Showing posts with label Sri Lanka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sri Lanka. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Sri Lanka intensifies surveillance via drones; Many arrested


Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said a special operation would be conducted by the intelligence units to nab the violators of quarantine regulations. 

He said that stern action would be taken against such culprits. 

He pointed out that the use of drone cameras for surveillance was successful. Ninety-five persons had been taken into custody for violating travel restrictions, he said. The drone operations have taken place in the Kotahena, Ja-Ela, Keselwatta and Wattala areas.

"The beggars who are begging at colour lights will also be taken into custody," the police media spokesman said.

Sri Lanka police arrested around 300 persons since October 30th for violating quarantine regulations. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

New areas under isolation; many areas relieved; travel restrictions removed in Sri Lanka

Chief of Sri Lanka National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Army Commander Shavendra Silva said that Maradana, Fort, Pettah, Slave Island and Dam Street police divisions in Colombo city would be isolated since 5 a.m. Monday, 16 November. 

Seventeen police areas in Colombo district are now isolated. The other areas are Mattakkuliya, Modara, Bloemandahl, Kotahena, Grandpass, Coastal, Aduruppu Weediya, Maligawatta, Dematogoda, Wellampitiya, Borella and Keselwatta.

Seven police areas in Colombo, Kalutara, Kegalle and Kurunegala districts were withdrawn since tomorrow, the Army Commander said. 

Kelaniya police area will be under isolation since 5.a.m. on Monday, November 16.

Ja-ela, Negambo, Ragama, Wattala, Peliyagoda and Kadawatha areas of Gampaha district will remain isolated.   

Peliyagoda, Pamunuwa and Sapugaskanda police areas in Gampaha district which are isolated now will be freed since 5 a.m. Monday, 16 November. 

Horana, Ingiriya (police divisions) and Wekada West Grama Niladhari Division in Kalutara district also will be freed since 5 a.m. tomorrow. 

Mawanella, Ruwanwella police divisions in Kegalle district and Kurunegala Municipal Council area and Kuliyapitiya police division in Kurunegala district will also be relieved from isolation since tomorrow. 

All areas under isolation will remain in that state until further notice. 

Meanwhile, travel restrictions out of the Western Province will be withdrawn since midnight November 15. The travel restriction was in force since midnight November 11.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Doctors' Association (GMOA) of Sri Lanka wants travel restrictions to risk areas

Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) of Sri Lanka protested the withdrawal of curfew in the entire Western Province on Monday without proper study. 

Haritha Aluthge, editor of GMOA said that there was a threat of the coronavirus spreading throughout the country if the country is opened without necessary precautions like travel restrictions to risk areas. 

He said that the creation of new clusters must be prevented and the already identified clustered managed. 

Thursday, November 05, 2020

How the US election would impact Sri Lanka - Prof. Rohan Samarajiwa

Well known Sri Lankan academic and political and economic analyst Prof. Rohan Samarajiva said that the election in the US was not a unified election conducted by a central election commission, but a collection of 51 separate elections with lots of postal ballots and such making it unlikely that the final results will be known in a few hours.

Further analysing the election especially focusing on the impact on Sri Lanka, Prof. Rohan Samarajiva expressed the following views:

The election was focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant effects on the economy. In my view, the pandemic is running out of control and the effects on the economy are likely to be severe. Whoever wins, the focus will be domestic as a result. Impacts on the scale of the Great Depression of 1930 are likely. If enough people in the US are affected, impacts on worldwide demand are likely. The US is Sri Lanka’s principal export market. We will definitely be affected. We should hope for an effective response to the pandemic and the economic crisis.

Trump has withdrawn the US from the WHO, which many people in the US and outside believe is needed as part of an effective response to this and future pandemics. If Biden wins, I expect the US to immediately rejoin. There will be a clear difference between the engagement of the US in multilateral initiatives that affect Sri Lanka such as on Climate Change and pandemics. Biden’s team will engage, Trump will try to go it alone.

In terms of geopolitics, I do not expect fundamental changes in initiatives such as the quad (US, Japan, Australia, and India) and the general efforts to balance or contain the rise of China. These moves are associated with the long-term interests of the US rather than a specific political party. Of course, the way things are operationalized may be different.

India will continue to be an important focus of US strategy and in many cases, Sri Lanka will be fitted into the larger strategies around India and China. As a tiny country on the other side of the world, it is a little unrealistic to think that we will be a high priority for the people who will be appointed to the foreign policy and defence teams.

Because the country will be preoccupied with domestic matters, the emphasis on human rights is likely to be less, whoever comes to power. Of course, if Trump returns, it will be close to absent, though the ingrained culture in the State Department will take some time to fully reflect that.

