January 2016

Musically yours, from Jaffna

30th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Meet Sri Lanka-based 21-year-old Thuvarakan, whose covers of Tamil songs are gaining popularity on social media  In all his music videos, T. Thuvarakan is a picture of concentration. Playing two keyboards simultaneously, his fingers deftly search for the right note, not missing them even on one occasion. A big fan of Tamil film music, the 21-year-old’s most recent videos are that of hit Kollywood songs, including ‘Thalli Pogathey’ (Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada ), ‘Thangamey’ ( Naanum Rowdy Dhaan ) and ‘Aaluma Doluma’ (Vedalam ). What’s so special, you might ask. Thuvarakan is doing all this in his nondescript room at Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where he was born and lived through three civil wars — in 1995, 2000 and 2006. And, he can play a dozen instruments, […]

Tamils seek power devolution in Sri Lanka’s new Constitution

30th January 2016 // 0 Comments

ALSO READ Sri Lanka opposition demands joint Indo-Lanka naval patrolsSri Lanka minister resigns over floating armoury scandalSirisena pledges new era of ‘consensual politics’ in Sri LankaSri Lanka’s rival party members part of new consensus CabinetSri Lankan parliament begins process to adopt new Constitution   Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party today demanded devolution of powers in the new Constitution to resolve ethnic issues. “The only solution to the national problem could be the devolution of power. We hope the new Constitution will address this issue,” Tamil National Alliance (TNA) front line parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran told reporters here today. The need for a new Constitution is felt by all in order to move forward as one country, Sumanthiran said, adding that the process will lay the ground for […]

Sri Lankan Tamil journalist’s kin oppose film release

30th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Opposing the release of a Tamil film based on the life of a slain Sri Lankan Tamil journalist Isaipriya, titled ‘ Porkalathil Oru Poo ’, her mother and sister have approached the Madras High Court seeking to restrain the director from releasing the film. Isaipriya’s mother Veda Ranjana and sister Dharani on Thursday moved a plea to implead them in the petition moved by the film’s director, K. Ganesan, challenging the order of Film Certification Appellate Tribunal refusing certification to the movie. In his original petition, the director submitted that he directed the film based on the telecast made by London-based TV Network Channel – 4, on the final war between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE. “I came to know about the Tamil […]

British war ship in Sri Lanka, boost for defence ties

30th January 2016 // 0 Comments

The British war ship HMS Defender is paying a routine visit to Colombo to take on stores and fuel before continuing with her duties in the Indian Ocean. This is the first time in four years that a RN warship has visited Sri Lanka, a country with which the United Kingdom shares a long military history, the British High Commission in Colombo said. The British High Commission said the Ship’s visit now is a welcome signal of the closer defence relations the two countries are developing. HMS Defender is a Type 45 Destroyer, built in the United Kingdom and is one of the world’s most advanced warships. She is equipped with the Principal Anti Air Missile weapon system, a medium-range gun, close-in weapon systems and […]

Sri Lanka’s missing thousands: one woman’s six-year fight to find her husband

30th January 2016 // 0 Comments

When journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda went missing, police told wife Sandhya ‘getting abducted was fashionable’ and he would soon return. More than 90 court appearances and a change in government later, she is still searching. Sandhya Eknaligoda has had a date at court in Homogoma, Sri Lanka, every month for the past six years. The 52-year-old counts the number of appearances at more than 90 and they are aimed at securing one thing – finding her husband. Sri Lanka accused of allowing continuing human rights abuses  Read more Journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda disappeared without a trace on 24 January 2010 after a mysterious telephone call led him to an equally mysterious meeting. Since then not a word has been heard from Prageeth, who was 50 […]

Power Sharing Quest of Sri Lankan Tamils After Independence

30th January 2016 // 0 Comments

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The premier political configuration representing the Tamils of Sri Lanka in the Northern and Eastern provinces is the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). According to newspaper reports the TNA seems to be disappointed over perceived delay in setting up an appropriate mechanism to draft a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. It is also worried about what it sees as a potential dilution of the Constitution making exercise. Views have been expressed to this effect by TNA spokesperson and Jaffna district Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran at a press conference held last week at the office of the leader of the opposition. The TNA’s concern over what it perceives as unnecessary delay and potential dilution of the Constitution –making exercise seems understandable when viewed against the backdrop of […]

