Media banned from covering local elections in two northern cities
2009-08-05 | 10.30 PM
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the Sri Lanka government’s decision on 3 August not to allow journalists into the northern cities of Vavuniya and Jaffna to cover the first local elections to be held since the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels earlier this year. All outsiders are being denied entry for “security” reasons.
“It is unacceptable that the government should impose such a ban on nothing more than the vaguest security grounds,” Reporters Without Borders said. “As well as violating the population’s fundamental rights by preventing them from circulating freely, this measure dashes any hope of a transparent election.”
Lawyers also need to come forward to safeguard and establish the rule of law in the country – J.C. Weliamuna
2009-08-05 | 1.55 PM
Attorney J.C. Weliamuna called on members of the legal profession to come forward to safeguard and establish the rule of law in the country at a media conference organized by the Platform for Freedom at the Library Services Auditorium yesterday (4).
He said the country’s Constitution has been violated by the non-implementation of the 17th amendment, adding that public officials from the executive to the grama niladhari are bound to act by it.
CAASL Chairman who opposed SLAF move to charter commercial flights removed
2009-08-05 | 1.55 PM
Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) Chairman Lal Liyanarachchi, who opposed the move by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) to charter commercial flights to transport civilians within the country, was removed from the post with immediate effect from Tuesday (4).
Liyanarachchi, who earlier served as the CAASL Director General, is a veteran in the aviation field. Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapakse following a presidential directive had removed him.
The deteriorating levels of funds at the Lake House has compelled Chairman Bandula Padmakumara to stop midway, a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), which was introduced by him to reduce the number of employees at the institution.
The President it is learnt had turned down a request made by the Lake House chairman for the allocation of some funds from the Central Bank to carry out the VRS.
Meanwhile, a court directive has also been issued to Lake House calling on it to pay a sum of Rs. 10 million to former Lake House Chairman, Nalin Ladduwahetty in the defamation case filed by him against the institution.
Government decides not to name Chief Ministerial candidate for Southern PC to promote Sajin
2009-08-05 | 10.00 AM
A senior SLFPer attached to the party headquarters said that while elections for the Southern Provincial Council that was dissolved on midnight Monday might be held on Saturday, October 3, the President had decided not to name a chief ministerial candidate from the UPFA at the poll.
The source said the President had decided to do so in order to promote the campaign of his special representative, Sajin Vass Gunawardena, who would be contesting the Southern Provincial poll from the Galle District.
Security for 5 journalists under threat for supporting Sarath Fonseka slashed
2009-08-05 | 10.00 AM
The new Army Chief has taken steps to slash the security of five journalists who were under threat from former Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda for supporting former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka.
The personal security officer of the former Navy Chief, Lieutenant Commander Sampath Munasinghe alias Navy Sampath, earlier gave a statement to the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) saying that he was ordered by his chief to kill five journalists who had written in support of Fonseka during the war.
Nimal Siripala’s wife goes to court against suckling elephants being separated from mothers
2009-08-05 | 10.00 AM
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva’s wife filed a petition in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday (3) requesting for a Writ of Mandamus to be issued against the authorities who had separated two suckling elephants from their mothers in Pinnawela.
Head of the Animal Welfare Trust, Irangani de Silva had requested in her petition to court to nullify the letter of authorization given by Recreational Activities Minister Gamini Lokuge to Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela Bandara to take away two suckling tuskers from the Pinnawela elephant orphanage.
Orders issued to give prominence to Basil’s speeches
2009-08-05 | 10.00 AM
A senior official at the Presidential Secretariat had issued orders to state media heads to give wide publicity to events and speeches made by Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse, claiming he received due coverage only from the state owned ITN channel.
The official had said that the speech made by Rajapakse at the opening of the Lak Salu Sala was given coverage only in the ITN and had ordered the other state owned electronic media institutions to request a copy of the speech from ITN and air it in full in the respective electronic media channels. He had also ordered the state print media to carry in full the speech made by Rajapakse.
Prachanda slams India, Lanka for fight against rebels
2009-08-04 | 11.45 PM
The Communist Party of Maoists-Nepal (CPN-M) on Sunday criticised the governments of India and Sri Lanka for their “oppressive” campaigns against rebels in the two countries. The CPN-M said its central committee opposed such “repressions” and felt such methods used by the state against armed groups will be counter productive.
CPN-M chief Prachanda said the party would maintain close contacts with COMPOSA (Coordination of Maoist Parties of South Asia), which has its underground headquarters in India, and RIM (Revolutionary International Movement), an umbrella body of ultra-left militants worldwide.
LTTE re-organizing among Diaspora Tamils; elections for a transnational government in April 2010
2009-08-04 | 4.45 PM
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), the movement that fought for a ethnic Tamil dominated separate state in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka for three decades is silently re-organizing among the Diaspora Tamils following Sri Lanka Government militarily uprooted their forces within the island.
Sources say that the new LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP is consolidating power within the structure. Sri Lankan intelligence wings recently focused attention towards the involvement of a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP who is now abroad on leave to strike a compromise between KP and the LTTE's Diaspora Affairs leader Castro who was not in good terms with the new leader.
Weerawansa ignores President’s invitation to visit Sigiriya
2009-08-04 | 2.05 PM
NFF Leader and parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa, who lamented that he could not visit Sigiriya as a youth due to his dedication to party work, was extended and invitation by the President to visit Sigiriya with him.
However, Weerawansa had not accepted the invitation made by the President to visit Sigiriya. Lanka News Web reliably learns that Weerawansa had not visited Sigiriya accepting the President’s invitation due to the political advice given to him by his wife, Sashi.
