January 2016

A Cataract Surgery Camp in Sri Lanka funded by Solihull Junior School

3rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Dear all,   I am sure you are aware that Solihull Junior School in the Midlands, UK, raised nearly £8000 recently towards funding cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka through Assist RR. I am happy to inform you that Assist RR had already conducted a surgery camp in Ratnapura on 13 Dec 2015 for the benefit of patients from the hill country including Nuwara Eliya.   The camp was conducted at the Lions Vision for Sight Hospital in Ratnapura and Dr Dias Jeyasiri volunteered again to carry out the surgeries. Around 75 patients, who were brought in by buses from various parts of the hill country, benefited from this camp.   We would like to express our gratitude to Solihull Junior School Children, Staff and Parents for […]

Bringing pressure on those giving evidence before the Commission will

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Bringing pressure on those giving evidence before the Commission will be punished in keeping with the powers vested in it.He stated that already a few witnesses, who had provided evidence PRECIFAC goes tough By Pahan Wijesekera and Premalal Wijesekera Secretary of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Serious Acts of Large Scale Corruption and Fraud (PRECIFAC) Lacille de Silva said that anyone found guilty of threatening or bringing pressure on those giving evidence before the Commission will be punished in keeping with the powers vested in it.He stated that already a few witnesses, who had provided evidence before PRECIFAC, had pointed out how they had been either threatened or pressured not to give evidence before the Commission and that they have already asked its officials to initiate investigations […]

IDPs trapped in ‘model village’ fear permanent exile

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

By S. Rubatheesan Meant to be a temporary stop, Keppapilavu feels like the end of the line Three years after Thiruchelvan Ketheeswaran arrived in Keppapilavu village in Mullaitivu to start a new life for his family, his hopes are crumbling. Ketheeswaran was among the thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) resettled in a brand-new village as the final phase of the government’s resettlement process concluded. He could not return to his own land, 1-2km away. Born and raised in a farming family, he works now as a mason because his acres of paddy lands have been acquired by the military following the end of the bloody war in 2009. A father of two children, he finds it difficult to support his family. “With the start […]

Prevent recidivism with work chances, pleads prisons chief

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

By Chamal Weerakkody The prisons chief wants the government to enact policy that would encourage state and corporate bodies to provide job opportunities for rehabilitated prisoners in a bid to reduce the high rate of recidivism. The call comes in the wake of news that 48 per cent of prisoners have served prior sentences. The newly-appointed Commissioner-General of Prisons, H.M.N.C. Dhanasinghe, stressed the escalating rate of recidivism was a result of failure to address the psychological consequences of newly-released prisoners needing to provide for their families and being manipulated into further crime. Prisons Department statistics show that at the beginning of this month there were 18,771 inmates across all prisons, including convicted, unconvicted, appellant and youthful offenders. Of these, 8,106 are convicted offenders and 8,542 […]

Jaya seeks PM’s intervention for release of arrested fishermen

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

With over 80 Indian fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan prisons, Tamil Nadu government has once again sought Central intervention for their release. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said, “It is very unfortunate that these innocent fishermen have continued to be incarcerated throughout the festive season which they were unable to spend with their families. I urge your personal intervention in this matter and request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities in a concrete and decisive manner for the immediate release of 84 fishermen including the 29 arrested on December 31.” The recurrent instances of attacks and “abductions” of the fishermen in the Palk Bay “continue unabated […]

Wigneswaran’s Special Committee To Meet This Afternoon

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

The special committee appointed by Tamil People’s Council to discuss on a political solution for the national question will meet in Jaffna this afternoon. The 15-member committee was established by the TPC when it met at the Jaffna library last weekend.  The TPC is led by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran. Several political leaders in the north are members of the council.  Its establishment is seen by many as a result of the increasing differences between Wigneswaran and TNA leader R. Sampanthan. Wiggy chairs two different councils By Manekshaw Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran is unique in chairing two different councils in the province. As Chief Minister Wigneswaran remains head of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) which is an official body elected democratically […]

Formation Of New Party Almost Certain: MR To Stay Away From Pro-Rajapaksa Front!

