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

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…

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

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…

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President Maithripala Sirisena at Jaffna Hindu College

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…

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Opportunities emerge from SL nurses in the UK

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…

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

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…

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Britisher as Leader of political party

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…

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Two-faced Rajapaksa sibling?

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…

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Highest Military To Civilian Ratio In Mullative: 1:2

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…

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