« April 2008 | | June 2008 »

May 31, 2008

June 1-7: " As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary " - Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899-1961) American novelist

India, China compete in Indian Ocean

From The International Herald Tribune

This battered harbor town on Sri Lanka’s southern tip, with its scrawny men selling even scrawnier fish, seems an unlikely focus for an emerging international competition over energy supply routes that fuel much of the global economy.  [TC]

Sri Lanka's war turns on civilians

By Frances Harrison

The use of two bus attacks in one day is clearly designed to spread fear in Sri Lanka which has seen a series of increasingly frequent attacks targeting civilians on public transport in recent weeks. [BBC]

Improved water retention measures needed to thwart floods

Flash floods that affected 418,000 people and left 23 dead and four missing this week in western Sri Lanka could have been avoided with proper water retention schemes, government irrigation engineers told IRIN. [TC]

Sri Lanka attacks “bad” war reporting

by Alan Johnston
[BBC, South Asia Desk]

The Sri Lankan Defence Ministry has launched a bitter attack on what it says is irresponsible media analysis of military affairs and the progress of the war in the north of the island. [TC]

Sri Lanka, Somalia, Islam and the West

By Dr.Ram Manikkalingam

I recently visited Somalia to attend a meeting of religious figures, clan elders and women leaders. Somalia is not a very stable place. But like all unstable countries, there are pockets of relative stability. [FI]

Gotabhaya the traitor : Ranil

The leader of the opposition in Sri Lanka has described the powerful Defence Secretary as a traitor for leaving the country as war against the LTTE intensified.

Ranil Wickramasinghe said Gotabhaya Rajapaksa left Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to live in the United States while the SLA engaged with the LTTE in the north and the east. [TC]

Hell on Earth

By Dharisha Bastians

The abduction and assault of Keith Noyahar, Deputy Editor and Defence Columnist of The Bottom Line's sister publication The Nation was outrageous and brutal enough. Worse still is the deafening silence from quarters of the political firmament, especially those who have genuinely or otherwise retained a modicum of decency in a sea of corruption and abuse. [TC]

Communal violence disrupts relief efforts in the east

Communal clashes and ethnic tension between Tamils and Muslims have been disrupting humanitarian work in the eastern Batticaloa District of Sri Lanka since 22 May, UN and other relief workers said. [TC]

Sampur Thermal Power Plant: Cleansing for power

By Namini Wijedasa

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) sources said last week that the proposed thermal power plant in Sampur will proceed on schedule despite strong rumblings over civilian displacement. [TC]

The Killing of T.M.V.P Leader Shanthan in Kaathaankudi

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The morning of Thursday May 22nd saw a comic scene being enacted in Colombo. Devouring humble “kanji” (porridge) before his excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse was the “honourable” Mohamed Lebbe Alim Mohammed Hisbullah. [TC]

Disregard pressure from chauvinists

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

It was a new experience for me, to watch the Human Rights Commission sittings, chaired by Nissanka Udulagama. I know Nissanka as a soft but fast spoken person with a precision mind. A true noble, ever so humble and never gives into perks or pressures. Perhaps the truth will come out from this Commission. [TC]

Gota lays down his law to journos

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who is officially tasked to ensure the security of all Sri Lankans, had indirectly levelled death threats on two senior journalists last Monday. [FI]

All Lands Home

Isolated in Amazon, Visible From the Air

Survival International, an organization based in London whose mission is to help tribal peoples to “defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures,” said the pictures were taken as part of several flights over the thinly populated upper reaches of the Amazon, in Acre, a Brazilian state. [NYTimes]

BBC In pictures: Brazil tribe

A two-day-old 

A two-day-old gorilla, who is unnamed, rests on its mother's belly at the Hanover Zoo in Germany [NYTimes]

Arts - Culture- Heritage

A Magazine from Maddakkalapu

by K.S. Sivakumaran

Let's look at the cultural activities of the Eastern Lanka in particular around the country in general through a Thamil literary magazine (the 3rd issue) published in Maddakkalappu(Batticaloa). Its address: 19, Upstairs Road, Maddakkalappu, Sri Lanka. [TW]

nanthalala: One song, rendered by many

The Poet experiences Lord Krishna's divinity in everything from a crow's feathers to the branding fire [HA]

