« October 2010 | | December 2010 »

November 26, 2010

Nov 28 - Dec 4:

Sri Lankan detainees “resettled” in appalling conditions

By Subash Somachandran

Following the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May last year, the Sri Lankan government detained about 280,000 Tamil civilians from the northern Vanni region in huge military-controlled camps. [TC]

Did a U.S. ambassador accuse Sri Lanka's president of war crimes?

By Charles Homans

Are we surprised to learn, via WikiLeaks, that American diplomats in Colombo blame Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his top officials for the massacre of tens of thousands (by most estimates) of Tamil civilians during the final months of Sri Lanka's bloody civil war? [TC]

The cordial relationships we want between the Tamil and Sinhalese people have not been built

By Dr.Harsha de Silva

I am glad that important Ministers and Members from the Government side have come to listen to this speech. I must first state that I am happy to have been able to join the Budget Debate. [TC]

Mahinda suffers political Waterloo at Oxford

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa suffered an ignominious political embarrassment at the stately university town of Oxford when his scheduled address to the prestigious Oxford Union was cancelled unilaterally. [dbsj]

Neither Rajapaksa nor the LTTE should get away with amnesia

By Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka campaigner

A buzz of attention surrounds Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s visit to the UK. “Arrest Rajapaksa for war crimes” reads one banner brandished by a Tamil diaspora group keen to see Rajapaksa arrested under ‘universal jurisdiction’, the principle that allows war criminals to be arrested in any country. His appearance at Oxford University has been cancelled. [TC]

WikiLeaks cables: 'Sri Lankan president responsible for massacre of Tamils' alleges US Envoy Patricia Butenis

by Julian Borger

American diplomats believed that the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, bore responsibility for a massacre last year that is the subject of a UN war crimes enquiry, according to a leaked US cable. [TC]

Full text of cable via Wikileaks-War crimes accountability: The Tamil perspective [TC]

Security concerns prompt cancellation of President Rajapaksa lecture at Oxford Union [TC]

Many Instances of Denial of Justice and Violation of Human Rights were a Direct Result of Continuation of Presidential System

By C.G.Weeramantry

There are many factors to which we should give our attention in this connection, for without confidence and trust that their rights will be upheld and guaranteed without fear or favour, there cannot be contentment and harmony, especially among minorities whose confidence in law and order needs to be built on firm foundations. [TC]

The government need not be embarrassed by its new clothes

A Budget analysis by Eran Wickramaratne

The 2010 Budget is a departure from the Budgets that have been presented by the Mahinda Rajapakse regime in the past. [TC]

Journalist S. Sivanayagam passes away [TC]

In Pictures: South Asian Women’s Day 2010 Celebrations @ Kirulapone

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

International campaign on Violence Against Women (VAW) is carried out from 25th November to 10th December every year.

Women from different South Asian countries decided in 2002 to celebrate 30th November as South Asian Women’s Day. [HA]

Accounting specialists: Sri Lankan Accountants Lure Global Outsourcers

By Heather Timmons

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Southern China has its assembly plants. India has customer support centers, research laboratories and low-cost lawyers.

And Sri Lanka’s contribution to global outsourcing? Accountants — thousands of them, standing ready to crunch the world’s numbers. [TC]

The "Chindia" paradigm and Sri Lanka

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

As Asia basks in the glow of the emergence of China and India and benefits from it (economists have even coined a term, ‘CHINDIA’, for this win-win strategic perspective), opinion makers and the media in Sri Lanka are engaged in an unhealthy and needless game of polarisation. [TC]

President Rajapaksa must be safeguarded from servile sycophants

By Gomin Dayasri

The government, having sliced off large tracts of opposition MPs, represents most every party in Parliament other than the ITAK. [TC]

They can file a charge posthumously against Jawaharlal Nehru too

by Arundhati Roy

My reaction to today's court order directing the Delhi Police to file an FIR against me for waging war against the state: Perhaps they should posthumously file a charge against Jawaharlal Nehru too. Here is what he said about Kashmir: [TC]

How to become an instant traitor in the Tamil World

by A.Jathindra

I still remember that day clearly, Mr.Makendraraja allies Mathiah, the second leader of LTTE was visiting Thampalagamam; which is my native village in 1990. The people honoured and welcomed him with the traditional Hindu ritual at each and every house. [TC]

Will the DMK Survive the “Raja Gate?”

by Chakravarthy

India has many gates like the Gate of India in New Delhi, Gate way of India and Church Gate [a county well known for its suburban Railway station] in Mumbai, and few others. There are Raja gates in many Maharajahs’ palaces too. [TC]

