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Sri Lanka Celebrating Independence In Chains Of Its Own Making
Published Date: 04/02/2018 (Sunday)
While Sri Lanka "celebrates" 70 years of independence from British colonial rule this month, its sovereignty is being threatened as never before since gaining independence in 1948 – tempting one to remark that Sri Lanka is celebrating 'independence in chains'. The strategically placed Indian ocean island is an important lynchpin in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which western powers – especially the United States and Britain – are keen to sabotage as its success would end their hegemony in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
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Setting up the OMP: Delays, Dilution and Deal-Making
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) is one of the four mechanisms that the government promised in its ‘comprehensive approach to dealing with the past’. While the OMP is the only mechanism on which any formal progress has been made in the 28 months that have passed since the government announced its plan; even this has not yet been formally constituted and operationalised. Each step of the process thus far to establish the OMP has been marked by slow progress, a regrettable lack of transparency, poor engagement with victims and troubling political actions to undermine the independence of the institution.
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70 years with the ‘filthy rich’
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
This Blue-Green coalition government will go on stage at Galle Face Green this Sunday to celebrate 70 years of Independence from British colonial rule. This same coalition, established after the 2015 January Presidential Election, celebrated 67 years of independence three years ago, with a simple ceremony, also at Galle Face Green. Three years from then, the ceremony has grown into a grand show as any, the Rajapaksas held to exhibit their power using the Independence Day celebrations. Though proud we are of the Independence gained (rather received), after 130 years and more of colonial rule, we don’t seem to have achieved anything greater than what the British left us.
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Sri Lanka ranked among world's 10 worst countries for personal freedom
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka has been ranked among 10 worst countries in the world for personal freedoms in a global index of human freedom, just behind Zimbabwe, due to damaged institutions of liberty, though the country scored better on economic freedoms. Sri Lanka was placed 150 on personal freedoms, out of 159 countries, ahead of Cameroon (151), Congo and Saudi Arabia, Burundi and Iran, but behind Zimbabwe at 149 in the 2017 Human Freedom Index compiled in association with the Fraser Institute, a Canada based think tank. In the region, India was placed at 103 Bangladesh 138 and Pakistan was ahead of Sri Lanka at 148.
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TNA to avoid Independence Day Celebrations
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said its members would not participate in the Independence Day National Celebration due to local government election campaign activities in the Trincomalee District. Opposition Leader and TNA MP R. Sampanthan has officially informed this to the Independence Day Celebrations Committee. TNA sources said MP Sampanthan would participate in the LG election public meetings and rallies in Trincomalee in February 4.
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20,000 disabled voters at LG Polls
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
Chairman of the Elections Commission (EC) Mahinda Deshapriya said that out of 15,760,867 registered voters, who are entitled to cast their votes at the 2018 Local Government Polls, around 20,000 come under the category of disabled voters. He added that being handicapped would not be a hindrance to cast votes at any election under any circumstance. Deshapriya noted that the EC has advised all Grama Sevaka Officers, Divisional Secretaries and returning officers to make facilities available for disabled voters to exercise their franchise at the upcoming Polls.
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Country will never return to dictatorship - Mangala
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
The country which was rescued from dictatorship by electing the Common Candidate will never be turned back, Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera pointed out yesterday. He also pointed out that the country which was isolated in the international arena, regained its due recognition after the victory of the Common Candidate. Minister Samaraweera made these observations at a rally held at Weligama, supporting UNP Local Government election candidates.
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Kids from shanties shut out of big schools in Colombo
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
Schools in Colombo refuse to enrol Grade One students living in shanties of Colombo and ignore their government-authorised ‘ownership cards’ issued in lieu of land deeds, says Sampath Rambukkanage the Pamankade (East) contestant from Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna for the CMC at the upcoming local government polls. Speaking to The Island the SLPP candidate said yesterday that the ‘ownership cards’ initially issued by former Colombo Mayor B. Sirisena Cooray to those living in unauthorised dwellings on lands belonging to the CMC had previously been accepted by national schools, but now a group of principals from Colombo refused to accept them, Rambukkanage said.
