Parliament is becoming increasingly irrelevant

By M. A. Sumanthiran Thank you sir for providing me some time to speak on this motion moved by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake. This is a timely motion that’s being brought to the Parliament, reminding us all that private members’ motions that are debated and approved must be taken seriously, since they are approved by Parliament. …

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Rajapakse besieged in London, after Gota denies Tamil region

by Dushy Ranetunge in London On the eve of the Presidents visit to the UK to attend the Queens Diamond Jubilee, Gotabaya in his usual finger wagging style told the BBC that the north cannot be recognised as a “Tamil” region. Front page of ‘The Independent’, Thursday, June 7, 2012 In the run up to …

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Did Navi Pillai’s Office work for UN Resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva?

Ambassador Kunanayakam Seeks Clarification Given below is the complete text of a letter sent by the Permanent Representative of the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, regarding an email communication circulated by the Chief of the Asia Pacific Dvision of her Office, Mr. …

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Meeting Ranjini: A Day at the Villawood Detention Centre

by Niromi de Soyza As soon as I step into the reception room which reminded me of a sterile hospital cafeteria, a woman with long dark hair in a black blazer catches my eyes. The epaulettes on her jacket give her small skinny frame an air of authority. I recognise the young woman easily as …

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Commonwealth Institutions seem unable to lend a helping hand with Sri Lanka

By Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah From Gary Barlow’s backing musicians to flags fluttering on the flotilla, the Commonwealth featured prominently in the diamond jubilee celebrations. Commonwealth Heads of Government lunch with HM Queen Elizabeth II H E Mr Mahinda Rajapaska, President of Sri Lanka, arrives with his wife Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaska at the Commonwealth Heads of Government …

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President Rajapaksa’s London address to Commonwealth Economic Forum cancelled

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj In an unexpected,sudden development the Commonwealth Economic Forum the event in which Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scheduled to deliver the keynote address has been called off. The Commonwealth Business Council that had organized the event made a special announcement announcing the decision. In a tersely worded statement the Commonwealth Business …

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An effort is on to drive a wedge between traditional moderates and one-time militants

By N. Sathiya Moorthy At the annual conference of the ‘Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK)’, which he heads as the elected president, the nominated chief of the larger Tamil National Alliance (TNA), R. Sampanthan, made a few points. One, the ITAK was the leader/ guiding spirit of the TNA and that the Sri Lankan Tamils …

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Murugesu Sivasithamparam the ‘Lion of Udupiddy’: Tenth Death Anniversary Tribute

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj “Panchamum Noiyum Nin Meiyadiaarkko, Paarinil Menmaigal Verini Yaarkko” (If famine and disease are for your true followers for who else then are glories in this world) – Subramania Bharatiyaar in his Ode to the Motherland’s (India) freedom. Veteran Sri Lankan Tamil political moderate leader, Murugesu Sivasithamparam, passed away peacefully after a brief illness …

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Madhubashini Winner of Gratiaen Prize For Her First Novel ‘There’s Something I Have to Tell You’

by Smriti Daniel The recently crowned Gratiaen Prize winner Madhubashini Dissanayake-Ratnayaka describes her winning work and her journey towards calling herself ‘a writer’ Madhubashini Dissanayake-Ratnayaka is on the run. Her colleague is on the phone with a question related to work, her younger daughter is waiting for a ride (they’re late for chess class), her …

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Sri Lankan national team cricketers gagged from speaking to media

by T.M.K. Samat PERHAPS, the next thing they might resort to is to put national cricketers in hijabs so as to conceal them from the media – or, on returning from the playing field, bundle the lot into a room and place a sentry at the door. And if need be, extend that surveillance to …

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How the Jaffna Youth Congress Pioneered the Struggle for Total Independence from the UK

By Tissa Jayatilaka A revised edition of Handy Perinbanayagam A Memorial Volume & The Jaffna Youth Congress edited by Santasilan Kadirgamar, published by Kumaran Publishers, Colombo, was released under the auspices of the Indo-Lanka Foundation on March the 4, 2012 at the Saraswathy Hall in Colombo. The first edition of the above publication, also edited …

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Pope Benedict to express concern over Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph’s safety to President Rajapaksa at Vatican

by D.B. S. Jeyaraj His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is expected to express concerns over the personal safety of most reverend Rayappu Joseph the Catholic Bishop of Mannar-Vavuniya diocese in Sri Lanka when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa calls on him at the Vatican later this week. President Rajapaksa scheduled to visit Britain on June …

