Now this is very important , this is not a question of being lenient towards a possession of dangerous drugs, this is about anybody who is accused of this offence being able to go to court.

Access to justice must not be denied.

Continue reading ‘“We Cant help wondering whether some in the Govt ranks Know that they are going to stay for a long time in Prison and so are creating luxurious apartments in prisons beforehand so that when they go there they can live in comfort.”- MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Opposition parties and trade unions intent on killing Tax reforms ,instead of negotiating to better them, are no different from the Rajapaksas who bay for positions, perks, and privileges in a dying country.


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Masons, when they start upon a building,Are careful to test out the scaffolding…” – Seamus Heaney (Scaffolding)

During the Trump presidency, asked whether his extremely popular wife will be the next Democratic nominee, Barack Obama would say that there were only three certitudes in life, death, taxes, and Michelle not contesting the presidency. Just as death is a fact of human condition, taxes, in some form or other, have been a fact of political condition. The first recorded tax goes as far back as 5,000 years to ancient Egypt, a levy on grain harvests paid in grain. The Caesars made full use of both income and wealth taxes. All those roads and aqueducts needed cash.

Cash and its absence; the October report by the IFRC, based on a survey in 11 districts, identifies food insecurity, health, livelihoods, and nutrition as main concerns, followed by deteriorating physical safety and security and violence against women and children. People are “borrowing heavily, eating less food and fewer times per day, pawning valuables and assets,” and using “other survival strategies just to scrape by.” Life turned nasty, brutish, probably shorter, and definitely unbearable. For these vulnerable men, women, and children a more effective safety net is a matter of life and death, in the most literal sense.

Cash again. Of course, one could just print money. As the Rajapaksas did; more than 2 trillion rupees in two and a half years. Asked about it in August 2021, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, then state minister of Money, Capital Markets, and Public Enterprise Reform, called it a ‘drastic treatment’ to a ‘major illness’ (a major illness caused by 2019 Rajapaksa tax cut with an estimated loss around Rs. 700 billion). Cabraal (who would soon become the governor of the Central Bank having changed the law to give himself cabinet status and a hefty pension), said the US printed money, so can we. Since the American dollar happens to be the international reserve currency, that ‘reasoning’ would be as deadly as dashing off to climb Everest in the same clothes one wore to climb Pidurutalagala because both are ‘tallest mountains’.

In the same Daily Mirror interview, Cabraal airily dismissed inflation concerns and assured there was no ‘alarming foreign exchange crisis’. “The torturers sleep soundly,” wrote, Zbigniew Herbert. So do fools.

So here we are, bankrupt, cashless. No way out but taxation. The real question is not to tax or not, but who should bear the burden of new and increased taxes in real terms.

Continue reading ‘Opposition parties and trade unions intent on killing Tax reforms ,instead of negotiating to better them, are no different from the Rajapaksas who bay for positions, perks, and privileges in a dying country.’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe Invites all Tamil MPs for Talks Next week to Discuss issues faced by the Tamil people and how to resolve them amicably without any outside interference before the 75th Independence celebrations next year


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Addressing Parliament yesterday (10), President Ranil Wickremesinghe invited all Tamil MPs for a discussion scheduled next week in regard to issues faced by the Tamil people and to resolve them amicably without any outside interference prior to the 75th Independence celebrations.

President Wickremesinghe said: “We are discussing issues of the Tamil people in the North. For now, we have released a number of prisoners and there are many to be released. For example, there is a writer against whom a case has been filed. When the action is concluded and if he is proven guilty, he too will be given the same support. He had been linked to the Piththala Junction attack. We will discuss this issue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the relevant former President. We want to solve this issue.”

He emphasised that the issue of missing persons will also be discussed and noted that so far, 2,000 files relating to their cases have been completed.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe Invites all Tamil MPs for Talks Next week to Discuss issues faced by the Tamil people and how to resolve them amicably without any outside interference before the 75th Independence celebrations next year’ »

President Wickremesinghe Tells Parliament that Sri Lanka will Receive Assistance from IMF; “I met Georgieva(IMF Managing Director) and discussed this with her, and she promised to assist us, so do not worry about it.” Says Ranil

BY Kiara Warnasuriya

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing Parliament yesterday (10), assured that Sri Lanka would receive assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), claiming that he was promised the same by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

“I met Georgieva and discussed this with her, and she promised to assist us, so do not worry about it.”

The President further stated that discussions with China and India regarding their support to Sri Lanka are yet to take place. “I requested both the countries to finalise this before the end of December.”

The President attended the COP27 Conference on Climate Change earlier this week accompanied by Environmental Minister Naseer Ahamed, Presidential Advisor on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene and Presidential International Advisor on Climate Change, Maldivian Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Tells Parliament that Sri Lanka will Receive Assistance from IMF; “I met Georgieva(IMF Managing Director) and discussed this with her, and she promised to assist us, so do not worry about it.” Says Ranil’ »

Army Says no LTTE Members Surrendered to them but Family Members of Missing Persons say they personally Handed Over their Loved Ones to the Security Forces and are therefore Joint Witnesses to the Surrender


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Relatives of missing persons noted on Monday (7) that they themselves are “joint witnesses” of their loved ones surrendering to security forces at the end of the war, and queried how the Army, therefore, could deny the evidence of those who surrendered.
Speaking to The Morning, Association for the Relatives of Enforced Disappearances Secretary Leeladevi Anandanadarajah queried how the Army could claim a lack of evidence regarding those who surrendered thus, when the relatives of the missing are joint witnesses to the same.

“We are the witnesses who saw our relatives and friends surrender. Many of those who surrendered their loved ones at the end of the war are joint witnesses. Everyone had seen other families similarly handing over their loved ones to security forces at the end of the war,” she said, adding: “When my son was being surrendered, I saw him, and the mother who was next to me saw him too. Similarly, I too saw her son being surrendered. Therefore, we are joint witnesses. If it is about one person, they can assume that it is a lie, but we are joint witnesses and this is regarding a number of persons. How can they deny it? We will appeal to the international community.”

Continue reading ‘Army Says no LTTE Members Surrendered to them but Family Members of Missing Persons say they personally Handed Over their Loved Ones to the Security Forces and are therefore Joint Witnesses to the Surrender’ »

Peacocks, monkeys, toque macaques (“rilava”), grizzled giant squirrels (“dadu lena”), porcupines, and wild boars removed from the list of protected animals because they Consume Crops and Coconuts;Elephants remain Protected because they are a Tourist Attraction


BY Safrah Fazal

Peacocks, monkeys, toque macaques (“rilava”), grizzled giant squirrels (“dadu lena”), porcupines, and wild boars have been removed from the list of protected animals, and measures to control the population of these wild animals are being examined, considering the massive crop damage they are causing.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (10), an official from the Ministry of Agriculture noted that elephants, peacocks, monkeys, toque macaques, grizzled giant squirrels, porcupines, and wild boars have been listed as the wild animals that caused the most significant crop damage.

“Since elephants attract local and foreign tourists, they will remain in the protected list of animals, while the otherd have been taken off the list.”

Continue reading ‘Peacocks, monkeys, toque macaques (“rilava”), grizzled giant squirrels (“dadu lena”), porcupines, and wild boars removed from the list of protected animals because they Consume Crops and Coconuts;Elephants remain Protected because they are a Tourist Attraction’ »

When an Air Force “Giant Bomb” Killed the LTTE’s “Smiling Face” 15 Years ago.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Fifteen years ago on 2nd November 2007, the former political wing chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTEE), Thamilselvan (spelled also as Tamilselvan and Thamilchelvan) was killed along with some other tiger operatives in an airstrike conducted by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). The incident grabbed worldwide attention when it happened because Thamilselvan was to a very great extent the public and political face of the LTTE in those days.

40-year-old Thamilselvan was killed along with five other tiger cadres in the early hours of the morning on Friday November 2nd 2007. Subsequently another injured tiger also died. Two jet bombers, an Israeli K-fir and a Russian built MIG-27 had engaged in aerial bombardment at first light between 5.55-6.00 a.m. The target area was suburban Thiruvaiyaaru about three km from Kilinochchi town in the Wanni region controlled extensively by the tigers at that time.

Continue reading ‘When an Air Force “Giant Bomb” Killed the LTTE’s “Smiling Face” 15 Years ago.’ »

Speculation Rife that 13 MPs From the Samagi Jana Balavegaya and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna will Join the United National Party on November 14;Sajith Premadasa says no SJB MP will Join this Rotten Govt


BY Buwanajee Coralage

Amidst speculation that the MPs of several political parties are in discussions to join the United National Party (UNP) and support the new Government in the upcoming Budget, Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa claimed that none of the SJB MPs will succumb to the privileges offered to them and join the Government.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday (9), he stated that no amount of incentives could be used to lure MPs from the SJB to the side of the Government, and that no MP from his party is willing or ready to join this “rotten” Government.

Continue reading ‘Speculation Rife that 13 MPs From the Samagi Jana Balavegaya and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna will Join the United National Party on November 14;Sajith Premadasa says no SJB MP will Join this Rotten Govt’ »

Election Commission Chairman Nimal Punchihewa Acknowledges That the Veddah Community,Women,Youth and Differently Abled persons are Inadequately Represented in Parliament

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

While acknowledging that there is an issue with regard to the representation of certain groups such as the indigenous community (Veddas), women, youth, and the differently-abled in Parliament, the Election Commission (EC) stated that it is Parliament that should study the matter further and take steps to resolve the issue.