A new President will make thousands of new appointments of officials. These new appointees will be able to push some matters of importance to them personally, but at this point, it is too early to speculate. Kamala Harris’s primary identification is as an African American, rather than as a desi, even though her selection has motivated the large population of Americans of Indian origin to support her. My observation has been that the Sri Lankan diaspora in the US is less influential than in Canada and the UK.

I see the most impacts in terms of how the world deals with the pandemic, the related economic contraction and the larger problem of the effects of climate change. A Trump win will mean the US will try to go it alone and disregard science. A Biden win is more conducive to a multilateral approach that gives weight to science, but in the weakened state that the US is in, things will be sub-optimal, whoever wins.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Finance Intelligence Unit with Indian assistance for Sri Lanka to trace $ 5+ billion swindled by Rajapashas

This news posted in Economic Times section in India Times indicates a highly important move.

The  Finance Intelligence Unit (FIU) is more than FIU in political terms.

1. Mahinda swindled money burrowed by Sri Lankan people. China helped him for them. Now India helps President Maithripala to trace them back.
2. Sri Lanka government is moving away from China in regard of political allegiance and getting closer to India.
3. With this move, Sri Lanka is embracing the democratic capitalist principles promoted by Western oriented capitalist nations vis-a-vis the Chinese oriented undemocratic, corrupt and totally inhuman practice of capitalism in the guise of socialism.

Following is the report:

NEW DELHI: India will help Sri Lanka set up a finance intelligence unit (FIU)-like entity in the island nation at Colombo's request to trace more than $5 billion allegedly stashed overseas by the erstwhile Rajapaksa regime.

President Maithripala Sirisena is moving to fulfill electoral promises to check corruption and repatriate money allegedly siphoned off abroad by Mahinda Rajapaksa, who ruled Sri Lanka for a decade, and members of his family, government sources told ET. 

The new Lankan regime has informally approached the Narendra Modi government to assist in setting up the body, sources said, adding that a formal proposal could be expected soon.

The finance ministry will share its best practices with Colombo to set up the unit, which could be modelled after the Indian body, the sources indicated.

"We could help close neighbour Sri Lanka with capacity building exercise regarding FIU," said an official familiar with the process.

India set up the FIU in November 2004 as a national agency to receive, process, analyses and disseminate information related to suspect financial transactions. It coordinates and strengthens efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing global efforts against money laundering and related crimes, reporting directly to the finance minister. Last November, FIUIndia and its Australian counterpart decided to jointly crack down on international financial crimes.

India could also consider a formal proposal from Colombo seeking the Reserve Bank of India's expertise in tracing money allegedly hoarded in tax havens. The Sirisena government has also sought help from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in locating this hidden wealth to expose the alleged corruption of the previous regime. The Sri Lankan government does not possess this expertise, according to Health Minister and cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne.

Relations between New Delhi and Colombo have picked up pace less than a month after the change of guard in the island nation.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Salman Khan's pathetic stunt in Sri Lankan politics

Khan with President's son Namal Rajapaksha
Bollywood super star Salman Khan who arrived in Sri Lanka on December 28 on a dubious tour has left the island without much hype.

Khan was seen in the political rallies of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is
rapidly losing popularity and in the path of possible defeat at January 08

On the day the President and his all powerful elder son Namal Rajapaksha welcomed Salman Khan and appeared in rallies with him, a group of young and popular Sri Lankan artists were brutally assaulted by the goons connected to the government.

Several artists were hospitalized due to this attack led by a ruling party
Provincial Councillor.

Opposition claimed Salman Khan has been paid Rs. 700 million for his public
appearance in President Mahinda Rajapaksha's Presidential campaign.

However, the government said Khan had come to Sri Lanka to donate eye lenses and explore the opportunities to help the flood victims. Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that he had come with his own expenses.

However, Khan's tour wrongly scheduled ended promptly on December 29th adding misery to the President's failing campaign.

One of Salman Khan's escort vehicles ran over two children, reports say, seriously injuring them.

In one of the rallies ruling party MP Thilanga Sumathipala wrongly introduced
Salman Khan as Sharuk Khan.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sri Lanka Buddhist extremists incite communal violence between Sinhalese and Muslims in Beruwala

Communal violence took place in Sri Lanka between Muslims and Sinhala Buddhists in the evening of June 15th in Sri Lanka's Beruwala multi ethnic electorate.

Reports say that two shops and a van was set fire in Muslim dominated Dharga Town. Police curfew has been imposed in the Beruwala and Aluthgama police areas.

 A tense situation prevailed in the area since three days as a Muslim man allegedly attacked a Buddhist monk. The Sinhalese Buddhists of Aluthgama town protested the police blocking Galle Road two days ago for failing to arrest the persons who assaulted the monk. Police later arrested the suspects and remanded them.

