August 2018

Colombo high rises a major fire risk, says UK expert

10th August 2018 // 0 Comments

The fire risk in high rise buildings in Colombo is very high according to Dr. David Kirkham. Why? Because many developers are using combustible cladding. Cladding is a covering or coating on a building. It was made infamous by the Grenfell Tower fire in the salubrious area of North Kensington in West London which left 72 people dead last year. File picture of the collapsed Wellawatte building Dr. Kirkham, an internationally recognised expert in fixed fire-fighting systems, has examined in minute detail the causes behind the Grenfell Tower fire, labelled “The Shame” by a public enquiry in the UK. Why shame? Simply because it needed a major disaster for legislation to be changed in the UK. “I hope Sri Lanka is clever enough not to […]

Jaffna’s New Citizen Journalists: From The Community, For The Community

10th August 2018 // 0 Comments

Every Friday, Benislos Thushan, a programme officer at the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) boards an overnight bus from Colombo to his hometown in Jaffna. He lands at dawn on Saturday and a few hours later, goes to the American Corner—the American Centre’s educational outreach branch—to conduct weekend classes on digital storytelling. “One of the things that really excites me about coming every Saturday and Sunday to Jaffna..,” he says, “is to be with these young people who are passionate about storytelling, who want to go out, and who want to tell stories.” Having been caught in the crosshairs of the war and growing up in a refugee camp during his early childhood, Thushan recognises vacuums that need to be filled in Jaffna […]

Lies & Mahinda Rajapaksa

10th August 2018 // 0 Comments

By Sarath de Alwis – Sarath De Alwis The former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned buyers of our national assets that he would review those deals when returned to power.  He has asserted most forcefully, that the current government had no mandate to sell national assets. He has vehemently condemned the “authoritarian manner” adopted by the government in leasing out the sea port in Hambantota and the airport in Mattala – the outstanding national assets that he built for us after ending a debilitating war.   Mahinda Rajapaksa is outstandingly non-moral. He does not utter false hoods. He does not speak the truth either. He manufactures facts. He is a strange creature, who lives in the world where knowledge exists on sufferance. On reading the former president’s brave declarations in […]

Mannar mass grave excavation Media and NGOs banned, why?

10th August 2018 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan Police have obtained a written Order from the Mannar Magistrate not to permit the Media and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), that are working closely on the missing and enforced disappearances issue, to visit the Mannar mass grave site to collect information or report on it. Police have claimed that several Media outlets have misinterpreted the information given to them by the officials at the burial site. Police have urged the Media and NGOs to obtain permission from the Mannar Magistrate through the Magistrate’s Court Registrar when seeking to visit the site. Ceylon Today learns this move is to prohibit journalists and NGOs from visiting the site, due to the Media allegedly misinforming the public on the findings at the mass grave. NGOs […]

Indian Tamils ! Know your limits please!

10th August 2018 // 0 Comments

[Karunanidhi, who earned sobriquets of ‘Thalaivar’ (The Leader) and ‘Kalaignar’ (The Artist) from his ardent followers, became DMK president in 1969 and held the position till his death] – Thalaivar Karunanidhi is dead, leaves void in Tamil Nadu – by Press Trust of India One who did not groom an heir to a secular institution confirms high level of subjectivity. The official retirement age in Indian Public Service is reported to be 60. Thalaivar Karunanidhi therefore retired from position of Thalaivar at the 34 years ago. Thereafter he was Kalaignar – free to do as he pleased. Tamil Nadu failed to draw the line between Structural leadership and Spiritual leadership. The other example of indiscriminate mixing of the two through subjective powers is Mr N […]

Overwhelming minority vote consisting of Tamils and Muslim, is still against the Rajapaksas.

10th August 2018 // 0 Comments

By Vishwamithra – “When a political organization loses contact with its origin, it declines and risks implosion.” ~Robert Esposito Some writers whose political insensitivities and bare naiveté have been mistaken for objective analysis are still defending the indefensible atrocities of the Rajapaksa era. Their insensitivities have taken them from being mere Rajapaksa supporters to the fringe politics of post-Independent Sri Lanka. Ceylon, as it was called then, has undergone unrecognizable changes; she has embraced nihilist aspects of political evolution; ethnic violence has erupted multiple times and led to a thirty-year old war that ended in the decimation of a terrorist army that was never seen in Ceylon in the last half of the millennium. That war has enlarged the gulf between the two peoples. Tamils are being perceived […]

Implement the 13th Amendment in full.

