May 2016

Sri Lanka police arrest former leader’s brother over land deal

12th May 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO, May 12 (Reuters) – A brother of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa was arrested on Thursday by the police Financial Crimes Investigation Division over a land deal allegedly involving money laundering, his lawyer and police said. Several members of the Rajapaksa family are facing police investigations for alleged financial crimes. They include Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was president for a decade until January 2015, his brothers Basil and Gotabaya, his wife Shiranthi and sons Namal and Yoshitha. Rajapaksa’s younger brother, Basil, a former economic development minister, is on bail for alleged misappropriation of state funds after serving several months in prison and the court hearing is still taking place. Basil Rajapaksa’s lawyer, Jayantha Weerasinghe, told Reuters his client had been arrested. “He has been […]

Sri Lankan police arrest scores of Tamil youth

12th May 2016 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government has unleashed a major crackdown against Tamil youth in the country’s war-ravaged north and east. Since March, more than 23 Tamils have been detained under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Most of those arrested were allegedly former members of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), which was militarily defeated in 2009. May 18 marks the seventh anniversary of the end of 26-year communalist war, during which hundreds of Tamils were arrested, disappeared and murdered by Sri Lankan security forces and associated paramilitaries. Around 200,000 people were killed during the conflict. The UN estimated that tens of thousands of Tamil civilians perished during the final weeks of military assaults in 2009. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime […]

Taming tension the right way

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

The recent spate of arrests of former LTTE leaders and others who were involved with the organization has created quite a bit of ripples in the Northern and Eastern provinces. There have been rumours and concerns of LTTE regrouping that had been making the rounds during the past few weeks, especially after the detection of suicide jackets and ammunitions in Chavakachcheri and Mannar a few weeks ago. The arrests that were made recently were said to be in connection with the detection of these items. The Ministry of Defence and the law enforcement authorities have assured that there was no need for people to be concerned as there were no big threats at the moment. However, on the other hand, terrorism experts such as Prof. […]

MAHINDA loyalist first to benefit from mega tax waiver

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

MPs’ Vehicle Bonanza:  MR loyalist first to benefit from mega tax waiver More than Rs. 40 mn tax exemptions for each parliamentarian’s vehicle By Madura Ranwala A UPFA Parliamentarian has taken delivery of his tax free vehicle, a brand new Range Rover Sport Diesel S/Wagon released by paying Customs only Rs. 1,750 as Customs Declaration fee. He had paid about Rs. 8.9 mn as Cost Insurance and freight (CIF) for the vehicle a member of the Sri Lanka Customs Unions told The Island last night. The UPFA MP in the Joint Opposition was among 225 parliamentarians entitled to import luxury vehicles after paying a pittance by way of taxes or charges while the public continued to be burdened with increased new taxes such as VAT […]

Avant Garde features heavily in Panama Papers

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Leaked documents reveal Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi and three others used the Panamanian law firm to incorporate offshore company in British Virgin Islands Senadhipathi rejects claims Panama Papers list 18 individuals resident in Sri Lanka with offshore incorporations International consortium of scribes releases large data trove of information about shadowy offshore operations By Dharisha Bastians Controversial Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi has been named in the Panama Papers, which were released online late Monday.  Senadhipathi, known to be a close associate of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, is one of 18 individuals registered as being domiciled in Sri Lanka that have been  listed in documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca by the International Consortium of International Journalists (ICIJ). Mossack Fonseca has become known […]

BBS challenges Wimal, other MPs to debate

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera today challenged MP Wimal Weerawansa over the statements he made to the media condemning the organisation. “I will challenge not only MP Wimal Weerawansa but also Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Manusha Nanayakkara, Dilan Perera, Rajitha Senarathne, Mangala Samaraweera and political analysts Gevindu Kumarathunga and Dayan Jayathileke for an open debate to discuss the statements made by them against the BBS,” the Thera said. “They are claiming that BBS is funded by Norway and it is a conspiracy of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). If there’s a CIA conspiracy and if we are funded by Norway, there should be investigations against us to find out the truth. If anyone funded us, there should be bank accounts and bills […]

Maithiri Govt. to be toppled soon? – Rajapaksha meets Major Generals of the Army in secret.

