Wednesday, July 31, 2013

PCs won’t have land, police powers – President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he had faced far more serious situations than the prospect of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) winning the forthcoming first Northern Provincial Council polls scheduled for late September.

Busting the common wealth of the people - Editorial,, Daily Mirror .

While millions of people in Sri Lanka are struggling for survival and the cost of living keeps on soaring, the Government is to spend a staggering Rs. 1,930 million for the Commonwealth Summit to be held here in November.

Maverick Mervyn shuts down Hayleys Group export factory with 600 workers

Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva yesterday allegedly took the industrial law into his own hands when he walked into Hayleys Group’s Venigros Ltd. in the Gampaha District and ordered its closure, endangering 600 jobs and key supplies for exports, to the cheers of residents accusing the factory of a major pollution scandal.

BBS seeks Sangha Order against 13A

Maha Nayake of the Malwatte Chapter, Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Siddhartha Sri Sumangala Maha Nayaka Thera said, despite having two-thirds majority, the government does not use its powers to abolish the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
The Thera also said although the President has Executive powers, he does not use it when and where necessary, but that power unnecessarily on various other things.

TISL wants Polls Chief to prevent abuse of all types of State property

Transparency Internat-ional Sri Lanka (TISL) has made an appeal from Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to prevent the use of all types of State property (including civil and military) in a wrongful manner for election purposes.  TISL Executive Director S. Ranugge in a letter to Election Commissioner also appealed for the guarantee that all candidates contesting the elections declare their assets and liabilities when they submit their nominations.

Holding centre for foreign detainees contravenes the law

The Government has taken steps to construct a holding centre under the Department of Immigration and Emigration to detain the foreigners who are arrested for staying in the island contravening the provisions of the Immigration and Emigration Act, the Department of Immigration and Emigration sources said.

State Secret Report no. 1: President has taken a 50% commission from the Norochcholai project

Norochcolai exclusive eThe Government Servants Against Corruption organization says with great responsibility that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had taken a 50% commission from the Chinese company that was assigned the project to construct the Norochcholai coal power plant.
Several senior government officials and some senior state officials who are now in retirement have formed a group that would release details corruption among the high ranking government officials. The reports are to be released under the name “state secrets” (rajya rahas).

CaFFE says councillors in dissolved councils using state vehicles

The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has said that the governors of the dissolved provincial councils have not been able to take back state vehicles from the former councillors. CaFFE in a statement has said the official vehicles used by former provincial council Chief Ministers and Ministers are now being used for election campaigning due to the inaction of the governors of Central and Northwestern Provinces in retaking the official vehicles.

Mervyn Silva’s Son Malaka Silva’s Bodyguards Manhandle Two Journalists from “Ceylon Today”Newspaper

Two Ceylon Today journalists were manhandled by Malaka Silva’s bodyguards as they were covering the incident where Malaka Silva was assaulted at the premises of a leading shopping mall in Colombo on Monday. The duo had followed Malaka to the private hospital when they were confronted, threatened and manhandled by the bodyguards till the police had come to their rescue. The journalists – Kasun Ganewatta and Gayantha Wanasinghe – were at the Tower Hall when they were informed about the assault on Minister Mervyn Silva’s son.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TNA rejects, Presidential Commission Draws Flak

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has declined to accept the proposed Presidential Commission to investigate into the disappearances that took place in the war torn areas during the conflict period.

Last Thursday President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given instructions to Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunge to appoint a Presidential Commission to investigate into the disappearances in the north and the east during the conflict period.

CPA delegation disappointed that President Rajapaksa nor Defence Secretary, Rajapaksa, could not meet them

A six-member Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation representing the UK Parliament visited Sri Lanka last week, on the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government. However, they were disappointed that neither President Mahinda Rajapaksa nor Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, could meet them.

BASL “Shocked and appalled” over attacks on 43rd CJ

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka reacted strongly to news that the Bribery Commission had filed legal action against deposed Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and said all Members of Parliament and other elected officials who had not submitted their asset declarations must be charged under the same law.
 BASL President Attorney-at-Law Upul Jayasuriya told Daily FT that he was “shocked and appalled” at the news that the Bandaranayake was being charged with non-declaration when the accounts in question contained a zero balance, according to bank records.

TNA candidates intimidated by Army

Two candidates of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), had been intimidated by the Army, soon after they had filed their nominations yesterday, to contest the Northern Provincial Council polls.
TNA Spokesperson and Jaffna District Parliamentarian, Suresh K. Premachandran told Ceylon Today, that Army personnel had gone to the residences of S. Sayanthan, a TNA candidate from Chavakachcheri, and Ananthi Sasitharan, the wife of the LTTE's former Trincomalee political wing leader, Elilan, and had questioned them on their political activities.

Minister Mervyn is ready take law onto himself , says he doesn't nee police

Public Relations Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva’s son, Malaka, has been hospitalized with serious injuries, after being attacked with a sharp instrument, at the Odel clothing store car park, in Town Hall, around 4.15 p.m. yesterday.He had been admitted to the Nawaloka Hospital, Police spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardena said.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Spouse of ex-LTTE bigwig to contest for TNA

Ananthi Sasitharan, wife of the LTTE's former head of the political wing in the Trincomalee District, Elilan, is one of the candidates along with three former Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarians to contest the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) polls in September.
The TNA is also seriously considering including a Muslim candidate for the Jaffna District, sources said.

Batti peace seminar disrupted by mob

A seminar on national reconciliation organiseed by a non-governmental organisation in Batticaloa was disrupted by a group led by a Buddhist monk in the area on the grounds that an invitation had not been extended to him for the event, Police said.

Merry fiddling while the country burns

This week’s dire warning by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) that Sri Lanka’s public and state banking sector would collapse if loss-making public bodies are not made duly accountable deserves immediate and imperative public attention.

UK investors wary of coming to SL

The impeachment of the former Chief Justice, the taking over of the underperforming companies by the government, matters dealing with land ownership and lackadaisical legal system are seen as 'threats' by the UK investors to doing business in Sri Lanka, Deputy British High Commissioner in Colombo, Robbie Buloch, said in an exclusive interview with Ceylon Today. "This is the reason why there is no UK businesses flooding Sri Lanka as expected after the war," he added.

