National reconciliation: Church failed to make use of Pope’s visit – Fr. Emmanuel

By Shamindra Ferdinando President of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) Rev. Dr. S.J. Emmanuel says the Catholic Church has a crucial role to play in post-war national reconciliation process. Dr. Emmanuel said that the Catholic leadership should have acted decisively as regards Pope Francis’ intervention to help bring about national reconciliation during his three-day visit to Sri Lanka. The priest asserted that the Catholic church hadn’t made use of Pope Francis’ visit to promote genuine reconciliation. “I very much regret their failure,” Dr. Emmanuel told The Island, at London Hilton on…

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New Lanka condemns Pak church attacks

Sri Lanka today condemned “in strongest possible terms” the deadly suicide attacks targeting Christians at two churches in Pakistan. The attacks in Lahore on March 15, killed 16 people and injured over 70 during Sunday prayers. The foreign ministry here said that the “dastardly act against a religious congregation engaged in the practice and sustenance of their faith and spiritual upliftment is not only an attack against a group and places of worship but against humanity and the civilised world”. “Sri Lanka as a country which has suffered from the…

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Gotabhaya no Superman

By Ifham Nizam Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was not a superman, said Water Supply and Urban Development Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday, in response to the challenge made by Rajapaksa during an interview that no one could do what he had done. Answering questions after a media briefing, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader stressed that being the President’s brother and Defence Secretary he could use force to evict people as he wanted and an inquiry was going on in that regard. The recommendation of the inquiry would be revealed…

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Sri Lanka’s new Government suffers first defection

Colombo – Sri Lanka’s new government suffered its first defection on Tuesday when the higher education minister quit, saying political reforms had not gone far enough. Rajiva Wijesinghe said proposed constitutional changes fell short of the promises made by President Maithripala Sirisena before he was elected in January. “I do not wish to sit among ministers any longer,” Wijesinghe said in parliament, calling the government’s reform efforts so far “disgraceful”. “I think it is only correct that I cross the floor of the house,” said Wijesinghe, who was not in…

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Weapons found in floating armoury are not state owned: Gotabaya

Ex-President’s brother and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday (16) asserted that weapons recovered from the floating armoury in the southern port of Galle are not owned by the state. While claiming that cabinet approval has been granted for the Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd and the Rakna Arakshaka Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, Rajapaksa expressed that both local and internationally recognised institutions have obtained its services. The observations were made at the Derana 360° programme. According to the ex- Defence Secretary, the firearms are owned by those international organisations…

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Attacks on fishermen will affect ties with Sri Lanka

DMK leader M. Karunanidhi warned that attack on Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy would affect the bilateral relationship between India and Sri Lanka, especially at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken efforts to secure the rights for the Tamils in the country. “The attack has proved that our happiness over Mr. Modi’s speech in the Sri Lankan Parliament demanding equal rights and dignified life for Tamil is short lived,” he said in a statement. Mr Karunanidhi said the attack had taken place on the day Mr.…

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Foreign mothers having TOO MANY babies in Britain, minister warns

FOREIGN mothers are having too many babies in Britain and immigration should be curbed, a government minister has warned. Former Home Office undersecretary Lord Bates called for a government crackdown on “those who want to come here and abuse our openness”. He cited official figures showing one in four babies in the UK were born to non-British mothers in 2013 compared to just one in nine in 1990 – the highest figure since records began. The baby boom drove Britain’s population to grow faster than any other country in the…

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SriLankan handed over for cronies’ joyrides!

The Ranil-Maithri ‘Yaha Paalana’ regime has handed over the now fast-sinking SriLankan Airlines to a group of Ranil’s cronies in order to speed up its death, reports say. Functioning under the finance ministry, the airline has Ranil’s classmate at Royal College Ajith Dias as the chairman, while the directors are Rakhitha Jayawardena, Mahinda Haridas and Neranjan Deva. Most of these directors live in the air. Chairman Dias is a cricket enthusiast, and it is part of his daily routine to watch cricket matches. That is not confined only to matches…

