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Coalitions of the Evil
Published Date: 03/06/2018 (Sunday)
Among politically significant developments to have occurred during the past week or so, three stand out. They, not necessarily in the order of their importance, are: (a) Revelations made by MP Dayasiri Jayasekera about business donations to election funds of politicians, (b) the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution, and (c) Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s launching of his 2019-2020 election campaign. This essay examines only the first.
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C.V. Vigneswaran’s de-legitimization of remembrance
Published Date: 02/06/2018 (Saturday)
A decision by a local bank to suspend two of its employees for commemorating the war dead of the final phase of the Eelam war has now caused a fresh wave of controversy. The ‘disciplinary action’ was purportedly taken after Sinhala nationalist social media highlighted the incident. The Bank said in a media statement, “HNB takes very seriously any sentiment or act that is in violation of, or poses a threat to the morale of citizens of Sri Lanka. As a Bank that stands for all Sri Lankans, our goals, interests and initiatives are all aligned to the vision and greater good of our Country.” “We regret an unauthorized incident that took place recently in one of our branches, which does not reflect the values of the Bank. The matter has been investigated and necessary action taken.”
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China insists it has lent “sincere support” to Sri Lanka
Published Date: 02/06/2018 (Saturday)
China insists its has lent “sincere support” to Sri Lanka and provides assistance to the best of its ability to help Sri Lanka close its financing gap, boost economic development, improve people’s livelihood and enhance its self-development capability. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said this in response to a question raised over reports that talks between China and Sri Lanka on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have reached a stalemate as Sri Lanka is worried that Chinese investments may make it indebted.
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The king cobra and Sri Lanka’s fascinated paralysis
Published Date: 02/06/2018 (Saturday)
When the king cobra kills, it is said that its glare is so unnerving that the victim is fascinated first into a state of terrified immobility before the strike occurs, paralyzing through the injection of a potent neurotoxin that immobilizes the central nervous system. The victims, (including humans if the dose is large enough), can feel impending death but be completely powerless to prevent it, sans immediate recourse to anti-venom treatment. Political chicanery, natural disasters and human misery In some ways, it feels as if Sri Lanka is in that advanced state of paralysis as the country lies transfixed in a state of apathy with a quarreling National Unity Government, overtly
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In the name of a misunderstood identity, Lankan Muslims are getting isolated: Prof. Ali
Published Date: 02/06/2018 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka is currently wedged between Buddhist fundamentalism and rigid Orthodox Islam that have made inroads into the country in the past 40 years or so. Both Buddhists and Muslims have forgotten the magnanimity and tolerance of the Sinhalese who welcomed Muslims into the country centuries ago. Sadly, Muslims have forgotten that they embraced Sri Lankan and not Arabian culture when they decided to live in Sri Lanka as Sri Lankans. “It was Buddhist compassion, which made Buddhist monarchs of ancient Sri Lanka welcome believers of other religions and extended their unparalleled hospitality. The experience of the Muslim minority in Sri Lanka until ethno-
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Sri Lankan Navy arrests 6 Tamil refugees
Published Date: 02/06/2018 (Saturday)
The Island-Navy contingent, during a routine patrol, apprehended all the six helpless Tamil refugees. The group of ‘migrants’ and the trawler were handed over to the Talaimannar police for further investigation the report added. Rameswaram: In a late night development on Wednesday that has sent shock waves across Rameswaram, six Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, including a woman and two children, were apprehended by the Island Navy authorities from an Indian trawler, suspected to be
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US lawmakers visit Sri Lanka to see massive Chinese investments
Published Date: 02/06/2018 (Saturday)
• Amid the global concern over China's 'debt trap diplomacy', a bipartisan group of influential US lawmakers has visited Sri Lanka to gauge the ground-level situation. • Under a pact with Sri Lanka, China recently gained lease of the strategic Hambantota port for 99 years. Amid the global concern over China's 'debt trap diplomacy', a bipartisan group of influential US lawmakers has visited Sri Lanka to gauge the ground-level situation.
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Sri Lanka to get Rs. 383 million Japanese grant aid for Human Resources Development Scholarship Programme
Published Date: 02/06/2018 (Saturday)
The government has received the cabinet approval to sign an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to obtain a grant of Japanese Yen 265 million (Rs. 383 million) , in order to implement another phase of the Human Resources Development scholarship Programme. The Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resources Development Scholarship Programme was introduced in Sri Lanka in 2010 by the Government of Japan in order to provide opportunities to the executive level public officials of Sri Lanka to undergo Master Degree Programs in prominent universities in Japan.
