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The Left takes a back seat in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 05/09/2015 (Saturday)
The first sitting of Sri Lanka’s new parliament took place this week amidst some uncertainty. Following the United National Party (UNP) election victory, negotiations continue on the formation of a national government, with a number of MPs from the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) expected to be given ministerial portfolios. The new cabinet is yet to be announced. One thing that’s clear is that the Left will no longer wield much clout. Earlier, though few in number the leftist MPs held important positions.
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Why small states matter in international politics: The case of Sri Lanka
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
Sri Lanka occupied little thought throughout the West for much of the period since independence in 1948. In the last few years, however, Sri Lanka began to feature as a country of strategic relevance to great powers, particularly China and the United States. Sitting at the center of the Indian Ocean, halfway between China and the key energy resources in the Middle East, Beijing has sought to influence politics on the island. But it has suffered blows this year, with Mahinda Rajapaksa (friendly to Chinese interests) losing the presidency in January and his party losing in recent parliamentary elections to the center-right United National Party. Now, pro-Western Ranil Wickramasinghe holds the position of prime minister.
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TNA agrees to give post of Chief Opposition Whip to JVP
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
It was reported that the TNA has agreed to give the post of Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament to JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. When the post of the Opposition Leader was obtained by a party usually the post of Chief Opposition Whip, too, went to the same party. Yet, the TNA had decided to hand that opportunity over to the JVP, TNA parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran said.
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India’s Stand on Death Penalty and Torture is a Self-goal in Fighting Terror
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
The Law Commission’s recent report recommending the abolition of the death penalty except for cases related to terror and ‘waging war’ ignores a critical fact – that to fight terror, it might be more practical to do away with the death penalty. The Law Commission was responding to a Supreme Court suggestion in the case of Santosh Kumar Satishbhushan Bariyar vs Maharashtra and Shankar Kisanrao Khade vs Maharashtra, that it revisit the issue of death penalty in India to “allow for an up-to-date and informed discussion and debate on the subject.”
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Syrian Children … The Drowned Dream Syrian Children’s Death Toll during 2015
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
Syrian Network for Human Rights has documented the killing of 2236 children by the main conflict parties in Syria since 1 January 2015 and up till 31 August 2015.
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Vantharumoolai Refugee Camp Disappearances: 20 years of waiting
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
Many may not know that, when 5th September 2015 dawns, it will be 25 years of waiting for 158 families, who ‘lost’ a member or two on that day of 5th September 1990 from the VANTHARUMOOLAI REFUGEE CAMP at EASTERN UNIVERSITY. They did not go missing as usual, where no one knew where they went. In this case these 158 were ‘handed over’/ ‘taken over’ by the Sri Lankan Military in front of a population of nearly 40,000 people. They were forced into buses and were driven away in the direction of Valaichenai. This was the last time anyone saw any of them, to date.
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Culture of excessive number of ministers must end - TNA Leader Sampanthan
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s new Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan today said that while a national government in the present context in the country may be a national need, it would have been better if the two parties would have been able to come together without an increase in the number of ministries. The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today recognized the TNA Parliamentary Group Leader as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
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Experience of Dr Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam from North of Sri Lanka
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
I just returned from the North after 8 months. The miitarization of the North is pervasive. The Navy occupies the Islands' coastal areas appropriating many water front areas and controlling the sea. Poonakary is filled with army and Navy. From Poonakary to Mannar road, which I have traveled back and fourth five times, every three or four miles are fortified entrance to the inside in to the forest and in some places to the coast. The A9 and the side roads to east and west and the Jaffna coastal areas and Mannar coastal areas are filled with all three armed forces.
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The inevitability of the banana republic
Published Date: 01/09/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka has been a ‘banana republic,’ for quite some time, and clearly so throughout the oligarchy of the Rajapaksas. Formally, a banana republic is “a small country that is economically dependent on a single export commodity, such as bananas, and is typically governed by a dictator or the armed forces.”). But in our case, the fate of the citizenry is far worse than in most other banana republics. In Sri Lanka, all wisdom, action, dreams, hallucinations and the making of unmitigated profit came from the first family and then from its acolytes. They were essentially the centre of our universe as well as the structure that kept this universe in place in a very specific way
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TNA Appoints Postholders
Published Date: 01/09/2015 (Tuesday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary Group convened its first meeting after the general elections and elected Hon. R. Sampanthan as the TNA’s Parliamentary Group Leader. It was also decided that Hon. Sampanthan should be appointed as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. On this basis, TNA MP Hon. Selvam Adaikalanathan accepted appointment to the post of Deputy Chairman of Committee. The following appointments were also made at the meeting:
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Sri Lankan ex-president's vanity airport may end up as paddy store!