Speaking to The Morning, Election Commission Chairman Attorney-at-Law Nimal G. Punchihewa said that there is an issue with regard to the representation of groups such as the indigenous community, women, youth and the differently-abled in Parliament.

He also said that the Commission has pointed this out to the Parliamentary Select Committee that recently looked into appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system.

Continue reading ‘Election Commission Chairman Nimal Punchihewa Acknowledges That the Veddah Community,Women,Youth and Differently Abled persons are Inadequately Represented in Parliament’ »

Construction of the Adani Group-led Terminal Project at the sSrategically Located Colombo Port Officially Commences a year after the Indian company sealed the deal with Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and conglomerate John Keells Holdings.


By

Meera Srinivasan

The construction of the Adani Group-led terminal project at the strategically located Colombo Port officially commenced on Wednesday, a year after the Indian company sealed the deal with Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and conglomerate John Keells Holdings.

Said to be the largest foreign investment — nearly $700 million — in the island nation’s ports sector, the West Container Terminal (WCT) project was offered as a “compromise” to India after Colombo unilaterally pulled out of an earlier trilateral agreement with India and Japan to jointly develop the East Container Terminal (ECT).

Continue reading ‘Construction of the Adani Group-led Terminal Project at the sSrategically Located Colombo Port Officially Commences a year after the Indian company sealed the deal with Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and conglomerate John Keells Holdings.’ »

The Adani Group’s port deal in Sri Lanka;As per the 35 year-long BOT agreement, the Adani Group will have majority, 51%, stakes, while John Keells would hold 34%, and the SLPA, 15%.


BY

Meera Srinivasan

On September 30, 2021, the Gujarat-headquartered Adani Group signed a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) agreement with Sri Lanka’s largest listed company John Keells Holdings and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to jointly develop the Colombo West International Container Terminal (CWICT) at the strategically advantaged Colombo Port, located amidst one of the busiest shipping routes in the world.

Primarily a container port, the Colombo Port has handled over 5 million TEU of containerised cargo. It has five functional terminals.

As per the 35 year-long BOT agreement inked by the three parties, the Adani Group will have majority, 51%, stakes, while John Keells would hold 34%, and the SLPA, 15%. The more than $700-million investment is said to be the largest foreign investment in the island nation’s port sector.]

Issuing a statement on the deal, the SLPA said, “the massive development” following the agreement, will further enhance the Colombo Port’s “global reputation as an international hub port”.

What is the backstory?

Continue reading ‘The Adani Group’s port deal in Sri Lanka;As per the 35 year-long BOT agreement, the Adani Group will have majority, 51%, stakes, while John Keells would hold 34%, and the SLPA, 15%.’ »

Office of Missing Persons Chair Mahesh Katulanda says there are no persons went missing in Sri Lanka; TPA Leader Mano Ganesan MP asks Justice Minister to Remove OMP chair and queries “ why should he be in the OMP if no one went missing?


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Mano Ganesan yesterday (8) said in Parliament that Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Chairman Attorney Mahesh Katulanda should be replaced, and queried as to the reason for the existence of the OMP if its chairman claims that there are no missing persons in this country.

Continue reading ‘Office of Missing Persons Chair Mahesh Katulanda says there are no persons went missing in Sri Lanka; TPA Leader Mano Ganesan MP asks Justice Minister to Remove OMP chair and queries “ why should he be in the OMP if no one went missing?’ »

Swiss Embassy Employee Ms.Francis Submits Writttten Objections to Colombo High Court Stating the Case Against her cannot be Maintained; HC Judge Directs Attorney-General to Respond Within 3 Weeks in Writing

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Ganier Banister Francis, an employee of the Swiss Embassy in Sri Lanka submitted written objections before the Colombo High Court yesterday (8) claiming that the case against her with regard to the alleged provision of false information to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), thereby embarrassing the Government, cannot be maintained.

When the relevant case was taken up before Colombo High Court Judge Namal Balalle, President’s Counsel Kalinga Indatissa, appearing for the accused Francis, made the objections.

The Attorney General (AG) was then directed by the Judge to submit the former’s explanations regarding the written objections submitted by the accused in written format within three weeks starting from yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Embassy Employee Ms.Francis Submits Writttten Objections to Colombo High Court Stating the Case Against her cannot be Maintained; HC Judge Directs Attorney-General to Respond Within 3 Weeks in Writing’ »

Supreme Court Refuses to Grant Leave to Proceed for Two FR Petitions Filed by Muslim Women Challenging challenging Gazette Calling For Aplications only from Muslim males to be considered for appointment as Quazis and as Members of the Board of Quazis


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday (8) refused to grant leave to proceed for two separate Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed by a number of Muslim women challenging the Gazette dated 7 October 2022, which called for applications only from Muslim males to be considered for appointment as Quazis and as Members of the Board of Quazis.

Quazis are judges under the Muslim customary/matrimonial/personal legal system, the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA).
Accordingly, the petitioners had wanted the said Gazette notification amended to lift the bar imposed on females to apply.

The court did not provide any reason for the refusal.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Refuses to Grant Leave to Proceed for Two FR Petitions Filed by Muslim Women Challenging challenging Gazette Calling For Aplications only from Muslim males to be considered for appointment as Quazis and as Members of the Board of Quazis’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe proposes setting up International Climate Change University: Sri Lankan President criticises developed nations for reneging on their climate financing contributions

By

Meera Srinivasan

Pointing to the “lack of” capacity as the “biggest obstacle” to the implementation of climate action plans, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday proposed setting up an International Climate Change University in Sri Lanka, with an ancillary institution in the Maldives.

As island nations, Sri Lanka and the Maldives are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change, experts have repeatedly warned. “This seat of learning can be a trans-disciplinary global centre for green and blue studies – for scientists, environmentalists, researchers, policymakers, development practitioners, and…students the world over,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said, addressing the COP-27 Climate Change Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe proposes setting up International Climate Change University: Sri Lankan President criticises developed nations for reneging on their climate financing contributions’ »

Anura Kumara Dissanayake says JVP Shunned the 2 November Protest held by the SJB and FSP “ because it lacked discipline, co-ordination, and a clear objective”


BY Kiara Warnasuriya

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and National People’s Power (NPP) Leader and Opposition MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the reason why the JVP did not join the protest-march-cum-rally led by the main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), and the Frontline Socialist Party on 2 November was because it lacked discipline, co-ordination, and a clear objective.

“I received many calls before this protest. People were asking me if the JVP would join the protest, and when I answered no, they asked why not. On 2 November, the answer was given by the organisers,” said Dissanayake while speaking yesterday (7) at the NPP Homagama Assembly.

Continue reading ‘Anura Kumara Dissanayake says JVP Shunned the 2 November Protest held by the SJB and FSP “ because it lacked discipline, co-ordination, and a clear objective”’ »

Crucial Election Lies Ahead for Malaysia ; another opportunity to complete its transformation from a Third World nation to first.


By
Krishantha Prasad Cooray

The world is currently experiencing a moment of transition. This comes after the certainties and stability of the ‘end of history’ — the period spanning the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Global Financial Crisis.

We are witnessing many changes. We have seen the rise of China and to a lesser extent, India. The world is beginning to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The crisis in Ukraine has generated uncertainties regarding the global energy and food situations. We have seen the end of cheap credit and also the resurgence of populism, nationalism, parochialism, extremism and fundamentalism across the world, which among other things also reflect uncertainty and anxiety.

It is in such a tense world that Malaysia is set to determine her destiny and her place in a rapidly changing world. In such a moment it is imperative that the implications of global, economic and political processes for South-East Asia in general and Malaysia in particular are examined, assessed and responded to.

It is not all bad news. Opportunity typically is a quieter twin of crises. We should recall, for example, that there are always favourable tailwinds.

Continue reading ‘Crucial Election Lies Ahead for Malaysia ; another opportunity to complete its transformation from a Third World nation to first.’ »

The Unjust Arrest , Detention and Acquittal of Rishad Bathiudeen and the Political Witch-Hunt Launched Against the SLMC Leader by the Rajapaksa Regime.


By Safnee Ahamed

The Leader of All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and Vanni District Parliamentarian, Rishad Bathiudeen, is no stranger to controversy in Sri Lankan politics. However, lately it has appeared that much of the controversies involving him are fabricated tales to destroy his repute and standing among the public. Weeks after he was acquitted by Courts of the charge that he had misappropriated State resources to transport voters to Election booths, he has been acquitted by Courts once again. This time he was acquitted of the charges leveled by the then Gotabaya Rajapaksa led regime that he was involved in the Easter Attacks.

At the height of repressive policies against the Muslim community of Sri Lanka, during the holy month of Ramadhan, at midnight a Tweet from the Twitter handle of Rishad Bathiudeen caught the attention of many Sri Lankans. The CID had apparently surrounded his house seeking his arrest without a charge. They had breached the walls of his house in this pursuit. That night, the rain was pouring, and yet his party loyalists and supporters were quick to assemble at his premises. The CID had no reason to provide, but admitted they were present seeking the arrest of Rishad Bathiudeen under provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979.