Media in Sri Lanka not free - Freedom House

Media freedom remained restricted in Sri Lanka in 2012, with journalists subject to myriad forms of legal harassment and physical intimidation, Freedom House,  an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world said in a report.

Gota cancels meet with UK MPs

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had cancelled a scheduled meeting with a British All Party Parliament delegation. Sources told the Colombo Gazette that the meeting had been pre-arranged but was cancelled at the last minute.  The British All Party Parliament delegation was in Sri Lanka for a week and wrapped up their visit today with meetings in Colombo.

Friday, July 26, 2013

CoPA opens Pandora’s box on public accounts

■Timely and effective audits missing
 ■Committee cites lack of coordination between auditors and State institutions
 ■Says funds allocated to institutions and ministries are being returned to the Treasury at end of year
■Wants running instead of performance audits for state institutions
 Two days after COPE tabled an explosive report pointing to the precarious financial positions of some State owned enterprises, another Parliamentary oversight committee yesterday presented its very first report in three years, saying public accounts were not being audited in a timely or effective way.

Commission to probe missing

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga to appoint a commission to look into the incidents of disappearances that have taken place during the 30-year conflict.
The decision with regard to the terms of reference and members of the commission will be taken soon, the Presidential media unit quoted Presidential Spokesman Mohan Samaranayake as saying.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

No change in Centre's stand on SL Tamil's issue, PM tells Jaya

Holding that there was no change in India's stand on the issue of reconciliation and devolution of political powers to ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has informed Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa that New Delhi will work towards ensuring that Tamils are "masters of their own destiny within framework of a united Sri Lanka."
"There is absolutely no change in Government of India's stand on the question of reconciliation and devolution of political powers in Sri Lanka.

TISL urges prompt action on COPE report

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) yesterday called for prompt action on the findings and recommendations from the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) released on Tuesday.
 “TISL believes that by exposing the weaknesses of public enterprises in the COPE Report 2013 and making recommendations on how improvements can be effected, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises has taken a positive step forward, and requests the President and the  Government to follow up with further investigations and meaningful sanctions,” the anti-corruption watchdog said in a statement.

COPE's call on the deaf - Editorial, Ceylon Today

The latest report released by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) is revealing. The changes that it recommends are sweeping and could be game-changing, yet the question whether the government would take this 'report' with the kind of seriousness it deserves, remains redundant given the scant attention paid to its predecessors.

Hambantota Port receives only 24 vessels during 2011-12 .

Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MMRP) in Hambantota has received only 24 vessels in total during the years 2011 and 2012, the latest Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Annual Report disclosed.
The first phase of MMRP, built using Chinese funding, was opened for operations in November 2010. The port which was touted as a landmark project that could challenge ports in India and Singapore had only received six ships in 2011 and 18 ships in 2012.

65 UNP MPs with the Rajapaksha now

With the crossover of Kurunegala District MP, Dayasiri Jayasekara, a total of 65 UNP MPs have left the party and joined the government while Ranil Wickremesinghe remained the Leader. In addition to the large number of MPs who left the UNP, hundreds of Provincial Council members and local body members who strongly oppose the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe and are also joining the government.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Politically Motivated Cover Up of British Tourist Murder at Tangalle to protect Key Supporter of Rajapaksa regime

 Dean Nelson
 Khuram Shaikh, a 32-year-old Red Cross aid worker from Rochdale, had been in Sri Lanka to rest after an assignment in Gaza, when he and his Russian girlfriend were attacked by eight men in a hotel bar in Tangalle, on the south coast. One of the men accused of the attack is a prominent figure in Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP).

TNA Chief Sampanthan Kills Two Birds with One Stone Through Selection of Justice Wigneswaran as Chief Ministerial Candidate

Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Rajavarothayam Sampanthan, has proved his political maturity and his able leadership in maintaining the integrity of the TNA by getting all five constituent parties in the Alliance to concur with his decision to nominate former Judge of the Supreme Court, C. V. Vigneswaran, as the chief ministerial candidate of the TNA for the Northern Provincial Council, election.
The trilingual Sampanthan is named after South India’s Pallava period Hindu saint, Thirugnanasampanthar, who had rendered 10 devotional lyrics in Tamil on the Koneswaram Rock Temple of Lord Siva in Trincomalee in the 7th century.

Death threat to teacher forced to kneel down from the same ruling party politician

A complaint has been lodged at Nawagaththegama Police that former North Western Provincial Councilor Ananda Sarath Kumara had made statements in public threatening the life of Mrs. Priyani Susila Herath, the teacher whom he forced to kneel down as a punishment in front of her students and school staff.

Day of mourning for all those who have suffered: the most suitable day for this would be (Black) July 23rd

 Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.
Perhaps the clearest test of a pluralistic outlook amongst Sri Lankans, to say nothing of basic decency too, is their response to the events of July 1983. Anyone fit to pass the test sees it as an aberration in Sri Lankan history, an outrage in which defenceless Tamils were systematically persecuted.
Those who offer excuses or play down the event seem to me morally repugnant. That is why, despite his comparative efficiency and honesty, I think Ranil Wickremesinghe would not be a suitable leader for Sri Lanka. His comments soon after the riots, when he played down their impact, and claimed that far worse things had happened to the Sinhalese because of the Bandaranaike policy of nationalization of businesses, were disgusting.

UNP concerned over ‘militarization’ of sports, foreign service

The United National Party (UNP) today charged that the civil society is facing a grave danger due to the “militarization” of Sri Lanka’s sports and foreign service and warned of a possible diplomatic crisis.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake stated that a top sports coach in the country had recently given an interview to a newspaper, in which he had made a statement regarding the downfall and militarization of the country’s sports because a majority of the positions in sport governing bodies have been given to retired or serving military officers.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Flying Fish Fins clipped before flight ;Anyone can ban a film but not everyone can make one: Sanjeewa

Chandani Kirinde reports on the controversy surrounding a flim by debutant director Sanjeewa Pushpakumara
The uproar caused over the screening of the film Igilena Maluwo (Flying Fish) at the recently held French Film Festival at the BMICH in Colombo has snowballed into a major controversy with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) probing if the producers of the film violated the conditional authorisation given to them by the Defence Ministry to film actors in military uniform.