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Why Major Generals secretly met Basil Rajapaksha? Recently the government received a report from the Intelligence sector. The report stated that Basil Rajapaksa had secretly held discussion with several Major Generals of the Army. As soon as this report was received the government became perturbed. Generally, if Army officers are to meet not only politicians of the Opposition, but even government politicians approval has to be obtained from the Army Commander. The Major Generals have met Basil sans any such approval. This meeting took place a while after media reports appeared that Major General Chagi Gallage who was in Jaffna had had a heated exchange of words with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. Media had also reported that subsequent to this incident Chagi Gallage was transferred […]

NO Political package for Tamils, only Development!

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Development will not solve ethnic issues BY Mirudhula Thambiah Jaffna District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Sivagnanam Sritharan said that both governments in the post war period have failed to identify the actual problems of the war affected. “Development will not solve ethnic issues. The war affected Tamil people have been neglected,” he said. Following are excerpts: ?How do you assess the security situation in the North and East? People in certain parts of the region claim they are living in fear. Is that true? A: Security situation in the North has increased fear in people. The recent arrest of former LTTE commanders in the North and East has caused fear and panic among the nearly 10,000 former LTTE combatants who have been released. Also […]

Rajapaksa Grilling Continue At PREFIC, FCID

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Namal and Yoshitha, the sons of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa continued to be grilled by the Presidential Commission and the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) during the week, over their alleged misuse of power, and money laundering. Gotabaya was summoned to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) on Monday where a statement was recorded over his alleged misuse of aircrafts and helicopters belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force, while functioning as the defence secretary. On Tuesday, Namal was summoned to the Presidential Commission where a statement was recorded from him also over the misuse of helicopters and aircrafts. Speaking to […]

Unfinished Journey Of Sri Lanka’s Pursuit For Ethnic Equilibrium

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

By Vishwamithra1984 – “What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?” ~E. M. Forster On to your right is the vast expanse of the deep blue sea. From the South-East tip of this island country, Arugam Bay, all the way up to Point-Pedro, the northern most point of real estate in Sri Lanka, the continuous break of wave after wave on the high waters of the Indian ocean reminds one of the relentless sagas of life represented by a ferocious ocean whose mysteries and splendor never cease to frighten the timid and charm the eternal voyager. When speeding on the highway from Kumana, the birds’ sanctuary bordering on the Yala-east […]

The Question Of Self-Determination & The Demand For A Federal Solution To The National Question

11th May 2016 // 0 Comments

By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe – Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe It is worth commenting on this issue of self-determination and federalism. It has, once again, become a ‘hot’ issue. These are proscribed words that have been expunged from the common political vocabulary and discourse. Words that can immediately incite feelings of fear, terror, anger and suspicion, even among liberals and moderates. This is because, the concepts self-determination and federalism have come to be equated with ‘separatist terrorism’ and the LTTE, among the broad masses, professionals and intellectuals. Of course, they have become the opening volley of the neo-fascist chauvinist marauders and their ideologues. The issue of self-determination and federalism is most current, with the Chief Minister of the Northern Province- Hon. Vigneswaran – openly declaring his view […]

Sri Lankan President Maithiri in London

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

President Maithripala Sirisena and the delegation will leave for London tomorrow (11th May) early morning to take part in the “Anti-Corruption Summit -2016” to be held in London on Thursday (12th May). The Summit commenced under the patronage of the British Prime Minister David Cameron is scheduled to be addressed by the President Sirisena. Bilateral discussions will be held between the PM Cameron and the Sri Lanka President Sirisena after summit. On Friday (13th May) the Sri Lankan delegation will depart from London for New Delhi for a two-day official visit in India.

Tamils in UK urged to back Constitutional reforms process

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Tamils in London have been urged to support the Constitutional reforms process currently underway in Sri Lanka. Parliamentarian and a member of the Sub-Committee in the Constitutional Assembly, Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, said that it will be impossible and unrealistic to expect all aspirations and demands of everyone to be met when the new Constitution is drafted. “There have to be compromises,” he said.  Wickramaratne was speaking at a forum organised by the Non Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka (NRTSL) in London. ‘We have to recognise that the process of constitution reform currently taking place in Sri Lanka may not result in the ‘best constitution for Sri Lanka’, but we have to aim it to be the ‘best constitution for Sri Lanka in the context of the current […]

Society Sri Lanka man caught in bid to travel to Canada with fake IDs

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Taipei, May 10 (CNA) A Sri Lanka national has been caught attempting to travel to Canada via Taiwan using fake Canadian identification cards, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Tuesday. The 24-year-old man was discovered by immigrant agents at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport late Monday to be holding a fake Canadian permanent resident card when he was waiting for a transit flight to Toronto, the agency said. A fake Canadian citizenship card, health card and driver’s license were seized from his luggage after a search, according to the NIA. When questioned by the immigration agents, the man said he was a truck driver in Sri Lanka and was planning to work in Canada, where the pay is much better. He disclosed that a human trafficking […]

CAN’T MPs BE MORE RESPONSIBLE?

