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August 28, 2011

Aug 28 - Sep 3:

Will big investments in Sri Lanka trickle down and boost per-capita income?

By Shihar Aneez

Post-war investments have picked up, with the first half of 2011 recording $413 million in foreign direct investment, almost double the same period in the previous year. [TC]

Utilising popularity of President Rajapksa to 'reintegrate disenfranchised portions of the population is imperative': Gallup 

The country faces increasing pressure from Western governments and human rights groups to conduct an independent probe into alleged war crimes separate from its own ongoing internal investigation. [TC]

US State Dept. urges GoSL to charge or release prisoners still in custody

The US State Dept. Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner during daily briefing on Sept 1st urged Government of Sri Lanka to charge or release prisoners still held in custody after the lapse emergency regulations at the end of August. He also added that the US State Dept. is “looking at the legislation going forward and studying its implications”. [TC]

Sri Lanka will initiate war crimes inquiries if provided with specific instances and prima facie evidence: Rajiva Wijesinha MP

by Nirupama Subramanian

In an interview to The Hindu in Chennai, Rajiva Wijesinha, who was nominated to Parliament by the ruling alliance following the 2010 elections, said the majority of the soldiers had “behaved impeccably.” [TC]

‘NDTV refused to upload clarification alongside the innacurate report’ on Sri Lanka Army

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha 

The following was sent to a Sri Lankan media outlet that wanted a comment on the NDTV article given below. It was also sent to the NDTV website but its moderator strangely refused to upload this clarification alongside the innacurate report. [TC]

Sri Lanka Army admits using physical force on 'grease devil' protesters

By Charles Haviland 

An opposition MP in Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka says many people there are in a state of panic and afraid to go out at night because of the security forces’ behaviour. [TC]

Catholic Church in Sri Lanka urges investigation into the disappearances of priests and lay people

Alongside these actions, taken a more active since the end of the war in 2009, the bishops also denounced the Sri Lankan attacks and threats against members of the church are regularly victims, and the persistent violations of human rights, "Sinhalisation" and "Buddhismisation" forced non Sinhalese population, military occupation today unjustified northern territories of the island rule "a permanent climate of terror". [TC - Translated from French-via Google]

Tamil Mothers: Help us find our children

by Melani Manel Perera

The appeal launched for the World Day of the disappeared. The women are asking the government to investigate a case without looking at ethnicity or religion. With 12 thousand missing persons, Sri Lanka is the second country with the highest number of disappearances in the world. [TC]

New laws in lieu of the old: Another “state of emergency”

Following are excerpts from Reuters, BBC Sandeshaya, Asia News, Al Jazeera and The Economist on the announcement to lift the emergency and the mentioning of proposed new amendments by Sri Lankan ministers and officials: [TC]

The Cat's Table, By Michael Ondaatje


 Leaving old Ceylon: A Hindu temple in the Pettah district, in Colombo

Reviewed by Roma Tearne 

Ondaatje is both poet and novelist and his use of English is elegant and beautiful. He writes, not in the worn-out clichés that are current in Sri Lanka, but with a feel for an international language that post-Ceylonese nationalism tried hard to strip from the education system of a whole generation. [The Ind]

Two weeks at an orphanage: 'Are you Sri Lankan or British'?

by Julian Ranetunge

A few months previously, my school in the UK advertised that a scholarship would be available for a student to embark on a volunteering programme during the summer holidays.

The award was named the ‘Johnny Sutton Memorial Award’, after a recent graduate of the school. Johnny had passed away after contracting a fatal disease on an arduous mountain-climb, and the award was financed by his parents. With the words carpe diem at the forefront of my mind, I sent a proposal to the powers that be, outlining a trip to an orphanage in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Video ~ Anna Hazare's anti-graft campaign: Civil society used public anger in their favour-Arundhati Roy

Writer Arundhati Roy on Tuesday, Aug 30th cast doubts over Anna Hazare’s anti-graft campaign saying the civil society’s Jan Lokpal Bill is a “dangerous piece of legislation”.

“I am skeptical about the legislation (Jan Lokpal Bill) itself for a good number of reasons. I think the legislation is a dangerous piece of work,” Ms. Roy told CNN-IBN in an interview. [TC]

Lifting Emergency: Focus should be on gradual transition to a system that is just, democratic and humane

by Sumanasiri Liyanage

Although some members of the UPFA government indicated vaguely a few months ago that Emergency would be lifted fully at the end of this year, the President’s announcement that he and his government had decided to do so with immediate effect and depend on normal laws to maintain law and order came at an unexpected moment and as a result, it has received a mixed response. [TC]

Video: Madras court stay order: Will final judgment be based on law or political overtones?