Captain Rules 

Arasangam has restored Vijayakanth’s glory at the box-office. sudhish kamath talks to the actor about his forthcoming films, politics and more [Hindu]

May 24, 2008

May 25-31: "The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue"-Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

Strengthening the Provincial Council Process

Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Jim Moore - US Embassy, Colombo - to the National Conference on Strengthening the Provincial Council Process, May 28, 2008 BMICH, Colombo [FI]

Contradictory Positions on Media Freedon Encourage Impunity

Statement by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka:

The silencing of journalists by killing and intimidating them has become a major problem in Sri Lanka. The National Peace Council condemns the killing of Paranirupasingam Devakumar who is the ninth journalist to be killed in the past two years. We are appalled at the brutal manner of his death by waylaying him as he was traveling and hacking him to death. This killing comes soon after the brutal assault and torture of senior journalist Keith Noyahr in Colombo. [TC]

TV reporter hacked to death in Jaffna

Statement by Reporters Without Borders:

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the murder of Paranirupasingam Devakumar, a television reporter of Tamil origin, who was hacked to death yesterday evening as he was returning to his home a few kilometres outside the northern city of Jaffna. A friend who was with him was also killed in the attack [TC]

An analysis of military operations

by Col R Hariharan (retd.)

There should be no illusion that despite the flare of success in repelling a division strong security forces offensive at Muhamalai in April 2008, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is fighting a war of survival. The continuing ground and air operations of the security forces after Muhamalai debacle, and the progress they have made during this month in Mannar sector capturing Adampan and other outlying LTTE defences have further constricted the territory under active LTTE control in the Northern Province. [TC]

Enhance Democratic Norms in the post election period in the East

Statement by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka:

The violent clashes that have taken place in the Muslim-inhabited parts of the east have led to the killing of several persons and to a climate of rapidly escalating tension. These clashes have come shortly after the Eastern Provincial Council elections which the TMVP contested while remaining an armed group whose presence has become more openly obvious following the elections. [FI]

Amnesty International: Asia Pacific Regional Update

In Sri Lanka the spiralling conflict fuelled concerns over the administration of justice and the misuse of emergency laws, with the authorities failing to effectively investigate patterns of enforced disappearances and unlawful killings, including of media workers [TC]

Death of Balraj and the dearth of experience

by Col R Hariharan (Retd.)

Balraj’s cameo of guerrilla career eloquently presented by the TamilNet and better informed columnists like DBS Jeyaraj give a glimpse of the making of a modern guerrilla commander from an ordinary civilian. [TC]

Keep up the pressure

by Farah Mihlar

The world is finally waking up to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka - and holding its government responsible

After nearly two years of exhaustive campaigning to expose to the world the seriousness of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, a small step has finally been taken by international governments. [The Guardian]

Brigadier Balraj: Brave LTTE Commander who led from the front

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Kandiah Balasegaran alias “Brigadier Balraj” the Deputy military chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) died of a heart attack at Puthukkudiyiruppu in the Mullaitheevu district on May 20th. .

In a condolence message issued by him , LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabakharan says “The man who was at the center of many of our Himalayan victories, the heroic military leader, who trained,guided and fought with our fighting formations and conventional brigades is with us no more.” [TC]

Power sharing concept can respond to the aspirations, says Ambassador Blake

US ambassador Robert Blake in an interview with Colombo newspaper The Sunday Observer said that the US believes the answer to the Sri Lanka conflict lies with a power sharing concept which can respond to the aspirations of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. [FI]

Sri Lanka’s exit from UNHRC: A well-deserved slap

By Frederica Jansz

The international community should be applauded for having given Sri Lanka the resounding slap it deserves for its continuing disregard of human rights.