That day, the CID did not present a charge, a warrant or the consent of the Speaker of Parliament. Rishad Bathiudeen was not the only person arrested though. His brother Riyaj Bathiudeen was arrested for a second time the previous day on a charge he was previously arrested and already acquitted. It was a clear case of a political betrayal and persecution. The case of oppression against minority communities, especially Tamils and Muslims including political activists, was highlighted in Resolution 46/1 of the 31st Special Session of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and also Resolution dated 10th of June, 2021 by the European Union (EU). Given that a Parliamentarian had been arrested without following due process, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) had also gotten involved.

Continue reading ‘The Unjust Arrest , Detention and Acquittal of Rishad Bathiudeen and the Political Witch-Hunt Launched Against the SLMC Leader by the Rajapaksa Regime.’ »

Mahinda, declares ‘Ranil Dhang apith ekka’ (Ranil is with us now). But Ranil may be saying: ‘They are with me now ‘. The indication he gives is that he will be president till the term of the ‘R-Paksas’ party ends.


By

Gamini Weerakoon


(The writer is a former editor of The Sunday Island, The Island and consultant editor of the Sunday Leader.)

The focus of the nation in recent times has been shifting from the ‘Glorious Uncertainties of cricket’ to inglorious uncertainties of politics and for the search of a square meal a day by the poor.

When our ‘Singha Pattaw’ (lion cubs) were all ga-ga after winning the Asia T-20 Cup, we warned about the uncertainties of the T-20 variety of the game pointing out that it was like our national card game Booruwa where the probabilities were 50-50.

The uncertainty in politics is much greater: a wild card out of the pack turning out to be the trump card. However, what the nation is going through is not a game of cards, cricket or politics. It is one of survival for the majority of the people.

In 2019 ‘Gota Rajapaksa’ polled that much celebrated 52.56 percent in the presidential election and next year the political patriarch of the ‘R-Paksas’, Mahinda, led their party, winning a near two-thirds majority, reducing Ranil Wickremesinghe to zero. Politically he was written off. But right now he is the president calling the shots and ruling the country with an iron fist.

The aging Mahinda, the political patriarch of the R-Paksas, declared two weeks ago, ‘Ranil Dhang apith ekka’ (Ranil is with us now). But the maverick Ranil may be saying: ‘They are with me now ‘. The indication he gives is that he will be president till the term of the ‘R-Paksas’ party ends.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda, declares ‘Ranil Dhang apith ekka’ (Ranil is with us now). But Ranil may be saying: ‘They are with me now ‘. The indication he gives is that he will be president till the term of the ‘R-Paksas’ party ends.’ »

Does the Govt think that mere denials and gagging public servants who speak openly about a matter of deep concern affecting this country’s future generations will make the ‘problem go away’?


By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

The Sri Lanka Government may be preening itself on taking the sting away from a combined political protest against state repression this Wednesday in Colombo. But let it be warned that its rejoicing comes too soon.

‘Stability’ vis a vis protests

Bristling lines of heavily helmeted and gas-mask wearing police officers may hold politically motivated protest marches off. But there is nothing that the tri-services and the police can do if the people collectively take matters into their own hands. This, we saw very well a few months ago where protestors ‘occupied’ high state buildings and forced a President, a Prime Minister and his Cabinet out. Once again, there is a massive surge of public discontent simmering under the surface.

It is a curate’s egg situation, in fact. The Government and business chambers have called for ‘stability’ and to abstain from protests as that may cripple a painfully recovering tourism sector among others. But these pleas are only partly the truth.

When the Government asks the people to endure, it must first lead by example which the motley crowd of politicians in power will not do. Instead all they do is fatten their pockets, still, in the midst of bankruptcy.

Even when they beg for aid, wearing their brightest smiles and posing in the backdrop of relief packages, they see no shame in the part that they played to bring about that disgraceful result.

Continue reading ‘Does the Govt think that mere denials and gagging public servants who speak openly about a matter of deep concern affecting this country’s future generations will make the ‘problem go away’?’ »

“The UNP is a sister party, not our foe. We were a breakaway and we broke away not on party policies, not because we are different in policy programmes. On the economy and the national question, we are the same. There were problems with Ranil about the handling of the party; that was not a main cause for the people.”- SJB MP Dr.Rajitha Senaratne


By Marianne David

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has to rethink its strategies if it is to launch struggles against the Government, says SJB MP Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, who however warns against playing politics at a time when the country has hit rock bottom. “First you have to feed the people,” he asserted, in an interview with The Sunday Morning.

As for opposing President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Government, he said: “We have to actually oppose his other anti-people actions only, not the economic programme. If we are against the economic programme, then we have to submit alternative proposals.”
In terms of the SJB’s disputed alliances and way forward, Dr. Senaratne said there was no division within the party, but that it had to rethink its alliances.

As things stand in Sri Lanka, the best way forward is to have an all-party government, he emphasised.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

The protest organised on 2 November exposed dissension brewing within the SJB regarding how the party should steer its course amid the current political developments. How do things stand now and what can be expected?

There is no division within the SJB but with the other parties, actually. The other main component was the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) and we are poles apart. Our policies, our programmes, everything is different to them. They can never understand our feelings. We understand their feelings but they are completely different. Their path of capturing power may be different to ours. When you march together with this type of people, divisions come up. The decisions taken as part of the political process are different between the two parties.

Everybody can be on a joint platform, but when you organise a demonstration like this, the SJB should lead. It should be a demonstration led by the SJB and joined by the others, not that we go and join with those people. That is what is happening now. They have shown that they have no idea about the unity of the forces. They don’t want it. Therefore we have to rethink our strategies if we are to launch struggles against the Government.

Continue reading ‘“The UNP is a sister party, not our foe. We were a breakaway and we broke away not on party policies, not because we are different in policy programmes. On the economy and the national question, we are the same. There were problems with Ranil about the handling of the party; that was not a main cause for the people.”- SJB MP Dr.Rajitha Senaratne’ »

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s ex-prime minister, survives an attempt on his life. Shooting lends credence to the former cricketer’s claims of a conspiracy

HE HAD JUST waved to the crowd from atop his caravan when gunshots broke through the strains of “Allah Hoo”, a famous devotional song, that had been blaring on the speakers alongside. Imran Khan and his associates ducked, but not before he took a bullet in the leg. Others near him were hit, too.

A gunman was quickly overpowered by a member of the crowd that had assembled to watch Mr Khan’s procession pass through the city of Wazirabad, near the river Chenab in the state of Pakistani Punjab. Mr Khan was sped away to hospital and is out of danger. But the shots will echo through the country for weeks, if not months, plunging Pakistan ever deeper into political uncertainty.

Mr Khan, a former prime minister, was removed from power in April after a vote of no confidence. He has made life miserable for the government ever since, pushing wild, unfounded claims that the army had conspired with America to depose him. He constantly demands fresh elections.

Continue reading ‘Imran Khan, Pakistan’s ex-prime minister, survives an attempt on his life. Shooting lends credence to the former cricketer’s claims of a conspiracy’ »

“we have a consensus as far as Russian foreign policy is concerned” States Vladimir Putin in response to a Question Posed by Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka to the Russian President in Moscow


By
Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The elder statesman, the Nelson Mandela of the global South’s Left, Lula returns to the world scene – also through BRICS – when humanity is in crisis and the world order in tumultuous transition. He will infuse a measure of hope and reason.

A positive planetary impact is his strongly environmentalist stance on the Amazon, one of the green lungs of the globe, a stance the exact opposite of outgoing right-wing President Bolsonaro who permitted privatisation of the forest and logging by corporates, causing murders, forest fires and the blowback of a (Jesuit-driven) synod on the Amazon by Pope Francis. Catholics voted for Lula; Evangelicals backed Bolsonaro.

Latin America’s politics in the 21st century has been dubbed ‘Fifty Shades of Pink’. The continent recently experienced a cascade of left-wing leaders elected in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Newsweek locates Lula’s victory within “a shift back to the Left now common in major Latin American economies”.

Pink Tides 1.0 and 2.0 prove that for any real progressive to lead a country, it is vastly better to have a nationally, directly elected presidency than merely a parliamentary democracy, because (a) republican popular sovereignty is expressed through the franchise in a more direct, less parochial and fragmented manner and (b) in most societies the majority consists of the economically hard-pressed, not the well-to-do.

With Fidel gone, Lula is the father figure of Latin America’s left. Vincent Bevins reported in the New York Review of Books that Lula kicked off his presidential comeback campaign in January 2022 outside a screening of the movie Marighella, together with its cast.

The film is about Carlos Marighella, dissident Communist leader from Sao Paulo and pioneering urban guerrilla, whose struggle against the military dictatorship of 1964 and subsequent martyrdom sowed the seeds of the spirit of resistance of which Lula’s Workers Party was the democratic harvest.

I was presenting a paper on the Nicaraguan Revolution at the Pugwash Conference in 1985 in Sao Paulo when Lula and his Workers Party (PT) were consolidating as giant factors in his vast industrial home base. I met Lula in Geneva 2009 during his first presidency, and presented him a signed copy of my book on Fidel.

Continue reading ‘“we have a consensus as far as Russian foreign policy is concerned” States Vladimir Putin in response to a Question Posed by Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka to the Russian President in Moscow’ »

As a seasoned politician, President Wickremesinghe is using his Machiavellian skills to use factionalism existing within almost all the parties, to push through legislation to restore the economy.

