October 2017

Settle the issue of prisoners who are being held without charges.

16th October 2017 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan and T. Pratheepan President Maithripala Sirisena took his security detail by surprise after he threw caution to the wind and abruptly alighted from his official vehicle to confront a group of protesters in Jaffna yesterday. The President was in Jaffna to inaugurate the National Tamil Language Day celebrations at the Jaffna Hindu College when the incident took place. According to eyewitnesses the President had calmly walked up to the black flag waving protesters and inquired into their problems. The protesters numbering around 75 and led by former MP M.K. Sivajilingam, along with Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Leader Suresh Premachandran and attorney Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam told the President to settle the issue of the LTTE prisoners who are being held without […]

SF’s motive is to expose Mahinda

16th October 2017 // 0 Comments

By Dhammika Salwathura Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has said he has entered politics and holding a minsterial post for the sole purpose of exposing the wrongs committed by his archenemy, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Addressing a ceremony held at Thamibiligasmulla in Kiribathgoda to establish the UNP’s 13th branch in the Kelaniya electorate on Saturday, the minister said: “I entered politics from a minor party, which could not form a government. We knew that very well. But at the same time I knew it would help me tell the world the crimes committed by Mahinda Rajapaksa. The minor party gave me a platform to create anti-Rajapaksa opinion in the polity. “The UNP obtained a new lease of life after the Jan. 08, 2015 […]

More devolution or more integration?

16th October 2017 // 0 Comments

By S. Navaratne It is curious how obsessed the political class is today on how best to handle the long standing Ceylon Tamil issue. The facts indicate that the Ceylon Tamil population, currently a tad over 11% of the total population in the country, has declined, is declining and will continue to decline as a proportion of the total population. All the anecdotal evidence suggests that the youth of Jaffna wish to get “the hell out of the country” to white-ruled countries where a critical mass of Ceylon Tamils reside; and that Jaffna youth and their parents do not look for spouses for their children in Jaffna but with those with residence permits in Western countries so to enable them to move to those countries […]

If you stage protests against me and I am weakened, the devil (Mahinda) will get an opportunity

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan in Jaffna “If you stage protests against me and I am weakened, the devil will get an opportunity,” President Maithripala Sirisena told a gathering in Jaffna yesterday. The cryptic unscripted comment, which led to speculation as to who he referred to as the devil, was made by the President when he addressed the National Tamil Language celebrations held at the Jaffna Hindu College yesterday. Jaffna was in lockdown on Friday, after many local Tamil groups staged a hartal, calling for the release of PTA detainees and the protests continued yesterday despite a Court order banning them. On his way to the Hindu College the President stopped his motorcade near a group of protesters and waded into them. He was seen talking […]

Lessons from the United Kingdom on Unitary State and Devolution CONSTITUTION MAKING IN SRI LANKA

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

The Interim Report of the Steering Committee (IRSC) offers a selection of options on some Articles of the Constitution and provides a view of plausible future directions that the Sri Lankan constitution drafters hope to take. This article is an attempt to analyze a few of the key contents of the Report for purposes of enhancing public discussion. The English language version of the IRSC surprisingly uses ‘aekiya rajya/ orumiththa nadu’ to describe the nature of the State of Sri Lanka under the section titled ‘Articles 1 and 2’. The key word ‘unitary’ used as the opposite of ‘federal’ in constitutional terminology has been dropped in the English version. This is a clear departure from 1972 and 1978 Constitutions. Both contained the term unitary state.” […]

President Maithripala Sirisena at Jaffna Hindu College

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

By Manekshaw President Maithripala Sirisena will be the first high profile dignitary to visit Jaffna Hindu College after late Indian President and renowned nuclear scientist A. P. J. Abdul Kalam visited the prestigious educational institution in January 2012. Jaffna Hindu College, the Alma Mater of two Chief Justices the late Justice S.Sharvananda and of Justice K.Sripavan, the school will be the venue for the National Tamil Day festival to be held today (14) with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. Jaffna Hindu College is proud of having hosted three international dignitaries in the past. In the 19th century, Swami Vivekananda on his return from Chicago, while visiting Sri Lanka, had travelled to Jaffna and delivered a speech at Jaffna Hindu College. In the early part […]

Opportunities emerge from SL nurses in the UK

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

After the Brexit vote, there are fears that the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain could suffer a shortage of nurses of up to 42,000 by 2026. NHS has now turned to Asian countries to fill the nursing vacancies created by the European Union nurses, who cannot be recruited to work in Britain after 2019. Nurses from India, Nepal and the Philippines have already started seeking nursing jobs in the UK. Now the door is open for both Sri Lankan male and female nurses to apply for jobs in the UK. Qualified nurses in Sri Lanka familiar conversant in the English language can now apply for jobs. They must also gain 6.5 or above for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) conducted by the […]

