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Magical Influence of MHM Ashraff Over Muslim Masses Lingers on Even After 14 Years

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

This is a period of time in Sri Lanka which is referred to as “Ashraff season” in lighter vein by observers of the Sri Lankan Muslim political scene. The Country witnesses a series of meetings and events paying tribute to the late Muslim Congress leader MHM Ashraff during this period. From the date of his death September 16th to the date of his birth October 23rd this season of more than five weeks would result in Ashraff being commemorated by Muslim political leaders notably those of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

M. H. M. Ashraff (23 October 1948-16 September 2000)

M. H. M. Ashraff (23 October 1948-16 September 2000)

The current season too has begun with several Ashraff commemorative meetings. Cabinet minister for productivity promotion and Batticalo district Muslim Congress MP Basheer Segu Dawood was chief participant at a meeting in Ashraff’s honour at Eravoor. Former Kalmunai Mayor and SLMC parliamentarian from Amparai district H.M.M. Harees organized a commemorative meeting for Ashraff in Kalmunai. More meetings at multiple levels are expected to occur in the coming days.
Continue reading ‘Magical Influence of MHM Ashraff Over Muslim Masses Lingers on Even After 14 Years’ »

Justin Trudeau Offers a Chance to Meet Him,Senior Liberal Party Advisers and Former US First Lady and Ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A Message to Canadians from Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau

Pack your bags,——————–, and bring your big idea for Canada ……………..because you could win a chance to pitch it to me and one of my senior advisors over breakfast in Ottawa, on October 6.

But wait, there’s more.

If you win, we’re not just going to fly you to Ottawa for our breakfast brainstorm. We’re also saving you a seat so you can hear Hillary Clinton speak over lunch at a Canada 2020 Special Event. We’ll even give you the chance to meet her afterward.

It’s going to be the political experience of a lifetime, and if you’re interested, I need your help.

Continue reading ‘Justin Trudeau Offers a Chance to Meet Him,Senior Liberal Party Advisers and Former US First Lady and Ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.’ »

With Beijing-New Delhi Relations Improving Under Xi Jinping-Narendra Modi Equation Will China need Sri Lanka Anymore?

By

C. A. Chandraprema

The reason why Indo-Sri Lanka relations were on a particularly good footing during the Bandaranaike era between 1956-1965 and 1970-1977 is because under the Bandaranaikes Sri Lanka had a foreign and domestic policy that was identical to India’s. During that period, both India and Sri Lanka had the same friends overseas. Both countries associated more with the socialist camp than with the capitalist camp. Last week, thanks to the Chinese President’s visit to Sri Lanka and India, we entered another phase in Indo-Lanka relations which should in all respects be similar to the bilateral relationship that prevailed during the Bandaranaike era. By visiting Sri Lanka and then going to India, the Chinese president has cemented not just Sino-Lanka relations but Indo-Sri Lanka relations as well.

One of the sticking points in the bilateral relationship between India and Sri Lanka in recent times was the ever increasing Chinese involvement in Sri Lanka with investments in various fields. While Chinese investments in Sri Lanka were increasing exponentially, China was considered to be a nation that was hostile to India. Ten years ago, when Sri Lanka badly needed to buy an air defence radar system from China, we were not able to do so because India objected. But last week, things changed radically. If President Xi arrived in Sri Lanka with deals worth a few billions, he provided ten times that amount to India. In the recent past, prophets of doom were predicting a nasty Indian reaction to China’s growing role in Sri Lanka and indeed that seemed a possibility. According to Reuters Chinese investment in India over the past 14 years, was just $400 million. The Chinese had invested much more than that in Sri Lanka.

Now however in one fell swoop the Chinese have reached out to the Indians, and pledged $20 billion in investments over the next five years, made deals for the modernization of the Indian railway system, Shanghai and Mumbai have been declared to be sister cities, Modi has been invited for a reciprocal visit to China, and an agreement has been reached between the two Asian giants on the development of nuclear energy among many other things. Since India herself is now closer to China that she had ever been in the past, there is no reason for any suspicion about the Chinese presence in Sri Lanka. In many ways, this is the latest surprise to be sprung on the world by Narendra Modi. Before he came into power, everybody thought that the cosmopolitan, ‘open to the world’ political party was the Congress and that Modi and his saffron revolution represented an inward looking nationalism. But Modi has proved all his critics wrong. He has made the Congress Party look like narrow-minded peasants! What we are seeing now is probably the final break of India from the Nehruvian foreign policy model.

Continue reading ‘With Beijing-New Delhi Relations Improving Under Xi Jinping-Narendra Modi Equation Will China need Sri Lanka Anymore?’ »

Sam Wijesinha was a Repository of Sri Lanka’s Political Lore with names,facts and Figures at his Fingertips.

by

Manik de Silva

The early sixties were a good time to break into journalism for a just-out-of- school teenager as I was at that time. My father spoke to Esmond Wickremesinghe and I was given a kind of `learn the ropes’ job on the then Ceylon Observer under Denzil Peiris.  I didn’t expect to be paid but later learned that I’d get an out-of-pocket reimbursement allowance of Rs 100 a month to take care of lunch, bus fares and the like.

Denzil was summoned to Esmond’s sanctum sanctorum, once occupied by his father-in-law D R Wijewardene, the legendary founder of The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd, to give Lake House its full name. He was asked when he would like me to report to him and he replied, ‘7 o’clock tomorrow morning.’     

My father drove me to work at 6.30 a.m. the next day in his Land Rover after my mother had cooked me an early breakfast. On the way he told me, ‘I don’t know too much about the kind of work you are going to do, but would say that a good rule of thumb will be to keep your ears open and your mouth shut.’

That advice has stood me in good stead in what was to become a career that has now extended to over 50 years.

Continue reading ‘Sam Wijesinha was a Repository of Sri Lanka’s Political Lore with names,facts and Figures at his Fingertips.’ »

Michelangelo Antonioni Masterpiece ‘L’Avventura’ at International Film Festival Colombo

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

In my earlier writings on the film scene in Sri Lanka before launching the ‘Spotlight’ column, there were two things I emphasised as being necessary for the upliftment of serious cinema in the island – one was the need to establish a fully-fledged Film Institute; the other was about holding an international film festival on a regular basis in Colombo.

Monica Vitti

Monica Vitti

The second of my dreams – namely, an international film festival in Colombo – became a reality last week thanks to the efforts of a committed group of filmmakers, film personalities, film enthusiasts and generous sponsors in Sri Lanka and abroad.

The festival was conducted by the International Film Festival Colombo (IFFCOLOMBO) in association with the Okinawa International movie festival and the Film Directors Guild of Sri Lanka from 2 to 7 September in the metropolis. It was a grand success and my only regret is that I was not in Colombo at the time.

Continue reading ‘Michelangelo Antonioni Masterpiece ‘L’Avventura’ at International Film Festival Colombo’ »

“Dr.Rajani Rajasingham Thiranagama was the NOBLEST of all my Pupils”-Prof. Carlo Fonseka

(Full Text of Prof. Carlo Fonseka’s speech Scheduled to be Delivered at the Rajani Thiranagama Commemoration Meeting in Jaffna on September 20th 2014)

There is no other word to characterize her: Dr. Rajani Rajasingham Thiranagama was the NOBLEST of all my pupils. There were others who were cognitively smarter than her, but morally and ethically she remains unsurpassed. Ludwig Wittgenstein, a great philosopher of the 20th century once wrote: “…I work quite diligently and wish that I was better and smarter. And these both are one and the same…”

Remember, Wittgenstein has averred that “what can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” So he must have clearly meant that “being better” and “being smarter” is really the same thing. Categorically, to be good is to be smart. On this calculus, by being my noblest pupil i.e. morally and ethically unsurpassed pupil, Rajani may well have proved to be my smartest pupil too. There is no need for casuistry and sophistry, Rajani was great and good.

Continue reading ‘“Dr.Rajani Rajasingham Thiranagama was the NOBLEST of all my Pupils”-Prof. Carlo Fonseka’ »

Will Pro-Independence Scottish Diaspora Continue Struggle for Free Scotland from Abroad like Pro-Tamil Eelam Tamil Diaspora?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Scottish people have decided to be stuck in the United Kingdom. They have taken the cue from David Cameron who, in the final round of hectic campaigning for the NO vote, pleaded with them that even if they don’t like the “f…ing Tories,” they don’t abandon the Union.

Many a politician over here must be happy about the decision of the referendum in Scotland, because they can now tell the northerners in our own country, not to make demands like the northerners of the United Kingdom, which they will never achieve.

It will be interesting to know whether a Scottish Diaspora will emerge, ignoring Scottish separatist leader Alex Salmond’s plea to accept the result of the referendum; and continue to carry out his fight for a separate Scottish Republic from abroad. They may take lessons from the pro-LTTE Tamil separatists who remain committed to the cause of separation over here, where the fight was through terror and not by the ballot.

Continue reading ‘Will Pro-Independence Scottish Diaspora Continue Struggle for Free Scotland from Abroad like Pro-Tamil Eelam Tamil Diaspora?’ »

Two out of Every Five Scots and Scotland’s Biggest City Glascow Have Voted to Leave the United Kingdom.

(Text of an editorial Appearing in “The Hindu”of September 20th 2014 under the heading “Not a simple ‘no’ from Scotland”)

It would be prudent not to read Scotland’s ‘no’ to independence as a plain and simple ‘yes’ to continue with the status quo. The latest verdict is very unlike the ‘no’ vote in the 2011 nation-wide referendum, which may have almost indefinitely deferred the search for an alternative to the first-past-the-post mode of election of members of Parliament in Westminster.

This result is more complex than the 55-45 per cent vote to stay in the union may point to: an outcome that is far more spectacular than any that pollsters had predicted. More than two out of every five Scots have voted to leave the United Kingdom, and so has their biggest city, Glasgow. Nobody understands what all of this means, better than the so-called Better Together campaign that was led by all the three mainstream parties at Westminster.

Continue reading ‘Two out of Every Five Scots and Scotland’s Biggest City Glascow Have Voted to Leave the United Kingdom.’ »

British Prime Minister David Cameron “Delighted”Over Scotland Voting “No”to Independence from the UK

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he is “delighted” that Scotland’s referendum returned a no vote to independence from the United Kingdom.

“It would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end,” he said.

Mr. Cameron defended the decision to go ahead with the poll, saying “it is right to take, and not to duck, the big decisions.” Now the will of the Scottish people has been heard, and “the debate has been settled for a generation,” he said.

Courtesy:DPA

Alex Salmond Emerges as Winner of Greater Devolution Despite Losing Scottish Referendum

Despite failing to win independence in the referendum he brought about, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has nevertheless emerged a winner.

Even before voting began, the three main parties in Westminster had already made a last-minute promise to hand over more powers to the devolved Parliament in Edinburgh, Holyrood, if Scots rejected independence.

In his speech conceding defeat, Mr. Salmond said that the Scottish people — whether they voted Yes or No — would expect promised moves towards more devolution to be carried out “in rapid course.”

“He’s without question the shrewdest political client I’ve ever had,” said Peter Kellner, president of the You Gov opinion polling company.

Continue reading ‘Alex Salmond Emerges as Winner of Greater Devolution Despite Losing Scottish Referendum’ »

Music of “Mandolin”Shrinivas Transcended Frontiers and Genres-Chitravina N.Ravikiran

by

Chitravina N. Ravikiran

The galaxy of music has lost one of its most glittering stars in the death of Mandolin U. Shrinivas. That his remarkable achievements immortalised him even as a teenager is small consolation for the tragedy of losing him at the age of 45.

Every superlative offered to him seemed redundant in almost no time — such was his mastery over the art. From the time he stormed into the Carnatic field around age 10, his innate musicality, razor-sharp mind, his command over speed and range, the effortlessness of expression and freshness of musical and mathematical patterns challenged minds, while his charismatic presence on-stage and cartoon-loving simplicity off it stole hearts. His music transcended genres and frontiers — his admirers included Pandit Ravishankar, John McLaughlin and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, not to mention Nobel laureates and heads of States.

Shrinivas’ talent was God-given but his success was not accidental. His work ethic, reverence towards achievers, faith in God, astute professional judgment, an ever-smiling face and his capacity to handle gruelling schedules of more than 30 concerts a month contributed enormously to his galactic rise in his early years.

Continue reading ‘Music of “Mandolin”Shrinivas Transcended Frontiers and Genres-Chitravina N.Ravikiran’ »

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

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

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

Dr. Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama

Dr. Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama

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

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

IMG_8074.PNG

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

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

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

Listening to Classical Music by a Symphony Orchestra in the Place where Richard de Zoysa was Bludgeoned to Death by the Police.

By

Kumbhakarna

Richard de Zoysa

Richard de Zoysa

It was a very pleasant Friday evening. The Chamber Music Society of Colombo, a symphony orchestra was playing film music opposite the World Trade Centre twin towers. Conducted by Lakshman Joseph de Saram, the internationally-known film music composer, (Machan, Bel Ami, Ira Mediyama, Akasa Kusum) the orchestra played in the open air to a mixed audience of seated invitees, standing passers-by and people visiting the restaurants and shopping centres housed in the historic building which was a Dutch hospital back in the 18th century and, in more recent times, the former Fort Police Station.

First, the music. Amplified by a superb sound system, one could have been fooled into believing that a bigger orchestra was playing. Lakshman Joseph’s short but detailed commentaries in between the pieces were both informative and entertaining. The occasion was inspired by the Colombo International Film Festival which concluded on Sunday.

But, as the music progressed, I was left wondering about the title. ‘Film Music’ seemed to be something of a misnomer as Vivaldi was followed by Bach and Mozart. Certainly, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) was magical in those surroundings, as was Bach’s Air on a String, with the sea breezes blowing in over the Galle Face Green. But it’s classical music written at an era when films was just a dream.
Continue reading ‘Listening to Classical Music by a Symphony Orchestra in the Place where Richard de Zoysa was Bludgeoned to Death by the Police.’ »

Musical Prodigy “Mandolin” Shrinivas who Charmed Listeners with his Divine Music Dies of Liver Failure at the age of 45

By

B.Kolappan

U. Shrinivas, who cast a spell on audiences with his Western instrument, the mandolin, died here on Friday. He was only 45.