By

Col R Hariharan

During the month of October , the Sri Lankan government’s preliminary talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on structuring its economic recovery continued. However, debt restructuring continues to be delayed with China due to its preoccupation with the 20th NPC meetings of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Even negotiations with India and Japan are moving at a slow pace. Perhaps, this is due to their lingering doubts about the Wickremesinghe government’s ability to see through the structural reforms. In this context, President Wickremesinghe must be heartened by the show of solidarity for his actions by the US and some of the EU members, despite the use of high-handed methods to suppress public protests.

Internally, the passing of the 22nd Constitutional Amendment (originally introduced as 21A) to improve executive president’s accountability, the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to curb Aragalaya activism and the launching of the Rise Together (Ekwa Nagitimu) campaign at the grass roots to recoup the image of the Rajapaksas were key highlights of happenings in October 2022.

Continue reading ‘As a seasoned politician, President Wickremesinghe is using his Machiavellian skills to use factionalism existing within almost all the parties, to push through legislation to restore the economy.’ »

In the absence of institutional change and a new political class, Sri Lanka will alternate between “drift” and “relapse”, but never “take off”. Political incumbents, from the Rajapaksas, Ranil and Sajith down, will defend fortress walls to prevent such change, which would of course threaten their power and privileges.


By Razeen Sally

I have not written in these pages for a few years, not since I was an adviser to Ranil Wickremesinghe’s spectacularly misnamed Yahapalanaya Government until 2018. I was absent from Sri Lanka for over two years due to the pandemic, and watched the beginnings of the present catastrophe from Singapore, where I lived until recently. But I returned in April this year and spent eight weeks travelling in a crisis-ravaged island. What follows are my observations on the causes of this crisis, the present situation, and what might lie ahead.

Three scenarios revisited: Relapse redux

In December 2016 I gave an Advocata lecture on three scenarios of Sri Lanka’s future.

Scenario One I called “Drift”, extrapolating the then present under the Yahapalanaya Government to the future. That Government squandered the golden opportunity that came with regime change in 2015. It was a total shambles. No serious reforms materialised; nepotism and corruption remained rife. It reminded me of Lyn Ludowyk’s characterisation of Sir John Kotelawala’s Government:

The actions of the prime minister and the UNP seemed to be rotating further and further on an axis of their own away from the centre of the country’s strongest emotional interests. In the end, with shows and circuses becoming more prominent as in the Marx Brothers film, the orchestra and conductor drifted farther and farther on the lake where their raft had been moored. The conductor in desperation changed the score, but both orchestra and himself were lost in the distant horizon as events panned out to the general election of April 1956 which routed the UNP and marked the end of nine years of its rule.

Following the Marx Brothers analogy, Sri Lanka would drift aimlessly into the future with a low-growth economy always verging on crisis, a debt mountain, a bloated public sector, an ossified political and business elite, third-rate institutions, simmering ethnic tensions, and overdependence on China. Most Sri Lankans would continue to be undereducated, underskilled, underemployed and underpaid, leading underdeveloped lives they would pass on to their children and grandchildren.

Continue reading ‘In the absence of institutional change and a new political class, Sri Lanka will alternate between “drift” and “relapse”, but never “take off”. Political incumbents, from the Rajapaksas, Ranil and Sajith down, will defend fortress walls to prevent such change, which would of course threaten their power and privileges.’ »

Kandyan Sinhala Leaders Wanted Federalism and North -East Merger Before Lankan Tamil Leaders

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The course of contemporary politics in Sri Lanka has created a situation where federalism or the federal idea is identified with the political aspirations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The “IlangathThamizhar”or Lankan Tamils whose areas of historic habitation in the Island are the predominantly Tamil speaking Northern and Eastern provinces have for many decades sought to establish a federal or quasi-federal system of governance in these provinces.This demand has been looked upon with suspicion by the Sinhala people. So much so that federalism has become the “F- word” in Lankan politics.Even devolution is being turned into a “dirty” word by some nowadays.

Against this backdrop it is indeed ironic to note that federalism was first introduced to the political discourse of the country by Sinhala political leaders during British rule when Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon.It may also be interesting to note that when federalism as a form of governance was proposed in the pre – independence period by Sinhala leaders there were no takers for it among Tamils.

Continue reading ‘Kandyan Sinhala Leaders Wanted Federalism and North -East Merger Before Lankan Tamil Leaders’ »

Police Bloch Anti-Govt Protesr near Fort Railway Station; Sajith Premadasa and SJB MP’s retreat from Front to back Instead of Marching Forward and Leave Abandoning the People they led;Hirunika Premachandra Circumvents Police and Reaches Forts Station Via Another Route


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The much-hyped protest organised by several political parties, including the main Parliamentary Opposition – the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) – alongside civil organisations and trade unions, fizzled out to an anti-climax amidst protestors arguing with each other about the level of aggression and perseverance that should be employed, as well as the true intent of the MPs leading the protest.

Mainstream political parties and MPs including Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa were seen being criticised by the protestors, and the protest ended with the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), the “aragalaya” activists, the Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF), and the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) warning of another “aragalaya” soon.

The protest was organised by a number of political parties including the SJB, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the FSP, civil organisations and trade unions, including the CTU against President Wickremesinghe and the Government started yesterday evening from near the Elphinstone Theatre in Colombo 10.

It was scheduled to proceed towards the Colombo Fort Railway Station in the form of a protest march. Premadasa and SJB MPs Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Dr. Harsha de Silva, Hesha Withanage and Mujibur Rahman, SLFP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, “independent” MPs Patali Champika Ranawaka and Chandima Weerakkody, the Samagi Vanita Balawegaya National Organiser Hirunika Premachandra, Pubudu Jayagoda and Duminda Nagamuwa of the FSP, and CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin were present when the protest march commenced.

Continue reading ‘Police Bloch Anti-Govt Protesr near Fort Railway Station; Sajith Premadasa and SJB MP’s retreat from Front to back Instead of Marching Forward and Leave Abandoning the People they led;Hirunika Premachandra Circumvents Police and Reaches Forts Station Via Another Route’ »

Wanni District MP and Former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen MP Acquitted by Courts of all Charges Pertaining to the Easter Sunday Bombings;SLMC leader says he was Wrongfully Accused Due to Politucal Reasons


BY Buddhika Samaraweera and Buwanajee Coralage

Former Minister, incumbent Samagi Jana Balawegaya Opposition MP and All-Ceylon Makkal Congress Leader Rishad Bathiudeen, who was accused of supporting those who carried out the Easter Sunday terror attacks on 21 April 2019, claimed that he was wrongly accused for political reasons, following his aquittal of all charges by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday (2).

“I was imprisoned under false accusations directed just to win the Presidential Election, and these accusations also scarred the whole of the Muslim community,” claimed Bathiudeen while commenting to the media yesterday outside the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.

Bathiudeen’s Attorney N.M. Shaheid also claimed that his client was imprisoned for political revenge rather than based on factual evidence, and that this was proven by his acquittal yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Wanni District MP and Former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen MP Acquitted by Courts of all Charges Pertaining to the Easter Sunday Bombings;SLMC leader says he was Wrongfully Accused Due to Politucal Reasons’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe Instructs Wild;ife and Forest Conversation Minister Mahinda Amaraweera to explore possibilities of setting up a 1,000-acre safari sanctuary in the Northern Province


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

On the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation is currently focused on setting up a 1,000-acre safari sanctuary in the Northern Province.

Speaking to The Morning, an official of the ministry said that the President has instructed Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife, and Forest Resources Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera to explore possibilities for suitable land in the Northern Province to set up a 1,000-acre safari sanctuary.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe Instructs Wild;ife and Forest Conversation Minister Mahinda Amaraweera to explore possibilities of setting up a 1,000-acre safari sanctuary in the Northern Province’ »

Protesters Urge Sajith Premadasa and SJB Members to Move Past the Human Barricade Set up by Police to Block Protest March but Sajith and SJB Abandon Protest and Climb into their vehicles to leave amidst Jeers


Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and several members from the SJB were today seen leaving the anti government protest site after they failed to move past the human barricade set up by the police.

Much to the displeasure of the protestors who were seen urging Premadasa and the SJB members to move past the human barricade, the opposition Leader and opposition members were seen getting into their vehicles and leaving the protest site to maintain calm and non violence.

Continue reading ‘Protesters Urge Sajith Premadasa and SJB Members to Move Past the Human Barricade Set up by Police to Block Protest March but Sajith and SJB Abandon Protest and Climb into their vehicles to leave amidst Jeers’ »

Sri Lankan Police block an anti-government protest march in Colombo from Maradana to Fort , organised by Opposition parties, civic activists and trade unions


By

Meera Srinivasan

The Sri Lanka Police on Wednesday blocked an anti-government protest march organised by Opposition parties, civic activists and trade unions who demanded that the Ranil Wickremesinghe government “stop repression” and address the persisting economic crisis.

Members of Sri Lanka’s main Opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB or United People’s Force), along with student groups, lawyer and journalist collectives, and worker unions began a march from the busy Maradana locality north of the city centre, and planned to proceed towards Colombo’s Fort area. However, the police who earlier denied permission for the protest — despite many, including Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission, issuing statements underscoring citizens’ constitutional right to dissent — blocked participants from proceeding after a point.