The Madras High Court stayed the execution of the former PM Rajiv Gandhi's assassins for eight weeks and IBN Live poses the question, 'Should Rajiv Gandhi's assassins get clemency'? to Subramanian Swamy-President of Janata Party, Vaiko-Leader of MDMK, Cho Ramaswamy-Editor of Thuglak, D R Karthikeyan-former Director of CBI, R Vaigai, Senior counsel who is representing the convicts in the Madras High Court. [TC]

Video: Madras high court stays death sentence of three convicts for eight weeks

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, R Vaigai and Colin Gonsalves, appearing on behalf of the three convicts, contended that the "inordinate and inexplainable delay" in disposing of their mercy petitions violated Article 21 of the Constitution (Protection of life and personal liberty). [TC]

'Just punishment for crimes such as the Rajiv Gandhi murder must be a lifetime in prison'

Full Text of Editorial, The Hindu 

Preparations have begun at the Vellore Central Prison for hanging Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan — convicted for their involvement in the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. [TC]

The civil war is over in Sri Lanka, but many men suspected of being Tamil Tiger fighters continue to be detained

A 'negative peace' prevails

by Kate Mayberry  

Seriously injured in a shell attack, his Tamil Tiger comrades dead, Mano (pseudonym) tried to end his own life by biting on the cyanide pill that, like all hardened fighters, he wore around his neck. But an elderly woman nearby rushed to give him water and he survived. Alone, he languished on the sand for six days, surrounded by the bodies of his friends and the ruins of war. [Al Jazeera]

‘Killing Fields’ weakens its case and invites an investigation into its own credibility and accountability to journalistic norms

by Shyam Tekwani 

IT IS the first truth of war, however deplorable, that civilians die. The first casualty in war is the civilian. The real victims of war are the civilians. Particularly in civil wars, which are about national survival. [TC]

Emergency removal timed to generate good publicity-Calcutta Telegraph ~ Clarification needed on unknown number of people still detained-The Hindu

Indian Newspapers editorialize the announcement by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament last week to lift Emergency regulations [TC]

'Military losses honoured in public ways - civilians, also Sri Lankan citizens, remain unmourned'

The Politics of Grief

By V. V. Ganeshananthan

In the case of September 11 2001, communal loss is – comparatively, at least -well understood. Everyone saw or could see those deaths; they were on the news even as they happened; the broadcast was part of their lasting tragedy. Few perceived denial of the deaths as rational. The people who had killed them made sure there was plenty of physical evidence. No one fought the act of mourning and was taken seriously.

Not so with what I saw from a great distance eight years later: the deaths of Tamil civilians at the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war. [TC]

BBC Video: Sri Lanka vigilante violence spreading

The "grease devils" have been accused of assaulting women at night in recent weeks and residents have accused the security forces of involvement in the attacks. [TC]

Sri Lanka seeks allies' support ahead of U.N. rights meet

By Shihar Aneez, Reuters

Sri Lanka's foreign minister left on Sunday on a two-week mission to shore up diplomatic support ahead of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting, where the Indian Ocean nation is expecting to face a fight over Western-led pressure for a war crimes probe. [TC]

Irene stops Blake visit to Colombo

by BBC Sandeshaya

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake’s visit to Sri Lanka has been postponed due to Hurricane Irene, the US embassy in Colombo said. [TC]

US to fund renovation and reconstruction of hospitals located in the Northern Province

The United States Government, through coordination with the Government of Sri Lanka Ministry of Health, will fund the renovation and reconstruction of four hospitals located in the Northern Province. [TC]

Double vision: a Canadian citizen, Michael Ondaatje is still 'profoundly Sri Lankan'

Michael Ondaatje: The divided man ~ Novelist and poet Michael Ondaatje, who won the Booker prize for The English Patient, draws on his own extraordinary life to conjure up evocative tales of duality and displacement

The eyes of Michael Ondaatje, prize-winning author of The English Patient, are a baffling window on the inner man: the brilliant, pale sapphires of a witty Dutch burgher set in a 68-year-old Tamil frame. [TC]

Repressive laws remain despite end to state of emergency in Sri Lanka - Amnesty International

The Sri Lankan government must follow up its repeal of the state of emergency by removing repressive legislation such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Amnesty International said [TC]

CityTV Video: Jack Layton's children Mike and Sarah deliver his eulogy

'You can wait forever for perfect conditions, or you can make the best of what you've got now' - Michael Layton [CityTV]

Photo Gallery: The state funeral for Jack Layton [National Post]

Land in Ampara belonging to Sinhala and Tamil villagers forcibly taken for navy base and tourism development

By Saman Mannikkaarachchi in Ampara

People in Panama allege that officials from the Ampara Divisional Secretariat have forcibly taken over 850 acres of land belonging to the Panama villagers. [TC]

Whatever Rajapaksas  say at a given moment is the truth

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

The saga of the ‘Rock of Hambantota’ is of pivotal-importance in understanding the working of the Rajapaksas’ regime.