(28 February 1969 - 19 September 2014)

“Mandolin” U. Shrinivas (28 February 1969 – 19 September 2014)-pic courtesy of-The Hindu

Mandolin Shrinivas, as he came to be known, had been ailing for a while. He reportedly was being treated for liver failure at the Apollo Hospital. He had lately received a liver transplant.

Audio ♫: Kakai-Chiraginile by “Mandolin” Shrinivas

Born in Palakol in Andhra Pradesh, Shrinivas started playing the instrument used by his father Sathyanarayana. He quickly mastered it and his skills were further honed by his father’s guru Rudraraju Subburaju, who was a vocalist.

Continue reading ‘Musical Prodigy “Mandolin” Shrinivas who Charmed Listeners with his Divine Music Dies of Liver Failure at the age of 45’ »

Scotland Rejects Independence in Historic Referendum Opting to Remain as part of the United Kingdom with Fresh Devolution of More Powers.

By Alistair Smout and Angus MacSwan

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Scotland spurned independence in a historic referendum that threatened to rip the United Kingdom apart, sow financial turmoil and diminish Britain’s remaining global clout.

A vote for the 307-year union is a relief for millions of Britons including Prime Minister David Cameron, whose job was on the line, as well as allies across the world who were horrified at the prospect of the United Kingdom’s separation.

Unionists won 55 percent of the vote while separatists won 45 percent with 31 of 32 constituencies declared.

Political leaders of all hues agreed that Britain would be changed for good nonetheless.

Continue reading ‘Scotland Rejects Independence in Historic Referendum Opting to Remain as part of the United Kingdom with Fresh Devolution of More Powers.’ »

Scotland Rejects Independence and Votes to Stay in the United Kingdom – BBC

Scotland will vote to stay in the United Kingdom after rejecting independence, the BBC has predicted.
With 29 out of the country’s 32 council areas having declared after Thursday’s vote, the “No” side has 55% of the vote, with the “Yes” campaign on 45%.


By 06:00 BST , the “No” campaign had more than 1,737,000 votes, with “Yes” on just over 1,398,000.

A total of 1,852,828 votes is needed for victory. The vote is the culmination of a two-year campaign.

The BBC is predicting on the basis of votes declared so far by Scotland’s local authorities the “No” side will win the referendum with 55% of the vote while “Yes” will secure 45% of the vote.

Continue reading ‘Scotland Rejects Independence and Votes to Stay in the United Kingdom – BBC’ »

UNP Campaign on the Upswing but Moneragala Poll may help UPFA in Uva Province


On the Spot Report by Dharisha Bastians in the Uva Province

Inside the Nayabedda Estate in Bandarawela, a rosy sunset casts shadows on the large cut-out of a movie-star like politician, poised precariously on the roof of Sivalingam Thangaraj’s home. Until last month, Thangaraj’s hut had no roof and only brightly-coloured plastic sheeting mounted on four sturdy branches offered any kind of shelter. The tin roofing was quite the windfall for Thangaraj and his family.

“We were not even at home. But the Assistant Government Agent’s office people came and walked around this estate and they saw what people’s greatest needs were,” he says, standing outside the entrance to his small home. The following week, he received a tin sheet from Government representatives in the area. The poster is in tribute, because it’s election season, says the day labourer with a smile.

Senthil Thondaman, constantly pictured in his Tamil movie-star type sunglasses and open shirt, was a provincial minister in the Uva Provincial Council controlled by the ruling alliance for the past five years. Senthil is the great nephew of Sauviamoorthy Thondaman, the estate people’s hero of the 1980s and 1990s, on whose immense political capital his party – the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) still runs. As a UPFA coalition partner, the Government relies on the CWC to garner crucial votes in the Badulla District in tomorrow’s provincial election.

Continue reading ‘UNP Campaign on the Upswing but Moneragala Poll may help UPFA in Uva Province’ »

Pakistani Espionage Agency Inter-Services Agency Financed Bodu Bala Sena to make Muslims in Sri Lanka feel Insecure says “Rediff”

BBS040413B

The birth of the Bodu Bala Sena, an extremist Singhalese Buddhist nationalist organisation in Colombo in 2012 was a significant event. The organisation was formed to enforce Buddhist supremacy in Sri Lanka, mainly targeting Christians and Muslims in the country.

The formation of this organisation was a turning point for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, which had for years been trying to get a foothold in that country, but to no avail. This was partly because of the strength of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which never allowed outsiders to set foot in Sri Lanka. The other reason could be that there was never any connect between Lankan Muslims and the spy agency.

The ISI’s plan was simple: Create a sense of insecurity among the Muslims so that they would look for cover and protection. The ISI would actively finance the BBS through indirect means, so that the atrocities against the Muslims grow. As a result, the Muslims would lean towards the ISI and their agents for protection.
PISI
Continue reading ‘Pakistani Espionage Agency Inter-Services Agency Financed Bodu Bala Sena to make Muslims in Sri Lanka feel Insecure says “Rediff”’ »

Uva Election Survey Conducted by US Embassy Forecasts the UNP Winning Badulla District and Being Edged out Narrowly by UPFA in Moneragala District

By

C.A.Chandraprema

As far as provincial elections go, the UNP seems to be doing much better in Uva than at any previous election since 2005. Due to the much spoken of violence in the Moneragala district, the impression has been conveyed to the rest of the country that the government is facing an uphill struggle in Uva. The mere fact that such an impression has been conveyed to the rest of the country is in itself a major triumph for the UNP.

All this while, the impression that everyone in the country had was that the UNP just could not face the UPFA at any election. Now thanks to some thugs who have been burning down so called ‘campaign offices’ of the opposition in the dead of night, the entire country thinks the government needs to resort to thuggery to win in Moneragala. The government for its part has been trying to say that the opposition has been burning down their own ‘campaign offices’ to garner sympathy.

Anybody familiar with elections knows that this too happens quite often.But what is happening in Moneragala is different. Because a member of the Rajapaksa family is involved various boorish types from outside the district are trying to score brownie points by burning down these ‘campaign offices’ in the night so as to convey the impression that they are doing everything possible to see that Sashindra Rajapaksa comes out on top. With friends like this, no government needs enemies.

Continue reading ‘Uva Election Survey Conducted by US Embassy Forecasts the UNP Winning Badulla District and Being Edged out Narrowly by UPFA in Moneragala District’ »

Interest in Learning Hindi Language Grows Among Tamils in North Due to Sustained Efforts of Indian Consulate in Jaffna.

By

P.K.Balachandran

A passion for Hindi film music and the Hindi language is commonplace in Sri Lanka. But Jaffna, the stronghold of Tamil nationalism, has been an exception to this rule. The Tamil-speaking North is one place in the island nation, where Hindi films are not shown, Hindi soaps are not watched, and Hindi songs are not aired.

But these may well be things of the past, soon. Thanks to the sustained efforts of the Indian Consulate, interest in Hindi is sprouting among Jaffna Tamils.

Continue reading ‘Interest in Learning Hindi Language Grows Among Tamils in North Due to Sustained Efforts of Indian Consulate in Jaffna.’ »

Goa Born Blessed Joseph Vaz who went as Missionary to Sri Lanka Worked Miracle of Rain in 1693 During Drought in the Kandyan Kingdom.

Pope Francis’ approval of the votes of the Ordinary Session of the Cardinals and Bishops in favor of canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz attains special significance in the wake of the forthcoming visit of the Holy Father to Sri. Lanka in January 2015.

Bl. Vaz was born in Goa, India, in 1651. As a priest he volunteered to work in Sri Lanka amid persecution of Catholics by Dutch colonial rulers, who were Calvinists. Catholic priests were forbidden to preach; it would mean imprisonment and even death if they were caught.

Bl. Joseph Vaz went to Ceylon disguised as a laborer. He walked the rural paths through the tea-gardens, searching for Catholics, ministering to their needs, instructing them in the faith, regularizing their marriages, baptizing their children, and celebrating Holy Mass in their homes and villages. He was a veritable apostle for the Sri Lankan Church and he renewed the faith which had been affected by persecution. He also instrumental in converting a number of people to Christianity.

Continue reading ‘Goa Born Blessed Joseph Vaz who went as Missionary to Sri Lanka Worked Miracle of Rain in 1693 During Drought in the Kandyan Kingdom.’ »

Vishnu Vasu’s Documentary Poem”Butterfly”is a Remarkable Tribute to the Lost Innocence of Child Soldiers


by

Kamaya Jayatissa

“When I’m gone, release me. Let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.”

– Excerpt from ‘Butterfly’

Even today too little is been said about them. Yet, they lived as fighters and died as children in a war they knew nothing about, in a war they had nothing to do with in the first place.

Vishnu Vasu’s documentary poem, Butterfly, is a remarkable tribute to those thousands of child soldiers who died in vain, as well as those who survived despite circumstances. It is also about a filmmaker’s humble journey in finding closure and breaking the silence around what must be remembered as the darkest years of our history.

Through this piece I do not intent to review the movie as I feel that no word could match the emotion, humanity and cruel reality depicted through Vasu’s lens. But I do wish to invite those who still haven’t done so to watch ‘Butterfly’.

Continue reading ‘Vishnu Vasu’s Documentary Poem”Butterfly”is a Remarkable Tribute to the Lost Innocence of Child Soldiers’ »

Alex Salmond Urges Seizure of Extraordinary Chance for a “New Dawn for Scotland” By Voters at Referendum.

By

Severin Carrell

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond urged tens of thousands of yes activists to “get to it” by seizing the extraordinary chance for a “new dawn for Scotland”, as the final batch of polls before the vote confirmed the referendum hung on a knife-edge.

To chants of “yes we can”, the first minister urged more than 1,200 activists at the yes campaign’s final rally in Perth to continue campaigning vigorously on referendum day, urging them on with the words “let’s do this now”.

The latest polls found that the referendum race remained extremely close, as both yes and no campaigns prepared themselves for a day of intense voter mobilisation for the 900 minutes when the booths are open. One poll from Ipsos Mori for STV put the rival campaigns just two points apart at 49% and 51%, and YouGov, for the Sun and the Times, confirmed the other recent polls by putting the gap at 48% for yes and 52% for no.

Continue reading ‘Alex Salmond Urges Seizure of Extraordinary Chance for a “New Dawn for Scotland” By Voters at Referendum.’ »

Scottish independence: When will the Referendum Result be Announced?

As the yes and no campaigns make their final push in the battle for Scotland’s future, minds are turning to polling day. What happens after polling stations close on Thursday? And when will the final result be known?

Rally in Inverness-pic via:

Rally in Inverness, a city in the Scottish Highlands-pic via: twitter.com/Yesinverness/

Polling stations in Scotland will be open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday 18 September for the public to cast their vote on independence. But what will happen once the booths close?
Continue reading ‘Scottish independence: When will the Referendum Result be Announced?’ »

Sri Lanka Visit of Pope Francis Brings Publicity to Govt While Providing Voice to Suffering Tamil Minority.

by

Paolo Affatato

PFR080114

“Don’t force political issues on the Pope, don’t use his visit to Sri Lanka for political ends”: the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, sent out a clear appeal to the Sri Lankan government and the opposition. Francis’ visit to the country (13-15 January 2015) comes right before the presidential elections.

Given how heated the situation there is, the Pope’s visit could easily be exploited for the purposes of propaganda, particularly by the government. The wounds of civil war are still fresh, there are still tensions between the Sinhalese and the Tamils and Buddhist fundamentalism and nationalism is ever present.

The Sri Lankan Church has asked for the suspension of rallies and other initiatives linked to the election campaigns during Pope Francis’ three-day visit to the island.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Visit of Pope Francis Brings Publicity to Govt While Providing Voice to Suffering Tamil Minority.’ »

Pope Francis “Bends” Vatican Rules to Confirm that he will Canonise Blessed Joseph Vaz as the First Ever Saint in of Sri Lanka.

Pope Francis has approved Blessed Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) as Sri Lanka’s first saint, reports from the Vatican said yesterday.

Blessed Father Vaz (1651-1711)-pic courtesy of: AsiaNews.it

Blessed Father Vaz (1651-1711)-pic courtesy of: AsiaNews.it

Reports said that the Pope had bent Vatican rules to bypass confirmation of a miracle in order to approve Blessed Joseph Vaz as a saint. Francis will now canonise Joseph Vaz, a 17th century missionary, during his visit to Sri Lanka in January.

Continue reading ‘Pope Francis “Bends” Vatican Rules to Confirm that he will Canonise Blessed Joseph Vaz as the First Ever Saint in of Sri Lanka.’ »

“ABIDE IN LOVE” – Theme for Pope Francis Visit to Sri Lanka Officially Launched


Theme for the Pope’s visit to Sri Lanka was launched at the press conference held today (12th September, 2014) at the Archbishop’s House Auditorium by Rev. Fr, Cyril Gamini, Director, Media Secretariat for the Pope’s visit to Sri Lanka.

PSL091714


“Abide in Love”, the theme of Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka has its roots in John 15:9 “As Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love”

Continue reading ‘“ABIDE IN LOVE” – Theme for Pope Francis Visit to Sri Lanka Officially Launched’ »

Scottish Referendum Vote on Independence is a Historic Turning Point for Britain and the Whole of Europe.


By

Chris Marsden and Robert Stevens

The Scottish referendum vote on independence is a historic turning point for Britain and the whole of Europe. With the result of the September 18 ballot too close to call, a recent poll for the first time showing the Yes camp holding a majority triggered a crisis in ruling circles across the continent. Numerous political leaders and influential figures lined up to oppose Scottish independence and warn of its disastrous implications.