Published Date: 31/08/2015 (Monday)
Sri Lanka's second international airport, a pet project of former President Mahinda Rajapakse in his hometown built at a cost of USD 210 million with Chinese funds, could be used as a temporary paddy storage facility, according to government sources. The Mattala Mahinda Rajapakse International Airport, built at the southern port district of Hambantota was commissioned in 2013.Ex-president Rajapakse envisioned a commerce and tourism hub with a strategically located port, a 35,000-seat cricket stadium, a 300-acre botanical garden, a state-of-the-art convention center, five-star hotels and smooth four-lane highways connecting them all. The port, stadium and airport bear his name.
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The Second edition of “Tamils of Sri Lanka: The Quest for Human Dignity”, is now available
Published Date: 31/08/2015 (Monday)
The second edition of the research monograph “Tamils of Sri Lanka: The Quest for Human Dignity” , is now available at the Tamil Information Centre. The monograph was first published in September 2001 and the revised edition was released in March 2006. The Tamil Information Centre (TIC) has recorded events in Sri Lanka, particularly relating to human rights violations by the Sri Lankan State against the Tamil speaking peoples since the early 1980s.
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Parties reach consensus that only an international investigation mechanism can deliver justice
Published Date: 31/08/2015 (Monday)
Leaders representing three constituents of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Sunday rejected the stand of the U.S., which favoured a domestic investigation mechanism on alleged crimes during the final stages of the Eelam War. The leaders of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) and the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), who met for four hours in Colombo, felt that justice would be possible only through an international probe.
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Sri Lanka Parliamentary Elections: NPC Chief Minister’s Saga
Published Date: 30/08/2015 (Sunday)
Assistant Secretary Nisha Biswal had apparently ticked him (CM) off for trying to be a hero to the disgruntle splinter and ineffective groups in the Diaspora and to the hard-line leftovers in his own Province. Hardly having delivered anything tangible to the people of North, in one meeting in the US, his foreign Diary Secretary was politely asked to shut up to let the CM speak. Diary Secretary was in for even worse treatment at the most important meeting of all, in New York, where he was refused entry to a meeting which resulted in a tantrum being thrown by him in front of those senior UN hosts. They said nothing doing, which the CM had to accept.
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TNA urges the government to honour their commitment
Published Date: 29/08/2015 (Saturday)
In a press statement released by TNA today reads as follow: At the General Election held on the 17th of August 2015, the United National Party (UNP) emerged as the party with the largest number of seats in Parliament. The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) obtained the second largest number of seats. It has been announced that a National Government has been formed and that Members of Parliament who contested and were elected under both the UNP and the UPFA have accepted cabinet portfolios. Accordingly, both the UNP and the UPFA bear collective cabinet responsibility. As political parties in Parliament, they thus must publicly support all Governmental decisions made in Cabinet.
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Omantahi check point removed
Published Date: 29/08/2015 (Saturday)
Military Spokesperson Bridger Ruwan Wannigasooriya announced that security forces have taken steps to remove the security check point located at Omanthai in Vavuniya with effect from today, Saturday, August 29. He said, “check point is now fully operational and vehicles entering via A9 highway to the Jaffna Peninsula and the vehicles leaving the Peninsula are now being subjected to checking at the Omanthai checkpoint. The public has now been given the opportunity to travel on the said route without any intervention”.
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Opposing the Rule of Law
Published Date: 28/08/2015 (Friday)
How Myanmar’s Courts make law and order written by Nick Cheesman has been release today. The rule of law is a political ideal today endorsed and promoted worldwide. Or is it? In a major contribution to the field, Nick Cheesman argues that Myanmar is a country in which the rule of law is 'lexically present but semantically absent'. Charting ideas and practices from British colonial rule through military dictatorship to the present day, Cheesman calls upon political and legal theory to explain how and why institutions animated bya concern for law and order oppose the rule of law. Empirically grounded in both Burmese and English sources, including criminal trial records and wide ranging official documents, Opposing the Rule of Law offer the first significant study of courts in contemporary Myanmar sheds new light on the politics of courts during dark times and sharply illuminates the tension between the demand for law and the imperatives of order.
