November 2017

Partnership Dialogue commences, US reiterates support for implementation of UNHRC resolution

8th November 2017 // 0 Comments

The second Sri Lanka- US partnership dialogue commenced in Colombo today, with the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon meeting with Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, Prasad Kariyawasam. “Sri Lanka and the United States recalled their co-sponsorship of a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2017, reaffirming Sri Lanka’s commitment to promote reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in pursuit of lasting peace and prosperity,” a joint statement released on Monday read. “The United States expressed support to Sri Lanka in the implementation of commitments as agreed in the Human Rights Council resolution, such as truth-seeking, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, that includes providing closure to the families of the missing, and implementing appropriate reforms to enhance the […]

EU : Tamils losing hope in Government

8th November 2017 // 0 Comments

by Zacki Jabbar The European Union says Sri Lankan Tamils are losing hope in their government due to the slow progress in its reconciliation programme and addressing accountability issues arising from the war with the separatist Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in May 2009. Head of a visiting delegation of the European Parliament Jean Lambert, said in Colombo last week, that Tamil political and civil society leaders in Jaffna had expressed disappointment that the promised change they had voted for in electing Maithripala Sirisena as President on January 8, 2015 was not happening fast enough. Emphasising that the momentum should not be lost, Jean noted that allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE, the operation of the Office of […]

Arrest of Britisher over Buddha tattoo

7th November 2017 // 0 Comments

After procedural delays, the Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on a Fundamental Rights Petition filed by a British tourist who challenged the infringement of her fundamental rights. She was arrested and detained for allegedly displaying a Buddha tattoo on her upper limb at Katunayake in 2014. In her petition, the British tourist Naomi Coleman had sought a compensation of Rs.10 million from the respondents and further sought a declaration that her detention was null and void and contrary to Articles 13(2) and 12 of the Constitution. The petitioner Naomi Coleman, (37) a nurse by profession at the Hawkesbury Lodge, Rehabilitation Mental Health Services, had filed the petition through President’s Counsel J.C. Weliamuna and Pulasthi Hewamanne on the instructions of counsel Vishwa De Livera Tennakoon […]

Thousand female cadres were detained under the custody of Sri Lanka Army

6th November 2017 // 0 Comments

By Ananth Palakidnar The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) theoretician Anton Balasingam’s Australian-born wife Adele Ann first authored a book on their women cadres in 1993. The women’s wing of the LTTE was launched in the early eighties with Adele Balasingam, a nurse serving in Britain for several years, playing a key role in organizing the women who came from different backgrounds, into a disciplined force. The training received by the women put them on par with their male counterparts on the battlefield as well as in the political sphere of the outfit. Apart from fearlessly engaging in battles fought on land and sea, a significant number of women cadres even excelled in the print and electronic media during their days in the LTTE. […]

‘Basil and Gotha’ blown by Geetha’s judgement but Mahinda is Happy!

6th November 2017 // 0 Comments

Former strongman minister Basil Rajapaksa’s political hopes have been shattered following the Supreme Court confirming the expulsion of his star candidate Geetha Kumarasinghe from Parliament, party sources said yesterday. Basil Rajapaksa who launched the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) after breaking away from the old-established Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was planning a comeback if Thursday’s court decision went in favour of Kumarasinghe. Party sources said Basil Rajapaksa’s hopes had been raised on May 15 when a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in a majority decision granted Kumarasinghe more time to remain in parliament. The interim order had raised hopes of SLPP leader Basil Rajapaksa. The spirit of the Constitution dictates that the fate of any member of parliament should be decided within two […]

Tamilstan, Muslimstan Or Federalism?

6th November 2017 // 0 Comments

By Jagath Asoka – Dr. Jagath Asoka Any conversation or discussion about Sri Lanka that involves Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims is incendiary; add Buddhism, it will explode. So, curb your desire to curse before you read this article. I am not suggesting a solution to our eternal ethnic problems, just asking some irrational questions. Can we avoid a Three-State Solution? ‘Stan’ is a Persian word that means inhabitant or living place. Thus, Tamilstan means the land of the Tamil people. Each ethnic group in Sri Lanka is fighting over issues such as political representation, language, self-government, control over our natural and other resources, migration within the country, and the desire for preserving our distinct ethnic, religious, or national identities. In a nutshell, our country’s Constitution is like a single birth certificate that […]

“Seventy years of hard work” – Gill Caldicott

6th November 2017 // 0 Comments

Seven decades of work on the educational field gave us a strong reputation Gill Caldicott, the new Country Director of the British Council in Sri Lanka took up her post in August this year. With experience spanning over 22 years at the British Council, she has worked at numerous British Council offices across the globe, including London, Hong Kong, Egypt and India. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Gill speaks about Sri Lanka, English education and how the British Council stays relevant to younger audiences.   What are your thoughts on Sri Lanka? How different is it from the other countries you have been posted in?  I feel extremely privileged to have gotten this job here in Sri Lanka. It is considered to be one […]