Friends in Tamil Nadu Must Allow us to Work out Our Own Solution to Our Own Problems Within a United Sri Lanka says Wigneswaran

I am not saying they still nurture separatism. Of the various sections of Tamil diaspora overseas, the ones who lost family members and all they had during the riots of 1983 are naturally embittered and still speak of a separate state. Our government must therefore be pragmatic and help us Tamils in the north and east look after ourselves and at the same time, be part and parcel of the national affairs of Sri Lanka.
Padma Rao Sundarji

CID ignores Court order on Matale Mass Grave

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), has for over six weeks, ignored an order issued by the Matale Magistrate's Court to conduct radio carbon testing on the skeletal remains discovered in the backyard of the Matale Hospital, a source familiar with the investigation said. The Magistrate ordered the skeletal remains be sent overseas for radio carbon testing in order to identify the nameless victims.

That the Rajapaksas are incensed and worried by the TNA’s Chief Ministerial choice is obvious

Our Pirapaharan  by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“…..he who erected
 His own gallows was the one who least expected
 To end up dead.”
 La Fontaine (Selected Fables)
 Vellupillai Pirapaharan could have been the saviour of his people. He could have won for the Tamils a federal solution, perhaps even a con-federacy. He could have, but didn’t, because that was not his goal. His goal was His own state; the Eelam he worked towards was not Tamil-speaking Eelam, Tamil Eelam or even Tiger Eelam; his goal was a Pirapaharan Eelam, a country where he was the state, the law and the religion.

Welikada Prison report in cold storage

The Government has failed to follow up on the report on investigations on the Welikada prison riots that killed 27 inmates on November 9 last year.A three-member committee was appointed the following day to investigate into the incident and the report was scheduled to be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa within a period of three weeks. However, the deadline was constantly extended citing practical issues.

UNP wants postal laws changed .

The main opposition UNP today called for laws pertaining to postal votes suggesting that all public servants be allowed to cast their postal votes at the district secretariat office.
UNP MP and Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya President John Amaratunga told journalists today that he intended to meet elections commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to make a formal request on changing electoral laws with regard to postal voting.

Jaffna militarised says JVP

The opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says Jaffna has been fully militarized after the war with the army engaged in civil administration.
Member of the Central Committee of the JVP and National Organizer of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) former Parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayake noted that even the governor of the north is also a former army officer.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mahiyangana Mosque closed after threats after threats from a Minister

Uva Province Minister, Anura Vithanagamage, has allegedly threatened the trustee of the Mahiyangana Mosque against holding Jumma prayers, Minister Rauff Hakeeem, Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said in a statement issued to the media.

DIG Vas Gunawardena case:First accused claims lawyers threatened him

Krishantha Koralage, the first accused in the murder of millionaire businessman, Mohamed Shyam, yesterday complained to Additional Magistrate, M.A. Sahabdeen that three attorneys-at-law visited his remand cell and threatened him. The alleged threats were issued after several suspects, including the first accused, decided that they did not need representation by the lawyers.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Euro-MPs press Sri Lanka to probe war crimes

(COLOMBO) - European parliamentarians Friday asked Sri Lanka to deliver on promises to investigate allegations of war crimes and ensure ethnic reconciliation more than four years after crushing Tamil separatists.
A delegation of EU lawmakers requested Colombo ensure accountability in the face of what the UN calls "credible allegations" of up to 40,000 civilians killed in the final battles in 2009.

UK still concerned on Lanka Human Rights situation

The British Government says it still has some concerns on human rights related issues in Sri Lanka.
An update on Sri Lanka by the Foreign and Commonwealth office in its human rights report states that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka between April and June saw both positive and negative developments.

Japan hopes for fair poll in N & E

Japan says it will support the conduct of free and fair elections in the Northern, North Western and Central Provincial Councils.
The Japanese government appreciates the initiative taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in directing the Elections Commissioner to conduct elections in the north, in pursuit of realizing the recommendation of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission, the Japanese Embassy in Colombo said.

We don’t need CEPA any longer: Basil Rajapaksa

Basil Rajapaksa
Basil Rajapaksa

Apparel, IT and automobile sectors offer potential for Indian investment

Meera Srinivasan
 Sri Lanka will not need the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India any longer, as both countries had moved on, said Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
According to him, the Sri Lankan business community felt it did not need CEPA as they had found good markets. In any case, he said, India did not make things easy for Sri Lanka, as, on the one hand, while it seemed like India was opening up its market, there were new barriers [non-tariff], on the other.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

‘This is Sri Lanka, not Mali.- Pro Govt protesters tells French Embassy in Colombo

Protest against Flying Fish
Representatives of Ranaviru Sevana, politicians and members of the public gathered in front of the French Embassy in Colombo 7 yesterday morning, to protest against the screening of Igillena Malu or Flying Fish, a 2011 movie by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara.
The protest is a response to the screening of the controversial Sri Lankan film at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH).

No ID, no security – the dilemma of Sri Lanka’s returnees

Thousands of returnees don't have IDs;Photo: Contributor/IRIN
COLOMBO, 17 July 2013 (IRIN) - Close to 100,000 returnees in Sri Lanka’s north lack national identity cards (NICs), more than four years after the end of the country’s decades-long civil war.
“Many people cannot resume their lives as NICs are the passport to accessing multiple services and were made mandatory for voting in 2006,” Suresh Premachandran, a member of parliament (MP) with the Tamil National Alliance, one of the largest national parties representing minority Tamils from the north, told IRIN.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Furore Over “Flying Fish”(Igillena Maluwo)Film:Artistic Expression Crushed Under Jackboots?

Dilrukshi Handunnetti  The inclusion of the five times international award-winning Sri Lankan film, Flying Fish (Igillena Maluwo) has led to the suspension of the French Film Festival, organized by the French Embassy in Colombo in association with Alliance Francaise de Kotte, for the alleged negative portrayal of the Sri Lankan Security Forces.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Warns State Media ( ITN) of Legal Acton for Defamation

''I look forward to your swift response, within one week hereof.  I wish to also state that in the absence of a satisfactory response I will be considering other remedies including legal action to recover the full extent of the damage caused by the aforesaid wrong news item. Letter to Independent Television Network (ITN)'' - Saravanamuttu

Brutally felled for taking stand against felling of trees

The victim - Nihal Perera
 Chris Kamalendran
Another senseless crime allegedly involving a politician claims the life of a veteran planter, whose earlier complaints to police were ignored
Nihal Perera, a veteran planter with 45 years of experience in the field, took up his posting as the manager of Noori Estate in Deraniyagala, in the Kegalle district, late last year. However, he soon started facing resistance from a group backed by a local politician. The group was allegedly encroaching on estate land, felling trees and preventing other suppliers from selling goods to the estate.