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A member of the group ‘English Scots for YES’ pours a cup of tea near Berwick-upon-Tweed on the border between England and Scotland September 7, 2014-REUTERS/Russell Cheyne-pic courtesy of: twitter.com/Reuters

This response is motivated, in the first instance, by the fear that Scotland’s separation would deepen the economic crisis not only of the UK, but drag the whole of Europe down with it. Amid predictions that a Yes vote could lead to a fall in the value of the pound of up to 15 percent, nearly £17 billion of UK shares, bonds and other financial assets have been sold by investors over the past month.

The Times commented that fear of a Yes vote had led to “the biggest sell-off of British investments since the collapse of the Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers.”

It was the collapse of Lehman that triggered the global financial crisis of 2008 and the breakdown of the capitalist system internationally. A collapse of the UK economy could be just as devastating, especially given the precarious position already facing Europe.

Continue reading ‘Scottish Referendum Vote on Independence is a Historic Turning Point for Britain and the Whole of Europe.’ »

What Would Happen if Scotland Votes for Independence? Questions and Answers in the New York Times.


Compiled by KATRIN BENNHOLD with Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura contributing reporting from London and Bernadette Murphy contributing research from Paris.

Scotland has been England’s junior partner in the United Kingdom since 1707. But three centuries is no time at all in the view of many Scots, who regularly re-enact 14th century sword battles they had with the English and have insisted on self-determination, on and off, ever since. That prospect is now nearer than ever. Scottish voters will decide on Thursday whether to become independent once again.


Here’s a look at the referendum and the issues.

What will voters consider exactly?

The question on the ballot is simple: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

How did a seemingly fruitful union reach the breaking point?

Continue reading ‘What Would Happen if Scotland Votes for Independence? Questions and Answers in the New York Times.’ »

Urban Resilience is Important to Sri Lanka Because more than half the CountryPopulation will live in Cities by 2020.

By

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

(Text of Speech deliverd by Secretary Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the workshop on Urban Resilience organised by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme at the Waters Edge Hotel in Battaramulla on 16th September 2014)

It gives me great pleasure to address you all this morning at this workshop on Urban Resilience organised by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in partnership with the Urban Development Authority. Urban Resilience is becoming an increasingly important concept in the present era. It entails the ability of cities to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and manmade crises with minimum damage to public safety and health, the economy and security. As global populations become more and more concentrated in cities, it is essential that town planners, representatives of municipal & urban authorities, and other stakeholders become more familiar with techniques and best practices that can be adopted to enhance urban resilience. This is a particularly pressing need in older towns and cities that have experienced haphazard planning and unauthorised construction activities over time.

As it is a country currently undergoing significant urbanisation, with more than half its population likely to live in cities by the year 2020, the concept of urban resiliency is becoming increasingly important for Sri Lanka. In this context, I would like to commend UN Habitat and the UDA on their foresight and initiative in organising this workshop, which brings together many of the key stakeholders in this effort. I also take this opportunity to thank the Government of Australia for its generous sponsorship of the Programme on Disaster Resilient City Development Strategies for Sri Lankan Cities. I am aware that Disaster Risk Reduction Plans have been formulated for several cities throughout the country and that more are currently being formulated. This is an important undertaking, and the assistance granted as well as the work put in by the various institutions involved in this programme is truly appreciated by the Government of Sri Lanka.

During the course of this address, I will briefly highlight some of the recent initiatives of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development that are aligned with the theme of urban resilience.

Continue reading ‘Urban Resilience is Important to Sri Lanka Because more than half the CountryPopulation will live in Cities by 2020.’ »

Northern Provincial Council must work with Govt for Development like Colombo Municipal Council says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran is not cooperating on development work carried out by the Government, and this is affecting the ordinary people in the North.

Speaking at a UN Habitat program today, Rajapaksa said that political differences between Municipalities and the Central Government has resulted in some officials, including Mayors, showing reluctance to work with the Government.

Rajapaksa noted that fortunately the Colombo Municipal Council is working with the Urban Development Authority and Ministry of Defence despite the Council being governed by the opposition UNP.

He said the Northern Provincial Council must also work with the Government like the Colombo Municipal Council, in the best interest of the people in the area.

Continue reading ‘Northern Provincial Council must work with Govt for Development like Colombo Municipal Council says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.’ »

Was Anagarika Dharmapala who held Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan in Great Esteem a “Racist” as Portrayed by Some?


by

Mala Hewavitarne Weerasekera

It is opportune at this moment that a true understanding of the Anagarika and his message to the people is properly conveyed.

His clarion call to the Sinhala People is in grave danger of being misinterpreted and misused by elements who are out to cause religious and racial disharmony.

First, let us consider the period in which the Anagarika emerged as a Stalwart and Nationalist. It was the time of the Martial Law. A. E. Goonesingha comments on Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan’s speech in the Legislative Assembly in 1915. “He stood like a colossus alone in the Legislative Council and vindicated the honour and dignity of the Sinhalese Nation. He spoke with tears in his eyes. He described the brutality committed by English Men with impunity under the name of British Justice. He said it was not justice but downright murder by the ruling race and it was an act of misgovernment for the ruling race to ignore all these atrocities.”

They were very harsh times of colonial rule. It is evident that Anagarika himself held Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan in very high esteem. He says “The day you are taken away from Ceylon, from that day there will be no one to defend the poor, neglected Sinhalese. They are a doomed people with no one to guide and protect them.” These were his comments after listening to his speech at the Legislative Assembly of 1915 (according to Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan’s memorial lecture in 1994 delivered by Hon. Lakshman Kadirgarmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs) naming Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan as a guide and protector of the Sinhalese people, which further confirms his nonracial mind-set.

Continue reading ‘Was Anagarika Dharmapala who held Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan in Great Esteem a “Racist” as Portrayed by Some?’ »

Beijing’s Regime Change Change Plan in North Korea Shows that Mahinda Rajapaksa has to fear China more than the USA or India.

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

Way back in 1963, Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, was hailed by the China media as the ‘Angel of Peace’ when she carried with her a set proposals to prevent a possible Indo-China war. While in China she signed the maritime agreement. Her proposals to prevent an Indo-China war was severely criticized by the then Opposition UNP which claimed the proposals favoured China while it was unfair by India. Even the then Opposition stalwart of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), Philip Gunawardena warned that Bandaranaike’s proposals were harmful to Indo-Lanka relations.

Allegations were levelled that in signing the maritime agreement, Bandaranaike had secretly sold the Trincomalee China Bay Port to China. The UNP used the issue as the main slogan against the Bandaranaike Government at the 1965 General Election warning the public that China was going to invade Sri Lanka. The UNP was elected to office and relations with China gradually turned sour. It was alleged that China was behind a move to topple the UNP Government elected to office in 1965. Rumours floated that the Chinese Embassy in Colombo had printed leaflets in China and had got them down to operate an anti-UNP propaganda programme. Simultaneously, the Sri Lankan Mission in China came under attack. It was reported that the attack was mounted by the Red Army of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

China was anxious to bring Bandaranaike back to power in 1970. That stand was proved beyond doubt as relations with China stabilized again after Bandaranaike returned to power in that year with a two-third majority. In 1971 the JVP insurgency broke out, and many nations, except China agreed to assist Bandaranaike to quell the insurgent uprising. The silence maintained by China was viewed by Bandaranaike with suspicion. That was mentioned in the book ‘Foreign Policy of Sri Lanka’ in the following manner:

Continue reading ‘Beijing’s Regime Change Change Plan in North Korea Shows that Mahinda Rajapaksa has to fear China more than the USA or India.’ »

Uva Provincial Polls will Prove Whether the “UNP”Brand is Damaged Beyond Control or not?


By

Vishwamithra 1984


An Open letter to the Uva voter-

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
~T. S. Eliot

In a column, dated July 26, 2011, published in a worldwide website this writer, under a different pseudonym wrote thus: “A people battered for more than a quarter century by unspeakable sufferings, left in the lurch by their own Colombo elites and derided by the Southern brethren of Mahawansa mindset, held fast; this time they decided to be the deceivers and dealt the King and the Prince a devastating blow.

The sale that the Rajapaksas tried to consummate did not materialize, not because of buyer’s remorse, but because the buyer in fact turned out to be the seller, a seller of a different kind of merchandise to the international community.

They showed the value of the age old cliché-“buyer beware”, and the Northern voter was different. The feelings and utter scorn pent up for three decades were given vent to and out of 23 local bodies 20 in the North turned towards the leading Tamil party as their overwhelming choice. Only 3 were secured by the UPFA, ironically all three local bodies are not part of mainland Jaffna-islands of Kaytes, Delft and Velanai (in Kaytes)- adding fuel to the rumor that the votes were manipulated while in transit via helicopters. So much for free and fair elections!

In Vavuniya UPFA lost 35% -55%, in Mannar 39% – 59%, in Kilinochchi where Prince Namal was resident for weeks, UPFA lost 30% – 68% while in Jaffna the government lost 26% – 71% and in Mulativu they were clobbered 17% – 82% (statistics taken from Ada Derana).

The great “humanitarian operation with zero civilian casualties” myth broke asunder. This is the theatre where the Channel 4 drama was enacted during the last stages of the war. Amidst many hardships, harassments, murder and unspeakably vicious government propaganda, the Northern voter stood fast, unafraid and unbowed. The carrot would have been too tempting if it was offered in the South. With power well entrenched in the center, in the hands of the King and his royal family, with no hope or clear vision in the horizon they defied all odds.

Continue reading ‘Uva Provincial Polls will Prove Whether the “UNP”Brand is Damaged Beyond Control or not?’ »

Bellanwila-Attidiya Sanctuary Developed through Efforts of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Must be Named “Gota-Abhaya Boomiya” in his Honour.

By

G.A.D.Sirimal

At the ceremonial opening of the Bellanwila Development Project, by President Mahinda Rjapaksa, it was magnanimous on the part of the Chief Incumbent of Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya Bellanwila Wimalarathana, to pay a glorious compliment to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development Authority for successfully completing the project which was carried out on his own vision and directions, without consulting or advise of others in the locality.

Generally, when improvement works of this nature are undertaken, it is the accepted practice to consult the Chief Monk of Bellanwila Temple, but in this instance, quite correctly and knowing the back ground, where unauthorized filling had taken place, by influential people, some with political backing, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had by-passed that practice, avoided any objections, demonstrations, or confrontations from those who had already violated and filled land and carried on regardless. The outcome of this bold approach was the picturesque scenery converting the dreary marsh to what it is today

Continue reading ‘Bellanwila-Attidiya Sanctuary Developed through Efforts of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Must be Named “Gota-Abhaya Boomiya” in his Honour.’ »

USA Led West Must Realise that Powerful Nations such as China,Russia,India,Japan and Australia are Against UNHRC Probe on Sri Lanka.

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

The joint statement issued at the end of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo, praises internal mechanisms in Sri Lanka, in terms of ethnic reconciliation and accountability issues. PM Abe in particular underscored the need for continuing the dialogue among political stake-holders in Sri Lanka, and for the host-Government to address the concerns of the international community on accountability issues, as expressed in the US-sponsored UNHRC resolution.

It is incidental yet significant that on both issues, Japan holds similar views as Sri Lanka’s northern neighbour, India. It’s but a coincidence that Abe should be visiting Colombo within days after India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan. Independent of the leadership-change in India, both nations had abstained from voting in the March 2014 UNHRC resolution on an international probe into accountability issues on Sri Lanka. Both had similar reasons and justification for taking that decision independent of each other.

For other reasons, Australia, Sri Lanka’s other middle-power neighbour, if it could be called so, too is against an international inquiry into accountability issues. That China and Russia, two veto-power nations in the UN Security Council and at present voting-members in the UNHRC, have backed Sri Lanka to the hilt. Thereby hangs a tale that the West cannot ignore beyond a point, however Geneva-centric and however non-veto the UNHRC vote might have been calculated to be.

All this only goes on to show that there are powerful nations outside of the traditional western bloc that think alike on issues concerning third nations. A common line still exists, be it on issues of sovereignty and/or threats to the neighbourhood (as much as threats in and from the neighbourhood). In an interview to The Hindu, President Rajapaksa has reiterated in context, for Sri Lanka to oppose any similar move on Kashmir viz India.

Continue reading ‘USA Led West Must Realise that Powerful Nations such as China,Russia,India,Japan and Australia are Against UNHRC Probe on Sri Lanka.’ »

“Sam Wijesinha my Father was not one for Religious Rituals but was a very Spiritual Man”

By

Dr.Sanjiva Wijesinha

(Text of the eulogy delivered at the service of Celebration of the life of former Ombudsman and Parliament Secretary -General Mr.Sam Wijesinha on 9th September 2014 by his son Dr. Sanjiva Wijesinha)


Sam Wijesinha: 27 June 1921 – 31 August 2014

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Sam Wijesinha

Your presence here today – and the many letters, flowers, emails, phone calls and visits we have been receiving since he died on August 31st – have been a reminder to us of how much our father was respected and loved, and how much he meant not just to us his children but to so many of you. This is a source of great comfort to us as we come to terms with his loss.

We are grateful to all of you who, in many different ways, cared for him during the last days of his life – and we particularly want to thank his attendants Chamara and Sunil, our cousin Theja and his faithful doctor Vim Navaratnam who gave so much of their time and of themselves to look after him.

We are also grateful to his friend Bishop Kumarage for being here with us today – and I would also like to express our thanks to the choir of his old school, S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia for their presence at this service of celebration. We would also like to thank the principal of his other ‘old school’ for allowing us to use this beautiful chapel for the service to celebrate his life.

Continue reading ‘“Sam Wijesinha my Father was not one for Religious Rituals but was a very Spiritual Man”’ »

Northern Provincial Council Spends only 345.34 Million Rupees up to 31st August this Year014 out of 1,891 Million Rs Allocated by Govt for the Year 2014


By

Franklin R. Satyapalan

Northern Province Governor, Major General (Retd) G. A. Chandrasiri has advised the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) to spend Rs. 1.38 billion already allocated by the government for projects beneficial to the people in the region.