The abduction and assault of a senior and respected journalist in the country, Defence Columnist and Associate Editor of The Nation, Keith Noyahr, appears to have been the Sri Lankan response to being voted out of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). [TC]

Mahinda sticks to the Tiger he can handle

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Mahinda started by launching a venomous attack on Tamil speaking people, both Tamils and Muslims. Bombing civilians and disappearances were mixed with the misery of the displaced people. The Sinhala youth was sacrificed for a bogus patriotic war. We were told that the end of the Tamil uprising is close by. [FI]

Arts - Culture- Heritage

What is Thamil Isai?

by K.S. Sivakumaran

The Thamil word for Music is "Isai". It is also known as "Sangeetham". Carnatic music is associated with the music of the Dravidians (Thamilians, Telugus, Kannadigas, Malayalees and the others of the southern regions of India).Some researchers say that Carnatic music evolved from Thamil Isai (meaning music of the Thamilians). [TW]

All Lands Home 

Cornell Capa, Photojournalist and Museum Founder, Dies at 90

Cornell Capa, who founded the International Center of Photography in New York after a long and distinguished career as a photojournalist, first on the staff of Life magazine and then as a member of Magnum Photos, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 90. [NYTimes]

May 17, 2008

May 18-24: -"Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward"-Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher

Human Rights Council defeat a wake up call

Statement by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka’s recent unsuccessful bid to maintain its representation on the UN Human Rights Council following a vote by the General Assembly is another event that highlights the deteriorating condition of human rights in the country. Sri Lanka was one of the initial members of elected to the Human Rights Council in 2006 and might have reasonably expected to be re-elected. [TC]

Abduction and release of journalist: End this impunity, says NPC [TC]

Journalist badly beaten up an bruised

Keith Noyahr, deputy editor with the English weekly The Nation, was abducted on Thursday night.

A day later, he was dropped off near his residence, badly beaten up and bruised, says the Free Media Movement, a media rights group in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Children of war wait for better lives

The election of the former child soldier Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan as first chief minister of Sri Lanka’s eastern provincial administration has been welcomed as a sign that stability and the rule of law might be returning to the region after more than two decades of conflict. [TC]

East: Stability on cliffhanger after election

by Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz

The government conducted the first provincial elections in two decades on May 10 in the Eastern Province. The ruling colaition of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) through an electoral alliance with the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) and an “understanding” with the dissidents of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) grabbed 20 of the 37 seats in the Eastern Provincial Council. The TMVP is a breakaway group of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group that seeks a separate state for the country’s minority Tamils in the north and east. [FI]

Former child soldier swaps camouflage for lounge suit

by Namini Wijedasa

Ex-Tamil Tiger rebel turned chief minister desperately trying to shed his terrorist label

President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week made an ex-child soldier the powerful chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Eastern province, causing journalists to rummage wildly for some background on the little-known breakaway rebel. [TC]

Vote Sri Lanka off Human Rights Council, Nobel Prize Winners tell UN


Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize from three continents called on UN members to reject Sri Lanka’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council, the NGO Coalition for an Effective Human Rights Council said today. Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina, and Jimmy Carter of the United States each published statements urging opposition to Sri Lanka because of its abusive human rights record. [TC]

Resettled IDPs rebuilding livelihoods

Tharmalingam Sudarshan, a farmer, returned to his home in Vavunathivu town, Batticaloa District, in eastern Sri Lanka in July 2007, having fled the area for three months due to conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and government forces. He found his house destroyed by elephants, his belongings looted and his farmland fallow. [FI]

Marxism and ethnocentric nationalism

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

The recent split in the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-People’s Liberation Front has revealed the contradictions within the party as well as between ideologies and realpolitik. Besides the clash of personalities between Wimal Weerawansa, the party’s high profile propaganda secretary cum parliamentary group leader and Somawansa Amarasinghe the senior politburo leader, there are other reasons for the rift. [FI]

The murder of “Small Parrot” Maheswari at “Mongoose-Geko” Lane

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Maheswari who was born on July 17th 1955 hailed from a middle - class family in Karaveddy. Her father was attached to the CTB of old and was a popular figure among school children. Her mother was a school teacher at Vikneswara College [TC]

Pillaiyan, Hizbullah, Keerthi and The Eastern Provincial Council

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Rajapakse regime registered a remarkable achievement on Friday May 16th when Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias “Pillaiyan” took his oaths at President’s house before President Mahinda Rajapakse as chief minister of the Eastern provincial council [TC]

Eastern Provincial Council Election & its Results

By Col. R.Harharan (Retd)

