February 2017

British Council connects classrooms for 21st century teaching skills

21st February 2017 // 0 Comments

The British Council in Sri Lanka hosted media and guests at an event to celebrate UK-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue under the theme of ‘Responsible Education for the 21st Century.’ The event was held at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel in Kandy on Thursday 16 February. This initiative is linked to British Council’s Schools Programme, which aims to connect the UK and Sri Lankan school sectors to enrich education, promote global citizenship and build international trust and understanding. The programme helps teachers bring awareness and understanding of global issues to young people by linking ‘classrooms’ and schools, between the UK, Sri Lanka and other overseas countries. Since 2012 the programme has supported over 300 links, delivered courses and online training to over 1000 Sri Lankan teachers and […]

Make Tamil mandatory for Sri Lankan lawmakers: Minister

21st February 2017 // 0 Comments

Mano Ganesan, who comes from the minority Tamil community, said legislators who can converse in only one of the two languages face difficulty in understanding the problems of all communities. Knowledge of Tamil language should be made legally compulsory for all Sri Lankan lawmakers so that they can understand the problems of all communities, a minister today said. Minister of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Mano Ganesan said Sri Lankan parliamentarians should have bilingual capability, meaning they should know Tamil besides Sinhala, spoken by the majority of the population.   Ganesan, who comes from the minority Tamil community, said legislators who can converse in only one of the two languages face difficulty in understanding the problems of all communities. “Therefore, they must be asked […]

Army spies arrested over Lasantha Wickrematunge murder

21st February 2017 // 0 Comments

Five arrested military intelligence officers are suspected of killing prominent anti-establishment newspaper editor. Sri Lankan police have arrested five military intelligence officers on suspicion of killing a well-known anti-establishment newspaper editor and orchestrating attacks on other journalists and dissidents under the former regime, according to a legal source. Lasantha Wickrematunge, a sharp critic of former President Mahinda Rajapakse, was assasinated by unidentified gunmen while driving to work in the capital Colombo in January 2009. His killing sparked an international outcry and shone a spotlight on violence against members of the press in Sri Lanka. The source involved with the investigation said on Monday that the five men were taken into custody over the weekend – initially over the May 2008 abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr, who had […]

Sri Lankan wins British Academy Film Award

21st February 2017 // 0 Comments

A Love Story – Winner’s acceptance speech, British Short Animation, EE British Academy Film Awards in 2017 EE British Academy Film Awards Winners in 2017 http://www.bafta.org/film/film-awards-winners-2017 Winner’s acceptance speech by Khaled Gad, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara and Elena Ruscombe-King for A Love Story in the British Short Animation category ANUSHKA KISHANI NAANAYAKKARA:  Hi, my name is Nush. This is a really surreal experience.  All kind of thoughts in my head right now.  I haven’t prepared a speech. I just …I just want to say that, as filmmakers, I realise that I have become quite shameless in the amount of favours I ask from people and it’s crazy.  We borrowed  some lights for three months, we kept them for ten months and, you know, that’s what brought us […]

Jaffna comes to Colombo

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

By Randima Attygalle The Jaffna Food Festival at the Cinnamon Grand, while dishing out true flavours of the north also showcases a unique culture and emphasises the empowerment of women Guests at the festival at Nuga Gama Jaffna Cal thosai with Nandu (crab) curry anyone?  How about Paalappam (coconut milk hoppers) or Palakkottai curry (jakfruit seed curry) with steamed red rice and vilai meen kulambu (mullet fish curry)? Rava Laddu or panipinatu for dessert? More than a gastronomic delight, ‘Jaffna Festival’ which opened at the Nuga Gama of the Cinnamon Grand last Thursday is a slice of Yalpanam’s vibrant culture, replete with craft, dance and music. Traditional Jaffna cuisine known as Yarlpana Samayal known for its blend of aromatic spices and sweet temptations, plays on […]

UK have responsibility in halting Mullaiththeevu structural genocide

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 February 2017, 01:52 GMT] Britain and Australia that have sent high-level policy planners to ‘assess’ Keappaa-pulavu in the company of occupying Sinhala military of genocidal Sri Lanka in January 2013, should also take the responsibility in halting the structural genocide of the nation of Eezham Tamils there. Those who ‘advise’ Tamils not to use the word ‘genocide’ but to rally behind ‘development’, and those who equate the on-going Sinhalicisation to the presence of Tamils in the southern parts, should note that despite long presence of Eezham Tamils in the South or 200 years of up-country Tamils brought by the British, no village has officially become a Tamil village in the South. But just in two years time a Tamil village in the […]