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would not join with the new political front to be formed by the ‘Join Opposition’ for the next local government election, political sources said. Accordingly, Rajapaksa is expected to remain neutral at the local government elections. The purpose of forming a new party was to get pro-Rajapaksa votes and to bring forth pro-Mahinda representatives from rural areas. If pro-Mahinda voters refrain from voting, the victory of UNP would be inevitable, sources from the Joint Opposition said. However, the formation of the new front is almost certain, informed political sources also added.  “Rajapaksa finds it difficult to leave the SLFP as he has vowed not to betray the party. His latest move could be seen as a compromise, allowing him to remain in […]

Parties press for release of fishermen from Sri Lankan jails

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

J Arockiaraj | TNN | Jan 2, 2016, 02.23 PM IST  Madurai: With 84 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and 10 from Karaikal languishing in Sri Lankan prisons, political parties are demanding their immediate release. Pattali Makkal Katchi leader S Ramadoss alleged that Sri Lankan navy personnel were forcefully taking the fishermen from Indian waters and charging them falsely for trespassing into Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. In a statement, Ramadoss said 29 fishermen from Akkaraipettai in Nagapattinam district were fishing near Point Calimere when the Sri Lankan navy attacked and apprehended them. Incidents of the Sri Lankan navy falsely framing Indian fishermen and of the Sri Lankan navy infiltrating Indian waters have increased. Apprehending innocent fishermen and remanding them in custody for nearly 3 months in […]

Government politicians behind the Ekneligoda, Raviraj, Lasantha and Thajudeen killings

2nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Wickramabahu backs conspiracy theory By Mohamed Haniff Nava Sama Samaja Party leader Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne says he cannot disagree with the people’s thinking that politicians behind the Ekneligoda, Raviraj, Lasantha and Thajudeen killings are not exposed and punished due to some deals which certain government politicians were party to. Karunaratne demanded to know what had delayed the process of investigations. The NSSP would support any campaign to arrest politicians directly or indirectly involved in those killings. The NSSP leader told The Island that January would see a series of protests urging the government to expose the ‘culprits’. He would also support a signature campaign planned by Reyaz Salley, urging the government to reveal the identities of the suspects in the Prageeth Ekneligoda, Raviraj, Lasantha Wickramatunga […]

Community rallies behind Sri Lanka family set to be deported

1st January 2016 // 0 Comments

SAN ANTONIO– As a deportation date nears for a San Antonio family with roots in Sri Lanka, friends in their local community came together to try to get the attention of their local congressman. Their message is a simple and clear one they hope Congressman Joaquin Castro will hear. “So we are trying to call on congressman Castro and other folks in the community to really step up and to see the support that the family has and to take action to make sure that they can stay here,” said Mohammad Abdollahi of RACIES Texas. The family has collected over 5,500 signatures on their petition to try to get their father released from a detention center. Friends in their community can give testimony to their character. “I know […]

The Wigneswaran-Sampanthan tussle dims hopes for a new Constitution

1st January 2016 // 0 Comments

The most important but intricate task the government has assigned itself in the New Year is to fulfill  the adoption of a new Constitution. The whole exercise would apparently focus on three major issues; abolishing of the Executive Presidency, bringing in electoral reforms and the resolution of the ethnic problem. President Maithripala Sirisena has already announced that he would make a special statement on January 9, on the first anniversary of his elevation to the Presidency, proposing the conversion of  Parliament to a Constitutional Assembly, in order to draft a new Constitution. Also the government has announced that the new Constitution drafted by the Constitutional Assembly need to be approved by the people at a referendum. The Constitutional Assembly, though it has local precedent, is not […]

The stirring in devolution is getting brisker Power devolution

1st January 2016 // 0 Comments

The formation of the Tamil People’s Council (TPC), backed   by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, has perturbed the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leadership that views it as a move to undermine the party hierarchy. First, the move was seen as a precursor to yet another party splitting of the TNA. Wigneswaran and TNA leader Sampanthan did not see eye to on most issues as reported, and that gave rise to the speculation about a breakup. However, Chief Minister Wigneswaran was quick to scotch such speculation, and explained it was an exercise to ascertain the true aspiration of    the Tamil people in the formulation of proposals to be submitted to the government in drafting the proposed new Constitution. A week after its formation, […]

Planning of Northern Highway begins

1st January 2016 // 0 Comments

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa The planing of the proposed Northern Highway via Trincomalee would be started this year, Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said. He told the media on Wednesday (30) that the construction work on the Central highways was ongoing, though there was no visible progress during the last few months. People were thinking that the work on the central highway was abandoned or paused but it wasn’t. The concrete beams of the highway would emerge within the next two months. Currently there were making the land for the construction, the Minister noted. The government would expedite the construction of other highways connecting the existing road network, Kiriella said adding that the road system of the country would also be upgraded. The Minister […]

TNA, SLMC seek consensus on new Constitution amidst turmoil

1st January 2016 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando The TNA and the SLMC are seeking consensus on proposed new Constitution and electoral reforms. Political sources told The Island that top level TNA and SLMC delegations had met at the Opposition Leader’s Office, Colombo 7 on Wednesday in the wake of newly established Tamil People’s Council (TPC), too, seeking to represent Tamil speaking people at future deliberations with other political parties as well as the government. The TNA secured 16 seats including two National List slots at the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls. The SLMC won one seat on its own while several of its candidates were elected on the UNP ticket at the same election. Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran of the TNA, Dr P. Lakshman, Consultant Cardiologist at […]

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