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Gota’s BBC Interview: ‘Absolute Truth’ about Tamils and the Northern Province

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj The recent interview given by Defence and Urban development secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Charles Haviland of the BBC in Colombo has resulted in the “Archaeological expert” of the Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU) showering praises on the presidential sibling. JHU parliamentarian Ven.Ellawela Medhananda Thero in a statement to the “Dasa Desin”programme has described the …

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Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism Generally Perceives Muslims to be a Grave Threat

By Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri The recent attack led by Buddhist monks on the Khairya Jumma mosque located in the so-called “sacred zone” of the Dambulla rock temple in the central province is important even though it did not develop into a larger scale clash between the Buddhist and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka. The Dambulla …

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HRW Urges UK to Suspend Deportations of Tamils to Sri Lanka due to Reports of Returnees being Tortured

(London, May 29, 2012) –The United Kingdom should immediately suspend deportations of ethnic Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and review its policies in assessing these claims, Human Rights Watch said today. The next scheduled deportation of Tamils from the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka is due to take place on May 31, 2012. Investigations …

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Revival of community courts in Rwanda to strengthen reconciliation

By Moara Crivelente The ethnic aspect which is usually defined as a cause of conflict between Hutus and Tutsis – either historically fundamented or discursively constructed, and instrumentalized by political leaders – has deep roots with which society has to deal. A photograph of the three-day exhibition titled Lessons from Rwanda: An Account of the …

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Why and How People in Tamil Nadu are Protesting Nuclear Energy

By S.P. Udayakumar We have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) since the late 1980s. This Russian project was shelved right after the Soviet Union’s collapse and taken up again in 1997. The Indian government and Russians have constructed two huge reactors of 1000 MW each without the consent of or consultation …

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Text of Presidential Address by Rajavarothayam Sampanthan at 14th National Convention of ITAK in Batticaloa

My greetings to all respected delegates of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi I sincerely welcome you all – the life and vitality of our party – to our National Convention here in Batticaloa. As those in service to the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi, which has become the political symbol of the Tamil Nation, with its …

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Sarath Fonseka: Historic confluence of twin processes

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj The “release” of General Sarath Fonseka Former Army commander and erstwhile contender for the 2010 Presidential stakes from jail due to remission of his prison sentences by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has infused fresh excitement into the Sri Lankan Political scenario. Photojournalists in anticipation to cature release of release of General Sarath Fonseka-pic …

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The State of Human Rights in Sri Lanka – 2012: Amnesty International Annual Report

Head of state and government: Mahinda Rajapaksa Death penalty: abolitionist in practice Population: 21 million Life expectancy: 74.9 years Under-5 mortality: 14.7 per 1,000 Adult literacy: 90.6 per cent The government continued to arbitrarily detain, torture or ill-treat people and subject people to enforced disappearance. It failed to address most instances of impunity for violations …

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An Appeal to the people of India regarding the PMANE protest over Koodankulam

Dear Fellow Citizens of India , This appeal is a reflection of our collective frustration and instead of being sent to the Govt, it will be presented before people of India. It is already endorsed by eminent Indians like Prashant Bhushan, Aruna Roy, Binayak Sen, Vandana Shiva, Lalita Ramdas, Partha Chatterjee, Praful Bidwai, Achin Vanaik, …

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Shared cultures and heritage for conflict resolution: A South Asia perspective

By Dr.Sudharshan Seneviratne “A stage of resignation envelopes the community. The long shadow of the gun has not only been the source of power and glory, but also of fear and terror as well. In the menacing shadow play, forces complementing each other, dance in each other’s momentum. The paralyzing depression is not due to …

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Colombo needs to internalize the investigation into the cause(s) for failures, and not externalise the excuses

By N. Sathiya Moorthy It could not have come at a better time, or worse. President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga’s speaking/reading about ‘home truths’ in Sri Lanka’s relations with neighbouring India coincided to the week with the conclusion of ‘Eelam War IV’ and the end of the LTTE. His references to India’s role in the Sri …

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Being a Treasure Hunter would have been a lot more fun than this Writing Job

by Namini Wijedasa I have missed my vocation in life. I should have been a treasure hunter. I fault my parents for this. They never told me it would be so easy, or so painlessly lucrative. All you need is a good archaeological site (and we’ve plenty of those), some basic implements—and a backhoe. These …

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Over 500 people on indefinite hunger strike since May 1st in protest against Koodankulam nuclear plant