Finance and Planning Ministry Secretary, Dr. P. B. Jayasundara who was in Jaffna last Friday met with the Secretaries to Provincial Ministries, as well as heads of departments. The provincial authorities had requested for Rs. 6.97 billion from the 2015 Budget, sources said.

Dr. Jayasundara had said that he would discuss the request with President Mahinda Rajapaksa under whose purview the Finance Ministry functions and make the necessary allocations. .

Continue reading ‘Northern Provincial Council Spends only 345.34 Million Rupees up to 31st August this Year014 out of 1,891 Million Rs Allocated by Govt for the Year 2014’ »

“Ralahamy Rides Again”:Popular Plays of H.C.N de Lanerolle Staged in the “Ceylon”Era Compiled into Book by his son Primal.

By

Gamini Seneviratne

`It’s been a long time. Now, at last, the celebrated home-grown stage plays of half a century ago, all out of print, have been published in a single volume.

Ralahamy Rides Again, the title of this book, was the last of the plays written and produced by H C N de Lanerolle before he emigrated to the USA with his family in 1958. His son, Primal, a Professor at the College of Medicine in Chicago, merits our thanks for gathering together all the texts and related pictures & memorabilia that he could find into a well produced book.

Primal’s Editor’s Notes supplement his father’s Preface. Together, they provide an illuminating anterior history of our stage productions in the 1930s to the 1950s. The footnotes to the later plays seem to be by some other hand.

Continue reading ‘“Ralahamy Rides Again”:Popular Plays of H.C.N de Lanerolle Staged in the “Ceylon”Era Compiled into Book by his son Primal.’ »

“Civil War”Escalates in Sri Lanka Cricket with President Dharmadasa in one camp and Vice-President Mohan de Silva and Secretary Nishantha Ranatunge in the Other.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was plunged into chaos this week with heated exchanges between the most senior officials in the sport who are now threatening to rip SLC apart at a very crucial time, according to highly placed sources at SLC headquarters.

SLC President Jayantha Dharmadasa slammed Vice President Mohan De Silva in an official letter on Wednesday (10), calling him “childish” and accusing him of “being the alter ego of the Secretary Nishantha Ranatunge”.

The SLC President in his letter also accused SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunge of “deliberately violating the Constitution”, and saying that Mohan De Silva ‘deliberately allowed the Secretary’ to do so.

Continue reading ‘“Civil War”Escalates in Sri Lanka Cricket with President Dharmadasa in one camp and Vice-President Mohan de Silva and Secretary Nishantha Ranatunge in the Other.’ »

Out of 330 Cases of Election Law Violations and Election Violence in Uva for 37 days,253 were Committed in Moneragala District Alone.


By

Faizer Shaheid

Moneragala has become the cynosure of all eyes ever since nominations for the upcoming Uva Provincial Council Elections concluded on 6 August, and then, all hell broke loose with election related violence erupting exponentially.

By 11 September, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) reported a total of 259 election law violations and 71 cases of election violence. Of the 330 violations in total, only 77 had been committed in Badulla while a staggering 253 violations had occurred in Moneragala during the 37 day period.

Continue reading ‘Out of 330 Cases of Election Law Violations and Election Violence in Uva for 37 days,253 were Committed in Moneragala District Alone.’ »

Resolutions Adopted by Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi can Cause Turmoil by Encouraging Separatist Sentiments Charges Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

by

Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that the majority of resolutions adopted at the 15th National Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) held in Vavuniya recently were meant to cause fresh political turmoil. Therefore, a tangible campaign was necessary to neutralise the ITAK’s threat , he said.

The ITAK is the dominant partner of the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which controls the Northern Provincial Council.

The ITAK adopted 15 resolutions at its three-day convention where veteran politician Mavai Senathirajah, MP was elected the ITAK Leader.

Senathirajah succeeded R. Sampanthan MP.

Alleging that almost all resolutions encouraged separatist sentiments thereby undermining the government of Sri Lanka, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa urged those among the international community supportive of the TNA’s strategy as well as other local political parties to closely examine the set of proposals at issue.

Continue reading ‘Resolutions Adopted by Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi can Cause Turmoil by Encouraging Separatist Sentiments Charges Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.’ »

Comrade Bala Tampoe: Life and Times of a Legendary Trade Union Leader-1

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

When news reached me in Toronto that Philips Balendra Tampoe popularly known as Bala Tampoe had passed away in Colombo on September 1st 2014, I felt somewhat guilt ridden and remorse stricken. The reason for these feelings was that with Bala being no more there was no way in which I could undertake an envisaged project concerning the veteran Trade unionist.The project was to do a series of interviews with Bala Tampoe in a biographical mode and compile them into a book.

Philips Balendra Tampoe

Philips Balendra Tampoe

It was at a meeting with him in Colombo during November 2013 that Bala Tampoe requested me to interview and write about him. I was surprised because I had not expected such a request would be made to me by the great helmsman of the Ceylon Mercantile Union. The CMU deputy general secretary and Bala’s chief of staff Sylvester Maxwell Jayakody was present when this request was made.
Continue reading ‘Comrade Bala Tampoe: Life and Times of a Legendary Trade Union Leader-1’ »

Untested Ranil-Sajith Alliance Pales into Insignificance when Compared to Proven -JRJ-Premadasa Combination


By

Vishwamithra 1984

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” ~Edmund Burke

With Sajith Premadasa getting on board the platform of the United National Party at the Uva PC election campaign, there were huge a sighs of relief, some from the diehard party supporters and others from those who wish that there were more united opposition to this seemingly autocratic Government and its merciless attacks on freedom of the press, right to information, good governance and accountability. While this sudden patching up of differences between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa may appear as an auspicious harbinger of events yet to happen, when one looks at it more objectively and with sobriety, one wonders as to why this ever had to happen at all.

JRJRPUNP

Disunity in political parties, especially when they are in opposition and not in power, is a natural progression of events. They say that when in power there is unity and when out of power, all hell breaks loose. And for that matter, when out of power for two long decades, it must be utterly cumbersome for parliamentarians of the same party even to say hello to each other with any sense of cordiality and sincerity.

Continue reading ‘Untested Ranil-Sajith Alliance Pales into Insignificance when Compared to Proven -JRJ-Premadasa Combination’ »

Swimmer and Guinness Record Holder Kumar Anandan’s son Rajan Anandan is India’s top MNC CEO

Rajan Anandan

Rajan Anandan

Sri Lankan-born Rajan Anandan, the Head of Google India, has been ranked as India’s Top Multi National Corporation (MNC) Chief Executive Officer.

Rajan is the son of endurance swimmer and multi-Guinness record holder, the late Kumar Anandan, and Manel Anandan (nee Samaraweera). He is an MIT and Stanford alumni, and previously worked for McKinsey, Microsoft & Dell, and is a Founding Partner of Blue Ocean Ventures.
Continue reading ‘Swimmer and Guinness Record Holder Kumar Anandan’s son Rajan Anandan is India’s top MNC CEO’ »

President Mahinda Rajapaksa Exclusively Interviewed by Dr.Subramanian Swamy’s Daughter Suhasini Haidar for “The Hindu”

Suhasini Haidar

Suhasini Haidar


Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces the twin challenges of external pressure for an international probe into allegations of war crimes and internal pressure over the dialogue process with the Tamil National Alliance. In his first interview since meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May, he spoke to Suhasini Haidar about the UNHRC resolution and the possibility of restarting dialogue.(.Suhasini Haidar is the daughter of BJP leader Dr.Subramanian Swamy)


Tell us what you think the Sri Lankan-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commisson (LLRC) has achieved so far?

We have already implemented 35 proposals of the LLRC and more are to be implemented. Some of them deal with issues like land, which can’t be done overnight.

At the UNHRC session in progress right now, your ambassador admitted there have been thousands of cases of disappearances during the war years.

We have already appointed a Disappearances Commission in Sri Lanka, and about 20,000 cases have appeared before the commission.

MR082414

The cases are from both the North (Tamil-dominated areas) as well as from the armed forces. The report is still not out, but from what I understand, the majority of the cases are where the LTTE was responsible for the disappearances.

Continue reading ‘President Mahinda Rajapaksa Exclusively Interviewed by Dr.Subramanian Swamy’s Daughter Suhasini Haidar for “The Hindu”’ »

Fact -Finding Mission from Organization of Islamic Cooperation to Visit Sri Lanka and Probe Extent of Anti- Muslim Sentiment in Island


By
Dharisha Bastians

When the Sri Lankan Government pins its hopes too dearly on a particular thing, it is almost a certainty that disappointment, disillusionment and bitter resentment are soon to follow. Major expectations were placed on Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, mere mortal and new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, successor to Navi Pillay who has pursued and plagued the Rajapaksa Government – or so it believes – with a vendetta since 2009. The regime has made no secret of the fact that Pillay’s ethnic Tamil heritage has inspired part of this deep mistrust.

Jordanian Zeid will be unbiased and professional in his engagement with Sri Lanka, the Government believes. As the UPFA counted down the days to Pillay’s retirement, there was perhaps some hope that the ascension of Zeid would turn a new chapter for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, where pesky resolutions and investigations are cramping its style.

Instead, when he addressed the 47-member UN Human Rights Council for the first time on 8 September, Zeid professed a deep admiration for Navi Pillay, who he said had been the voice and lungs of victims of abuse and atrocities all over the world. He vowed to carry on her work, and with regard to Sri Lanka, Zeid echoed Pillay’s call for cooperation with the probe led by what is now his Office, and raised strong concerns about threats to human rights defenders and religious minorities in Sri Lanka.

In short, the bubble seemed to burst early. The players might have changed, but the UN’s top envoy on human rights issues is still singing the same tune. Which is as it should be, even if the Government persists in believing that individuals rather than processes and policies are driving the international agenda on Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Fact -Finding Mission from Organization of Islamic Cooperation to Visit Sri Lanka and Probe Extent of Anti- Muslim Sentiment in Island’ »

5 Must-try lamprais spots in Sri Lanka

By Iresha Umagiliya

Any Sri Lankan would be familiar with this delicacy, in my case, from my younger days, I remember my father calling up the Otters Club to reserve lamprais every Sunday morning for the entire family. In most cases, a limited number of packs are made each time and put up for sale.

Crossroads

“The early bird gets the worm” would be the perfect term to be used in the case of fetching your Sunday lamprais! I can almost guarantee them to be sold out by 11 a.m. on most occasions.
Continue reading ‘5 Must-try lamprais spots in Sri Lanka’ »

Jathika Hela Urumaya with its Cynicism and Hypocrisy is not the Solution but part of the Problem.

By
Vishwamithra 1984

“Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”

~Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Jathika Hela Urumaya seems to have awakened from their deep slumber. All of a sudden they seem to perceive only the negatives of the incumbent regime of which they are still an integral part. For eleven long years, they have been inside a regime that has been wasting the country’ treasures like drunkard sailors. At election after election they, the JHU, paraded on the United People’s Freedom Front platform; they asked the people to cast their votes for the continuation of the same old policies and principles, hiding behind a facade of patriotism and Sinhalese-Buddhist supremacy.

In March this year, the leader of the JHU, the self-acclaimed custodian of the Sinhala-Buddhist values, wrote a piece on the national Tamil question. When one examines his arguments, one invariably comes to some unavoidable observations. With the one-sided arguments brought forward for the supremacy of Sinhalese-Buddhists based on the ‘Mahawansa’, the product of Maha Vihara Bikkhus who wrote about the Sinhalese Kings whom they considered as their favorites and a chronicle that G C Mendis, the reputed Sri Lankan historian, dismissed as an inauthentic history of Sri Lanka in the context of classical history writings, the JHU leader cements his case for Sinhala-dominated national identity, fanning racial and ethnic flames further, making any reconciliation between the two communities impossible.

Continue reading ‘Jathika Hela Urumaya with its Cynicism and Hypocrisy is not the Solution but part of the Problem.’ »

“My Assessment of the Films that I saw at the Colombo International Film Festival”

By

K.S.Sivakumaran

Thanks to the Directors Guild for Lankan Cinema, we now have an opportunity to see international films of artistic quality in our own city. They deserve to be congratulated. Although I had problems in entering the theatres as a Press Pass holder, I managed to see a few films. Two films could not be screened due to technical difficulties, the volunteers said.

The films I picked and saw were, Beauty and the Beast ( I did not fancy this film much); The Night is Young, a French film by Leos Carax; Miles of a Dream, by Sri Lankan director Udhaya Dharawardena; an Iranian film, I am Not Angry, by Resa Dormishian, A Singapore/Australian film, Liberta by Kan Lumre; Disengagement, a French/Israel film by Amos Gital; Invincible, directed by Jahnu Barua; Silent Light by Mexican Carlos Reygadas; A Gun and A Ring by a Lankan-born Canadian, Lenin M. Sivam; Ferry, a Chinese film; Charlie’s Country, an Australian film by Rolf de Heer; Hannah Arendt, a German film directed by the famous Margareth von Trotta; a Dalit film by a Marathi director; and 28 by Prasanna Jayakody.

Continue reading ‘“My Assessment of the Films that I saw at the Colombo International Film Festival”’ »

Convergence Between the USA,Japan and India to Strategically Sideline China in Sri Lanka.


By

Upul Joseph Fernando

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi visited Japan much before the Japanese Premier, Shinzo Abe came to Sri Lanka. Modi and Abe centred their discussions on the Chinese expansion in Asia. Had Sri Lankan affairs surfaced during those talks, it would certainly have been India’s fear on the pattern China was flexing its muscles on the Sri Lankan soil. India is aware of the soured relationship Colombo has with the West but knows the relations with Japan are mutual and strong. Moreover, the historic speech by J.R. Jayewardene at San Fransisco in 1951 to offer peace to Japan, binds Japan with Sri Lanka closely. That had paved the way for Japan to become the leading nation funding Sri Lanka all the time.

