LTTE Political Adviser Balasingham Knew The world was Going to Clobber the Tigers

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ten years ago in the third week of November 2006 I received a telephone call from London.It was from Anton Stanislaus Balasingham the political adviser and strategist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) Organization.I was surprised as we were not on speaking terms for nearly three years due to sharp political differences. I was however happy to talk to “Bala Annai”(Elder brother Bala)as many of us called him because I had heard earlier that he was terminally ill and that his days were numbered.

Anton Stanislaus Balasingham (March 4, 1938 – December 14, 2006)

Anton Stanislaus Balasingham (March 4, 1938 – December 14, 2006)

Bala Annai said at the outset that he was telephoning and talking to some of his old colleagues, friends and contacts. I fell under the category of contact in my journalistic capacity as Balasingham had been a very important source of information for more than two years when I was writing for “The Sunday Leader” in Colombo. Although he did not explicitly say so, I realised that it was a farewell call from a man who was to ”go out gently into that good night” soon.
Continue reading ‘LTTE Political Adviser Balasingham Knew The world was Going to Clobber the Tigers’ »

Support Growing Within Ruling AIADMK for “Chinna Amma” Sashikala Succeeding “Amma” Jayalalithaa as Party Leader.

By

B Kolappan

Providing clear signals that V.K. Sasikala will not face too many hurdles in gaining and probably even holding on to the reins of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, a section of leaders in the party on Friday openly hailed her as the natural political heir of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, whose confidante she was.

Even some of those who were earlier seen as possible stumbling blocks to her perceived political aspirations have declared that they would be loyal to the party.

On Friday, for the second consecutive day, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his senior Cabinet colleagues met ‘Chinna Amma’ (younger mother) at ‘Veda Nilayam’ here and held discussions with her for nearly three hours.

Continue reading ‘Support Growing Within Ruling AIADMK for “Chinna Amma” Sashikala Succeeding “Amma” Jayalalithaa as Party Leader.’ »

“Hyperreal Masculine” Hollywood Actor Kirk Douglas of “Spartacus” Fame Celebrates 100th Birthday on Dec 9th


By
Peter Bradshaw

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“I’m Spartacus!” – “I’m Spartacus!” – “I’M SPARTACUS!”
Every film buff knows that moment, every panel-show comedian riffs on it. A mob of defeated slave rebels in the pre-Christian Roman empire is told their wretched lives will be spared, but only if their ringleader, Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), comes out and gives himself up to be executed. Just as he is about to sacrifice himself, one slave, Antoninus (Tony Curtis) jumps up and claims to be Spartacus, then another, and another, then all of them, a magnificent display of solidarity, while the man himself allows a tear to fall in closeup.

Kirk Douglas (B: Dec 9, 1916)

Kirk Douglas (B: Dec 9, 1916)

This variant on the Christian myth – in the face of crucifixion, Spartacus’s disciples do not deny him – is a pointed political fiction. In real life, Spartacus was killed on the battlefield. The screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted author who had to work under aliases and found no solidarity in Hollywood. Yet Douglas himself, as the film’s producer, stood up for Trumbo. He put Trumbo’s real name in the credits, and ended the McCarthy-ite hysteria.

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Continue reading ‘“Hyperreal Masculine” Hollywood Actor Kirk Douglas of “Spartacus” Fame Celebrates 100th Birthday on Dec 9th’ »

“Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa are the Closest we Have to Fidel and Raul Castro”

An Interview with Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Dayan Jayatilleka needs no introduction. He is one of the most prolific writers and powerful commentators on current political affairs in contemporary Sri Lanka. The ex-diplomat’s stylishly forceful writings reflecting his present political stance evokes mixed reactions among readers. Some rave about them while others rant against them.Dayan’s personal and political journey has been a hectic roller coaster ride with many ups and downs and fluctuating positions. Dayan’s colourfully eventful past is not known to many among the younger generation.

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka  ~ (b: December 3rd 1956)

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka ~ (b: December 3rd 1956)

Dayan Jayatilleka celebrated his 60th birthday on December 3rd 2016. Knowing Dayan personally for over three decades and having observed much of the twists and turns in his life, I thought of interviewing him on the occasion for my blog. He readily obliged. I posed several questions of an inquiring nature to which Dayan responded frankly and in detail. Obviously I was not in agreement with some of his views but the objective of the interview was not to engage in a polemical debate with Dayan. It was aimed at eliciting through his own words an insight into his life and experiences.What I have tried to do through this interview is to shed some light on Dayan the man.

Dayan Jayatilleka being Dayan Jayatilleka was never at a loss for words while elucidating his point of view candidly. He was quite forthcoming and never declined to answer any query.The conversation which covered a number of matters in the past,present and future is presented here in full. Happy Birthday Dayan!

Question:

Let’s begin with a somewhat personal question. You are the only son of Sri Lanka’s distinguished journalist Mervyn De Silva. It is quite visible from your writings that you cherish the fact. Yet, you use the surname Jayatilleka instead of De Silva. Why is that and how did this come about?
Continue reading ‘“Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa are the Closest we Have to Fidel and Raul Castro”’ »

I am a Tamil Woman in Love With a Sinhalese Man

By

A Guest Contributor

“They destroyed our nation. They are rapists. They are murderers. They stole our land. They killed our people.”

My mom would always repeat this to me. She would tell me stories about the war and how brutally everyone had suffered. I, too, believed all her stories. She had brainwashed me into believing that all Sinhalese people were monsters.

My mom was a strong LTTE supporter just like many diaspora Tamils. I, too, supported the Tamil Tigers and attended all the rallies and protests they organized.

As I grew older, I was exposed to more issues. I harboured a deadly hatred as each part of my body and soul hated the Sinhalese.

I went to a mostly South Asian high school. I had a classmate who was a Muslim who spoke Sinhala. No one spoke to him or included him in any cultural events because he was seen as Sinhalese. I never felt that we were doing something wrong because I was always told that Sinhalese were bad. All of them.

Continue reading ‘I am a Tamil Woman in Love With a Sinhalese Man’ »

Law will not be Implemented Against Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thera Says Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe who will go to Batticaloa to “Shape” Matters.


By

Sandasen Marasinghe, Disna Mudalige and Ishara Mudugamuwa

Buddha Sasana and Justice Minister Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa said he would visit Batticaloa to discuss and settle the religious dispute that has been cropped up in the area.

He made this comment in response to a question raised by TNA MP S. Viyalendran during the committee stage of the debate of ‘Budget 2017’ in Parliament today.

The TNA MP asked the Justice Minister why the government was not taking action against Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thera of Sri Mangalarama Viharaya in Batticaloa, for his recent abusive remarks against the Tamils and Muslims.

The Minister had replied that he was aware of the incident and that he regretted its occurrence: “It is not that we cannot implement the law strictly against such acts.

But knowing the sensitivity of these issues, we are trying our best to iron out any mistrust between the communities through negotiation,” the Justice Minister said.

Continue reading ‘Law will not be Implemented Against Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thera Says Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe who will go to Batticaloa to “Shape” Matters.’ »

Phantoms of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka’s Reign of Terror

By Greg Bearup

Mahinda Rajapaksa sits at a desk in his party office beneath a photo of himself. He’s not especially tall but solid in the chest and arms; like an old rugby prop, his head seems to rest on his shoulders without much need for a neck. He’s never seen in public without his brown scarf, supposedly signifying the sweaty rags of Sri Lanka’s hard-toiling farmers. On his fingers this man of the people wears three chunky gold rings and on his wrist a bracelet of jade balls. Everyone here still calls him Mr President.

The photo hanging over him was shot a few years ago, back when he was Mr President, and back when things were very different for the Rajapaksa clan. His rule was absolute. The Rajapaksas controlled the treasury and Sri Lanka became one of the most expensive places on the planet to “build” a road. He and his family ran the country as if they owned it. They acted with impunity. His sons, ordinary footballers by all accounts, were selected to play rugby for Sri Lanka. Foreign coaches who dropped them were deported. They were lucky; others who displeased the clan disappeared.

The Rajapaksas — President Mahinda, Defence Secretary Gotabaya, Economic Development Minister Basil and a couple of bus-loads of sons, cousins and aunts who held various Government posts — felt the nation owed them for having crushed the Tamil Tigers, ending the ugly 26-year civil war. Then, in 2014, the voters of Sri Lanka turfed Mahinda out.

Continue reading ‘Phantoms of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka’s Reign of Terror’ »

Gazette Issued in 1818 by British Governor Brownrigg Branding 19 “Wellassa” Patriots Including Keppetipola as “Traitors” Cancelled by President Sirisena

By PK Balachandran

In a politically significant act which could help him garner the support of Sinhalese nationalists, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena, on Thursday cleared the names of 19 Sinhalese chiefs who were officially branded as ‘traitors’ by the British rulers of the island 198 years ago.

The President’s media division said that Sirisena cancelled a gazette issued by the then British Governor, Lt.Gen.Robert Brownrigg on January 10, 1818, listing the 19 leaders, including Keppetipola Disawe as traitors.

“After 198 years, I cleared the names of Wellassa heroes including Monarawila Keppetipola,” President Sirisena said in a tweet.

Continue reading ‘Gazette Issued in 1818 by British Governor Brownrigg Branding 19 “Wellassa” Patriots Including Keppetipola as “Traitors” Cancelled by President Sirisena’ »

Sasikala’s final deceit? A midnight swearing-in, and the return of the Mannargudi family

By
Ramanathan S.

As the dust around the death of Jayalalithaa settles, the focus is now slowly shifting to the political events of December 5 and 6, and how her closest aide, Sasikala, acted during Jayalalithaa’s illness and in the immediate aftermath of her death.

Some questions in the air: What was the need to hold a swearing-in ceremony in the middle of the night?

And why is Sasikala back with her family, in the open?

The death of the Chief Minister was a shocking development, even though she was admitted to the hospital for nearly 75 days. The wave of sadness and disbelief that it triggered, among her followers and detractors, is testimony to that. But has the secrecy which shrouded Jayalalithaa’s illness acted as a cloak for people with vested interests?

Has it enabled the Sasikala family to bulldoze their way through the party and the Tamil Nadu government?

Continue reading ‘Sasikala’s final deceit? A midnight swearing-in, and the return of the Mannargudi family’ »

Will Sasikala Natarajan take over as AIADMK Party General Secretary?


By

Anna Isaac

Hours after Apollo Hospital in Chennai announced that late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday, the political wheels were already turning in the AIADMK. The smooth transition of power to loyalist O Panneerselvam late on Monday night, even as news of CM and party supremo Jayalalithaa’s demise was broken to the rest of the world, was proof that the post-Amma AIADMK was being tightly managed and controlled. The party had also learnt its lessons after MGR’s death when the AIADMK was split between the two factions – Janaki and Jayalalithaa.

The News Minute had learnt that when party MLAs had been called to the hospital on Monday afternoon, three names had emerged from their discussions – O Panneerselvam, Edapadi Palanisamy and Sasikala. While OPS, who has served as CM on two occasions in Jayalalithaa’s absence emerged the front runner and successor, PWD Minister Edapadi Palanisamy, was Sasikala’s choice. However it was unclear if Edapadi’s name was being proposed for Deputy Chief Minister.

On her part, Jayalalithaa’s trusted aide is expected to take over the post of general secretary.

Continue reading ‘Will Sasikala Natarajan take over as AIADMK Party General Secretary?’ »

Why is Mahinda Projecting Butter-Fingered Basil Through Podujana Peramuna Instead of Match-Winning Gotabhaya?

By

Gomin Dayasri

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna [SLPP] has displayed its public face in presenting Basil Rajapaksa and Chairman G.L.Peiris [budding buddies of the‘bud’ party]– after hectoring by MR, hibernating in the background as its ultimate leader. Make no mistake it is his party. It will be conceived and buried by him if he succeeds to the SLFP. All roads lead to leaders residence.

Founders claim to fame is the proximity to the chieftain; find them both ideal foils while in political wilderness. Presented public faces are not ‘fair and lovely’ to the expanding middle classes and the floating voters, much needed,to place the joint opposition in the driving seat.

People detest ‘yahapalanaya’ governance: their hip pockets are rapidly vacuum. Personal needs of the voters, anxious to maintain a style of living, enhanced after the elimination of terrorism, are not to be. National Issues are secondary. Yahapalanaya is treated in the jocular.

Continue reading ‘Why is Mahinda Projecting Butter-Fingered Basil Through Podujana Peramuna Instead of Match-Winning Gotabhaya?’ »

Indictment Filed Again by Attorney-General in Colombo High Court Against Basil Rajapaksa and Kithsiri Ranawaka For Allegedly De-frauding Rs 29 Million “Divineguma” Funds.

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

The Attorney General, in the Colombo High Court, today re-indicted former minister Basil Rajapaksa and Divineguma Department’s former director general Kithsiri Ranawaka on charges of misappropriating Rs.29 million belonging to the Divineguma.

The indictments originally filed in Court on Mr. Rajapaksa and Mr. Ranawaka were yesterday withdrawn by the AG on the basis that it had contained some technical errors which needed to be rectified.

Continue reading ‘Indictment Filed Again by Attorney-General in Colombo High Court Against Basil Rajapaksa and Kithsiri Ranawaka For Allegedly De-frauding Rs 29 Million “Divineguma” Funds.’ »

VN Sasikala’s Husband Natarajan and Other Relatives Monopolising Jayalaithaa Funeral Troubles AIADMK Rank and File.

By

B.Kolappan

After lying low for many years, the family members of V.N. Sasikala, the close confidant of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, particularly her husband M. Natarajan, were seen prominently at the funeral on Tuesday.

Almost all the family members — Ms. Sasikala’s sister-in-law J. Ilavarasi; the latter’s son and the AIADMK’s new power centre, Vivek; his sister Priya; son of Ms. Sasikala’s brother Sundaravadanan, Dr. Venkatesh, who once headed the party’s youth forum; son of another of Ms. Sasikala’s brothers Vinodhagan, V. Mahadevan; the husband of Sundaravadanan’s daughter Prabha, Dr. Sivakumar; besides Ms. Sasikala’s sister’s son, V. Baskaran — were seen standing around the late CM’s body at Rajaji Hall.

Continue reading ‘VN Sasikala’s Husband Natarajan and Other Relatives Monopolising Jayalaithaa Funeral Troubles AIADMK Rank and File.’ »

Revolutionary Tamil Poet and Rationalist ‘Kavignar’ Inquilab Passes Away in Tamil Nadu at the age of 72.

By

B Kolappan

'Kavignar' Inquilab

‘Kavignar’ Inquilab

Noted Tamil poet and dramatist Inquilab, whose angry lines Manusangada Naanga Manusangada (Humans, we are humans… ) that powerfully portrayed the massacre of 44 Dalits in Keezh Venmani, died here on Thursday.

He was 72 and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

A Marxist-Leninist wedded to the idea of Tamil nationalism, he had asked his family members to donate his body to the Chengalpattu Government Medical College to avoid all religious rituals.

