May 2016

Sri Lanka moving ahead with Panama Papers probe, says minister

17th May 2016 // 0 Comments

May 17, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government is following up on the Panama Papers leaks and has requested for an official list from authorities in Panama, State Minister for National Policies and Economic Affairs Niroshan Perera said. “Central Bank Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has contacted authorities in Panama to obtain an official list,” Perera told Lanka Business Online. “Based on the list we will request a police investigations unit to commence investigations,” he said. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists last week released a searchable database of more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers investigation. The data comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the top players in the offshore world, and includes information about companies, […]

Britain and Sri Lanka at anti-corruption summit

15th May 2016 // 0 Comments

It was to be the mother of all international anti-corruption summits. Last week’s one-day meeting in London attended by President Maithripala Sirisena, one of 11 heads of State or government participating, was to be the high point of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s personal crusade against corruption. But despite all of No. 10, Downing Street hoopla, the summit seemed to fall off the launch pad just as the attempts of a group of Sri Lankans to protest against President Sirisena’s treatment of the Mahinda Rajapaksa clan and perceived injustices. They gathered outside Marlborough House, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat. It was the wrong day and the wrong place. The new Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland was holding a pre-summit conference on a similar theme at […]

No action against ministerial crooks in MAHINDA Regime

15th May 2016 // 0 Comments

By Niranjala Ariyawansha Legal action had been delayed in relation to 43 files sent by the FCID to the Attorney General for legal advice. “These files are related to investigations into serious financial frauds committed by Ministers, MPs and relations of those in the former Mahinda Rajapaksa regime”, a senior spokesman for the Attorney General’s Department told Ceylon Today. The spokesman said that all files sent by the FCID are re-checked by Senior Additional Solicitor General Kapila Vaidyaratna, head of the Criminal Division. However, the Department was delaying action in connection with Ministers and MPs of the Rajapaksa regime although there is evidence against them. Only several civil society activists like Uduve Dhammaloka Thero have been indicted to date,he said. “We cannot understand the reasons for […]

Seven years on: Fresh challenges ahead

15th May 2016 // 0 Comments

By Easwaran Rutnam As the country, this week, celebrates seven years since the end of the war the government has fresh challenges ahead. One key challenge is convincing the UN Human Rights Council that the accountability process is moving forward.  The Human Rights Council will meet next month for its 32nd session and Sri Lanka will be on the agenda. The council will be briefed on the state of the progress made so far by the government to meet its commitments to the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted by the council last year. Convincing the council, will however not be that easy. The diaspora and civil society will put pressure on the council to ensure the government does not play the “buying more time” game. […]

Will Referendum bring Peace to Tamil Conflict in Sri Lanka? New York Conference with International experts.

15th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Will Referendum bring Peace to Tamil Conflict in Sri Lanka? New York Conference with International experts. Experts from Kosovo, East-Timor, South Sudan, Quebec and other countries. Event on May 14th. Several internationally renowned experts from Kosovo, South Sudan, East-Timor, Quebec and other countries are participating in a conference in New York on May 14th to discuss whether holding a Referendum is the best solution to the protracted Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka. The participants will share their experiences in holding referendums in their countries as a means to find political solution and whether it will be a viable initiative to bring permanent and lasting solution to the protracted Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka. The Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka is dragging on for over sixty […]

We must celebrate the killing of 40,000 Tamil civilians in May 2009.

14th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s New government is under international pressure to ignore celebrating the seventh anniversary of killing of more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians in May 2009 by the governments Sinhala Army, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother Basil Rajapaksha had claimed. When Rajapakshas were in government, ambassador’s pressurised them not to celebrate the killing of more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians by the government forces as ‘War Victory’ as the some of these western governments had helped the Rajapaksha government forces to kill the Tamil Civilians and killing of more than 1000 LTTE leaders and their family members who surrendered with White flag after UN negotiated the surrender in May  2009. But Rajapaksha family ignored the request and took cover behind China and Russia to cover-up the War Crime by the […]

Sri Lanka calls on Tamil expatriates to compromise

14th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates in the UK have been asked to be open to political compromises as the island nation undergoes constitutional reforms.  It is important to make the most of the opportunity as it is the first time that Sri Lanka’s two main political parties had come together to form a government, Jayampathy Wickramaratne, head of a committee providing technical support to the Constitutional Assembly to draft Sri Lanka’s new constitution, told a gathering of Non Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka (NRTSL) here last week. “It is impossible and is unrealistic to expect all aspirations and demands of everyone are met. There have to be compromises. This is a great opportunity that may not come again, certainly not in the foreseeable future. It is […]