Serious thought needs to be given to the issue of political power-sharing

by Kalana Senaratne

The most significant political achievement of President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his tenure as President of Sri Lanka (since 2005) has been the indubitable and unprecedented leadership he gave to ensure the defeat of the LTTE terrorist group. [TC]

The numeral eight has become a lucky number for Rajapaksa regime

by Mangala Samaraweera

After indulging in a multi million dollar inauguration of his ill gotten second term 0n 19th Nov. – an extravaganza which would have made even Kim Jong Il of North Korea envious, President Rajapakse, on the 22nd presented the first budget of the ‘new era’, promising to make Sri Lanka ‘the emerging wonder of Asia.’ [TC]

World economic power shifting back to Asia from the West

by Ranil Wickremesinghe

By the 4th century BC, Asia had begun its first cycle of economic growth and power. This was the reason why Alexander the Great decided to travel eastward to establish an empire. [TC]

Sri Lanka opposition like French Bourbons has forgotten nothing and learned nothing

by Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha

I had not expected to speak today, so you must forgive me, Mr Chair, if I am not as polished or eloquent as the member from Matara who spoke first today. However, having heard his misleading statements, I felt they needed refutation. [TC]

Ninety three men and three women will make Sri Lanka Asia's miracle

by Namini Wijedasa

The government printer said Friday that the gazette outlining subjects and functions of the new cabinet of ministers will not be released before this week. It was sent for printing on Wednesday night but things subsequently kept getting added to it -- like a new ministry here and there -- so the department couldn’t finalise it. [TC]

Interpol "Red Notice" issued for new LTTE leader Vinayakam

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Sri Lankan defence authorities moved quickly last week to target the self-styled new leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization who is operating in Europe under the nom de guerre Vinayakam.

A team of Police and intelligence officials sought and obtained on November 24th, a warrant for the arrest of Sekarapillai Vinayakamoorthy alias Vinayakam from the Chief Magistrates Courts in Colombo. [dbsj]

Tamil Civilians bore the brunt of war during its last stages

By Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe

Father Rohan Silva is a respected senior Catholic priest who has been actively involved in building bridges between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities in Sri Lanka through the Centre for Society and Religion, a Catholic charity which he heads. [TC]

The big lie: Framing the Sinhalese as fascists

by Dr. Dayan Jayatillake

Marx once said that "in all ideology"... "men and their circumstances appear upside down as in a camera obscura". Professor Charles P. Sarvan thinks that the Sinhalese are fascists or pro-fascist. [TC]

The Sinhalese: Blasé!

By Charles Sarvan 

When Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power, the existence of an ethnic problem was an accepted fact; five years later its non-existence has become an accepted fact. [TC]

"Dr.Jekyll" Mahinda presents budget while "Mr.Hyde" Rajapaksa appoints jumbo cabinet

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

The second term of President Rajapaksa (or the ‘Mihindu Era’, as a sycophantic warbler termed it) began on an apposite note. Hours before Dr. Jekyll-Mahinda presented his ‘development budget’, Mr. Hyde-Rajapaksa appointed an anti-development cabinet, hyperinflationary in size, labyrinthine in contours and revelatory in composition. [TC]

War crimes universal jurisdiction and immunity

by Maithri Wickremesinghe

Ordinarily a state exercises criminal jurisdiction only over offences which occur within its geographical boundaries. [TC]

Evaluating President Mahinda Rajapaksa: His strengths and limitations

By Victor Ivan

The swearing in ceremony of President Mahinda Rajapaksa following his second successive victory at the presidential elections was held on November 19. President Rajapaksa cannot be considered as a state leader who has been subjected to a just evaluation. [TC]

India wants "Structured Dialogue Mechansim" to achieve a political solution in Sri Lanka

(Remarks by India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to the media after the Signing of Agreed Minutes of the 7th Meeting of the Joint Commission)

To build on the vibrant and multi-faceted partnership between our two countries, it is important that we leverage our common strategic interests, further enhance connectivity and economic engagement, and promote people-to-people contacts. [TC]

Tamil Parties Forum submits eight point memorandum to President Rajapaksa

We, the Tamil political parties have come to an understanding and constituted a common forum to strive for a permanent political solution to the ethnic problem and also to work towards solving the immediate issues faced by the Tamil people. [TC]

Second wave of flooding strikes Sri Lanka

by IRIN News

More than 16,000 people have been affected in Sri Lanka following a second wave of flooding to strike the island nation this month. "At the moment the situation is under control, but we are keeping an eye on the rains and possibly more displacements [TC]