The body will be handed over to the college on Saturday.

Born Sahul Hameed at Keezhakarai in Ramanathapuram district, he was closely associated with the Vaanampadi poetry movement, a trail blazer, in modern Tamil poetry. He worked as a Tamil Professor at New College in Chennai.

Continue reading ‘Revolutionary Tamil Poet and Rationalist ‘Kavignar’ Inquilab Passes Away in Tamil Nadu at the age of 72.’ »

Galle Face Green Worlds Tallest Christmas Tree Project Stopped Suddenly Due to Protests by the Catholic Church.

By Norman Palihawadana

Chairman of the committee which was entrusted the work on the giant Christmas tree which was being constructed at the Galle Face Green, Mangala P.Gunasekera yesterday said the project was called off and its objective was religious harmony.

Addressing a news conference at the Ports and Shipping Ministry auditorium Gunasekera said the giant Christmas project had been a major attraction to many people including foreigners, who were planning to visit Sri Lanka and the occupancy rates of star class hotels had further increased.

But, in the end the hopes of all those had been dashed, he said.

Gunasekera said due to objections from the Catholic Church, the committee decided to call off the project.

Continue reading ‘Galle Face Green Worlds Tallest Christmas Tree Project Stopped Suddenly Due to Protests by the Catholic Church.’ »

UNP National List MP Jayampathy Wickramaratne Receives Death Threats From Telephone Caller Telling him to Quit Constitution Making.

By Saman Indrajith

UNP National List MP and co-chairman of the Operational Committee of the Constitutional Assembly Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne informed Parliament yesterday that he had received death threats over the phone and the caller had told him to stay out of the constitution making process.

Raising a privilege issue, MP Wickramaratne said an unidentified person had given him a call on Dec 06 , threatening him to resign from constitution making activities or face death. The caller had also threatened to kill the MP and all his family members, Parliament was told.

Wickramaratne said he had lodged a complaint with the Welikada police. He requested that Parliament order a separate investigation.

Continue reading ‘UNP National List MP Jayampathy Wickramaratne Receives Death Threats From Telephone Caller Telling him to Quit Constitution Making.’ »

MA Sumanthiran MP Pitches Into DM Swaminathan in Parliament and Demands UNP Resettlement Minister’s Resignation.

By Dharisha Bastians

The main opposition Tamil National Alliance pitched into Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan in Parliament yesterday, demanding his resignation over the controversial Government proposal to build 65,000 prefabricated steel houses for war affected families of the North and East.

TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian and party Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran used his time during the committee stage debate of the vote on the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation to issue a scathing criticism of the Minister, who he said was adamant to go ahead with the controversial housing project, even after Tamil representatives from the region had informed him that it was riddled with fraud.

Sumanthiran said the Minister was still defiant and still making statements to the press about the project. “We cannot allow you to continuously damage our people’s future like this. We have to publicly say that we have no more confidence in the conduct of this minister,” he charged.

“It is our request in this House today, that you relinquish your portfolio or we will be forced to call for a division and reveal all the facts to the country,” the TNA MP warned.

Continue reading ‘MA Sumanthiran MP Pitches Into DM Swaminathan in Parliament and Demands UNP Resettlement Minister’s Resignation.’ »

Jayalalithaa’s “Life Friend”Sasikala’s Husband M. Natarajan Makes Re-entry into Upper Echelons of Ruling AIADMK Party After Amma’s Demise

Just minutes after Jayalalithaa was laid to rest next to her mentor MGR at his memorial in Chennai’s Marina beach, her close aide Sasikala’s husband, M Natarajan, who was once a key member of Jayalalithaa’s political team, said that the AIADMK will continue under the legacy of Jayalalithaa and MGR, and that no one person can steal it away.

Speaking to News18 Tamil, he said, “When we laid MGR to rest several years ago, at the same spot, we had decided that Jayalalithaa would be our leader for the next 25 years. She carried forward MGR’s legacy for more than 28 years. Nobody can steal away what our Amma has seeded. Even a normal member of the party can take the party forward.”

He refused to answer who will lead the party after Jayalalithaa.

Continue reading ‘Jayalalithaa’s “Life Friend”Sasikala’s Husband M. Natarajan Makes Re-entry into Upper Echelons of Ruling AIADMK Party After Amma’s Demise’ »

Catholic Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Wants Project to Build World’s tallest Christmas Tree at Galle Face to be Stopped.

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday frowned on a colossal sum of money being spent on the erection of a Christmas tree at the Galle Face Green.

He said it was a vain attempt and the money spent thereon could have been utilised to help the poverty stricken people.

Addressing a press conference at the Bishops House, the Bishop said the Catholic Church was against spending large amounts of money on a Christmas tree.

The Cardinal said that he was not sure of the Ministry engaged in the project but the project should be abandoned forthwith,

Continue reading ‘Catholic Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Wants Project to Build World’s tallest Christmas Tree at Galle Face to be Stopped.’ »

“Thuglak” Editor, Lawyer, Actor, Director, Dramatist and Ex-Rajya Sabha MP- “Cho” S.Ramaswamy Passes away in Chennai at the Age of 82.


By

B Kolappan

Cho Ramaswamy, political commentator, theatre personality and editor of Thuglak, a Tamil magazine known for its withering satire and fearless criticism of political figures, died here early on Wednesday.

Cho Ramaswamy

Cho Ramaswamy

He was 82 and is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

He has been ailing for some time, and was hospitalised for respiratory problems on a couple of occasions in recent times.

Last week, he was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals here for breathing problems and poor intake of food.

Born into a family of lawyers — his grandfather Arunachala Iyer, his father Srinivasa Iyer and uncle Matrhubootham were well-known lawyers — Cho also took up the legal profession with some success. For some time, he was also a legal advisor to the TTK group, before plunging fully into theatre. Later, he ventured into films and finally made his mark as a journalist by launching his own magazine.

Cho in Tamil movie "Arilirunthu Arupathu Varai"

Cho in Tamil movie “Arilirunthu Arupathu Varai”


Continue reading ‘“Thuglak” Editor, Lawyer, Actor, Director, Dramatist and Ex-Rajya Sabha MP- “Cho” S.Ramaswamy Passes away in Chennai at the Age of 82.’ »

Jayalalithaa: From Alluring Actress to Powerful Politician

Hello Friends

Actress turned politician Jayalalithaa Jayaram has triumphed in the latest elections to the Tamil Nadu Legislative assembly. Her All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) led coalition has swept the polls getting 203 of 234 constituencies. She is to be sworn in for the third time as chief minister of Tamil Nadu

I am reproducing here without any changes or updates an article I wrote about her in “The Nation” of February 24th 2008 on the occasion of her sixtieth birthday.

Here it is friends –

Continue reading ‘Jayalalithaa: From Alluring Actress to Powerful Politician’ »

AIADMK Leader “Amma” Jayalalithaa Has Tamil Nadu At Her Feet Again

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Jayalithaa “Amma” has done it again! The supreme leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK)has triumphed at polls held for the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Elections were conducted on May 16th 2016 for 232 out of 234 Constituencies in the state legislature known as the Legislative Assembly. The elections commission rescinded polls for two electorates due to irrefutable evidence of pre-poll malpractices.

Newly elected Chief Minster J.Jayalalithaa at at the State Legislature ~ May 25, 2016

Newly elected Chief Minster J.Jayalalithaa at at the State Legislature ~ May 25, 2016

Unlike Sri Lanka ,there is no proportional representation scheme in India. The Tamil Nadu poll was held under the first past the post winner system where the winner takes all regardless of the percentage of votes polled.The AIADMK with a few miniscule allies contested in all 232 electorates as a single entity under the party symbol of twin leaves and obtained 134 seats.

[After presenting a bouquet to greet his leader, J. Jayalalithaa, on her victory O. Paneerselvam, seeks her blessings at her Poes Garden residence, Feb 2002]

[After presenting a bouquet to greet his leader, J. Jayalalithaa, on her victory O. Paneerselvam, seeks her blessings at her Poes Garden residence, Feb 2002]

The AIADMK got 131 while its allies also contesting under the two leaf symbol got 03. The chief opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) got 89 while its allies won 09. Of the DMK ally tally , the Indian National Congress got 08 and the Indiam Union Muslim League 01.
Continue reading ‘AIADMK Leader “Amma” Jayalalithaa Has Tamil Nadu At Her Feet Again’ »

How Jayalalithaa Sparkled on Silver Screen in her Actress Avatar as Uncrowned Queen of Tamil Cinema.

by

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Ex-Film actress Ms.jayalalithaa Jayaram who was convicted over charges of acquiring disproportionate wealth has now been acquitted of all charges by the Karnataka High Court which heard her appeal.This article written for “Spotlight” Column in the “Daily Financial Times” of October 11th 2014 is re-posted here without any changes to mark the occasion)

The recent conviction and consequent imprisonment of Jayalalithaa Jayaram on charges of acquiring disproportionate wealth during her past term of office (1991-96) has resulted in the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister being under media spotlight for many days now. This week’s ‘Spotlight’ column too will be about Jayalalithaa but the focus will be on certain aspects of her family background, early life and scintillating career as a film star and not on her politics or present plight.

JJM

People looking at her physical corpulence – which may be a sign of her ill-gotten opulence – would not believe that the rotund lady of today was at one time slim and lissom. Indeed she was and a ravishing beauty too! As a sparkling actress on the silver screen, Jayalalithaa was the uncrowned queen of Tamil cinema during the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies of the last century. She was the dream girl of many a teenager and the favourite pin-up star of myriad fans.
Continue reading ‘How Jayalalithaa Sparkled on Silver Screen in her Actress Avatar as Uncrowned Queen of Tamil Cinema.’ »

TNA’s MA Sumanthiran MP Demands Resignation of UNP Minister of Prison Reforms,Rehabilitation,Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs DM Swaminathan

By

Sandasen Marasinghe, Disna Mudalige and Ishara Mudugamuwa

TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran railing against Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan demanded his resignation in Parliament yesterday.

The MP was making an angry speech during the Committee Stage debate of the Budget 2017 when the Finance Head of ‘Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry’ was taken up.

He said the TNA would call for a division at the end of debate to register their opposition to the Minister. MP Sumanthiran in his speech strongly objected to the 65,000 pre-fabricated steel houses project in the North and a recent statement by Swaminathan over Constitutional reforms.

Continue reading ‘TNA’s MA Sumanthiran MP Demands Resignation of UNP Minister of Prison Reforms,Rehabilitation,Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs DM Swaminathan’ »

Duminda Silva Celebrated his Birthday on Dec 3rd with Family Members in Prison”Reveals Hirunika Premachandra in Parliament.


The illnesses mentioned in the prison hospital diagnosis card of former Parliamentarian Duminda Silva are all false, said UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra.

She made this observation participating in the Committee Stage debate of the Budget 2017 when the Finance Head of ‘Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry’ was taken up in Parliament yesterday.

Premachandra said Silva who is in the death row has been diagnosed with chronic headache, giddiness, loss of consciousness and loss of memory.

“All these are lies,” she said.

“Duminda Silva’s birthday fell on December 3 and his family members went to the prison and celebrated it. District court judge Ayesha Abdeen visited the former Parliamentarian in prison. This is not in accordance with the Prison Ordinance. The Prison Ordinance allows any Member of Parliament, District Judge or Magistrate to visit any prison, but for the purpose of inspecting the general condition of the prison and of the prisoners, and not to meet them in private for long hours,” she said.

Premachandra bringing out a series of malpractices in the Prison Hospital, requested the minister to conduct a proper inquiry and temporarily suspend the service of Medical Officer in Charge of the Welikada Prison Hospital Dr. Lakshman Jayamanne and Dr. Malinda Wanigaratne.

She said 10 out of the 17 doctors attached to the Welikada Prison Hospital are part and parcel of these malpractices taking place in it. “They have been charging money from the prisoners to issue false medical reports,” she charged.

She said some political figures jailed recently had been receiving special treatment with the knowledge of the Prison Commissioner General.

“In the new magazine prison, there is a jail which has a bed, attached toilet, mosquito net, chairs, TV and fan. This is the jail given to the politicians,” she said.

“Usually the prisoners are not allowed to taken in mattresses and pillows. However one MP who was in jail recently took them in saying he is suffering from a serious illness. This demand is baseless as this MP is only suffering from an aliment on his private parts. I wonder whether the aliment is cured when the MP keeps his private parts on a pillow,” she said.

“I brought all these issues to the notice of the President, Prime Minister, Health Minister and Prison Reforms Minister. The President asked me to speak about them in the debate,” she added.

Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan speaking after Premachandra’s speech said: “I am very thankful to you for bringing out all these points. This is exactly what is happening in the prisons and this is exactly what I am holding an inquiry for. These doctors who have been giving these documentations are not within my purview.

They are under the Health Ministry. I am sorry I cannot take any action on them, but the Health Ministry can do so”.

Courtesy:Daily News

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Apologises in Parliament for Destruction of theJaffna Public Library in 1981 when the UNP was in Power.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday apologised for the destruction of the Jaffna library when the UNP was in power in 1981.

Participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of the ministry of prisons, rehabilitation and resettlement, Prime Minister extended the apology.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Apologises in Parliament for Destruction of theJaffna Public Library in 1981 when the UNP was in Power.’ »

Attorney-General Citing “Technical Defect”Withdraws High Court Indictment Against Basil Rajapaksa and Ex-Divineguma D-G Kirthi Ranawaka

by Chitra Weerarathne

The Attorney General yesterday withdrew the indictment against Basil Rajapaksa, the former Minister of Divineguma, Economic Development and the Director General of Divineguma, Kirthi Ranawaka.

The state informed the High Court of Colombo that there was a technical defect in the charge sheet and it hoped to file a fresh indictment shortly.

Permission was sought to withdraw the indictment.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General Citing “Technical Defect”Withdraws High Court Indictment Against Basil Rajapaksa and Ex-Divineguma D-G Kirthi Ranawaka’ »

Jayalalitha Cracks down on ‘Lifefriend’ Sasikala and family members

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Hello Friends

In a sudden move Tamil Nadu Chief minister Ms.Jayalaitha Jayaram has cracked down on her close confidante and “Uyirthozhi”(Lifefriend) Sasikala Natarajan and several members of her family.

Sasikala has been thrown out of both Jayalalitha’s residence “Vedha Nilayam” on Poes Garden in Chennai and also from the party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK).
Continue reading ‘Jayalalitha Cracks down on ‘Lifefriend’ Sasikala and family members’ »

“Ampitiya Sumanarathana Thera of Sri Mangalarama Vihara Started his Anti-minority campaign After Mahinda Rajapaksa Visited Batticaloa”


By
Mirudhula Thambiah


Batticaloa District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Sathasivam Viyalendran said that the hate speech occurring in the Eastern Province against the minority communities is a pre-planned agenda by the representatives of the former regime.