Anandasangaree claims money allocated for the North returned

14th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) General Secretary and newly formed Democratic Tamil National Front (DTNF) member V. Anandasangaree claims a large sum of money allocated for the North had been returned to the treasury. He says this shows the inefficiency of the Northern Provincial Council led by the Tamil National Alliance and their incapacity to administer. “In the present political situation, the problems of the people including those of their fundamental rights are not properly tackled. The main purpose of the new alliance is to find proper ways and means, through a new democratic alternate leadership, which will not merely voice the grievances of the people but also endeavour to solve them by taking them up with the Indian and Sri Lankan Governments and with many others if […]

Jaya writes to PM Modi over demolition of church by Sri Lanka

14th May 2016 // 0 Comments

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over reports indicating that the Sri Lankan Government plans to demolish and reconstruct the ancient St Anthonys Church on the island of Katchatheevu, which holds great significance by Tamil fishermen who have been visiting the church since centuries. In the letter, she states that the fishermen who mostly belong to the Roman Catholic faith are extremely concerned that they have not been consulted regarding the proposed reconstruction. “St Anthonys Church on Katchatheevu Island holds considerable religious significance for the fisherfolk in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu including Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli. They have traditionally undertaken pilgrimages to the island for the annual festival of St Anthonys for several […]

Lankans In The Panama Papers: The People Behind The Offshore Companies

14th May 2016 // 0 Comments

By Yudhanjaya Wijeratne – Yudhanjaya Wijeratne Every newspaper in the country seems to have visited the ICIJ website and published the names of the 65 Sri Lankans named in the Offshore Leaks and Panama Papers (both sets of names exist in one list). Being on this list or being associated to it, however, does not make anyone a criminal. Yes, four Avante-Garder are there, but Emma Watson is also on that list; so are two Hirdramani’s. I don’t want to believe that Hermoine Granger, after all she went through with Voldemort, committed tax fraud. However, there is one thing we can do: take a closer look at the companies outed in that list Corporate entities in the ICIJ database take three forms: they’re either Mossack […]

FM confirms paying MR’s travel expenses to Uganda

14th May 2016 // 0 Comments

The travel expenses of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa for his visit to Uganda was paid by the Foreign Affairs Ministry on a directive by Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Ministry’s Delegation Board Control Unit Director General confirmed today. Mr.Rajapaksa was invited for the inauguration ceremony of the Ugandan President Yoweni Musaveni who was sworn in for his fifth term as President. Director General A.L. Ratnapala, told Daily Mirror that the decision to pay the travel expenses was taken by Minister Samaraweera on a request made by Mr. Rajapaksa about the possibility of his travel expenses being paid by the ministry. Some amount between Rs.400, 000 and Rs. 500,000 was paid for the airline tickets and Mr. Ratnapala said he had authorized the transaction to be […]

Hundreds attend events in Sri Lanka’s former war torn north to remember war dead

13th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Hundreds attend events in Sri Lanka’s former war torn north to remember war dead Source: Xinhua   2016-05-13 13:52:13  COLOMBO, May 13 (Xinhua) — Hundreds of minority Tamils took part in events in Sri Lanka’s former war torn north on Friday to remember the victims of the island’s 30 year civil conflict. Families of the war dead and those missing lit candles and took part in religious observances amidst heightened security. The events which began on Friday, will be held for a week at different locations in the north and east with the final event set to take place on May 18, in Mullivaikal, where the final battle between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels took place. Government troops defeated the rebels in May 2009, ending […]

Wasim Thajudeen murder: Former Narahenpita Crimes OIC to make confession before Magistrate

13th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Former Narahenpita Crimes OIC Sumith Champika Perera arrested for allegedly covering up evidence in connection with the murder of Wasim Thajudeen yesterday informed Court through his lawyer that he is ready to make a confession before the Magistrate over the incident. Senior Counsel Ajith Pathirana appearing on behalf of the former Crimes OIC told Colombo Additional Magistrate that his client would reveal everything he knew about the incident before the Magistrate. Defence Counsel Ajith Pathirana informed Court that the Magistrate has jurisdiction to record a statement being a confession in accordance with the Section 127 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Defence Counsel further told Court his client had acted as per the instructions given by then senior police officers. Defence counsel moved Court that […]