Contribution of the Northern and Estaern provinces towards the national economy of Sri Lanka

By Dr.Laksiri Fernando

(Text of DA Rajapaksa Memorial Address)

National development is not merely about the economy but the economy is central. It entails economic, social, political, cultural and even moral aspects. [TC]

Sri Lanka and tea: Headed for a bountiful new beginning

Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports from Dickoya, the island's ancient tea industry could be one way of reviving the country's fortunes: [TC]

HRW urges UK to take lead on pressing for authoritative Sri Lankan war crimes inquiry

The current government-led inquiry lacks independence and accountability. A whitewash won't do

by Elaine Pearson

Since the decisive end of the decades-long conflict with the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, the Sri Lankan government has expended a great deal of energy and expense to prevent an international war crimes inquiry. [TC]

Sinhala, Tamil, English: Moving towards a trilingual Sri Lanka

by Lucien Rajakarunanayake

If the Address to the Nation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Friday gave a strong message on the need for national unity, and common cause across ethnic divides in the tasks of development, what preceded his swearing in was a clear demonstration of this commitment to unity through the most moving symbol of language. [TC]

The creative intelligence of Lalith Athulathmudali: A Birthday (Nov 26th) Tribute

by Kesaralal Gunasekera

The late Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali was best known in the public domain as a great politician, a skillful orator and a pragmatic leader. [TC]

November 20, 2010

Nov 21 - Nov 27:

Indian Foreign Minister Hopes to Build Closer Ties During Sri Lanka Visit

by Anjana Pasricha

A former Indian foreign secretary, Lalit Mansingh, says the growing Chinese presence in Sri Lanka concerns New Delhi. [Voice of America]

India ups Lanka aid to offset China presence

by Indrani Bagchi

NEW DELHI: Days after Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the Chinese-built port in Hambantota for business, India will be opening its consulate in the southern Lankan city. [TC]

Sinhala Catholic Priest Seeks Justice for Nine Missing Tamil Priests

Father Reid Shelton Fernando testifies before the commission

A Sinhalese Catholic priest is calling for justice for nine Tamil priests who were killed or have disappeared during the civil war which ended last year. [TC]

Pointing out white students spend as much time partying as they do studying, while Asian students tend not to party with white students is not racist

by Amarnath Amarasingam

An article in a major Canadian magazine simply pointing out certain trends in our society need not be accused of racism and fear mongering. [TC]

Mahinda VII: Machiavellian monarch from Medamulana

by Dushy Ranetunge in London

This week, a headline of the Hindustan Times screamed, “the crowning of a republican king”. Some read it as being clowning. Whether you like it or not, Mahinda VII of Sri Lanka was legitimately crowned this week. [TC]

'As the situation of the entire country changes, ICRC's work and responsibilities also have to change'

'As the situation of the entire country changes, ICRC's work and responsibilities also have to change'

By IRIN News

COLOMBO, 23 November 2010 (IRIN) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) looks set to close its doors for good in northern Sri Lanka following a government statement that the organization's mandate in Sri Lanka had changed since the war ended. [TC]

"New" LTTE leader Vinayagam exposed as a "pretender"

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Vinayagam the new leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) based in Europe has been exposed as a “pretender”!
Information has come to light that claims made by a senior tiger leader in Europe that he was “Colonel” Vinayagam the sea tiger commander are false. [dbsj]

Fear of persecution does not end merely because the war is over in Sri Lanka

by Kalana Senaratne

The speech titled ‘National Conflict and Transnational Consequences’ delivered by the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister, Prof. GL Peiris contains a number of important issues relating to international law. Prof. Peiris pointed out that “the time has come to take a fresh look at the orthodox conceptions and assumptions of international law.” [TC]

"When we Appointed Fonseka as Army Commander we did not know his son in law was an Arms Dealer" - Mahinda

An Interview with President Rajapaksa by N.Ram of "The Hindu" - 2

In this second and concluding part of a one-hour interview given to N. Ram at ‘Temple Trees' in Colombo, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's President, responds to questions about his ambitious initiative for a trilingual Sri Lanka, the role of the English language, the contentious 18th constitutional amendment, the jailing and conviction of General Sarath Fonseka, the status and future of 11,000 hard-core LTTE cadres and supporters, and relations with India. [TC]

Tamil Parties must realise that what we refused to give Prabhakaran cannot be given to others also [TC]