On June 15,  Buddhist extremist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) held a rally at Aluthgama town. Ground reports said that they had planned to demonstrate across Dharga Town upto the temple of the monk who was attacked. Muslims are accused of pelting stones at the motorcade.

When we visited the area in the evening today, police and Special Task Force were guarding the Muslim town. Muslim shops in Dharga town were closed. large number of people had gathered in the mosque. The gates of the mosque were locked and police were guarding the main road in the town. Buddhists had decorated the road to the temple of the attacked monk at a corner of the town with Buddhist flags. Ground reports said that the BBS had planned to hold a demonstration across Dharga town taking the attacked monk in a procession to the temple he resided after the rally held in Aluthgama town.

BBS leader, Buddhist monk Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero has allegedly delivered a fiery speech inciting communal violence at the BBS seminar held yesterday at Aluthgama.

Addressing the cheering crowd in the tension-stricken town, the monk said that if a moor set hand on any Sinhalese, not Buddhist monks, it would be the end of all the moors.

He publicly exclaimed that he was a racist and religious extremist.

He questioned why the police was providing so much security to Dharga Town and said that the police and Army of Sri Lanka were still Sinhala. He said pointing the guns to them was wrong.

The monk also blamed some Ministers who criticized them as racists and named them as toilet washers.

He pointed out he had made aware even the President regarding the problems the Sinhalese were facing but for no avail.

The monks speech is on You Tube and can be viewed below.

Communal violence caused carnage in Muslim dominated Dharga Town after this rally. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fonterra's Fonterrorism

Finding traces of DCD in milk powder created a huge controversy in Sri Lanka and that affected even the dairy farmers in New Zealand that supply milk to the multi national Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter,.

From Sri Lanka's part, as the consumer, we do not essentially need to accept whatever they sent to us. We have the right to question what they are giving us and it is not a bad idea to maintain a warning that they have to take us serious as stakeholders and highly regard the quality of their products. .

A spokesman of Sri Lanka Ministry of Health said yesterday that seven batches of milk food imports that were held in the Colombo port would be released to the market since tests proved they are negative for DCD.

The Industrial Technical Institute (ITI) has informed the Food Advisory Committee of Ministry of Health that the tested seven samples of the milk food stocks were tested negative for DCD.
Accordingly, the Food Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health has decided to release the milk food to the market.

The Food Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health met yesterday under the patronage of the Chairman of the committee secretary of the Ministry of Health Palitha Mahipala.

After the ITI found that two batches of Fonterra's anchor brand milk powder contained traces of DCD in the samples, the Health Ministry banned the sale, distribution and promotion of imported milk powder until further notice.

Fonterra was questioning the country's technical capacity to test for DCD.  New Zealand depends on the dairy industry for a quarter of its total exports.

The real international controversy over Fonterra was related not to DCD but to  botulism-causing bacteria. The contamination announced earlier this month has led to product recalls in countries from China to Saudi Arabia. Fonterra has come under attack at home and abroad for dragging its feet in disclosing the discovery of the bacteria.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Thanks Lal Kantha!

A series of agitations against the increase of electricity tariff has been scheduled in Sri Lanka this month by three fronts.

It is remarkable the way the People's Liberation Front (JVP) is conducting their agitations. They launched a general strike as their first step on May 21, mass agitation in Colombo on May23 and now they have come to cities. The next stage may be the work place or village level. A complete new strategy and it clearly appears a way of killing or ebbing a mass discontent in a way no damage is occurred to the system.

JVP has planned to hold a series of agitations against the increase of electricity tariff on June 05 at several places of the island. JVP says that protest marches, demonstrations and petition signing campaigns will cover all the districts.

Most of the agitations are scheduled to be held at 4 o' clock in the evening and a few are to be held later in the evening. The venues of the agitations are Nugegoda, Avissawella, Gampaha, Kaluthara, Anuradhapura, Mawathagama, Galgamuwa, Alawwa, Galle, Rathnapura, Pelmadulla, Kandy, Hatton, Chilaw, Bibila, Wellawaya, Ampara and Kaduruwela.

Meanwhile, the major opposition United National Party (UNP) has also planned to re-commence the agitations against the electricity tariff hike since June 13. The UNP agitation will be held at the Kandy city. The trade union coalition against the increase of electricity bill has also scheduled to hold three mass agitations in Kandy on June 06, on June 11 at Galle and on June 16 at Anuradhapura.

Probably, this will be the end of the road. The people have now received the electricity bill and they have clearly understood that mo relief will come their way. They did not participate in the premature general strike and they have lost the trust on the so called leaders of the masses if they still had any.

They will work harder to pay the bills and to lead the unavoidable miserable lives ahead of them.  