“We respect Buddhism and we respect Buddhist monks but a small number of them are trying to tarnish the reputation of the whole. We know that the majority are quite clear and aware of the planned agenda. Also the minority communities must be quite aware of such agendas, which will ruin the good cause in this country,” he said.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q; Given the current context where various attempts have been made to bring about reconciliation in Sri Lanka, but a series of hate speech incidents have taken place in the Eastern Province in the recent past. As a parliamentarian representing the Batticaloa District, how do you view the situation?

A: We all should take into consideration that the former government got the assistance of Bodu Bala Sena and Ravana Balaya to spread hate speech against the minority communities of this country. The minority communities along with some parts of the majority community (who oppose racism) rejected the former government and elected the current government – the government of good governance.

In the current context we feel this is a planned agenda by the previous government to derail and destabilize all attempts at reconciliation in order for them to regain power.

Continue reading ‘“Ampitiya Sumanarathana Thera of Sri Mangalarama Vihara Started his Anti-minority campaign After Mahinda Rajapaksa Visited Batticaloa”’ »

“Fidel Castro’s Cuba Showed It Is Possible for Even a Small Country to Defeat a Powerful Enemy”-Tamara Kunanayakam


By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

Tamara Kunanayakam is best known in Sri Lanka as former Ambassador to the UN in Geneva from 2011 to 2012. It is less well known that she chaired the UN Working Group on the Right to Development from 2011 to 2015 and was Ambassador to Cuba from 2008 to 2011. Following the outpouring of condolences from around the world on the death of Fidel Castro, she responded to some questions for the Daily Mirror.

Q The death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro has triggered expressions of sympathy from around the world, including from those who did not agree with his political ideology. What does this say about the values he stood for?
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A;The tribute paid to Fidel Castro by his people and millions around the world, including Heads of States and Governments, is unprecedented. It is testimony to the extreme popularity of Fidel resulting from his force of conviction, his impressive culture and his revolutionary action. It is also testimony to the credibility acquired by Cuba internationally.

Fidel stood for universal values and principles – social justice, human dignity, selflessness, solidarity. He demonstrated that it was possible to transform ideas into material reality. It was the task he set for himself and fulfilled.

The Cuban people, worthy and united, deserve respect. Many politicians, to begin with here in Sri Lanka, would benefit from finding in this page of history plenty to meditate upon. Those who consider this a non-event are but dwarfs before a giant of the 20th Century.
Continue reading ‘“Fidel Castro’s Cuba Showed It Is Possible for Even a Small Country to Defeat a Powerful Enemy”-Tamara Kunanayakam’ »

Protesters Threatening to Surround Parliament were “Upasaka Balallu” and not “Upasakas” States Premier Wickremesinghe

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that Joint Opposition statements on last Saturday’s incident near Parliament were not acceptable. Former local government members who raped 100s of girls and killed the husbands of wives they raped were no ordinary demonstrations; they were a security threat.

PM Wickremesinghe, soon after Joint Opposition Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena raised a privilege issue on MPs coming under a police attack while dispersing a protest, said:

“I was told first that only a lane of parliament road had been closed. The protesters who came here threatened to surround Parliament. These are not ordinary protesters we see every day. They are not the undergraduates of the Inter University Students Federation. Among them were those who swindled public funds from local government bodies. When they threaten to surround Parliament it is not a demonstration it is a security threat. If there were MPs among them they too are accomplices. We did not see in media what the MPs say today. They talked with the media as if some upasakas had been attacked. What we actually saw were upasaka balallu.

Continue reading ‘Protesters Threatening to Surround Parliament were “Upasaka Balallu” and not “Upasakas” States Premier Wickremesinghe’ »

O.Panneerselvam Sworn in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister with 31 Ministers After Demise of Jayalalithaa Jayaram


Amidst a pall of gloom following Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was elected the leader of the Legislature Party shortly after Monday midnight and sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

At a solemn ceremony in the Raj Bhavan, Mr. Panneerselvam was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao. This was his third swearing-in as Chief Minister.

All 31 members of the outgoing Ministry were sworn in along with him.

As Jayalalithaa’s trusted man, Mr. Panneerselvam had stepped into her shoes for two brief periods — during 2001-02 and 2014-15 — after she was unseated by the courts.

Continue reading ‘O.Panneerselvam Sworn in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister with 31 Ministers After Demise of Jayalalithaa Jayaram’ »

Criminals of the Rajapaksa Regine Threatened to Surround Parliament Charges Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday expressed his concerns over what he described as criminals of the Rajapaksa regime threatening to surround Parliament.

“Those who took part in the recent protest are not the ordinary citizens of this country or boys from university student unions. These were the local government members of the Rajapaksa regime who held a party to celebrate raping 100 women, raping a foreigner, killing her husband and the others were engaged in stealing public money at large,” said Wickremesinghe, who considered the recent protest as a threat to democracy.

“We saw their behaviour in media reports but now they are behaving like kittens. Even we were shaken after having had a look at those criminals – rapists, killers and thieves. Many were those who were engaged in setting tyres on fire and attacking vehicles,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Criminals of the Rajapaksa Regine Threatened to Surround Parliament Charges Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Orient Finance Corp Ltd Executive who Attacked Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarathne in Thalawatugoda Restaurant Freed on Cash Bail by Kaduwela magistrate

A person who attacked Nava Sama Samaja Party leader Vickramabahu Karunarathne calling him “a traitor and should be killed” has been released on bail by the Kaduwela Magistrate.

The attack took place at a restaurant, Sonora Thalawatugoda where Dr Karunarathne was having dinner with two of his friends after his book on philosophical notes ‘Yathawadi Vimasuma’ was launched on November 24.

The man who attacked him, Mirihanage Manoj Buddhika Hemachandra was released on a cash bail of Rs 200,000 on Tuesday (Nov 30 Case No B4824/ 16). Commenting on the incident, Dr Karunarathne said that the attacker has furiously shouted at him, accusing him of “selling the county to Tamils and Muslims”.

Continue reading ‘Orient Finance Corp Ltd Executive who Attacked Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarathne in Thalawatugoda Restaurant Freed on Cash Bail by Kaduwela magistrate’ »

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister “Amma” Jayalalithaa Jayaram Passes Away at the age of 68 in Chennai Apollo Hospital

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has died at the age of 68.

After battling for her life at Apollo Hospital in Chennai for 75 days, the iconic Dravidian leader and six-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu succumbed to her illness on Monday, December 5 at 11 30pm.

Kudiyiruntha Koyil

Kudiyiruntha Koyil

As the news spreads, a wave of sadness and disbelief is engulfing the state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu has not witnessed such a crisis since the death of MGR, or perhaps ever.

Accompanied by her aide Sasikala, the Chief Minister was taken by a special convoy to the hospital on Greams Road in Chennai on September 22.

Though initially the hospital had said that she was suffering from fever and dehydration, soon experts were flown in from London, Singapore and AIIMS, Delhi. A team of doctors from Apollo including cardiologists, nephrologists, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists and dieticians were helping Jayalalithaa recover.

A file photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

A file photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

In one of the last updates on Jayalalithaa’s health, Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prathap Reddy on November 25 said she was well and recovering. She was shifted from the Critical Care Unit to a private room few weeks ago, in a sign that her health had been improving. As late as Sunday evening, there were reports that she had ‘recovered completely’ and was ready to be discharged. But on December 4 evening, she suffered a cardiac arrest from which she could not recover.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Chief Minister “Amma” Jayalalithaa Jayaram Passes Away at the age of 68 in Chennai Apollo Hospital’ »

Actress Jayalalithaa Shone on Screen Playing a Variety of Roles as Leading Lady.


By

Kavitha Muralidharan

“Kaavalkaran”

“Kaavalkaran”

My first memory of watching J Jayalalithaa on screen was in the song “Ninaithen Vandhaai”, from “Kaavalkaran”. Even in the small box television set in which I was watching it, Jayalalithaa, dressed like an Egyptian princess, looked every bit regal. The graceful dance movements only added to her aura. She had something that not many heroines paired opposite the charismatic M G Ramachandran had. She was not just his shadow. She was a personality by herself, no matter what role she was playing.

"Vennira Aadai"

“Vennira Aadai”

From a shy and vulnerable 17 year old in “Vennira Aadai” – her first Tamil movie – Jayalalithaa’s evolution as an actor is in itself a story. “Vennira Aadai” – where she plays a mentally unstable patient who falls in love with her psychiatrist – was proof enough for her histrionic talent. To carry a role of that kind at that age should have been a challenge but Jayalalithaa pulled it off with her characteristic élan. The film was the launch pad for many actors but Jayalalithaa would outshine them to become the most successful debut of all.
Continue reading ‘Actress Jayalalithaa Shone on Screen Playing a Variety of Roles as Leading Lady.’ »

Maestro W. D. Amaradeva Created a Distinctive Genre of Sinhala Music

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This article appears in the December 2016 issue of ‘Saamagaana – The First Melody,’ a magazine devoted to classical music published in Bengaluru, India. It is being published here to mark the 89th birthday of maestro Amaradeva on 5 December.)

Renowned Sri Lankan vocalist, violinist and music composer W.D. Amaradeva passed away in a Colombo hospital on 3 November, just one month short of his 89th birthday.

W. D. Amaradeva ~ (5 December 1927 – 3 November 2016)

W. D. Amaradeva ~ (5 December 1927 – 3 November 2016)

Millions of Lankan rasikas scattered throughout the world were saddened by Pandit Amaradeva’s death while the Government declared one week of national mourning in his honour. In an illustrious musical career spanning almost seven decades the maestro had firmly established himself as the most popular singing voice of the Sri Lankan nation.

Wannakuwatte Waduge Don Albert Perera

Born on 5 December 1927 to a Buddhist father and Christian mother in Moratuwa – a coastal town to the south of capital city Colombo – the singer changed his name Wannakuwatta Waduge Don Albert Perera to Amaradeva later on in his twenties. Amaradeva means immortal god or celestial being. To his innumerable fans Amaradeva’s music and singing remain immortal.
Continue reading ‘Maestro W. D. Amaradeva Created a Distinctive Genre of Sinhala Music’ »

10 Point Opposition of Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Against Sub – Committee Reports Relating to Proposed New Constitution.

(Text of a statement issued by former Sri Lankan President and current Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa opposing some provisions in the proposed new Constitution)

facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

The reports submitted by six subcommittees on constitutional reform appointed by the Constitutional Assembly were tabled in parliament while everybody’s attention was focused on the budget. With that government ministers moved fast to meet the Ven. Mahanayake Theras with a view to obtaining their support for these proposals by saying that no recommendations have been made to alter the unitary character of the constitution, the special status accorded to Buddhism or for the merger of the northern and eastern provinces. Furthermore, leaving aside all the strikes and demonstrations over the budget, the president himself spoke in parliament about the need to devolve power. In the meantime government parliamentarians and ministers are being showered with all kinds of privileges such as new cars and generous special allowances.

All these are signs that portend great danger to the nation. During the last presidential election campaign, the two main constitutional reforms promised to the people by this government were; the abolition of the executive presidency and reform of the electoral system. Neither of these two key issues have been dealt with by the subcommittees appointed by the Constitutional Assembly. Instead, six reports have been released on matters that were never even mentioned during the presidential elections.It is only in reading the subcommittee reports that the connection between the above mentioned events become clear. The subcommittee on ‘Centre Periphery Relations’ has openly stated that the ‘unitary character’ of our constitution is an ‘impediment’ to the functioning of the provincial councils and some of the reports have made recommendations that are designed to end the unitary character of Sri Lanka without however deleting that word from the constitution. I would like to highlight some of the most harmful recommendations as follows:

Continue reading ‘10 Point Opposition of Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Against Sub – Committee Reports Relating to Proposed New Constitution.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Takes up 10 Point “Sinhala Nationalist” Position Opposing Proposed New Constitution

By Dharisha Bastians

Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa fired his first major salvo against the proposed new Constitution yesterday, saying that by rushing through the constitutional reform process, the Government was prioritising matters that were ‘only of interest’ to “separatists” and “foreign parties”.

Taking blatantly Sinhala nationalist positions in a lengthy essay released by his office, Rajapaksa puts forward 10 points of opposition to proposals – especially regarding devolution of power – made by six sub-committees set up to go into specific areas of the new Constitution.

“None of the recommendations listed above should be in the final draft of the constitution,” Rajapaksa’s statement said. The former President charged that the new Constitution would divide the country without specifically using the word “division”.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Takes up 10 Point “Sinhala Nationalist” Position Opposing Proposed New Constitution’ »

“Ceylon Today”Journalist Mirudhula Thambiah “Extraordinarily Harassed” by Indian Security Personnel at Bengaluru Kempegowda Airport in India

Mirudhula Thambiah, a Journalist attached to Ceylon Today, was recently forced to undergo a serious security check, at the Indian Immigration Authority, based at the Bengaluru Kempegowda Airport, where she was continuously questioned. It was not a routine or normal security check, but an extraordinary case of harassment.

She said, “I was harassed by the security personnel at the Bengaluru Airport, as I landed on 27 November. I was invited to participate at the ‘Countering Online radicalization of Youth for Extremism- Tech Camp Hyderabad› from 27- 29 November. As I entered the country, the Indian Immigration held me for more than one hour, continuously questioning me over my journalism and what I write about mostly in Sri Lanka. To my utter surprise, they also asked me about slain LTTE Leader Prabhakaran and questioned me on after his death what issues Sri Lanka was now facing. They took a photograph of me and recorded my conversation too. They particularly asked the address of my newspaper and wanted to verify my media ID.

Continue reading ‘“Ceylon Today”Journalist Mirudhula Thambiah “Extraordinarily Harassed” by Indian Security Personnel at Bengaluru Kempegowda Airport in India’ »

Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Forbidden to Do Politics While in Lanka on 2 Month Tourist Visa.

By Saman Indrajith

It is only through a struggle that democracy in Sri Lanka can be secured and the socialist dream realized. There is no other way to achieve this objective, leader of the Front Line Socialist Party, Kumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Mahattaya said yesterday.

Gunaratnam who was freed from the Anuradhapura prison on Friday after serving one year term for violating visa regulations, told a press conference at the auditorium of the National Library, that his release does not mean the dawn of democracy in the country.

“I came out after serving the full term. The government seems to have shelved their idea of deporting me, thanks to protests, demonstrations and agitations by progressive forces. That is a victory for democracy. But while considering mine as an individual case, we can see that hundreds of other political prisons are still behind bars”, he noted.

Continue reading ‘Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Forbidden to Do Politics While in Lanka on 2 Month Tourist Visa.’ »

PM Ranil Objects to Speaker Karu’s Move to Let Constitutional Council Examine IGP Pujitha – Minister Sagala Telephone Call. Incident

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday objected to the Constitutional Council discussing the controversial conduct of police chief Pujith Jayasundara.

Wickremesinghe told parliament that there was no formal complaint against Inspector-General Pujith Jayasundara who was caught on camera allegedly interfering in a Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) investigation.

“If there is any complaint against the IGP let us know. Right now, there is no such thing,” the Prime Minister said in response to an announcement by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya that he as the chairman of the Constitutional Council will convene next week to discuss the IGP.