Whenever the UNP, the JVP or the media mentioned the existence of a huge rock blocking the entrance to the Hambantota Port, the regime reacted with spluttering-outrage. The Rock was dismissed as a malignant lie. [TC]

August 21, 2011

Aug 21 - 27:

Colombo City should be beautified but not by leaving its people destitute and homeless

BY A.J.M. Muzammil

I am deeply humbled and extremely honoured to accept the nomination the United National Party has bestowed on me as its Mayoral candidate. [TC]

Ample Northern paddy harvest averts rice shortage for Sri Lanka

Twin floods in January and February inundated more than 200,000 hectares of paddy land in the eastern and central regions of the island nation, destroying more than 700,000MT of the primary harvest estimated at 2.75 million tons. The main cultivation season runs from October to March. [TC]

Grease Devil problem has demonstrated that increased militarization is meaningless and self-defeating

by National Peace Council

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement to Parliament that the government would not be renewing the state of emergency comes as a welcome action in the restoration of normalcy in the country. With the war against the LTTE ending over two years and three months ago, the time was ripe for a restoration of normal laws to the country. [TC]

Steps taken by India for relief and resettlement of Tamils in Sri Lanka

BY S.M.Krishna

At the outset, allow me to mention that I fully share the concerns and sentiments raised by the Hon’ble Members of the House during the discussion regarding Sri Lanka Tamils. [TC]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa lifts emergency laws

The defence minister - currently, President Rajapaksa - can also order detentions of up to three months at a time for a maximum of 18 months. Under the law, suspects do have a right to trial but not by jury. [TC]

Student Exchange Programme between St. Patrick’s College Jaffna and St. Francis De Sales Senior Secondary School, New Delhi

The Student Exchange Programme of the foundation seeks to develop and enhance bonds of friendship between students of the two countries. [TC]

A visit to Pasikudah: Memo from 'Maalu Maalu' 

by Dushy Ranetunge at Maalu Maalu

Pasikudah and Kalkudah are exotic beaches, where you can walk 30 to 50 yards into the sea. Waves are almost non-existent, making the sea look more like a lagoon [TC]

Tamil Nadu reverts to observing Tamil New Year from January to April

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Tamil New Year will once again be officially observed in Tamil Nadu in midApril instead of Thai Pongal day in midJanuary as being done now [DBSJ]

'Grease devil attacks' on North-Eastern women

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

A disturbing phenomenon in recent times has been the widespread panic in many parts of Sri Lanka about alleged attacks on women by unknown persons posing as devilish monsters. [dbsj]

Can Sri Lanka get out of the 'Grease Yakka' syndrome of political paranoia?

by Col R Hariharan

In two recent incidents a policeman was killed by irate villagers and a traffic-cop beaten up and four others were injured. In one incident naval sailors and the public got into a fracas over grease yakka attack.

What is interesting is most of these incidents have been reported from eight Tamil and Muslim minority inhabited districts [TC]

'Government can justify continuation of emergency by showing that police can't control civil life'

By Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal

The JVP denies it is behind it, and has suggested in parliament that government-linked forces may be responsible, saying female blood was required to find an ancient gold treasure or help prolong President Mahinda Rajapaksa's rule. [TC]

US State Dept. Country Reports on Terrorism 2010: Sri Lanka

While there were no terrorist incidents within Sri Lanka in 2010, there were continuing concerns that the LTTE's international network of financial support might still be functioning [TC]

If military commander Gen Hathurusinha contests he would get more votes than Minister Devananda in Jaffna

Having spent many holiday’s of my childhood in Jaffna the trip last week was a particularly nostalgic trip down memory lane for me. After 30 years we drove down the A9, passing the towns Omanthai, Mankulam Murukandi Paranthan Pallai. [TC]

Anna Hazare: While his means maybe Gandhian, his demands are certainly not

by Arundhati Roy

If what we’re watching on TV is indeed a revolution, then it has to be one of the more embarrassing and unintelligible ones of recent times.