Before turning prisons into rehabilitation centres, the government ought to ensure that the criminals in the garb of UPFA politicians are sent to jail.

Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu! Editorial, The Island

The blame for facilitating the entry of rapists, killers, cattle rustlers, drug dealers, fraudsters and robbers into politics should be apportioned to the SLFP and the UNP. Out of power, the UNP has behaved for quite some time, but the SLFP continues to nominate criminals of all sorts to contest elections. Nothing explains this situation better than the pithy local saying, bale thiyanakota mole ne; mole thiyanakota bale ne—’when one has power, one has no brains and when one has brains, one has no power’.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Justice Wigneswaran : TNA Chief ministerial candidate for North

The premier Political configuration representing the Sri Lankan Tamils –Tamil National Alliance – has decided to field former Supreme court judge CV Wigneswaran as its Chief ministerial candidate for the forthcoming elections to the Northern Provincial Council.
The decision was arrived at on Monday July 15th 2013 when the “Orunginaippuk Kuzhu”(coordinating committee )comprising 21 representatives from the five constituent partners of the met at the Colombo party office of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)in Bambalapitiya.

Why Is Sri Lanka Complicating relations With USA and India by Entering “Nuclear,Cheminal and Bilogical”Areas With Russia and Pakistan?

Does anyone know who made the decision to dabble with nuclear power sources and if that weren’t enough, attempt a tie up with a chemical and biological research institute?  To put it more plainly, who even introduced the words nuclear, chemical and biological into the Sri Lankan policy agenda?  Why, at a moment when we are under the scrutiny of the USA, would we even use the terms nuclear, chemical and biological, which are terms that trigger extreme apprehension in the world order and especially among those who dominate it? When we – or some of us – are sure that the West is out to get us, why would we provide the best of all possible sticks for them to beat us with?

Real income of the people declined since the end of war /2009 - Survey

Lamborghini-badagini comes home to roost says UNP
 ■ People’s living standards deteriorating post-war: Harsha
 ■Highest increase is in food taxes in first quarter compared with last year
 ■Survey shows household income up by 5.4% since 2009/10; expenditure up by 8.5%
 ■UNP says Govt.prioritising Lamborghini economics above the poor man’s belly

Student leader Sanjeewa Bandara banned from entering Universities

The Convenor of the Inter University Student’s Federation (IUSF) Sanjeewa Bandara has been granted bail and has also been banned from entering the premises of any Universities in the country by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today.

Protest Against Intimidating Social and Cultural Activist Gamini Viyangoda

We the undersigned, who stand for justice and democracy, note with regret and concern the use of State media, especially the Independent Television Network (ITN) that uses its air time to stick labels on and intimidate social and cultural activists who stand for plurality and fair play and for their dissenting views.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

'Flying Fish' grounds French Film Festival

Controversy over a Sri Lankan movie screened at the French Film Festival led to the Board of Management of the S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike National Memorial Foundation, suspending the Film Festival with immediate effect on Saturday 13 July.
 A statement from the Board of Management said suspension was on account of the contents of and the sentiments contained in the internationally acclaimed Sinhala film Igillena Maluwo (Flying Fish), which had however, been certified as suitable for screening by the Public Performance Board (PPB). The film had been screened on 11 July in Committee Room B of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH).

Jayalalitha demands bold stand from Centre on issue of SL 13th Amendment

Chennai: Voicing concern over the fate of the 13th Amendment to Sri Lankan Constitution that agreed to devolve some authority to provinces, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today called for a “bold stand” by India, saying it cannot remain a “passive bystander.” In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she referred to the March 27, 2013 resolution by the state assembly and reiterated her demand for the Centre moving a resolution in the United Nations Security Council for a referendum on ‘Tamil Ealam’ (homeland).

Change economic policies drastically and urgently

The six and a half decades since independence have been characterised by economists as one of missed opportunities. The end of the war in 2009 was considered another opportunity for an economic resurgence. As in the past, the four years since the war ended has proved to be another missed opportunity: an initial expectation turning sour.
Premachandra Athukorala, professor of economics at the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, made an analytical assessment of Sri Lanka’s economic performance.

CPC’s hedging blunder Finally the people pay

The room was packed; the mood fraught. It was November 2008 and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s (CPC) hedging deals were fast going awry.
Ashantha De Mel, then Chairman of the CPC, sat at the head table. On his right were the Chief Executive Officers of three of the banks – Standard Chartered (SCB), Citibank and Commercial Bank – with whom he had signed hedging contracts. A news conference was about to begin.

Mattala Airport dling: Govt. offers more concessions

The Government has further slashed aircraft handling charges and introduced a string of promotional discounts at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in a bid to attract more flights there. A fifty per cent discount in landing and parking charges which was earlier valid only for this year has now been extended up to March 2014, when the idling airport will celebrate one year in operation.
 A minimum landing charge of US$ 250 which had been imposed on international commercial airlines has also been lifted. These concessions were published in a Gazette signed by Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne.

Not devolving police powers under 13A non-negotiable, Gota tells Menon

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has told Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon that devolution of police powers under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution would be inimical to Sri Lanka’s national security interests and therefore the issue was not negotiable.
The Defence Secretary had reiterated the government’s position at a one-on-one meeting with Menon, one-time India’s High Commissioner in Colombo at the Ministry of Defence in Colombo last Monday (July 8).

Film Festival bnned: French Embassy not happy

The Embassy of France in Colombo says it regrets the unfortunate incident and the embarrassment for the general public and for the French Spring partners and sponsors after the local authorities had ordered the suspension of the French Film Festival.
The French Film Festival had been organised by the Embassy of France between June 18th and July 14th, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Arts, the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall and many others partners and sponsors.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Former COPE chief wants successor to probe CIABC investigations

UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has alleged that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABC) from its inception accommodated retired and a selected few to have comfort and enjoy special privileges at public expense.