The forgotten files of abduction, assault and assassination

13th May 2016 // 0 Comments

The forgotten files of abduction, assault and assassination   After the late Lalith Athulathmudali was killed in April 1993, many pointed fingers at the then President Ranasinghe Premadasa whose wrath the murdered man had earned by breaking away from the United National Party along with Gamini Dissanayake and others to form the Democratic United National Front (DUNF).  President Premadasa vehemently denied involvement and publicly declared his innocence A commission was appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to probe the assassination as part of an election pledge, even through investigations carried out by the Police and Scotland Yard had concluded that Athulathmudali was killed by Appiah Balakrishnan aka Ragunathan, allegedly an LTTE affiliate.  Those findings of the Commission implicated President Premadasa by the logic of association.  Later, […]

“What I did was wrong”: MP Thewerapperuma

13th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Controversial Minister Palitha Thewerapperuma hails the decision to take disciplinary action against him but claims it would have been more appropriate if he was stripped off the Ministerial post or Parliamentary seat. “That would alert politicians who misbehave in the House and stop them from acting in such an irresponsible manner in the future,” asserts the Deputy Minister of Internal Cultural and Wayamba Development, in an interview with the Daily FT. “What I did was wrong. And it should not happen again. Taking strict action would be the only way to end this. Nobody wants to lose power, but I am ready to sacrifice my positions if it puts an end these unfortunate incidents.” Following are excerpts from the interview: Q: What are you doing […]

Events to mark remembrance of victims of final war begin

12th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Events to mark the remembrance of victims of the final war began today. Northern provincial council members and families of those killed during the final stages of the war attended the event held in the North today. The events which began today will be held for a week at different locations with the final event set to take place at Mullivaikal. Northern Provincial Council member M.K Sivajilingham said earlier that there was an attempt to block the events but yet the events will go ahead as planned.  Sivajilingham said the main event will be staged in Mullivaikal on May 18. In the past the authorities had attempted to prevent the Mullivaikal commemoration events from being held as it was seen as paying respects to LTTE cadres during […]

COPE Chairman says Ministers shielding corrupt officials

12th May 2016 // 0 Comments

By Anuradha Herath COPE Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti says it has become impossible to take action against corruption and other large-scale vices taking place at ministries as ministers themselves and their henchmen are engaged in such acts. He said that at some ministries those engaged in corruption have been shielded by the ministers themselves. The JVP MP asserted if the ministers are interfering in taking action against those involved in corruption at ministries and other public institutions, then legal powers should be vested in COPE and that a letter to this effect had been submitted to the Speaker in writing. The COPE Chairman identified the CEB as a den of corruption…… among many other such public institutions and departments and stated that reports […]

TNA calls for probe into UN torture claims

12th May 2016 // 0 Comments

In today’s News Update: FCID arrests Basil Rajapaksa Cricket: Sangakkara hopes Perera gets recall after doping U-turn TNA calls for probe into UN torture claims Basil Rajapaksa at FCID The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) called on the government on Thursday to take immediate action against investigators who were accused of torturing and sexually abusing suspects, seven year’s after the end of the island’s civil war. Leader of the main opposition group, the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan, told Xinhua that recent findings by UN Human Rights Officials who had visited the country were “disturbing” and it was the responsibility of the government to probe their statements and stop such old practices. Juan E. Mendez, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, who undertook a nine-day […]

MAY 18 – Commemorating victims of war allowed, LTTE not allowed – Govt

12th May 2016 // 0 Comments

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene says that the government has no issue with the commemoration of victims of Sri Lanka’s war but any attempts to commemorate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will not be allowed.  “The LTTE is a terrorist group recognized by the world. We have no problem with the commemoration of those who perished during the war. I think that is a tradition in the world.”  “However, we will not allow any LTTE flags or commemoration of the LTTE organization. That has been banned,” he told reporters in Colombo. “We have notified the police and the armed forces. As a government we will not allow any commemoration of the LTTE.” Replying to a question from a journalist regarding State Minister […]

Can a New President Lead Sri Lanka Into an Era of Peace?

12th May 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Leaders of Sri Lanka, an island nation at the foot of India, have repeatedly promised a political solution to the ethnic strife that has caused heartache and bloodshed for much of its nearly 70-year history since independence. Committee after blue-ribbon committee has recommended that the majority Sinhalese, primarily Buddhists who immigrated from India centuries ago, relinquish some political power to the minority Tamils and Muslims, allowing them a measure of local self-governance. And yet one president after another has failed to do so. Now a president elected by an unlikely coalition of moderates from the two main majority-Sinhalese parties, along with the Tamil and Muslim minorities, is trying yet again at what is widely considered the most opportune moment in Sri […]

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