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September 25, 2010

Sep 25 - 2 Oct:

Is incarceration of Sarath Fonseka the first step in a process of "hanging"?

By Karu Jayasuriya

As a Sri Lankan ex-Army Officer and a person who believes strongly that those who have contributed towards the welfare of this nation should be shown unending gratitude, Thursday was one of the saddest days of my life. [TC]

Friday Forum submissions to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

Based on the knowledge and expertise of the Forum, its submissions are confined to the subject of promoting national unity and reconciliation. [TC]

Fishing in the Palk Bay and Indo-Lanka Relations

By Prof.V.Suryanarayan

The question of the livelihood of thousands of fishermen on both sides of the Palk Bay has been vitiating India-Sri Lanka relations for several years. [TC]

Sri Lankan president at the UN denies war crimes

By K. Ratnayake

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s trip to New York and speech at the UN General Assembly last week had two main purposes: to cover up for war crimes committed during the country’s civil war and to appeal for foreign investment to rebuild its devastated economy. [TC]

Government has not led in its responsibility to educate people that our prosperity is going to depend on the immigrants: Justin Trudeau

By Joe Couture

A decade to the day after the death of Pierre Trudeau, the former prime minister's son Justin -- now a Liberal MP and the opposition immigration critic -- was visiting Regina.

"I reflect on my father every single day of my life, particularly in this job," Trudeau said after visiting the Regina Open Door Society on Tuesday. [TC]

Former female fighters strive for a better life

by IRIN News

BATTICALOA, 29 September 2010 (IRIN) - Lalitha* was 23, from Petiva Pullumalai, deep in Sri Lanka's eastern interior, when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) came for her.

At the time, each family living under LTTE control was required to provide a child to the separatist forces fighting for an independent Tamil homeland for three decades. Lalitha joined up to spare her younger sister. [TC]

Experience of a Sinhala family touring the Jaffna "Cantonment"

by R.A.Ratwatte

The winding narrow lanes with the Palmyra fences almost reaching the tar, ‘herds’ of cyclists (they ride five or six abreast and this I am told is a form of enjoyment)…….are still there. [TC]

Coalition of forces trying to paint a target on Sri Lanka's back through three-pronged effort

by Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

What better sign that Sri Lanka is a functioning democracy, than the very presence of the TNA in parliament? I can think of members of the First World who would not and do not permit such parties to function. [TC]

Jaffna is finally connected again with the outside world. But life under occupation has its own tensions

by Ross Tuttle

JAFFNA, Sri Lanka -- On a late-summer day, a dozen tractors stopped in front of a Hindu temple just north of Jaffna, the once-future capital of an independent Tamil state. [TC]

Photo Essay by Ross Tuttle: In Jaffna, the Tamil community is slowly rising again [TC]

In concentrating power in his own hands Mahinda Rajapaksa resembles the ruthless Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran

by Savitri Hensman

Arriving in Sri Lanka during the Eid public holiday, as usual I spotted statues of the Buddha, Hindu deities and Jesus. But I was struck by the numerous, sometimes huge, images of the president. In towns and villages across the south, Mahinda Rajapaksa's moustached face smiled down on passersby. [TC]

The need to implement Tamil as an official language

by M.S. M. Ayub

Ensuring facilities to members of the public to use their own language in official transactions with government departments, especially the ability to make statements to the police in one’s own language” was one among many other recommendation made by the members of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in an interim communication to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a meeting they had with the President at the Temple Trees in mid September.[TC] 

Whatever critics may say the 18th Amendement does not augur well for any President

by Gomin Dayasri

The 18th Amendment is like a see saw that swings up and down. It could bring shame or fame to a President. The verdict will come two years into the operation when the people can determine whether the commissions are functioning smoothly or otherwise. [TC]

The most prominent sovereign of the Chola dynasty - India's Big Temple marks 1,000th birthday

By Swaminathan Natarajan
BBC Tamil

The temple has number of statues and stone carvings depicting the life of Buddha.

