April 2016

A Few Days In Israel & Palestine

10th April 2016 // 0 Comments

By S. V. Kirubaharan – For a long time I dreamed of visiting the Holy Land and observing the Palestinian – Israeli conflict at first hand, a dream which eventually materialized. Recently we visited where Jesus began his ministry, giving birth to the then new religion, Christianity. One can’t by-pass Israel’s formalities – the immigration procedures, Jewish cities, currency, etc. when visiting the Holy places. It was both nerve-wracking and wonderful. Before setting off on our journey, some of our friends said they were concerned asking whether this trip was so important at this critical period in time. After travelling for about four hours we arrived at Tel-Aviv’s airport, named after the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion. In the queue for immigration, some […]

Many Prominent Sri Lankans “Near and Dear” to Past and Present Political Leaders Named in “Panama Papers” but no Politician Directly Involved.

10th April 2016 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando Contrary to speculation Sri Lankan politicians are not among those named in Panama Papers (a vast collection of documents pertaining to massive secret investments in far-flung tax havens). However, among those Sri Lankans who had been named in the Panama Papers are in a range of lucrative sectors mainly among captains of private industries including leisure, tourism promotion, travel industry, health care, capital market promotion, power generation for the state sector, state procurement, and major automobile importer and at least one former head of cash-strapped state enterprise. Informed sources identified some of those named as near and dear to politicians, both past and present. Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Musthapha yesterday said that the government would thoroughly investigate the matter. […]

Historic victory for investigative journalism

10th April 2016 // 0 Comments

The world was shaken up this week with the leaks of the ‘Panama Papers’ exposing the financial shenanigans of world leaders, past and present. They showed how such leaders of men, women and nations and their business side-kicks hid their embezzled wealth in tax havens around the world and thereby avoided paying taxes in their respective countries. They enjoyed the good life with their monies stacked in offshore banks, some using shell companies with front-men as the account holders, while their fellow countrymen and women were asked to pay their taxes. This was an instance of cross-border journalism taken to a new level. A ‘whistleblower’ first providing a German newspaper with the original leak; the newspaper then contacting the New York-based International Consortium of Investigative […]

Indian foreign policy fiasco in Sri Lanka

10th April 2016 // 0 Comments

The controversy that took centre stage in the run up to the New Year holidays was the leaking of a list of Sri Lankans who had allegedly maintained secret bank accounts in Panama. This was part of a global expose which has already caused the Prime Minister of Iceland to resign with pressure mounting on British PM David Cameron to follow suit. Though people connected to the yahapalana campaign like Dr Wickremabahu Karunaratne said that he expected the Rajapaksas to be on that list, it so turned out that there were no Rajapaksas on it but one of Minister Champika Ranawaka’s closest allies, Vidya Dilruk Amarapala. In putting out the list of Sri Lankans named in the Panama Papers, Colombo Telegraph said cautiously that there […]

Rs. 2.88 trillion spirited out of Sri Lanka in last 10 years

10th April 2016 // 0 Comments

Corrupt individuals including politicians and businessmen, criminals, and tax evaders have moved US$ 19.96 billion in dirty money out of Sri Lanka in the decade up to 2013, an organisation that tracks the movement of shady money has revealed. The equivalent of Rs. 2.88 trillion has been illegally taken out of the country in the 10 years from 2004 to 2013, data reveal. This includes money illegally earned through corruption. The estimate is conservative as cash deals are not easily tracked. Some illegal transfers are not noted in the balance of payments because of wire transfers by banks and shady money changers, a US study reveals. Illicit outflows were highest in 2011, when US$ 4.6 billion had been spirited away. The outflow nearly doubled compared […]

List Of Sri Lankans Named By ICIJ In ‘Offshore Leaks’ – Sri Lankan politicians named in Panama Papers

7th April 2016 // 0 Comments

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have published the names of Sri Lankans mentioned in the ‘offshore leaks’ in their database. “We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly” the ICIJ said, pointing out that there were legitimate uses of offshore companies. The list of 46 names comes under the category Officers and Master Clients. According to the ICIJ Glossary, an officer is “a person or company who plays a role in an offshore entity”. A Master Client is “often an intermediary or go-between who helps a client set up an offshore entity.” The full list of Sri Lankan individuals and companies named by […]

Will Sri Lanka Wake Up To The Realities of The ‘Panama Papers’ Exposure?