Continue reading ‘PM Ranil Objects to Speaker Karu’s Move to Let Constitutional Council Examine IGP Pujitha – Minister Sagala Telephone Call. Incident’ »

PM Ranil Reveals in Parliament that Law&Order Minister Sagala Telephoned IGP Pujitha About Devinuwara temple Basnayake Nilame

By Skandha Gunasekara

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in Parliament yesterday, said he would hold a meeting with both, IGP Pujith Jayasundara and Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake tomorrow (5), while assuring Parliament that no Police investigations have been halted.

The Prime Minister, responding to a question raised by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said he would summon both the Minister of Law and Order and IGP Jayasundara for a meeting on Monday and would invite MP Dissanayake, as well as other Parliamentarians, to discuss the matter at length.

The Premier was replying to questions raised by the Chief Opposition Whip and Joint Opposition Leader Dinesh Gunawardena, who, on the previous day, demanded to know who the unknown caller the IGP referred to as ‘Sir’ and if the Government was interfering with Police duties.

Continue reading ‘PM Ranil Reveals in Parliament that Law&Order Minister Sagala Telephoned IGP Pujitha About Devinuwara temple Basnayake Nilame’ »

All About Arjun Aloysius the Perpetual Treasuries “James Bond” Implicated in the Central Bank Bond Scam

By Namini Wijedasa

Just three days after last year’s presidential election, someone predicted the Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL) bond issue on an online website for stock market investors.

pic: Courtesy:Sunday Times

pic: Courtesy:Sunday Times

The man wrote on Sri Lanka Equity Forum: “Perpetual Treasuries owned by Free Lanka Capital Holdings owners will mostly get a large amount of business volumes of Treasury Bills and Treasury Bonds business in new ‘Yahapalana Government’ of Maithripala-Ranil Regime since new Governor of Central Bank is tipped to be Free Lanka Capital’s driving force Arjun Aloysius’s father-in-law Arjuna Mahendran who is also the top Economic Advisor of Ranil Wickramasinghe [sic] since old times.”

The new Cabinet had not even been sworn in. The prognosis for the new President and his Government was excellent. They had campaigned on a platform of good governance, meritocracy, transparency and freedom from corruption. There was every confidence that appointments to key positions would reflect those principles. Any suggestion of the sort ‘Business Basil’ made on Equity Forum seemed unwarranted, premature and wholly speculative.

But he was proved right at the Central Bank bond auction of late February 2015. The Government was not two months old when the storm broke. The allegation is that PTL benefited at the auction from a combination of insider information and a late decision to issue an unprecedented volume of bonds.

“For those of us who knew how Perpetual did business, it didn’t come as a total shock,” said one investment management source. “They were connected with pumping up stocks and dumping them at high prices on the Employees’ Provident Fund, which appeared to be a willing participant in this scheme. What shook us was that the new Government had also allowed what had happened at the bond auction.”


This article was researched over a period of several weeks. Many of those approached for information ran scared. One said that the subject was a “time bomb” and that he wanted nothing to do with it. Some laughed when asked about Perpetual’s business practices.

Continue reading ‘All About Arjun Aloysius the Perpetual Treasuries “James Bond” Implicated in the Central Bank Bond Scam’ »

Current Communal Tensions in Country Could De-stabilise Economy Beyond Recovery

By
Nimal Sanderatne

No single factor has retarded the country’s economic development more than communal violence. The current communal tensions in several parts of the country could create instability and uncertainty that would destabilise the economy beyond recovery and mark the death knell of the country’s efforts to resolve the current economic crisis.

Orchestrated no doubt with intent to destabilise the government and pave the way for a regime change, the roused communal feelings would aggravate the current economic crisis and cause enormous hardships to the livelihoods of people. The containment of these communal tensions is imperative for economic recovery and growth.

Economic repercussions

Global reactions to communal violence could worsen the country’s trade imbalance and create a severe balance of payments crisis. Tourism that is booming and has tremendous potential to contribute to economic growth could have a severe setback owing to ethnic violence as happened in 1983. The already low foreign investment could dry up and capital outflows would aggravate the weak external finances. The further flight of intellectuals, professionals and scientists would weaken the country’s capacity for development.

The consequences of communal violence are horrendous and must be averted at all costs. We must learn from our horrendous past experience that we recount here.

Continue reading ‘Current Communal Tensions in Country Could De-stabilise Economy Beyond Recovery’ »

Calling for Resignation of IGP Over “Telephone Episode” Without Change in Political Culture is a Short-sighted Reaction.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

For close to ten years, Sri Lanka was ruled by a Presidency under which calls were openly given by politicians to heads of the judiciary, the police and hapless public servants ordering them to act or not to act as the case may be. This is not to say that such gross misrule started with the Rajapaksas. Before that, we had our peccadilloes, when political pressure was exerted by Heads of State on judicial and public officials in particular circumstances.

Reducing public officers to playthings

At times, the converse was true when the country’s historic judicial institution was reduced to a profound absurdity as a Chief Justice rashly appointed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in circumstances that can only be described as mala fide, plunged that Office into unprecedented political controversy (the Sarath Silva Court, circa, 1999-2009).

Regardless, it may generally be agreed that never was there such general despair as during the Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency. As at the time of his electoral defeat in 2015, the sitting Chief Justice at the time was more in the abode of the President than in the halls of justice.

A single call from not only a scion of the Rajapaksa clan but also the local village thug professing to act on the orders of a Rajapaksa could reduce the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and a lowly Officer-in-Charge of a police station alike to a shivering nervous wreck.

So let us forcibly remind ourselves of that none too recent history, even as memories fade in the face of exceedingly great frustrations with the spluttering ‘yahapalanaya’ successor to Rajapaksa rule.

Continue reading ‘Calling for Resignation of IGP Over “Telephone Episode” Without Change in Political Culture is a Short-sighted Reaction.’ »

“Though Referendum on Constitution Cannot be Won Easily it Must be Won”says Cabinet Minister Mano Ganesan.

BY NIRANJALA ARIYAWANSHA

Minister of National Co-existence and Official Languages Mano Ganesan warns that a referendum on a Constitutional amendment cannot be won easily. But he argued that if a referendum is held for this purpose, it must be won.

He further questioned what the replacement would be in case the good governance government is toppled after a possible defeat of a referendum on the draft Constitution of Sri Lanka.

However, Minister Ganesan said he would go before the Tamil people to convince them on the importance of a new Constitution in a context the Supreme Court decided to set forth the draft Constitution before a referendum.

“I have that capability, legitimacy and credibility to do so,” he noted speaking in an interview with Ceylon Today.

Continue reading ‘“Though Referendum on Constitution Cannot be Won Easily it Must be Won”says Cabinet Minister Mano Ganesan.’ »

Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Freed From Anuradhapura Prison After Completing One Year Jail Term

By Niranjala Ariyawansha

Front Line Socialist Party (FSP) politburo member Kumar Gunaratnam, who was jailed for violating immigration and emigration laws, after arriving in the country on tourist visa, was released from the Anuradhapura Prison yesterday upon completion of his one-year jail period.

After stepping out of the prison, the FSP politburo member told the media that he had been released lawfully after having served his prison term. Gunaratnam told reporters that he would like to thank all members of his party who continued with their agitation campaigns throughout his prison term in order to add positive value to his prison stint, as well as to those who value true democracy in the country.

“I look at my political right as part of protecting the democratic rights of all citizens of this country and as part of that struggle,” he told reporters.

Continue reading ‘Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Freed From Anuradhapura Prison After Completing One Year Jail Term’ »

Which “Nilame” is IGP Jayasundara Protecting? Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela or Basnayake Nilame Dilshan Gunasekera?

By

Rasika Jayakody

IGP Pujith Jayasundara found himself at the centre of a major controversy this week, after receiving a controversial phone call while addressing a Police event in Ratnapura

Instead of waiting until he was finished with his speech, the IGP stopped midway to answer the phone and failed to move away from the microphones placed by local news correspondents, making the media, and by extension the public, thereby privy to what could only be a private telephone conversation, with a figure of political authority.

The IGP, who addressed the caller as ‘Sir’, briefed him on an investigation carried out by the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) – the unit to probe large-scale cases of corruption – and gave him repeated assurances that an unnamed ‘nilame’ would not be arrested, despite the outcome of the FCID’s questioning.

The IGP, in fact, went so far as to say he had specifically asked the Director of the FCID to refrain from arresting people ‘unreasonably’.

Now, there are only two well-known ‘nilames’ who have faced FCID inquiries in the recent past: One is Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela. The other is Dishan Gunasekera, the incumbent Basnayake Nilame of the Vishnu Devalaya, Devundara.

Continue reading ‘Which “Nilame” is IGP Jayasundara Protecting? Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela or Basnayake Nilame Dilshan Gunasekera?’ »

Constitutional Council to “Take Action” Against IGP Jayasundara Over “Phone-Gate” Scandal.


By Dharisha Bastians

Police Chief IGP Pujith Jayasundera is under fire from the Opposition and corruption watchdogs after he was caught on camera attempting to interfere in an investigation by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) earlier this week.

The IGP told an unidentified caller in the presence of media personnel in a video that was aired on Wednesday (30) that he had instructed the FCID to seek his permission before arresting an individual in a case that appeared to be of concern to the caller. During the recorded phone call, Jayasundera referred to the matter as the “Nilame’s case.” untitled-3

As calls mount for action against the IGP and the release of information about the caller on the other end of the telephone in the controversial video, President Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament in response to questions raised by the opposition on Thursday (1) that he was calling for explanation from the Police Chief over the revealing video.

Continue reading ‘Constitutional Council to “Take Action” Against IGP Jayasundara Over “Phone-Gate” Scandal.’ »

US V-P Elect Mike Pence Telephones President Sirisena About Arranging Trip to Washington to meet President elect Donald Trump


Vice President-elect of the United States Mike Pence called President Maithripala Sirisena Thursday night on behalf of President-elect Donald Trump

During the conversation, President Sirisena conveyed his best wishes to the new administration under the leadership of Trump.

The conversation focused on measures for strengthening bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the US in the future.

Continue reading ‘US V-P Elect Mike Pence Telephones President Sirisena About Arranging Trip to Washington to meet President elect Donald Trump’ »

Maithripala Appeals to Mahinda-led Opposition not to Sabotage new Constitution Making Process and Ethnic Reconciliation


By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday appealed to the Joint Opposition led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, not to thwart the constitution-making and ethnic reconciliation processes by indulging false propaganda because if the current chance to solve the national problem is missed due to narrow minded jockeying for power, the country will only return to conflict and bloodshed.

In a powerful speech in parliament, Sirisena said that the Rajapaksa-led opposition is under the mistaken notion that they can come to power by indulging in false propaganda about the constitution-making process and the status of Buddhism. They complain to the Buddhist monks that the new constitution will wreck the unity of the country and downgrade Buddhism, when the government’s plans are anything but that.

The President warned that the opposition’s tactics will only create a situation in which they will not be able realize their dream of coming to power.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Appeals to Mahinda-led Opposition not to Sabotage new Constitution Making Process and Ethnic Reconciliation’ »

President Sirisena Calls for Explanation from IGP Pujitha Jayasundara About Telling “Sir”That “Nilame/Neelam”Wont be Arrested.


By Saman Indrajith

President Maithripala Sirisena informed Parliament yesterday that he would call for explanation from IGP Pujith Jayasundara over the latter’s recent remarks on taking persons into custody by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division during a police commemorative event at Ratnapura.

Soon after President Sirisena completed his speech during the third reading debate on Budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of National Dialogue, National Integration and Reconciliation and Disaster Management Ministries, Joint Opposition MP Wimalaweera Dissanayake demanded to know from the government how the IGP assured that there would be no arrests of a particular person by the FCID even before the investigations.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Calls for Explanation from IGP Pujitha Jayasundara About Telling “Sir”That “Nilame/Neelam”Wont be Arrested.’ »

Was It Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Who told IGP on Telephone not to Arrest?-JVP wants to Know

By Saman Indrajith

Parliament should be informed of the person the IGP had been talking over the phone during a police commemorative event at Ratnapura, Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake demanded.

He made this comment participating in the committee stage budget debate in Parliament yesterday.

“Whom did the IGP address as ‘Sir’? Shouldn’t Parliament know the identity of the person trying shield rogues. Isn’t this political interference? The allegation that politicians exert pressure on police as regards arrest and release of suspects has been substantiated. Now the IGP has proved, albeit unwittingly, that he is following orders from certain persons. What is the use of the Police Commission in a situation like this?”

Continue reading ‘Was It Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Who told IGP on Telephone not to Arrest?-JVP wants to Know’ »

Foreign Minister Samaraweera Orders Washington Embassy to Probe Allegation About Ministry Funds Being Spent for Gotabhaya’s Son In Los Angeles.

by Saman Indrajith

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington has been ordered to investigate an allegation that Rs. 27 million had been spent for a person living at the residence meant for Lankan Consul General at Los Angeles while that position was vacant.

In accordance with instructions issued by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera two top officials of the Lankan Embassy in Washington would leave for Los Angeles the following week to conduct the probe, ministry sources said.

Foreign Minister Samaraweera on Wednesday told Parliament that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s son had occupied the residence of Lankan Consul General.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Minister Samaraweera Orders Washington Embassy to Probe Allegation About Ministry Funds Being Spent for Gotabhaya’s Son In Los Angeles.’ »

President Sirisena in 25 Minute Parliament Speech Appeals for Consensus on New Constitution Seeking to Resolve National Question

By Dharisha Bastians

untitled-5President Maithripala Sirisena made a passionate appeal for consensus on the proposed new Constitution in Parliament yesterday, urging lawmakers to support his Government’s efforts to end decades of ethnic strife and achieve lasting peace.

In a 25-minute speech delivered during the budget debate on the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation last afternoon, President Sirisena said everyone engaged in the process would need to be flexible to negotiate a political solution that would be acceptable to all communities in the country.

“I urge all members of this House who desire a better future for our motherland, who desire permanent peace, who do not desire a recurrence of war, to come to the negotiating table to hammer out a solution that will resolve our national question once and for all,” the President appealed during his speech.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena in 25 Minute Parliament Speech Appeals for Consensus on New Constitution Seeking to Resolve National Question’ »

Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Wont be Deported After Prison Term Ends on Dec 9 Assures Nawinne in Parliament

The Government yesterday confirmed the Frontline Socialist Party leader Premakumar Gunaratnam would not be extradited when his prison term comes to an end on 9 December, but may instead be issued citizenship.

“We will consider this if an application is submitted once he completes the prison term. I am ready to act upon receiving his application. His parents are locals and he will not be deported. He could either become a dual citizen or, by giving up Australian citizenship, could become a full-citizen of Sri Lanka,” confirmed Internal Affair Minister S. B. Nawinne at Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Frontline Socialist Party Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Wont be Deported After Prison Term Ends on Dec 9 Assures Nawinne in Parliament’ »

Foreign Ministry Funds Amounting to Rs 399 Miillion Used for House Rent and Expenses of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s son in Los Angeles for 21 Months

By Saman Indrajith

Serious financial irregularities had taken place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the previous government, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament yesterday.