Official celebrations are taking place in southern India for the 1,000th birthday of one of the grandest temples ever built on the subcontinent. [TC]

Beyond lawful constraints: Sri Lanka's mass detention of LTTE suspects

'Surrendees' and 'rehabilitees' in Sri Lanka: ICJ Report addresses concerns arising from what may be the largest mass administrative detention anywhere in the world

By International Commission of Jurists

Summary of Human Rights Concerns

The Government of Sri Lanka’s ‘surrendee’ and ‘rehabilitation’ regime combines measures to address the ‘surrender’ of former combatants, screening for security threats, rehabilitation, and criminal prosecutions. [TC]

Why the world should be worried about Sri Lanka's deepening ties with China

Sri Lanka holds tight to China

By Karunyan Arulanantham

LOS ANGELES — When the voters of war-torn Sri Lanka cast their ballots in last January’s presidential election, little did they realize that the winner, incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, would take such an expansive view of his victory. [TC]

China and India playing the great game in Sri Lanka 

by Dr.Ameer Ali

Sri Lanka’s political foolhardiness in its inability to solve peacefully its domestic ethnic minority issue over the last fifty or so years, as an independent sovereign nation state has, as a consequence of a bitterly fought civil war, pulled her into the vortex of a new geo-political game played amongst India, the United States and China in which the island nation’s sovereignty is in danger of being compromised. [TC]

Accountability now: The need for a war crimes tribunal regarding Sri Lanka

by UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic
American University Washington College of Law

Establishing an accurate account of the conflict, investigating allegations of human rights violations, and holding wrongdoers criminally accountable are all crucial to providing victims with justice and the nation and international community with vital answers. [TC]

Listen to our voice, also - North East Women’s Network

It was observed by us that in the after math of tsunami and the destructive war, resettlement programs have been in progress in the north and the east of Sri Lanka without focusing on the views of women and their special needs. [TC]

18th Amendment is an insidiously destructive piece of constitution-making

by Dr.A.C.Visvalingam
President -CIMOGG

One hundred and sixty-one Members of Parliament, in their understandable admiration of President Rajapaksa’s leadership in eliminating the LTTE, appear to have taken up the position, by voting for the 18th Amendment ("18A"), that he can consequently be trusted unreservedly with whatever powers he wants to have and that he will not misuse them, for however long he is entrusted with such powers. [TC]

President Rajapaksa is the best representative of national democracy

by Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

What does Sri Lanka need? Some say regime change, others say stability and continuity. Those who say regime change regard the slogan of stability and continuity as one for totalitarianism and/or dictatorship [TC]

"Operation Colombo" plan of Rajapaksa has political and economic components

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“True, it is not the first time Rome has seen a man wielding unlimited power; but it is the first time he sets no limit to it…" — Camus (Caligula)

The 18th Amendment was the elixir of power, absolute and longue durée; empowered, the Rajapaksas are unleashing mopping-up operations to neutralise the few enclaves still resistant to their dominance. Such as the City of Colombo. Colombo’s poor predominantly vote for the UNP. [TC]

Bedevil: "In the same boat" by Channa Wickramasekera: Colombo: Bay Owl Press, 2010

Reviewed by Sivamohan Sumathy

‘We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now’. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Why has it been difficult to write of this novel, In the same boat, slight in frame and simple and direct in approach? While I finished the novel in one go, whenever I sat down to write about it, it proved a difficult task. [TC]

My sister is my best friend, plase bring her back to me

by IRIN News

Sixteen months after the end of the civil war in northern Sri Lanka, thousands of former rebel fighters are still missing or in government detention, according to the government and a local NGO, Law and Trust Society. [TC]

September 18, 2010

Sep 19 - 25:

Video & Full Text: No nation on earth can wish Sri Lanka's Tamil community more good fortune than Sri Lanka itself

(Following is the full text of the address by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the United Nations General Assembly at New York on September 23rd 2010)

“I have great pleasure in congratulating Your Excellency Joseph Deiss, on your assumption of the Chair of the sixty fifth Session of the General Assembly. [TC]

World leaders' meetings draw demostrators from Falun Gong, Kurd, Tamil and Tibetan groups near UN Headquarters

As world leaders meet at the U.N. General Assembly, New York is also playing host to scores of demonstrations near the UN Headquarters as well as near hotels where leaders are statying. [TC]

The Sri Lankan Muslim minority: A bridge to harmony

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

My article about the late Mr. MHM Ashraff on the 10th anniversary of his death has invoked several different responses. One of which was a personal e-mail sent by Dr. Ruvaiz Haniffa from the Faculty of Medicine at the Colombo University.