Dispute over prisoners: TNA boycotts President’s functions in the north

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday boycotted a state festival presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena in Jaffna in protest over the failure to resolve an going issue over Tamil prisoners in custody. The boycott came after Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan wrote to President Sirisena on Thursday seeking the release of prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The President was in the North to take part in state functions in Jaffna and Kilinochchi. In Jaffna, he took part in the Tamil Language Day events to which the Opposition Leader Sampanthan was also invited. The TNA’s Jaffna district Parliamentarian S. Shritharan said they decided to boycott the function as they had not received a response to their plea to release “political prisoners’. “We are […]

Britisher as Leader of political party

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday sought an explanation from the National Election Commission (NEC) regarding the registration of the New Democratic Front (NDF) as a political party in spite of its leader Shalila Moonasinge being a British national. National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP posed the question to the NEC at a media briefing called by the JO at Dr N.M. Perera Centre. Weerawansa said the NEC certainly owed an explanation to the public in the wake of Moonasinghe being arrested over his alleged involvement in stealing money from Taiwan’s Far Eastern International Bank. JO parliamentary group leader and MP Dinesh Gunawardena, UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Prof. G.L. Peiris and Prof. Tissa Vitharana backed Weerawansa’s call for full disclosure of the circumstances under […]

Two-faced Rajapaksa sibling?

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

There may be no elections for local government institutions or provincial councils this year but that hasn’t deterred the major political parties from getting into elections gear in anticipation of these polls being held early next year. The two partners in the National Unity government, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) find themselves in an unusual and unprecedented situation. They are allies in the government, but they will be competing for votes with each other at the elections. It will be recalled that, at the time of the August 2015 general election, the SLFP was not a coalition partner in the government although President Maithripala Sirisena was President; it was a minority UNP government that was in office. Also, […]

Highest Military To Civilian Ratio In Mullative: 1:2

15th October 2017 // 0 Comments

A new report challenges government’s demilitarisation process and reveals, Mullative district, with a population of 130,000 has an estimated 60,000 security forces, giving it an extremely high (1:2) force to population ratio. The report released last week, authored by Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) and People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) says; “From a quantitative perspective, the military has an extremely inflated presence in Mullaitivu District. Based on the number of brigades and their constituent troops, this report estimates that at least 60,000 Sri Lankan Army troops are currently stationed in Mullaitivu District; 25% of the approximately 243,000 active military personnel in the whole country. To put this figure in perspective, according to the Mullaitivu District Statistical Handbook in 2014, Mullaitivu District has 130,322, or approximately […]

Dr GUNASEKARAN KUMAR in The Sun’s inaugural Who Cares Wins Health Awards

12th October 2017 // 0 Comments

‘He pieced me back together after smash’ WHEN Veronica Johnston, 69, was involved in horrific road smash in 2011, doctors thought her chances of ­survival were next to none. The retired cleaner was left with a broken back, collapsed lung and her pelvis broken in two places after the collision on a dual carriageway near Prestatyn, North Wales. PAUL COUSANS – THE SUN 41 Veronica Johnson had a pelvis operation under Dr Gunasekaran Kumar and is able to walk again But thanks to the incredible skill of Dr GUNASEKARAN KUMAR, 47, she is alive, well and mobile today. The orthopaedic consultant, who specialises in pelvic fractures at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, pieced her pelvis back together in a seven-hour op. Now thanks to the pins, […]

The story of a North Korea-backed rebellion in Sri Lanka

11th October 2017 // 0 Comments

DPRK backing for an ultra-leftist insurgency in 1971 ended in the expulsion of their diplomats In part due to the DPRK’s continued missile and nuclear tests, several governments have recently expelled North Korean ambassadors and diplomats from their countries. This is not a new phenomenon. North Korean diplomats have a long history of being thrown out of their host countries, with one of the most egregious examples of DPRK diplomacy taking place on the small South Asian island nation of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka, in 1971. In early April that year, a radical insurrection swept across Ceylon. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), translated as People’s Liberation Front, sought to establish a “pure socialist government” along Marxist-Leninist lines on the island. But soon after the JVP […]

SL pops up in foreign news reports on Airbus corruption scandal

11th October 2017 // 0 Comments

Inquiries have been opened in France and Britain, on suspicion of corruption in Airbus’s UK-based civil aviation arm but in Sri Lanka although PM Ranil is well aware of multi million dollar dispute over purchase by Rajapksha government NO proper inquiries will ever be done. References have also been made to Sri Lanka in foreign media reports on the massive corruption scandal rocking the world’s second largest aircraft manufacturer, Airbus. Spiegel Online, one of the most widely read English language news websites in Germany, says suspicious cases have begun popping up around the world, including in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, Tunisia, Kazakhstan and Mali. Airbus CEO Tom Enders last week warned that the aircraft manufacturer could face “significant penalties” relating to ongoing corruption probes including one into […]