Wednesday’s march followed a protest rally organised by trade unions affiliated to the Opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) last week, and points to a potential new wave of protests in Sri Lanka, as citizens reel under hyperinflation — 66 % in October — and food inflation of over 85 %, amid reports of starvation and a growing concern over state repression.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Police block an anti-government protest march in Colombo from Maradana to Fort , organised by Opposition parties, civic activists and trade unions’ »

“The JVP’s core ideology is the political version of katta sambol, which is so hot that it should not be overconsume. So, it is as unwise as making katta sambol a main dish to hand over the reins of government to the JVP.” – The Island

(Text of Editorial appearing in “The Island” of 2nd November 2022 under the heading Reds on high horse)

Cantankerous, holier-than-thou politicians are a dime a dozen in this country, which is badly in need of some honest, capable leaders. So, there is no dearth of braggadocio, and streams of invective on the political front. Many are the self-proclaimed messiahs who offer to deliver the hapless masses from suffering if they are voted into power.

The JVP would have the public believe that it has become popular enough to form the next government. It claims that the main political parties have ruined the country and incurred the wrath of the public; they are not equal to the task of solving the economic crisis, and therefore it is now in a position to capture state power. Hope is said to spring eternal, and anyone is free to dream or cherish delusions.

Continue reading ‘“The JVP’s core ideology is the political version of katta sambol, which is so hot that it should not be overconsume. So, it is as unwise as making katta sambol a main dish to hand over the reins of government to the JVP.” – The Island’ »

The JVP and SJB are battling for dominance in the opposition space which has expanded since the uprising.; each trying to outdo the other by resorting to populist slogans that are not only lacking in nuance but also contradicting their own ideology.

By

Himal Kotelawala

With the likelihood of an electoral collapse of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) still reasonably high, the country’s main opposition the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the leftist National People’s Power (NPP) appear to be engaged in a low-intensity turf war over the coveted “system change” mandate.

Though an election has yet to be announced — indeed, opposition parties across the board have expressed fears of an indefinite delay — the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led NPP has been busy organising well-planned and well-attended public events around the country.

The SJB in contrast has been slow to step up, with only a handful of pocket meetings and other events highlighted by the media, apart from the occasional press conference.

The JVP fired the first salvo. Former JVP parliamentarian K D Lal Kantha speaking at an event on Monday October 31 said there are crooks not just in the government but in the opposition benches too.
“Some people think that crooks are only on the government side. No, they’re there in the opposition too. Those who were in government before, held ministries before or were in cabinets before are all in the opposition too,” he said.“The opposition also considers the NPP a challenge.”

Continue reading ‘The JVP and SJB are battling for dominance in the opposition space which has expanded since the uprising.; each trying to outdo the other by resorting to populist slogans that are not only lacking in nuance but also contradicting their own ideology.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Health Care System, Much Praised in the Past, Affected Badly due to Prevailing Economic Crisis; health sector is still short of over 150 essential drugs

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s painful economic crisis may have let up a little, mainly for those who can afford higher living costs, but shortages continue to affect its noted health care system, according to officials and medical practitioners.

Despite international lending agencies and bilateral partners, especially India, pumping in emergency credit, the health sector is still short of over 150 essential drugs. “We are trying our best to maintain an optimum level of supplies, but there is a shortage,” Dr. D.R.K. Herath, Deputy Director General of the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division told The Hindu.

Compared to the severe shortages of fuel, food items, and medicinesthat Sri Lanka experienced earlier this year, when the government ran out of dollars, supplies have improved now, with the government rationing fuel, repurposing available funds, and obtaining support from bilateral partners, mainly India.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Health Care System, Much Praised in the Past, Affected Badly due to Prevailing Economic Crisis; health sector is still short of over 150 essential drugs’ »

Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda Visits Kurunthoor Malai in Mullaitivu, Vedukkunari Malai in Vavuniya and Gives Assurance that Temple Related Issues in North will be Resolved Positively and Amicably


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda yesterday (1) met parties connected to the Kurunthoor Malai temple in Mullaitivu and the Vedukkunari Malai temple in Vavuniya, both in the Northern Province, and assured that a positive and amicable settlement will be reached regarding longstanding temple-related issues.

Speaking to The Morning, Devananda yesterday said that he had met the parties involved in both the Kurunthoor Malai and Vedukkunari Malai temples and assured that the longstanding issues relating to their places of worship will be met with a positive settlement.

Continue reading ‘Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda Visits Kurunthoor Malai in Mullaitivu, Vedukkunari Malai in Vavuniya and Gives Assurance that Temple Related Issues in North will be Resolved Positively and Amicably’ »

Our Power of People Party MP Athuraliye Rathana Thera Wants Sri Lanka to Follow Independent Strategy of Printing Money like Myanmar,Korea and Cuba Instead of Adhering to International Monetary Fund(IMF) Imposed Conditions


BY Kiara Warnasuriya

Ape Jana Bala Pakshaya (Our Power of People Party) MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera stated yesterday (1) that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not the answer to Sri Lanka’s present crisis, claiming that it has not succeeded in saving a single country over the past few years, and that it will therefore, not succeed in saving Sri Lanka either.

“From 2015 to date, the IMF has not been able to save a single country. The result of dealing with the IMF will be that any independent strategy that is available to Sri Lanka to emerge from this crisis will be blocked.”

The monk observed that one such independent strategy is printing money, and pointed out that the IMF cannot impose any conditions on countries like Myanmar, the Republic of Korea , and Cuba, because they print their own money.

Continue reading ‘Our Power of People Party MP Athuraliye Rathana Thera Wants Sri Lanka to Follow Independent Strategy of Printing Money like Myanmar,Korea and Cuba Instead of Adhering to International Monetary Fund(IMF) Imposed Conditions’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe Says his Taking Over a Country that had Declared Bankruptcy was like taking over the Titanic after the ship hit the iceberg.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday described his accession to power in crisis-hit Sri Lanka as “taking over the titanic after it hit the iceberg”.

His witty remark was made at the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owners Association at the Water’s Edge Hotel as a response to what Wickremesinghe described as its Chairman Lionel Herath’s ‘tale of woes’.

“He (Lionel Herath) came out with a tale of woes. That is understandable looking at what we have gone through this year. Now, it is my chance to come out with my tale of woes because I have taken over the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. So, you can just imagine where I have to start. Everything was down. We have declared ourselves bankrupt,” President Wickremesinghe said.

“With the bankruptcy that we have declared, our economy has virtually come to a halt. The inflation, the bankruptcy, and everything else that is happening have brought our economy to a grinding halt. How do we restart it? That is what we are engaged in,” the President said in his speech in which he detailed measures taken to restore stability and he also listed various challenges ahead and steps taken and planned to address those.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe Says his Taking Over a Country that had Declared Bankruptcy was like taking over the Titanic after the ship hit the iceberg.’ »

All should forget their differences and rally around the government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to turn the economy around or in the alternative, perish.

By The Outsider

The trend these days has been to bash Ranil left, right and centre. In fact it has now become fashionable to do so; so much so that those with a different point of view have almost become afraid to voice their opinions publicly. It is in this context that I thought of making a few points to be considered with an open mind. I must emphasise at the outset that I am no Ranil sychophant.

1) When Ranil accepted the Premiership unconditionally, I was livid. As most did, I too felt he gave GR a lifeline when he was on the verge of quitting.

2) Eventually it turned out well as GR was anyway compelled to go.

3) Ranil was next appointed acting President and then elected President by a vote in Parliament.

4) We hear arguments that Ranil became President with only 134 votes and thus has no right to be President. I haven’t heard a more illogical argument than that. Ranil became President with 134 out of 225 votes of MPs as provided for in our Constitution. What more could we ask for than a legally and constitutionally appointed President. Even the USA has a constitutional provision for succession if the President dies in office or vacates office.

Continue reading ‘All should forget their differences and rally around the government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to turn the economy around or in the alternative, perish.’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe states that the government will appoint a committee to Facilitate integration of the Hill Country Tamils of Indian Origin further into Sri Lankan society


Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he is hopeful of resolving the problems faced by ethnic Tamils in the country, as he announced the appointment of a committee to find ways to integrate the Indian-origin workers in the plantation sector into the society.

Mr. Wickremesinghe’s remarks came on Sunday during an event in Colombo to accept a consignment of medicine donated by the Union Territory of Puducherry at the request of Ceylon Worker’s Congress (CWC), a leading political party representing the Indian-origin Tamils in the Central Province.

“While some of the Tamils of Hill Country origin had integrated successfully into the Sri Lankan society, some have failed and measures would be taken to assist them to do so,” he said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said that the government will appoint a committee to seek how best to integrate the Tamils of Hill Country origin further into the Sri Lankan society.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe states that the government will appoint a committee to Facilitate integration of the Hill Country Tamils of Indian Origin further into Sri Lankan society’ »

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill that was Passed by Parliament with 174 Votes for and one against comes into force as the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Following the Endorsement of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana yesterday (31 October) endorsed the certificate on the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill, which was passed by a special majority in Parliament recently.
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill was presented to Parliament on 10 August 2022 by Minister of Justice, Prisons Affairs, and Constitutional Refor

ms and President’s Counsel (PC) Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.
Subsequently, as per the Supreme Court determination related to the petitions against the bill, amendments were made at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Judicial Affairs and approval was obtained.

The debate on the second reading of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill was held on 20 and 21 October.