The agitations will have some really, really good photos at which the government will glance with their tongues in cheek. Thanks Lal Kantha!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Snake phobia and killing pythons

Researchers stretch out alongside Florida-record Burmese python. Photo courtesy of the University of Florida
Python is a harmless reptile that lives in woods especially in South Asia. But its size is so enormous that the man who is generally snake phobic may be terrified. There are lots of fiction about pythons swallowing men alive. This fiction has extended to internet graphics also.

I have lived with a python when I was in a torture center in 1989 era. The python was used to frighten the prisoners to get them to divulge information. But it was an innocent creature. Very rarely it bit like a cat when it was extremely hungry as it was not given food.

The python was kept in a box and an old prisoner was trained to feed it with eggs and meat stuffed forcibly into the mouth gaped with the use of two sticks. I think the keeper, one fine day, kept the lid of the box half open and let the creature escape.

Python is a specie under threat of extinction in Sri Lanka. It is a pity that the people tend to kill this reptile when they see it in their environment.

Today I read a story about a man being honored for killing a massive python in Florida. The serpent is called a Burmese python.

Americans, perhaps who went to war brought this specie from Asia to be kept as pet. Now they have escaped to environment and become a threat to wildlife.

In Florida, where they’ve been released as pets and escaped from wildlife facilities, there are thousands of them, mostly within the Everglades ecosystem.

As such a large and voracious invasive species, they’re a threat to native wildlife. The state would like to eradicate them, if that were possible.
Read the story.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Promoting Hitler in Sri Lanka

I found this banner shared by one of the students of my school. He is a handsome, pleasant kid of around 18 years of age who belongs to the Sinhala community.

This boy is a prefect of the school and also a scout of a highest medal.

He is a very polite, decent and lovable guy. In the multi cultural school he learns, I have never seen him behaving disrespectfully to the teachers or the students that belong to other communities.

He is a friend in my Facebook and I have observed that the majority things hat he shares there are extremely racist especially against Muslims.

I once invited him to have a chat over a cup of tea regarding our opinions on ethnic relations which are worlds apart. He readily accepted the invitation to come to my house but we both were busy in the past weeks, he getting ready to sit for the G.C.E. (Advanced Level) examination in August in science stream.

"I know your views Sir, but it doesn't matter, let us talk," I remember he said.

Yesterday, he had shared this banner.  I still like him very much but I can't understand what has happened to boys like him.

Thirty years back, when I was in his age, I too was extremist.But if there was Facebook I might have promoted Che, Bob Marley, Marx, Engels, Lenin etc.

But he is promoting Hitler. I don't know what to say.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why was Sri Lanka's Buddhist terrorists and their government so afraid of the anonymous Facebook group that came to streets

A a peaceful candlelit vigil was planned to be held on Friday 12 April at 7 p.m. before the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Mandiraya, a Buddhist center built with the funds raised from the peaceful Buddhists and later converted to the de facto headquarters of the violence mongering Budhist terrorist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).

This seems the first political campaign organized by a Facebook Group in Sri Lanka. The breakthrough event organized and participated by the anonymous, middle class looking Colombo people was disrupted by the violent mobs of the BBS who were supported by the police.

Arguments of BBS spokesman Dilantha Vithanage and others in the mob who came out of the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Mandiraya was extremely ridiculous.

Vithanage said he had not seen any of the peaceful protestors in temples and therefore they cannot be Buddhists. They also asked the peaceful activists to light coconut oil lamps instead of candles if they are Buddhists. They wanted the anonymous demonstrators be arrested by police since no leader appeared.

A similar set of sugar coated ridiculous arguments against the vigil could be seen published by the The Nation editor-in-chief Malinga Seneviratne. 

The arguments though appeared foolish reflected the real causes that shook the racists and their regime. People have begun to use new technology and methodology in resistance that out pours from cyberspace to streets. The racists may not be afraid to the Sri Lankan orgin NGO and Diaspora campaigners in foreign soil that make their living through their protests. Yet, these are the Lankans that struggle to make this country a better place for all communities to live in peace. That is why they are hated so much. They are trying to curb this potential challenge at the roots.

Police+BBS led disruption of the event was not actually a defeat. Comrades, you have marked a new beginning of struggles for justice in this island.

Here's their community - A place to discuss the Bodu Bala Sena's actions, techniques, motives, and goals, and question whether they are in line with the Dhamma.May more such groups be created and make right people courageous to come to street to fight against the rising wave of hatred.
- Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe 

BBS terror group spokesman Dilantha Vithanage

Police manhandling peaceful protestors
Two interesting articles on the topic can be read from these links.

The BBS ‘Buddhists’, ‘Nightclub Buddhists’ And The ‘Vigil’ That I Saw by Malinda Seneviratne and a reply to him by Dayan Jayatilake Anti-BBS Vigil: A Critique Of The Critique


Commonwealth Legal Information Institute; Free access to Commonwealth and Common Law

I found this website when digging into some old acts of Sri Lanka. The site appears containing lot of valuable information.