Samaraweera said that among them was the acquisition of a house on rent in Los Angeles for the use of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapksa’s son. He said there was not even a Sri Lankan Consul General in that city. During the stay of the former Defence Secretary’s son two army men had been deployed there for his security.

The ministry had paid the rent for one year and nine months for the house. More than Rs. 399 million had been paid from the ministry funds to cover the expenses and those funds had been sent abroad through Sajin Vass Gunawardena.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Ministry Funds Amounting to Rs 399 Miillion Used for House Rent and Expenses of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s son in Los Angeles for 21 Months’ »

34 Year Old Barber Allegedly Tortured by Hatton Cops for Delay in Going to Police Station and Give HQ Inspector a hair-cut.

By

Amra Ismail

Kadireshan Ravishankar, a 34-year-old barber and father of four, alleges he was tortured by the Hatton HQI (Headquarters Inspector) on September 23. He was working at his brother, Kadireshan Simson’ salon – ‘CS Saloon’ – when he was called to give a haircut to the Hatton HQI. Grappling with abject poverty, Ravishankar has now been forced to battle against the added burden of social stigma after surviving police torture.

“At around 7.00 p.m., two police officers in plain attire came to our salon and asked me to come with them to trim the hair of the Hatton HQI,” said Ravishankar. However, he has refused to go on the errand as his employer (brother) was absent and also as there were customers who had been waiting for a longtime.

“But I told them I would come once the salon closed for the day. Yet, they threatened that I would not be able to open the salon the next day. They left after intimidating me,” he added.

Continue reading ‘34 Year Old Barber Allegedly Tortured by Hatton Cops for Delay in Going to Police Station and Give HQ Inspector a hair-cut.’ »

Catering Meaningfully Towards The Real Needs of War-Affected Vunerable Persons in Northern Sri Lanka

By Frances Bulathsinghala

Interviews with some of Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable war-affected persons in the north show that a meaningful post war reconciliation process to them includes action towards human development, based on a comprehensive and consistent post conflict development policy that is focused on knowledge and understanding of grass root scenarios.

There is no consistent and meaningful livelihood-focused training undertaken as part of a concrete State policy to deal with the human crisis created by 30 years of conflict that fragmented the lives of thousands.

Many of those who are in acutely vulnerable situations such as being disabled, widowed, located outside town centres and living with extended families on account of losing their houses and livelihood in the war, say that they have received little or no assistance and are often not beneficiaries of the Samurdhi scheme. Especially needing attention is integrating the large numbers of disabled persons into society and providing them with livelihood assistance.

Continue reading ‘Catering Meaningfully Towards The Real Needs of War-Affected Vunerable Persons in Northern Sri Lanka’ »

How Many of our MP’s Getting Paid More Than 400,000 Rupees Per Month Have Passed Their GCE O’Levels and ALevels?

By

Rajeewa Jayaweera

The Prime Minister has recently spoken in Parliament of the need to substantially increase salaries of our legislators. He is of the view current salaries are grossly inadequate. The Prime Minister believes higher salaries will reduce corruption and attract better talent to the legislature.

As of today, an MP earns a salary of Rs 54,285. Allowances are paid based on Rs 1,000 for entertainment, Rs 3,500 for a chauffeur, Rs 2,000 for a mobile phone and Rs 500 for each time he or she attends parliamentary sittings. A reimbursement scheme of Rs 10,000 for their private staff is in force. Each legislator receives between 283 and 639 litres of diesel a month, based on the distance between Colombo and the member’s constituency. The Tax Free vehicle permit currently valued at Rs 22 million based on a six year term of office, when sold would provide each legislator with an additional monthly income of Rs 305,555. Legislators are eligible for a state pension after serving a mere five years in Parliament. Food at highly subsidized rates are available for legislators at the Parliament Cafeteria.

Theoretically, the Prime Minister’s view of higher salaries reducing corruption, and attracting better talent has merit. It is a theory espoused by the former Prime Minister of Singapore, the late Lee Kuan Yew, who believed in paying very high salaries to cabinet ministers, similar or higher to those of top end CEOs in the private sector, enabling them a high standard of living without resorting to tender bending and other corrupt practices.

However, the Prime Minister’s proposition, as is the case with most theories of our politicians, looks at the issue from a narrow rather than a broad perspective.

Continue reading ‘How Many of our MP’s Getting Paid More Than 400,000 Rupees Per Month Have Passed Their GCE O’Levels and ALevels?’ »

Attending Weddings and Giving Gifts is not an Official Duty of an MP Requiring 100,000 Rupee Bonanza-The Island

( Full Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of December 1st 2016 Under the Heading “MPs have all the luck!)

Santa seems to have got his wires crossed. Else, he would not have landed near the Diyawanna Oya several weeks ahead of Christmas. Usually, he favours children, but this time around he seems to have given priority to those who have torsos of adults and brains of children. Parliamentarians have received a massive increase in their allowances and a huge pay hike is said to be in the pipeline.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government came to power, promising economic relief to the masses. Initially, after the change of government, the prices of some commodities were slashed and public employees were given a substantial pay hike. But, what was given with one hand was taken away with the other after the self-proclaimed messiahs had been ensconced in power. It was a case of swings and roundabout for the people.

Less than two years on, even the trade unionists who threw in their lot with the present-day leaders at the last two elections claim the people are now in a worse predicament. Marcus Antony, who leads a trade union, representing the export promotion zone workers, has recently told the media that the present administration is facilitating the exploitation of workers as never before.

Continue reading ‘Attending Weddings and Giving Gifts is not an Official Duty of an MP Requiring 100,000 Rupee Bonanza-The Island’ »

“Great Heroes Day” (Maaveerar Naal) is a LTTE Event and not a Tamil National Day of Mourning.


By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

November 27th 1989 was the day on which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)first observed its annual “Maaveerar Naal” or Great Heroes Day (GHD). Twenty –seven years have passed since then and the 27th anniversary of the event is today Nov 27th 2016.

"Great Heroes Day" Event at University of Jaffna ~ November 2016

“Great Heroes Day” Event at University of Jaffna ~ November 2016

The event continues to be observed on a large scale by sections of the Global Tamil Diaspora despite the military debacle suffered by the LTTE in May 2009. The event has lost much of its lustre after the demise of tiger supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran.These are days of decline when compared to the manner in which Great heroes day was observed when the LTTE ruled the roost. Nevertheless commemorating the fallen tigers as great heroes annually remains an enduring tiger legacy despite the LTTE being militarily decimated in Sri Lanka.

There is a mystique about “Maaveerar Naal” that has captured the imagination of a very large number of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora. What makes the GHD tick despite the debacle of Mullivaaikkal?
Continue reading ‘“Great Heroes Day” (Maaveerar Naal) is a LTTE Event and not a Tamil National Day of Mourning.’ »

Maithri-led SLFP Differs with Partner in Govt UNP on Issues of Federalism and War Crimes Tribunal

By

Rasika Jayakody

While the Parliament is heating up, with the committee stage debate on the budget in full swing, the SLFP, led by President Maihthripala Sirisena is preparing for a major membership drive.

The move comes in the wake of the Joint Opposition’s decision to form a new party under the leadership of G.L. Peiris who functions as a proxy for former President Rajapaksa.

The SLFP’s membership drive will start on December 04 in every district, with the participation of party MPs supporting President Sirisena – the party leadership has already informed electorate organisers to begin groundwork so that their drive to recruit more members is a success.

As a prelude to this programme, the SLFP held a membership promotion campaign in Galle over the weekend, with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. Many MPs representing the district attended the campaign and it elicited strong support from local members and supporters in the area. The President was thrilled to see highly successful party activity in the Southern province, ahead of an important Local Government election.

Continue reading ‘Maithri-led SLFP Differs with Partner in Govt UNP on Issues of Federalism and War Crimes Tribunal’ »

Ex-LTTE Eastern Commander “Col” Karuna to be kept in Separate Cell in M2 Block at Colombo Remand Prison Due to Threats to his life by other Inmates.


By

Buddhika Imbulana

Former Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, alias Karuna has been transferred to a separate cell under tight security at the Colombo Remand Prison.

Continue reading ‘Ex-LTTE Eastern Commander “Col” Karuna to be kept in Separate Cell in M2 Block at Colombo Remand Prison Due to Threats to his life by other Inmates.’ »

Central Bank Governor Coomaraswamy says Monetary Board took Action Against Perpetual Treasuries on Nov 7th and 25th 2016

Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy yesterday said the Monetary Board had taken action against controversial primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries but stopped short of providing details, citing legal constraints and market sensitivities.

At the tail-end of recounting a slew of new measures taken to promote the credibility of the Government securities market, the Governor noted that on 7 and 25 November the Monetary Board had taken action against Perpetual Treasuries but refused to be drawn into giving details despite questions from journalists.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Governor Coomaraswamy says Monetary Board took Action Against Perpetual Treasuries on Nov 7th and 25th 2016’ »

National Integration Ex-Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan Arrested and Remanded for Alleged Misuse of a Bullet Proof Luxury Govt Vehicle

By
P K Balachandran

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, a former top LTTE military commander who later became Deputy Minister of National Integration in the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, was arrested on Tuesday by the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) for alleged misuse of a bullet proof luxury government vehicle.

He was remanded till December 7 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate.

According to Daily Mirror the FCID had commenced investigation after police discovered a super luxury bullet proof vehicle valued at approximately LKR 800 million from Batticaloa, Karuna’s hometown in the Eastern Province.

But misuse of a state vehicle given to Karuna when he was a Deputy Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation in the previous government, is a minor charge compared to the many allegations made against him by domestic and international human rights organizations including the UN.

Continue reading ‘National Integration Ex-Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan Arrested and Remanded for Alleged Misuse of a Bullet Proof Luxury Govt Vehicle’ »

Govt Must Combat Both Militant Buddhism and Shadowy Salafism


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

The outbursts of Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalism in the South have often been cyclical. They take place with the connivance, and when it was not the case, complacency of the government in power. A closer look at this periodic rage would also reveal, since the Black July in 1983, which was facilitated by the government’s inaction and active collaboration of some of its ministers, subsequent episodes of Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalism have taken place broadly without any association with the terrorist war of the LTTE.

In the early 2000’s, while the country was facing an existential threat from terrorism, a quasi-militant form of Sinhala-Buddhist radicalism sprung up with their primary target being the alleged aggressive proselytizing by evangelical Christian missionaries. A series of makeshift churches were attacked. Then in 2011, while the country was still reeling from the after-effects of a devastating war, another episode of ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhism popped up. This time the target was Muslims: Halal certificates, cow slaughter and the allegations of growing Islamic radicalism.

None of the above perceived concerns of Sinhala-Buddhist radicals was a grievance of the majority Sinhalese. However, ultra-nationalists managed to smuggle in their sinister agenda into the mainstream discourse. It is always dangerous to let bigots set or manipulate the national agenda. But, how did that happen in this country, not once, but periodically?

Continue reading ‘Govt Must Combat Both Militant Buddhism and Shadowy Salafism’ »

Govt Prepares for Crackdown on Opposition and working Class Under the Guise of Curbing racism

By W.A. Sunil

According to the Colombo-based Daily Mirror, at a meeting of Sri Lanka’s security council on Sunday, President Maithripala Sirisena instructed the police and security forces to “take all who incite racism into custody and produce [them] before courts under the existing law.”

While the immediate reason given for this order is to “curb racism,” it signals that the government is preparing for a broader crackdown on opposition parties and the working class.

As Sirisena reaches the second anniversary of his installation as president, his pro-US government is in deep political crisis. The infighting between the ruling coalition and an opposition group led by ousted former President Mahinda Rajapakse is intensifying.

Sunday’s meeting of the country’s top security body was attended by the inspector general of police, the armed forces chiefs and several leading ministers, including Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake.

Continue reading ‘Govt Prepares for Crackdown on Opposition and working Class Under the Guise of Curbing racism’ »

President and Premier will Verbally Criticise Media but no Journalist will be Harmed Physically.

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that he would not hesitate to verbally attack the media when and where necessary but no journalist would be harmed. He said that though the government criticised the conduct of media not a single journalist would be abducted or assaulted under the good governance rule.

Participating in the committee stage debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, the Prime Minister said: “When the media organisations vehemently attack us, we, too, can reply to them.

Ultimately the people in the country will come to know who is right.”

“Both the President and I do criticise the media publicly, but we do not want to send anybody home. We do not make arson attacks or deploy army to abduct or kill anybody. Therefore, have no fear; we will not stoop to that level,” he said.

Continue reading ‘President and Premier will Verbally Criticise Media but no Journalist will be Harmed Physically.’ »

Media Suppression has Assumed a New Form Under Present Govt Charges JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake

By Saman Indrajith

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanyake said in parliament yesterday that media suppression has assumed a new form under the present government even though the white van culture had been ended.

He said there was no point in castigating the page one news stories in newspapers as they were on real incidents that took place in the country.

“The front-page carries the highlights of what happens in the country; they be accidents, crimes or other incidents. The front pages of newspapers mirror social reality. The proposal to rent vehicles for Parliamentarian at a cost of Rs. 700,000 each has now been halted due to public opinion against the move created by the media. If not, the government would have gone ahead with the proposal,” MP Dissanayake said, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media.

Continue reading ‘Media Suppression has Assumed a New Form Under Present Govt Charges JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake’ »

Chandrika Acting on Kadirgamar’s Advice Deserves Credit for not Signing the Rome Treaty Setting up the International Criminal Court

By Bandula Jayasekara in Hague

There was a raging debate on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the so-called ‘electric chair’ in Sri Lanka not so long ago. This seems to have died down for now. Who knows whether it would re-emerge on election platforms in the future? Electric chair or not, the ICC itself is at a cross-road now, following the withdrawal of South Africa, Burundi and Gambia from its membership. South Africa, a founder member of the ICC leaving the International Criminal Court is a body blow, which has shaken the institution to its core. Dr Mark Kersten of the University of Toronto says there are actual tensions between South Africa and the International Criminal Court. The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda is from Gambia. A senior diplomat in The Hague told ‘The Island’ “Fatou Bensouda’s own country withdrawing from the ICC shows loss of faith in the ICC and calls into question its credibility”. Bensouda works independently of her country in her role, though some African nations want her to step down, in acquiescence of African sentiments.

There is also talk of the Philippines trying to withdraw from the ICC, which will be yet another major setback to the Court. Commenting on its future, Hans Bevers from the Office of the Prosecutor, ICC said the Office of the Prosecutor is highly scrutinised and the ICC was ready to work with national and international bodies. Representative of the African Union, Adewale E Iyanda who also participated in an event ‘The Future of the ICC- Facing Challenges and Strengthening its Legitimacy’ said that “Relations between the African Union and the ICC are at a critical juncture. The only solution is dialogue and engagement. Africa has high expectations from the International Criminal Court”.

