April 2015

Collective guilt?

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Prof. Susirith Mendis One of my good and sincere friends, now a self-exiled expatriate, growing an amazingly beautiful and typical ‘English Garden’ in, I believe, Great Yarmouth, UK, had made the following comment rhetorically to a post I put on Facebook of an article by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke titled “Most Tamil Moderates, Liberals and Progressives are Tamils First, and Moderates, Liberals and Progressives Later”: “Are the Sinhalese any different? Minorities in any community are more conscious of their minority status, in SL the majority community suffer from a minority mentally, they keep frightening each other by comparing their numbers with Tamil population of Tamil Nadu.” Yes, Sinhalese do have a ‘minority mindset’. They are a singularly miniscule minority of about 15 million people in […]

19A shuts out Gota

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed in Parliament on Tuesday with an overwhelming majority, has barred former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa from contesting Parliamentary elections. The section of the 19th Amendment disqualifying dual citizens from becoming Parliamentarians remained unchanged during the Committee Stages of the debate. When contacted by the Daily News, Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka yesterday confirmed that the former Defence Secretary is a dual citizen. Therefore, the 19th Amendment disqualifies him from contesting the forthcoming Parliamentary election as a candidate of any registered party or independent group. Rajapaksa spent over 10 years in the US after he retired from the Sri Lankan Army of which he was a Lieutenant Colonel. He returned to Sri Lanka in 2005 […]

President thwarted last minute bid to sabotage 19 A – Rajitha

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando The government yesterday accused an influential section of the UPFA parliamentary group of having made a desperate bid to sabotage the 19 Amendment to the Constitution. President Maithripala Sirisena, however, in his capacity as the leader of the SLFP had succeeded in thwarting dissidents, government spokesperson and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told the media yesterday. Addressing the media at the Government Information Department, Dr. Senaratne alleged that the dissident group had made a bid to refrain from backing the Bill at a meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament on Tuesday. Some of those who had caused a major scene at the onset of the meeting, subsequently pledged their allegiance to President Sirisena, the government spokesman said, adding: “Subsequently, the dissident […]

Racist Mahinda can never be a President again!

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, trying hard to come back, suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Parliament passed the 19th Constitutional Amendment (19A), which prevents him from standing for the Presidency again. “No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the People,” the 19A says. To add to his woes, Rajapaksa’s own party,  the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and his grand coalition, the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), voted for the 19A. However, the SLFP and UPFA MPs tried hard to scuttle the 19A, coming up with various objections. Their trump card was the majority they enjoyed in Parliament. Without their support President […]

Kerry Hopes to Reset US Relations With Sri Lanka

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

STATE DEPARTMENT— A senior U.S. State Department official said Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry was traveling to Sri Lanka to show that the U.S. “applauds the vision” of that country’s new government. Kerry will visit Colombo on Saturday as part of a weeklong trip that includes stops in Kenya and Djibouti.  He will be the first secretary of state to visit Sri Lanka since Colin Powell did so in 2004. In Sri Lanka, Kerry will meet with the country’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, who took office in January after defeating longtime leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sirisena, who quit Rajapaksa’s government to challenge him in elections, vowed to carry out reforms that he said would reverse his predecessor’s autocratic and authoritarian-style government. Sirisena enacted a […]

Sri Lanka’s new rulers confident of regaining GSP Plus next year: Harsha de Silva

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Apr 30, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s new administration is confident about retrieving the GSP plus trade concessions by mid or late next year, Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of policy planning and economic development said. “We are trying to get GSP plus back and I am very happy to report to you that we had very productive discussions in Brussels and with the EU (European Union) political leadership,” De Silva said on Wednesday.“By late this year or early next year we hope to get the ball rolling in this regard and by mid or end of next year we are very confident of getting the GSP plus back,” “These are the concessions that our exporters have been waiting for a long time.” GSP Plus […]

Ranil Wickremesinghe: The good, the bad or the ugly?