Continue reading ‘The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill that was Passed by Parliament with 174 Votes for and one against comes into force as the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Following the Endorsement of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene’ »

We need to strengthen feminist critiques of the structures of exploitation, oppression, and domination and examine how predatory, especially financialised neoliberal capitalism, has weakened democratic spaces, social protection capacities, and living conditions.

By Dr. Harini Amarasuriya


(Academic, rights activist, and Member of Parliament Dr. Harini Amarasuriya delivered the keynote address at the Regional Conference on Equality and Equity in Recognising Unpaid Care Work and Women’s Labour in South Asia on 20-21 October, organised by the Women and Media Collective and Social Scientists’ Association.)


Following is the address:

This conference could not be held at a more important time. Sri Lanka is going through one of its worst economic crises – possibly the worst it’s experienced – and social reproduction work such as child care, maintaining households, and community relations are becoming increasingly difficult. Not only is this work being done primarily by women – whether paid or unpaid – but it is becoming harder and harder to do. This is not simply an economic crisis – but a social crisis of mammoth proportions and one that was a long time in the making.

In my talk today, I would like to propose that this social crisis – especially the crisis in social reproductive work – calls for an interrogation of feminism’s relationship with capitalism, especially neoliberal capitalism, and also that it provides us with an opportunity which we should not miss, to reshape the future in radically different terms. The more time I spend on policy work, the more I realise that there is a startling consistency – and for me an increasingly uncomfortable consistency – in what counts as ‘women’s issues’ and the policy and other interventions that are proposed to deal with those issues.

Deteriorating economic conditions on the one hand and the need to increase women’s labour force participation rates (apparently not high enough) on the other, topped off by microfinance lending programmes for poor women, lack of women’s representation in decision-making bodies, and therefore a lack of empowerment programmes and quotas to ensure equality is occasionally disrupted by talks of the need to ensure meritocracy so that only women who deserve to be in these positions get there, because if not, there is the shame of having ‘unqualified’ women in positions of power.

Gender-based violence in homes, workplaces, and the community must be combated by law reforms. In general, there is very little recognition of how these very institutions that are expected to deliver equality and justice are themselves the sources of exclusion, oppression, and exploitation, especially of women from minority communities and low-income groups.

Continue reading ‘We need to strengthen feminist critiques of the structures of exploitation, oppression, and domination and examine how predatory, especially financialised neoliberal capitalism, has weakened democratic spaces, social protection capacities, and living conditions.’ »

The Norwegians in general and Solheim in particular invested time in talking to Prabhakaran for the simple reason that that was what their assignment required them to do

By Mark Salter

(The writer is the author of ‘To End A Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka’ [Hurst, London, 2015])

Erik Solheim’s recent visit to Sri Lanka – his first in 16 years – elicited its fair share of media attention, with ‘what’s he doing back here again?’ the obvious starting point for much of the coverage.

On the back of an announcement soon after Solheim’s arrival that he had been appointed as the President’s Climate Change Advisor, interviews in this paper and elsewhere focused on the myriad environmental challenges facing Sri Lanka, the title of one ‘My appointment is not a paid job – Solheim’ doubtless answering the question on many people’s minds.

Most recently, ‘Rajasinghe’ – presumably a nom de plume – has penned an interesting profile of the man.

First a brief interest disclosure: I have known Solheim for 10 years, having authored a book on Norway’s engagement in Sri Lanka during the final 10 years of the civil war that draws extensively on in-depth interviews with him and Vidar Helgesen (also referenced by Rajasinghe).

Today I am equally a firm friend and (on some issues) a staunch critic of the man. And as anyone who’s read it will hopefully attest, my book is a critical account of the Norwegian’s role as third-party facilitators in the Lankan conflict.

Continue reading ‘The Norwegians in general and Solheim in particular invested time in talking to Prabhakaran for the simple reason that that was what their assignment required them to do’ »

Erik Solheim with his global connections can help in raising bilateral assistance and multilateral trust funds to revive Sri Lanka’s economy.


By Rajasinghe

Like Mary and her little lamb, Norwegians tend to follow Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) wherever he goes. This was true during the north-east war, when, at Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s (CBK’s) request, the Norwegian Government began to intervene as a supposedly ‘honest broker’ in attempting to solve our ethnic conflict.

What CBK did not know was that by then many pro-LTTE Tamils had migrated to Norway. With its electorates [Ridings] being small, Norwegian politicians were increasingly under pressure to help the Tamil cause and treat Prabhakaran as an equal negotiating partner with the Sri Lankan State.

Though CBK invited them to lead the dialogue, Norwegian interlocutors were more at home with Prime Minister RW and his advisor Hameed. Norwegians had achieved fame as mediators in the Israel-Palestine conflict with Norway’s representatives journeying to the Middle East and the Israelis and Arabs visiting Oslo for consultations. Many a Palestinian leader went to Norway for all-expenses-paid medical treatment, including Arafat, as they could not be sure of Israeli sabotage in many mid European countries.

A Norwegian NGO named International Alert (IA) also attempted to mediate in Sierra Leone, where the military dictatorship was threatened by an uprising which was based in the diamond-rich and hilly interior provinces. IA also hired Kumar Rupasinghe, who had later married a Norwegian lady and was domiciled in Oslo, to lead a well-funded peace initiative in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Erik Solheim with his global connections can help in raising bilateral assistance and multilateral trust funds to revive Sri Lanka’s economy.’ »

“Parasakthi”: The Groundbreaking Film that Catapulted Sivaji Ganesan and “Kalaignar” Karunanidhi to Fame 70 Years ago

By

Siddarth Muralidharan

At the very outset, it was a typical, conservative Tamil movie plot: three brothers coming home to attend their dear sister’s wedding. But, as it turned out, Parasakthi (The Supreme Power), a 1952 Tamil film directed by Krishnan-Panju and written by the then 28-year-old Muthuvel Karunanidhi, triggered a wave of radicalism in Tamil popular culture, thanks to harpoon-sharp dialogues that attacked casteism, religion, and social inequality, and scenes that sent shockwaves across the Tamil country.

“Kalaignar” Karunanidhi & Sivaji Ganesan

The rest, as the cliche goes, is history. Legendary thespian Sivaji Ganesan’s debut vehicle made history and propelled the growth of the Dravidian ideology. Parasakthi hit the screens at a crucial juncture in Tamil history. Just three years prior, C.N. Annadurai, who had been a member of Periyar’s Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), established the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

A brigade of young writers associated with the DMK, including Karunanidhi, charged by the ideals of Dravidian politics, had already embraced Tamil cinema. They engaged in direct political propaganda through movies such as Nalla Thambi (1949), Velaikkari (1949), and Manthiri Kumari (1950, story by Karunanidhi).
Even though Karunanidhi had worked as an uncredited dialogue writer in Marutha Naattu Ilavarasi (1950), it was Parasakthi that brought him acclaim. The film had several unforgettable dialogues and scenes, including the iconic temple scene where Sivaji Ganesan confronts a priest who tried to molest his sister, and, of course, the elaborate courtroom scene featuring a marathon monologue by Sivaji Ganesan, which played a significant role in defining and delivering Dravidian sentiments for the Tamil people across the globe.

Continue reading ‘“Parasakthi”: The Groundbreaking Film that Catapulted Sivaji Ganesan and “Kalaignar” Karunanidhi to Fame 70 Years ago’ »

“You Ceylonese have eaten the fruit before you planted the tree.” Stated Cambridge economist Prof. Joan Robinson, during her visit to Sri Lanka in 1969,- Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy

By

Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy

(Former Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, during a recent session with The Indian Express, analysed Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and the debt restructuring needed for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release the $2.9 billion package that the nation is seeking. The session was moderated by the publication’s National Editor for Strategic Affairs, Nirupama Subramanian.)


Following are excerpts from the session:


Sri Lanka’s economy and status of the IMF bailout

The gross external reserve level is just under $ 1.8 billion, but $ 1.4 billion of that is a swap arrangement with the People’s Bank of China, which is not very usable. You’ve got to have three months’ worth of import cover before you can draw on that, so the reusable reserves are only about $ 300 million. Of that about $ 100 million account for Special Drawing Rights Holdings with the IMF. A little bit of gold is left after the sale of some gold stocks that the Central Bank had. So actually it’s about $ 300 million that exists, and that’s about a week’s high imports.

Continue reading ‘“You Ceylonese have eaten the fruit before you planted the tree.” Stated Cambridge economist Prof. Joan Robinson, during her visit to Sri Lanka in 1969,- Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy’ »

Conviction of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife on multiple counts of graft and corruption;In contrast, can Sri Lanka speak to a single conviction of a political ‘shark’ under its anti-corruption laws? No!


By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

“We put our untouchables into jail’, a senior Malaysian advocate told me proudly in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Our crime of ‘accidental citizenship’

His reference was to jail sentences of respectively twelve and ten years, handed down by Malaysian courts on former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife. Long considered as Malaysia’s ‘untouchables’ due to the immense political power and influence that they wielded, Najib’s conviction of multiple counts of graft and corruption, was upheld by the highest court in August this year. A most striking charge related to transfers to his personal accounts of close to USD 9.8 million from SRC Inter-national, a former unit of a state development fund, 1MDB (1 Malaysia Development Berhad),

A month later, his wife was convicted of ‘soliciting and receiving bribes’ to help a company win a USD 279 million project. She also faces charges of money laundering and tax evasion. What my Malaysian conversationalist was too polite (or perchance too merciful) to ask me was, why Sri Lanka could not have followed suit in regard to its own ‘untouchables’ in politics? Probably that question need not be asked, this country’s bankruptcy and the continuing painful financial crisis that has beggared its popu-lace, answers that unspoken question all too eloquently.