In the wake of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Government being accused of war crimes by the West led by America and other nations and the battle heating much, Japan also faced pressure from the West over the close relations it has with the island nation. Such pressure on Japan was mounted by the United States and the global Human Rights Organizations. Japan is also a close ally of America. Japan was told to examine the human rights record of Sri Lanka when affording monetary assistance to the island nation. However, Japan pointed out that, at a time the West was exerting much pressure on Sri Lanka on the human rights issues, Japan was treading on a soft policy to get Sri Lanka to follow a path to protect human rights. India convinced the West that Japan was following a correct policy towards Sri Lanka. India’s problem was that China’s attempt to take indirect residence in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Convergence Between the USA,Japan and India to Strategically Sideline China in Sri Lanka.’ »

Latest Poll About Sep 18 Scotland Referendum Indicates Narrow Margin in Favour of Scottish Independence.

By

Neil Irwin

If you had told someone in 2012 that in just two years hence, the eurozone would remain bonded together but the United Kingdom might not, they would have thought you insane. But here we are.
It’s been a good three centuries, but now Scotland may want out of the United Kingdom.

The stakes are enormous for Scotland, and quite high for the rest of Britain. But the debate over Scottish independence also sheds important light on how debates over the nature of the state that are as old as Hobbes and Locke apply in a modern world of instant communication and cryptocurrency.

The latest polling on the referendum, to be held Sept. 18, points to a narrow edge for Scots who wish to pull out of the state that they have been part of since 1707 and go it as a nation of their own. Previous polls, by contrast, had given the edge to those who wish for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom. Both betting markets and forecasting groups are now putting the odds that Scotland pulls away and forms its own state at something like 30 percent.

Continue reading ‘Latest Poll About Sep 18 Scotland Referendum Indicates Narrow Margin in Favour of Scottish Independence.’ »

Sep 12 Liquor Ban In India’s Kerala State May Help Sri Lanka Boost its Tourist Industry by Siphoning Away Potential Tourists From “God’s Own Country”..

by

M.Sarita Varma

Even as all the bars in Kerala get ready to shut down from September 12, there is a fear that the hospitality business in the neighbouring Sri Lanka is getting ready to steal a march over Kerala’s Rs 22,000-crore tourism business.

The new liquor policy that is guiding the state towards total prohibition has started giving hiccups to the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) industry already. “Is it true that beach-bashes or a lake cruise may end up having to impress an alcohol-detector cop?” asked a recent email sent to a nervous travel agent. There are apprehensions that those who had made bookings early may ask compensation for breach of contract.

Sri Lanka, which enjoys less than a-third of the annual revenue of Kerala tourism, could come up as the major competitor, in terms of foreign tourists. Last year, over 10 million domestic tourists and 8 lakh foreigners visited Kerala. In a strong bid to emerge as a tourism hub, Sri Lanka has been adding to the number of beer pubs and bars to create a so-called European ambience and wean away tourists.

Continue reading ‘Sep 12 Liquor Ban In India’s Kerala State May Help Sri Lanka Boost its Tourist Industry by Siphoning Away Potential Tourists From “God’s Own Country”..’ »

“Special Bureau of Reconciliation”Being set up in Sri Lanka in the Larger Interests of National Reconciliation,Peace and Harmony.

By

Ravinatha P.Aryasinha

(Full Text of Statement by H.E. Mr. Ravinatha P. Aryasinha Ambassador / Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 8th 2014)

Mr. President, Mr. High Commissioner,

1. Sri Lanka associates itself with the statements delivered by Iran and Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the like-minded group of countries respectively.

2. My delegation takes note of the update by the High Commissioner.

3. On behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, I wish to congratulate the High Commissioner, Zeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein, on his appointment to this important post. His wide experience in diplomacy, in-depth knowledge of the United Nations system and understanding and respect for social and cultural characteristics are useful assets that will guide the work of the OHCHR consistent with the IB package and based on the fundamental principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, non selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation.

Continue reading ‘“Special Bureau of Reconciliation”Being set up in Sri Lanka in the Larger Interests of National Reconciliation,Peace and Harmony.’ »

Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi Thanks the USA and Diaspora for UNHRC Resolution and says it will Assist International Inquiry in all Possible Ways.

(Press Release issued by the TNA Media office providing text of Fifteen Resolutions passed at the 15th National Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi held at Vavuniya on 5, 6, 7 September 2014)

Resolution 1

The 15th National Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi which met in Vauniya on 5, 6, 7 September 2014 resolves to thank most sincerely all those who laboured for the Party for over 60 years and our people who accepted our basic policy and consistently voted for that political position and proclaimed to the world in a democratic way that this is in fact the political aspiration of the Tamil People. We assure our people that we will take forward our struggle until we achieve the objective of autonomous rule in the North East based on the principles of self-determination and shared sovereignty within a united, undivided Sri Lanka.

Resolution 2

We humbly invite all Tamil, Muslim political parties, formations, forces and all progressive forces within Sri Lanka to join with us in our struggle on the basis that it is only through a new constitutional arrangement based on maximum possible devolution that can solve the ethnic conflict in this country. We also request India, the international community and the people of Sri Lanka not to permit the Government of Sri Lanka to continue to breach the provisions of the Indo-Lanka Accord, which is an international bilateral treaty between two sovereign states. We resolve that the Indo-Lanka agreement should be implemented in full.

Continue reading ‘Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi Thanks the USA and Diaspora for UNHRC Resolution and says it will Assist International Inquiry in all Possible Ways.’ »

Sacrifice in Silence of a Generation: A Tribute for my parents and their Generation

By K. Thirukumaran

Ammah: Since god cannot be everywhere,

Everyone here has this most selfless person in her or his own lives.

Neeampikai Ammal Kanapathypillai (April 15, 1934-August 10, 2014) & Sangarapillai Kanapathypillai (August 20, 1929-December 13, 2013)

Neeampikai Ammal Kanapathypillai (April 15, 1934-August 10, 2014) & Sangarapillai Kanapathypillai (August 20, 1929-December 13, 2013)

Her passing is irreplaceable and all the more difficult to bear when she had not thought of seeing this day so soon a mere few weeks ago.

She borne the 4 of us for 10 months times 4, for 40 months, but didn’t even spare 4 weeks for us to care for her during this illness.

Continue reading ‘Sacrifice in Silence of a Generation: A Tribute for my parents and their Generation’ »

Can the new State President Dr.Thamizhisai Soundararajan “Capture”Tamil Nadu for the BJP from the Dravidian Parties?

by

N Sathiya Moorthy.

The BJP’s new Tamil Nadu president, Dr Tamizhisai Soundararajan, a medical doctor whose septuagenarian father, Kumari Anandan, was a TN Congress chief and continues to be a loyal party leader, is the ‘most wanted woman’ in Amma’s Tamil Nadu.

Barring the Congress and the communist rivals in national politics, almost every other party and leader in Tamil Nadu has welcomed Tamizhisai’s elevation. That includes All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam head and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supremo M Karunanidhi, apart from the BJP’s state partners in the May parliamentary polls.

The competitive Dravidian polity does not miss out on underlining the cultural traditions of the state in welcoming whoever wants to make it their home.

Continue reading ‘Can the new State President Dr.Thamizhisai Soundararajan “Capture”Tamil Nadu for the BJP from the Dravidian Parties?’ »

“Maavai” Senathirajah Elected Unanimously as Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi President at 15th Party Convention in Vavuniya.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

"Maavai" Senathirajah at the Convention venue in Vavuniya

“Maavai” Senathirajah at the Convention venue in Vavuniya

71 Year old Somasundaram Senathirajah popularly known as “Maavai” Senathirajah was unanimously elected as the President of the premier Tamil political party the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) at the party convention held in Vavuniya today (September 6 2014).

Senathirajah who was earlier the General secretary of the ITAK replaces veteran Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan as party president.

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The New ITAK leader in Vavuniya on Sep 7, 2014-pic courtesy of via twitter.com/bfonseka

Sampanthan who stepped down voluntarily and proposed Senathirajah’s name as ITAK president will continue to function as leader of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA)

Continue reading ‘“Maavai” Senathirajah Elected Unanimously as Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi President at 15th Party Convention in Vavuniya.’ »

Sgt.Piyasena:The Ex-Soldier who set Himself on Fire to Protest the UN War Crimes Inquiry Against Sri Lanka.

BY

FAIZER SHAHEID

Anger and frustration surrounding war crimes allegations has haunted many a man, but it never went to the extent of self-immolation as done by former military Staff Sergeant T.V. Piyasena.

Known to be a man of deep patriotism, Staff Sergeant T.V. Piyasena, 72 years of age at the time of his demise, had resigned in 1980, according to his son, Chandima Priyantha. He had been an ardent fan of Sri Lankan politics and craved for peace and harmony in the country. He was anti-racist and prayed for all those who died during the war including the Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims alike.

Throughout the war he had hoped and prayed that a leader would rise to put an end to the misery faced by the people. Having condemned the atrocities committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), he had keenly followed the political situation in the newspapers and news channels on the radio and television.

Continue reading ‘Sgt.Piyasena:The Ex-Soldier who set Himself on Fire to Protest the UN War Crimes Inquiry Against Sri Lanka.’ »

Anti-Sri Lankan Tamil Nadu Extremists Protest Against Tamil Films Like “Kaththi”and “Puippaarvai”

BY
SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN

In Tamil Nadu, anything that is pro Sri Lankan stirs up the four major student bodies –Maatram Maanavar Ilaiyor Iyakkam, Free Tamil Eelam Students Organization, Tamil Youth and Students Association and Progressive Students Front.


Kaththi and Pulipaarvai and Lanka links

According to Indian media, Kaththi is running into a major storm because its producer Lyca Productions is alleged to have business links with a political family of Sri Lanka. On the other hand, Pulipaarvai is alleged to be an attempt to project LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s son, Balachandran Prabhakaran, as a child soldier.

Calling Kaththi to be banned, due to its Sri Lankan connection, 65 organizations with Tamil nationalist sympathies, including parties such as the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the Tamilar Vaazhvurimai Katchi (TVK), have come together to oppose the release of Pulipaarvai too.
Kaththi which is slated to be released in October during Deepavali is in hot water now without direction over who would be the producer.

On Vijay-starrer Kaththi funded by Lyca Productions, the protesters call for a ‘change’ of the producers. Until its close ties with a political family in Sri Lanka is severed the film will never be ‘allowed’ to screen in Tamil Nadu, the 65 organizations have threatened. They have warned that they will hold massive protests if their demands are not met.

Continue reading ‘Anti-Sri Lankan Tamil Nadu Extremists Protest Against Tamil Films Like “Kaththi”and “Puippaarvai”’ »

TNA has done Nothing to Erase the Impression of Having LTTE Traits and Deploying Tiger Tactics.

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

Now that there are budding hopes to the possible revival of political discussions between the Government/SLFP and the TNA, for finding a negotiated settlement to devolution-driven ethnic issue, both sides need to re-visit the past and ensure that they do not commit the same old mistakes all over again. It does not mean that they could afford to commit new mistakes, either.

It had begun with the Government of the day and the Tamil community leadership of the times banking more on distrust than seeking to identify elements of mutual trust. Blaming it on past experience, dating back to the post-independence fifties, they enumerated what the other side did, or did not do. Habitually, they have become incapable of acknowledging their own contribution to the process.

The failure of the B-C Pact in the Fifties is still a case in point. It failed not only because then Prime Minister, the slain S W R D Bandaranaike went back on his commitment. Three days after the signing of the Pact, Tamil leader, the late S J V Chelvanayagam, declared at a Batticaloa rally of agitated supporters that ‘it’s only a first step’. Post-war, TNA leader Sampanthan said almost the same thing when negotiations were on with the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

An added element involved the TNA claiming credit for the US war crimes resolution at the UNHRC. The party was negotiating a political resolution bereft of accountability issues when it made the claim. It was sure to have consequences. The Government walked out of the talks but without the kind grace that had made the negotiations possible in the first place. Both were once again playing to the gallery, and that was it.

Continue reading ‘TNA has done Nothing to Erase the Impression of Having LTTE Traits and Deploying Tiger Tactics.’ »

While Ranil Agrees to make Sajith UNP Deputy Leader, Party Stalwarts Loyal to Wickremesinghe Resent Rapprochement with Premadasa

After weeks of hemming and hawing, Sajith Premadasa will now become the Deputy Leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP).

pic via: facebook.com/UNPofficialpage

UNP Convention-Sep 2014-pic via: facebook.com/UNPofficialpage

Their leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told a largely attended 63rd anniversary rally of the party in Passara that he would give prominence to Sajith Premadasa when appointing a Deputy Leader. He said that he had yesterday united the party with so many prominent leaders present on the stage. Among them were General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, Premadasa and Karu Jayasuriya, a one time Deputy Leader.

Premadasa who spoke last after making a request to do so declared this was a repetition of history. The late J.R. Jayewardene had invited his father to unite to replace the then Government. Similarly, he will heed the call of national leader Wickremesinghe to unite the pary to democratically topple this Government.

As Premadasa rose to speak, Ravi Karunayake, a strong opponent of moves to elevate Premadasa to the number two slot in the UNP walked away from the meeting.

Continue reading ‘While Ranil Agrees to make Sajith UNP Deputy Leader, Party Stalwarts Loyal to Wickremesinghe Resent Rapprochement with Premadasa’ »

“When the Trains First came to Batticaloa”- A page from Eastern Railway History

by

Shirley. W. Somanader

Travel before the trains

A measure of the efficiency of communication between a place and the outside world is the ease of accessibility to the Capital city.

file pics via: railwaymuseum.lk

file pics via: railwaymuseum.lk

In terms of this measure, the isolation of the Batticaloa district, as late as the first quarter of the Twentieth century is expressed, by a person who had lived through the better part of those times thus: “A journey to Batticaloa was something of an adventure. It was long and tiresome and often risky. Before the introduction of the train service in 1928, there were only two means of communication with the outside world. One by sea, at first by sailing vessels, replaced later on by coasting steamers, which called once a week either from the south or north: The other by land across rocks and precipices of the Uva Province. The journey was done on horseback or bullock carts.”