Justice Amady Ba, from Senegal, Head of International Cooperation at the Office of the Prosecutor, said it is highly questionable as to why crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq are not being investigated and why it is taking time. He also pointed out that justice in Africa is very difficult at a political level. I couldn’t agree more since it is the case in Sri Lanka, with political interference by successive governments.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Acting on Kadirgamar’s Advice Deserves Credit for not Signing the Rome Treaty Setting up the International Criminal Court’ »

President Sirisena in Special Message Asks Donald Trump to Pressure UN Human Rights Council to Drop War Crimes Charges against Lankan Armed Forces

President Maithripala Sirisena has asked US President elect Donald Trump to pressure the UN Human Rights Council to drop war crimes allegations against the country’s troops.

Sirisena’s office said on Sunday he had sent a “special message” to Trump seeking US intervention at the council, where Sri Lanka faces censure for alleged wartime atrocities.

“I sent a special message to Donald Trump asking him to support us at the (council),” the President said. “I am asking him to help completely clear my country (of war crimes allegations) and allow us to start afresh.”

Sirisena said he was making a similar appeal to the incoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena in Special Message Asks Donald Trump to Pressure UN Human Rights Council to Drop War Crimes Charges against Lankan Armed Forces’ »

Cricket Commentary in the Thamizh Language is Becoming Popular in Tamil Nadu

By
Srinivasa Ramanujam

There’s excitement in the air as the batting team needs a six off the last ball to win. The batsman, drenched in sweat, takes his time to take guard and slogs at the ball. It bounces just a few metres before the boundary rope and the hitter looks to the skies in despair. The fielding team rejoices.
At the studio, three experts are discussing this with equal excitement and sharing their insights on television. What’s new, you might ask. Well, they’re speaking in Tamil.

Commentary in the local language is back with a bang in the last couple of months; while the recent World Cup saw a bunch of experts discussing the on-field happenings in local parlance, the currently-in-progress IPL isn’t far behind.

Continue reading ‘Cricket Commentary in the Thamizh Language is Becoming Popular in Tamil Nadu’ »

“Grama Rajya” is a way of De-centralizing Governance by Direct involvement of People at Village Level

By Dr. M.A.Mohamed Saleem and Arjuna Hulugalle

At a time when the mechanism for decentralization is foremost in one’s mind, it was heartening to read that President Sirisena made a reference to it in a call to his Ministers to come up with proposals for its introduction (Sunday Times, November 6th 2016).

Apolitical stability can only be realized if there is a solid platform accepted by all and evolved over time. The Grama Rajya system can be one which can meet this prerequisite as the entire country will have a level playing field, without being haunted by the traumatic baggage of negative divisive forces. The units of the Grama Rajyas are small, manageable and the people of each Grama Rajya can cope with their challenges and come up with their own solutions. The structure however, has to be thought through taking all the eventualities.

Continue reading ‘“Grama Rajya” is a way of De-centralizing Governance by Direct involvement of People at Village Level’ »

Sirisena Says he will write and seek Donald Trump’s help to get Sri Lanka Freed from Allegations of Human Rights Violations.

By

P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said that he will write to the US President-elect Donald Trump, seeking his help to get Sri Lanka freed from allegations of human rights violations during Eelam War IV.

“I will write to President (Donald) Trump to ask him to free us from these accusations,” Sirisena said on Saturday while addressing a membership drive of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in Galle.

Siginificantly, the President announced this on a day when the Tamil minority in the Northern Province was solemnly observing the birth anniversary of the Tamil Tiger leader V. Prabhakaran, and Tamil political leaders were preparing to observe the next day, November 27, as ‘Heroes’ Day’ to honor Tiger cadres who had gone down fighting for an independent Tamil Eelam.

In his speech, President Sirisena said: “I was able to save the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and our valiant soldiers by giving the UN Human Rights Council necessary messages.”

He was referring to the leniency shown by the US and the international community after he came to power defeating the anti-West Rajapaksa in the January 2015 Presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena Says he will write and seek Donald Trump’s help to get Sri Lanka Freed from Allegations of Human Rights Violations.’ »

President,PM and all Cabinet Ministers Except Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera Want to “Discipline”Media.

By

The “Sunday Times” Political Editor

It seemed ironic that it should come in the wake of the jolt the mainstream media in the United States received after Republican Donald Trump won the November presidential elections. Both the electronic and the print media, almost altogether, spoke of a victory for rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. Most were very supportive of her. They have come in for a lot of flak now and their shares have dipped in the stock markets. They are now re-thinking and re-building the journalistic enterprise.

The exception perhaps was the social media though many were accused of having scant regard for facts. They were accused of viral disinformation because of the false and misleading reports. Kyle Pope of the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism calls it the antithesis of the Watergate, the scandal of the break-in at the Democratic Party’s National Headquarters in 1972. Those media exposures by the Washington Post forced the then Republican President Richard Nixon out of office. It is the Columbia University that confers the Pulitzer Prize, one of the highest and prestigious in US journalism.

Added to that is the worry for successive administrations in the United States over the ISIS. At present US advisors are helping the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces to oust the ISIS who are still in control of the Iraqi town of Mosul. In Syria, the Government forces, supported by Russia, are fighting the ISIS in the heavily war torn town of Aleppo. Sights of misery and human suffering are a daily occurrence shown on television.

Strange enough, with no elections after the presidential and parliamentary polls in 2015, the worries for the Government still seem to be about the media and the fear of the influence of ISIS growing in Sri Lanka. The Government is worried that it will not be able to win the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, if the media are “not disciplined.”

Hence, several ministers were of the view that measures would have to be adopted from now. That is not only for the mainstream electronic and print media, but also for the social media. The matter figured prominently at Tuesday’s weekly meeting of ministers at Committee Room 3 in the parliament complex.

Strange but true, there was only one minister who opposed any measures against the media. That was Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. He was perhaps conscious that it was he who would have to answer questions in world capitals about the Government’s about turn in just two years.

During the elections, speakers at different political rallies spoke of media suppression, murders, abduction in white vans and other forms of harassment. They pledged they would not only deal with those responsible but also ensure those dastardly acts were a thing of the past. Now, how would he justify what may turn out to be a possible move to control the media.

Continue reading ‘President,PM and all Cabinet Ministers Except Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera Want to “Discipline”Media.’ »

State Intelligence Service Report Says Over 20 Extremist Groups from Different Ethnicities Have Begun Operating in Sri Lanka.

A matter of concern for the Government is the fear of growing religious extremism. This saw an extended meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Sirisena at his Paget Road residence. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Public Safety Minister Sagala Ratnayake, State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiaratchchi, the Police Chief, Armed Forces chiefs and heads of intelligence services were the usual participants. Those invited for the special meeting included Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiuddin, former Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzamil and Venerable Athureliya Rathana Thera, MP.

The meeting began with a presentation by Nilantha Jayawardena, Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) on how a little over 20 extremist groups of different ethnicities have begun operating and were threatening ethnic harmony. He identified each group by giving the names of those leading it. He referred to some Buddhist monks and also to a few Muslim groups, the Thowheed Jamaath in particular. He spoke of the departure of some Muslim families to join the ISIS.

Ven. Rathana Thera was critical of all those groups. He said those claiming to be representatives of the Buddhist clergy were not believers of the Buddha Sasana. Similarly, he warned that extreme Muslim groups had to be watched. He asked why no mention was made in the SIS presentation of purported ISIS representatives coming to Sri Lanka under cover of preaching. Hakeem was to point out that these groups were created and nurtured under the previous Rajapaksa regime under different guises.

Continue reading ‘State Intelligence Service Report Says Over 20 Extremist Groups from Different Ethnicities Have Begun Operating in Sri Lanka.’ »

Cabinet Approves “Development”Bill to set up Development Boards for Northern,Eastern, Wayamba, Central and Southern Provinces.

Govt Ministers at their weekly meeting late last month, gave approval to a far reaching piece of legislation titled Development (Special Provisions) Bill. It will now be published in the Government Gazette and presented in Parliament. Some changes suggested by President Sirisena, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga will be moved at the Committee stage. Ministers have also been asked to forward suggestions, if any, to be considered for amendments.

The aim of the new law, according to the draft bill, “is to facilitate the formulation of a national policy on all subjects including accelerated economic development of Sri Lanka.” The Minister in charge (in this instance the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs), in consultation with the Chief Minister of the relevant province, could declare any area demarcated for economic development with the only exception being paddy lands. Such Development Areas will cover manufacturing, tourism, science and technology, logistics, business and service, hi-tech fisheries and hi-tech agriculture. Every order declaring such an area will be subject to parliamentary approval.

The law will enable the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs to appoint “a panel of eminent persons” to be consulted by the President or the Prime Minister, from time to time, on formulation of national policy. A Policy Development Office is to be established with a threefold objective – (a) review the global economic, political, social and environmental developments and their impact on Sri Lanka, (b) revisit the existing policy of Sri Lanka and critically analyse it with a view to revitalising it to meet new challenges, and (c) ensure that the policy is in consonance with goals set by the Government.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Approves “Development”Bill to set up Development Boards for Northern,Eastern, Wayamba, Central and Southern Provinces.’ »

Perk After Perk for “Privileged”Parliamentarians While People who Elected Them Seethe with Discontent.

By

Don Manu

Money seems to be the only motivator to kick start Lanka’s MPs to do an honest day’s work.
Perhaps it is after taking cognisance of this ignoble truth and identifying it as the ignominious cause of their conditioned inertia that moved the Prime Minister last week to raise their pathetic financial plight and prompted him to offer them even more from the public purse to coax them into doing some activity for the public weal and welfare.

Last Saturday in Parliament the prime minister said that a further Rs 100,000 each must be paid per month to MPs to encourage them to participate in national development and work in their electorate.“There is no use giving more responsibilities to MPs without giving them more facilities. MPs must be paid better salaries. I am aware many lawmakers face problems. They must be paid Rs. 100,000 monthly to carry out work in their electorates,” Ranil Wicremesinghe declared.

But the prime minister has also divined that a simple salary raise alone may not make the people’s elected representatives stir from their indolence. Thus as a further incentive, a complete hamper of goodies to sweeten the offer and make them go the extra inch is also on the cards.
Knowing full well the members’ fixation with vehicles and luxury SUV’s at that – though some may not even know what SUV stands for – the prime minister naturally added the vehicle bait to his carrot stick.

“We will also have to give them more vehicle facilities,” the prime minister pledged, knowing full well the members’ weakness for anything that moves on four wheels provided, of course, it is worth millions, comes duty free, and can be sold overnight to make a clean, neat net profit of over Rs 25 million tax free.

Continue reading ‘Perk After Perk for “Privileged”Parliamentarians While People who Elected Them Seethe with Discontent.’ »

President Sirisena Questions IGP Jayasundara Over Arrest and Remand of Ex- Special Task Force Commandant KLN Sarachchandra DIG.

President Maithripala Sirisena has expressed his displeasure to Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera over the arrest and subsequent remanding of the former Commandant of the Police Special Task Force (STF), K.L.N. Sarathchandra.

Mr. Sarathchandra, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), was arrested and produced before Colombo’s Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya. He was remanded till December 6 for allegedly misusing an STF vehicle. The reported loss to the state over this alleged misuse is said to be Rs. 140,000.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Questions IGP Jayasundara Over Arrest and Remand of Ex- Special Task Force Commandant KLN Sarachchandra DIG.’ »

“Rajapaksas May Return” Bogey Used by Cynical Manipulators Within “Yahapalanaya”Govt.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

For far too long following the change of power last year, many have responded to the policy and practice of the Unity Government with the plea to ‘tread softly in case the Rajapaksas return.’ The logic (if that is the appropriate word) in this thinking was asinine at its core.

An outrageous condescension in governance

In other words, if citizens remain selectively silent when the Government goes grievously wrong, the condescending presumption was that somehow, the problem would disappear and the ‘unwashed multitudes’ will not get agitated. Now, as the ‘rainbow revolution’ teeters on the verge of diminishing itself to a mere ‘pappadum’ crunch with gloss and satisfying shine but offering exceedingly little nutrition as it were, the danger signals are very clear.

Underlying realities were disquieting from a very early point. This approach of ‘keeping selectively silent’ fed off and reflected an outrageous condescension evident at the heart of the Government itself. Its conception of almost every pillar of legal reform, from corruption to transitional justice to constitutional reform was informed by that same thinly patronizing tone.

So we had manifest absurdities. Sri Lanka’s transitional justice reform largely left out ordinary people of both the North and the South save and except a ‘consultation’ process, cynically designed not to have any practical impact on the actual outcome.

Continue reading ‘“Rajapaksas May Return” Bogey Used by Cynical Manipulators Within “Yahapalanaya”Govt.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s China Visit is a Message from Beijing to both Colombo and New Delhi.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is on a week-long visit to China on the invitation of the Chinese government — a development that sections within the government and diplomatic circles here see as a “strong message” from Beijing.

The visit assumes further significance in the wake of controversial remarks made by Yi Xianliang, the Chinese Ambassador to Colombo, that pointed to apparent tensions between the Sri Lankan government and Beijing.

At a press conference here, Mr. Yi asked why Colombo sought more loans from Beijing if it found them “expensive,” as the Sri Lankan Finance Minister had observed. While the Chinese Foreign Ministry defended the envoy, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met Mr. Yi and “advised” him to take up such matters through Foreign Ministry channels rather than the media.

A top source here, requesting anonymity, said that the incident — which was “uncharacteristic” of Chinese diplomacy — coupled with Mr. Rajapaksa’s trip to China, was a clear message from Beijing.

“Not just to our government, but also to New Delhi,” the senior official said, referring to competing strategic interests that the two powers are known to have in the island nation.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s China Visit is a Message from Beijing to both Colombo and New Delhi.’ »

Resurgence of Ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhist Groups Under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt

By

Rasika Jayakody

After the Rajapaksa family fell out of power in January, last year, almost every ultra-nationalist group representing Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy went into a dormant phase.

They stopped holding dramatic press conferences, stopped disrupting public events organized by other religious groups and refrained from storming into government offices.

Their presence was barely noticeable in the country’s political sphere.

This was in sharp contrast to their conduct during the Rajapaksa administration, under which they were fully protected by the top brass of the state apparatus.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, one of the most powerful men in the previous administration, had no qualms about being seen with the Bodu Bala Sena, a violent ultra-nationalist organization, when he attended as Chief Guest at an event organized by them in 2013.

Rajapaksa happily posed for pictures with the leaders of the BBS, a year before the ideologues unleashed violence on the Muslim community in Beruwala and Alutgama.

Former President Rajapaksa, after the Presidential election in 2015, publicly claimed that he had nothing to do with the BBS. He described the organization as a ‘Western conspiracy’, created to cause problems between the Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

But despite his protestations, it was common knowledge that Rajapaksa and his brother were the political face of militant Sinhala-Buddhist organisations.