Dr. Haniffa also sent a paper written by him on the Muslims of Sri Lanka along with his mail to me. I found the paper very illuminating and interesting and thought it contribute constructively to an informed debate on the Sri Lankan Muslim situation [dbsj]

Returnees dream of new houses in the north


KILINOCHCHI, 22 September 2010 (IRIN) - More than two years after she fled her home and 16 months after the decades-long Sri Lankan civil war was declared over, Chandra Jayakumar has one wish. [TC]

Vancouver Activists Rally in Support of Tamil Refugees

by Zach Baddorf, Voice of America News

The Thai cargo ship MV Sun Sea arrived on Vancouver Island in Canada last month, carrying nearly 500 Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka. They claim to have faced murder, kidnapping and extortion back home and are now seeking refugee status. The Canadian government has detained the refugee seekers while it determines whether they are a security threat. [TC]

Sri Lanka is drawing the interest of outsourcing firms - President Mahinda Rajapaksa

By Gabriella Stern

NEW YORK -- Sri Lanka's president said Wednesday that rising labor costs in China present an opportunity for his South Asian country to attract foreign companies seeking an alternative low-cost manufacturing base. [TC]

President in bilateral talks with Norway

By BBC Sandeshaya

Prsidient Mahinda Rajapaksha has engaged in constructive bilateral talks with a number of heads of state now in New York, says Presidential media co-ordinator Vijayananda herath.

South Asians for Human Rights deplore erosion of democracy and rise of authoritarianism in Sri Lanka

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a network of human rights defenders and concerned citizens, held a three day meeting on “Challenges to Peace and Prospects for Cooperation in South Asia” at the India International Centre, New Delhi, from the 13 th-15th September, 2010. [TC]

"Kaballeva" in Kandy: Rare photos of a Sri Lankan armadillo

by Dushy Ranetunge

Our sojourn at the hill club was rudely interrupted this summer with a telephone call from an excited Navaratna. They don’t like mobile phones at the Hill Club, which disturb the tranquillity of the place. I quickly grabbed my vibrating phone and ran to the outside corridor to answer the call. [TC]

Sri Lanka war panel hears of Tamil disappearances

By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Colombo

People in northern Sri Lanka have told a war inquiry that family members who served with the Tamil Tigers disappeared after surrendering. [TC]

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa denies US Terror Alert claims on Lashkar-e-Tobia terrorists

from The Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa today denied claims by the US Terror Alert that terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba is using Sri Lanka as a base to attack India. [TC]

China footprint bothers Delhi day after Lanka blast

South Block pores over maps and works phone lines to estimate strategic space occupied by Beijing

by Sujan Dutta

When dynamite ripped through the fishing village of Karadiyanaru in eastern Sri Lanka, a former LTTE stronghold, on Friday and killed 25 people, officials in New Delhi’s South Block and army headquarters burned the phone lines to find out what caused it. [TC]

M.H.M. Ashraff: The legendary Muslim Congress Leader

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

September 16th 2010 was the tenth death anniversary of Mohammad Hussein Muhammad Ashraff, the uncrowned sultan of the Amparai district Muslims and legendary leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). The pioneering president of the SLMC was Ahammed Lebbe of Kattankudi with whom Ashraff co-founded the party in September 1981. It was however MHM Ashraff who gave the Muslim Congress a new vision and direction after he assumed formal leadership of the party in 1986. [dbsj]

Can the Tamil National Alliance be trusted with the Northern Provincial Council?