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From Anura’s to Mahinda’s 20 21 A
Published Date: 01/06/2018 (Friday)
Mahinda Rajapaksa, therefore, cannot afford to play between Parliamentary and the Presidential Elections Political fact that abolition would make them nonentities in a Parliamentary Election The 20th Amendment to the Constitution is basically a correction to the 19A for Mahinda to gamble with an undecided Parliamentary Election does pose the already fixed 2020 Presidential Election as a hassle They should all fall in line in voting for the 20A
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LTTE bogey to scuttle Constitution making
Published Date: 01/06/2018 (Friday)
LTTE bogey came to a head when the Rajapaksa loyalists accused Sarath Fonseka, being an LTTE agent when challenged Rajapaksa Sri Lankan politicians have a habit to look for a nexus between the ethnic issue and anything under the sun, in order to convince their community The constitutional issues such as the mode of governance are the ones having far-reaching effects on the future of the country as well as its people
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SLFP group of 16 opposes 20A
Published Date: 01/06/2018 (Friday)
The Group of 16 Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Parliamentarians, who left the Government and joined the Opposition, said that they completely opposed the proposal, in the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, brought by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). Explaining their stance on the matter, at a media briefing held yesterday (31), MP S.B. Dissanayake said, in the event the 13th Amendment to the Constitution imposes a threat on the unitary status of the country, the Executive Presidency is key to diminishing that threat. He explained this by referencing the position taken by the Supreme Court in its ruling on the 13th Amendment.
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Will ban social media if they don’t self-regulate: MS
Published Date: 01/06/2018 (Friday)
President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday he had discussed with a US based global institution regarding the issues that had arisen in the country due to social media and that if they were unable to control such issues, he would have to ban social media websites altogether like some other countries had done. “I summoned a team of experts who work in a global institution in the US that attend to issues pertaining to social media. I discussed with them the influence of the social media has on social and national security, ethnic harmony, integrity of a family and so on because social media has influenced them badly. I also told the US experts that if they could not control what was going
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Lanka and South Korea discuss maritime cooperation
Published Date: 31/05/2018 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka and South Korea discussed maritime cooperation including the development of Aids to Navigation. Minister of Ports and Shipping of Sri Lanka Mahinda Samarasinghe and the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea Kim Young-Choon also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Ports and Shipping of Sri Lanka and Oceans and Fisheries of Korea on cooperation in the development of Aids to Navigation in Incheon Metropolitan City in Korea, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
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Renewed interest for economic resurgence in North
Published Date: 31/05/2018 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s former-war wrecked Northern region is witnessing signs of economic resurgence with greater political will being demonstrated by the Central Government and the shifting of focus by the local Tamil leadership towards development, as the Provincial Election also nears, observes a top regional researcher. In a candid interview with the Sunday Observer recently, Dr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, a political economist based in Jaffna, highlights that the lack of vision demonstrated by the Tamil political leadership for developing the Northern Province - nearly a decade since the war ended, has thus far resulted in ‘jobless growth’ and crippling indebtedness. However, he points out that 2018 could very well be the year of change as the people are now increasingly
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Sri Lankans protest against Thoothukudi killings
Published Date: 31/05/2018 (Thursday)
Sri Lankan trade unionists and human rights activists on Wednesday protested outside the Indian High Commission here, demanding justice for victims of the recent police firing in Thoothukudi. They held posters with solidarity messages, some likening the Thoothukudi incident to a similar shooting incident in Sri Lanka in 2013, when the Army opened fire at the residents of Rathupaswala, about 40 km north-east of Colombo, as they protested against drinking water contamination caused by a nearby factory.
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Dollar strengthening combines with political uncertainty in Sri Lanka: Moody’s
Published Date: 28/05/2018 (Monday)
Strengthening of the Dollar in Sri Lanka has combined with domestic political uncertainty, weighing on the rupee, Moody’s Investors Service said. Moody’s said country-specific factors like in Sri Lanka have played a role in tightening financing conditions. Tightening financing conditions reflect various factors, including the appreciation of the US dollar. Moody’s, however, said nearly all economies in the APAC region have seen their currencies depreciate against the US dollar over the course of this year.
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Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative
Published Date: 28/05/2018 (Monday)
Hardly a day passes without headline news of some or another atrocity on Dalits. On 24 May, a Dalit man in the Ahmedabad district was beaten and his house attacked by a gang of socalled ‘upper’ caste men after he had attached Sinh to his name on his facebook post. On 21 May a dalit ragpicker was beaten to death in a Rajkot factory. Atrocities on Dalits are occurring in the midst of a public ideological environment against them. On 26 May news came of a private school in Delhi asking 8th class students to write a note on how reservations help undeserving and unqualified people for their summer vacation homework. According to National Crime Record Bureau reports for recent years, between 10 to 15 thousand cases of crimes are reported under the Prevention of Atrocities act every year; an average of 35 crimes
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Why Thoothukudi Exploded
Published Date: 28/05/2018 (Monday)
Many questions remain unanswered following the death of 13 people agitating against Sterlite Copper. What happened on 22 May in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu, when the police shot down 13 people who were part of thousands agitating against the Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper plant, is important for a number of reasons. The most obvious is the egregious use of force by the police that failed to use standard crowd control methods and instead, as seen in videos on television, deployed sharpshooters to aim and shoot down people. Although an inquiry has been ordered, given the track record of such investigations by the state, it is not likely to assuage the anger of people or the distress of the families who lost one of their own in the firing.