10th August 2018 // 0 Comments

By Dayan Jayatilleka – Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka “…an instant invitation to an overpowering onrush of self-righteous recidivism, against which reason can only erect the feeblest defences.” ~ Mervyn de Silva, ‘Paradise & Hostage to the Past’, Far Eastern Economic Review, January 1984 One of the most distressing moments of my turbulent life was a fleeting episode at the Shangri-La conclave some months ago organized by Viyath Maga. It was something that was generated by the ideological atmosphere and social semiotics of that event. It was when a well-known and respected name in the IT industry, who operates from both Colombo and Jaffna, an articulate, cosmopolitan Sri Lankan of Tamil ethnicity, Mr. Mano Sekaram, thought fit to open his presentation by thanking the organizers for “the gesture of inclusivity” they had made […]

A Forgotten Community: Remembering Black July

8th August 2018 // 0 Comments

Writer S Karunakaran reflects on Black July from the perspective of a marginalised and often forgotten community – the Malaiyagha Tamils – and specifically those who tried to resettle in the North of the country. The Malaiyagha Tamils settled upcountry and in Colombo. A section of this community was displaced from the South following violence in 1958, 1977 and 1983, Karunakaran explains. Those from the North returned to their ancestral homes in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu. However the Malaiyagha Tamils who attempted to go North were not absorbed into Jaffna, or into any of the major towns such as Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar or Kilinochchi. “There was enough and more State lands in Jaffna and other Districts in the North. But, these people were not handled in […]

MULLIKULAM: A STEP CLOSER TO REGAIN NAVY OCCUPIED LANDS AND HOUSES FOR 11 YEARS?

8th August 2018 // 0 Comments

A near 11-year struggle by villagers for their land and houses On 17th July 2018 about 80 families, including children and elderly left behind the brick houses they have been living in, with water, toilets, furniture, kitchen and other household goods, and moved to live in tents in a forest like area. The move was to resettle in their beloved, traditional village, Mullikulam, after nearly 11 years of displacement due to Navy occupation of the village. Throughout this period, while struggling to survive without the resources Mullikulam provided, the villagers also battled to regain their lands, with many negotiations, meetings, petitions, letters and protests. The responses were mostly betrayals and broken promises, by the present and previous governments. In 2012, their struggles led to limited […]

Chinese Projects halt in North, As India Intervenes!

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

It is reported that the development projects undertaken by China in North have had to be closed by the Government. Internal sources affirm that the decisions had to be made according to a special request made by India. A special representative of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited Sri Lanka, and at a meeting with the President and the Prime Minister, said that these concerns were discussed. The delegation has stressed by the representative that China’s entry to North of Sri Lanka can develop a serious challenge for India’s National Security. The special representative has pointed out that any development activity in the South is not a problem for them, except steering into North however can become one to India. The representative has […]

Sampanthan tells Commonwealth SG govt action on promises ‘slow and inadequate’

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

Leader of the Opposition and TNA R. Sampanthan has informed the visiting Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland that the progress shown by the incumbent government on delivering the promises it had made locally and internationally was “slow and inadequate.” He made those observations when the visiting Commonwealth Secretary-General met with him at the office of the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament yesterday (3), a statement issued by the TNA said. It said: “Briefing the Secretary-General Sampanthan pointed out that even though the war has come to an end, we still don’t have complete peace and harmony among the people. Further speaking Sampanthan said, “people had a great deal of hope with the change of Government particularly the minorities. They expected the government to deliver on […]

Commonwealth Secretary-General assures support for new Constitution of Sri Lanka

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

The visiting Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland  assured Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance Mr Sampanthan that Commonwealth will continue to support the ongoing new Constitution making processes. The Secretary-General who met Opposition Leader at Parliament yesterday, appreciated Mr Sampanthan for his moderation and for being an ambassador for peace. Briefing the Secretary-General Mr Sampanthan pointed out that even though the war has come to an end, we still don’t have complete peace and harmony among the people. Further speaking Mr Sampanthan said, “people had a great deal of hope with the change of Government particularly the minorities. They expected the government to deliver on the promises it made both locally and internationally. A new Constitution which will alter the structure […]

British High Commissioner hosts visiting Commonwealth SG

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka  James Dauris hosted visiting Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland and representatives of Commonwealth countries based in Colombo at a roundtable meeting at his residence, today ( August 3). The meeting was attended by representatives from the High Commissions of Australia, Canada, Pakistan and South Africa, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, the British HC in Colombo said in a media release. Introducing the Secretary General, the British High Commissioner reminded colleagues that the UK has three central intentions for its two years as Chair in Office. The first, to ensure fulfilment, as far as possible, of the commitments made at the very successful CHOGM, earlier this year. The commitments made fall under four strands: fairness, sustainability, […]