Commonwealth Legal Information Institute website declares that it has 981 databases from 59 Commonwealth and common law jurisdictions via 8 Legal Information Institutes.

 This is the direct link to the Sri Lanka page.

It seems so easy to handle and look at this page from where you can access, I believe, all numbered parliamentary acts from 1956 to 2006.

Here is the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

It has lot of links to websites of Sri Lankan origin but some I tested did not download.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Commemorative coin issued to mark Japan Sri Lanka relationship presented to the President

Governor of Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabral will present the President Mahinda Rajapaksa a commemorative coin issued by the bank to mark the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan today at the Temple Trees.

The commemorative one thousand rupee silver proof coin will be issued to public since today. In obverse, the coin carries a colour print image of the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project, located within the central hills in Sri Lanka built with the assistance of Japan. This is the first coin minted in Japan and first coin with an actual multi-colour photograph.

Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations with Japan in 1952 and since then, the two governments have enjoyed a very prosperous and steady friendship with the Tokyo also contributing to several government initiatives and infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.

First-Strike of the issuance of 1,000 Rupee Commemorative Silver Coin, Ceremony was held at the Japan Mint of Tokyo Bureau on 4th of October, 2012. It was conducted by Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda with the participation of the former Prime Minister of Japan and Honorary Chairman of Japan Sri Lanka Association, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda.

The Japan Mint, the Government entity which issues coins, made the commemorative silver coin as per the order by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

This is the 59th commemorative coin issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Sri Lanka, China Form Strategic Shield against the West

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- On a steamy afternoon in the Sri Lankan capital, if you glance across the water at Colombo's legendary Galle Face Green seaside promenade, past the spray of the Indian Ocean, you can make out a milky line of giant cargo ships at the point where the sky blends with the sea. That ocean traffic on the horizon, those dashes of gray steel, glide along the world's busiest sea lane, navigated by anywhere from 100 to 200 ships every day. This is the maritime pipeline that makes it possible for China to remain the world's fastest-growing economy. It is also the visible explanation for China's generosity toward Sri Lanka and a centerpiece of this country's vision for the future.

Sri Lanka, the small tear-shaped island at the foot of India, has always held a special place in the hearts of global strategists. In earlier centuries, Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial invaders sought to exploit its riches, but they also coveted the island for its location. Now, in what may become the Chinese Century, it is Beijing that has its sights on the country formerly known as Ceylon.

China's interest has been warmly reciprocated by Sri Lankan authorities, who see Beijing's embrace as the key to prosperity at a time when the West demands pesky human rights standards in exchange for its largesse.

While the West today is removing preferential trade treatment from Sri Lanka, citing its failure to cooperate with human rights investigations, Beijing is happily expanding its presence. Last year China became the country's biggest financial investor, and the level of cooperation is increasing by the day. Chinese businessmen and technical experts are a regular presence in Colombo's hotels, and government delegations make frequent visits. China is allowing Sri Lanka to develop its economy, while Sri Lanka is providing China with a key strategic position in the Indian Ocean -- one that could evolve into a political and even a quasi-military alliance.

Sri Lanka has become one of the beads in China's so-called "String of Pearls," a series of ports between the Persian Gulf and China that protect Chinese trade routes and create the foundation for what could become a series of bases for China's fast-growing navy.

In order for China to access the Middle East oil that fires the pistons of its economy, freighters carrying petroleum must slice through the Persian Gulf waters, sail within sight of Sri Lanka's shores, and make their way around Southeast Asia until they reach a Chinese port. Similarly, Chinese exports destined for Europe must reverse the route, passing near Sri Lanka on their way to the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean Sea. Freighters headed to the east coast of the United States, where hungry American consumers gobble up Chinese products, continue on to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Chinese presence in Sri Lanka has become inescapable. Strong bilateral relations are nothing new, but the ties have strengthened greatly since Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to office five years ago, and even more since his forces won an apparently decisive victory in the war against the separatist LTTE, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

That military victory against an organization that perpetrated acts of extraordinary brutality was widely cheered by Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese -- as well as by large sections of the minority Tamil, who dreaded the extreme methods of the Tamil Tigers and breathed a sigh of relief at the war's end. But the victory came at a horrific cost to civilians.

As the controversial final offensive pushed relentlessly ahead last year, China blocked efforts to bring the matter to the U.N. Security Council. But China was already on its way to forging the alliance years earlier. In 2007, when Washington stopped direct military aid to Colombo on human rights grounds, China quickly picked up the slack, providing powerful new weaponry that made America's decision irrelevant. Chinese weapons played an important role in the government's ultimate success against the LTTE in 2009.