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Last week, Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, told Parliament that Opposition MPs should demonstrate the same eagerness and energy they showed during last Tuesday’s clash when attending to official parliamentary matters. The statement was made by the minister subsequent to the absence of MPs from the Opposition who had tabled a question. The minister went on to say that Members of Parliament from the Opposition would attend Parliament in their numbers if there was a dispute in the House, but failed to be present to raise questions and address issues on behalf of the masses during the Oral Questions Sessions in Parliament. Acts of this nature raise the very simple question of whether parliamentarians are doing their jobs properly. They are elected by the […]

The Sad Story Of Widows In The North

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

At a time the blazing sun’s heat was boiling the still waters of Nandikadal lagoon situated in the South Eastern part of mullaitivu, we arrived at Salewaraji’s residence. Through the walls of her shabby and small house, dark shadows of a sad past were thoroughly visible. “During the height of war my husband and three off my children were killed by shell fire. Now with the remaining three children I have been compelled to make a living with utmost difficulty” she said. 47 year old Salevaraji (assumed name) who lives in Kapopilaw, Mullaitiu, along with her three children had lived in IDP camps for over two and a half years after the end of war. During the war her husband had provided for the family […]

Panama Papers reveals names of Sri Lankans with offshore accounts

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has revealed the names of 65 Sri Lankans with offshore accounts as part of the controversial Panama Papers investigation. Three offshore entities, seven intermediaries and 53 address in Sri Lanka have also been exposed in the offshore leaks database. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published a searchable database that strips away the secrecy of nearly 214,000 offshore entities created in 21 jurisdictions, from Nevada to Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands. The data, part of the Panama Papers investigation, is the largest ever release of information about offshore companies and the people behind them. This includes, when available, the names of the real owners of those opaque structures. The database also displays information about more […]

Sri Lankan individuals revealed in Panama Papers

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – The names of several Sri Lanka domiciled individuals, including Nissanka Senadhipathi of Avant Garde, have been disclosed in the Panama Papers released on the Internet on Monday. According to documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Senadhipathi incorporated an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands with three others. The four shareholders of the Avant Garde offshore operation are Yapa Hetti Pathirannahalage Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi, Senerath Bandara Dissanayake, Prasanna Athanasius Sirimevan Rajaratne and Y. H. P. Kithsiri Manjula Kumara Yapa. It was Mossack Fonseca’s Singapore operation that helped Avant Garde set up its offshore operation in the British Virgin Islands. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake announced last week that the government was setting up a special panel to chase after nationals likely to […]

Sri Lankan would-be migrants returned by Australia ‘may be’ in detention

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan’s Government has confirmed 12 would-be migrants sent back to Colombo by Australia last week are currently in the hands of its Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The country’s Immigration and Emigration Department told the ABC the group Australia sent back last week are all members of the majority Sinhalese ethnicity, and insists they are all being treated properly. Yesterday Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed recent reports that a boat carrying 12 Sri Lankans had reached the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, north-west of the Australian mainland. Mr Dutton also said the Government’s assertion it has stopped the boats remained accurate, becausethe dozen on board were sent back to Colombo last week. “We were able to successfully return those 12 people, which included men […]

Promises Made, Promises Kept – The First Instalment!

10th May 2016 // 0 Comments

by Emil van der Poorten I have, often, been accused of pillorying the current government and not giving it time to live up to the promises made at the time it was seeking to be elected to run this country. Well, here’s an acknowledgement of the efforts of one MP (and Cabinet Minister) Mr. Haleem who appears to have begun living up to at least one of his promises. I am submitting three photographs with this piece which I hope the editors will publish together with the script because I believe in the old adage about “a picture speaking a thousand words!” Just prior to the last general election in January 2015 the “locals,” myself included, organised a “Pocket meeting” to greet the UNP candidate […]

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