For now, whatever questions you may have about the Jan Lokpal Bill, here are the answers you’re likely to get: tick the box — (a) Vande Mataram (b) Bharat Mata ki Jai (c) India is Anna, Anna is India (d) Jai Hind. [TC]

Anna Hazare's crusade had the potential of snowballing in social revolution

This Op-Ed was published in May 2011 Print edition of Monsoon Journal [MJ]

Big Loss for NDP, Politics & Canada

The 61-year-old died early this morning after loosing his battle with cancer at his Toronto home.

He stepped down as leader on a temporary basis in July, saying he planned to return to the House of Commons in time for the Sept. 19 start to the fall session. [MJ]

Final words: A letter to Canadians from the Honourable Jack Layton

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination. [TC]

The new face of old-school NDP values: rookie MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan

By Karim Bardeesy

In her orange blouse and mesh cowboy hat, Rathika Sitsabaiesan cuts a striking swath through the stalls at the 10th annual Scarborough Rotary Ribfest in northeastern Toronto. [TC]

Video: Physical remains of war fast disappearing, little being done to heal inner scars

Mental health workers have told Al Jazeera, that not only is the treatment of post traumatic stress not a priority for the government, but that in some cases the military is refusing to allow counsellors in to reach affected people. [TC]

Police officer killed in Puttalam ‘Grease Devil’ riot

By Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez

Angry Sri Lankans killed a police officer on Sunday in the latest outbreak of violence sparked by a fear of nocturnal prowlers known popularly as “Grease Devils” that has gripped rural areas in the island nation over the past two weeks. [TC]

Political power sharing must give minorities full sense of equality and majority a just sense of proportionality

by Dayan Jayatilleka 

One of the most cherished axioms of liberal and ‘progressive’ discourse on (and in) Sri Lanka is that of ‘root causes’ of the ethnic question, the need to identify and address them, the notion that the LTTE was but an expression of such unaddressed ‘root causes’, a condemnation of the failure to do so and a dire prediction of perdition as a result. [TC]

Hornets stirred by Gotabhaya interview to Indian TV channel are yet to settle

By Namini Wijedasa

As long as Colombo skirts the issue, India will continue to pressurize the Sri Lankan government to arrive at a negotiated political settlement with the Tamil minority. [TC]

The only way out is to concede a degree of autonomy to the Tamils ideally along Indian lines

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

The Rajapaksas are viscerally opposed to sharing power with anyone, including Sinhalese and even fellow SLFPers. They want to keep all power within the Family. That is the main impediment to devolution in post-war Sri Lanka. The stalled negotiations with the TNA and the proposed (second) APC are attempts at camouflaging this reality. [TC]

Sarath Silva as chief justice made an ass of the law

by Frederica Jansz 

The origin of corruption is when someone thinks power is for him, his family and his henchmen, said former Chief Justice Sarath N. de Silva speaking last week at the launch of the website ‘Voice Against Corruption’ [TC]

Video: Govt official in Jaffna admits receiving hundreds of reports of sexual violence, denies military involvement

The situation is especially bad for young women, who told Al Jazeera about rapes and sexual exploitation – in some cases by government officials and the military. [TC]

CPA survey shows remarkable congruity between Sinhalese and Tamils on key issues

by Dayan Jayatilleka 

“Seek truth from facts” (Deng Xiaoping) 

There is an extensive survey of public opinion, the results of which will up-end all conventional assumptions about what the Sri Lankan people think and therefore how they are likely to act or react. [TC]

August 12, 2011

Aug 14 - 20:

'I want to continue to highlight the activities against the humanity' ~ Gnanasundaram Kuganathan

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

"I shouted “அம்மா” “அம்மா” ~ Amma”, “Amma” (Mother, Mother) after the two young men hit me with iron rods on my head and right hand."

"It’s a miracle that I survived. I was beaten almost to death. Many attempts have been made to kill me, so that my writing will come to an end!. I did not think that, I will survive. The God has saved me to serve the people through journalism. I am slowly recovering. Today, I am blessed to be alive. I have highlighted many issues in my writing. I want to continue to highlight the activities against the humanity, but I am not sure whether I will be able to hold the pen again, because my right hand fingers are frozen" [TC]

New Delhi conference aims at forging unified political stance among Sri Lankan Tamil parties

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj 

Ten Sri Lankan Tamil political parties may seek solace from agony for two days on August 23rd & 24th in the Indian capital of New Delhi [dbsj]

Fr. Jim Brown: Mystery of the missing priest

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Five years ago on August 20th Fr. Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown a Catholic Priest serving in the Jaffna Diocese and Wenceslaus Vimaladhas a Catholic layman went missing in the north. [dbsj]

Video ~ Poddala Jayantha: Every morning, I mentally go to Sri Lanka, I'm very sad

Living in silence, journalists in exile [TC]