“Kaarthigai Theepam”~ Triumph of Light over Dark

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Kaarthigai” is a month of purity and devotion. Hindu devotees in Sri Lanka celebrated the festival of “Kaarthigai Theepam” in the temples and houses on 21t of November 2010 amidst a heavy downpour. It falls on IL Poya day, which coincides with Karthigai star. [HA]

"PONGU MAHINDA": The Second Inauguration of ‘The leader who conquered the world’

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Tragedy tomorrow, Comedy tonight!” — Stephen Sondheim (A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum)

During the final Peace Process, the LTTE held several Pongu Tamil rallies, ostensibly to celebrate Tamil culture but actually to flex Tiger-muscles and pay obeisance to Velupillai Pirapaharan. As the LTTE monopolised the Tamil struggle, Tiger members and diaspora sycophants began hailing Pirapaharan as ‘Sun God’ and ‘The Leader of the World’. [TC]

Has record of achievement of the Rajapaksa Presidency been in the main positive or negative?

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

An evaluation of a political leader must be historically concrete. What was the context in which he/she assumed power? What was the situation he/she inherited and what did he/she make of that inheritance? [TC]

How Mahinda Rajapaksa re-entered parliament in 1989

By Dharman Wickremaratne

I remember Mahinda Rajapaksa visiting our home in the early 1970s. It was due to the connection he had with my father Gunapala Wickremaratne, who was then Deputy Director General of Education. When I joined the Divaina in 1984 these memories were revived and the relationship was further strengthened. [TC]

Assault on JVP's Sunil Handunhetti: What really happened in Jaffna?

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna MP Sunil Handunnetti and three others were assaulted in Jaffna last Sunday and the incident has ignited the media space. The incident which occurred during the day in a city which has a visible military presence, has raised many questions about political freedom in the North. [TC]

Expensive bad taste makes Lanka's "coronation drama" a garish spectacle

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Among his many presents, the President should have received a crown”. Minister Basil Rajapaksa (quoted in The Economist – November 2011)

It was Bollywood’s sort of inauguration, a garish spectacle which caught the eye even as it horrified the mind. Expensive bad taste combined with technical competence made Sri Lanka’s ‘Coronation drama’ a truly memorable occasion. [TC]

Jaffna "Tesawalamai" Law: misconceptions, misunderstandings and misgivings

By: Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

Tesawalamai ('Tesam' means country and 'Walamai'means customs), are the codified laws and customs of the inhabitants of the province of Jaffna (now the Northern Province) in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Court of ethnic disputes necessary to check rise of ethnic self determination

by Jonathan Power

Just before he died at the end of the twentieth century, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin said, "It was the worst century that Europe ever had. [TC]

Sri Lankan government detains plantation union leaders

By M. Vasanthan

In a blatant attempt by the Rajapakse government to intimidate plantation workers and the working class as a whole, the Sri Lankan police have invoked the government’s draconian emergency regulations to detain two leaders of trade unions based in the plantation estates in the country’s central hills. [TC]

‘Motherland with abundance of greatness, take it to the greatness it deserves’-Mahinda Rajapaksa

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

With an abundance of greatness who would dare to say that this is a small island?

You are well aware that you now stand on our motherland that is much greater than what was handed over to me five years ago. [TC]

November 12, 2010

Nov 14 - 20

AlJazeera Video: President Mahinda Rajapaksa begins a second six-year term promising economic growth [TC]

A majestic moment for an ever more powerful ruler

A coronation in Sri Lanka: Beating the drum

from THE ECONOMIST

WHAT to give a president who wants for nothing? [TC]

Internally displaced: Realities of restitution and resettlement

By Austin Fernando

In recent times there had been vast discussion on returning the displaced. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), media, Diaspora, diplomatic inquiries- especially from India- led these dialogues. [TC]

Attack on JVP in Jaffna a Cowardly act of Terror

Is terrorism really over? This is the question one may ask oneself when one is made witness to cowardly attacks on the Opposition politicians and the media. Although the southern terrorism was effectively neutralised in 1989 and the Tiger terrorism laid to rest last year, another form of terrorism is prevailing. [TC]

CaFFE condemns intimidation of witnesses and journalists in Kayts

Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has issued a statement on behalf of CaFFE and Centre for Human Rights - Sri Lanka (CHR) condemning the intimidation of personswishing to give evidence before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC) during iitssessions at Kayts Island and the harassment and intimidation of P. Winslow of Yaal Thinakural by an unidentified group. [TC]