SL military puts up shoot-at-sight warning inside appropriated Keappaa-pulavu lands

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 February 2017, 23:13 GMT] The occupying military of genocidal Sri Lanka has put up notice boards threatening the protesting families and the people visiting Keappaa-pulavu not to enter the lands that have been seized from the uprooted families. “This land belongs to the Air Force. Unwarranted entry is prohibited. Those entering unwarranted will be targeted by gunfire,” say the warnings that have been put up inside the lands of uprooted people on Friday. In the meantime, SL Air force personnel have been shooting photos using professional DSLR cameras threatening the visitors expressing solidarity with the protesters. Tamil politicians, except those from the ITAK collaborating with the SL regime, have started to stay overnight with the protesting families as military threats have started […]

Decision On GSP On May 15

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

By Easwaran Rutnam  The European Union (EU) is to decide on Sri Lanka’s application for Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) on May 15. This was communicated to Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran by the EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka Tung-Laï Margue during a meeting in Jaffna last week. Wigneswaran said he was informed by the EU envoy that the decision on GSP plus for Sri Lanka is to be taken on May 15. The European Commission last month proposed that a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products should be removed by the European Union in exchange for the country’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and […]

CBK’s remarks on ‘war widows’ irk military

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

BY GAGANI WEERAKOON President Maithripala Sirisena instructed officials to provide an allowance of Rs 10,000 per month for all farmers who are affected by the prevailing dry weather and also instructed relevant authorities to appoint a committee comprising District Secretaries, Grama Niladharis and Samurdhi Officials to collect comprehensive information on affected families. After getting the relevant information, this allowance will be given from next month till the Yala season begins. This was decided on and instructions issued when he met relevant Heads of Departments, to review the effects of drought on the farming sector in the country, at the President’s Official Residence last Thursday (16). A large number of complaints have been received from the public regarding land reclamation to the President; thus he told […]

CID Arrests Army Personnel Over Keith Noyahr Attack

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

Keith Noyahr, the deputy editor of The Nation newspaper in 2008. However, sources pointed out that the main culprit, who orchestrated the attack against Noyahr, continued to remain in the government, serving as a senior minister in the Yahapalanaya government. Nohayr, was abducted on May 22, 2008 near his residence, when he was returning home after work. He was severely beaten by the abductors and also received injuries to his head. Noyahr was abducted just days after he wrote an article in the ‘military matters’ column published on May 11, 2008 in The Nation newspaper titled ‘An army is not its commander’s private fiefdom’ which was critical of Fonseka, who was the then Army Commander. Fonseka, now serves as the Cabinet Minister of Regional Development […]

Thajudeen Murder: Ex-Crimes OIC Released On Bail Despite Concealing Evidence

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

Former Narahenpita Crimes OIC Sumith Perera was released on bail today by the Colombo High Court despite covering up the murder of ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen. Wasim Thajudeen The court which released the suspect on a cash bail of Rs. 100,000 and three personal sureties of Rs. 1 million each, ordered that the ex-Crimes OIC hand over his passport to the Court. Perera was granted bail when his revision bail application was taken up today. Perera was arrested by the CID in April last year on charges that he had concealed evidence with regard to the murder of Thajudeen. Following a statement by Perera last year, Former Senior DIG Anura Senanayake was arrested subsequently in May 2016 by the CID for also concealing information pertaining to […]

Military Intelligence Hit Squad Operating Out of Kohuwela Camp Used For Assassinating,Abducting and Attacking Journalists from 2006 to 2010

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s police made a major breakthrough Saturday in their investigations in to the abduction of news editor Keith Noyahr as well as a string of other attacks, disappearances and killings of journalists by arresting at least three military personnel attached to a hit squad which operated from Kohuwela. Police headquarters in a statement said the three military personnel were arrested in connection with the May 2008 abduction of Noyahr, a then deputy editor of the Nation weekly, but official sources said they were also suspected to be involved in many other acts of violence between 2006 and 2010. The three men, all serving military personnel, were being questioned by the police and they were due to be taken before the Mount Lavinia magistrate later […]

Major Prabath Bulathwatte, Sgt Duminda weeraratne and Sgt Hemachandra Perera of Military Intelligence Arrested Over Attack on Ex-Newspaper Editor Keith Noyahr.