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“TNA will Accept Domestic Investigation if it has International Participation”- M. A. Sumanthiran
Published Date: 28/08/2015 (Friday)
The US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, has said that the US will be moving a resolution on human rights and war crimes in Sri Lanka at the September session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). But the resolution will be drafted in collaboration with the Lankan government, key stakeholders within and outside Lanka, and the international “core group” on Lanka, she added. Briefing select media here on Wednesday at the end of a two day visit, Biswal said that the US-led “collaborative” resolution will “reflect” on the way forward for Lanka in its bid to address human rights and governance issues.
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THE LAST KING OF LANKA - A stunning story by a 22 year old Sri Lankan Girl
Published Date: 28/08/2015 (Friday)
I first met President Rajapaksa when I was 11 years old. I had won a national short story competition and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs had taken me and several other winners to Temple Trees to see the President. He was a rare and skilled politician. He knew the game and he played it very well. He had a clever way of making people feel comfortable around him. He patted our heads spoke to us for a long time; asked us about school and home. We were infatuated. He had us hooked. The other kids and I would go home and tell our friends and family what a great man he was.
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Tamils will Keep Pressing For International Probe: NPC Chair
Published Date: 28/08/2015 (Friday)
In an interview with the press, senior leader of the Federal Party and the chair of the Northern Provincial Council, C.V.K Sivagnanam said that the Tamils will keep pressing for an international probe into charges of war crimes against the Sri Lankan government even though the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, has made it clear that the US will only seek an independent and credible Lankan domestic probe.
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Travel Ban on Gota lifted
Published Date: 27/08/2015 (Thursday)
The Galle Magistrate today lifted the travel ban imposed on former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The order was made when the case regarding the floating armoury at the Galle Harbour was taken up, for the Criminal investigation department to report facts to court. The order imposing a travel ban on former navy commander Somathilaka Dissanayake, former additional secretary of the Defence Ministry Sujatha Damayanthi Jayarathne, directors of the Avant-Garde company Palitha Fernando and Manjula Kumjara Yapa were also lifted by court.
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Biswal Bullish!
Published Date: 27/08/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka looked set to escape a minefield of international action on war crimes allegations with a US Government announcement yesterday that it would sponsor a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month supporting the Government’s plans for a domestic investigation and reconciliation. The announcement marks a departure from the previous US position that allegations about atrocities committed in Sri Lanka at the end of the war had to be probed internationally in the absence or failure of domestic processes.
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Rare opportunity for meaningful reconciliation in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 27/08/2015 (Thursday)
The Sri Lankan people deserve great admiration on the successful conclusion of the most free and fair parliamentary elections since May, 1970. The conclusion of the election has presented a rare opportunity to deliver meaningful reconciliation and a lasting peace. The U.S.-led international community should seize this historic opportunity, facilitating the required political climate to make reconciliation a reality in Sri Lanka The election victory of United National Party (UNP) can shift the country in a new revolutionary path, paving the way for a rapid development.
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Toronto Tamil fest kicks off campaign to open Tamil-Canadian museum
Published Date: 26/08/2015 (Wednesday)
A local Tamil community is in the process of opening a museum chronicling the history of its Canadian integration. The effort will start in earnest this weekend during the inaugural Tamil Fest in Scarborough. The goals include exploring Tamil people’s journey to Canada and how they connect with their homeland. “We are very engaged in every aspect of the country, politics, education or business,” said Anton Philip, who is coordinating the effort. “You name it, we are there, you know.”
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Sri Lanka: A Lesson for U.S. Strategy
Published Date: 26/08/2015 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka provides a glimpse of small power-great power relations in a future multipolar world order. For much of the period since its independence, Sri Lanka attracted scant regard throughout the West. At the culmination of its civil war, some attention did begin to be paid to human rights issues. In the last few years, however, Sri Lanka has begun to feature as a country of strategic relevance to the great powers. For one, it sits at the center of the Indian Ocean, likely to be one of the world’s most strategically contested regions in the coming century. Sri Lanka is also halfway between China and its energy sources in the Middle East, something Beijing had responded to largely successfully until January this year when Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidency.
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