A journey by land via Badulla

Continue reading ‘“When the Trains First came to Batticaloa”- A page from Eastern Railway History’ »

What the Tamils got From the UNP-FP Accord in 1965 were District Councils and not Regional Devolution.

by

Bradman Weerakoon

Neville Jayaweera’s Memoir on his period of service as Government Agent Jaffna between August 1963 and 1966 is as Michael Roberts says in his Foreword a veritable feast of information to be mined. This was a defining phase of our history. It saw the Tamil resentment in the North on account of the ‘Sinhala Only’ Act (1956) grow into a full – blown civil disobedience movement. That spun into the 30 year war we were all caught up in until recently. Neville Jayaweera (NJ) in Jaffna was at the epi – centre of the storm as it developed.

NJ’s detailed recall of incidents of many years ago, assisted by the daily diary he kept, should help fill many of the gaps in the history of those times. Only a few of us are yet around to bear personal witness to what really happened and it makes such memoirs of history as it happened, invaluable.

I shall comment on only a few aspects of the many dramatic incidents he writes about. One was his moral dilemma in persuading Prime Minister Sirimawo Bandaranaike, to exempt the Jaffna District of which he was in charge, from bearing the full and unfair rigour of the ‘Sinhala Only’ legislation. By his courageous action, facing the pressure of NQ Dias ‘the most powerful public servant at the time’, NJ tells us how he relieved the people of Jaffna from having to receive official correspondence and other important documents, such as Birth and Death Certificates, in Sinhala only. NJ’s policy of ‘consultation, compromise and conciliation’ thus, he shows, triumphed over Dias’ insistence on ‘confrontation, aggression and ascendancy’.

Continue reading ‘What the Tamils got From the UNP-FP Accord in 1965 were District Councils and not Regional Devolution.’ »

President Rajapaksa Should Throw out the Present “Bahubootha”Constitution Lock,Stock and Barrel and Replace it with a new Democratic one.

By

Somapala Gunadheera

Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has argued in last Sunday’s Island, that despite the implementation of the 18th amendment, President Rajapaksa became constitutionally disqualified to seek a third term on the very day he was elected for a second term.

Justice Silva’s argument is, the day President Rajapaksa was elected for a second term, he automatically became ineligible to seek a third term since Section 31.2 of the Constitution very clearly stated that any individual elected by the people as the President for two consecutive terms, stands disqualified to go for a third term. He has therefore pointed out that the context in which the 18th amendment has been passed contains an ‘important constitutional disqualification’ while adding that despite the 18th amendment removing section 31.2, the disqualification is still applicable to President Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Should Throw out the Present “Bahubootha”Constitution Lock,Stock and Barrel and Replace it with a new Democratic one.’ »

The Names of Bala Tampoe and Sam Wijesinha are Synonymous with the Island’s Trade Union Movement and Legislature Respectively

by

Rajan Philips

The week belonged to BalaTampoe, to the honouring of one of Lanka’s most unique post-independence personas, who passed away on September 1, which ironically is Labour Day in some western countries that do not celebrate May Day because of its revolutionary connotations. On May Day this year, Mr. Tampoe was photographed taking a pillion ride on a motorbike to address the CMU May Day rally. That would be his last May Day. Thousands marched with him for the last timeon Friday, and among the mourners who went to pay their respectsto the late CMU Chief as he lay in state in his own defiant way, was the Head of State, President MahindaRajapaksa.

Tampoe was a man of many talents who played many roles in Lankan public life and became a colossus in the trade union field. He will be remembered by the Ceylon Mercantile Union that he nurtured and shaped, and the thousands whose lives he touched. His death takes away perhaps the last of the prominent Sama Samajists who were born before the founding of the LSSP in 1935, and will trigger another round of progressive political reflections. For now, let us dip the red banner and honourBala Tampoe.

The week also saw the death of another prominent Sri Lankan, Sam Wijesinha, who became an institutional fixture as the Secretary General of Parliament for nearly two decades and Ombudsman for another ten years. Almost the same age, Wijesinha and Tampoe were on different trajectories of personal and professional lives, and their contributions were worlds apart in substance and in style, but what their lives and accomplishments had in common were their intellectual and cultural breadth – not just educational qualifications, professional competence and commitment to the public good – all of the highest order. They were great exemplars of their generation for personal accomplishments and public service, aspects that are difficult to come across among succeeding generations. There was no room for charlatanism in their presence, but charlatanism is what is in charge now in most places in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘The Names of Bala Tampoe and Sam Wijesinha are Synonymous with the Island’s Trade Union Movement and Legislature Respectively’ »

“Indian Govt Dealing Directly with the TNA which Acted as an LTTE Mouthpieceis Jeopardising Indo-Lanka Relations”-Jathika Hela Urumaya

By

Waruni Karunarathne

The Sri Lankan government was expecting the new BJP government to respond positively towards Sri Lanka government’s policies, especially towards Tamil national issue of the country. However, the recent statement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka has clouded those hopes of the Sri Lankan government to some extent.

JHU Provincial councillor and western province minister Udaya Gammanpila told The Sunday Leader that it is not justifiable for the Indian government to make such requests as India has violated certain aspects of the Indo-Lanka agreement under several circumstances.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q: Was it right for the Indian government to have meetings with TNA instead of other Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka?

A: This is not something new. Throughout the history the TNA or other Tamil main political parties always used to deal with Indian Prime Ministers since the time of Indira Gandhi. This is not right. We have never interfered into the internal affairs of India. There are so many separatist movements in India than anywhere else in the world. But we have never engaged in talks with any such separatist leader in India. The TNA acted as the mouthpiece of the LTTE. They are separatists. Therefore, the Indian government should not have directly dealt with the TNA jeopardising Indo Lanka relationship.

Continue reading ‘“Indian Govt Dealing Directly with the TNA which Acted as an LTTE Mouthpieceis Jeopardising Indo-Lanka Relations”-Jathika Hela Urumaya’ »

“We want a Meaningful Power Sharing Arrangement for the Northern and Eastern Provinces as Envisaged in the 13th Amendment”-Muslim Congress

By

Fathima Razik

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka which led to the creation of provincial councils as well as making Sinhala and Tamil as official languages with English as the link language was passed in parliament on 14 November 1987. Since then, this amendment has been a vexed issue with its implementation being mired in controversy.

The Sunday Leader spoke to the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Hasan Ali, seeking the stance of the party, consequent to India stating that the 13th Amendment should be fully implemented.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q: What is the SLMC’s current stand on the 13th Amendment?

A: We are very clear about our views on the 13th Amendment. We want a meaningful power sharing arrangement for the Northern and the Eastern Provinces as envisaged in the amendment. The 13th Amendment had been accepted, constitutionally, by the government at the time and therefore it should be fully implemented. The minority communities in the north and east are not confident with the local mechanisms in place. When a select committee was appointed to look into the issues, the Muslims were not considered as a stakeholder – the SLMC was kept away. That is why the Tamils are also reaching out to the international community.
Continue reading ‘“We want a Meaningful Power Sharing Arrangement for the Northern and Eastern Provinces as Envisaged in the 13th Amendment”-Muslim Congress’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Needs Permission from Northern Governor Chandrasiri to meet Indian PM Modi in New Delhi.

by

Meera Srinivasan

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran should take the permission of the Governor before leaving for New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet spokesperson said here on Thursday.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Needs Permission from Northern Governor Chandrasiri to meet Indian PM Modi in New Delhi.’ »

Launch of International Film Festival of Colombo is a Pivotal Moment in the History of Cinema in Sri Lanka.


By

Asoka Handagama

SLFF

Sri Lanka is a part of the world and the world a part of Sri Lanka.

(Speech made by Asoka Handagama , Director of the International Film Festival of Colombo at the opening ceremony)

Good evening ladies and gentleman. We are gathered here to witness a pivotal moment in the history of Cinema in Sri Lanka. I say this because the International Film Festival of Colombo is the first completely international film festival to be held in our beautiful Sri Lanka.

Therefore, this is a sensational experience for all of us who are a part of the industry. I would like to welcome all of you who have joined us in sharing this incredible experience.

A newspaper article about the festival claimed that these six days of the international film festival are bound to change our lives. And so, one might wonder how a film festival could possibly change our lives.

Continue reading ‘Launch of International Film Festival of Colombo is a Pivotal Moment in the History of Cinema in Sri Lanka.’ »

Joan Rivers was the queen of American comediennes, noted for her acerbic, backbiting humour

Obituary: Joan Rivers, born June 8 1933, died September 4 2014

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Joan Rivers, who has died aged 81, was best known for her acerbic, backbiting humour. Tiny and sharp-boned with candyfloss blonde hair and talon-like fingernails, she started her routines with her catchphrase “Can we talk?” and maintained that she only asked “the questions that truly obsess America”.

She insisted that she got most of her source material from the notorious American publication the National Enquirer (“I never go to the bathroom without it”), and often used headlines such as “Who chooses the Queen’s clothes?” as the basis for her insult-laden comments.
Continue reading ‘Joan Rivers was the queen of American comediennes, noted for her acerbic, backbiting humour’ »

Acerbic Joan Rivers Described Actor Russell Crowe as “a Fucking Shit” and Then Apologised “I’m sorry I Fucking Swore”.


By

Michael Carlson

The quintessential acerbic Noo Yawker, the comedian Joan Rivers, who has died aged 81, was identified by the rasping, fingernails-on-the-blackboard voice, which added a frisson to her signature phrase, “Can we talk?” As she aged, her face and her countless cosmetic operations became another trademark, but her cutting wit, often aimed at herself, was the core of her comedy and proved an asset as she moved into hosting talk shows.

Joan Rivers-pic: via Fox News

Joan Rivers-pic: via Fox News

Later she found a niche, often alongside her daughter, Melissa, interviewing her fellow celebrities and criticising their fashions on the red carpets of the myriad awards ceremonies with which the entertainment industry honours itself.

Inevitably, her sarcasm proved too much for the egos of the stars, although she found a unique way of promoting her one-woman show based on those experiences when she went to London in 2008. Appearing on ITV’s daytime gabfest Loose Women, to plug her show Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress, Rivers, then 75, said she didn’t enjoy interviewing actors such as Russell Crowe.

Continue reading ‘Acerbic Joan Rivers Described Actor Russell Crowe as “a Fucking Shit” and Then Apologised “I’m sorry I Fucking Swore”.’ »

Tamil Nadu Mechanized Fishing Boats Seized by Sri Lankan Navy are Mostly Owned by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s Friend Sashikala and ex-DMK Minister TR Baalu.

BY

S VENKAT NARAYAN

NEW DELHI, September 4: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Chairman of the ruling party’s national strategic committee Dr Subramanian Swamy says the mechanised fishing boats seized by the Sri Lankan Navy from Tamil Nadu fishermen actually belong to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader TR Balu.

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He made this controversial claim in an interview to a Chennai Tamil TV channel on Monday, and promptly kicked up a minor political storm.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Mechanized Fishing Boats Seized by Sri Lankan Navy are Mostly Owned by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s Friend Sashikala and ex-DMK Minister TR Baalu.’ »

“We will Criticise Rajapaksa Regime and be in Govt Because our 12 Demands are Accepted”says Wimal weerawansa.

By
Chamitha Kuruppu

The National Freedom Front used the upcoming election to get its 12 demands implemented by the Government, says Party Leader Wimal Weerawansa. Minister Weerawansa, who threatened to pull out of the Government, now claims his party will continue to work with the Rajapaksa regime as it has agreed to implement the NFF’s Action Plan. “But we will continue to criticise the President and his Government, although it is the Rajapaksa regime. It is our responsibility,” Weerawansa, the Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities, stressed.


Following are excerpts from the interview:


Q: Any remarks on the upcoming Uva elections?

A: The UPFA will win the Uva election. The National Freedom Front (NFF) will be contesting alone in the Badulla District whereas in Moneragala we will be contesting with the SLFP. The Opposition seems to be having high hopes. They tried to take advantage of the drought but the situation improved so they can no longer use the drought slogan. The UPFA will mark a significant win in Uva. That is definite.

Continue reading ‘“We will Criticise Rajapaksa Regime and be in Govt Because our 12 Demands are Accepted”says Wimal weerawansa.’ »

Why Narendra Modi Wants Sri Lanka to Build on the 13th Amendment

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Astute Observers consistently following the erratic course of Sri Lankan Tamil politics were in for a pleasant surprise last week. The premier political representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamil people configured electorally as the Tamil National Alliance(TNA)embarked on a passage to India to meet the recently elected Prime minister Narendra Modi and key officials in New Delhi.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and R. Sampanthan

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and R. Sampanthan

The element of pleasant surprise in this exercise was due to the fact that a trip to New Delhi by the TNA was not expected to materialise until after the advent of the 2015 new year.
Continue reading ‘Why Narendra Modi Wants Sri Lanka to Build on the 13th Amendment’ »

The International Order Defined and Established by the West Facing Challenge is in Crisis.

By

Dr.Henry Kissinger

Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan’s young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.

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The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace.

The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.

This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world’s territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time.

Continue reading ‘The International Order Defined and Established by the West Facing Challenge is in Crisis.’ »

An Intellectual of The Highest Calibre, A Fine Moral Intelligence

By

Izeth Hussain

85TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF MERVYN DE SILVA – SEPT 5TH

Mervyn de Silva

Mervyn de Silva

Mervyn de Silva was the quintessential Sri Lankan journalist of our time. As such he deserves something more than the usual obituary tributes. Perhaps a monograph, perhaps in the course of time a book, but in any case an examination of what he signified in relation to Sri Lankan journalism since the time of our Independence.