Whatever it was, I was glad that I was not called upon to answer that question left hanging in the air. After all, there is a limit to being acutely embarrassed due to the accident of being saddled with citi-zenship of a nation that, not only allows its grand political crooks who rob the public purse to escape unscathed but also sings paeans of praise in their name as Sri Lankan voters did (and some, probably still do) until the bubble burst in their astonished and crest fallen faces. But the point is that, Malaysia did not have spectacularly fine laws that enabled the convictions of Najib and his wife.

Continue reading ‘Conviction of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife on multiple counts of graft and corruption;In contrast, can Sri Lanka speak to a single conviction of a political ‘shark’ under its anti-corruption laws? No!’ »

“Basil Rajapaksa will have a maximum of another 10 years in his political career. Apart from that, if he wants, he can always give up his US citizenship and come and contest here; that is up to him. He left the Parliament when there was no such clause.” – Sagara Kariyawasam


By Marianne David

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) is not split despite members taking different decisions, especially when faced with the 22nd Amendment Bill vote, asserted General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam.

“Constitutional change is a critical thing which has serious impacts, so we decided that the party would not tell anyone how to vote and that they should take a decision in line with their conscience,” he revealed, in an interview with The Sunday Morning.

Kariyawasam said he did not vote due to two reasons – the weakening of the Executive Presidency in an ad hoc manner and amendments being brought targeting individuals.

Commenting on the criticism being levelled against SLPP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa by party members, Kariyawasam said there had been no change in how the affairs of the party were being handled and that people came up with excuses when they saw the other side as being greener.

He also questioned the policies and principles of those voting for successive amendments to the Constitution, noting that they were voting merely to remain in power.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Problems within the party have resulted in splits with the SLPP, with defections of several groups over the past few months. Remaining SLPPers have also shown a clear split over the 22nd Amendment Bill vote. Why did you oppose the bill?

Continue reading ‘“Basil Rajapaksa will have a maximum of another 10 years in his political career. Apart from that, if he wants, he can always give up his US citizenship and come and contest here; that is up to him. He left the Parliament when there was no such clause.” – Sagara Kariyawasam’ »

“This 22nd Amendment was first taken up by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.This is not Ranil Wickremesinghe’s amendment, this is Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s amendment, which Wickremesinghe continued with” – Mahindananda Aluthgamage

.
By Marianne David

The 22nd Amendment Bill is former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s amendment and not that of Ranil Wickremesinghe and having formed a government after Gotabaya Rajapaksa left, the Government had to support the Government, asserted Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage, explaining his reasons for supporting the 22nd Amendment Bill.

“If we are in the Government, we have to support the Government. There were arguments and various things, but we stood by the President,” he pointed out, in an interview with The Sunday Morning.

Commenting on the growing dissension within the party over party politics being controlled by SLPP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa and his loyalists, Aluthgamage, while conceding that the party was experiencing issues, revealed that a decision had been reached on establishing democracy in the party.

“We have come to an understanding with Basil Rajapaksa. The party has now decided on democracy for the party. Very soon the convention will be held and new appointments and committees will come in,” he added, emphasising on the importance of giving opportunities to young and talented politicians.

As for the alliance with Wickremesinghe, he said that the decision to support Wickremesinghe had been reached after a lengthy discussion and the realisation that Wickremesinghe was the best person for the job in the face of the economic crisis.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Problems within the party have resulted in splits with the SLPP, with defections of several groups over the past few months. Remaining SLPPers have also shown a clear split over the 22nd Amendment Bill vote. Why did you support the bill?

Continue reading ‘“This 22nd Amendment was first taken up by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.This is not Ranil Wickremesinghe’s amendment, this is Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s amendment, which Wickremesinghe continued with” – Mahindananda Aluthgamage’ »

How and Why the LTTE Evicted Muslims from the Northern Province in “Black October 1990”.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj


This article was written in 2015 to mark the Twenty – Fifth Anniversary of Muslim Mass Expulsion From North by the LTTE.It is being re-posted without any changes to denote the 32nd annivrsary of the tragic event

The Investigation launched by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has in accordance with its terms of reference probed the period of time from the 2002 February ceasefire until the end of the war in May 2009 to ascertain whether war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations occurred in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the war as alleged. The focus on these particular years has naturally led to the overlooking of many other terrible incidents which happened in the years preceding 2002. Notable among these horrors is the mass expulsion of Muslims from the North by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).

The twenty-fifth anniversary of this cruel, inhuman episode in the history of Tamil –Muslim relations in Sri Lanka is being widely remembered at present. It was in October 1990 that the tiger organization (LTTE) forcibly expelled the Tamil speaking Muslim people from the Northern Province in an atrocious act amounting to ethnic cleansing. Within a few days the Muslims were chased out of their homeland where they had lived for many, many centuries.

Mosque in Chavakachcheri, October 2010

Mosque in Chavakachcheri, October 2010

The mass expulsion of Muslims from the North in 1990 was a humanitarian catastrophe. Uprooting a people from their habitat at gun point and driving them away after depriving them of their cash and jewellery was despicable and unpardonable. I have often written about this tragedy in the past. I now intend to focus upon this mass expulsion on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. I shall be drawing on some of my earlier writings in a bid to revive memories of this mass expulsion by relating in brief the tale of this terrible tragedy. I also want to trace the sequence of events that led to this sordid exercise in which the Tamil speaking Muslims were chased out by their gun toting linguistic brethren.
Continue reading ‘How and Why the LTTE Evicted Muslims from the Northern Province in “Black October 1990”.’ »

Tamil Nadu Police Begin Investigating Terrorism Plot after Car Bomb Explosion Kills Suspected Suicide Bomber in Coimbatore ; Anong those Allegedly Involved are Persons With Earlier Links to Sri Lankan Easter Bombing Mastermind Zahran Hashim

By Wilson Thomas and S. Vijay Kumar

K. Valliammal, 73, of Kottai Eswaran Kovil Street in Coimbatore, went to bed late on the night of October 22. The next morning, she woke up with a jolt, not to the usual chants from the Sangameswarar temple in the neighbourhood, but to a deafening explosion.

“I heard a blast and rushed out of the house. Flames and smoke billowed from the road near the temple. I thought the transformer close to the temple had exploded. Then I realised that the flames were coming from a car in front of the temple,” recalled Valliammal, who runs a home food eatery on the populated street. She said the blast was followed by another.

Coimbatore turned tense with the news of the blasts. It was the morning before Deepavali. Those who had made last-minute shopping plans were afraid to step out. The police began to identify and isolate deserted vehicles, which had been parked for a long time, across the city.

Senthil Kannan, a milk agent who lives at the temple junction, heard the explosion a few minutes after waking up at 4 a.m. and seeing the temple’s gopuram, a routine he had been following for several years. He ran to the street and found a burning car in front of the temple.

Sub-inspector R. Selvarajan of Ukkadam station, head constable Deva Kumar, and constable Pandiya Raja were the first to go close to the burning car. They were manning a temporary checkpoint in the area.

“I also thought the transformer had exploded, as the power had gone off. On my way to the fire ball, I alerted the control room over my walkie-talkie. As I got closer, I found that a car was in flames. I told the control room to alert fire services,” said Selvarajan.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Police Begin Investigating Terrorism Plot after Car Bomb Explosion Kills Suspected Suicide Bomber in Coimbatore ; Anong those Allegedly Involved are Persons With Earlier Links to Sri Lankan Easter Bombing Mastermind Zahran Hashim’ »

How and Why Actor “MGR” Launched the ADMK Party 50 Years ago

by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

17 October 1972 was a Tuesday. Fifty years ago on that auspicious day , a new political party was launched in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The founder and pioneering leader of that party – which celebrated its golden jubilee a few days ago- was the well known film actor turned politician Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran known popularly as “MGR” by his magical initials . The new party at its inception was named Anna -Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK). It was later changed to All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)

MG Ramachandran or MGR had been for two decades, a stalwart of the Dravida Munnetra Kazham (DMK) meaning Dravidian Progressive Federation in English. The DMK at that time was the ruling party in Tamil Nadu. MGR was party treasurer. However MG Ramachandran was formally expelled from the DMK on 10 October 1972 for allegedly violating party disciplne .MGR launched the Anna-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (ADMK) a week later on the 17th. In forming his new party MGR retained the name of DMK with an added prefix – Anna derived from the DMK founder-leader C.N. Annadurai popularly referred to as “Anna”. MGR later amended the Anna-DMK to AIADMK or All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham in 1976.