AlJazeera Video: Tamils angry at army's influence in Sri Lanka

Two years after the end of Sri Lanka's civil war, many minority Tamils in the north say the military retains too strong a hold over their daily lives. [TC]

VikalpaSL Video: Kuganathan raises his voice [YouTube - VikaplaSL]

In Jaffna Tamil and Sinhalese protest attacks against journalists

by Melani Manel Perera  

The event took place on 16th of Aug in Jaffna. Hundreds of journalists, trade unionists and activists from various parts of the country joined the protest, triggered by the beating of the news editor of Uthayan, a Tamil-language newspaper that has often criticised the government and the military. [AsiaNews.it]

Mr. Rajapaksa has provided a candid and authoritative insight into the mindset of the regime

By Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu 

The existing constitution is more than enough for us to live together. I don’t think there is any issue on this more than that. “I mean this was given as a solution for the whole thing with the discussion of these people. I mean now the LTTE is gone, I don’t think there is any requirement. [TC]

The more you engage with Sri Lanka the more it will be under India’s control

By M. Ramesh 

Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remarks that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s call for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka were politically motivated, has once again brought the question of sanctions back into public consciousness — unfortunately. [TC]

I am grateful to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for finishing Prabhakaran and saving my people

by Dr. Noel Nadesan

Once again the Tamil leadership is resorting to the old tactic of threatening the Government with demands and deadlines. The latest is the TNA setting conditions for talks with the Government.  [TC]

Video: ''Stop Media Suppression Immediately !" - Southern, Northern Journalists Protest in Jaffna [VikalpaSL]

AlJazeera Pictorial: Sri Lanka's post-war struggle

Psychologists say many children in the north of Sri Lanka are suffering mental trauma from the war. There are currently no hard estimates on how much of the population may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In adults, doctors are reporting growing cases of alcoholism, violence and suicide in many communities, all linked to PTSD [more pictures via AlJazeera - Photo: Steve Chao]

A visit to South Africa: Cape Town Chronicle

by Dushy Ranetunge in Cape Town

In Paarl we also visited the Afrikaans Language Monument, the world’s only monument dedicated to a language. It is a huge concrete edifice rising into the sky. Looking at it, we wondered if the Afrikaans felt insecure to have a language monument. It was however a beautiful location with scenic views of the surrounding countryside. [TC]

High demand for teachers in former conflict zone

John Edward Solemn, assistant education director of Vavuniya South, an educational division, said the lack of teachers, especially in rural schools and in the subjects of English, mathematics and science, was a major concern for the region. [TC]

India committed to unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka

By Ashok K. Kantha 

On the occasion of the 65th Independence Day of India, I extend my greetings and good wishes to my fellow citizens of India and to the people and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. [TC]

Doyen of Sri Lanka’s civil society intellectuals sharply criticizes the Darusman Report

Truth and Accountability: The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka 

Godfrey Gunatilleke, one of Sri Lanka’s and South Asia’s most respected intellectuals, a distinguished former civil servant, and founder of the country’s oldest independent think-tank, the MARGA Institute, made a sharply critical evaluation of the UNSG’s advisory Panel Report in an extended analysis entitled “Truth and Accountability: [TC]

The Beast of Badulla–Copy Cats and Mass Hysteria?

by Padraig Colman

For the past couple of weeks, there has been much excitement in our Sri Lankan neighbourhood (near Badulla). For some time there have been rumours about women being attacked. [TC]

Peace Tales from Asia-Book Review

By Danesh Thirukumaran

Peace Tales from Asia, by Chandrani Warnasuriya, a book filled with short stories that can make people change their view on violence and “Build a Culture of Peace”.

For one reason, she mentions how peace can be established in more people’s lives to make not only their life better, but others as well. Her book retells short stories from throughout the countries of Asia that provide details to show how peace can bring about in a place. Not only that, but she provides sayings from people that are advocates for peace. For example, “when elephants battle, ants perish,” Is a Cambodian proverb which explains how violence doesn’t just hurt one person, it hurts many. [MJ]

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa must be taken to task – The Hindu


Two years after defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eliminating it as a military entity, Sri Lanka is still struggling to emerge from the woods on some important fronts. [TC]

Amnesty International wants death sentence on Murugan, Shanthan and Perarivaalan commuted

Two Sri Lankans and an Indian national convicted for the assassination of India’s former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, are facing imminent execution in Vellore prison in Tamil Nadu, India. [TC]

Missionary Teacher Bavinck Master of Jaffna College passes away

C.Ben Bavinck, affectionately known to generations of students at Jaffna College,Vaddukkoddai as “Bavinck master” has passed away peacefully in Amsterdam,Netherlands on August 11th 2011. [TC]