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is considered a political strategist by many. LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran once feared his actions. He takes certain bold decisions in the situations where other leaders are reluctant to act. On the other hand, he acts in selfless manner in certain situations where even ordinary politicians do not behave in such a way, let alone political strategists. However, his strategies did not work in favour of him in critical stages. When he became the Prime Minister in 2001 with the majority in the Parliament, the President was Chandrika Kumaratunga. At that time the Sri Lankan Army was defeated on several fronts by the LTTE. The Government lost major camps in the Northern Province including Elephant Pass. Katunayake Airport was attacked by […]

What Does A Rajapaksa Return Entail

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The inevitable yet politically well-timed arrest of one or all of the Rajapaksa brothers, legal action against all on all and sundry causes and cases had all been written into the script when common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena won the presidential polls. For the new government, it was at the very top of their poll promises and for the people that voted him it was their fervent hopes, expectation and anticipation. For President Sirisena’s poll-time under-writer and post-poll partner in government, it was (also) an electoral necessity, to say the least. It does not necessarily flow that such harassment of the nation’s most-acknowledged war-hero would ensure President Rajapaksa’s electoral return early on if only he threw his hat into the ring. The nation did not […]

The 19A: Did Maithripala Sell Out?

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Hilmy Ahamed – The historic passage of the watered down 19th amendment on 28th April 2015 is probably the single most successful parliamentary endevour, undertaken by our legislators in many years. It augurs well for Sri Lanka and its democracy that was reestablished after a decade of Rajapaksa tyranny on the 9th of January 2015. Whatever barriers the opposition mustered during the last one hundred and seven days against the passage of the 19th amendment by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government fell apart under President Maithripala Sirisena’s resolve to ensure its smooth passage. It also brought out the strong leadership and diplomatic skills of President Sirisena. This would also probably ensure the successful trial of the national government concept under the Maithripala Sirisena presidency. There is […]

After 100 days the stark contrast between the Rajapakse and Sirisena Administrations

30th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The conclusion of the one hundred (100) days is a good time to compare and indeed contrast the Maithripala Sirisena Administration from the Rajapakse rule that it replaced. This is particularly relevant in the context that Brother number two (no pun intended), Gotabhaya Rajapakse, has suggested that Mahinda Rajapakse should be prime minister, under President Sirisena. This suggestion of the Mahinda Rajapakse premiership is also what motivates the small appendages of the UPFA, the MEP, the NFF, the EPDP etc and a section of a Rajapakse old guard of about thirty SLFP MPs and declining following the removal of some of their number from the SLFP Central Committee. Negating the people’s mandate  The biggest objection of course to a Mahinda Rajapakse premiership is that it […]

NO difference between Mahinda and mugabe – Rajitha Senaratne

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Zahrah Imtiaz The debate on the bill of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution thus far has deepened the rift within the SLFP and the last two weeks in Parliament it was obvious that all was not well in the blue camp. As the President seeks to introduce reforms, many in his party strongly opposed it. Cabinet spokesperson and Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne said reforms would clean up the party and put it on the path envisioned by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. The question however is whether the clean-up would result in a break-up. Following are excerpts: ? In Parliament last week we saw two SLFPs; one supporting the President’s reforms and the other against. Is the President losing control of his party? A: There […]

Release info on Tamil political detainees

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

BY M. SASIKUMAR Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) General Secretary, Parliamentarian Douglas Devananda, urged the government to release information regarding Tamil political detainees. Devananda pointed out that young men and women from the North and the East were directed to a negative path by Tamil Political Leaderships in the past. “Some Tamil politicians complain that there are secret detention camps. We sent a petition to the government to release information regarding political detainees and details about these secret detention camps,” he said. He further said when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe visited Jaffna his party questioned him regarding secret detention camps, but he denied the functioning of such camps. “We questioned regarding political detainees in Parliament but they requested for two weeks time to reveal the […]

Nine Foods That Prevent and Combat Diabetes

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Can controlling your blood sugar levels and preventing Diabetes complications can be as simple as eating the right foods? The answer is yes. Certain foods are overflowing with nutritional substances that stabilize the blood sugar levels, protect out heart, and even save our vision from the harmful effects of Diabetes. The following 9 foods can give us all a great advantage in our war against Diabetes: 1. Apples   At a long-term research in Finland, researchers found that men who ate the largest amount of apples had 20% less diabetes or heart associated death. Their research indicated that the active ingredient responsible for this was quercetin. If you can’t find apples or don’t like them (rare but happens), other lesser but still good sources of quercetin are […]

“No way Sharmini, this will get us both killed!” – if this article was published in 2007

