14th February 2015

“Delhi must push Colombo on devolution”

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Newly elected Sri Lankan President to visit India on Sunday New Delhi must continue pushing Colombo towards the implementation of the 13th Amendment, senior Tamil leader R. Sampanthan said. Speaking exclusively to The Hindu on Friday, the Leader of the Tamil National Alliance – the main party representing Sri Lanka’s northern Tamils – said he wished both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena well for “successful talks” in New Delhi. President Sirisena is scheduled to leave for India on Sunday on his first State visit after assuming office on January 9, following a victory over his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa. The TNA supported Mr. Sirisena in the presidential elections, in a rare convergence of diverse political forces, including Sinhala-nationalist and Muslim parties. […]

Jaffna’s periyakada market dilapidated

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Naalir Jamaldeen reporting from Jaffna The Jaffna Periyakada market which is dilapidated needs an immediate facelift. Even though promises were made by the previous government, a cross section of vendors at the Periyakada market told the Sunday Observer that no action was taken to renovate the market. Vegetables on sale. “A large number of people who live at grassroot level and below the poverty line depend on the market- to purchase goods and also to sell their wares. Developing the market is essential. The Government will take necessary steps to develop it”, vendors said. “The buildings were destroyed during the war but no steps were taken even after the war ended to renovate the market. Vendors undergo immense hardship to carry on business.”We have […]

Racism has Always been Most Powerfully Concentrated Within the SLFP

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

by Izeth Hussain In the aftermath of the recent Presidential election a new political configuration seems to be taking place, which requires careful assessment as it could be of immense importance for Sri Lanka’s future. Obviously, a convergence has been taking place between the two major parties, the UNP and the SLFP, as I have noted in earlier articles, which could portend the emergence of a third party, a neo-Fascist one. Alternatively, the SLFP could transmogrify into a basically neo-Fascist Party while the UNP becomes a basically democratic Party. But, before proceeding further, let me make some observations on the convergence that has been taking place. I believe that the convergence is due to changes of a structural order, not a transitional phenomenon that flows from […]

Karunanidhi wants India to move resolution against Sri Lanka in UNHRC

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

CHENNAI: A few days after the Sri Lankan Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling for an international probe into charges of genocide, DMK president M Karunanidhi on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider moving a “suitable” resolution in the upcoming UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva in March. The 28th session of the UNHRC will see UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) submitting a report on the US-sponsored investigation into the alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties (LTTE and the Sri Lankan government) between 2002 and 2011. The DMK leader’s demand has come ahead of Maithripala Sirisena’s first overseas visit, after being elected as Sri […]

Ban seeks accountability on war

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants to see accountability in Sri Lanka over the war, a UN spokesman said ahead of talks between Ban and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, responding to a question posed at a press briefing yesterday (Thursday) said that the Secretary-General’s position on the human rights investigation is unchanged. “He’s obviously aware that the new administration is considering setting domestic accountability mechanisms and will be carefully assessing these developments.  The Secretary‑General has stressed the importance of Sri Lanka establishing credible mechanisms that meet international standards.  Advancing accountability, like other parts of the post‑war agenda in Sri Lanka, will lay the basis for the country to make further progress on peace, democracy and development,” Dujarric said. He added […]

Eliminate poverty to build unity

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

‘Reconciliation and wealth’ go hand in hand is the message conveyed by President Maithripala Sirisena in his Independence Day speech of 4 February. Sirisena in his address spoke of building bridges between the ‘North’ and the ‘South’ and of eliminating poverty which he said was at 6.7%, a figure probably thrown up by the controversial State controlled Census and Statistics Department (CSD), which figures however, are disputed by the Sirisena regime on the basis that the country’s economic data was doctored by the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa Government in order to paint a rosy picture of the country’s economy. This newspaper was not immediately able to gain access to the CSD website to verify this poverty statistic thrown up by Sirisena. Nevertheless, Central Bank of Sri […]

What Can The US Do To Help Sri Lanka?