It might seem odd that I choose to regard him as a quintessential journalist when it is known that after getting his degree at Peradeniya he vacillated for sometime between the media and the law. Let me explain.

Continue reading ‘An Intellectual of The Highest Calibre, A Fine Moral Intelligence’ »

Narendra Modi’s BJP Govt Does a Volte face by Re-setting Policy on Sri Lanka in favour of Rajapaksa Regime.

SLI061713BY

SAM RAJAPPA

There has been a reset in India’s Sri Lanka policy which is at variance with what Narendra Modi and Sushma Swaraj had stated in public in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Addressing an election rally in Chennai on 13 April and another in Ramanathapuram on 17 April, Modi said that just as the Sri Lankan Navy targeted Tamil Nadu fishermen, Pakistan’s Navy attacked fishermen from Gujarat. The weak UPA government of Manmohan Singh had failed to protect these fishermen. If the BJP was voted to power, his government would protect fishermen from both these States, Modi said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as one of the SAARC Heads of State, was an invitee to the swearing-in ceremony of Modi as Prime Minister in May. In his talks with Rajapaksa and his entourage, Modi made it clear that his government expected Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, an outcome of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka agreement.

Rajapaksa tried to prevaricate, saying such things could not be done overnight. Modi reiterated it was more than five years since the civil war in the island nation ended and the LTTE was decapitated. Departing from the normal practice of issuing a common statement after such talks, Sri Lanka issued a separate statement which said: “President Rajapaksa described the initiatives Sri Lanka has taken with regard to rehabilitation, resettlement, reconstruction and the ongoing reconciliation process in the country. President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Modi also discussed the issue of fishermen of both countries and measures that can be taken to find a permanent solution.”

There was not a word about Modi raising non-implementation of the 13th Amendment. Incensed by this lapse, Sujatha Singh, Foreign Secretary, joined official spokesman Syed Akbaruddin to stress that the 13th Amendment was the core subject of discussion between the two leaders. To add to the embarrassment of the Lankan entourage, its only Tamil member, Yogeswary Patgunarajah, Mayor of Jaffna representing the Eelam People’s Democratic Party of Douglas Devananda, said in an NDTV programme that Rajapaksa in his talks had agreed to grant police and land powers to the Northern Provincial Council.

Continue reading ‘Narendra Modi’s BJP Govt Does a Volte face by Re-setting Policy on Sri Lanka in favour of Rajapaksa Regime.’ »

Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam Responds to “New York Times” Editorial on Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam

Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam

The prestigious US newspaper “The New York Times”carried an Editorial under the heading”sri Lanka’s Intransigience”on August 23rd 2014.Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington,Mr.Prasad Kariyawasam responded to it by writing to the newspaper on August 26th 2014 complaining that there were “insensitive assertions about my country” in the editorial. This was published by the NYT on September 2nd 2014 under the heading”Sri Lanka and Human Rights: An Ambassador’s View”.

Both the NYT Editorial and Ambassador Kariyawasam’s response are posted here in full.

Continue reading ‘Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam Responds to “New York Times” Editorial on Sri Lanka.’ »

Artistes and Intellectuals Against the Rajapaksa Regime……..ARE THEY FOR REAL?


By

Vishwamithra 1984

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
~ Muhammad Ali

When liberal values are under attack, the first to react to the attack almost always happens to be the intellectuals, academics and artistes; they are the ones who have the time and some sense of financial flexibility to react to those attacks; they are the ones who always speak against the onslaught on their perceived values; they are the ones who, more often than not, feel most hurt and injured by the erosion of liberal values.

There is a reason for it and it is a very legitimate one. One of the first liberal values that come under the bayonet of oppression is the freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is the oxygen that artistes and intellectuals breathe; their very professional livelihoods are greatly reliant on the degree to which they could express their free emotions, feelings and thoughts.

Continue reading ‘Artistes and Intellectuals Against the Rajapaksa Regime……..ARE THEY FOR REAL?’ »

“Labourers, Drivers, Peons or Clerks………….Comrade Bala Tampoe was Everybody’s Hero”

BY

PRASAD GUNEWARDENE

Three decades ago when I was assigned to cover the trade union rounds with my colleague D. B. S. Jeyaraj for ‘The island’ newspaper, by the then Editor, Gamini Weerakoon, we both were in regular contact with trade union leaders like BalaTampoe, Alavi Moulana, Sirinal De Mel and Gamini Lokuge to name a few. Once when I met Comrade Bala at the Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU) headquarters, I quipped, “I am here to meet the Emperor of the Working Class.” Sporting a mellifluous smile, Comrade Bala replied, “I am only a soldier in a great army of labour and will remain at that till I die”. He was proud to serve the union of working people. There was no greater calling than that to Comrade Bala.

In mass struggles, rulers described him as a militant. Contrary to that contention of rulers, Bala subscribed to the divine right of discontent to see improvements and to offer a better way of life for the working class. To address him as a trade union leader is perfect, as he spent 66 years of his lifetime serving the working class till he breathed his last.

Continue reading ‘“Labourers, Drivers, Peons or Clerks………….Comrade Bala Tampoe was Everybody’s Hero”’ »

Sam Wijesinha’s Official Career Has Been Characterised with Absolute Integrity and Tempered with Humanity.

By

Tissa Devendra

(Sam Wijesinha ,Former Secretary General of Parliament and Ombudsman passed away at the age of 93 on Aug 31st in Colombo.An address by distinguished civil servant Tissa Devendra on the occasion of a book on Mr. Wijesinha being released when he turned 90 is published here as tribute)

Hon. Prime Minister, Mr. Sam Wijesinha, members of his extended family- stretching from Getamana in Ruhuna to Canada’s Great Lakes-, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

It has been a great honour to be invited to speak at the launch of this fascinating book on Sam Wijesinha – celebrating his life of service to Sri Lanka, and Parliament in particular. It is also a wonderful tribute to the personal values he exemplifies in the civilized ambience of ‘Lakmahal’.

I was rather surprised at being asked to speak, as I had not been an insider within either of the institutions he graced – Parliament as Secretary General, nor Welikada Jail as President of the Prisoners’ Welfare Committee. However I must confess that , thanks to Mr.Wijesinha’s intervention I once escaped being hauled before Parliament for ‘Breach of Privilege’ and consigned to Welikada. So, after all, I did have a fleeting brush with both Parliament and Jail.

Continue reading ‘Sam Wijesinha’s Official Career Has Been Characterised with Absolute Integrity and Tempered with Humanity.’ »

Nonagenarian Trade Unionist Bala Tampoe Completes 65 years as General Secretary of Ceylon Mercantile Union

by Maheen Senanayake

Given a platform to mark his 65th year of service to the CMU, veteran trade unionist Bala Tampoe of Friday used the no frills occasion to trace the progress of the union rather than his own.

Bala Tampoe

“Most decisively it was in 1922, the year in which I was born, just four years after the Russian revolution that the Ceylon Labour Union was born under the aegis of Alexander Ekanayake Goonasinha,” he reminisced.
Continue reading ‘Nonagenarian Trade Unionist Bala Tampoe Completes 65 years as General Secretary of Ceylon Mercantile Union’ »

Veteran Trade Union Leader Comrade Bala Tampoe Passes Away in Colombo at 92 Years of Age.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Veteran Trade Union leader Bala Tampoe has passed away in Colombo at the age of 92. Philips Balendra Tampoe born on May 23rd 1922 was a legend in his lifetime being general secretary since 1948 to date of the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General workers union known popularly as the CMU.

Bala Tampoe (May 23rd 1922-September 1, 2014)

Bala Tampoe (May 23rd 1922-September 1, 2014)

Having interacted with comrade Bala in the past I made it a point to meet him last year when I returned to Sri Lanka after an absence of 25 years. Later I was in touch with him by e-mail.I later wrote about Bala Tampoe on the occasion of his 92nd birthday in May this year.The article which appeared in the “Daily Mirror” of May 31st 2014 was posted simultaneously on my blog under the heading”Comrade Bala Tampoe: Evergreen Phenomenon in the Trade Union Sphere”.I am reproducing that article here without any changes by way of tribute to one of the greatest Sri Lankans I have known in my life. I shall be writing another article about this mighty fighter for the rights of the underdog later this week- DBS Jeyaraj

Comrade Bala Tampoe: Evergreen Phenomenon in the Trade Union Sphere

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

General-Secretary of Ceylon Mercantile Union Celebrated 92nd Birthday on May 23rd 2014

May 23rd was the 92nd birth anniversary of Sri Lanka’s unique Trade union leader Philips Balendra Tampoe known generally as Bala Tampoe. Bala or comrade Bala as he is popularly called has been at the helm of the Ceylon Mercantile Union(CMU) as its General-secretary since 1948.Though called the CMU still, the amended name of the union is now The Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union.

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Bala Tampoe

CMU staffers and members of the union’s executive committee were preparing for a celebration in honour of their nonagenarian General-Secretary at the Trade union office down 22nd lane Kollupitiya when President Mahinda Rajapaksa made an unannounced entry with a birthday cake. Earlier Mr. Mahinda Madihahewa, Co-Chief Executive Officer to the Secretariat for Senior Ministers, had visited the premises and informed Bala Tampoe that the President wanted to visit him at the CMU office. The “Birthday Boy” however told Madihahewa that while the President – a former CMU member – was most welcome to visit the office , he did not want the trade union premises to be invaded by media or security personnel. So when Mahinda Rajapaksa walked into the CMU headquarters to felicitate Bala Tampoe, he was only accompanied by Mahinda Madihahewa. The in – house birthday party turned out to be a pleasant occasion.

Continue reading ‘Veteran Trade Union Leader Comrade Bala Tampoe Passes Away in Colombo at 92 Years of Age.’ »

5 JVP and 4 UNP Offices Destroyed in “Ninja”Attacks in Wellawaya and Moneragala Within 24 Hours by Gunmen in Unmarked Vehicles.

Moneragala ‘ninja’ attackers move to Wellawaya – 4UNP offices and 5 JVP offices destroyed

Where are the high powered police motorbikes? – Road blocks still not in place

Nine election offices of opposition political parties have been attacked in Wellawaya and Moneragala between August 29 and 30. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) observes that five Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) offices and four United National Party (UNP) offices have been burnt and three of them have been completely destroyed.

Last week 21 election offices of opposition political parties were attacked within 72 hours in Moneragala district, most of the attacks were concentrated in Bibile electorate.

Continue reading ‘5 JVP and 4 UNP Offices Destroyed in “Ninja”Attacks in Wellawaya and Moneragala Within 24 Hours by Gunmen in Unmarked Vehicles.’ »

Akhila Ilankai Tamil Mahasabha Leader Dr.K.Vigneswaran Criticises Govt,Army,LTTE and UN for Conduct During War at Colombo Collquium.

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

Former EPDP MP, Dr. K. Vigneswaran on Friday (Aug 29) alleged that LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran had facilitated the then Premier, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory at the Nov. 17, 2005 presidential election as he believed the new president would create a situation conducive for him to speedily achieve Eelam.

One-time Chief Secretary of the Indian backed EPRLF administration in the then temporarily merged North-Eastern Province, Dr. Vigneswaran asserted that the LTTE had probably felt it could take advantage of a crisis caused by the new president.

Dr. Vigneswaran was addressing a colloquium on ‘3rd Narrative’ Issues of Truth and Accountability (The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka) at the BMICH.

The former EPDP advisor was among those invited to address a gathering, including diplomatic representatives from western countries as well as Pakistan and India. Dr. Vigneswaran opined that it was a major blunder on the part of the LTTE leadership.

Dr. Vigneswaran is the chairman of the Akhila Ilankai Tamil Mahasabha (AITM), formerly the Akhila Ilankai Tamil United Front, which secured recognition by the Election Secretariat in February 2006. The Election Secretariat also recognized the revised name on September 13, 2013.

Continue reading ‘Akhila Ilankai Tamil Mahasabha Leader Dr.K.Vigneswaran Criticises Govt,Army,LTTE and UN for Conduct During War at Colombo Collquium.’ »

Former Parliament Secretary-general and Ombudsman Sam Wijesinha Passes away at 93 in Colombo

Former Secretary General of Parliament and Ombudsman Sam Wijesinha passed away at the age of 93 last evening (Aug 31st) in Colombo.He also served as Chairman of the Human Task Force and the Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka.

Sam Wijesinha had a distinguished record of public service in a career spanning more than seven decades.Widely regarded as an accomplished and genial personalit Sam was considered as the ultimate authority on matters pertaining to Parliament and many matters of governance.

Continue reading ‘Former Parliament Secretary-general and Ombudsman Sam Wijesinha Passes away at 93 in Colombo’ »

“The TNA is not LTTE or Agents of the LTTE Promoting a Separate State in Sri Lanka”-M.A.Sumanthiran M.P.


By
Kelum Bandara


While saying that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution provided the unit of devolution, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran in an interview with the “Daily Mirror” said that the TNA rejected the 13A as it was fundamentally flawed citing External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris. However, he said that the TNA wanted to convey to the majority community that what the TNA wanted was devolution of power in a united, undivided country. He further added that new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged his party to engage with the government of Sri Lanka. Also, he said the TNA made a mistake by not addressing the majority community to allay the notion that his party was acting as a proxy of the LTTE.

Q
How do you analyze your recent visit to New Delhi and interactions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

Continue reading ‘“The TNA is not LTTE or Agents of the LTTE Promoting a Separate State in Sri Lanka”-M.A.Sumanthiran M.P.’ »

TNA Leadership is Yet to Prove That Its Word Counts in All Matters Concerning the Tamil Community and Polity in Sri Lanka.

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

If the Indian position on Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue under the post-poll Narendra Modi leadership has deviated from those of predecessor governments, including the immediate-past Manmohan Singh dispensation, it is here. Or, so would it seem. “The Prime Minister urged all stake-holders in Sri Lanka to engage constructively, in a spirit of partnership and mutual accommodation towards finding a political solution” an Indian official statement said after the visiting TNA delegation had met the host leadership, including PM Modi.