PM to make statement on overseas accounts

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will make a statement in Parliament with regard to the revelations made by Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on bank accounts in Dubai belonging to a former VVIP family, an MP and a head of a government institution, which exceeded USD 3 billion. Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said the Prime Minister would make a statement on the issue, when a question was raised by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Dissanayake on the matter in Parliament yesterday. Mr. Dissanayake, who quoted Minister Senaratne said the latter had said at a press briefing that a member of a VVIP family had USD 1.08 billion in his bank account in a Dubai bank, while an MP had USD 500 million and a head […]

Local activists, organizations condemn President’s statements

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Local activists and organizations have condemned President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statements wherein he appears to be indicating a withdrawal from the obligations the Government had committed to in the consensus resolution passed at the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in October 2015. In a joint statement, 144 local activists and organizations said that it is worth recalling that the Government as a co-sponsor of the resolution in Geneva, was in a position to negotiate the exact terms of the resolution. “Owing to the Government’s positions taken at these negotiations, the resolution in itself was a compromise, much to the disappointment of many victims and activists. The Government now appears to be backtracking from even these compromised commitments. The President in these interviews categorically […]

US notes missing in Lanka at informal UNSC meeting

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

The United States discussed the issue of missing persons in Sri Lanka during an informal meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC). During a UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on the Global Challenge of Accounting for Missing Persons, the Permanent Representative of the US to the UN, Samantha Power spoke about her visit to Sri Lanka and the missing persons issue. She said that in recent months, she had the opportunity to visit two countries afflicted by huge numbers of missing and disappeared: Sri Lanka and Mexico. Power said that while the history and the causes of the problem in each context, and any other context, is completely distinct, she was struck on these two visits by how many of the same themes emerged in […]

Ranil fumes in Parliament over media and war crimes issue

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremessinghe today in Parliament slammed some media institutions on the manner they had reported the issue over the involvement of foreign judges in the accountability process on the war. He insisted that the government will not agree to an international war crimes tribunal on the Sri Lanka issue. “We have not signed the Rome statute,” he said. The Prime Minister said that he met President Maithripala Sirisena and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday and discussed the issue. He said at the meeting it was agreed that the government position on the investigation on the war is that it will be a domestic process which will be open to international assistance. The Prime Minister said that even the former Government had obtained international assistance when investigating reports […]

Skeletal remains found in secret Navy Prison

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

BY Ishara Ratnakara Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday ordered the CID to launch a probe into the discovery of skeletal remains in the underground prison named ‘Gunside’ located within the Ocean Science Faculty premises of the Naval Command in Trincomalee, during the visit there of an overseas monitoring group that was probing disappearances in the East. The CID also told Court that a Dolphin Mitsubishi vehicle bearing number 6021 had also been discovered in the underground prison. Inquiries carried out on the chassis number had revealed that the vehicle had belonged to John Reed of Kotahena from whom it had been stolen. The CID also told Court that its investigations had revealed that 11 persons had been abducted and detained at this underground prison. […]

Geneva Resolution Is A Mutual Agreement: Friday Forum

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

“The resolution co-sponsored by our government at the United Nations Human Rights Council is a mutual agreement entered into by Sri Lanka, as a sovereign member state of the UN, which recognises our responsibility to embark on a process of reconciliation among communities that will foster peace and prosperity.” says the Friday Forum. Issuing a statement last night the Friday Forum said; “This resolution is an opportunity to do what is right, by ourselves and for ourselves, and for our future generations. Over many decades, including the post-war period, there have been assassinations, abductions, torture, and conscription of children and sexual violence perpetrated on women. These realities have often been denied by most politicians who have tried to promote racist and divisive ideologies to achieve […]

Minister rejects ”International aid” in investigating ”War Crime Investigation”.

