Jun 24 – Jun 30:

Provocative Speech about Mullivaaikkaal by Minister Ranawaka will Bring Disrepute to Country

By Chackravarthy

“One Mullivaikkal is enough. Don’t try to get 100 more.”

Oh God the British never told the French ‘one Waterloo is enough. Don’t try to get 100 more’. What kind of a speech is this? Is this the tolerance Lord Buddha taught or his disciples learnt?

A Tamilnadu newspaper in her editorial said, ‘Emperor Asoka, seeing the killing, blood shed and the destruction in the battle field, vowed not to wage war again and accepted the peaceful path of Lord Buddha. Here a minister who calls himself as an ardent follower of Gautama glories war. How come’?

Mervyn De Silva: Reminiscences about a Journalist Colossus

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Recent events in the sphere of English journalism have caused shock waves among members of the fourth estate. Things seem to have taken a turn for the worse in a land where giants in journalism flourished once. It is against this bleak backdrop that I write about one such colossus-Mervyn de Silva – who passed away on June 22nd 1999.

Even as I write, I am mindful that many have written much about Ahangama Vithanage Mervyn Douglas de Silva known generally as Mervyn de Silva. Apart from the “up,close and personal” perspectives of his son Dayan, many eminent persons ranging from Neville Jayaweera to Bradman Weerakoon and Desmond Fernando to Asanga Welikala, have stated all that has to be said about the Mervyn phenomenon.

Democracy, Development and Devolution was the Premadasa Plan to solve the Ethnic Problem

by B Sirisena Cooray

(88th Birth Anniversary of Ranasinghe Premadasa was on June 23rd)

The ethnic problem did not end with the war. The ethnic problem has to be resolved to make peace work and prevent the next war.

Development, democracy and devolution: that was the Premadasa plan to resolve the ethnic problem. President Premadasa believed that to make Tamil people feel like Sri Lankan citizens, a power-sharing arrangement, restoration of democracy and rapid economic development were equally necessary.

‘We Failed to find Solutions to Problems because we addressed issues by Ethnicity and not Nationality’

by S. Skandakumar

Your Excellency, John Rankin, High Commissioner for Britain in Sri Lanka, Eminent Excellencies of the International Diplomatic Corps, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

When Carlo your President invited me on behalf of his committee to this evening’s function, I said to him, “Carlo I am four years into retirement, I have spent it all in relative hibernation in Haputale and many feel that soon I will be ready for the Archives “…to which his response was ‘Ah that’s just the profile we are looking for !!”
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International Widows’ Day on June 22nd Commemorated at Nedunkerni for the First time in Sri Lanka

by Rajani Iqbal

A group of war widows in the Nedunkerny region of the Wanni District celebrated the International Widows’ Day on 22nd June, 2012 at the conference hall of the Nedunkerny Pradesa Sabai.

This meeting was organized by an NGO in collaboration with the relevant officers of the Divisional Secretary of Nedunkerny who had arranged for the distribution some material for income generation activities provided by NGOs.

Misconceptions and misinterpretations of Sampanthan’s presidential address at ITAK convention – I

By Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan

Reading through some of the articles that have appeared recently, following upon Mr Sampanthan’s Presidential address at the ITAK Convention, it appears to me that there is a big trust deficit. Interpretations are being put on words, and inferences drawn which are not justified by the plain meaning of, or the relevant context in which they have been used.

The tallest man in Sri Lanka is an Ex-LTTE Combatant

By Camelia Nathaniel

Gunasingham Kasendran is considered the tallest man in the country. Standing at a staggering 7 ft 3 inch, he is currently part of the government rehabilitation programme for ex-LTTE combatants at the Rehabilitation Centre in Kandakadu, in the Polonnaruwa District.

Dismissal of Lalith Allahakkoon by ‘Ceylon Today’ is worrying-RSF

(Text of statement issued by Reporters without Borders/Reporters sans Frontieres)

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the reasons that led the management of the newspaper Ceylon Today to force its editor in chief Lalith Allahakkoon to resign on 13 June. The journalist, who received no letter of dismissal, arrived at his office on 16 June to find that access to his computer had been blocked.