Many Women who Experienced War are Unwilling to Resume Pre-War Gender Roles in the Post-war Context

 Kumi Samuel and Chulani Kodikara
War is a gendered process. Post-war is no different. It may be a cliché to say that in Sri Lanka, as elsewhere in the world, the most visible and harmful impact of 30 years of war has been on women, but that is the reality. As men joined militant groups or the armed forces, were arrested, abducted, disappeared, or took flight to safer locations outside the community or the country, women were left behind to cope with fractured families and communities; multiple displacement, transition in alien spaces, such as camps for the displaced; or resettlement in distant and unfamiliar regions.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa Meets TNA Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan For Discussions on the Tamil National Question

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa engaged in talks regarding problems faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka with Tamil National Alliance leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan yesterday. External Affairs minister Prof.GL Peiris and Presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga were also present at the discussion.
The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere was due to an invitation extended by President Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa meets TNA leader ahead of northern Lanka polls

Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has held talks with TNA on holding free and fair elections in the country's north, days after the main Tamil party skipped a key parliamentary panel meet on devolving power to provinces.
The Tamil National Alliance's leader Rajavarothy Samapanthan met with Rajapaksa yesterday and discussed holding free and fair elections in the region, a statement from the TNA said.

Friday, July 12, 2013

13th Amendment to the Constitution (Devolution of Power) and positions of the Political Parties

Sri Lanka Brief Position Paper/July 2013
The Background
The provincial council (PC) system in Sri Lanka was established as a result the Indo-Lanka Accord concluded between Sri Lanka and India on July 29, 1987. The 13th Amendment and the provincial council system were conceived as a political solution to the ethnic conflict. Under the amendment Northern and Eastern Provinces were amalgamated. The PC system was the crux of the Accord. On 14 November 1987 the Sri Lankan Parliament passed the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution of 1978 and the Provincial Councils Act No 42 of 1987, establishing provincial councils. Nine provincial councils were created by order on 3 February 1988.

TNA and Ranil on the right side of argument, wrong side of history

"Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." – African Proverb

Speaking at a Vipakshaye Virodaya press conference in Colombo on Sunday, 7 June 2013, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran asserted the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to look into any changes to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is not a Parliamentary Select Committee at all, but actually a 'President's Select Committee.' He stated the idea for a PSC to find a solution to the national issue was formulated in September 2011 during bilateral discussions between the TNA and the government and that it was pushed 'in-between' talks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

“No Help From India in International Arena if Sri Lanka Fails to Implement 13th Amendment in Full ”-Manmohan’s Message to Mahinda Via Menon

A firm “no nonsense”message from Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh has been conveyed to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Indian national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon during his breakfast meeting with the Sri Lankan head of state on Tuesday July 9th 2013.

Police most corrupt institution in Sri Lanka

Daily Mirror cartoon: How police become corrupt
The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) released by Transparency International on 9 July, contains findings suggesting that corruption is still perceived as a problem in Sri Lanka, with some 64% of Sri Lankan respondents claiming corruption was on the increase in the country in the past two years, while only 18% thought it has decreased.

CPJ voice concerns on press accreditation for CHOGM

The Committee to Protect Journalists has voiced concerns about press accreditation procedures for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in November 2013.
 In the following letter to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat Kamalesh Sharma, the CPJ's Executive Director Joel Simon voiced his concerns.

FUTA calls for release of student leader

The Federation of University Teachers Association President Dr Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri today called for the immediate release of  student union leader  Sanjeeva bandara and Rev. Kimbullewwe Chandananda thero who are now in custody.

Parliamentarians banned while military stages programmes in schools in North

A circular sent to schools in the Northern Province of the country of Eezham Tamils at the orders of the occupying governor of the Sinhala State, Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasri aimed at banning Tamil parliamentarians participating any school programmes in the province. The circular dated 20 June and signed by Education, Culture and Sports Secretary, S. Sathiaseelan, functioning under the Sinhala governor, said that without prior permission from the SL governor, no function could take place in the schools in which parliamentarians participate.

Post-War Land Grabs in Sri Lanka

Chili-pickers near the High Security Zone border in Valikamam North, Sri Lanka (Image by author)
Ruth Canagarajah  /Development Channel Staff
Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is from Ruth Canagarajah, a Fulbright fellow in northern Sri Lanka who is researching the intersection of natural resources, livelihoods, and post-war challenges. Here she analyzes the impact of military land grabs on Sri Lanka’s post-war recovery process.

Mission seeks answers to killing of Tamil MPs

TNA M.P. Nadarajah Raviraj was assassinated on 10 November 2006
Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's [IPU’s] Committee on the Human Rights are to begin a three-day mission, 9-11th July, to Sri Lanka to advocate investigations into the attempted assassination of an opposition Tamil MP, as well as seek answers on the unresolved cases of two other Tamil MPs killed in Sri Lanka, a press release issued by the IPU said. The mission is being led by the Vice-President of the Human Rights Committee, Chilean MP Juan Pablo Letelier. The timing of the visit, ahead of the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo, by an organization which has not been vocal on Sri Lanka's human rights record, raises questions on the motives of the key players behind the mission, political sources in Colombo said.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CCC chairman red flags growing debt

* Wants economic summit to focus problem areas exports, FDI and govt. expenditure
The country has fallen short of achieving its economic goals and progress has not been smooth despite the significant economic gains over the last few years, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Suresh Shah told the inaugural session of the 14th Sri Lanka Economic Summit yesterday (09).

Clear message on 13th Amendment conveyed to Sri Lanka: Menon

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon
The structure that is implemented should be acceptable to all parts of the country: Mahinda Rajapaksa
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon — who met top Sri Lanka leaders here in the last two days — emphasised the need for Colombo to fulfil its commitment to India and the international community regarding a political settlement that would go beyond the 13th Amendment of the country’s Constitution.
The amendment introduced provincial councils with specified powers based on the provisions of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.