'China, Burma, Sri Lanka have benefited from Mr Ban's lax hand' - Guardian Editorial

Editorial, Guardian UK, Aug 14, 2011

Seventy years ago today, warships lay anchored in a cove off Newfoundland, Canada. Churchill and Roosevelt set out principles for a post-war world, one of the first steps towards the creation of the United Nations. [TC]


By: M.S. Thevagowry

The pioneer of Sri Lankan literature, a simple and humble literate, Prof. Sivathamby sir is no more with us. His departure from this world has created a big vacuum in Tamil literature that cannot be filled by anyone else.

His in-depth knowledge helped Sri Lanka to be recognized in the field of Tamil literature. He was considered one of the best scholars in the world due to his vast knowledge in many fields. Prof. Sivathamby was well versed in the subjects of literature, history, social studies, political analysis and drama through which he was able to show the dimensions of the lives of Tamils. [MJ-August 2011 Print Edition]

Tamara Kunanayakam Takes over as Envoy to Geneva UN

H.E. Ms. Tamara Kunanayakam presented her credentials to H.E. Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva on the 9th of August 2011, accrediting her as Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland. [TC]

‘North and East is not the Exclusive Preserve of the Tamil or Tamil speaking People’-R.Sampanthan

By Namini Wijedasa

The Tamil National Alliance did not stoke hatred in Jaffna during the recent election campaign, insisted TNA leader R. Sampanthan last week. They merely told people the truth about what the government was doing. Excerpts:

Is the outcome of the recent local government election in Jaffna more an endorsement of the TNA or a rejection of the UPFA? [TC]

Lakshman Kadirgamar was frequently misunderstood by both his Sinhala admirers and Tamil detractors

by Tissa Jayatilaka

Given the shrillness of the nature of public debate in recent times, especially postwar, most Sri Lankans I know have avoided getting involved in them. [TC]

Ratnajeevan Hoole flees to London to save himself from Douglas Devananda

By Namini Wijedasa

Professor of Electrical Engineering, Ratnajeevan Hoole, University Grants Commission coordinator for engineering, Jaffna University , fled the country last week after the EPDP leader, Douglas Devananda initiated legal proceedings against him. He granted an interview to LAKBIMAnEWS from his temporary base in London . Excerpts:

What were the circumstances of your leaving? Was there an immediate trigger that led to it such as threat, intimidation or fear for your life? [TC]

The true story behind the power crisis in Sri Lanka

By Patali Champika Ranawaka

It is true that a power crisis has emerged. This information is given to the general public by the people with knowledge, people without knowledge as well as the people who wish to distort the truth.

People get confused and worried with the wrong understanding of the facts. As usual the Minister of Power & Energy is pointed by the media, cartoonists and also the politicians. Therefore, I decided to relate my story. [TC]

Political Solution to ethnic discontent is essential precondition for sustainable economic development of the north and east

By Nimal Sanderatne

The Sri Lankan economy has functioned with only part of its potential capacity for the good part of its last three decades. Although some economic activities prevailed despite the war, most of the region was a battle zone rather than a thriving economy. This applied to all three sectors of the northern and eastern economy: agriculture, industry and services. [TC]

Devolution talks with TNA deception of Mahinda Rajapaksa exposed by his brother Gotabhaya

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Watching or reading an interview with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is a rewarding experience. The Defence Secretary often says outright, usually in very blunt language, what his brothers try to conceal. [TC]

Lies agreed upon is a documentary the LTTE would have been proud of

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

‘Lies Agreed Upon: Sri Lanka Counters Channel 4’ is a faithful reflection of the strengths and weaknesses of its maker – the Rajapaksa administration. The documentary is at its strongest and most compelling when it deals with the manifold atrocities of the LTTE. [TC]

The Tamil people have been robbed of their dignity by Douglas and the Govt

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

As I enjoy a well-deserved rest in London, having fled there because of harassment and threat of arrest, TamilNet has issued a description of my travails with inaccuracies and the claim that I have fallen out with the President. [TC]

Shelton Ranaraja: Courageous politician with enlightened principles

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The demise of Shelton Ranaraja on August 11th 2011 takes away from Sri Lanka a distinguished member of a dwindling species –Principled political leaders. The former MP for Senkadagala and deputy minister for Justice was a courageous politician with enlightened principles. [DBSJ]

There are many more things in common than there are differences between the govt and TNA

BY Rajiva Wijesinha

In supporting the extension of the State of Emergency for another month, I would like, if possible, to introduce some conceptual issues. [TC]

