June 2015

Rathana Thera storms out in high dudgeon

23rd June 2015 // 0 Comments

A tense situation arose at a party leaders’ meeting at the Parliamentary Complex yesterday with participants engaged in heated arguments. Jathika Hela Urumaya representative Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera walked out in protest. The party leaders met at the Parliamentary complex with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presiding to allocate two days for a debate on proposed electoral reforms. Ven. Rathana Thera, contacted for comment, said that he understood that some of the participants had a hidden agenda to disrupt the passage of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. “The content of the Amendment could not be taken up in the form of an adjournment debate. It was against parliamentary traditions. As some of the participants tried to act against parliamentary traditions I decided to walk out.” The […]

Split over 20th Amendment

23rd June 2015 // 0 Comments

20th Amendment To The Constitution: Full Text Of Gazetted Bill The Gazette notification on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution has been published now. Click here ( English) and here (Sinhala) to read the Gazetted Bill. The 20A: Elections & Numbers By Mano Ratwatte – The current parliament has run its due course. The character of the next Parliament is likely to be different from the one from 2010. Everyone is talking about the 20A. 19A was an excellent starting point thanks to one simple remarkable Buddhist man now sitting as President. People want to reform that electoral system. This Parliament has 225 members. After comparing the following numbersA shouldn’t we ask the leaders, is such a large number of MPs necessary if more powers […]

Local inquiry to mislead people – Thambirajah

23rd June 2015 // 0 Comments

A prominent member of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Leader of Democratic Organization Against Oppression, Thampi Mu Thambirajah said, currently the international inquiry preceding the investigations on war crimes and the international community is at a stage to release the report by September. At this stage the government is emphasizing on a local inquiry to mislead the people. Thambirajah who also several times launched hunger protests urging for resettlement in the North and the East pointed out, “We have much evidence that genocidal killings took place during the war period in the North and East. This evidence was proved before passing the resolution on genocide by the Northern Provincial Council.” Following are excerpts: ? : You participated in the recent discussions on electoral reform matters […]

UNHRC says not funding diaspora festival

23rd June 2015 // 0 Comments

The UNHRC on Monday dismissed reports of having allocated funds for the proposed ‘Diaspora Festival’ organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the end of this year. UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s spokesperson Ruper Colville in a statement on the claim said it was ‘completely untrue’. “Neither the High Commissioner for Human Rights nor the Human Rights Council has provided any money for such an event,” he has stated. During a media briefing on Sunday JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe condemned the government’s decision to host the ‘Diaspora Festival’ and alleged there were reports indicating that the UNHRC has donated over 3.2 million USD to hold this event. He also stated that the motives behind allocating funds for the festival in this manner was […]

Government dispels fears over diaspora festival

23rd June 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government today insisted that LTTE members living overseas and those who still have links with the LTTE will not take part in a diaspora festival scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in December. Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith.P. Perera said that while an open invitation has been extended to all Sri Lankans living overseas to attend the festival, individual invitations will be sent closer to the date of the event. Perera said that the event is open to all those who accept a united and undivided Sri Lanka and is also not limited to just the Tamil diaspora. The opposition has raised concerns that groups linked to the LTTE will attend the festival in Sri Lanka but Perera said that he does not expect anyone […]

”LTTE will be back” is the only hope for Mahinda and US decides to help him.

23rd June 2015 // 0 Comments

Asserting that there is a “threat” to national security, Sri Lanka’s opposition on Monday asked the government to act urgently over a US report which said that the LTTE’s international network and funding was intact. The report noted that there have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war, but a total of 13 LTTE supporters, several of which had allegedly planned attacks against the US and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India were arrested in Malaysia in 2014. Terror Attacks Were Planned On US And Israel Consulates …   These arrested men had nothing to do with LTTE but were working for Pakistan embassy in view of attacking US and Israeli diplomatic facilities […]

”Ranil OUT & Mahinda IN” says Maithiri

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

President Maitripala Sirisena to work with Mahinda  President Maitripala Sirisena, addressing the Nuwara Eliya district committee of the SLFP yesterday, said that he would strive to form a government led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and include former presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in it.  How come Maithri Nominate Mahinda as the prime ministerial candidate when the vast majority of people have voted against him for not adhering to good governance, rule of law and the unprecedented corruption that prevailed under his rule He said he would team up with all possible forces to form such a government. He said his team would never leave room for the party to split, and, if any other group tried to split it, the people would take note […]

Sri Lanka to recover GSP+ after Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva: PM