Continue reading ‘Resurgence of Ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhist Groups Under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt’ »

FAREWELL TO FIDEL CASTRO THE LAST OF THE TITANS AND EPIC HEROES

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

Fidel was the last of the Titans, of the epic heroes.

Whatever our travails, our generation and the ones before us were fortunate to live in the decades in which there were great leaders, visionaries who combined their ideal with action and changed the world they inherited. Our generation and one, perhaps two before that, lived consciously in the twentieth century which was inhabited by such heroes. My own generation lived at the time of Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Tito, Fidel and Che Guevara. We were lucky to have read of and watched these Homeric heroes as they fought colossal enemies against incredible odds; led and changed reality and became legend.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz  (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016)

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016)

With Fidel gone we are almost at the end of an age, perhaps a cycle of History—the age of modern heroism, but with a continuity going back millennia to the dawn of the hero. I say ‘almost’ because the Moncada and Granma generation is not dead, the companeros of Fidel and Che, namely Raul and Ramiro Valdez, are still alive and active, as are Fidel’s Latin American political sons such as Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.

It was almost sixty years ago to the day that he, Che and Raul landed on the shores of Cuba in the leaky yacht Granma, to start the revolutionary guerrilla war that led to victory two and half years later.

One would expect that it would be fairly easy for someone who has authored a book on Fidel, published in the UK/ US, to write a short article on him, but it is actually quite difficult. There is so much to say about Fidel because he did so much, tried to do so much, and meant so much to so many of us, that it is difficult to isolate just a few aspects or points for a short reflection.
Continue reading ‘FAREWELL TO FIDEL CASTRO THE LAST OF THE TITANS AND EPIC HEROES’ »

CID Tells Courts “The Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge was Killed by Army Intelligence Officers.

By

Dayaratne Pathirana

Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge was shot dead by Army intelligence officers, CID Inspector Nishantha Silva told Mount Lavinia Magistrate Mohammad Sahabdeen today.

He said this while presenting the investigative reports on an Army intelligence officer who was arrested on charges of abducting and detaining the driver who drove Mr. Wickramatunge’s vehicle at the time of his killing.

Continue reading ‘CID Tells Courts “The Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge was Killed by Army Intelligence Officers.’ »

Political Legacy of Revolutionary “Maximum Leader” Fidel Castro Who Ruled Cuba for Half a Century


By

Rory Carroll and Jonathan Watts in Havana

No street bears his name and there is not a single statue in his honour but Fidel Castro did not want or need that type of recognition. From tip to tip, he made Cuba his living, breathing creation.

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Children in red neckerchiefs scampering to free schools, families rationing toilet paper in dilapidated houses, pensioners enjoying free medical treatment, newspapers filled with monotonous state propaganda: all in some way bear the stamp of one man.

Historians will debate Castro’s legacy for decades to come but his revolution’s accomplishments and failures are on open display in today’s Cuba, which – even with the reforms of recent years – still bears the stamp of half a century of “Fidelismo”.

Brother Raúl Castro announces on Cuban state television that controversial revolutionary leader has died at age of 90

The “maximum leader” was a workaholic micro-manager who turned the Caribbean island into an economic, political and social laboratory that has simultaneously intrigued, appalled and inspired the world.

Continue reading ‘Political Legacy of Revolutionary “Maximum Leader” Fidel Castro Who Ruled Cuba for Half a Century’ »

International Arrest Warrant Issued Against Journalist by a Sri Lankan Court for the First Time

By

P.K.Balachandran

A Sri Lankan court on Friday issued an international arrest warrant against Lankaenews Editor Sandaruwan Senadheera for contempt of court. The warrant is to be executed through Interpol, the local media reported.

This is the first time a Sri Lankan court has issued an international arrest warrant against a journalist.

Continue reading ‘International Arrest Warrant Issued Against Journalist by a Sri Lankan Court for the First Time’ »

Musical Prodigy Balamuralikrishna Defied Tradition to Popularise Carnatic Music

By
Aparna M Sridhar

( Carnatic Music Maestro Dr.Balamuralikrishna Passed away in Chennai on November 22nd 2016 at the age of 86. This article appeared under the heading “When Kalyani came calling “in the September 2014 Inaugural issue of “Saamagaana-The first Melody” published in Bengaluru. It was written by the magazine Editor Aparna M. Sridhar who interviewed the musical legend at his Chennai residence. He was 84 at that time. The article is being reproduced here with permission in honour of the memory of Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna…………….DBSJ)

Dr M Balamuralikrishna

Dr M Balamuralikrishna

Dr M. Balamuralikrishna was once rendering an alapanam in Kalyani, that most enchanting of ragas, at once enjoyable and elusive, commonplace, well-known, accessible to early learners, but yielding her full secrets only to the maestro, as a reward for years of diligence – saadhana – and a musical intuition not gifted to many.

The Younger Dr M Balamuralikrishna

The Younger Dr M Balamuralikrishna

As he tells the story, immersed as he was in the full flow of his manodharma, he opened his eyes to spy a beautiful girl walking down the centre aisle of the auditorium, in a glittering saree. To his astonishment, she climbed the stage, and sat down next to him, with a demure smile.

He abandoned the kriti he was planning to sing, and instead launched into a spontaneous composition about Kalyani’s beauty. When he finished, he turned to look, and she was not there.

“I asked my pakka vadyam players excitedly, ‘did you see her, where did she go?'”

But they did not know. She had been visible only to him. “I felt extremely bad she had gone away.”

It is an entirely believable story. After all, an artist’s muse comes to him or her in many forms. And is it not a fact that they never stay?

But then, Balamurali Krishna has a very special relationship to music.
Continue reading ‘Musical Prodigy Balamuralikrishna Defied Tradition to Popularise Carnatic Music’ »

Sri Lanka’s Biggest Hypocrites – Five Broad Categories


By

Eranda Ginige

We are all hypocrites, more or less. These people top the chart.

1. Animal lovers………..

………who fight for the rights of selected animal species. We protest bull races, but love watching horse races in Nuwara Eliya. We can’t bear the sight of chains around the feet of elephants but walk our dogs with chains around the necks. We condemn dog meat but don’t think twice before wrapping our two tongues around goat meat. We ceremoniously release caged birds and then barbecue some chicken wings for the after-party. We fight against caging animals, but boast about our gigantic fish tank at home or office. The Buddhists who chant and meditate for hours wishing utmost love and compassion for all animals, and immediately afterwards gulp down chicken curry and fish cutlets are the worst of this kind. And we sure have some mind-boggling philosophical explanations to justify it.

2. Women’s rights activists……..

……..who care about only some women’s rights. We speak with heavy voices at conferences about how girls are being raped every day in Sri Lanka, but are nowhere to be found when Islamic extremists violently demand in public for the right to marry underage girls! I mean here are the culprits hands-down right in your face! How much worse can it get? Yet no candlelight vigils for Muslim girls. We fight against banning mothers wearing mini-skirts to schools but never say a word about forcing Muslim women to cover every inch of their body. We accuse men for not giving women equal rights in the workplace, but I have seen some of those very women doing everything in their power to stop the promotion of another woman.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Biggest Hypocrites – Five Broad Categories’ »

“Commandante” Fidel Castro Has Died at the age of 90 Confirms his Brother and Cuban President Raul Castro


By

Rory Carroll

Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90, Cuban state television announced on Saturday, ending an era for the country and Latin America.

Brother Raúl Castro announces on Cuban state television that controversial revolutionary leader has died at age of 90

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The revolutionary icon, one of the world’s best-known and most controversial leaders, survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal after suffering a long battle with illness.

The announcement was long expected, given the former president’s age and health problems, but when it came it was still a shock: the comandante – a figurehead for armed struggle across the developing world – was no more. It was news that friends and foes had long dreaded and yearned for respectively.

Continue reading ‘“Commandante” Fidel Castro Has Died at the age of 90 Confirms his Brother and Cuban President Raul Castro’ »

Former Cuban President and Revolutionary Leader Fidel Castro Passes Away at 90 Announces Havana TV


Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90, state TV has announced.

It provided no further details.

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Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008.

Continue reading ‘Former Cuban President and Revolutionary Leader Fidel Castro Passes Away at 90 Announces Havana TV’ »

Will EU”Intervene” in Theswalamai, Kandyan and Buddhist Ecclesiastical Law just as Being done Now in the case of Muslim Law?


By

M.M.Zuhair P.C.

The European Union (EU) in an interim report that received media coverage in Sri Lanka as far back as 2009, on the GSP + (Generalized System of Preferences) had alleged that aspects of the Muslim personal laws in operation in Sri Lanka were in violation of UN conventions.The EU, had in the same breadth said that Sri Lanka was also in violation of international law for continuing to have as a criminal offence ‘consensual sex between the same sex’ and that would be another among several other reasons for not restoring the preferential tariff to Sri Lankan exports to the EU.

Whether the Muslim law is in violation of UN conventions or the EU is in violation of UN rights based treaties,in its demand for changes to Muslim marriage laws would become evident upon a reading of my previous article (Part 1). Regrettably there was no official media release from the EU or any other authority on the demands if any being made on Sri Lanka for the restoration of the GSP+, then or now. A recent statement made by the local head of the EU that the demand is for amending the Muslim law to stipulate only the minimum age for marriage of females to be increased to 16 years ,needs to be supported by an official press release.

This is needed in the light of a government decision and media statements speaking of amending the Muslim personal law on a wider basis to help Sri Lanka win back GSP+. It has now become necessary that the EU officially publicize the full set of its conditions and the specific requests if any on Sri Lanka for the sake of transparency and to clear the confusion in the country. It appears that the Justice Saleem Marsoof Committee was appointed in 2009 following the EU demand that year on the former government.

Continue reading ‘Will EU”Intervene” in Theswalamai, Kandyan and Buddhist Ecclesiastical Law just as Being done Now in the case of Muslim Law?’ »

Dr.Senaka Bibile’s “Drug Price Policy” was Feared by Transnational Pharmaceutical Industry Known as “Big Pharma”


By

K.K.S.Perera

Prices of a large number of drugs were surreptitiously but ‘meticulously’ increased by 40-55 per cent over the past 16 months as part of the ground work preparations for the so-called ‘Bibile policy’ introduction of drug price reductions implemented by the authorities in collaboration with the Pharma Mafia. The transnational pharmaceutical industry, or ‘Big Pharma’ [a name coined by the Western medical journalists] which controls the entire health services of the third-world nations during the late 20th century, feared three giants—the World Health Organisation[WHO] affiliated to UN; the Food and Drug Authority [FDA] of United States and of course our legendary Pharmacology Professor, Senaka Bibile and his drug policy which received the support of WHO.

The Mafia conspired astutely, spending Billions of Dollars through their agents to get around the high ranking men attached to the former two organizations bringing them under their domain successfully, but failed miserably in handling the Professor, who was on a great mission, but they had other ideas; earlier, it was generally observed that the ‘threat’ to the influential Trans-nationals posed by him may have had some bearing on his untimely and mysterious death in 1977 while on a mission to Guyana to introduce his policies in that country under a UN project.


However, later it became a well known ‘secret’ that Dr Bibile was murdered by inducing cardiac arrest by means of a drug that has been there, since 1940s. They say, one of his colleagues was involved in the assassination to ensure that he would not make progress from the ‘heart failure’ by not taking prompt action or taking a delayed course of action to recover him. Known as the pharmaceutical Mafia was involved in Prof Bibile’s assassination, the truth will emerge one day.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Senaka Bibile’s “Drug Price Policy” was Feared by Transnational Pharmaceutical Industry Known as “Big Pharma”’ »

Ex-US Envoy for War Crimes Issues Stephen J.Rapp is very Proud of the Role Played by the Obama administration in Sri Lanka.

BY BANDULA JAYASEKARA in The Hague


Stephen J Rapp is the former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. A member of the Democratic Party, he was appointed to that position by the US President Barrack Obama. He is now with The Hague Institute for Global Justice as a Distinguished Fellow. We met him in The Hague, where he said he wanted to see the process of justice, established process of reparation and prevention of recurrence both in the instance of the rise of another movement like the LTTE and those responsible for crimes against non combatants.

Q You visited Sri Lanka sometime ago. What is the position on Sri Lanka?

Rapp: I was US Ambassador at large for War Crimes Issues then. Before that I worked as an International prosecutor and worked on several prosecutors, jurors and investigators. I have worked with several Sri Lankans like Raja Fernando, Asoka Gunewardane and before that with former Chief Justice De Silva and my good friend Shyamlal Rajapaksa, who died unfortunately. So, I have been actively involved and as the former Ambassador at large for War Crimes, I was very much engaged with the question of accountability on the Missing Persons and violations which may have occurred during the final stages of the conflict. I also wanted to see to the accountability to the crimes committed by the LTTE which were crimes of terror and atrocity, and support those efforts. But, obviously, I am also concerned about the allegations of killings of prisoners and aspects of the armed conflict which didn’t comply with the International law. Even with the LLRC it wasn’t implemented. And there is an official inquiry which was mandated in March of 2014 and following up on that thereafter we had the elections and the change of presidency and the parliament and opening to move in that direction. Thereafter I moved out as the Ambassador. I have been engaged in some public fora and wanting to see that the truth is revealed about missing persons and the process of justice established and the process of , reparation and prevention of recurrence established both in the instance of the rise of another movement like the LTTE and those responsible for crimes against non combatants.

Continue reading ‘Ex-US Envoy for War Crimes Issues Stephen J.Rapp is very Proud of the Role Played by the Obama administration in Sri Lanka.’ »

Ex-president Chandrika Kumaratunga Wants Maithri and Ranil to Act Swiftly and Decisivelt Against Hate Speech


Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has, in a statement issued through the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), urged President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to act swiftly and decisively against those responsible for hate speech.

ONUR Chairperson Mrs Kumaratunga had welcomed the recent arrest of two persons from different communities on charges of hate speech.

Full text of her statement:

“ONUR notes with concern, the rise of hate speech in Sri Lanka in the recent past, which challenges the initiatives being taken by the government to heal our country after decades of bloodshed and destruction.

Hate filled expressions and actions by groups with vested interests, resulting in demeaning, denigrating and inciting violence against fellow citizens of various ethnic, religious backgrounds has no place in Sri Lankan society.

For the first time in contemporary Sri Lanka, the Government has a stated vision to build One United Nation by promoting Reconciliation and a lasting Peace. The Government is working towards bringing about reconciliation among all communities, making it the highest priority.

Continue reading ‘Ex-president Chandrika Kumaratunga Wants Maithri and Ranil to Act Swiftly and Decisivelt Against Hate Speech’ »

Catholic Bishops Conference Urges Govt not to Restrict Intake of External Students to Universities

Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka has urged the government not to go ahead with the move to restrict the student intake for external degree programmes.

The JVP, the Joint Opposition and students have been agitating against the government proposal to curtail the external degree programme.

The Church has requested that tangible measures be taken to create more opportunities for those who wanted to follow external degrees.