6th April 2016 // 0 Comments

On April 3, 2016, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest daily newspaper leaked 11.5 million files from the database of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm headquartered in Panama City, Panama. The firm is one of the world’s top creators of shell companies, corporate structures that can be used to hide ownership of assets. The files exposed financial dealings of some of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals. The documents included financial records, legal documents such as passports, and correspondences dating back over 40 years ,which reveal offshore accounts of current and former world leaders as well as individuals with close ties to political figures and business moguls around the globe. The files also revealed that it is not only politicians who are found to be tied […]

Nothing Tangible Has Been Achieved As Far As Tamil People Are Concerned

6th April 2016 // 0 Comments

Nothing Tangible Has Been Achieved As Far As Tamil People Are Concerned -C.V.K. Sivagnanam by Camelia Nathaniel Even though the people in the South think that all Tamils are pro LTTE and in favour of separatism, even in the last election, the Tamil people voted for Sarath Fonseka, in spite of him being the past Army Commander and him being responsible for the damage done to the North and the Tamil people. These were the sentiments expressed by the Chairman of the NPC C.V.K. Sivagnanam.In an interview with The Sunday Leader he said that the Tamil people of the North went all out to vote for President Sirisena. These are all indications that they are certainly not communal minded. He said that they have nothing against the […]

FREEDOM FROM TORTURE STATEMENT ON THE SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT

6th April 2016 // 0 Comments

FREEDOM FROM TORTURE STATEMENT ON THE SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE FCO’S FUNDING AND ADMINISTRATION OF ITS HUMAN RIGHTS WORK OVERSEAS The Foreign Affairs Select Committee report will be published on Tuesday 5 April at  00.01hrs BST. Speaking ahead of publication, Sonya Sceats, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Freedom from Torture, said: “We are increasingly concerned that the UK government puts flying the flag for business over and above human rights. Nowhere is this mercenary approach more likely to directly cause loss of life or limb than in Sri Lanka. “At a parliamentary reception just two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Hugo Swire reluctantly acknowledged our evidence of recent torture before inexplicably urging British Tamils to get on planes back to Sri Lanka to boost trade […]

Joint opposition members in Constitutional Assembly

6th April 2016 // 0 Comments

At least there members of the Mahinda Rajapaska loyalist joint opposition group have been included in the Constitutional Assembly’s steering committee tasked with drafting of the new constitution. In the Prime Minister Ranil Wickreemsinghe headed steering committee are Dinesh Gunawardana, Prasanna Ranatunga with Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena serving as a Vice President. This was the first time since 1972 that a Constitutional Assembly was set up to draft a new constitution. In 1972 it led to the republican constitution which freed Ceylon form the British sovereign to be independent republic of Sri Lanka. The TULF in 1972 only made a limited representation in the CA. The Tamil representation in the new CA includes the opposition leader R Sampanthan, MA Sumanthiran and Douglas Devananda. Selvam Adaikkalanathan has […]

Sri Lanka starts moves to grant Tamils more autonomy

6th April 2016 // 0 Comments

PM has pledged to devolve more political powers to Tamils and reduce the military presence in the island’s north Colombo: Sri Lanka’s parliament Tuesday launched a process to draw up a new constitution aimed at preventing a return to ethnic war by granting minority Tamils greater autonomy. Parliamentary speaker Karu Jayasuriya opened a constitutional assembly, seeking public views on reforming the charter, seven years after the end of the separatist war that claimed at least 100,000 lives. “This is a historic occasion and we have an opportunity to seek the views of the public to implement the very radical political reforms needed,” Jayasuriya told parliament. The assembly includes a 21-member steering committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to draft the new charter aimed at […]

Importance Of Preserving Language Rights In Sri Lanka

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

Importance Of Preserving Language Rights In Sri Lanka by Lionel Guruge Tamil version of the National Anthem of Sri Lanka was sung at the country’s 68th Independence day celebrations Sri Lanka’s Constitution has undoubtedly undergone many revisions because of its Amendments. Of all these Amendments, perhaps one that carries a most significant weight is the 13th Amendment, which not only established a new form of sub-national governance, but also introduced a crucial legislation that respected minority rights and validated their identity. The Amendment reads as follows: “(2) Tamil shall also be an official language. (3) English shall be the link language. (4) Parliament shall by law provide for the implementation of the provisions of this Chapter.” This Amendment, introduced in 1987, was widely recognized as […]

SL military refuses to release illegally seized lands at Pul-moaddai, Trincomalee

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 April 2016, 23:37 GMT] In addition thousands of acres of agricultural lands that have been seized from Eezham Tamils by the Sinhalese in Kuchchave’li DS division in Trincomalee, the occupying military of genocidal SL State continues to keep around 500 acres of private and public lands. The SL military is refusing to release these lands, even for the purpose of a housing scheme for government employees, Tamil civil sources in Trincomalee told TamilNet. Pul-moaddai (meaning grassy pond), situated at a sandbar on the side of the Eastern Province of the North-East border, is not only a must location from the genocidal point of view, but is also a place of significant economic importance because of the ilmanite deposits found there beneath the […]

Chinese govt. promised to topple Yahapaalana regime within a short period’ – Namal!