Continue reading ‘How and Why Actor “MGR” Launched the ADMK Party 50 Years ago’ »

CID Uncovers Rs 14 Billion Financial Fraud Affecting 8000 Sri Lankans where website called “Sports Chain” was used as platform to promote Fake cryptocurrency investment; Scheme Chinese national Zhang Kai and Partner arrested at Katunayake Airport while Attemptin to flee Country

The Police yesterday (27) shed light on a massive financial fraud committed through a fake cryptocurrency investment scheme.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had initiated probes after receiving a complaint about the scam, according to Police Spokesperson Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nihal Thalduwa.
According to him, one Sri Lankan named Keerthi Bandara was arrested in connection with the incident. He is currently enlarged on bail.
Meanwhile, a Chinese national by the name of Zhang Kai and his partner have also been taken into custody over the scam. They were arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake on 12 September while attempting to fly out of the island.
The trio had reportedly set up a website called “Sports Chain”, which they used to lure investors by introducing it as a highly profitable cryptocurrency investment platform.
They had commenced their fraudulent operation in 2020 and run it as a Ponzi scheme, an investing scam that generates returns for earlier investors using the money obtained from new investors.
At least 8,000 Sri Lankans have been scammed by the three suspects and have swindled more than Rs. 14 billion, according to the police spokesperson.
Earlier reports revealed that professionals such as doctors, teachers, security personnel, and people from lower middle-income backgrounds have been affected by the scam.

Courtesy: The Morning

Mrs. Rushira Kulasingham ,Designated as Principal of Jaffna College, Vaddukkoddai With Effect From 1st January 2023, Makes History as the First Woman Principal of the Institution


(Text of Announcement made by the Jaffna College Alumni Association, Vaddukkoddai on 25th October 2022)

The Jaffna College Alumni Association wishes to announce to the alumni across the world that the Board of Directors of Jaffna College have appointed Mrs. Rushira Kulasingham as the Principal of Jaffna College with effect from the 1st of January 2023.

Mrs. Rushira Kulasingham

We are delighted to note that Mrs. Rushira Kulasingham will be the first female Principal of Jaffna College.

An installation service for the new Principal will be held at the St. Thomas’ Cathedral of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India at Vaddukoddai on Sunday, the 6th of November 2022. The time of the service will be announced soon.

Continue reading ‘Mrs. Rushira Kulasingham ,Designated as Principal of Jaffna College, Vaddukkoddai With Effect From 1st January 2023, Makes History as the First Woman Principal of the Institution’ »

A reform program to bring about a profound change in the system is something that should be achieved with the support of the Parliament and not through a struggle on the street. Even a change of the govt could be effected only by an election, not by a struggle on the street

By

Victor Ivan

Due to a sudden illness, I had to refrain myself from writing for two consecutive weeks. I must admit that the comment made by Shehan Karunathilaka, the Booker Prize winner 2022 about my book titled ‘Paradise in Tears’, which was published in September 2008, generated an innocent pride in me while I was confined to a sick bed recently.

Karunathilaka, who was eight when the war began, says that he found his memories came back when he read a book called Paradise in Tears by the journalist Victor Ivan. “It brought back the mobs, and my mum pulled my face away. Later I found out they were pulling people out of cars to test whether they could speak Sinhalese; if they couldn’t, they were set on fire.” Despite it has not been subjected to an adequate academic review, the ‘Paradise in Tears’ is a valuable pictorial resume of the main events connected with the present crisis; it contains a large number of photographs (444) of historic importance followed by a brief description of each of them, and could be considered as a significant research study on how Sri Lanka has been pushed to its present state of failure, collapse and bankruptcy.

It has covered a large portion of the episode of the great collapse in the socio-political system of Sri Lanka. In that sense, this book explains not only the historical development of the crisis but also the way Sri Lanka was moving towards great devastation. In fact, what I really wanted was to present the serious events and the grim atmosphere that affected the course of the country in the form of an appropriate pictorial resume using a collection of rare photographs that have been published in regard to each event as and when they occurred, with a brief narration of each picture in a manner they would make an intense impact and a deep shock in the reader.

I originally dreamt not only of publishing just a book with a collection of annotated photographs, but also having an exhibition of them held across the country with the aim of educating and enlightening the general public of the situation. I had been working for a long time to achieve this objective. About 15 years had passed by the time the final collection of photographs was completed. Needless to say, that the selection of 442 photographs of historic importance and illustrating them with background details with specific dates alone is not a simple or easy task

Continue reading ‘A reform program to bring about a profound change in the system is something that should be achieved with the support of the Parliament and not through a struggle on the street. Even a change of the govt could be effected only by an election, not by a struggle on the street’ »

How the prominent Indian independent news site “the Wire” Diminished its own Credibility by Publishing Hastily without proper technical vetting or adequate editorial checks.

One constant throughout the original nine seasons of “The X-Files”, a globally syndicated American television show about a pair of fbi special agents assigned to weird cases, is a poster in the background. Mounted on a wall in the agents’ dingy basement office, it shows a grainy picture of a flying saucer and is emblazoned with a slogan in large sans-serif letters: “i want to believe”. This sentiment ultimately (two-decade-old spoiler alert!) helps the agents uncover a massive conspiracy involving the government and a technologically superior society capable of magical feats (in this case, space aliens).

A similar urge appears to have driven editors at the Wire, an independent Indian news website. Earlier this month, it published a story alleging a massive conspiracy involving the government and a technologically superior society capable of magical feats (in this case, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp).

The short version of a very long saga goes something like this. On October 10th the Wire alleged that Meta had handed awesome powers to Amit Malviya, who oversees social media for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp). So extensive were his privileges that his posts on Instagram were immune to review by content moderators, it said. What’s more, he had the ability to flag posts from other accounts as objectionable, which would be instantly removed without question. It published what it said were internal Instagram reports to support its claims.

It was earth-shattering stuff. Meta’s communications chief, Andy Stone, denied the claims on Twitter. But his employer has the rare distinction of being considered untrustworthy even when it denies something flat out, so few observers were willing to take him at his word. The Wire certainly did not: the next day it published what it claimed was a leaked email written by Mr Stone himself, thus proving its allegations as well as providing evidence of a botched cover-up. “How the hell [this internal report] got leaked?” it read. “Who is the reporter, not on our watch list, and why didn’t anyone of you bother to link me up?”

Ignore for a moment the ropey English in an email supposedly written by an American. Even with Meta’s reputation, it was hard to dismiss its next move as mere obfuscation. The company published a lengthy statement refuting the claims in the strongest possible terms. “There is no such report…There are no such emails.”

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The Fragmentation of the S LPP into factions will permit President Wickremesinghe to play a greater role as a visionary and strong willed leader in forging a consensual approach to the serious problems that the country faces.


by Jehan Perera

The passage of the 22nd Amendment to the constitution came as a surprise. It was originally scheduled to be debated in parliament a fortnight earlier. When the decision to postpone was taken it seemed as if the 22nd Amendment would not be taken up again in the near future or even if it was, it would not be passed.

There were two contentious areas on which members of the government and opposition were in disagreement. The disagreement was not only between parties but within them. The first contentious issue was the president’s power to dissolve parliament at his discretion after the passage of two and half years. The retention of the two and a half year provision is a clear political triumph for President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The 20th Amendment and now the 22nd Amendment states that the President can dissolve parliament in two and a half years. The 19th Amendment that preceded these limited the president’s power to dissolve parliament by affirming it could only be done after four and half years.

But the 22nd Amendment retains this presidential power to dissolve parliament after the elapsing of two and a half years. This can be construed as an erosion of parliamentary democracy. It is not a good democratic practice for the president to dissolve the parliament so soon after the people have given it a mandate for five years.

President Wickremesinghe was himself a victim of this use of arbitrary presidential power in 2004 when his term as prime minister was cut short by the then president Chandrika Kumaratunga.
The second contentious issue was the right of dual citizens to contest elections and be elected to parliament and other elected political office. The 20th Amendment gave dual citizens the right to contest elections which the 19th Amendment had specifically taken away in the same way that the 22nd Amendment does.

Continue reading ‘The Fragmentation of the S LPP into factions will permit President Wickremesinghe to play a greater role as a visionary and strong willed leader in forging a consensual approach to the serious problems that the country faces.’ »

A State is not a regime: the latter can be replaced, the former cannot and should not. And yet, Colombo’s civil society has given the impression that it is working against the State, instead of specific regimes harbouring authoritarian tendencies.


By Uditha Devapriya

US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu visited Sri Lanka last Wednesday, October 19. He is reported to have arrived early morning. Having briefed US Embassy staff, he then presided over a civil society roundtable, after which he paid a visit to President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry. Given that civil society does not see the president eye-to-eye, there’s little doubt that these two sessions yielded two completely different pictures of Sri Lanka’s situation.

In any case, while commending civil society, Mr Lu went on record stating that President Wickremesinghe was “the right person to get country out of crisis.” This was obviously not a sentiment shared by civil society.

There is such a thing as diplomatic protocol. Although State propaganda immediately made use of Mr Lu’s statement, as one commentator pointed out on Twitter, there was no way a high-ranking US diplomat would describe a country’s president as the wrong person to lead the country, especially during a courtesy call.

Yet if Mr Lu’s visit reassured certain members of civil society that the world’s most powerful purveyor (or propagandist, depending on how you see it) of liberal democracy was looking out for them, his visit to the president’s office left them cold.

The notion that the US will promote their values, which they feel to be in the country’s interests, no longer seems to hold as it did, say five years ago.

Continue reading ‘A State is not a regime: the latter can be replaced, the former cannot and should not. And yet, Colombo’s civil society has given the impression that it is working against the State, instead of specific regimes harbouring authoritarian tendencies.’ »