Achieving stability through reconciliation in divided or post-conflict societies

By Cillian McGrattan

The idea that divided or post-conflict societies can achieve stability through reconciliation represents something of a paradigm shift in peace-building theory and practice.

Arguably, thanks to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ideas that the past should be represented as something remote (as in post-war, post-Nuremburg Germany) or unarticulated (as in the Spanish pacto de olvido) no longer hold traction within national or supra-national discourses.

How the Irula Tribals of Tamil Nadu extract venom from live snakes

By Thulasi Muttulingam

The Irulas are a South Indian tribe who have traditionally based their livelihood on being snake catchers. Up until 1972, they were able to make an adequate living selling snake leather, but with the Wildlife Protection Act India passed that year, their livelihood became illegal.

Maldives: Competing ‘probe reports’ take the focus away

by N Sathiya Moorthy

Two interim reports from the two sides, so to say, and the focus is slowly slipping away from the work on hand for the National Commission of Inquiry (CNI) probing then Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed’s resignation of February 7. It is back more ore less in the realm of politics and public-spat.

The break-up of states: Political and economic logic of disintegration

by Selcuk Colakoglu

As the Cold War ended, the international system entered a process in which it was afflicted by secessions, sometimes bloody and sometimes peaceful. After 1990 there was a general trend for countries to break up and while countries entering a union was the exception.

Six Key Challenges Faced by Sri Lanka in Foreign Relations Sphere

By Salma Yusuf

A widely held belief among the populace is that the discourse on foreign policy remains the sole prerogative of those in the highest echelons of political power; that is, until presented with a statement by the likes of well-known American political activist, Ron Silver, who declared: “I can’t talk about foreign policy like anyone who’s spent their life reading and learning foreign policy. But as a citizen in a democracy, it’s very important that I participate in that.”

The rise and fall of the ethnic mall experience in Canada

by Dakshana Bascaramurty

They all made boastful, superlative-ridden claims: The Largest South Asian Indoor Shopping Centre in the GTA! The Biggest Chinese Mall in North America! North America’s First Tamil Plaza!

Govt has conformed to all three conditions of the IMF- Harsha de Silva

By Marianne David

MP and consultant economist Dr. Harsha De Silva yesterday alleged that THE UNP’s criticism over the mismanagement of the economy and the Central Bank as well as the EPF’s investments in banking stocks have been emphatically validated by global rating agency Standard and Poor’s.

Sri Lanka Civil Society Statement on Rio +20

All the nations once again will meet in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 to discuss the future of the world and the very survival of the humankind. However, in general no nation has a success story to share other than so called growth and increase of per capita income which is based on the over exploitation of the natural resources.

SLWJA wants ‘Ceylon Today’ Management to respect editorial independence of Editorial Staff

The Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association is extremely disturbed by the recent turn of events at Ceylon Today newspaper, where the editor in chief and respected journalist Lalith Allahakkoon was unceremoniously removed from all his duties by the management due to what we understand as Mr Allahakkoon’s refusal to publish politically motivated and potentially libelous news stories sanctioned by the top management.

Burmese Refugees In Thailand: Implications Of Suu Kyi’s Visit

by Panchali Saikia

A major highlight of Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to Thailand was her visit to the Mae Sot refugee camp in June 2012. The Mae Sot camp is the largest among the nine refugee camps in Thailand, with nearly 50,000 refugees of which most are Karen ethnic nationals of Myanmar.