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

It was Jean-Paul Sartre who used the phrase “imperative yet impossible”. This is true of a negotiated settlement with Tamil nationalism. It is, or seems, imperative yet impossible. [TC]

Rajapaksas using Sinhala spremacism to win Southern consent for anti-democratic constitutional revolution

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

"..........for countries are not always true to themselves.” – — Tagore (East And West)

Having removed the sole really-existing impediment to dynastic rule with the 18th Amendment, the triumphant Rajapakses are hatching the next step in their constitutional revolution. [TC]

"Public Debate" on 18th Amendment was an exercise in shadow boxing

by Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama

The public debate on the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution was an exercise in shadow boxing. A Government that claims to be democratic chose to keep the amending Bill a secret until it had been passed by Parliament. [TC]

Sri Lanka born Canadian Muthu wins world-record for longest Male dreadlocks

by Mahesh Abeyewardene

Sri Lankan-born Sudesh Muthu has captured the world record for longest male dreadlocks, measuring at six feet, three inches, according to Guinness World Records in the United Kingdom. [TC]

Ranil has no right to treat the UNP as his personal property

by Namini Wijedasa

For the exceedingly dull and dim-witted amongst us who had expected Ranil Wickremesinghe to whip up a wave of enraged protest against the 18th Amendment, let us — even at this terribly late stage — stop kidding ourselves. [TC]

Lack of strategic policy and practice is affecting Infrastructure construction projects in Northern Province

by M.Sooriasegaram

The lack of strategic policy and practice in relation to the supply of construction materials is affecting infrastructure building projects throughout Sri Lanka in varying degrees but more seriously, projects in the Northern Province. [TC]

Sarath Fonseka: Tragic tale of selective application of law against political opponents

by Thrishantha Nanayakkara

Today, 17th September 2010 is an important day in the legend of patriotism. Different people have said different things about patriotism from time to time. [TC]

My father is an icon as to what dictators are willing to do

by Apsara Fonseka

I know you all have been there with my father since the presidential election and have been watching closely as to what the government has been doing to him day by day. [TC]

UNP led opposition under Ranil is like drowning swimmer with dead-weight

by Dayan Jayatilleka

Here’s the way the current political discourse seems to me. In a swimming competition, a swimmer lagging behind accuses the one in front of taking steroids, while ignoring the fact that he is swimming with a weight attached by none other than himself, to his leg. [TC]

No party can be political alternative without alternative political project

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Leon Trotsky may have been pushing it a bit when he wrote that “the crisis of humanity is reduced to the crisis of leadership” but it is certainly true of Sri Lanka: contrary to the apocalyptic “wailing and gnashing of teeth” among the civil society ‘intellectuals’, the crisis of Sri Lankan democracy is primarily (if not ‘reduced to’) the crisis of opposition leadership. [TC]

September 11, 2010

Sep 12 - 18:

BBC: Dozens killed in Sri Lanka blast

An explosion in Sri Lanka has killed at least 60 people, most of them policemen, officials say.

A military spokesman said vehicles carrying explosives accidentally blew up at a police station near the eastern city of Batticaloa.

The explosives were being signed over to two Chinese road construction contractors, said Maj Gen Ubaya Medawala. [TC]

Sri Lanka's president wants to stay in power for a long time. Only an organized opposition can stop him

by Nira Wickramasinghe

Less than a year and a half ago, Sri Lanka's government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a ruthless victory in that country's three-decade-long civil war against a bloody insurgency by the rebel Tamil Tigers. [TC]

‘Intellectual’ critics of the administration in Sri Lanka  are  least conspicuous in search for an alternative

by Dayan Jayatilleka

“In other words it now becomes evident that (to quote Marx) people do not treat somebody as a king because he is a king in himself; he is a king because and as long as people treat him as one.” (Slavoj Zizek, ‘The Ticklish Subject’, p192, italics in the original). [TC]

The Reality of Growing Chinese Power and Influence in the South Asian Region

by M.K.Bhadrakumar

An Assistant Secretary dealing with South Asia in the State Department in Washington a decade-and-a-half ago once took justifiable pride that she only needed a clutch of minutes to get the Indians all worked up into a tizzy. [TC]

In consolidating power, President Rajapaksa risks squandering one of his country's greatest advantages

The Wall Street Journal Opinion, Sep 16, 2010: Sri Lanka's Peace-Torn Democracy [TC]

Negativity on immigration shown by Angus Reid poll conducted after MV Sun Sea arrival may subside with the passage of time