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MR failed to ensure Tamil people’s rights - Ranil
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that even after the LTTE was defeated, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa failed to ensure the Tamil People’s rights. Addressing an UNP Local Polls rally in Pothuwil, on Wednesday, Wickremesinghe said that instead of uniting all the communities and developing the country after the end of the war , the Rajapaksas adopted a divide and rule policy , by encouraging ethnic and religious conflicts. Issues confronting the Tamils were ignored, on the mistaken premise that the LTTE had been defeated, he added.
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Sri Lanka deletes laptop dance from i-day parade
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
Sri Lankan authorities have scrapped a “laptop dance” by school girls during the main Independence Day parade in Colombo after the unconventional item attracted ridicule on social media. Unlike the erotic art of lap dance, the 21st century Sri Lankan version was performed by students dressed in black leggings, yellow skirts and black short-sleeved jackets to symbolize the computers given by the education department
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Miss Leading: Sri Lanka joins in on fighting sexism
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
In recent history, the world has seen a lot of progress and positive strides surrounding the topic of women’s rights. From hundreds of women coming forward about their stories of sexual assault in the United States to the Saudi king passing a law giving women the right to drive, there is a clear effort to push for equality across the globe. Earlier this month, Sri Lanka joined the movement by allowing women to purchase alcohol and work in places where alcohol is served — a law that comes nearly 40 years after women were first denied access to alcohol. The ruling received significant backlash from consumer advocacy groups, citing this act could encourage drinking. This Sunday, Sri Lanka’s president reversed the ruling, prolonging the four-decade long ban.
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Sri Lanka calls on Maldives to find peaceful solution to ongoing crisis
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
The Sri Lankan government on Saturday called on all parties in the Maldives to uphold the rule of law and find a peaceful solution to the ongoing political crisis. "Sri Lanka is observing the evolving situation in the Maldives. We urge all parties to uphold the rule of law and the constitution, and find a peaceful solution to the current situation," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Clashes have been reported in the Maldives between police and protesters since Friday as supporters of former President Mohamed Nasheed took to the streets celebrating a ruling by
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TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah Sues Sivasakthi for making defamatory allegations against him
Published Date: 03/02/2018 (Saturday)
Mavai S. Senathirajah, Member of Parliament for Jaffna District instructs his lawyers to take appropriate legal action against Annamalai Nadesu Sivasakthi to pay a sum of Rupees One Billion (Rs. l,000,000,000.00) together with interest and costs of suit in the event of your failure to pay for making false and defamatory statements saying that Mr Senathirajah and some other Members of Parliament have received bribes amounting to Rupees Twenty Million (Rs. 20,000,000.00) each for the purpose of voting in favour of the Appropriation Bill for the year 2018.
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70 years of Independence We need to move from confrontation to compromise
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
The forward thrust the island has made may well be reversed if internal differences aren’t ironed out soon As Sri Lankans head to the polling stations for local Government elections a few days after 70th anniversary of Independence, they are starved of choices It’s now 70 decades since the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ broke free from the bondage of colonial rule. Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), which was subjected to one of the longest periods of foreign occupation from 1505 to 1948, had a very smooth transition to the democratic parliamentary system. In contrast to many other colonies both in the region and beyond, there
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China's shadow looms large in Sri Lanka local election
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
On Feb.10, Sri Lankans will go to the polls to vote for their local representatives. But the outcome of these village elections will have much wider repercussions as they will ultimately determine if China will play a bigger role in Sri Lanka's development. The battle for Sri Lanka's heartlands is being fought out by the country's twice defeated pro-China former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and the incumbent pro-India coalition government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
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Rajapaksa urges Tamils to have faith in him
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged the Tamil community to have faith in him. Addressing a public rally in Jaffna in support of local government candidates backed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the former President said development work had come to a grinding halt since the change of government in January 2015. Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris told the gathering that post-war reconciliation would never be a reality without former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s support.