Sri Lanka has resisted international pressure to open itself to human rights investigations about what transpired during the final months of the war, when hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced and thousands more are believed to have been killed. The U.N. launched such an investigation, charging some 7,000 civilians died as the fighting reached its final climax.

In order to pressure Colombo to allow a war crimes probe, the European Union last February threatened to remove favorable trade status. The threat failed to change the government's stance, and in August, Sri Lanka lost tariff preferences under the union's so-called Generalized System of Preference Plus.

Sri Lanka remains defiant in the face of Western pressure, partly because China's help is easing the pain. Authorities say the country received $1.2 billion from China in 2009 in the form of grants, loans and credits, constituting the majority of what Sri Lanka received last year and making Beijing easily the largest contributor among foreign countries and multilateral agencies.

Chinese funds built the gleaming convention center near the airport, but the most important project for both countries is the one under construction in the south of the island. The Hambantota deep-sea port, whose first phase was recently completed, is one the largest of China's String of Pearls ports. Its 55-foot depth makes it one of the deepest in the region. The joint venture, expected to cost $1.5 billion, will give China a place to dock its most massive ships and provides Sri Lanka with an opportunity to expand its position in international shipping. Sri Lanka aims to lure large ships traveling between Asia and the West to use the port for refueling and maintenance.

Other Chinese projects in Sri Lanka include a major power plant in the town of Norochcholai with a price tag of $1.35 billion, financed by Exim Bank of China. The first phase of the plant already went online. China is also engaged in a number of crucial and costly road-building projects, including one that would cut the travel time between Colombo and the main airport at Katunayake to about 20 minutes. It now takes between one and two hours, depending on the capital's unpredictable traffic congestion.

For Sri Lanka, the end of the war with the Tamil Tigers means a new era. Pressure from the West to look back at what transpired during the conflict, or at the cost civilians paid for that victory, are seen by the government as an affront to its sovereignty and an unnecessary rehashing of a necessary war. Instead of looking back, it prefers to look to the future. And a big part of the future can be seen from the country's shores, where the big Chinese ships dotting the horizon symbolize new opportunities for Sri Lanka.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Electoral reforms or state reforms? Listen to minority communities of Sri Lanka

(July 17, 2010, Colombo - Lanka Polity)A dialogue is underway between the President and the major opposition United National Party (UNP) regarding the constitutional reforms.

This dialogue can at least have an impact on the President Mahinda Rajapaksa's possible backward moves to guarantee a royal future for his son Namal Rajapaksa as his uncontested successor.

Opposition can push the President for more democratic reforms even in the context the President may try to achieve his ulterior goals. The President's plans to remove the two-term limit of Presidential terms have been challenged indirectly by his party stalwarts as well as his family. He cannot push Namal into the throne so easily in this backdrop.

Now, the President indicates that he is ready to extend this dialogue even to get the National Democratic Alliance (DNA) that comprises of his arch rival ex-Army Comander and defeated Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka and the Marxist People's Liberation Front (JVP) involved in it.

But still there are no indications that he is going to have a proper dialogue with the representatives of the minority communities of Sri Lanka at least regarding electoral reforms.

In the Presidential campaigns of both opposition and government candidates in the election 2010, both candidates promised to abolish the executive presidency. Mahinda Rajapaksa promised in 2005 to abolish this draconian power within his first tenure itself. Still he has time until November in which he has planned to swear in for the second term.

Ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has a long history of promising to abolish executive Presidency. In 1994, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga promised to do so but remained clinging in the power for two terms and passed the hat to the next President.

The proportional representation system has also come under severe criticism in the majority Sinhala community. They try to project their need for change as a common need of the entire polity undermining contradictory views or reservations of the minority communities.

After all, while all were in a verbal war regarding the constitutional reforms, the Tamils in Northern and Eastern Provinces fought a bitter battle for state reforms. They experimented in state formation as well through the Tamil Tigers' state within the state.

Therefore, they are the people that should be consulted somehow if the government really want a sustainable peace through whatever the reforms they are going to propose. But the moves in this regard must be beyond simple electoral reforms. Their demand for a state reform is still valid although the Tamil Tigers' armed struggle was defeated. Tamil struggle has not ended although their armed fight has been defeated.

Meanwhile, the minorities living among the majority community are in fear of losing whatever representation they now enjoy through the electoral reforms.

'The issue of electoral reforms are very fundamental for the Tamil and Muslim minorities live in the southern districts than their counterparts in the northern and eastern provinces. President and leader of opposition should take the Tamil speaking minorities into confidence when dealing with this issue,' said Democratic People's Front (DPF) leader Mano Ganesan in a release issued by the DPF media office.