Canadians shouldn't forget their compassion

By Amarnath Amarasingam

Canadians have long been struggling with the place of immigrants and refugees within their borders. [TC]

Lankan Tamils in India and abroad are welcome to return - Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

In an exclusive interview, with ‘The Asian Age’ Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka’s military victory over the LTTE offers lessons for the international community. [TC]

'Sri Lanka government is stirring up patriotism, saying the West is against the people of Sri Lanka'

By Johan van Slooten

A leading Sri Lanka expert has warned that with last week’s parliamentary victory on constitutional reforms, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse has dealt a final blow to the country’s human rights, civil liberties and true democracy. Charu Latta Hogg, an associate fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House, says that Sri Lanka is heading ‘towards a totalitarian state’. [TC]

Rights of internally displaced children must be protected, UN advocate stresses

Radikha Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, said last year witnessed some important positive developments with regard to children and armed conflicts around the world, but great challenges remained. [TC]

“Connecting People to Prosperity” in Sri Lanka. A reality check with “Mahinda Chinthanaya"

By Vidya Abhayagunawardena

A World Bank report titled “Sri Lanka: Reshaping Economic Geography- Connecting People to Prosperity”, released in August, provides new insights on the geographic transformations in the country and identifies public policy priorities for connecting people lagging economically. [TC]

Ramifications of no confidence motion against Minister GL Pieris

by Dayan Jayatilleka

It is, in equal measure, ironic and amusing that the UNP has chosen to move a motion of No Confidence in Parliament, against the newish Minister of External Affairs, Prof GL Pieris. [TC]

The need of the hour is a broad civil rights movement uniting all progressive forces

By Surendra

The 18th Amendment is now history. The emperor has been crowned with absolute tyrannical power. [TC]

Karu Jayasuriya regrets his inadvertent role in stabilising Rajapaksa regime

UNP deputy leader and Gampaha district Parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya has issued a statement expressing regret for his inadvertent role in stabilising the Rajapaksa regime in the past. [TC]

Mano Ganesan charts new political approach for Democratic Peoples Front 

My party is convinced that UNP leadership is not doing anything on this. You can ask anyone of those ‘national list MPs’ to resign in the interest of the party [TC]

Full Text: Sri Lanka External Affairs Ministry ‘regrets’ US condemnation of an ‘internal matter’ [TC]

‘Blast suspects did not receive training in Sri Lanka'

by B. Muralidhar Reddy

Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has denied the claim made by one of the two suspects in the Pune German Bakery blast case that he received his training in the island nation. [TC]

Cross - cultural comparisons

by Chandra Arulpragasam

The Vedda and the Sociology Professor

In 1950, I undertook a sociological survey of the veddas of Wellassa-Bintenne. This involved a trek of around 250 miles in the jungles of the Uva and Eastern Provinces where few had ventured before.[TC]

Kokkuvil brings back many pleasant, traditional and unforgettable memories

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“It takes a whole village to raise a child” ~ Anonymous

Kokkuvil is a small village in Jaffna Peninsula.It is situated 3 miles away from Jaffna town. It has many Hindu temples and thick traditional values are still being followed here. [TC]

Kondavil brings back a wholesome and cherishing childhood memories

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“The Sun does not forget a village just because it is small”~ African Proverb

Kondavil is a small village in Jaffna Peninsula, adjoining the village Kokkuvil. “Yazh Devi” – Colombo – Jaffna train used to stop at Kondavil station. Most of the travellers stop by the Ambaal temple and get her blessings before the long journey. [HA]

Residing at Jaffna Railway Station: “Nobody cares for us and we have no where to go”

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard is to risk nothing” – Anonymous

A family of three reside at the Jaffna Railway Station. Selvaratnam Jeyalingam (43) and his wife Jeyarubi Jeyalingam (40) have lost their legs and fingers in 1992 in Vasaavilaan, in Jaffna Peninsula. [TC]

The Rajapaksa juggernaut rolls on

By Col R Hariharan

Sri Lanka parliament voted to end the two-term limit imposed on the president by more than the required two thirds majority in the 225-member house on September 8. With the passing the 18th amendment of the constitution, the parliament has removed the constitutional bar and paved the way for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to get elected president a third term. [TC]