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Theft at Trinco Navy Holiday Bungalow
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
A group of 19 locals and Sri Lankan Canadians have been stolen of cash and jewellery while on holiday at the heavily fortified - Command Headquarters- Eastern Naval Area, Trincomalee, on Tuesday night, the Daily Mirror learns. The rogues had broken into the Bungalow located within the premises at which 19 persons including 11 females were staying. Initial observations of the group had revealed stolen cash and jewellery amounting to over 300,000 rupees. “ We were completely devastated when we found out early next morning,” one of the tour
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Heads to roll in foreign missions
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the process of restructuring its foreign missions and as a result several key positions in Sri Lanka’s vital and influential diplomatic hot spots would be changed, the Daily Mirror learns. A senior government source said on condition of anonymity that our Head of the Mission in Geneva, Mr. Ravinath Aryasinghe would be called back to the Foreign Office (Colombo) and he would be replaced by Mr. A.L.A.Azis who was the Director General of the EU affairs, Multilateral Treaties and the Commonwealth. Mr. Aryasinghe will serve as an additional Secretary at the Foreign Ministry.
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UNP pledges to build 1000 Buddhist shrines in Tamil homeland
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
The United National Party pledged to build 1000 Buddhist viharas in the Tamil homeland, under the guise of reconciliation. “500 million rupees has been allocated to build 1000 viharas in the Northern and Eastern Provinces,” a UNP manifesto said on a page titled ‘Reconciliation’. The construction of Buddhist sites in the North-East in areas with few, if any, Buddhist residents leaves a perception of Sinhalese imperialism, a US State Department report said last year.
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Chinese Foreign Aid in East Asia During the Trump Era
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
The Trump administration’s “America First” foreign policy has marked a reversal of the U.S. global presence and a retreat from multilateralism. One component of this withdrawal has been a substantial reduction in U.S. foreign aid – and other global powers are rising to fill the vacuum. China is a rising power in all areas: economic, cultural, and political. Once China was an aid recipient itself, receiving official development assistance (ODA) and other official flows (OOF); the former intended for improving development and the latter for commercial purposes. In the past decade, China has rapidly developed its own economy and provided financial assistance to a vast number of developing countries, particularly those in East Asia.
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GOvt. has shown they aren’t capable of delivering -Sharmila Gonawela
Published Date: 02/02/2018 (Friday)
The battle for Local Government Elections is heating up. An election should benefit the people, irrespective of symbols like the Pohottuwas, Beetle leaves or Elephants through which they come into power. Several decades down the line, people are still hoping for a better country. Sharmila Gonawela is contesting from the Bambalapitiya Ward for the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) under the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ticket. Speaking to the Dailymirror, Gonawela spoke about the challenges she faced being a Municipal Councillor back in 2002 and what she is planning to do if elected. Excerpts :
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Let’s make some Independence Day resolutions
Published Date: 01/02/2018 (Thursday)
As we begin February today, what we remember most is Independence Day on February 4 and it is more significant this year because it is the 70th anniversary. In addition we are amid an intensified campaign for the February 10 elections to 341 Municipal, Urban councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas. We hope the results will help bring about more political freedom and democracy and sustainable development to carry us towards a peaceful, just and all-inclusive society. The United National Party’s founder-leader D.S. Senanayake was the first Prime Minister of independent Sri Lanka. The UNP was in office till 1956 when the Mahajana Eksath
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Towards a social democratic policy framework: Taking democracy to the economy and society
Published Date: 01/02/2018 (Thursday)
The urgent need in Sri Lanka, given the present circumstances, is to move firmly and committedly towards social democracy. Simply said, social democracy is about extending democracy from the political to the economy and society. Do we have democracy? Formally speaking, we do have democracy in the political sphere since 1931 when the universal franchise and a legislative council were introduced to this country, yet deformed with imperfections and wilful assaults.
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Bribes that candidates offer to voters
Published Date: 01/02/2018 (Thursday)
Buddha statues, copies of the Quran, copper foils engraved with Rathnamali Gatha are among the bribes in kind provided to electors by various candidates contesting the Feb 10 local government polls, says the elections monitor Peoples’ Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL). Addressing a press conference at the Centre for Society and Religion in Colombo, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said their monitors had reported the attempts by candidates to provide various forms bribes to the voters throughout the country. The list of items being distributed contained galvanised roofing sheets, gift vouchers, liquor, land deeds,
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Children being used for various election activities - NCPA
Published Date: 01/02/2018 (Thursday)
The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) requests that no children are used by political parties and independent groups related election work. “It has been reported that children are being used for various activities related to the upcoming elections in violation of the rights of these children. The NCPA views this matter very seriously,” its Chairperson Marini de Livera said. The NCPA urges the general public to provide information over its 24 hour ChildLine 1929 if such incidents occur.
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