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

International community should not demand an international process to investigate war crime allegations, pointed out Faiszer Musthapha, Minister of Provincial Council and Local Government.  “Generally you call for an international process when you don’t have faith in the domestic mechanism. President Sirisena has put a very independent judicial mechanism in place. I don’t think the international  community should have any doubt over the judicial system which is in place which was further strengthened by the 19th Amendment,” he said, in an interview with the Daily FT. He made these remarks when asked about the much-discussed interview with President Sirisena by the BBC in which the former said foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved when investigating alleged war crimes. The Tamil community which lost more than 40,000 civilians lives due to killing […]

This is Sri Lanka : Magistrate To Withdraw From Case Due To Monks’ ‘Hooliganism’

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Homagama Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake today rejected the bail application filed on behalf of Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera and informed that he intended to withdraw from the case. The Magistrate informed the court that he had already sought the Attorney General’s advice regarding the possibility of withdrawal from the case. “I will not change a decision I have taken, even if someone holds a gun to my head and threatens me” the Magistrate said, announcing his rejection of the bail application. “If I am wrong, anyone could complain to the higher officials” he added. The Magistrate said he would receive the opinion of the Attorney General’s Department before the next hearing of the case. A day before he made the announced, the […]

Bail application filed for Gnanasara Thero rejected

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Bail application filed at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court for the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, who was arrested and remanded for contempt of court has been rejected. Attorney-at-law Sumudu Hewage had filed the bail application on behalf of the Bodu Bala Sena organization, Ada Derana reporter said. The prisons spokesman said that the Buddhist monk was admitted to the hospital based on a request by the latter regarding his blood pressure. Gnanasara Thero was remanded in custody until February 9 for threatening people, public officials and misbehaving in an open court. He surrendered to the Homagama police on Tuesday (26) after an arrest warrant was issued against him by the court. The monk had allegedly threatened […]

Gnanasara Thera Violates Prison Regulation While In Remand: Officials Turn Blind Eye

29th January 2016 // 0 Comments

In stark violation of prison regulations, the officials of the Welikada prison had allowed more than 50 visitors to meet Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Glaagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera who is currently in remand. According to prison regulations, only three visitors are allowed to visit a suspect in custody, on a daily basis. In addition, any Parliamentarian can visit the prison at any time of the day without prior approval. It is now clear that Prison officials have not followed these standard procedures when it came to the BBS General Secretary who was remanded in connection with charges of contempt of courts and threatening state officials. He was transferred to the Welikada prison hospital last evening citing medical reasons. However, even after he was admitted to […]

The only way preventing the country getting divided is from a federal system – TNA

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said that what is expected from a new constitution is only about how the power of the government is devolved.  TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumandiran said “the best method to prevent the country getting divided is the devolving of power based on federal principles” During a media communiqué held in Colombo yesterday the TNA parliamentarian said a permanent majority and permanent minority community exist in the country and according to the current electoral method all the decisions are taken only by the majority community. Sumandiran said that this situation should be changed and amend the constitution where all the community in the country can use the governance. The MP said if we need to find a solution to the national problem […]

Opposition questions contradictory comments on war crimes probe

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Opposition questions contradictory comments on war crimes probe The opposition today questioned the contradictory comments being made by the Government on the war crimes investigation. Joint opposition member and Mahajana Eksath Peramuna leader Dinesh Gunawardena said that while the Foreign Ministry had told the UN international judges will be allowed to assist the probe on the war in Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena had said the opposite in an interview with the BBC. Gunawardena told Parliament today that the contradictory statements by the Government has resulted in the Government being criticized by human rights groups like the New York based Human Rights Watch. President Maithripala Sirisena had told the BBC that foreign judges will not be involved in the domestic process to investigate the war while earlier Foreign […]

Danish parliament tightens rules on asylum seekers.

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

COPENHAGEN, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) — The Danish Parliament on Tuesday passed a controversial bill that tightens rules on asylum applications and empowers the authorities to confiscate valuables of asylum seekers to finance their stay in the country. Lawmakers in Copenhagen voted 81-27 in favor of the new austerity measures, aimed to make the country less attractive for refugees and migrants. Under the law, Danish police will now be able to search luggage of asylum seekers and seize cash and any individual items worth over 10,000 Danish kroner, or about 1,452 U.S. dollars. Wedding rings and any other items of sentimental value are exempted. It also favors delaying family reunifications for some refugees by up to three years instead of one year, and making it harder […]

Government to brief Parliament on alleged offshore accounts of MR

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

The Government today said it will brief Parliament on the alleged offshore accounts of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said that the Prime Minister will need some time to gather the information related to the accounts in order to brief Parliament. He was responding to a question raised by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake on statements made recently by cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on the alleged offshore accounts of Rajapaksa and his family. Dissanayake told Parliament that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must make a clear statement to Parliament on the offshore accounts. He said that while Senaratne had revealed details of the bank accounts another Government Parliamentarian had claimed he had seen the account details. Dr. Rajitha Senaratne […]

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