The swearing in of Sivanesathurai Chandirakanthan (better known as Pillaiyan, his nom de guerre of militancy days) as the chief minister of the newly created eastern provincial council on May 16, 2008 marks a new turn in Sri Lanka politics [FI]

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Split

by Jayadeva Uyangoda

The radical, Sinhalese nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has split, the real reasons for which are not yet clear. Among the various possible reasons are the mainstream jvp’s unease with a breakaway faction’s Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalist project and the collision of the Sinhalese nationalist and class struggle lines within the party. [FI]

Flawed democracy and prosecution of war cannot win peace

by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka:

The suicide bombing in a busy street in Colombo’s commercial area of Fort, targeting buses in which riot police were stationed have killed at least 10 and injured another 95 including civilians passing by in the vicinity. The National Peace Council condemns this attack which has the hallmarks of the LTTE. [FI]

All Lands Home

In Pictures: Few Survivors Found in China Quake

Soldiers rested after working to clear debris of a chemical plant's dormitory in search of earthquake victims in Renhe village on the outskirts of Shifang, one of the hard-hit cities of Sichuan Province, in southwestern China [NYTimes]

Arts - Culture- Heritage

Bhushany Kalyanaraman, Carnatic Musician

Single-minded devotion to Carnatic music — that sums up Bhushany Kalyanaraman. Hers is an extraordinary tale, spanning oceans. Born and brought up in Colombo, Sri Lanka, it was a typical Tamil household where her father used to ensure that everyone was awake at 5 a.m., reciting the Tiruvempavai. A renowned musician, her father had won the title "Sangita Bhushanam" from Annamalai University. All her sisters too sang well [TW]

Tamil Movie Review: Captain Back in Action 

All you need to make a film work is a neat screenplay that's translated well on screen, with little interference in the form of misplaced comedy scenes and item numbers. And, director Madesh has got it right in Captain Cine Creations' Arasangam, produced by L. K. Sudeesh. [Hindu]

New Cinema from Eastern Europe

by K.S. Sivakumaran

Viewers of International Cinema would know that countries in the Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Czechoslovakia produced some excellent films during the 1960s and 70s. Directors like Roman Polanski, Andre Wajda (pronounced as Waida) and others come to mind in this connection. [TW]

May 11, 2008

May 11-17: "Either I will find a way, or I will make one." - Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) English poet, courtier and soldier

NY Times Profile: Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, Singapore politician

by Seth Mydans 

“Funnily enough, I enjoy the fight,” he said in an interview. “It’s true. And if I had to give it up I wouldn’t know what to do.” A practicing Anglican Christian of Sri Lankan descent, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam was born in 1926, was raised partly in what is now Malaysia and received his law degree from University College in London in 1951. [FI]

Decommissioning Pillayan through provincial council administration

By M. S. M. Ayub

It is now time for the political parties to use the Eastern provincial council election results to justify their policies and stands. The New Left Front says that the results point to the fact that power devolution must be carried out on ethnic lines and the JHU views that the Eastern people have totally rejected terrorism. [FI]

No right to be there

by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

With a terrible record of torture and disappearance, Sri Lanka doesn’t deserve a seat on the UN human rights council. It should be voted out. [FI]

Love Marriage, by VV Ganeshananthan

Reviewed by Salil Tripathi

VV Ganeshananthan’s subject is Sri Lanka, the paradise island torn apart by fratricidal conflict since 1983 (or beyond, if you want to look for older hatreds). Ganeshananthan, an American of Sri Lankan (but Tamil) origin, mixes up the sequence, tossing before the reader shards of memories which look like pieces of broken bangles. But when we look at those broken bangles through her kaleidoscope, her twisting of the lens reveals patterns that make it possible to understand aspects of the conflict, even if the horrors cannot be excused. [TC]

NPC: Vesak Time Appeal for Respect for Human Rights

Full Text of National Peace Council of Sri Lanka Media Release:

The killing of Maheswari Velayutham takes away from the political community another strong personality who headed the Forum for Human Dignity and was also closely associated with the EPDP, a former Tamil militant organisation that is now with the government. [TC]

Eastern elections that brought nothing to the people

By Kusal Perera

The much pampered and wholly manipulated elections for the de-merged Eastern Province came to a close during the week end. The government insists it was a free and fair election and said so even during the voting. Statements made on behalf of the government says the victory it gained proves the people in the East have pinned their faith on democracy. [FI]