It was the first visit by a TNA delegation, under party chief Sampanthan, after the Modi-led BJP Government had assumed office in Delhi. It was also their first meeting, not only with the Prime Minister but also the new National Security Advisor (NSA), A K Doval. It was also the first meeting that any Sri Lankan delegation has had with NSA Doval. Sri Lankan Government leaders will get to interact with him later in the year. Doval is said to have been slated to address the annual ‘Galle Dialogue’, hosted by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.

Continue reading ‘TNA Leadership is Yet to Prove That Its Word Counts in All Matters Concerning the Tamil Community and Polity in Sri Lanka.’ »

Sri Lanka Should Discard Its Absurd Election Laws and Follow Indian Election Laws

By

C.A.Chandraprema

Sri Lanka must be the country with the silliest election laws on the planet. This is a country that got universal suffrage in 1931 just three years after the British public won the same privilege and from that time onward, elections to various levels of government have been a part of life in this country. For more than 60 years governments have changed through elections and democracy has put down firm roots.

One would think that in a country with such a profile, the laws under which elections are held would be among the most rational and practicable in the world. But every time an election comes around, we hear strident cries from elections monitoring NGOs and even some political parties that one party or the other are violating election laws.

What is often meant by ‘violation of election laws’ is not outright violence, intimidation, bribery and the like but the displaying of posters, cut outs, holding processions and the like. TV channels often show elections authorities and the police cutting down banners and removing posters put up by candidates saying they violate elections laws. Many people would have silently wondered how putting up an election poster and cut outs violate election laws when there is an election on.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Should Discard Its Absurd Election Laws and Follow Indian Election Laws’ »

Senior Jaffna District MP Somasundaram Senathirajah(Maavai)to Replace Sampanthan as Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi Leader.

By

Ananth Palakidnar

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian and senior Tamil politician “Mavai” Somasundaram Senathirajah, who is expected to succeed R. Sampanthan, as the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) leader, at the Party’s annual general meeting this week in Vavuniya, speaks to Ceylon Today on the TNA’s recent talks with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Senathirajah also expressed the readiness of the Tamil National Alliance to hold direct talks with the government as far as the chauvinist forces do not mess around in finding a durable solution.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q:
How do you see the Tamil National Alliance’s recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

Continue reading ‘Senior Jaffna District MP Somasundaram Senathirajah(Maavai)to Replace Sampanthan as Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi Leader.’ »

Rajapaksa Govt Favourite Subramanian Swamy Wanted Sri Lanka to be a Federated State of India in 2000

The advent of the Modi Government in New Delhi and its UPFA counterpart’s initiatives in Colombo to shore up relations leave much to be desired.

The most visible and much publicised exercise was a seminar in Colombo by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies. The organisers described it as “track two diplomacy.” BJP parliamentarian, Subramanian Swamy, was a key player in the event. Influential sections of the UPFA believed he had strong clout in the BJP Government and could influence policy.

Such a belief led to Swamy being given VVIP treatment on his visits to Colombo. He made a second visit within weeks. This time it was for the seminar organised by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. Most regarded him as a voice of the Modi Government.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksa Govt Favourite Subramanian Swamy Wanted Sri Lanka to be a Federated State of India in 2000’ »

Tamil National Alliance Leader R.Sampanthan has Closed Door Meeting with Tamil Nadu State Leaders of the BJP in Chennai

Three TNA delegation memebers — Mavai Senathirajah, Pon Selvarajah and Selvan Adaikkalanathan — returned to Colombo while others proceeded to Chennai. Adaikkalanathan thereafter returned to Chennai to join the others. Senathirajah, currently General Secretary, is tipped to become leader of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK). They are the principal partner in the TNA and the alliance is recognised officially by the Commissioner of Elections under the ITAK label.

There are two aspirants for the ITAK General Secretary’s post. Vying for the post are Pon Selvarajah and Krishnapillai Thurairajasingham, Deputy Secretary and a member of the Eastern Provincial Council. He was a former MP.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Leader R.Sampanthan has Closed Door Meeting with Tamil Nadu State Leaders of the BJP in Chennai’ »

Manmohan Singh Promises TNA to Inform Narendra Modi About the Way Mahinda Rajapaksa Defaulted on Implementing the 13th Amendment.

A precursor to the TNA meeting with Narendra Modi was significan event of the Tamil National Alliance meeting with former Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh. After arriving in New Delhi on August 21, Sampanthan and his delegation called on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his private residence. Singh declared that he was deeply touched by the TNA’s gesture.

Sampanthan asked the former Premier whether he would grant a big favour to the “TNA and the Tamils of Sri Lanka.” That is by telling his successor Modi how President Rajapaksa promised the implementation of the 13th Amendment, go beyond it and the way things have moved since then. “I have already told him,” replied Singh who added “Now that you have asked, I will meet the Prime Minister again and tell him.”

Continue reading ‘Manmohan Singh Promises TNA to Inform Narendra Modi About the Way Mahinda Rajapaksa Defaulted on Implementing the 13th Amendment.’ »

Will Rajapaksa Regime and Tamil National Alliance Resume Direct Dialogue as Requested by Indian PM Narendra Modi?

Indian Premier Narendra Modi has urged the TNA to begin a direct dialogue with the Government. He was reiterating India’s earlier call that the Government should have a blateral dialogue. India has concurred with the TNA’s position in not taking part in the Parliamentary Select Committee. The earlier request was made in the days after the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva adopted the third US-backed resolution to launch an international investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. India which abstained from voting held the view that a dialogue between the Government and the TNA would have had a salutary effect on Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Will Rajapaksa Regime and Tamil National Alliance Resume Direct Dialogue as Requested by Indian PM Narendra Modi?’ »

Indian PM Narendra Modi Greets TNA Delegation with “Vanakkam”in Tamil with Assurance at end of “ We are 100 Percent with you”.


A few hundred metres away from one of New Delhi’s best known addresses – No 7, Race Course Road – security men stopped a three-vehicle convoy. The occupants were told to alight and board three other vehicles for the rest of their journey. It was to the official residence of the Prime Minister of India. There, with clasped hands Premier Narendra Modi greeted Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and five of his parliamentary colleagues. He said Vanakkam, the Tamil word for greetings.

As they settled down in their seats, Modi turned to Sampanthan who was next to him and declared in Hindi: “I want to listen to you first.” It was translated by an interpreter. The meeting scheduled for 30 minutes lasted almost an hour. At the end, when Modi used the parting words “we are hundred per cent with you,” it signalled the beginning of a new and perhaps decisive chapter in the relations between Sri Lanka and India. Ties have remained bumpy and taken egregious turns with the previous Congress Government.

However, very clear insights into how the Modi administration will deal with issues are now emerging. Whether the UPFA Government, with its present woeful inadequacies on the foreign policy front could read correctly the different nuances in New Delhi’s diplomatic approaches, remains a critical question. This has been proven by its recent questionable actions to improve Sri Lanka-India relations. Now, the TNA visit to India lays bare plenty more.

Continue reading ‘Indian PM Narendra Modi Greets TNA Delegation with “Vanakkam”in Tamil with Assurance at end of “ We are 100 Percent with you”.’ »

Sarath Silva is Helping Mahinda by Seeking to Divert the “Common Candidate for Regime Change”Focus to that of Constitutional Interpretation.

By

Kalana Senaratne

There was a time, especially during the latter half of his stint as Chief Justice, when one felt that anything was possible with Sarath N. Silva. For a brief moment, even his critics were confused; for some of his decisions began to irk the rulers quite severely. That shrewdest of all contemporary politicians (perhaps after President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister Basil Rajapaksa), is back again.

The seeming thrust of his argument is: that President Rajapaksa cannot run for a 3rd term, that the Constitution prevents him from doing so. Ever since the adoption of the 18th Amendment in September 2010, one had thought that President Rajapaksa can; for the 18th Amendment had eradicated the term-limit barrier. Silva now says, almost 4 years after the 18th Amendment was adopted, that we were wrong.

As explained to the Lankadeepa (17 August) and Daily Mirror (29 August) newspapers, Silva’s legal argument revolves largely around (the now repealed) Article 31(2) of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Sarath Silva is Helping Mahinda by Seeking to Divert the “Common Candidate for Regime Change”Focus to that of Constitutional Interpretation.’ »

Sajith Premadasa Has Close Links and Insider Dealings with Top Echelons of the Govt Alleges Ravi Karunanayake

The United National Party is caught up in a fresh dilemma with Sajith Premadasa, who is likely to be appointed as the Deputy Leader of the party soon, proposing to abolish the Leadership Council of the party.

Premadasa has also demanded that 10 members, nominated by him, should be appointed to the Working Committee of the party, simultaneously with his appointment as Deputy Leader of the UNP.

With these two conditions, a serious question arises over the future of Karu Jayasuriya, who is presently the Chairman of the party’s Leadership Council. The Leadership Council is entrusted with the task of handling strategic operation of the UNP.

Continue reading ‘Sajith Premadasa Has Close Links and Insider Dealings with Top Echelons of the Govt Alleges Ravi Karunanayake’ »

Like “Good Jihadists”and “Bad Jihadists” There are “Good Tamil Tigers” and “Bad Tamil Tigers”for the West when it Suits Their Objectives.

By

Jean-Pierre Page

(Contributive Presentation at the Marga Colloquium on “Issues of Truth and Accountability
Narration III-The Last Stage of the War in Sri Lanka” at BMICH Colombo on August 29th 2014)

I would like to share with you a few ideas in relation to the 3rd narrative of the last stage of the war in Sri Lanka.

I will try to make myself as clear as possible!

I don’t believe in this notion that it is the influence of the Tamil Diaspora that determines Washington’s foreign policy and that of its Western allies And I think it is very wrong and dangerous to put all the Tamil Diaspora in one basket.

Most Tamils I know outside this country do not support a separate State. They are not separatists, and they are not Terrorists.

Of course, the Tamil separatist forces outside do have relations with Washington and its allies, but these relations are determined by the national and geostrategic objectives of the US and its allies, as we have seen in Afghanistan, or now in Iraq, Syria and the Ukraine.

For the West, when it suits their objectives, they are good Tamil Tigers and when it doesn’t, they are bad Tamil Tigers, like the good jihadists and bad Jihadists. It all depends on the circumstances. Today, the LTTE has been defeated, but tomorrow it can become useful again!

Continue reading ‘Like “Good Jihadists”and “Bad Jihadists” There are “Good Tamil Tigers” and “Bad Tamil Tigers”for the West when it Suits Their Objectives.’ »

Body of 31 Year Old Woman of Sri Lankan Origin – Amesha Rajapaksa – Found in a Flooded Sydney Creek in Australia


By

Emma Partridge

A woman appeared agitated and concerned as she left the foyer of a Sydney unit block just 12 hours before her body was found in a Sydney creek on Wednesday morning.

Homicide detectives and local police are trying to establish whether Amesha Rajapakse’s death is suspicious after the 31-year-old’s body was found in water behind a set of Westmead unit blocks.

Police said her death was puzzling because of where her body was found but said there were no marks or obvious signs of injury on her body.

“The location she was found at was puzzling; it was hard to get to,” a homicide detective said.
“But we really don’t know one way or the other.”

Building manager Tom Hailey said security footage captured the woman pacing back and forth in the foyer of a building inside Monarco Estate about 7.30pm on Tuesday.
Continue reading ‘Body of 31 Year Old Woman of Sri Lankan Origin – Amesha Rajapaksa – Found in a Flooded Sydney Creek in Australia’ »

Power Struggle Between M.Karunanidhi the Father and M.K.Stalin the Son Escalates in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham.


By

N Sathiya Moorthy

It seems that the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham doesn’t learn from its mistakes. Following their crushing loss in the 2014 elections, party cadres and sympathisers thought things would change. However, it doesn’t appear to be. The party seems determined to continue on this ‘self-destructive’ mode.

Despite drawing a huge blank in the Lok Sabha polls, the DMK still retained its traditional 25 per cent vote-share. Both cadres of the DMK and other parties that had lost out to the ruling AIADMK had hoped for the party to shed its shock and demoralisation, to be able to lead a possible anti-AIADMK alliance for the state assembly polls, due in 2016.

Continue reading ‘Power Struggle Between M.Karunanidhi the Father and M.K.Stalin the Son Escalates in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham.’ »

Colombo International Film Festival: Six Days That Would Change Your World

By

Vangeesa Sumanasekara

It is possible that one may find my title to be exaggerated: this is not the first time that we are hearing the words ‘international film festival’ in a Sri Lankan context. Over the years, we have had many events of this nature where films made by non-Sri Lankans were shown together. True, those words may have been used before for some of those, no doubt important, efforts to bring in those cinephiles and other art enthusiasts together to appreciate the art of cinema. I insist, however, that this is indeed unprecedented, both in quality and in quantity. An international film festival worthy of that name – comparable at least in spirit, if not in deed, for now, to those iconic festivals of that mythical entity called ‘the world cinema’.

The old Marxian distinction between the base and the superstructure, it seems to me, gives us an adequate approach to understand the radical novelty and the unavoidable importance of this first ever Colombo International Film Festival. That this distinction was at the center of the disputes apropos what can be tentatively called ‘Marxist philosophy of art’ makes it all the more suitable to our current purposes.

At its most elementary level, we can say that the base, in classical Marxism, is the invisible, or the deliberately hidden, process of social production upon which the visible sphere of politics, the law and culture, constituting the superstructure, rests. Almost from the moment of its inception, this distinction has been challenged by a wide array of critiques, ranging from intentional misreadings to politically salient questions. If this distinction has generally withered away from political thought today, it is because there is no getting away from the fact that the founding fathers of Marxism remained convinced that economic production is the ultimate – as Engels liked to put it – determining element in history and compared to which all the other factors are, again, ultimately of secondary importance.

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