Severe repercussions if changes made to 13A , Menon told SLMC

Indian Defence Adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon, had assured the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), that India would stand by the 13th Amendment and any attempt to bring changes to the Amendment, disregarding Indian concerns, would result in severe repercussions.
Soon after his arrival, Menon met the TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan, in Colombo, on Monday (8) evening.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mosque in Grandpass to be Relocated in One Month due to Protest Campaign by Ravana Balaya

Muslim community and Religious leaders have agreed to relocate a Mosque on Swarna Chaitiya road in the Grandpass area of Colombo in one month’s time due to an intensive protest campaign by the“Ravana Balaya” (Ravana Force)
The sequence of events relating to this “forced relocation”demonstrates a very high degree of extreme intolerance and hatred by the Ravana Balaya and the perceived collaboration of the Buddha Sasana ministry in the sordid exercise.

Adhere to Commitment Given to India and International Community Of Political Settlement Going Beyond the 13th Amendment

(Text of Press release Issued by the High Commission of India,Colombo on the visit of India’s National security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to Sri Lanka from July 8th -9th 2013)
July 09, 2013
Mr. Shivshankar Menon, National Security Adviser of India, visited Colombo on 8-9 July 2013 to participate in the 2nd NSA-Level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

CHOGM: To have any credibility the Commonwealth People’s Forum need to be managed by civil society

Commonwealth people’s forum can enhance government’s credibility
Jehan Perera
The significance of international pressure in directing the government along the path of good governance can be seen in several recent developments. As a member country of the international community, Sri Lanka has many obligations to fulfill, even as it seeks the benefits of being a member of the international community.  But for the country, and its political leadership, to reap these benefits that accrue from being an integral part of the international community, it has also to subscribe to international rules and norms.

Sri Lankan buddhist nationalist group demands hijab ban

A hardline nationalist group in Sri Lanka is calling for the government to ban the hijab, a traditional dress for Muslim women, citing security reasons, the head of the organization said here Monday.
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), which also includes prominent Buddhist monks among its membership, demanded that the government ban the covering headdress insisting that recent events proved it was a threat to security.

Convener of Inter Uiniversity Student Federation remanded

The bail conditions imposed on the convener of Inter University Students Federation Sanjeewa Bandara were removed by Colombo Fort Magistrate and he was remanded till the 15th.
The police had charged him for participating in a students’ agitation and damaging public property while under bail conditions.

Full text of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement 1987

The Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and the President of the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. J. R. Jayawardene having met at Colombo on 29 July 1987.
Attaching utmost importance to nurturing, intensifying and strengthening the traditional friendship of India and Sri Lanka and acknowledging the imperative need of resolving the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka, and the consequent violence, and for the safety, well-being and prosperity of people belonging to all communities of Sri Lanka,

Monday, July 8, 2013

CHOGM - 2013 in Sri Lanka: Where are the core values of the Commonwealth Charter?

Samaraveera (UNP) challenges Sharma
H.E. Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General, The Commonwealth, 

Your Excellency,
I am writing to you with reference to a news item published in the Sri Lanka Daily Mirror of 29th June 2013. The story, captioned 'Commonwealth wants to make practical difference in Sri Lanka' quotes a letter you have reportedly sent to an unspecified recipient . In the absence of any contradiction or clarification from your organisation, I assume that the remarks are accurate. You are quoted as saying:

Overruling India's concerns Sri Lanka to amend 13Amendment

Overruling India's concerns, Sri Lanka may go ahead with its proposed plans to amend the 13th amendment ahead of the provincial polls in Tamil-dominated northern areas in September, a top minister has hinted.
Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Economic Development Minister, who returned here from New Delhi after talks with Indian leaders, was non-committal about any conditions that New Delhi might have pushed for.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sri Lanka cannot unilaterally cancel the Indo - Lanka agreement and 13 A - India

The conduct of NPC polls figured somewhat prominently when Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa held talks with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi on Friday. For months now, a diplomatic tussle over a visit to New Delhi by Basil Rajapaksa and or one by Khurshid to Colombo had gone on. Sri Lanka sought the visit to explain to Indian leaders the Government’s position with regard to the 13th Amendment.

Anti 13 A campaign: We are ready to answer INDIA with non-violence - Minister Ranawaka

The  domestic opposition to the 13th Amendment, both from within hardliners in the UPFA and outside, is mounting. Large crowds took part in a public rally in Maharagama last Tuesday. It was organised by the newly formed National Collective to Abolish the Provincial Council System. It was held with tight Police security. Some 25 organisations including the Bodu Bala Sena, Sihala Ravaya, Jathika Hela Urumaya and the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress took part in the event which drew members of the Buddhist clergy from temples countrywide.

The Trincomalee and the Mutur killings are symbols of all the other thousands of lives lost during the War

Kishaly Pinto Jayawaedena
Coaxing an inch of accountability from government stone? 
Tucked away in a small corner of Sri Lanka’s daily newspapers this Saturday was a government announcement on the arrest of twelve personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) including an assistant superintendant of police (ASP), allegedly responsible for the extra-judicial execution of five students in Trincomalee in 2006. The arrests had been made on ‘evidence available’, as we were informed. The alleged perpetrators were remanded until the next court date.

CHOGM in undemocratic SL is Commonwealth approval of its dictatorship, says Mangala Samaraweera of UNP

Holding the Commonwealth summit in Colombo, without proven commitment from the Sri Lankan Government to the values and principles of democracy, would grant the Commonwealth seal of approval to an emerging dictatorship in Asia, warns Mangala Samaraweera, former Foreign Minister and United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian.

EPDP oppose any changes to the 13th Amendment

8 Govt MPs supporting 13 A, says Devananada
At least 38 UPFA parliamentarians, including ministers, are opposed to any changes to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, a Cabinet minister said. “I have collected the signatures of 38 MPs who say that the 13th Amendment should remain intact,” Minister and Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Douglas Devananda said.