What this country deserves and demands is a spirit of fairness and objectivity

by G.L. Peiris

Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in his address, referred to ‘an unexplored agenda’ on the part of our critics. [TC]

Public views of Govt and Defence Secretary on political solution are diametrically opposite

by M.A. Sumanthiran 

At the beginning of the bi-lateral talks between the Government delegation and the TNA on 10th January 2011, it was agreed to adopt the speech made by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa in July 2006 to APRC, as the direction for the solution. In that speech, he stated that [TC]

August 07, 2011

Aug 7 - 13:

Captain Gus Dalton of the Atlantic Reaper honoured

Celebrating the Rescuers, and Thanking Canada: Captain Gus Dalton of the Atlantic Reaper, quickly went to work to save the 155 Tamil refugees stranded at sea without the necessities of life. He immediately called the Canadian Coast Guard and local fisherman for back up. Captain Dalton and his crew initially brought the women and children who were on the lifeboats. Canadian Coast guards subsequently arrived and completed the rescue, and the Tamil refugees were resettled in Toronto and Montreal. [MJ]

Video: Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa speaks to HeadlinesToday

Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa talked to Rajesh Sundaram of HeadlinesToday, a news channel from India recently. The interview aired on August 8th. [TC]

Lankan Tamil issue to be raised in India’s Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Tamil Nadu State Assembly on same day

BY D.B.S. Jeyaraj 

Sri Lanka Tamil issue likely to be raised in India’s Upper&Lower houses of Parliament & Tamil Nadu legislative assembly today August 11th 2011. [dbsj]

Environmental organizations reject elephant census as shameless attempt to identify, capture and domesticate wild elephants and calves

The Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife S. N. Chandrasena stated that 300 tuskers and elephant calves suitable for carrying caskets in peraheras will be identified during the elephant census which is due to commence on 11th August and will be captured and domesticated, during a press conference at his home on 6th August. [TC]

Despite rhetoric how seriously is the Rajapaksa regime committed towards a political settlement?

By Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

The collapse of the Government –TNA talks has an air of inevitability about it for no other reason than the central one of the seriousness and commitment of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime towards a political settlement, its rhetoric notwithstanding. [TC]

TNA's withdrawal from talks and the emerging political paralysis

By Kalana Senaratne

The recently concluded Local Government (LG) elections provided evidence, if evidence was needed, of a divided polity. [TC]

Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole facing ‘jail without bail’ situation leaves Sri Lanka

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Professor S.Ratnajeevan.H.Hoole, UGC Coordinator for Engineering, University of Jaffna,has flown out of Sri Lanka to a Country in the west. [dbsj]

A Visit to South Africa: Pictorial from Livingstone, Zambia

by Dushy Ranetunge in Livingstone, Zambia'

While South Africa had huge “black” townships, which are being redeveloped at present, there were no such sites in Zambia. There were no three wheelers and no little shanty looking “kade’s” that you see in Colombo. The scene was reminiscent of old Jaffna, with neat streets and bungalows with gardens. A major factor may be that population density in Zambia is much lower than in Sri Lanka. [TC]

The displaced Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka: Special problems and the future

by ARM Imtiyaz and MCM Iqbal

It has been widely established as fact that ethno-political conflict and civil war between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka have generated immense sufferings among the Tamil and Sinhalese ethnic groups at the level of the masses. [TC]

Open letter to TNA leader: 'Tamils will gain much if you provide them the leadership and vision required'

An open letter to TNA leader R. Sambanthan MP, from Dr.Rajasingham Narendran: [TC]

Setting of conditions by the TNA for talks with govt could lead to self-marginalisation of that party

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

We have a serious but needless problem. A deadlock looms in the dialogue between the Tamil National Alliance and the Government of Sri Lanka. [TC]

Vaiko wants UN supervised referendum held on Tamil Eelam question

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

MDMK leader V.Gopalswamy now known as Vaiko wants a UN supervised referendum for worldwide Sri Lankan Tamils on the question of "Tamil Eelam". [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka issues report & documentary to dispute war crimes claims

by Kurt Achin

Sri Lanka has released an official report, and television documentary, attempting to refute allegations its army committed crimes against humanity as its civil war concluded in 2009. [TC]

VIDEO: 'Lies Agreed Upon': Sri Lanka counters Channel 4

Sri Lanka has released its own documentary highlighting the false claims made by British Channel-4 featuring interviews from former LTTE cadres, eyewitnesses of the final stages of the war. [TC]