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

June 22, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will regain the GSP plus trade concession after the Human Rights Council sessions which are to be held in Geneva in September, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said. The European Union withdrew the concessions in 2010 expressing deep concern over alleged human rights violations said to have occurred during the last stage of Sri Lanka’s 30 year civil war. “We earlier thought that the concession applies only to apparel industry but eventually the fish products were also included in the tax concessions,” Wickramasinghe said. “Now we are working on getting back the GSP plus after the Human Rights Council sessions which are to be held in Geneva in September by solving the existing issues.” He was speaking at a […]

There cannot be two leaders in a country – President

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said there cannot be two leaders in a country. “A country should be governed by one leader and he should be allowed to run its administration” the President said addressing an SLFP meeting in Nuwara Eliya yesterday. He further said he wishes to unite all groups in his plan to bring the change demanded by the public and that he will not entertain factions in the SLFP. “Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga strove to bring out reforms through peaceful measures. She even became a victim of the violence unleashed by the LTTE. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated the LTTE and introduced reforms to the country. I too was elected by the people of the country to bring about reforms. […]

Mangala-GTF talks split tamil Diaspora

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

Mangala-GTF talks split tamil Diaspora – TGTE says GTF has no mandate to represent the rest – ‘Sumanthiran does not have full support of TNA’ Rasika Jayakody Eric Solheim Suren Surendiran V. Rudrakumaran Talks between Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) have caused a split among leading Tamil Diaspora organisations. In response to the discussions between the Foreign Minister and GTF Spokesman Suren Surendiran in the presence of several other parties including former Norwegian peace envoy Eric Solheim, the Senate of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) says the GTF, the largest Tamil Diaspora organisation operating in Europe, has no mandate to speak on behalf of the rest of the Diaspora. V. Rudrakumaran is the ‘Prime Minister’ of the TGTE […]

BTF and Hearing on disappearance of LTTE leaders and 18,000 Tamil Civilians

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

Relatives of LTTE leaders, including Nadesan and Pulitheven, will explain the circumstances that led to their surrender and their subsequent disappearance at a meeting to be held in Geneva on June 24. The meeting has been jointly organised by Pasumai Thayagam, founded by PMK leader S. Ramadoss, along with British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the United States Tamil Protection Council (USTPC). PMK spokesperson K. Balu and Arul of the Pasumai Thayagam will participate in the meeting. Mr. Balu said a 18,000 Tamils and their leaders surrendered in 2009 and even after six years there was no detail about their whereabouts. “The Sri Lankan government is disregarding calls to provide a comprehensive list of detainees. A lasting peace in Sri Lanka will be achieved only by […]

Jayalalithaa seeks Modi’s intervention to get 31 TN fishermen released from Sri Lankan custody

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

CHENNAI: A day after 17 Nagapattinam fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene to secure the release of all the 31 Tamil Nadu fishermen who have been in the custody of the Sri Lankan authorities. “This is to bring to your notice one more unfortunate incident in which 17 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, along with their two fishing boats, have been apprehended and detained by the Sri Lankan navy. It has been reported that two mechanized fishing boats that set sail on June 19 from the Nagapattinam were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy in the late hours of June 20. The boats and the fishermen have […]

Tamil Fest to showcase art, music and cuisine at Scarborough event

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

Festival next step in community’s growth, says Mayor John Tory Tamil Fest 2015 Staff photo/MIKE ADLER Toronto Mayor John Tory and other dignitaries join a group of performers during the launch of Tamil Fest 2015 on Tuesday at the Markham Convention Centre in Scarborough. The street festival to be held on Morningside Avenue Au. 29-30 will be hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress. Scarborough Mirror By Mike Adler Greater Toronto’s Tamil community is now grown up, and this August 29 and 30, the rest of us can say, “Vanakkam” – welcome. That’s the weekend the first Tamil Fest in Scarborough will showcase a people’s arts, music, and cuisine, the Canadian Tamil Congress says, for the first time outside the Indian subcontinent. Tamil-Canadians are 300,000 strong, […]

I Invited Canadian LTTE to taste Sri Lankan tea

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

We continued to organise and strengthen the Consulate General’s Office. We tried to maintain close contact with the Controller of Immigration in Colombo and strict controls were put in place with regards to the issuance of emergency travel documents as LTTE supporters were known to use them to enter Sri Lanka. There was also close coordination with the Indian Consular Service to prevent LTTE members from entering Sri Lanka via India. I met with representatives of SLUNA (Organisation which jointly led the battle against LTTE in Canada. More will be written about the heroes of SLUNA later) Sri Lankan Airlines, Sri Lankan business houses, Sri Lankan Chamber of Commerce, Board of the Sri Lanka-Canada Business Council, Tea Association of Canada and community leaders of Canada […]