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

MP Namal Rajapaksa, who has by now become an executor for the Chinese government, has told his supporters that “a special Chinese agent promised him and his father that the Yahapaalana government would be toppled before six more months elapse.” That special agent has promised to the Rajapaksa father and son that China would get compensation from the Yahapaalana regime for all the Chinese projects that had been abandoned during the past one year.  Proving the Chinese agent’s remark true, the Chinese constructor has demanded the megapolis and western development ministry to pay it a 125 million dollar (Rs. 18,288 million) compensation or grant more land than the presently allotted amount in lieu of the delay in the port city project. CHEC Port City Colombo […]

Prabhakaran Was Buried, Says SF

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

Former army commander, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka says the body of LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran was buried and not burnt.Fonseka told The Sunday Leader that Prabhakaran’s body was found in the Nandikadal lagoon following the final battle between the army and the LTTE.  However, the newly appointed diplomat and former army commander, General Daya Ratnayake was quoted in a Jaffna based newspaper as saying that Prabhakaran’s body was burnt after it was discovered and the ashes were thrown into the sea. The ‘Thina Seidi’ newspaper quoted Ratnayake as saying that even the body of LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman was also burnt and the ashes thrown into the sea. Fonseka however dismissed the claims and accused Ratnayake of commenting on something he was not fully […]

How Britain Funded Possible War Crimes in Sri Lanka

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

By Phil Miller:                                           In 2009, as the Sri Lankan civil war reached its bloody conclusion, David Miliband touched down in Colombo to appeal for peace. “Now is the time for the fighting to stop,” Miliband warned. “Protection of civilians is absolutely paramount in our minds.” However, Miliband’s public plea stood in direct contrast to what his department was doing in private, secret Foreign Office documents seen by VICE can reveal. British aid to Sri Lanka helped set up a vigilante network that supplied police with intelligence at the height of a bloody government crack down. The documents show that the UK was aware of […]

President declares open Jetwing Jaffna hotel

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

President Maithripala Sirisena declared open the ‘Jetwing Jaffna’ hotel yesterday expanding facilities to foreign as well as local tourists visiting Jaffna. Jetwing Jaffna is the latest addition to the Jetwing Hotels chain and the hotel offers 55 rooms with modern amenities. President Sirisena unveiled a plaque for one of the rooms dedicated to the memory of former chairman of the Sampath Bank, Late M.U. Jayawardena, on whose land the hotel is built. The President also symbolically presented certificates to 67 youths who have completed Jetwing’s hotel management course under its youth development program. Tourism Minister John Amaratunga, Governor of the Northern Province, Reginald Cooray, State Ministers Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Vijayakala Maheswaran, Angajan Ramanathan MP and the staff of Jetwing participated in the event.

Canada notes demining in Sri Lanka critical for resettlement

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

Canada says demining work in Sri Lanka is of critical importance as clearance of landmines is a necessary prerequisite to long-term peace and security for all Sri Lankans and a key component of Sri Lanka’s broader plans for reconciliation and resettlement. The High Commission of Canada to Sri Lanka and Maldives today marked ‘International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action’ with an event held at Canada House which brought together key government officials, members of the international, diplomatic and donor communities, demining organizations and civil society. The Minister Swaminathan, Minister for Prison Reform, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs attended as Chief Guest.  The High Commissioner of Canada, Shelley Whiting, in hosting the event sought to recognize the considerable gains made in mine action and […]

GRUESOME WELIKADA MASSACRE BY MAHINDA GOV. STINKS OF COVER-UPS !

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

By Niranjala Ariyawansha In a shocking revelation, the Committee of Inquiry into the Prison Incident (CIPI), appointed to investigate the gruesome Welikada Prison incident, finds that what occurred on 9 November 2012 was in gross violation of widely accepted basic Human Rights of the prisoners. Thus, it recommends, based on the material that surfaced during its sittings, the necessity to conduct a fresh independent criminal investigation, forthwith, in respect of the allegations of murders, with a view to ascertaining the truth and the institution of criminal proceedings of offenders where sufficient evidence can be established. The committee was headed by Gamini Nambuwasam, retired High Court Judge, Asoka Wijetilleke, former Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police and S.K.Liyanage, retired Ministry Additional Secretary of the Sri Lanka […]

How Rajapaksa Played Santa Claus With State Funds

4th April 2016 // 0 Comments

Presidential Secretariat spent billions of rupees for hiring luxury vehicles for ex-President’s friends, family and cronies by Nirmala Kannangara Following last week’s expose titled ‘Weerawansa Family and Friends’ Joyride at State Expense’  shocking revelations have now come to light as to how the Presidential Secretariat under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa spent several millions of rupees to lease luxury vehicles for those who were near and dear to him. Similar to how the State Engineering Corporation (SEC) under Wimal Weerawansa hired vehicles without following government tender procedure, the Presidential Secretariat under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa too had hired vehicles from parties known to them without following tender procedure. Amongst the beneficiaries of these vehicles were former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, former Economic […]

1 4 5 6 7