The 18th Amendment and the reawakening of President Rajapaksa

By Kalana Senaratne

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution makes it clear that Sri Lanka, after the end of a brutal armed conflict, is moving in the wrong direction. [TC]

18th Amendment is a reversible shift and not a permanent ending

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

It gives me no pleasure to contradict an Editorialist I respect in a paper I like, but the passage of the 18th Amendment does not mark the ‘death of a nation’. [TC]

Ten observations on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The cynic in me is tempted to remark that the neoliberal, Rightwing Opposition and civil society groups wanted ‘regime change’ throughout the war years and boy, they’ve got it. [TC]

What was wrong with the executive we had before the 18th Amendment?

By Namini Wijedasa

"So, miss, will we have to vote under a different system now that this constitutional amendment is passed?” the cab driver asked, waiting for the green light. “Like, is the preferential system a thing of the past now?” [TC]

A govt viewpoint on why the 18th  Amendment to the Constitution is necessary

by Mahinda Samarasinghe

(Text of the speech by Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe during the debate on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution Bill in Parliament on September 8 ) [TC]

Compliance with Rajapaksas is the only way to prosper in the Rajapaksa - Land

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Today there was total confusion in Sri Rajapaksistan (formerly Sri Lanka) when thousands and thousands of people changed their name to “Rajapaksa” to get into Parliament or even get a job…[TC]

18th Constitutional Amendment has twelve objectives

by Basil Rajapaksa

(Following is an edited text of the speech made by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, during the debate in Parliament on September 8, on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution) [TC]

Mahendra Percival Rajapaksa is now the King of Sri Lanka

by Mangala Samaraweera

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” - George Orwell, 1984

As I pen these lines the knowledge bears heavy upon my soul that by the time these words go to press, Sri Lanka is well on the path to dictatorship and oligarchy: [TC]

When democratic institutions die people become the living dead

by Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There were passing antics on display this week over the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. [TC]

U.S. says Sri Lanka amendment undermines democracy

Sep 11, (Reuters) - The United States on Saturday condemned Sri Lanka's passage of a constitutional amendment granting the president vast new powers, saying it undermined democracy. [TC]

Why the world must stop Sri Lanka’s decline

Increasing the presidential term hastens a dictatorship

By Sonali Samarasinghe

NEW YORK, NY. — On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s Parliament overwhelmingly passed an urgent bill removing term limits for the president. [TC]

September 03, 2010

Sep 5 - 11:

Audio: Tribute to People's Poet Bharathiar

In commemorating and paying tribute marking the 89th death anniversary of Mahakavi Subramaniya Baharathiar, Sep 11, 2010: [TW]

Jaffna Open Forum Takes Off

Point Pedro Institute of Development

The Jaffna Open Forum, a joint venture between the Point Pedro Institute of Development (PPID – independent private social science research institution based in Point Pedro) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES – social democratic political foundation of Germany working in Sri Lanka for 46 years), took off at the Jaffna Public Library auditorium on September 02, 2010. [TC]

US halts training 3,000 Northern Sri Lanka youth in outsourcing

By Sutirtho Patranobis

The US has suspended the training of 3000 youth from the war-ravaged northern Lankan districts in outsourcing skills. [TC]

Remarks made by the US Ambassador Butenis for Ifthar Dinner at Fathima Welfare Center

Good evening and a very special thank you to Mrs. Akbar for all of her assistance in coordinating this Ifthar meal tonight. [TC]

Women take over as breadwinners in North

by IRIN News

JAFFNA, 9 September 2010 (IRIN) - Fifteen months after the end of fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers, women in the north are taking up a new and challenging role as breadwinners - with more and more becoming day labourers to support their families. [TC]

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s new powers are unnecessary and dangerous


NATIONAL constitutions come in two main types. Some are prescriptive, enshrining freedoms, curtailing the powers of the state and generally hampering would-be dictators. Others, however, tend to the descriptive, and are often revised to catch up with changes that have already happened. Into this class can be put Sri Lanka’s 1978 constitution, this week amended for the 18th time, with unseemly haste. [TC]

18th Constitutional Amendment: "how can this bill be urgent in the national interest?"