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Mangala Samaraweera – I am delighted to be here in Washington. It has been a good two-day visit and what better way to wind up than talking at the prestigious National Press Club, known as the place where news happens. I am aware of your Club’s storied history and I am indeed honored to be amongst all of you. Let me start by quoting Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s words at Sri Lanka’s Independence Day celebrations here in Washington a few days ago. He said; “After the most successful election in your country’s history, Sri Lankans can stand proud alongside Americans as keepers of the democratic dream.” Coming here after a very productive meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry this afternoon, ladies […]

Sri Lanka probes wells in north suspecting bodies inside

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — The Sri Lankan government has ordered an investigation into all water wells in the country’s Northern Province which have been closed since the 30-year conflict period, a government minister said here on Friday. Deputy Women’s Affairs Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran was quoted by the local media that she had ordered the wells to be re- excavated and investigated after local residents in northern war- ravaged Jaffna suspect that most of those who had disappeared during the country’s civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels must have been killed and buried inside these wells. The minister further said that the existence of many such closed wells in the area where many cases of disappeared have been reported have strengthened this suspicion. Thousands of […]

Councillor Kindelpitiya hands over info on ‘White Van’ abductions to CID

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Kindelpitiya hands over info on ‘white van’ abductions to CID Democratic Party (DP) Western Provincial Council member Susil Kindelpitiya today handed over information to the CID regarding 13 alleged disappearances and ‘white van’ abductions which had taken place during the previous government. Speaking to reporters outside the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) building, the Provincial Councilor stated that after Maithripala Sirisena was elected as the President, several families in Colombo had visited him and allayed their grievances pertaining to the abduction of family members. Kindelpitiya, in his letter to the Director of the CID, had also requested for investigations to be carried out based on the recent revelation made by former Minister Mervyn Silva, alleging that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the architect of the […]

Don’t let them cross over

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The new government’s decision to halt crossovers in Parliament could be described as the wisest decision in the recent history of democracy in the country. It is reported that the constitutional reforms to come before Parliament would disqualify MPs who cross over. Crossing over is cheating. Parliament was like a pond infested with frogs during monsoon rains in the past two decades. The incidence of crossovers was very high over the past two decades. The pole-vaulters jumped for gains like ministerial position and some for ‘big cash’ it was reported. Jumping sides in Parliament was apparently taken for granted and turncoats went great guns. It was considered as a lucrative business in parliamentary politics during the past two decades. Political party leaders who were in […]

Law breaking politicos

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The economy is in a crisis and the masses are being burdened by the high cost of living. That is the reality.In that context frugality and of being an example to one’s fellow citizens has to start at the top.Nevertheless, the stewards of the previous regime, kicked out by the masses at the 8 January 2015 presidential poll, were noted for their extravagance and ostentation, ipso facto at public/taxpayer expense. Waste, tempered with corruption and several other ‘sins,’ like a canker, virtually engulfed Sri Lanka’s body politic. ‘Right is wrong’ and ‘wrong is right,’ were the new meanings given to those words by the former government, according to their dictionary. Laws were meant for their benefit and not for the good of the masses. The […]

Salley tells President: ‘Take punitive action against BBS’

14th February 2015 // 0 Comments

by Lal Gunasekera National Executive Council member Azath Salley has urged President Maithripala Sirisena’s to rein in the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or face the consequences. Salley, who is also the leader of the National Unity Alliance (NUA) as well as UNP member of the Central Provincial Council, has requested the President to appoint a Presidential Commission to probe the BBS. Salley told The Island that the government couldn’t ignore the project undertaken by the BBS, particularly its General Secretary Ven. Galagodaathte Gnanasara Thera. Salley was responding to the BBS threat to remove Kuragala mosque in the Eastern province ‘brick by brick’ within a month unless the Antiquities Ordinance was enforced by the government. Salley said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa hadn’t kept his promise […]