Neither I Nor My Community Will Do Anything To Betray The Country – Rishard Bathiudeen

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

The issue of resettling the Muslim people that LTTE expelled from the North in 1990 remains unresolved. Many of them still live outside their original residences.  Meantime, various allegations have been directed at Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishard Bathiudeen that he was encouraging the people to encroach on the Wilpattu National Park – however later it was alleged that internally displaced Muslims were resettled by encroaching on Kal-Aru forest which is in the buffer zone of the Wilpattu National Park. While such allegations are still being made, speaking to The Sunday Leader, Minister Bathiudeen said that some extremist groups are targeting him and spreading rumours just to create division among communities. Following are excerpts of the interview: By Waruni Karunarathne – Pictures by Senaka Kuruppu […]

A mortgaged media! media!

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

A mortgaged media! media! The immediate outcome of the January 8 election has been a fillip to freedom of expression in the media, but behind the euphoria of the moment trails a three-decade-long record of a press under siege. There may be a nostalgic colouring to this, but well into the 1980s it seemed there was a vibrant public intellectualism in force in Sri Lanka that engaged with the ethnic question in a reasoned, bold and fair-minded manner. Scholars like Kumari Jayawardena, Karthigesu Sivathamby, Charles Abeysekara, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Sunil Bastian or V. Nithiyanandan and politicians of the calibre of Colin de Silva or Neelan Tiruchelvam sought to understand and bridge or transcend the deepening chasm of the ethnic divide. But they did not stand a […]

Anti Muslim Sentiment In Sri Lanka: Hate Incidents – January To April 2015

22nd June 2015 // 0 Comments

The outcome of the presidential election of January 2015 created expectations of change, hope and reform among considerable sections of Sri Lankan society. For Muslim communities, who played a pivotal role in the election, the change in Government was willed into being in part due to the insecurity and violence suffered by Muslims particularly in the South of the country over the last two years. As indicated by the compilation of incidents carried out by the Secretariat for Muslims (SFM) from 2013 onwards, Muslims faced a hate campaign that has resulted in violence and tension, including damages to mosques and private properties, harassment and injuries to individuals and even deaths. This campaign that was carried out through a variety of methods, including direct violence, demonstrations, […]

UNHRC has donated $3.2 million to hold a Diaspora festival: JHU

21st June 2015 // 0 Comments

Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Media Spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe on Sunday (21) severely condemned the new government’s decision to hold a ‘Diaspora Festival’ in Colombo. “There were reports that the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has already donated over USD 3.2 million to hold this festival. It is highly questionable as to why they needed to allocate money in this regard,” he added. In order to encourage Diaspora members to engage and contribute to efforts in Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry is keen to organize a Diaspora festival later this year, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in parliament last week. The Minister said that such an event, depending on how it progresses, could even take the form of a regular annual event, to […]

Prosecute or release LTTE suspects, deputy minister demands

21st June 2015 // 0 Comments

By Percy Kuruneru, Anuradhapura Corr. Women’s Affairs Deputy Minister Vijayakala Maheshwaran on Saturday demanded that the government take immediate action with regard to Tamil detainees in remand custody in Anuradhapura jail without further violating their human rights. “Produce them before courts and punish them if found guilty or release them if there are no charges, but do not keep them just as LTTE suspects,” the Deputy Minister said addressing media soon after visiting the detainees on Saturday. The suspects had been kept for more than two years without any charge against them, she said. “As a member of the incumbent government, I condemn this despicable act and the government should take immediate action without letting them rot behind bars,” she said. “They have been in […]

Govt. invitation is for all Diaspora groups – Foreign Ministry

21st June 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government of Sri Lanka has invited all members of the Sri Lankan Diaspora to contribute to the reconciliation process and the country’s wider development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated. Speaking to The Nation, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mahishini Colonne said the invitation was extended to all members of the Sri Lankan Diaspora and it should not be misconstrued as being confined to engagement with pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora groups. She said the government was keen on having regular interactions with all the Diaspora, meaning anyone of Sri Lankan origin resident overseas. The Diaspora was welcome to contribute in whatever way it could to Sri Lanka, whether it is through sharing of knowledge, skills, or any other form, she added. Colonne said the ministry was encouraged […]

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