Army canvassing for UPFA in North

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday accused the Army of 'selecting candidates' and canvassing for the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in the North.
TNA MP Suresh Premachandran called for the need for independent international monitoring, to ensure free and fair elections.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Do not dilute the 13 A and bring Lankan Tamils into mainstream: Khurshid

External affairs minister
Salman Khurshid. Photo: Bloomberg 
Since 2009, India has been nudging Sri Lanka to move quickly on the integration of the Tamils New Delhi: India’s external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Friday urged Sri Lanka to fully implement its pledges to integrate the minority Tamils into the country’s political mainstream as the island-nation announced polls to the predominantly Tamil-dominated Northern Province in September.
The minister conveyed the message to Basil Rajapaksa, minister for economic development and brother of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is on a visit to India, the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

13 amendment and the importance of Menon's arrival

Dilrukshi Handunnetti
India seems to have temporarily suspended its soft diplomacy with Sri Lanka; at least it did, when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his 'dismay' to a visiting Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation over current moves to introduce drastic amendments to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Up- country Peoles' Front opposes amending 13A

The Upcountry People's Front (UPF) is opposed to any moves by the government to dilute or amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, its Leader V.S. Radhakrishnan said.
He said, with these amendments, the minorities would lose whatever limited powers they would have in the Provincial Councils, under the present Constitution. He also said his Party has sent a letter to the President regarding these matters.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sri Lanka: The Northern Provincial Council Election – Analysis

Eurasia Review/S. I. Keethaponcalan
The provincial council system in Sri Lanka was established in 1987 consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord concluded between Sri Lanka and India in the same year. One provincial council was setup for the Northern and Eastern Provinces, according to the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution of 1978. The amendment had its genesis in the Accord. Both the 13th Amendment and the provincial council system were conceived as a mechanism to resolve the ethnic conflict.

Defence Secretary Defends Majority Domination, Denies Devolution

Laksiri Fernando
The interview given to the Daily Mirror (4 July 2013) by the Secretary of Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, may be candid as the reporter has prefaced, but not helpful to resolve the post-conflict issues or reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Moreover they raise questions about his political/military ambitions which should be concerns for the democracy in the country. He was fairly a good Defence Secretary during the war but not after. Instead of defending the country or the people as a total he now defends the majority domination of his own ethnic community over the minorities, identifying himself as a ‘Sinhala Buddhist.’

Urgent Action: Child feared abducted - Amesty International

Sivasooriyakumar Sanaraj, 15 years old, has been missing since 13 June, after he failed to arrive at school in Vavuniya, northern Sri Lanka. His family fears that he has been abducted, and he may be at risk of torture or extrajudicial execution. Despite complaints lodged with the local police by his family, the police have failed to investigate.

Trinco 5 students murder suspects remanded

The Trincomalee Magistrate has remanded 12 police Special Task Force (STF) personal over their alleged involvement in the murder of 5 students in Trincomalee in 2006, the police media unit said today.
The incident referred to as the Trincomalee massacre, occurred when the five Tamil high school students playing by the beach were briefly detained and then shot dead.

Devolution unnecessary; 13 A should be abolished and Sri Lanka should ignore India - Gota

The country’s powerful Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa spoke to the Daily Mirror in one of his most wide ranging interviews in recent times, on a gamut of issues.  Rajapaksa explained why he believes that devolution of power is not the solution to the national question. Edited version of the original interview follows:

Q:Isn’t the argument however that the majority of those living in the North are from the Tamil community and therefore they aspire for self- governance?

Homes and Lands Taken from Jaffna People for “High Security Zones”Being Used by Military for Tourism Purposes

 Dinouk Colombage
The controversial retention of public land in the Jaffna Peninsula, on the excuse they come under ‘high security zones (HSZ),’ has left thousands of Jaffna residents homeless and prime agricultural land unused by the civilians.
Hidden from locals, in the Valikamam North HSZ, the military has taken to developing the region for tourism purposes, unfortunately at the expense of hundreds of people, who have lost their homes.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blocking inconvenient truths: Time magazine and Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Al Jazeera (AFP/Christophe Archambault)

The Face of Buddhist Terror, cover story of the most recent issue of Time magazine, is banned in Burma. Even though the lead article is primarily on U Wirathu, the leader of the 969 Buddhist Nationalist movement and only has passing reference to Islamophobia in Sri Lanka championed by fascist Buddhist “monks”, the issue is currently held up by Customs in Sri Lanka and unlikely to reach subscribers or bookstores.

13 A: Will President Rajapaksa take Indian views into account and if he does not, what can and will India do?

Beyond Sri Lanka’s Big Brother syndrome
Colombo’s moves to control subjects connected with state security, and indirectly demography, must not trample on the aspirations and rights of the Tamils and other minorities
Amidst the entire range of complexities that mark the situation in Sri Lanka one fact remains incontestable: President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his three brothers — Defence Secretary Gotabhaya, Basil, who controls politics and economic policies, and the soft-spoken Speaker of the Parliament, Chamal — are the arbiters of their country’s destiny.

Buddha statue forcibly placed in playground of Muslim school in Batticaloa

Muslims of Oaddamaavadi village in Batticaloa were shocked on Monday early morning this week when they saw a Buddha statue placed on a table in the middle of the playground of Pi'rainthu'raich-chenai Ashar Viththiyaalayam in Vaazhaich-cheanai. Oaddamavadi is a Muslim dominated town, located 32 km north of Batticaloa city. The playground is located close to Buddha Jayanthi Vihara in Vaazhaich-cheanai. The head of the Buddhist vihara had attempted to seize the playground from the school in 2010. 

Six Incidents of Religious Persecution in Sri Lanka in June 2013 Where Christian Churches were Under Attack

Sri Lanka saw six cases of religious persecution in the month of June alone, all of which took place in the districts of Hambantota, Batticaloa, Kegalle, and Kalutara.
“After a relative lull during the month of May, incidents of religious persecution once again increased during this month,” according to the June 2013 Incident Report of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), an umbrella organization of evangelical churches and denominations in the Sinhala-Buddhist majority country.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

PSC will be nothing but a sub-committee of the Govt Parl. Group and will have no credibility whatsoever - TNA

TNA decides not to participate in the PSC
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) took a decision on the 29th of June 2013, not to participate in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). At that time we said we would issue a full statement explaining this decision:
When the Government originally announced that it wanted to set up a PSC, it was engaged in bilateral negotiations with the TNA. It was at a time when the Government had defaulted in its commitment to respond to the comprehensive proposals put forward by the TNA. Even so the TNA fully cooperated in the process of setting up of the PSC by seeking amendments to the Terms of Reference, upon an undertaking by the Government that the PSC process will commence only after a measure of consensus was reached between the two parties at the bilateral talks. It is the conduct of the Government that made it impossible to commence the PSC deliberations, despite the TNA making compromises at least three times, in order to break the deadlock and move forward. The following historic narrative will make this clear:

Another attempt to harass, Gunaratne Wanninayaka, the President of Colombo Magistrate's Court Lawyer's Association

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission

AHRC-STM-124-2013.jpgMr. Wanninayaka has complained to the police authorities that on June 24 some officers visited his house and made inquiries about him. Later at around 2:30 pm on the same day, two officers went to the court premises where Mr. Wanninayaka usually practices and made inquiries about him and also looked for his car. These two officers approached him and asked for his business card under the pretext that they wished to consult him on a case.