Tamils must decide their political destiny through a Referendum TGTE will accept their verdict – Rudrakumaran

6th November 2017 // 0 Comments

BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody The self-proclaimed Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam-United States of America (TGTE) constitutes, for most, what is popularly described as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rump, a fringe element within the Tamil Diaspora, or perhaps not a microcosm at all. We interviewed the so-called ‘Prime Minister’ of TGTE, lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran via email. Excerpts of the Interview: In light of the present political situation in the country, including the ongoing constitutional reforms process, the particular efforts of the local Tamil political representation in this regard, and most recently positive attempts towards reconciliation undertaken by certain Tamil Diaspora groups, such as the Global Tamil Forum, what are the interventions made by the TGTE in relation to Sri Lanka? A: The TGTE’s […]


6th November 2017 // 0 Comments

UNP General Secretary and Public Enterprise Development Minister, Kabir Hashim commenting on the ongoing process to introduce a new Constitution, said, for the first time in the country’s history, the two major political parties are working together as a National Unity Government, and if the majority community is being represented by these two parties and there is consensus among them means a broader cross section of society abides by it. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, the Minister said, this is the first time we have a very moderate Opposition Leader who has the courage to say he is willing to accept the change the two major parties recommend. They now accept the principle of unitary status. The Minister said, this exercise is not […]

Local polls: SLFP going it alone despite risky prospects

5th November 2017 // 0 Comments

Reunion moves falter, Senaratne proposes UNP-SLFP joint  bid as ‘trial balloon’ but Sirisena faction not interested President softens stance in taking tough action against Rajapaksa  loyalists, while Ranil warns he won’t tolerate ginger groups Any prospects for immediate re-unity between feuding factions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) appeared dim on Friday but seemingly desperate behind- the-scenes moves continue. President Maithripala Sirisena chaired a meeting of SLFP MPs and ministers loyal to him at the Presidential Secretariat and it exuded a conciliatory mood. Those loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not turn up. He counts them as 55 MPs, more than the SLFP MPs loyal to Sirisena. Yet, Sirisena declared the SLFP will contest the local polls under its hand symbol. There would […]

TNA meets SLMC

5th November 2017 // 0 Comments

This month after budget The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress are likely to engage in crucial discussions pertaining to Constitutional reforms and Tamil-Muslim issues in the East mid November. General Secretary of TNA and Leader of the Ilankai Thamiz Arasu Katchi (ITAK), Mawai Senathirajah speaking to the Nation said the discussions would focus on their respective demands pertaining to power devolution and separate administrative unit in the East. He said they hoped to hold the discussions soon after the Budget presentations during which all Parliamentarians would be in Colombo. “We have been meaning to hold discussions but they have been continuously postponed continuously for various reasons,” he said. “We would also continue to discuss with representatives of political parties in […]

TNA doomed to split as others determined not to miss the last bus

5th November 2017 // 0 Comments

BY GAGANI WEERAKOON Maithiri and Mahinda group agrees not to contest against each other At a much hyped meeting, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena took a decision to contest forthcoming Local Government Elections sans its ruling partner, the UNP. The SLFP meeting, which was held at the Presidential Secretariat behind closed doors, keeping even the security at bay, was not attended by the SLFP members, led by Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa, who are in the Joint Opposition. The Party is said to be in talks with all parties and factions with a view to forming a massive electoral alliance by way of entering into various electoral and no-contest pacts. Meanwhile, indicating that the forthcoming Local Government polls is to be […]

LG polls: President Sirisena and the 40+ SLFP parliamentarians & Mahinda Rajapaksha 50+ Parliamentarians

5th November 2017 // 0 Comments

by C.A Chandraprema The political futures of President Sirisena and the 40+ SLFP parliamentarians hangs in the balance as the LG elections process kicks off. The question that the Sirisena faction of the SLFP has to ask itself is which is worse, being labelled pro-UNP if they decide to cast in their lot with the UNF or risking what could be ignominious defeat. As we write this, the General Secretary of the SLFP Duminda Dissanayake and Mahinda Amaraweera the general secretary of the UPFA have announced that they will not be contesting the upcoming local government election in coalition with the UNP. However, Minister Rajitha Senaratne who is not in the SLFP but who is very much a part of the Sirisena camp has mooted […]

SC of Sri Lanka decided a dual citizen cannot be an M.P! What about Basil & Gotha?