Maya "MIA" Arulpragasam: An outspoken advocate of Tamil peoples' rights

by Decca Aitkenhead

The singer is perfectly beguiling, but quite baffling, and I leave wondering what on earth she has been talking about, how on earth I am going to write it up, and whether any reader will ever manage to make sense of it. [TC]

The LLRC and complaints of dissappearances of persons

by M.C.M. Iqbal

It was reported in the newspapers a few days ago that nearly a thousand individuals had come forward to make representations to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission during its sessions in Jaffna . The report said that a majority of them are persons seeking the help of the LLRC to find their sons and daughters who have disappeared during and after Eelam War IV. [TC]

ENDLF wants New Delhi govt to send "Indian Peace Making Force" to Sri Lanka

To request the Government of India to bear in mind the fact that the E.N.D.L.F (Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front) never acted at any time against the development of India and her integration but supported the Indo-Sri Lankan pact even in the days of storm and strife and sacrificed 1700 mighty Eelam Tamils pinning their faith on the promise made by the then Prime minister Shree Rajiv Gandhi to form North East Provincial council and to do the needful to save the Eelam Tamils from the untold atrocities committed by the Sinhalese, [TC]

Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia-HRW

By Human Rights Watch

Contributors Should Review Development Programs, Monitor Use of Funds

The Ethiopian government is using development aid to suppress political dissent by conditioning access to essential government programs on support for the ruling party, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. [TC]

Chinese Copper Mine In Afghanistan threatens 2,600-Year old Buddhist Monastery

by Heidi Vogt

MES AYNAK, Afghanistan —

It was another day on the rocky hillside, as archaeologists and laborers dug out statues of Buddha and excavated a sprawling 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery. [TC]

Total of 213,292 persons (50,235 families) in four Districts affected by floods

This final report was issued by OCHA Sri Lanka on the floods from recent rainfall. It covers the period from 12 November to 13 November. [TC]

"Sri Lanka, The Second fastest growing Asian economy after China" says Singapore's Deputy P.M. & Defence Minister

by Dayan Jayatilleka

In the run-up to the commencement of President Mahinda Rajapakse's second term, Sri Lanka's contemporary achievement received a glowing testimonial from an important political personality in the East Asian region, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Singapore, Mr Teo Chee Hean. [TC]

A Road Map to resolve Muslim grievances in Sri Lanka

by M.I.M Mohideen

Muslims throughout Sri Lanka totally rejected Tamil militants’ call for the division of the country and firmly stood for territorial integrity and unity only to face death, loss of properties, livelihood and unlawful displacements. [TC]

"Politicians" are most directly responsible for lack of discipline in society

by Kalana Senaratne

The lack of discipline shown by certain groups of students in universities has been a cause of great distress to many—quite naturally. [TC]

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi Resilient Symbol of Desire for Democracy

by Daniel Schearf

Aung San Suu Kyi, 65, is the daughter of Burma's independence leader Aung San, who was assassinated when she was a child. [TC]

Vinayagam emerges in Europe as new Chief of LTTE

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Writing in these columns last week about the state of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) overseas network I noted that “the Tiger and pro-tiger structures abroad can be broadly classified into two categories”.

The first category is the group consisting of organizations that are either fronts or sympathetic to the LTTE. This category about which I wrote extensively last week, consists of organizations such as the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) headed by New York lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Global Tamil Forum(GTF) umbrella group under Germany based Catholic clergyman Fr. SJ Emmanuel and the network consisting of LTTE branches/fronts controlled by Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan living in Norway. [dbsj]

Mistrust, discontent and anger at LLRC North sessions

By Rathindra Kuruwita in Jaffna

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) sessions in Jaffna were a stark contrast to those held in Colombo. [TC]

Can Tamil diaspora efforts to get President Rajapaksa arrested as a war crminal succeed?

An Interview with Prof.Lakshman Marasinghe by Namini Wijedasa

The traditional view is that international law becomes a part of the domestic law of a state when that state has decided to legislate the international law rules through the parliament of that state. [TC]

Obamas Passage to India has raised Washington-New Delhi relations to new level

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The mass media are a mirror of society would it be correct to observe that Sri Lankan society has paradoxically become more insular as the world, and human existence itself, has become more globalised? [TC]

An island of mistrust

by Bob Rae

What lessons are we to draw from the Sri Lankan conflict? Something deep in the culture of antagonism that pervades modern Sri Lanka made it impossible for a peace process leading toward genuine reconciliation to be accepted. [TC]

TNA MP Vinayagamurthi to be questioned by Vavuniya police over money scam

By Gayan Kumara Weerasinghe

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP A.Vinayagamurthi is currently been sought by the Vavuniya police for questioning regarding a money scam allegedly carried out by him in the guise of locating disappeared persons from the North.  [TC]

Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency: First term report card

by Namini Wijedasa

He tried to talk peace. When it failed, he gave leadership to a military campaign that defeated one of the most organised, ruthless, thriving and criminal terrorist organisations in the world. Not everyone is happy at the manner in which the battle was conducted. [TC]

How President Mahinda Rajapaksa has transformed Sri Lanka

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

"Mother, are your watching from heaven, as the Son, who the gods and the Brahmas sent to your womb from golden palaces, is protecting the Nation?” (From a song dedicated to President Rajapaksa’s mother)

Admire him or detest him, support him or decry him, the indubitable fact is that in five short years Mahinda Rajapaksa has transformed Sri Lanka, almost beyond recognition. [TC]

Sri Lankan journalist wins Transparency International Integrity Award

Attotage Prema Jayantha is better known to Sri Lankans as Poddala Jayantha, his pen name during two decades of courageous investigative journalism. [TC]

Urge the King to commute the death sentence of Rizana Nafeek - Amnesty International

Rizana Nafeek, a 22-year-old Sri Lankan domestic worker, has had her death sentence upheld by the Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia for a crime she allegedly committed while under the age of 18. If the death sentence is ratified by the King, she would be at imminent risk of execution. [TC]

November 05, 2010

Nov 7 - Nov 13:

Dazzling Lord Aarumugaswamy @ Sooran por 2010

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Sooran Por was held today (11th of November 2010) at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple (New Kathiresan temple) in Bambalapitty.

Devotees in large numbers gathered to celebrate the victory of evil spirit [HA]

'Indian nationalists and government don't understand subversive strength of warm, boiled eggs'

"God bless and keep you," he said, and walked away into the dark. What greater reward could a writer want?

By Arundhati Roy
New Delhi

A WEEK before he was elected in 2008, President Obama said that solving the dispute over Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination — which has led to three wars between India and Pakistan since 1947 — would be among his “critical tasks.” His remarks were greeted with consternation in India, and he has said almost nothing about Kashmir since then.

Chinese government has done far more good than harm both for China and the world over the past 30 years

By Kishore Mahbubani

SINGAPORE — In an article on Oct. 23 (“Why China is wrong about Liu Xiaobo”), Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, argued against the notion that supporting a Chinese dissident could worsen conditions for the opposition, asserting that silence undercuts the most basic tenets of human rights. Mr. Mahbubani continues the debate. [TC]

UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considers report of Sri Lanka

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has considered the combined second, third and fourth periodic report of Sri Lanka on how that country is implementing the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. [TC]

Australian High Court finds Sri Lankan asylum seekers denied fairness [Herald Sun]

A wealthy Tamil gem merchant gets 2nd chance to stay in Canada [Toronto Sun]

'Wished I had simply died in fighting, worst was fear of pending death, rather than death itself', Susila 24

by IRIN News

When the conflict ended in May 2009, the government helped reintegrate the children into society by giving them counselling and vocational training, and helping them to enrol in school. In April, the government closed its last remaining rehabilitation centre for former child soldiers in the northern town of Vavuniya. [TC]

Economic Revival of the Northern and Eastern Provinces - National conflict and transnational consequences : Sri Lankan Experience

by Prof. G.L.Peiris

I am very happy to associate myself with your discussion of a topic which I believe to be particularly relevant and important at this time. [TC]

Australian High Court unanimously rejects attempt to keep Sri Lankan asylum seekers outside the protection of Australian law

Shake-up looms for offshore processing after High Court ruling on Tamils

by Lauren Wilson, Joe Kelly

THE High Court has unanimously rejected the federal government's attempt to keep asylum-seekers on Christmas Island outside the protection of Australian law.

In a landmark ruling handed down by the full bench of the High Court this morning, the court determined that two Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers, M61 and M69, had been denied procedural fairness. [TC]

Four Top Garment Manufacturers Planning to Open Factories in Northern Sri Lanka

By Uditha Jayasinghe

Hobbled by the loss of GSP+ and rising costs, top garment manufacturers are moving north to gain an edge with lower labour costs and fast tracking development in the process. [TC]

The Harvest Dream of Fr. Michael Rodrigo: Bread of life for the people of Uva

By Eymard de Silva Wijeyeratne

It is with a sense of indignation mixed with sadness that I write this memorial note on the life and work of Fr. Michael Rodrigo, who was assassinated on 10th November 1987. [TC]