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UN votes to send war crimes probe to Gaza
Published Date: 27/05/2018 (Sunday)
The UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces. The UN's top human rights body voted through a resolution calling on the council to "urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry" -- the UN rights council's highest-level of investigation. Only two of the council's 47 members, the United States and Australia, voted against the resolution, while 29 voted in favour and 14 abstained, including Britain, Switzerland and Germany.
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Austria agrees to support SL Police
Published Date: 27/05/2018 (Sunday)
The Austrian government agreed to extended its support to the Sri Lanka Police to develop a systematic public security programme in modern technology, Public Administration and Law and Order Ministry said. During a meeting between Austrian Deputy Consul in New Delhi Christophe Maienberg and Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara at the Public Administration and Law and Order Ministry, it was revealed that the programme is being implemented as a concessionary loan scheme and the Austrian government expected to provide the loan in several stages.
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What purpose if citizens do not have protection: MR
Published Date: 27/05/2018 (Sunday)
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa questioned the country’s law and order stating that there is no purpose if it doesn’t protect the people. While expressing his condolence on Saturday over the tragic assassination of cricketer Dhananjaya de Silva’s father - Ranjan de Silva, MP Rajapaksa said authorities should take the matter serious as the incident could add a black mark to the country. He said the tragedy had occurred due to the actions of these drug kingpins who were operating under the shade of money and political umbrella.
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40% Colombo children malnourished School breakfast time comes under fire
Published Date: 27/05/2018 (Sunday)
Even though the North and the Moneragala District are highly susceptible to malnourishment, in an alarming discovery, 40% of the children in the Colombo District were found to be malnourished, and it is not second to the situation with regard to malnutrition in the Nuwara Eliya District. This was revealed at a Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on Women and Gender and the Children’s Caucus meeting held in Committee Room Two of Parliament on 24 May, in relation to the proposed national policy or policies on early childhood development and pre-school education chaired by Committee Chairperson Dr. Thusitha Wijemanna with Committee Members, State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle and MP Rohini Kumari Wijerathna participating. State Minister Eran Wickramaratne and MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe attended. Apart from the media, there was representation from the clergy, the medical community, the
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No reason to oppose 20A – Dr. Jayampathy
Published Date: 27/05/2018 (Sunday)
In spite of being favourable to the draft of 20th Amendment to the Constitution, presented by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) last week, Member of Parliament and Constitutional expert Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne says the United Left Front (ULF) and the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) majority group which he represents is still supportive of formulating a new Constitution for the country. “I believe it is still a possibility though the JVP says it is unlikely,” he said, adding that if the two main political parties can support the process it is a task that is still achievable. Meanwhile, commenting on the draft presented by the JVP, Dr Wickramaratne said he has no reason to oppose it. “The proposed amendment has also taken into account the interim report of the steering committee,” he pointed out.
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Britain's MI5 and the Secret Air Service (SAS) had reportedly advised Sri Lanka's security forces during the LTTE crisis
Published Date: 27/05/2018 (Sunday)
Around 195 files including documents relating to relations between India and Sri Lanka at the peak of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) led civil war have been destroyed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), sparking concern among archivists and researchers. While the FCO said any destruction decision would have been taken based on the country's records policy, experts believe the loss of the files means there is no record of an important period of history. Britain's MI5 and the Secret Air Service (SAS) had reportedly advised Sri Lanka's security forces during the LTTE crisis between 1978 and 1980.
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Competing for South Asia
Published Date: 25/05/2018 (Friday)
China’s aggressive campaign to gather partners for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a trade corridor stretching from Russia to Indonesia, has left the world awestruck. A clear move to cement its superior position in Asia, it has also caused a significant change in the alliances of the region, creating troubles for India – the other regional power. China introduced its plan for the BRI in 2013 and within a span of four years, 65 countries have agreed to be a part of this multibillion-dollar project. While some, like Pakistan have been traditional Chinese allies, in the case of others like Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Maldives, the move to partner with China has caused some disappointment in Indian diplomatic circles since it means weakening the decades of long relationships with India.
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