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Sharmini Serasinghe – The following piece was written by me in 2007. This was a time, when the media in Sri Lanka was terrorized to such an extent, that Journalists and Writers needed to be armed with cold courage, to function. All those Editors I sent the following piece to, who never said “No” to any of my articles before and after, refused to publish it in their newspapers, and one warned, “No way Sharmini, this will get us both killed!” Senior journalist Keith Noyahr, who was then the Associate Editor and Defence Correspondent of ‘The Nation on Sunday’ newspaper, was not yet abducted and beaten up to near pulp, for daring to be critical of the then government, and military high command. My […]

Chief Michael Sunday Babatunde Adigun: Friend Of The Tamils

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole – I write celebrating the life of a Nigerian Yoruba Chief, Michael Sunday Babatunde Adigun, Balogun Bobajiro of Ibadanland and Commander of the Order of the Niger whom the Tamil people are indebted to. I heard only last week of his demise on August 29, 2014. I went to Nigeria in Oct. 1977, just turned 25 after my London M.Sc. The best offer I had in England was at GE at £250 a month but my classmate Felix Fidelis Udeagwu forced my attention on Nigeria. Felix was an Igbo who had fought and been injured in the Biafra secession but felt good that Nigerian General Yakubu Gowon was generous in victory. He accommodated Igbo aspirations by dividing the federated Western, […]

Exclusive: Attorney General’s Recommendations On Gota Arrest: Ranil Stopt it.

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

A leaked report from the Attorney General’s Department on the case against Avant Garde Maritime Services, confirms the Colombo Telegraph report which exposed the Attorney General’s recommendations on the possible arrest of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. According the report AG did recommend that the former Secretary to Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa and four others would be arrested for committing offences pertaining to the Unauthorized Importation of Fire Arms to Sri Lanka (Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Fire Arms Ordinance), Possession of Fire Arms and Ammunition Without Valid Licenses (Under the Fire Arms Ordinance and Explosives Ordinance) and aonspiracy, aiding and abetting to commit the above offences. As Colombo Telegraph exclusively reported on March 09, 2015 it was Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who prevented the […]

Third reading of 19-A also passed

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The third reading of the 19th Amendment to the constitution was passed after some changes were made to the bill which was earlier approved by Parliament. The third reading was passed with 212 votes for and one against. The opposition made several recommendations to the 19th Amendment after initially voting for the bill during the second reading. Once the changes were included into the final document the bill was taken for a third vote and it was adopted. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the vote was historic while the opposition said that it will still push for electoral reforms through the 20th Amendment to the constitution. (Colombo Gazette)

Review on diaspora ban underway

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government says the review process on the ban imposed on some diaspora groups is underway. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who had said in March that the ban imposed by the former Government on diaspora groups and individuals will be reviewed, today informed parliament that the process is underway. “I spoke that day about initiating a process to review the individuals and entities in the diaspora community who were listed under the Extraordinary Gazette 1854/41 of 21 March 2014. This process has already been initiated,” he said. The Minister also said that under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, he is certain that the Government will form and implement a consensus on the national question that has evaded previous governments. […]

Sri Lanka parliament votes to curb president’s power

28th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s parliament voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to curb the power of the presidency, restoring a two-term limit and reviving independent bodies to manage key institutions such as the police and the judiciary. Related Stories Sri Lanka to drop plans stripping president’s executive powers AFP Sri Lanka graft busters question Rajapakse brothers AFP Benin votes in test for President Boni Yayi AFP Sri Lanka ex-leader slams new regime over graft probe AFP Benin votes in key test for president’s controversial plans AFP A total of 215 out of the 225 lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment which restores presidential term limits, reversing a change by former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse who scrapped them after being re-elected in 2010. The amendment was in line with a pledge by President […]

Norway lauds President’s dedication to the Nation

25th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Norway is satisfied with the success of the Sri Lanka Government’s 100-day programme. Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen expressed her satisfaction over this programme during a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena. The Norwegian Ambassador lauded the initiatives taken by the President for good governance and to further strengthen democracy amidst various obstacles. She expressed her pleasure over the President’s dedication. The Norwegian diplomat mentioned that the President’s Address to the Nation yesterday clearly portrayed his dedication to the nation. The President told her that his dedication for the wellbeing of the country and the people will not change in the future. The President expressed his gratitude to the international community for its positive attitude towards the new Government. The President did not forget to thank Norway […]

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