5th November 2017 // 0 Comments

This is a country which has had a Foreign Secretary (Palitha Kohona) who was an Australian citizen, a Defence Secretary (Gothapaya Rajapaksha) who was an American citizen, a Central Bank Governor whose signature appears on currency notes in circulation, who was a Citizen of Singapore and ambassadors and high commissioners galore who were citizen of who knows where. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution now precludes citizen of any other country standing for President or for Parliament.  Many of our former leaders, from President J.R. Jayewardene who the Economist magazine once called “Junius Rex” made non-citizens our country’s ambassadors overseas, Mahinda used it to help his family members gain wealth and position. Under Mahinda Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona was an Australian citizen, the Defence Secretary  Gothapaya Rajapaksha […]

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Ex-Chief of Staff Gamini Sedara Senarath and 3 Others Evade Arrest While Police FCID Want Them for Alleged Fraud.

5th November 2017 // 0 Comments

The Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) is on the lookout for Gamini Sedara Senarath, Chief of Staff of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and three others over a string of alleged fraudulent acts. The three others are Piyadasa Kudabalage, Neil Bandara Hapuwinne and Mohan de Alwis. FCID detectives said yesterday that the four were evading arrest and hence, they had obtained a court order impounding the passport of the main suspect, Gamini Senarath, to prevent him from leaving Sri Lanka. The four persons now sought after — together with another two nominated by the Treasury — have been on the board of directors of Sino-Lanka Hotel and Spa (Pvt.) Ltd. It is the owning company of the Hyatt Hotel now nearing completion at Kollupitiya. Detectives […]

Why we Need a New Constitution and What It Should Contain.

5th November 2017 // 0 Comments

By Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu The constitutional reform debate in Sri Lanka, currently exemplified by the debate on the much delayed Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly is in substantive terms and popularly perceived as such, about the interrelated issues of a) the structure of the State in terms of its unitary character, b) the retention, reform or abolition of the Executive Presidency, b) greater devolution of powers to the provinces and c) a new electoral system. Added to this is the gross distortion that the intention and outcome of the reform process will be that Article 9 giving Buddhism the foremost place will be repealed. Whilst these issues attract debate over the details of constitutional design, they are loaded with political […]

UNP, TNA,SLFP and JVP Engaged in a “Constitutional Conspiracy” Charges Racist Mahinda Rajapaksa.

3rd November 2017 // 0 Comments

The UNP, the TNA, the SLFP and the JVP were engaged in a ‘constitutional conspiracy’, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Constitutional Assembly yesterday. Participating in the debate on the interim report of the steering committee of the Constitutional Assembly, the former President said: “Look at the manner in which the debate on this interim report has been conducted during the past three days. First, a UNP minister speaks on behalf of the government. Then, a TNA member speaks on behalf of the Opposition. Once again an SLFP minister speaks on behalf of the government. Then a JVP member speaks on behalf of the Opposition. All of them are yahapalana stakeholders, they are all in a constitutional conspiracy.” Full text of Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech […]

Constitutional Conversations: need for a consensus from majority and minority

3rd November 2017 // 0 Comments

I was pleasantly surprised to read the very perceptive and might I say brilliantly argued piece by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke in the Daily Mirror of October 11, 2017, “Constitutional Conversation :What the Government and the nationalists don’t get”. He has put his finger on what the Tamil Question is all about, when he says the Tamil question is about alienation. I quote “It is about the relationship between the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan state .  They feel it is a state they are under, not one they belong to or fully represents them. They view the Sri Lankan state as the other and feel that the Sri Lankan state views them as the other.” How true this is and something […]

Discrimination Caused the War

3rd November 2017 // 0 Comments

“There are no grievances specific to Tamils” – Udaya Gammanpila, Western Provincial Council Minister, 2014  “There are no minorities (Tamils) now (Only Sinhala Majority)” – Mahinda Rajapaksa, May 2009 Following the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 popular understanding of the root causes of ethnic violence congealed around a single dominant narrative. This narrative consists of three premises and a conclusion. Premise I: The root cause of the ethnic conflict was the greed and power lust of Tamil elites, who led a misguided Tamil population. Premise II: These elites were empowered by interventionist foreign States who were (i) primordially ‘anti-Sri Lanka’, (ii) manipulated by the ‘diaspora’ or (iii) concerned with geo-political intrigue. Premise III: There were few, if any, unaddressed political or economic grievances […]

European MPs say disappointed with Sri Lanka reform promises

2nd November 2017 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – A visiting European Parliament delegation said they were pleased Sri Lanka had begun to benefit from the GSP+ scheme but were disappointed the government had not kept some of the promises given to win duty free access to European Union markets. Members of the European Parliament Jean Lambert said the delegation was disappointed that some of the legal changes promised, like replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with a law in keeping with international law, had not been made. The EU parliamentarians were also disappointed not enough progress had been made on reconciliation and accountability on alleged human rights abuses by government forces in the war against Tamil Tiger separatists despite government assurances, she told a news conference. “This was one of […]

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