By Sam Rajappa THE manner in which the authorities have been trying to crush the agitation of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, which is no longer a mere protest against generating electricity by using nuclear energy to boil water, is shocking. It is a life-and-death struggle for the very survival of government of the …

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‘Tamil Tigress’ by Niromi de Soyza: An unfolding saga describing the Best and Worst of the Tigers

By Prof. V.Suryanarayan TAMIL TIGRESS: MY STORY AS A CHILD SOLDIER IN SRI LANKA’S BLOODY CIVIL WAR. | Niromi de Soyza (Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2011), pp. 308, Price not mentioned. Writing about his literary career, Robert Frost once wrote: “I have never started a poem yet whose end I know. Writing a poem is …

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Protesting people on hunger strike against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant: Appeal to Indian Civil Society and International Community

by S.P. Udayakumar Let’s leave an Earth where our children and grandchildren can all play without worries.” – Yoko Kataoka, a retired baker from Japan. The indefinite hunger strike has been going on for the past 7 days. Some 25 men have been on the fast since May 1 and 302 women and 10 more …

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Kurunegala Anglican Bishop Emeritus Andrew Kumarage – An Appreciation

by Rt.Rev Kumara Illangasinghe It was with much sadness that we learnt of the passing on of our beloved Bishop Andrew Kumarage, the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Kurunagala, in the early hours of April 21, 2012. He was ailing for some time, but briefly and was a wonderful relief for some of us …

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Tea Industry as a whole is said to be profitable while most estate operations report loss

By Dr. U. Pethiyagoda As a sector of indisputable importance to the nation, the tea industry draws periodic comments and now seems such a time. Court Lodge Estate, Kandapola-pic by: UKInSriLanka The various assessments and comments are naturally, not wholly acceptable. In fact, my long held view is that the assumed profitability of the industry …

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Immediate investigation needed for Dambulla Mosque incident

by Javid Yusuf The incidents surrounding the Dambulla mosque and its aftermath have left the Muslim community shaken and uneasy. The Muslims have over centuries lived in harmony with their brother communities and enjoyed excellent relationships with both the Sinhala and Tamil communities. This state of being was rudely shaken on April 20th when the …

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Fighting Food Fascism: The Beef-eating festival at Osmania University

by Meena Kandasamy “The university and all teaching systems that appear simply to disseminate knowledge are made to maintain a certain social class in power, and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class…. The real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear …

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‘I Used Myanmar As An Example, Just As Others Have Used Israel And Cuba As Examples’– Amb. Dayan Jayatilleka

By Dianne Silva Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Paris Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has come under scrutiny in recent days for his controversial remarks in the aftermath of the passing of the United States sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council Sessions, last month. Certain remarks that were misconstrued as having compared …

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Text of Letter sent to Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka by Ministry of External Affairs

Letter dated March 30th 2012 sent by Mr.W.A.S. Prasanna, Actg Director General (Overseas Administration) states thus: “Instances of administrative and financial irregularities resulting from your administration of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Paris have come to the attention of this Ministry. In this context, while noting the following instances, explanations on the same are hereby …

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Tamil Nadu State Govt delays implementing pledge given to PNAME about releasing imprisoned protesters and withdrawing cases

Text of a press Release issued by PMANE on April 1, 2012 The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) entered into a negotiation with the Tamil Nadu State officials on March 27, 2012 with the assistance of some credible and respectable mediators. Koodankulam: pic courtesy of: thehindubusinessline.com As per that mediation, the Tamil Nadu State …

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Dismantling a dictatorship peacefully in Myanmar

By Marwaan Macan-Markar (As Burma heads for an election on April 1st this analysis written in January is reproduced here due to its current relevance. The writer is a Sri Lankan journalist now working for IPS in Bangkok – DBSJ) BANGKOK, Jan 23, 2012 (IPS) – As he dismantles a 50-year military dictatorship without a …

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This is a struggle between powerful pro-mega development folks and powerless pro-sustainable development masses

by S.P. Udayakumar Dear Friends: Greetings! Pushparayan, the other 12 friends and I have become weaker and tired; but we are still able to sit up and talk to people. Today is the seventh day of the indefinite hunger strike. pic by: Eunheui Nobody from the State Government or the Central Government has bothered to …

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Fifteenth anniversary of the Muslim expulsion from Jaffna

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj Fifteen years ago on this day (Oct 30th ) around 28, 000 men , women and children were expelled from Jaffna by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam organization. They were all Tamil – speaking Muslims living in the Muslim “vattaaram” or zone of Jaffna town. About 500 plus Muslims living in …

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