Sri Lankan tea industry is not a goose laying golden eggs but a disguised lame duck

by Dr U. Pethiyagoda

It is claimed that this goose which has laid golden eggs for more than one and a half centuries, is currently the third largest foreign exchange earner, employs over 100,000 persons, contributes healthily to the GNP  and occupies some 200,000 hectares of good land. [TC]

TNA is very justified in issuing an ultimatum on talks to the govt

by Sumanasiri Liyanage

At the time of writing, it appears that the talks between the UPFA government and the Tamil National Alliance are on the verge of collapse. [TC]

Deadlock in govt –TNA dialogue must be broken to avoid total breakdown

by Dayan Jayatilleke

A deadlock looms in the dialogue between the Tamil National Alliance and the Government of Sri Lanka: there is a danger of breakdown. [TC]

‘I look upon the Sinhalese people as my own brothers and sisters’ says TNA leader R.Sampanthan

By Rohan Abeywardena

Tamil National Alliance Leader R. Sampanthan in the aftermath of last Thursday’s somewhat tough stand taken with the government in giving it ten days to respond to the devolution proposals the TNA had put to the government about five months ago sat with The Island for a long interview and insisted that they had not issued any ultimatum nor shut the door on anything and they were yet ready for discussion. [TC]

I wrote what I wrote for the purpose of correcting my friend Devananda

by S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

I was interviewed by the Kayts Police today (2 Aug. 2011) at my office at the University of Jaffna. Inspector of Police Silva of the Kayts Crimes Branch was nice and courteous and seemed to see interviewing me as a matter of duty. [TC]

Actor Ravichandran dies of lung infection

Ravichandran, who as a flamboyant young actor delighted audiences with his very first film, Kaadhalikka Neramillai, died late on Monday, July 25th night at a city hospital. He was 69. [TW]

Sinister reason for not resettling people in their own villages says TNA

This is the text of a press release issued by the Tamil National Alliance

The TNA has received information that at a meeting held yesterday at Mullaitivu, attended by senior civilian and military officials, the following decisions have been arrived at: [TC]

TNA has deprived Rajapaksas of a fig leaf by opting out of talks

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

The historic-trial of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak commenced last week. In a delicious irony, the trial of the man once hailed as a modern-day pharaoh was held in Cairo’s Police Academy which, just a few months ago, bore his name. Mr. Mubarak, clad in a prison uniform, was brought into the improvised courtroom on a hospital stretcher and placed inside a metal cage, together with his two sons (including one-time heir apparent Gamal) and several associates. [TC]

No purpose in a parliamentary select committee without progress in govt-TNA talks

An interview with M.A. Sumanthiran MP by Arthur Wamanan

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) last week gave an ultimatum to the government to respond to its set of proposals on finding a solution to the ethnic question.

TNA MP, M. A. Sumanthiran speaks to The Nation on the reasons for giving an ultimatum at this juncture and on the issues that arose following his speech in London [TC]

Karu left the UNP to support the genocidal war against the Tamil people

by Dr. Vicramabahu Karunaratne

The simple answer to the victory of the TNA in the north, while Mahinda regime won in the south, is national division in the country. Victory of Mahinda in Sinhala areas shows that the Sinhala chauvinist campaign is still strong among the Sinhala village masses. It is not so much in urban areas though. [TC]

Relentless international pressure compels Rajapaksas into admitting civilian deaths

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

If you want to believe me, believe me, no civilian casualties”, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Australian on 23rd March, 2009. And for over two years, the Rajapaksas and their acolytes maintained that the Lankan Forces defeated the LTTE without killing a single Tamil civilian. [TC]

Threatened suspension of talks by TNA would benefit only extremists on both sides

by Dayan Jayatilleka

The threatened suspension of talks by the Tamil National alliance benefits no one, the Tamils or the Sinhalese, the TNA or the government, the North or the South. Or if I may amend my statement immediately, it would benefit only the extremists on both sides of the ethnic fault lines, within and outside the island. [TC]

A Dangerous Delight in Giddiness: Five Years after ACF Murders in Moothoor

By Rajan Hoole and Kopalasingham Sritharan, UTHR (Jaffna)

Today’s Lanka is characterised by public cynicism, fear and institutional decay: fear among journalists of crossing invisible lines; cynicism about the country’s rulers and general disbelief in what they say; and the progressive decay of institutions that should protect human rights. [TC]

‘Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ – A Reality Check

by M.G. Devasahayam

The air has been full with the “Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”, the Channel 4 documentary. The visuals showed naked Tamil prisoners shot in the head, dead bodies of naked women who had been raped and dumped on a truck and other atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the final moments of the brutal civil war. World has never seen such barbarian brutality. Anyone who saw the documentary was numb with disbelief. [TC]