In memory of Maheswary Velautham 

By Rajiva Wijesinha

The Peace Secretariat profoundly regrets the murder of Ms Maheswary Velautham during a visit to Jaffna to see her sick mother. Given the plethora of deaths this country suffers from, the Secretariat has not been accustomed to issuing statements of sympathy and sorrow for individual cases. We regret the lives of known and unknown, of civilian and military, and even the lives of our fellow citizens who have been conscripted or deluded into fighting intransigently for a terrorist movement. [FI]

Basil is the Sun around which The Eastern P.C. will revolve

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The controversial election to the Eastern Provincial Council is over but the controversy over the chief minister (CM)appointment is not over.

Speculation whether the new CM will be Pillaiyan, M.L.A.M. Hizbullah or some other is somewhat absurd because in a sense the issue really does not matter. [TC]

Provincial elections could trigger widespread redevelopment

After provincial elections in Sri Lanka’s Eastern region concluded on 10 May, some economic recovery and increased assistance from the humanitarian community is likely, according to UN and other officials. [FI] 

Sinking of A 520/MV Invincible in Trincomalee

by Commodore RS Vasan IN (Retd)

Reports indicate that a SLN logistic support ship was sunk at about 0223 hrs on Saturday 09 May 2008. The ship was next to Ashroff Jetty at Trincomalee and was being loaded with explosives to be carried to KKS. This ship itself came in to the possession of the SL Navy by a court order way back in 2003 when it was apprehended transporting illegal migrants in Southern Sri Lanka. [TC]

Transforming to knowledge economy is key to prosperity

Full Text of Speech by Ambassador Robert Blake to the University of Moratuwa’s Closing Ceremony of Mentoring Program, Conference Hall of HNB Towers [FI]

Sri Lanka’s model democracy is being ravaged by war

by Bob Rae
[Former adviser to the Sri Lanka peace talks, 2002-2004]

A United Nations agency recently declared Sri Lanka one of the world’s most dangerous places for aid workers and journalists. It is also a terrifying place to be a soldier. Both the government and its opponents, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), count scores of fighters killed and hundreds wounded during recent fighting. Sri Lanka’s already horrific war is entering a quantitatively new phase. [FI]

Report of the Inter Religious solidarity visit to Mannar

At the invitation of the Reconciliation and Peace Desk, Colombo Diocese of the Anglican Church, a team of religious leaders visited Mannar from 15th-18th April 2008. The team included a senior Buddhist Monk, several Anglican priests, a Methodist priest, a Catholic Priest, a Catholic nun and two lay Christians. [TC]

Armed group releases underage recruits

The Karuna faction, the Tamil Tiger breakaway group, which has been transforming itself from an armed military group into a political party, released 39 underage recruits in April 2008.

The group, officially known as the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP), released 28 children on 24 April after 11 were let go on 11 April. [FI]

All Lands Home 

In Pictures: Myanmar Struggles in Cyclone Aftermath

In Pictures: Myanmar Faces Aid Delays

A refugee camp in Kyacek Tan, south of Yangon, on Friday. Nearly one week after a devastating cyclone, supplies into the country were still being delayed and aid experts were being turned back as they arrived at the airport. [NYTimes]

Arts - Culture- Heritage 

Dasavatharam runs into row

With just a few days to go for its release, actor Kamal Hassan’s Dasavatharam has already kicked up a controversy.

Several Hindu outfits threatened to stall the movie’s release alleging that there are few scenes in the movie which would hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community. [NewsToday]

YouTube Presentation of Dasavatharam song

laga Nayagan, song from the Tamil film Dasavatharam starring Kamal Haasan, featuring pictures from HumanityAshore.org

There’s Vijay, what else?