Ganesan says further in the release, "The national consensus today is for a mixed electoral system encompassing positive features of both first past the post (FPP) and Proportional representation (PR) systems. We endorse this consensus and subsequent national search for an appropriate system. The established apprehension along the line of search is that complete doing away with the PR system would cut down the representations of the minorities inappropriately.

"It should be understood that if any unfair system is implemented, the numerical minority Tamils and Muslims living in the southern districts will be the most affected than their counterparts in the northern and eastern provinces. This is being one of the major core issues being debated over the years in respect of the electoral reforms subject. The fear of the numerical minorities should not be under estimated."

We would like to highlight the following part that clearly portrays the danger of the electoral reforms that does not parallel with state reforms. "Even the mixed system, which is being projected is also has sent an impression of distrust amidst the minority political parties representing the Tamil speaking people live in the southern districts outside north and east. It is essential that all possible avenues must be tried to arrive at the most suitable electoral system. The suitability is to ensure fair minority representation while accommodating positives features of both PR and FPP systems. Disfranchisement and violent denials of voting rights of the Tamil people to elect their democratic representatives have led to turmoil in the past. DPF calls upon the president and leader of opposition to take the minorities into confidence by being mindful of the fear."

This enfranchisement of minority communities in certain districts has already taken place. For instance, the Muslims of Kaluthara district have lost their long lasted parliamentary representation that was guaranteed before the PR system was introduced via Beruwala muti-seat electorate. The sizable community of Indian-origin Tamils that live in this district do not have representation at least in the Western Provincial Council.

These are only two examples. We have just come out of a bloody ethnic war and what now we are in dire need is the reconciliation. among ethnic communities For that, the minority communities are needed to be empowered politically so that they can use their franchise for the development of their community.

For this, we need a state reform plus electoral reforms. These two are like the two wheels of a bullock cart. If one is oversize or under-sized we will not go forward. Instead we will come to the same place after some time.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What play does Sri Lanka have in between Russia and Ukraine?

(June 29, 2010, Colombo - Lanka PolitySri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to leave for an official tour in Ukraine today. The official visit is scheduled from June 29 to July 2, 2010,

This is the first time a Sri Lankan President and a state head of the South Asian region pays an official visit to Ukraine, local media reported.

The Sri Lanka President is to hold bilateral talks with the Ukraine President, Prime Minister and senior state officials.

Director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's information policy department Oleh Voloshyn said to Ukraine's leading English-language newspaper Kyiv Post that it would help promote a bilateral political dialogue at the summit level, further developing cooperation between the two countries in the fuel and energy, military and technical, education, and culture and humanitarian spheres.

Voloshyn also added that the two countries expect to expand their international treaty framework and strengthen the two countries' cooperation via international organizations.

A range of bilateral agreements, in particular, on cooperation in the tourism and military and technical spheres, are to be signed during the visit, said Kyiv Post.

Ukraine assisted Sri Lanka immensely in the latter’s war against terrorism. However, Ukraine has disputes with Russia, another ally of Sri Lanka. Russia recently raised voice against the panel appointed by the UN General Secretary to advise him on human rights issues related to Sri Lanka.

Russia opposes Ukraine's move to join NATO. Sri Lanka is also in a tug-of-war with EU over the GSP Plus tariff concessions granted by the latter to poor countries. Sri Lanka is unwilling to bow to EU pressure on ratifying UN conventions regarding human rights.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Lankan war was corporate one, says Arundhati Roy

(June 05, 2010, Colombo - Lanka PolityThe war in Sri Lanka was not just a war of the Sri Lankans against the Tamil people, according to writer-activist Arundhati Roy. "That was a corporate war. All the large Indian companies are now heading to Sri Lanka to make more money," Roy said on Friday. "The political parties of Tamil Nadu were the only ones who could have stopped the genocide in Sri Lanka, but they chose to stand by silently. A similar thing is happening in central India where tribals are resisting the takeover of natural resources by corporates."

Roy was speaking at a Convention on Operation Green Hunt and Genocidal attack on tribals by Indian State' organised in the city on Friday by the Federation Against Internal Repression. She said the resistance in central India was a fight against injustice and not a rebellion against the state as the government says it is. "The government is on the side of the corporates who want to take over the lands, forests, rivers, the traditional homes of the tribals. Operation Green Hunt follows the Bush doctrine of you are with us, or against us," she said. "Anyone who resists this corporate takeover, whether Gandhian, tribal or Maoist, is branded a terrorist," she said.

Turning her attention to the environmental impact of development, she said there was no ecological way to mine bauxite. "You can never mine bauxite and then turn it into aluminium without destroying the ecological balance of the mountains. The tribals have lived in harmony with the forests and nature for centuries," she said.

For over five years, some of the poorest, most marginalised people in the country have held off some of the world's largest multi-national corporations, she said, referring to tribals and adivasis across the country. "Every institution in this country has been corrupted but the spirit of our people remains strong," she said.