Palestinian Nationalism, Alive Despite Israeli Instruments Of Control

By Hasan Afif El Hasan

From day one after the 1967 war, Israel’s actions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem suggest the occupation was not temporary and underscore Israel’s desire to erase the concept of the Palestinian nation by undermining the connection between the people and their land or history. In an effort to incorporate as much as possible of the occupied lands, Israel governed the occupied lands by making distinction between the land and its Palestinian inhabitants and referred to the Palestinians only as ‘Arabs’.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Commissioning Should Be Deferred

by M.G.Devasahayam

It is famously said: “In public domain, truth is not the truth, perception is the truth”. This adage could be related to the discourse on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). While the arguments in favour of the plant is that it will generate electric power essential for ‘development’, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) say that the plant will be ‘destructive’ to the life and livelihood of the Project Affected People (PAP).

UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Brazil-Will There be a Successful Outcome?

By Martin Khor

The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 (known officially as the UN Conference on Environment and Development) was a landmark event which launched “Sustainable Development” as an internationally accepted concept.

Imminent dissolution of Eastern PC: CA allows move to amend prayers in petition

By S.S.Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (19) allowed the move by the Petitioner to amend the prayers in the Writ application challenging the imminent premature dissolution of the Eastern Provincial Council.

The Bench comprising Justices S.Sriskandarajah (President C/A) and Deepali Wijesundera fixed the matter to be supported on July 11 with the amended prayers.

The Mystery of the ‘Missing’ Tourists

by Srilal Miththapala

All newspapers carried headlines a few days ago stating that May 2012 tourist arrivals have increased by 17.5% from last year. It is reported that the May arrivals of 57,506, were higher than even that of April, which showed only a 9% increase YOY. So far, the total arrivals for 2012 up to end May is 327,627, which is almost an 18.2% increase over last year.

What should the security forces do when there’s no war to be fought?

By Kath Noble

What should the Security Forces do when there’s no war to be fought? Now that three years have passed since the defeat of the LTTE and pretty much everybody is convinced that there will be no resurgence, this would seem to be a pertinent question to ask. Of course vigilance is needed.

‘We cannot create equality; we have to strive towards equality’ – Vasudeva

by Ayesha Zuhair

Social exclusion has been long identified as a key trigger of internal conflict. It represents an impediment to the achievement of national objectives such as peace, stability and economic prosperity.

The higher the levels of exclusion in society, the more fertile the grounds for conflict – and a return to violence cannot be ruled out so long as inequalities continue to persist.

The Dangers of Creating a ‘Separate Identity’: Pakistan on a Slippery Course

By Sajjad Ashraf

Pakistan has embarked on a slippery course by proposing the division of southern Punjab into two provinces, on linguistic grounds. Similar separatist tendencies in other provinces could split the federation.

The Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka

By Amnesty International

A statement issued on June 13th 2012 by Amnesty International for the UNHRC sessions in Geneva from June 18th-July 8th 2012

Sri Lanka is not fulfilling many of its international human rights obligations. Impunity remains the norm for gross violations of human rights, including alleged war crimes. Gross and systematic human rights violations continue to take place.

People Smugglers Target Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in South India With Passage to Australia Promises

By Ben Doherty and Som Patidars

A PEOPLE-SMUGGLING network is targeting Tamil refugees in southern India, promising them safe passage across the Indian Ocean and Australian citizenship when they arrive.

But boats have already been lost. Refugee advocates say at least two boats, carrying up to 50 people, disappeared off India’s south coast late last year.

Measures necessary to enable Sri Lankans to identify causes of disunity among themselves and generate solutions

By Salma Yusuf

Whoever said that demand must drive supply was certainly not talking about reconciliation. However, the relevance and applicability of the philosophy and its wisdom in a post-war reconciliation setting cannot be overstated.

Modernised State of the Art Palmyrah Research Institute to be opened in Jaffna

by Chamikara Weerasinghe

The government will open the re-developed Palmyrah Research Institute in Kaithady, Jaffna, soon. The institute became defunct from 1995 due to the war in the North.

Katuwana incident is aimed at all political parties fighting for the people

by Karu Jayasuriya

A situation is emerging in the country where, permission is needed from goons to engage in politics. It is well known that these gangs who suppress opposing political views using iron bars during the past era had the blessings of some politicians or politically powerful persons.