When a filmmaker gives a blockbuster that stands out for neat narration, thrilling action and admirable technique, he sets a benchmark that even he could find tough to match again. [Hindu]

May 03, 2008

May 4-10: "The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears"--John Vance Cheney (1848-1922), American author

Sri Lanka links conflict to war on terror

by Haroon Siddiqui

Returning to Colombo after several years, one is struck by the military checkpoints at key crossings where visitors are waved on but young Tamil males are not. [TC]

Eastern Election Must Not Lead to Further Alienation

Statement by National Peace Council:

On Saturday May 10 the people of the Eastern Province will cast their vote at crucial elections that will have a bearing on the future course of politics in the country, and especially with regard to the ongoing ethnic conflict. [FI]

Pillayan’s reformation and the Eastern PC election

By M.S.M. Ayub

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led electoral front does not seem to be united in the issue as to who should be the Chief Minister, a Tamil or a Muslim in the event it wins the Eastern Provincial Council election scheduled for Saturday. [TC]

What makes free and fair different in the East

By Kusal Perera

The east has now become a battleground for interpreting democracy. The President claims the PC elections in the east would be an ideal example for democracy in comparison to all other elections. [FI]

The regime is challenged in the Eastern polls

by Harim Peiris

The Eastern Provincial Council elections are around the corner and as Easterners and the rest of the nation await the outcome of the polls not much can be gained by speculating regarding its outcome. [FI]

Liberation Tigers at Thirty-Two: Whither the LTTE?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Thirty-two years ago, on May 5th 1976 , around 40 - 50 Tamils met clandestinely at a secret location in the Jaffna peninsula and formed themselves into an organization called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [TC]

Eastern election, Northern task Force

by Dayan Jayatilleka

In his soaring ‘rap on race’– his initial response to the Jeremiah Wright controversy–a speech that should be studied by every reflective Sri Lankan (I watched it twice myself, having read the text once), Barack Obama drew his fundamental demarcation from his former pastor. [FI]

Tigers Engage in Positional Warfare, Guerrilla Attacks and Terrorism

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Chimera in Greek mythology was a fire - breathing monster with a lion’s head,goat’s body and a serpent’s tail. According to the mythical tale, the hero Bellerophon killed it with the help of the winged horse Pegasus.

Nowadays the word chimera is used at times when referring to a thing of hybrid character.Chimerical is the adjective derived from the noun chimera. [TC]

Tamil lobby: Do Tamils lobby?

by Arvalan

The terms Tamil Diaspora, expatriates and lobby are being used by the analysts and media frequently. This creates a perception that these terms are similar and is a matter of semantics. [TC]

Report on fact finding visit to Jaffna - February 2008

A team from the Centre for Policy Alternatives and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre visited Jaffna from 18-21st February 2008 to meet with colleagues and partners in the peninsula and to obtain a firsthand impression of the situation there. The team spoke to local civil society actors, community leaders, IDPs, and members of international humanitarian agencies in Jaffna Town and outside. [FI]

Our journey among the plantation workers is to evict the clique of reactionary ‘all-time ministers’

Remarks by Mano Ganesan MP, at Bogowantalawa May Day Rally:

Today the plantation workers vote and elect their own representatives. Beginning from the bottom, there are hundreds of local and provincial councilors. There are ten parliamentarians of recent Indian descent. Except me, nine are ministers. [FI]

All Lands Home

Fruitful legacy: Mali's mangos

Most of the 20,000 mango trees here in Sibi were planted about 100 years ago by the village's grandfathers.

Anyone in the village can apply for permission to pick the mangos in return for a contribution to the families who live in Sibi. [BBC]

Bolivian region in autonomy vote

Bolivia's eastern region of Santa Cruz is holding an unofficial referendum on plans to give it more autonomy from central government. [BBC]

Arts - Culture- Heritage

Romancing the light 

As moviedom awaits the arrival of ‘Dasavathaaram,’ its cinematographer Ravivarman shares the unique experience:

How would you describe a man who has worked his way to the top as a cinematographer, is branching out as a director and has already recorded a song in his own voice for a film? [Hindu]

Blast from the Past: Utthama Puthran 1940

One of the major Hollywood hits of 1939, The Man in the Iron Mask, based on the exciting novel of the French adventure fiction maestro, Alexandre Dumas, found its way into Tamil cinema as Utthama Puthran. [Hindu]

Daler sings for Rajni

What is the connection between Hindi pop star Daler Mehndi and Superstar Rajnikant’s Kuselan? Kuselan’s music composer G.V. Prakash has confirmed that Daler will be singing for the first time in Tamil [Hindu]