Mahinda who militarised the country now accuses Maithiri

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

Mahinda was upset because this government had engaged the forces for investigations into drug offences and murders in order to  hang them. It is said that most of the drug dealers and gangsters were used by the former government and they still have a close link with the former government leaders. He said that the current government is transferring the duties of the police to the Forces and this cannot be allowed. During the Rajapaksha rule kidnapping and killing anyone who opposes his family or who exposes any frauds by his family members or supporters were part of day to day life. Minority were treated like second class citizens. Law and Order were not in force and White vans kidnapping and driving with the support of […]

President Sirisena’s message was personally conveyed to Karunanidhi’s son

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today wished ailing 94-year-old DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi a speedy recovery. After offering prayers at the Lord Venkateswara temple near here, he had a brief chat with reporters outside the shrine. “The ailing Karunanidhi will soon recover and I wish him a speedy recovery.” Wickremesinghe said he had spoken to DMK working president M K Stalin yesterday about his fathers health condition. Replying to a query on the problem Tamil Nadu fishermen face in the waters bordering the island nation, Wickremesinghe said, “The issue is settling down and we are trying to solve it.” By Manekshaw President Maithripala Sirisena had sent a message for the speedy recovery of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kalagam (DMK) Leader, […]

Germany arrests suspect over alleged Sri Lanka war crimes

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities have arrested a Sri Lankan man suspected of involvement in killing captured government soldiers as a member of the Tamil Tigers rebel group a decade ago. Federal prosecutors said a judge ordered Thursday the 36-year-old, identified only as Sivatheeban B. because of German privacy rules, detained pending a potential indictment. He was arrested Wednesday in the Duesseldorf area, suspected of committing war crimes and membership in a foreign terrorist organization. Prosecutors say he belonged to the Tamil Tigers from 2006-2009. They allege that, in 2008, he tied up 16 soldiers and guarded them as they were driven to a site where they were shot. Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009 when government forces defeated the rebels, who fought to […]

MAHINDA upset over increase of vehicle tax.

4th August 2018 // 0 Comments

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday warned foreign countries not to accept any asset offered by the Sri Lankan government saying he would ‘pay attention’ to these agreements when they come to power. Addressing the ‘Jana Bala Sena’ protest rally organised by the Joint Opposition at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo, Mr. Rajapaksa said the government was leasing out national assets such as the Hambantota Port and the Mattala Airport in an authoritarian manner. “There is a group of people behind this sale of assets. We request the international players not to purchase anything offered by this government. We will pay attention to them when we come to power. The government was not given a mandate to sell any asset,” he said. He criticized […]

Years After “Black July” and End of War We are Still Left With the Question ” Quo Vadis Sri Lanka?” (Where Are You Going Sri Lanka

2nd August 2018 // 0 Comments

31 Years After The Signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord Signed By Rajiv Gandhi and J.R.Jayewardene on on July 29th 1987. By Pramod De Silva It is now exactly 31 years since the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed in Colombo on July 29, 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene amidst political turmoil in Colombo and military advances in the North. The Accord was signed “Attaching utmost importance to nurturing, intensifying and strengthening the traditional friendship of Sri Lanka and India, and acknowledging the imperative need of resolving the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka, and the consequent violence, and for the safety, well-being and prosperity of people belonging to all communities of Sri Lanka”. India always took a […]

Bogollagama praises previous govt arranging Paisley visits

2nd August 2018 // 0 Comments

US embassy Colombo sidesteps query on Haley’s assessment of HRC as UN’s ‘greatest failure’ Bogollagama praises previous govt arranging Paisley visits Nikki by Shamindra Ferdinando The US embassy in Colombo sent The Island a statement that reiterated US commitment to ensure the full implementation of the 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 on Sri Lanka in spite of the superpower finding fault with the Geneva-based UNHRC in June 2018. That statement was in response to The Island query: Against the backdrop of Geneva body addressing accountability issues and taking tangible measures in respect of Sri Lanka in accordance with 2015 Resolution spearheaded by the US (co-sponsored by Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration), don’t you think Ambassador Nikki Haley’s assessment of the UN agency is not fair? […]

Those accused of war crimes must be brought to justice – Ex-AI Chief

2nd August 2018 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan Secretary General of Amnesty International (AI) Salil Shetty who stepped down from his post, recently, in the belief that leaders should not hang onto their posts, whether in Government, Corporations or NGOs, tells Ceylon Today, “While the war has ended, many feel the conflict has not.” The Amnesty has been using UN expert panel statistics which estimated that up to 40,000 Sri Lankan civilians were killed in the final, bloody months of the war. How do you defend this estimation as being correct compared to the Government’s stance that between 7,000 to 8,000 would have been killed according to Lord Naseby’s endorsement? Is the UNHRC still standing by those figures? A: This is a much-rehearsed question.  Let us remind ourselves that […]

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