The people's struggles were not against democracy but the ways in which the mechanisms of democracy function. "You're a Gandhian if you protest on the road, and a Maoist if you resist in the forest. How can someone without food go on a hunger strike? To do Gandhian resistance, you need an audience, and there is no audience in the forest," she said.

-Times of India

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

He was legendary Volleyball Sira of cricketing Sri Lanka

No action photos for media
Only this one with his son
(May 18, Colombo - Lanka PolityW.L. Siriwardhana of Gampaha, who was known as legendary ‘Volleyball Sira‘ bade farewell to Sri Lanka.

Mr. Siriwardhana was the captain of Sri Lanka’s national volleyball team for 12 years in 1950s and 60s. He was renowned in the Asian region as a gifted dasher. He was popular among Sri Lankans as much as the brilliant cricketers were among cricket fans. However, he was not among the sportsmen the President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently awarded for their lifetime achievements. His funeral was also unattended by political bigwigs.

Volleyball is still the national game of Sri Lanka although it never reached to professional level.

Volleyball is a sport Sri Lankans can play anywhere in the island with low capital cost since the equipments and standard courts do not cost a fraction of expenses for a game like cricket.

Cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka although less than thousand people play standard cricket. Few turfs are available even in Colombo except what are available the international cricket grounds. Most of the outstation schools and clubs play cricket on matting made of coir string. Tennis ball cricket that is played by the majority of the ordinary cricketers is far below cricket standards.

Most Sri Lankans do not play any kind of cricket although they are ardent fans of the game. Most of these fans are not healthy people since they do not play or exercise at all. One of them died in a heart attack recently when Sri Lanka beat India in a thrilling match to enter the semi-finals of T-20 World Cup.

Sports must be promoted as a human exercise and not as a way having sheer thrill or betting if a nation needs healthy and fit populace.

Sri Lanka can promote volleyball among people easily if it really needs it to be made the national sport. The chairmanship of Sri Lanka Volleball Federation itself reflects the pathetic situation of the national sport. The federation has failed to seek a powerful person to lead it.

Present Chairman Dilan Perera is a Deputy Minister of the government and he laments he has been denied a cabinet portfolio despite his presence in the parliament since 1994. Sri Lanka's national sport is also like him.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stampede in Somawathi of Sri Lanka and Lord Buddha's ban on miracles

(May 11, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Sri Lankan W. Podi Appuhami, a 70 years old farmer of Welimada went to Somawathi in a goods transport truck to see the ancient pagoda emanate the light rays of Lord Buddha came home as a dead man. Media says that the man was killed when he fell from the lorry.

Forty two years old M.P. Lionel Samarawickrama of Galewela and 53 years old M. Karunawathi of Rajagiriya were dead in heart attacks at Somawathi. Media want to say that they were not killed in a stampede. But they could not be taken to a hospital due to traffic jam and torrential rains.

A stampede is a sudden, frenzied rush or headlong flight of a herd of frightened animals or people. The incident that took place in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province Somawathi is none other than a stampede although some elements are in need of hiding that reality. At least 25 people were injured in this stampede. Some are still disappeared.

This kind of accidents are rare in Sri Lanka. During war, people did not gather in such large numbers such as around 800,000 in more than 30,000 vehicles in a remote Buddhist shrine that is situated inside a forest reserve. This place is forest-locked and totally inadequate in facilities for such a huge crowd. The devotees were lured their by persons that publicized they would show the devotees the rays of Lord Buddha's body emanate from the pagoda there.

In Sri Lanka, there is a group of business minded persons that are disguised as monks that perform false miracles and attract crowds. They earn millions of rupees in hours by selling books, magazines, cassettes and CDs etc. to the crowd and even evade tax payments. The other religious businessmen that provide venues for these miracle performers also profit in various ways such as till and commissions from small businesses that sell various goods to the devotees.

These persons subtly manipulate media for their lucrative business and one can observe that they have already started false propaganda to hide themselves from the actual crime they committed and to mislead devotees further even before the dead persons were buried.

Many Buddhists that flock to see miracles do not know that Lord Buddha banned performing miracles for personal benefit.

Six years after attaining the supremacy, Lord Buddha stayed in Rajagahanuwara in the rainy season. By this time, a nobleman in the city that met with a Sandalwood trunk that came floating in a river made a bowl out of it. He placed it on a very tall post and challenged the monks in the city to perform miracle and take it. As all the other monks failed, a Buddhist monk called Pindola Bharadwaja took it.

When Lord Buddha came to know this incident, he banned performing miracles for personal benefit.

White handkerchief marks protest against forcible cremation by the government of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan civil society is silently but strongly marking their protest against the government's inhuman  forcible  cremation of a 20-da...