By M.A.Sumanthiran

(Full text of address by Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran on September 8th 2010 during Parliamentary debate on the 18th amendment to the Constitution) [TC]

"Constitutionalization of the wartime presidency": Sri Lanka Ends Presidential Term Limits

By Lydia Polgreen

NEW DELHI — Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Wednesday passed a proposal to remove presidential term limits from the Constitution, paving the way for the popular president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to run for a third term and cement his grip on power. [TC]

Sri Lankan military victory was commendable but not unique

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The ongoing visit by the much-decorated chief of the Indian army provides an occasion for an objective perspective on Sri Lanka’s military achievement as well as the reactions to it. The Lankan military victory and our military have earned the respect of military professionals the world over [TC]

Confusion over national reconciliation, unity and lasting peace in post-war Sri Lanka

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

Not surprisingly, many confusing and contradictory comments have been made on the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 15 this year; 12 months after the prolonged self-destructive war ended with enormous losses to the country and the citizens of all ethnicities. [TC]

Sri Lanka Remittances May Rise to Record $3.8 Billion After Civil War Ends

by Anusha Ondaatjie

Remittances sent home by Sri Lankan nationals overseas may rise to a record $3.8 billion in 2010, a central bank official said, adding that policy makers will ensure stability of the currency as the flows increase. [TC]

Sri Krishna Jayanthi: Spread the Melody of LOVE

By Dushiyanthini Kanagabapathipillai

“Share our similarities, celebrate our differences” ~ Morgan Scott Peck,American Psychiatrist and best-selling author,( May 1936 –September 2005)


Sri Krishna Jayanthi was celebrated on 1st of September 2010 with pomp and splendor. [HA]

My acquaintance with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress

By M.S.Shah Jahan

In 2004, I bumped into a breakaway former SLMC nominated MP, a lawyer turned politician who is now a diplomat in a Middle Eastern country, in Trichy, Tamilnadu airport. [TC]

Thilanga Sumathipala and Sanath Jayasuriya implicated in cricket match fixing

by Ashis Ray

The spot-fixing scandal could engulf cricketers outside Pakistan. There were reports on Sunday that a leading Sri Lankan player was under suspicion for links with a bookie [TC]

Proposed 18th Amendment is grave threat to democracy and good governance-National Christian Council

The National Christian Council views the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution as a grave threat to democracy and good governance in our country.[TC]

Position of the Tamil National Alliance on the proposed 18th Amendment to the constitution

'T.N.A cannot support the Eighteenth Amendment as presently constituted'

The proposed eighteenth amendment to the constitution contemplates two basic changes in regard to: [TC]

The Visitors in Yala and Jaffna: "Culture of polluting"

Massive Pollution in Yala

by Dushy Ranetunge at Yala Village


It was the long weekend at Yala Park and the word got out about the sighting of a leopard. The drivers scrambled and raced to the spot only to be confronted with a massive traffic jam, with about 30 Jeeps blocking the little dusty track in all directions.[TC]

All attempts to investigate atrocities in the Tamil Tiger conflict have been stifled, despite promises made to Ban Ki-moon

Sri Lanka is still denying civilian deaths

by Peter Bouckaert
Director of Emergencies Division, Human Rights Watch

During the Vietnam conflict, the US military developed some creative ways to increase the numbers of Viet Cong insurgents it claimed to have killed. "If they're dead, they're Viet Cong," meant that any Vietnamese killed by American soldiers would automatically count as enemy fighters. [TC]

18th amendment is submission to autocracy - Mano Ganesan

18th amendment aims at reversing all what this country gained during the last decades against the politicization of the state services. It tends to handover total power to the proposed ‘term limit-less’ executive presidency by removing all the hard-earned constitutional checks and balances. [TC]

Civil Rights Movement Statement on 18th Amendment to the Constitution 

By Suriya Wickremasinghe

A President’s immunity is not for life. It is only for the period that he or she is President. Once a President steps down from office he or she may be sued like any other citizen for any wrongful act committed while in office.[TC]