Bishop of Chilaw Most Rev Dr Valence Mendis issued the following statement on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference:

“A discussion is on in education circles regarding a move to limit the number of student intake for the external degree. Although this idea is put forward as a remedial measure to redistribute the external degrees among all universities so that every university could conduct external programmes, it is not at all practical, the main reason being that all universities don’t offer all the subjects. Moreover in a situation where all districts in Sri Lanka don’t have universities, a move to bring about any restriction in the intake of students is beyond comprehension. It will be a gross harassment to the students who aspire to do higher studies.

Continue reading ‘Catholic Bishops Conference Urges Govt not to Restrict Intake of External Students to Universities’ »

Attorney-General Files Appeal Against Anuradhapura High Court Jury Decision of Acquitting Soldiers Accused of Kiliveddy Civilian Massacre.

By S. S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (22) fixed for September 6 the appeal against the Anuradhapura High Court Jury decision in the alleged massacre of villagers of Kiliveddi in Kumarapuram, Trincomalee.

The Appeal was filed by the Attorney General against the Jury decision by which six former corporals of the Army were exonerated and acquitted in the High Court case.

The accused were indicted for the alleged murder of 24 Tamil civilians and injuring 25 others by shooting.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General Files Appeal Against Anuradhapura High Court Jury Decision of Acquitting Soldiers Accused of Kiliveddy Civilian Massacre.’ »

China Adopts Balanced Policy in Sri Lanka by Cultivating Both the Maithri-Ranil Govt and Mahinda led Opposition

By PK Balachandran

Having suffered a great deal by putting all its eggs in the basket of the Sri Lankan government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa between 2010 and 2014, China has now adopted a balanced Sri Lanka policy under which it will engage the opposition as well as the government of the day.

This change is reflected in the official invitation extended to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit China. The visit is currently on.

A beleaguered Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, abjectly dependent on China to rescue it from a US$ 8 billion debt trap, has been forced to facilitate Rajapaksa’s visit after mocking it at first.

Continue reading ‘China Adopts Balanced Policy in Sri Lanka by Cultivating Both the Maithri-Ranil Govt and Mahinda led Opposition’ »

Joint Opposition and SLPF Will Ride the Wave of Globally Trending Populist Nationalism to Reach Victory in 2020.

By

DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

Disclosing on his blog that he was “reluctantly voting” for Hillary Clinton and explaining why, Richard Falk, Prof Emeritus of International Law at Princeton and former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, noted with characteristic lucidity that the global Left is divided between those outside the USA who are primarily anti-Clinton, and those within the USA who are primarily anti-Trump.

Among the examples he gave for those leftists outside the US who saw Hillary as the main danger were philosopher Slavoj Zizek, WikiLeaks head Julian Assange and veteran journalist and author John Pilger. We may add Prof Jean Bricmont, theoretical physicist, philosopher of science and author of a book exposing “Humanitarian Imperialism”. In a post-election essay Prof Falk returned to the theme, noting that the overwhelming bulk of his progressive friends outside the USA (and he underscored that they were authentic progressives) were more or less relieved that Hillary lost, while those within the USA were of quite the contrary view.

Samir Amin was fond of quoting Stalin’s heretically dialectical remark (1925) that objectively “the Emir of Afghanistan is more progressive than the British Labor Party”. This is true of Trump too. The Left outside the USA remembered that the US assault on sovereign national states did not begin with the Republicans: Gulf War I, codenamed ‘Desert Storm’ (1991), did not call into question state borders and was fought ostensibly to restore them by rolling back Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. The destruction of countries began with the 1999 war on Yugoslavia under Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright. George W Bush and his neoconservative Republicans took it to the next level with Iraq. President Obama and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates were reluctantly pushed into military intervention in Libya by the liberal interventionist ‘regime change’ Furies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition and SLPF Will Ride the Wave of Globally Trending Populist Nationalism to Reach Victory in 2020.’ »

Demonizing Muslims Through Fear-mongering Practices has a Long History in Sri Lanka.

By

M.S.M.Ayub

Sri Lanka is a strange country. One Minister says that dozens of Sri Lankan Muslims have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS), one of the world’s most brutal terrorist organisations while another says there are no intelligence reports about such links between Sri Lankan Muslims and the said outfit.

How serious is it if there was a trend among the Sri Lankan Muslims to join the outfit that is on a killing spree in many countries in the Middle East? Why cannot the ministers talk in one voice if their utterances are based on intelligence reports which should in turn be based on facts?

Continue reading ‘Demonizing Muslims Through Fear-mongering Practices has a Long History in Sri Lanka.’ »

Extremist Buddhist Monks Voicing Anti-Minority Racist Threats Enjoy Immunity Under Maithri-Ranil Govt

By

Dharisha Bastians

Radical Buddhist monks threatening demolition of majority Muslim suburbs of Colombo and employing violent, racist and threatening rhetoric against public officials continue to enjoy impunity under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Government, which was swept into office on a wave of minority angst and frustration about the meteoric rise of hardline Sinhalese groups under the Rajapaksa administration. As religious tensions mount, remarks by the Minister of Justice have drawn sharp criticism from Muslim political leaders and civil society groups, and also sparked fears of continued Government patronage for ideologies of hate and fear propagated by hardline groups

Last Tuesday (15), Maligawatte Police arrested Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamath General Secretary Abdul Razik on charges of “insulting a religion and angering a religious devotee” over his remarks at a protest recently denouncing proposed reform to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA). In a bizarre coincidence, Razik’s arrest came hours after controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Chief Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara threatened to “destroy” the majority Muslim suburb of Maligawatte unless Razik was arrested within 24 hours. The radical monk was speaking at a pocket meeting where he was strongly opposing the arrest of Dan Priyashad, a man who led the saviours of the Sinhalese protest at the Fort Railway Station a few weeks ago inciting Sinhalese youth to rise up against the Muslims and threatening to bomb minority communities.

Now Razik is a problematic character. He has defended provisions of the MMDA that effectively legitimises child marriage by stipulating that girls as young as 12 may be married “by consent” of parents and Qazi, or Islamic judge. His remarks drew wide criticism from activists strongly pushing for reform of the Muslim marriage laws and ordinary people who found his defence of the archaic and discriminating laws repugnant. During a protest in Maligawatte two weeks ago, Razik made disparaging remarks about groups like the BBS and its Chief Gnanasara, who he claimed were behind the clamour for these legal reforms. Still, nothing Razik said during the protest came close to vile threats and the declaration of war against Maligawatte by the Bodu Bala Sena monk.

Last Saturday (19), Gnanasara Thero led a march of monks and laymen through the streets of Kandy culminating in an “adishtana pooja” at the Dalada Maligawa against the “injustices” happening to Sinhalese Buddhists and the silence of the rulers in the face of this discrimination. Footage of the rally shows Police officials standing meekly beside the Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary, and advising the monk about how his supporters should conduct themselves inside the temple.

At one point, at the entrance to the sacred temple, Gnanasara Thero tells his supporters: “Leave the banners outside. There is no one inside to see banners except Dalada Hamuduruwo. Very soon we will have to tie ‘molgas’ (pestles) to our banners and come, but for the moment leave them behind.” Marchers at the BBS-led rally also carried distorted versions of the national flag, without the orange and green stripes that recognise ethno-religious minority communities living in the island.

Continue reading ‘Extremist Buddhist Monks Voicing Anti-Minority Racist Threats Enjoy Immunity Under Maithri-Ranil Govt’ »

Cabinet Spokesman Senaratne Denies 32 Muslims Joined ISIS and that ISIS Connected Persons are Teaching Arabic in Sri Lankan Schools.


by Zacki Jabbar

Amidst contradictory statements emanating from the government, Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday that no one connected to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS) had come to Sri Lanka in the guise of teachers.

He told a news conference in Colombo that according to the security authorities lecturers from abroad were engaged in teaching Arabic and had no connections with ISIS.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Spokesman Senaratne Denies 32 Muslims Joined ISIS and that ISIS Connected Persons are Teaching Arabic in Sri Lankan Schools.’ »

Despite Denials, Ravi Karunanayake Forced to Admit on TV Interview that Last year Budget Propsals Benefiting Senior Citizens Havent Been Implemented.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

A key government proposal to enhance benefits provided to Senior Citizens in Budget 2016 budget hadn’t been implemented by the Central Bank, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake acknowledged on Monday night.

Minister Karunanayake said action would be taken to implement 2016 budget proposal along with budget 2017 proposals.

Minister Karunanayake castigated interviewer Rangana de Silva during Monday’s ‘Salakuna’, a live political programme on Hiru when the issue was raised.

In spite of Minister Karunanayake repeated denials, the interviewer insisted that the much-advertised benefits for Senior Citizens hadn’t been implemented.

Continue reading ‘Despite Denials, Ravi Karunanayake Forced to Admit on TV Interview that Last year Budget Propsals Benefiting Senior Citizens Havent Been Implemented.’ »

Mahinda Faction of SLFP Tries to Divide Maithri and Ranil and Make Govt Collapse

By

Rasika Jayakody

Members of the Joint Opposition (JO), who are essentially the Rajapaksa faction within the SLFP, are well aware that the success of their political campaign hinges on one key factor – disharmony between the two main partners of the ruling alliance.

Over the past 20 months, they have looked for various opportunities to create disharmony between the two main stakeholders of the government, pushing for the President and the Prime Minister to distance themselves from each other and the MoU signed in September last year.

They had even banked on last year’s budget – ‘Budget 2016’ – presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake – to become a potential flashpoint for members of the unity government.
The UNP and the SLFP had not been on the same page on several important budget proposals and this disagreement caused the SLFP to recommend last minute amendments to the budget, causing tension within the ruling camp.

The Rajapaksa group believed this cauldron of tension would spill over to create disharmony between the leaders of the UNP and the SLFP.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Faction of SLFP Tries to Divide Maithri and Ranil and Make Govt Collapse’ »

“Aavaa”Group Operating in North is”Politically Motivated and Army Assisted”States Chief Minister Wigneswaran

By

Kelum Bandara

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said today the gangsters who call themselves the ‘Aava’ group operating in the North is ‘politically-motivated and army-assisted’.

He told a news conference in Colombo that the group did not originate from among the Tamil community per se.

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TNA Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants New Constitution to be Federal in Nature and Identified Explicitly as a “Federal” Constitution.

By P.K.Balachandran

The view of C.V.Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, on the basic structure of the proposed Sri Lankan constitution, runs counter to that of the Constitutional Assembly’s sub-committee on Center-Provincial relations.


While the sub-committee has refrained from branding the proposed devolution system as either “federal” or “unitary”, Wigneswaran said here on Tuesday, that the constitution should not only be federal in nature but should identify itself as such.

“Proper devolution to the provinces and naming the constitution as ‘federal’ is important. A patchwork of different ideas will not do if the current problems are to be resolved,” Wigneswaran said while initiating a North-South dialogue organized by the Tamil Peoples’ Council (TPC), which he heads.

But this is likely to lead to the division of the Sri Lankan Tamil polity into “moderates”, who are inclined to go half way to meet the concerns of the majority Sinhalese for the sake of reaching an amicable solution of the national question, and “radicals”, who want the full realization of the Tamils’ aspirations, not through half-way houses, but here and now.

Continue reading ‘TNA Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants New Constitution to be Federal in Nature and Identified Explicitly as a “Federal” Constitution.’ »

Mano Ganesan says People in North can Celebrate “Maaveerar Naal”(Heroes Day)Without Mentioning the name of the LTTE.

By

Ajith Sriwardana and Indika Sri Aravinda

National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan said today that people in the North could celebrate Maaveerar Naal (Heroes Day) without mentioning the name of the LTTE, as it was a proscribed organisation.

Minister Ganesan said it was a human right for people to be able to celebrate their late loved ones, but added that it was wrong to do it with a political motive.

Continue reading ‘Mano Ganesan says People in North can Celebrate “Maaveerar Naal”(Heroes Day)Without Mentioning the name of the LTTE.’ »

Delay in Setting up Justice Mechanism Could be Attempt to Avoid Doing so Opines US Ex- War Crimes Envoy Stephen Rapp.

By Dharisha Bastians Reporting from The Hague

Delaying the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms, including a special court to prosecute alleged war crimes, could be viewed as an attempt by the Government of Sri Lanka to “avoid” delivering on truth and justice for thousands of victims of the country’s civil war, a former top official in the US Government’s Office of Criminal Justice said.

Former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Stephen J. Rapp told Daily FT on the sidelines of the Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court now underway in The Hague, Netherlands, that there was no reason the Government of Sri Lanka could not begin setting up the office of the prosecutor and putting frameworks in place, even if the court would not get off the ground immediately.

“The Government could begin setting up those investigation units, a prosecutor’s office that could determine if there are cases and start putting cases together even if the court does not start work immediately,” said Ambassador Rapp, who also served as Prosecutor in the UN-backed Special Court of Sierra Leone that convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

“Putting off the establishment of justice mechanisms could be an attempt to avoid it entirely,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Delay in Setting up Justice Mechanism Could be Attempt to Avoid Doing so Opines US Ex- War Crimes Envoy Stephen Rapp.’ »

Committee on Public Finance(COPF)Finds Draft 2017 Budget Estimates Presented to Parliament Not Tallying with Actual Figures Used by Finance Ministry

By

Saman Indrajith

The Committee on Public Finance (COPF) had found that the draft Budget Estimates 2017 presented to Parliament do not tally with the actual figures used by the Finance Ministry, Committee Chairman and TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said yesterday.

Presenting the COPF report on ‘Assessment of the Fiscal, Financial and Economic Assumptions of the Budget 2017″ to Parliament the TNA MP said: “We were given a set of figures on Nov. 2 which, we later found, was not the basis on which the Finance Minister presented the Budget.

When we asked for a clarification, another set of figures was given to us on Nov. 12. We based our report on that new set of figures. We recommend that the government distribute among the members the second set of figures given to us, which is not published yet.

We recommend that this be done at least during the Committee Stage debate.”

Continue reading ‘Committee on Public Finance(COPF)Finds Draft 2017 Budget Estimates Presented to Parliament Not Tallying with Actual Figures Used by Finance Ministry’ »

Difference in Approach Between Tamil National Alliance and Tamil Peoples Council Explains Chief Minister Wigneswaran

By Chathuri Dissanayake

An unusually amicable Northern Chief Minister yesterday extended a proverbial olive branch to the southern people to initiate a dialogue with the people of north. The otherwise vocal Tamil National Alliance (TNA) politician C. V. Wigneswaran claimed that the people of the north are largely misunderstood and misrepresented.

To avoid further misunderstanding between the people of the south and the north, and to dispel any doubts about the northern people, the Tamil Peoples’ Council launched a dialogue between north and south, Wigneswaran said.

The Chief Minister, known for his frequent outbursts against centrist politics, claimed he was largely misunderstood in the southern parts of the country, due to distortions and misinterpretations.

Continue reading ‘Difference in Approach Between Tamil National Alliance and Tamil Peoples Council Explains Chief Minister Wigneswaran’ »