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

Criminal Investigation Detectives yesterday arrested an Army officer and two Sergeants over the May 2008 attack on journalist Keith Noyahr. The arrests came after the trio were summoned to CID headquarters on Friday and interrogated. The trio are Major Prabath Bulathwatte, Sergeant Duminda Weeraratne and Sergeant Hemachandra Perera. The formal arrests were made yesterday after interrogation overnight. Two more soldiers from the Army’s Military Intelligence are now being interrogated. Probing the case was a CID Task Force that has been investigating a string of incidents – murders, abductions and assaults on media personalities. They included the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremetunga, the disappearance of Lanka E-news journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda and the attack on Rivira Editor Upali Tennekoon. The three suspects were produced before […]

Sustained Concerns About Torture in Sri Lanka

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

Torture remains a major problem in Sri Lanka. A recent report from the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has reminded us of that. The report presents a grim picture of systematic torture and the concomitant impunity which continue to plague the island nation. The report also lays out a number of thoughtful recommendations and conclusions. The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) has issued a strong press release about the report. Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka has also written about it. Freedom from Torture has weighed in too. The document, however, received little attention in the Sri Lankan press. “What struck me was his [Juan Méndez’s] description of the collapse of the very system meant […]

BJP weighing up ‘political split’ in Rajapaksa camp?

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

Seeks to ‘neutralise’ the former Sri Lankan President Even as Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa angles for a political comeback, New Delhi appears to be weighing up possible political shifts in the island, including a split in the Rajapaksa camp. On February 10, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, known to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s point man on Sri Lanka, met President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, a week before Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s scheduled official visit. Mr. Madhav also met a few other key political actors, The Hindu learns, and reportedly discussed political options that might “neutralise” former strongman Rajapaksa. Confirming that he met the President and the Prime Minister to discuss bilateral issues and a forthcoming Indian Ocean […]

Are The Militant Sinhala & Tamil Diaspora In Melbourne Loosing Steam ?

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

By Shyamon Jayasinghe – Shyamon Jayasinghe Before movements and institutions fall apart they become objects of laughter. Many thinkers of the past have commented on the valuable function of humour, laughter and mockery in social life, namely that they help to rectify and to correct course. Henri Bergson’s theory of humour amounted to this. Stendhall said that the aim of comedy in theatre is to expose man to the mockery of the audience and thereby induce corrective action. Charlie Chaplin has also remarked that the function of comedy is to sharpen our sensitivity to the perversions of society. The protest organised around the Federation Square at Melbourne city against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who arrived to deliver an oration before an audience of legal academics […]

Don’t give time to Govt. for probe

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran has urged the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) not to heed to the government’s request for more time to probe war crimes allegations. Wigneswaran made the request when he met EU ambassador Tung-Lai Margue together with the UN Resident Coordinator Una McCauley on February 15 in Jaffna. The Chief Minister had reportedly said that the investigations process would slow down, adding that there was also a possibility of the issue being swept under the carpet if more time was given. He had also raised several concerns including the continuous presence of the military in the province.

Sri Lankan government sends back families of missing Tamils with yet another promise

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan government ministers who met representatives the families of 32,000 missing Tamils here on February 9, sent them back with yet another promise that their grievance will be attended to after the return of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from Australia. The families had met Ministers State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene, Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake, Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Minister of Rehabilitation D.M.Swaminathan, at the Prime Minister’s Office. The Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara was present. During the 30 year war, the “abduction” of Tamils for security reasons (also referred to as “forced disappearance”) was common. After the war, there was a clamor for tracing the missing men and women, and the government set up a commission […]

Accountability issues: Sampanthan govt’s mouth piece: EPRLF leader

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

EPRLF leader and former Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandra yesterday charged that TNA leader R. Sampanthan is in support of the government’s proposals to obtain more time to address accountability issues. Premachandra said all members parties in the TNA do not support the government’s proposals to obtain more time to address accountability issues.Addressing a press conference in Jaffna yesterday, he said the proposal is aimed at protecting the government. “Neither the Tamil people nor any Tamil political party will benefit by this proposals,” he said. Premachandra said the government wants to give this issue less prominence. The leader of the party may like this proposals but the members and the coalition partners will not support this decision, he said. Premachandra said TNA leader R. Sampanthan and TNA […]

Sri Lanka still unsafe for Tamil asylum seekers to return

19th February 2017 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at a press conference in Canberra together with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urged asylum seekers who had fled the country to return. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe emphasized in his statement, “Come back; all is forgiven; it is quite safe in Sri Lanka; we are just starting the missing persons office.” The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) would like to categorically state that Sri Lanka has not reached a point where every Tamil asylum seeker can just return without worrying about the consequences; indeed Sri Lanka is far from it. Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on ‘Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’, in a report released only a month ago, recommended to […]

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