Politicians must not repeat mistakes of the first half century after independence

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP

In looking at the question of national integration, which should be our principal goal now that we have eliminated terrorism from at least Sri Lankan shores, we need to begin by considering the factors that so nearly caused disintegration. [TC]

Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan Tamil Fishing Communities engage positively – How Governments could help

by R.Swaminathan and Dr. V. Suryanarayan

The fishing imbroglio in Palk Bay had taken a favourable turn, with the fishing communities on both sides engaging each other in a dialogue, to further mutual interests. [TC]

War crimes whitewashed: Why human rights groups reject Sri Lanka’s reconciliation commission

By Louise Arbour, Kenneth Roth, Salil Shetty

While we would welcome the opportunity to appear before a genuine, credible effort to pursue accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) falls far short of such an effort. [TC]

Submissions made by His Lordship Bishop of Batticaloa Kingsley Swampillai  Before Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

Culture of Human Rights:

I am here to make submissions on the Culture of Human Rights. In the background of erosion of values of all kinds and especially with the consequences of war, human rights have suffered worst causalities. [TC]

Submissions of His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith  Before Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith addressing the Presidential Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation on 03rd November 2010 at theLakshman Kadiragama Hall, made the following submissions to the Commission. [TC]

Emergence of a just peace can be a criterion to evaluate whether the war was just or unjust

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

It was gratifying that the argument I consistently made three years ago at the UN Human Rights Council and in every space available to me, namely that Sri Lanka’s war met the criteria of a Just War, has been made at the LLRC. [TC]

Moderating competing narratives: The challenge of recasting Sri Lanka's image abroad

By Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha

I am deeply honoured to have been invited by the Ananda College Old Boys’ Association to deliver the Olcott Oration 2010. [TC]

The power struggle behind the university students discipline issue

by Sumanasiri Liyanage

University teachers would like university students to be disciplined. Vice-Chancellors prefer disciplined students in the universities headed by them. [TC]

State Complicity in Jaffna Library incident?

by Dushy Ranetunge in London

There has been considerable publicity given by the Hindu and Hindustan Times, the BBC etc to an incident at the Jaffna Library last week perpetrated by Sinhala vandals against a sensitive icon of Tamil culture.

Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan state’s response has been disappointing. [TC]

Men in uniform with AK 47 rifles seen all around Northern Sri Lanka

By Lee Yu Kyung in Mannar

Men in uniform, mainly young soldiers holding AK 47 rifles, are seen all around northern Sri Lanka, from Mannar in north-west to Mullaitivu, the last battlefield in the north-east. In Mullaitivu, there are said to be more soldiers than civilians. [TC]

Investigating the irresponsible conduct of the  US is absolutely necessary

by Kalana Senaratne

Investigating the conduct of both State and non-State actors during times of armed conflict is an important function. Such investigations serve a number of important purposes; such as the protection of the rights of innocent civilians, ensuring accountability for any crimes committed, and avoiding the prevalence of a culture of impunity. [TC]

Sri Lanka After the Civil War: Interview with Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan~By Sergei DeSilva Ranasinghe

Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvanathan is the principal researcher at the Point Pedro Institute, which is a non-for-profit think tank that provides analysis and advocacy on political and economic issues afflicting the Sri Lankan Tamil population in the north.

In an exclusive interview conducted in mid-October Dr. Sarvanathan speaks to Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe about a range of current and contentious matters related to post-war stabilization and nation building in Sri Lanka and how they have impacted on Sri Lanka’s indigenous Tamil population. [TC]

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith speaks truth to power on justice, reconcilation and peace

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

"It is only a political solution that will help to eliminate the root causes of violent insurrection, ethnic disharmony and suspicion and mistrust between communities. We believe that a search for a political solution to the ethnic conflict must be intensified.” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith (LLRC testimony)

When conditions in post-war North-East cause unease in such diverse individuals as a cardinal and two Tamil politicians, and when daily events bear out their concerns, it is time for all of us to take notice. [TC]

Religious fundamentalism, hypocrisy and the gaming bill in Sri Lanka

by Dushy Ranetunge in London

At present the government is trying to introduce a gaming bill, while religious fundamentalists are betting on the Talibanist element in society to stall it.