Sri Lanka’s anti-UN legislators seek UN help

11th October 2017 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s opposition legislator Namal Rajapaksa turned to the United Nations Human Rights Council soon after he was arrested along with two other members of parliament over their recent anti-India protest. MP Namal Rajapaksa son of Former President Mahinda Rajapaksha, a leading member of the Joint Opposition which is highly critical of the UN Rights Council and who had accused the UN rights body of interfering in Sri Lanka is seeking the help of the same organisation when he is arrested. Namal complained to the UN as well as the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, about their arrest. “#SriLanka Police arrested us 4 our peaceful protest against selling national assets, stifling opposition voices. @UNHumanRights @nikkihaley,” Namal said on Twitter as he was remanded […]

Govt. will lose referendum on new Constitution

11th October 2017 // 0 Comments

Possibility of a drastically-altered final report Strategists count ethno-religious factors in referendum-voting estimates Overwhelming support of minorities might augment shortfall in Sinhala-Buddhist votes Making political calculations on the basis of 2015 could prove dangerously-wrong in 2017 and years to follow By D.B.S. Jeyaraj The coalition government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has – as one of its primary objectives – the political project of enacting and passing a new Constitution. This requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and endorsement by the people in an islandwide referendum. More importantly, the government has been trying to justify its move to introduce a new Constitution saying the envisaged Constitution would be sanctioned by the people. While the government appears to be optimistic about garnering the necessary […]

Share powers with ethnic communities It’s the only way to solve this problem

11th October 2017 // 0 Comments

BY NIRANJALA ARIYAWANSHA Member of Parliament and Constitutional Lawyer Dr. Jayampathi Wickremaratne says that some people think this country must belong to Sinhalese or rather the Sinhala-Buddhists only. Separatism brews in such countries. “In all such countries, mechanisms were developed to share powers with ethnic communities. That is the only way to solve this problem”. Excerpts: Former Chief Justice (CJ) Sarath Nanda Silva accuses that the interim report produced by the Government on Constitutional reforms is unconstitutional. As he explains, this report must be drafted by a Parliament Select Committee. It must be approved by the cabinet. Then it must be gazetted and people can go to the Supreme Court (SC) against it if they have objections. The former justice argues that the Report must […]

Tamil political prisoners cases will be moved South despite months of protest and opposition

11th October 2017 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan attorney-general has denied Tamil political prisoners’ requests to keep their cases in Vavuniya, citing concerns about witness protection. Three detainees at the Anuradhapura prison were admitted to hospital yesterday after their hunger-strike led to a severe deterioration in their health. They were protesting against the transferral of their cases from Vavuniya High Court to Anuradhapuram, with the language barrier a key issue as well as the financial strain on their families to travel and to secure legal representatives that were willing to travel. The TNA MP and lawyer M. A. Sumanthiran said he had contacted the attorney-general on behalf of the political prisoners. The attorney-general said the cases could not be moved back as witnesses would face security threats in Vavuniya. Protests […]

Kiriella informs Mahanayake of unprecedented support for new constitution from Tamil parties

11th October 2017 // 0 Comments

Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella told the Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanaratana Mahanayake Thera of Asgiriya Chapter on Saturday that Tamil political parties in an unprecedented manner extended support for the proposed Constitution.  Minister Kiriella said so presenting a copy of the Interim Report to the prelate. Minister Kiriella told the prelate that the Tamil political parties had not cooperated to help ratify the Constitution of Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1972. Nor had they backed the Constitution of J. R. Jayewardene of 1978, he added. Minister Kiriella assured that the foremost place given to Buddhism and the unitary status of the country would remain in the proposed Constitution. The draft Constitution would be presented to Parliament and debated so that members of Parliament of all parties could […]

”Devanampiya Tissa” was a Tamil king North CM Wigneswaran

8th October 2017 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan Descending from the family that produced Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, C.V. Wigneswaran is a celebrated Sri Lankan. Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice and now Chief Minister of the Northern Province, he is also a man unafraid to voice his convictions. Recovering recently from minor surgery, Wigneswaran responded, via email, to some questions from Ceylon Today over the debate on the proposed new Constitution. Here is the first part of that email: You visited the Mahanayake Theras recently. Later at a public event you said they suffer from misunderstandings. Could you please elaborate? Answer: Firstly, they feel our request for Federalism is indeed a request to divide the country. Secondly they feel this country is Sinhala Buddhist and therefore all other communities must accept […]

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