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Sri Lanka: Beyond Genocide

Two generations of Sri Lankan Tamils have been lost, fighting for a separate state, playing victim and waiting to be saved. We have to move on. I suggest we go back to the father of Tamil rights consciousness during colonialism – Periar. He called for a self -respect movement, not a nationalist movement. That is what we need in Sri Lanka. by Radhika Coomaraswamy ( March 15, 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) When I heard that the Northern Provincial Council had passed a resolution on Genocide, I put my “head…

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19th Amendment To The Constitution: Full Text Of Gazetted Bill

The Gazette notification on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution has been published today. Last Sunday the cabinet decided against the complete abolition of the Executive Presidency as promised in the election manifesto, and instead decided to gazette a diluted pruning of Executive Presidential powers. The decision was taken at the meeting of cabinet ministers this evening with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. Click here  ( English) and here (Sinhala) to read the Gazetted Bill Related stories; Exclusive: Abolition Of Executive Presidency Comes A Cropper; Powers To Be Pruned 19…

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Sri Lanka’s Tamil Minority Grows Impatient With Just Promises

JAFFNA, Sri Lanka — There may be no place more beautiful on the breathtaking tropical island of Sri Lanka than the white sand beaches along the Palka Strait, which is why building a luxury resort here made sense. Still, there are drawbacks to staying at Thalsevana Holiday Resort. Arrive without a reservation, and you could be arrested. Stroll too far down the beach during a blood-red sunset, and a soldier carrying an automatic weapon will appear out of a bunker, declare that you have entered a high-security zone and order…

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Fisher war in the Palk Strait

Nearly three or more days a week, about 2000 Indian trawl boats or more are crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line to fish on the Sri Lankan side of the Palk Bay in the north. The northern fishers of Sri Lanka, who started to fish after the cruel civil war which kept them away from fishing for nearly 30 years, face strict competition from the poaching Indian trawlers, who steal their fish and damage their nets. More recently (on the 27th of February 2015) more than 80 Indian trawlers crossed…

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“The state thought we were terrorists, the LTTE thought we were traitors.”- A middle-aged single mother near Batticaloa

By Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon – “The state thought we were terrorists, the LTTE thought we were traitors.”- A middle-aged single mother near Batticaloa (Eastern Sri Lanka)[i] By militarily defeating the LTTE, Sri Lanka eliminated a violent advocate for separate Tamil state in the North. Yet, that elimination of the most violent element expression of Tamils’ struggle for autonomy and self-determinationhas not in any way led to a permanent solution for the issue. Today, with the emerging space of democracy created through a hard fought change of an ultra-nationalist regime, we…

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In Sri Lanka, Army runs resorts, shops, salons and travel agencies

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Jaffna | Updated: March 16, 2015 7:22 pm A pristine white building with a classy brown wooden finish overlooks the blue Indian Ocean at Kankensanthurai, about 19 km from Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka. It’s a luxury resort, and on Sunday mornings, families come here for a meal, a swim in the pool, and to play on the beach. Foot-tapping music plays at the restaurant, and DJs are hired for corporate-sponsored parties. The owner and operator of this beachfront property, called the Thalasevana holiday resort,…

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Barbs From Within After Ranil’s Right to Shoot Intruders remark

COLOMBO/ NEW DELHI:Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe again tried to step on India’s toes by saying his country’s navy has the right to shoot anyone who intrudes into its territorial waters. The statement came  just two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country, when both sides asserted that the fishermen issue was a humanitarian one and must not be looked at from a territorial prism. “The Lankan navy has the right to shoot in any part of the country if anyone enters its territorial waters, this…

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Gota’s sale of arms to Indian terrorists detected: SL craft with weapons in Indian custody

Gota’s sale of arms to Indian terrorists detected: SL craft with weapons in Indian custody (Lanka-e-News- 21.Jan.2014, 11.00PM) A craft of Sri Lanka (SL) criminal defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse’s transporting weapons had been seized by the Indian coastal security forces, according to reports reaching Lanka e news inside information division. Though Minister Rajitha Senaratne left for India recently citing the ground he was visiting India to get the fishermen released, truly he had discussions in India specially in regard to the release of this craft. Based on reports reaching Lanka…

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