On the periphery of a Failed State - Editorial, Ceylon Today

Sri Lanka's decline seen through the lens of international standards seems obvious and inevitable. The economic optics reflects the 'real' situation as opposed to those that are vigorously and spuriously marketed by the Central Bank and its 'pundits.' Over the last few years, the Central Bank has been floating statistics for public consumption, which though implausibly sanguine on paper, have been a tough sell for the average man on the street, for whom reality is the skyrocketing cost of living that makes three square meals a near impossibility, and the breakdown in the law and order situation which has given rise to an ugly culture of impunity.

Sri Lanka bans Time 'Buddhist Terror' edition

Sri Lanka has banned July 1 issue of Time magazine over its cover story on Myanmar's Buddhist-Muslim clashes, which it said could hurt religious sentiment on the island, an official said on Tuesday.
Customs department spokesman Leslie Gamini said they held the issue because it carried a photo of a prominent Myanmar monk under the headline: "The Face of Buddhist Terror".

“Buddhist Blood is Boiling”-Rise of “Buddhist Terror” in Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka

Add caption

Hannah Beech
His face as still and serene as a statue’s, the Buddhist monk who has taken the title “the Burmese bin Laden” begins his sermon. Hundreds of worshippers sit before him, palms pressed together, sweat trickling down their sticky backs. On cue, the crowd chants with the man in burgundy robes, the mantras drifting through the sultry air of a temple in Mandalay, Burma’s second biggest city after Rangoon. It seems a peaceful scene, but Wirathu’s message crackles with hate. “Now is not the time for calm,” the monk intones, as he spends 90 minutes describing the many ways in which he detests the minority Muslims in this Buddhist-majority land. “Now is the time to rise up, to make your blood boil.”

UK warns of gangs in Lanka

The British Foreign Office has warned visitors to Sri Lanka to be mindful of organised and armed gangs known to operate in Sri Lanka who have been responsible for targeted kidnappings and violence.
The Foreign office says while violent crimes against foreigners are infrequent, there have been an increasing number of reports of sexual offences including on minors.

Fiscal fumble!

  • Govt. misses revenue target by Rs. 51.2 b or 14% up to April; expenditure overshot by Rs. 16 b or 2.5%
  • Year on Year dip in revenue is 4% expenditure up by 7%
  • Total dip in revenue from import base taxes was Rs. 21 b
  • Public investment expenditure up by 21.7% to Rs. 196 b
  • Budget deficit at 4% up to April and annualised figure swells to 11.8%
  • Treasury confident of containing fiscal deficit at 5.8% by year end as announced in 2013 Budget

We should not listen to India on 13 A -- Gotabaya .

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today that Sri Lanka should not listen to India with regard to the implementation of the 13th Amendment as the national problem was inherently one that should be solved by Sri Lankans. “We should not listen to India on this; this doesn’t meant that we lose the relationship we have with India. But if there is a problem it should only be solved by Sri Lankans and not India,” he said.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sri Lankan principal dies during leadership training

A principal of a Sri Lankan school died today during a leadership training session at the Rantambe military camp.
The deceased has been identified as W.A. Wickramasinghe (52) from the Raddolugama Pangnananda National School. Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary Joseph Stalin said the principal had passed away after admission to the Mahiyangana Hospital.

13 A; IGP argues against devolving police powers to PCs

PSC now a party affair 
Last week, at the National Security Council meeting (NSC), IGP N.K. Illangakoon, delivered a presentation on the perils of delegating police powers to the Provincial Councils. Two guests were in the attendance, invited by President Mahinda Rajapaksa; they were Vasudeva Nanayakkara and D.E.W. Gunasekara, two pro-devolution ministers who had been the most vocal among all the left party Parliamentarians in the government, in their opposition to the proposed changes to the 13th Amendment. The two had earlier vowed, speaking to this newspaper that the combined Left in the government would vote against any constitutional amendment that would weaken the 13th Amendment. One notable absentee at the NSC, meeting was Prof. Tissa Vitharana, another minister and the previous Chairman of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Post war situation: In the minds of Tamil people, a fear psychosis is being built - PLOTE leader

Mistrust and misunderstanding between Sinhalese and Tamils must end

Dharmalingam Siththarthan, the Leader of the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), a former militant who embraced democratic politics consequent to the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord told the Daily Mirror that the Provincial Council system introduced under the Accord should not be weakened despite it being inadequate in addressing the aspirations of Tamil people. During the war PLOTE was an organisation that was opposed to the LTTE. After the end of the war, the PLOTE, however, teamed up with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Oh! What a Nation !

Helasingha Bandara
In the West we are known as a short, fat, black and ugly nation. Now we have lost our dignity, pride, self-respect, spines, ethics and morals. What are we left with? Nothing! What a nation we have become! A ‘nothing nation’!
Indeed our country is beautiful. The world admires its natural splendour, magnanimity and hospitality of at least some of its people. We have a glorious history to talk about and be proud of. But then, what has happened to us.
Are there any signs left in us to claim that we are the decedents of the people of the caliber of Wariyapola Sumangala, Maddumabanda Ehalepola, Puran Appu, and Keppitipola and so on? Hardly! Some recent examples I may bring in to highlight the despicable and undignified state that we have descended to.

A criminals’ paradise, Editorial, The Island

There’s apparently no agreement among scholars on the origin of the pithy saying, "The law is an ass", though the general consensus is that Dickens popularised it through Oliver Twist. Whoever really deserves the credit for that aphorism, one cannot think of a better metaphor to describe Sri Lanka’s legal system, which is obstinate, stupid, tardy, lazy and capable of kicking with both hind legs and even biting when the ordinary people are in trouble, seeking justice. But, surprisingly, it transmogrifies into a sturdy charger when the rich and the powerful happen to take recourse to it!