The Vatican has several billion US dollars worth of investment in terms of holdings in Gold Bullion and considerable investments in stock markets around the globe. Pray, what is the difference between betting on a horse, cards or roulette and betting on the speculative markets of the world stock indices and bullion trading? Surely greed is the driving factor, or is the Vatican investing for charity? [TC]

Joint holistic and long-sighted approach needed to make Sri Lanka the congenial home of all residents

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

The current moves of the powerful government in post-war Sri Lanka are mainly for sustaining the wartime military strength, preventing the resurrection of the smashed LTTE and developing the infrastructures, notably the roads and rail network, coal-fired power and hydro-power, the Hambantota harbour, second international airport in Hambantota district and rebuilding the war-torn areas with foreign assistance mostly from China and India have raised doubts about the future of Sri Lanka. [TC]

The Sinhalese are content with an unjust peace: But are Tamils?

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Our problem is 50 years old… If something unacceptable is brought as a solution, the Army camps will have work to do. If a satisfactory solution is presented, Army will have no work to do at all…” — V. Anandasangree (LLRC Testimony)

Last month, a mob of Southern ‘tourists’ invaded the Jaffna Public Library after closing hours. They responded to objections by the authorities with malicious acts of vandalism and even defied the security forces. No arrests were made; having had their ‘Vini- Vidi-Vici’ moment the vandals returned, safe and sound. [TC]

Will there be a violent resurgence of the LTTE soon?

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)organization was virtually demolished in May 2009 by the Sri Lankan armed forces in a series of battles in the Karaithuriapatru AGA division of Northern Mullaitheevu district.

The LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran and almost all his senior deputies and commanders were killed along with thousands of cadres in the fighting that also incurred a large number of civilian casualties.

More than ten thousand LTTE members surrendered to the armed forces and were detained at special camps. A few thousands of these ex-tiger cadres have been rehabilitated and released. The rest will be released gradually. Legal proceedings will be initiated against hard-core members numbering about a thousand. [dbsj]

Could President Rajapaksa be arrested if and when he arrives in Britain?

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The External Affairs ministry has just issued a statement (Fri. Nov 5) indicating that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to London, in response to an invitation to address the Oxford Union, has been postponed “to a more suitable time” on account of a busy schedule that included much recent travel, and his upcoming 2nd term-inauguration ceremony. [TC]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa would speedily head towards obliteration if he does not change

by Victor Ivan

If President Mahinda Rajapaksa is not able to make a serious change in his attitude, style of governance and actions after genuinely looking back at his first four years of governance, it is unavoidable that he will crumble as a leader, speedily heading towards obliteration even though he will be able to win the next presidential election. The President should have critically looked back and reviewed his performance after the results of the Southern Provincial Council. But that did not happen. [TC]

It breaks my heart to see the Indian Prime Minister pose cordially with the butchers of Burma

by Amartya Sen

It is difficult for me to talk about Burma without a deep sense of nostalgia. My earliest memories are all of Burma, where I grew up between the ages of three and six. My father was a visiting professor at the Agricultural College in Mandalay, on leave from Dhaka University. My first memory of striking natural beauty is that of sunrise over the Maymyo hills seen from our wooden house at the eastern edge of Mandalay. [TC]

Cabinet memorandum is setback for devolution

Provincial Councils to get approval from Central Ministries to issue circulars

By Gagani Weerakoon

Legal experts and political groups have raised concerns about a cabinet memorandum approved recently that says that Provincial Councils should consult and take prior approval from the relevant line ministry whenever they issue a circular or a statute. [TC]

Why not extend sympathy to a Tamil man or woman languishing in a rat infested jail?

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Recently I listened in disbelief to a professional of Tamil ethnicity telling me that when people travel from Jaffna or Mullaitivu (etc) to Colombo, they avoid the out-of-town travellers like the plague. [TC]

Cold war continues bewteen uncle Basil and nephew Namal Rajapaksa

Bollywood super star Vivek Oberoi’s wedding took place last Sunday in a five star hotel in Bangalore. Among the Indian Bollywood super stars, Indian government and opposition politicos who were present on the occasion there was also a special guest. He was none other than Sri Lanka’s (SL) heir to the Rajapaksa Dynasty, Namal Rajapaksa. [TC]

Indo-Lanka Relations: Past, present, and future

by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

In writing many years ago about the Indo-Lankan Accord of 1987, the single most crucial element in bilateral relations since the independence of both countries, I made the following assessment [TC]

Being captain would have been a burden for me - Murali

A rare interview with Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker on his last tour of Australia.

PR: Let's talk about your background. Tell me about your ancestors.

MM: They come from India. I still have [the] right to live there. My grandfather came to Sri Lanka to work on a tea plantation. Afterwards he went back but my father and his brothers stayed and they built a biscuit factory in Kandy in the 1950s. All sorts of biscuits. Still we have that. [TC]