Rauff Hakeem: Why we are Supporting the 18th Constitutional Amendment

The year was 1977. I was an impressionable youngster of seventeen, studying at Royal College. I was in the running for the Best Speaker's contest where the coveted Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan Prize was on offer. [TC]

"Noothana Prathishda Maha Kumbabishekam" at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple


by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Three new deities namely Lord Murugan, Goddess Valliyammai and Goddess Theivayaanai have been installed at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple recently. [HA]

Why the Muslim Congress will vote with the government

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is once again in the eye of a minor political storm after the decision reached by its Apex body to vote with the Government headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse in supporting the forthcoming 18th Amendment to the Constitution while remaining with the opposition led by Ranil Wickremasinghe. [dbsj]

A Widow's Journey

BBC World Service

In 1989 Appapillai Amirthalingam was assassinated at his home in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.

He was a politician - the most prominent democratically-elected leader of the Tamil community. [TC]

Sampoor, Supremacist Ideology and abuse of International Law

by Dr.Rajan Hoole

With the LTTE gone, our common objective should be creatively to use the potential the people of this country have to live and prosper together. We see instead fears of an LTTE resurgence being drummed up artificially to justify policies that foster division and discord. [TC]

Federalist Fantasy of TNA

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

If the Southern Opposition is dwindling or dying, the Northern Opposition is deluded and in deep denial. These wings or streams of the opposition seem to be marginalising themselves to the point of irrelevance. [TC]

Why the 18th constitutional amendment is necessary

By Prof G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs

After two decades, we have a durable peace and an unprecedented degree of political stability. The challenge is to use these opportunities to move the economy of the country forward. [TC]

'156 MPs will vote for 18th amendment’ – Basil Rajapaksa

Government upbeat on support from leftist parties

By Rasika Jayakody

Economic Development Minister and Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa says that Government is confident of passing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for the controversial constitutional reforms, with 156 MPs voting in favour. [TC]

Chandrika Kumaratunga Condemns The 18th Amendment

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga condemned the 18th Amendment proposed by the government saying it is a “horrendous move” and that she could not agree with it in any way. [TC]

18th amendment will lead to a dictatorship – Karu Jayasuriya

The eighteenth amendment to the constitution would pave the way for a dictatorship in this country and enable some to ‘secure full power for generations’, UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said. [TC]

Power greed and dictatorial ambitions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa exposed

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt the Younger (Speech in the House of Commons – 18.11.1783)

So the Emperor is finally divested of his dazzling patriotic mantle, his vulturous greed for power and grandiose dynastic ambitions bared. [TC]

A plea to withdraw the Eighteenth Amendment - Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera

A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

Many sections of the population are deeply alarmed at the possible repercussions the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution will have on our system of democratic governance [TC]

Standing up against the 18th Constitutional Amendment is our democratic duty

By Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Politics is about power and the constitution is about protection of the people against the excessive concentration and exercise of that power.[TC]

The 18th amendment is undemocratic: The myth of centralization of power economic development

by Eran Wickramaratne

President Jayawardene introduced the 2nd Republican Constitution in 1978, and one of its underlying beliefs was that power centralized in the office of the President will lead to rapid economic development. [TC]

Saudi Arabia and  Aariyawathi: Where is Justice?

by M.S.Shah Jahan

“The Saudi sponsor, who is over 60, suffers from heart conditions. The sponsor’s doctors have advised him to do only 25 percent of his normal work because of his weak heart. [TC]

Sri Lanka urged to ensure safety of detained former asylum-seekers

by Amnesty International

Amnesty International has called on the Sri Lankan government to ensure the safety of three men who have been tortured and jailed following their forced return from Australia in 2009. [TC]

Inadvisable to race through with one sided constitutional changes

by National Peace Council

The government has decided to amend the constitution in a manner that concentrates more power in the already over-powerful institution of the Executive Presidency and to obtain parliamentary ratification by September 8, 2010.[TC]

Power of incumbency will make it impossible to unseat a sitting President

by Prof. Rohan Samarajiva

The Opposition has failed to give a simple answer to the above question, seeking instead to play word games (Executive Prime Minister versus Executive President). [TC]