Government misleads international community by showing Zero Camp in Menik Farm
2009-08-04 | 2.05 PM
Reliable sources told Lanka News Web that foreign dignitaries and foreign media are being taken to the Zero Camp in the Menik Farm IDP camp in order to show the plight of the displaced persons to the international community.
Civilians who arrived in government controlled areas during the latter half of 2008 and early 2009 are being housed at the Zero Camp and the camp is said to have better facilities than the other camps housing civilians believed to be LTTE supporters.
Mud slinging campaign to prevent Sarath Silva from entering politics
2009-08-04 | 2.05 PM
A senior official at the Justice Ministry told Lanka News Web that a massive state sponsored mud-slinging campaign has been launched against former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and his associates due to the fear harbored by the Rajapakses that he would contest as the common candidate of the opposition at the next presidential election.
As part of the campaign leaflets carrying stories against Silva and his close associate, former Judicial Services Commission Secretary, Chandra Jayathileka are being sold at the Aluthkade court premises.
Former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka is planning on migrating to the US due to the deep disappointment in the manner in which he is being treated by the Rajapakses, a close confidant of Fonseka told Lanka News Web.
Rajapakses who feared the massive recognition received by Fonseka following the military victory against the LTTE, removed him from the post as Army Chief and confined him in the Chief of Defence Staff position after curtailing his security.
That was the headline of one of our postings on the 15th June 2009.
2009-08-03 | 8.10 PM
Now comes “Sri Lanka facing an Aid Shortfall” from the mouth of the Presidential sibling, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who gave an interview to the BBC. He has expected much more than what had been promised from the UN, the United States, which incidentally is his homeland and also from Japan according to the said interview. As per his comments, the funds are needed for facilities of nearly 300,000 Internally Displaced People or IDPs as the Government call them. To many others these are innocent Tamil people who are herded into internment camps managed by the military and surrounded by barbed wire fences, undergoing untold hardships and sufferings.
Sri Lanka's new Minister of Tourism to show "big miracles"
2009-08-02 | 8.30 PM
Sri Lanka's new Minister of Tourism, Nandana Gunathilaka has decided to give up the recently launched tagline "Sri Lanka; Small Miracle."
The Minister has made the President aware that the use of the word "small" is not suitable for a great nation like Sri Lanka. However, Gunathilaka's clan earlier opposed power sharing on the basis that Sri Lanka is a small island.
id-week Note A lesson on “stooge reporting” and “The Hindu” denying information to “Readers”
2009-08-02 | 8.30 PM
In India, during the SL war “The Hindu” news paper was very vocal against the LTTE and was providing plenty of coverage for the official version of the war that was waged. It was a period the emotions were charged and also divided and thus had less time for monitoring the role of media behaviour. Yet there was anxiety and concern in many circles over how the correspondent of “The Hindu” in Colombo filed news stories and of the editorial responsibility of the news paper. We now take this opportunity of an official visit by a US official to SL to project how “The Hindu” editorial consciously denies the public, the right for independent and unbiased information and adds to the misery of the displaced lives behind barbed wire.
We are producing below the "Mid week note" that carries a dysection on media bias in "The Hindu" news paper in relevance to the Sri Lanka conflict. This is worth reading as it exposes how the media is engineering social perceptions in society. Mid week note is the editorial note in
First and exclusive video interview with Dayan Jayatilleka after his sacking
2009-08-02 | 2.30 PM
Recorded on 31st July 2009, this was the first interview on video given by Dayan Jayatilleka after he was asked to quit his position as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva a few weeks ago.
Going into the reasons behind his sudden sacking, the interview interrogates his most contentious submissions regarding the 13th Amendment, his take on the current Presidency and future prospects for peace in Sri Lanka, key memories of his sojourn in Geneva including the epic Human Rights Council sessions and other issues related to politics and democracy.
LTTE’s legal adviser Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran speaks to PC VINOJ KUMAR about the group’s next moves The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is trying to regroup following its military defeat by the Sri Lankan army in May 2009. Though routed militarily, the LTTE claims its international network remains intact. Selvarasa Pathmanathan, a former arms procurer for the LTTE chief, operating from an undisclosed location, has vowed to take forward the struggle for Eelam through democratic methods. By roping in various legal experts, the LTTE has formed a team under US-based Tamil legal adviser Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran to work on the formation of a provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). Rudrakumaran, the son of former Jaffna Mayor Viswanathan, has been closely involved with the LTTE and has represented the outfit in several peace talks with the Government of Sri Lanka. In an exclusive interview to TEHELKA, Rudrakumaran shared his thoughts on the transnational government that the LTTE is now trying to establish. Excerpts:
Former Sri Lankan President talks highly about what she herself had failed to do
2009-08-01 | 4.20 PM
Press Trust of India reported that the former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga had strongly favored reservation for women in Sri Lanka's Parliament.
Speaking on women’s vote in politics in India she had said “Sri Lanka is one of the countries in the whole world that has the lowest representation in Parliament, we have only about 13 per cent representation and is not satisfactory".
Actually, the women’s representation in the cabinet is less than 2%.
Fast against corrupt activities of JVP teachers union head
2009-07-31 | 4.20 PM
Five workers attached to the Education Department Cooperative Society (EDCS) launched a fast on the 28th against the JVP’s teacher trade union head and EDCS President, Mahinda Jayasinghe for the alleged misappropriation of finances and the malicious transfer of employees.
Common candidate of the opposition should not be Ranil
– Sarath Manamendra
2009-07-31 | 4.20 PM
New Sihala Urumaya Leader, Sarath Manamendra has objected to the nomination of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the common candidate of the opposition at the next presidential election to contest against President Mahinda Rajapakse. He had said Wickremesinghe did not have the strength to contest against the President.
The New Sihala Urumaya recently joined the opposition alliance.
Labour Minister Mervyn Silva has taken steps to immediately send his unofficial bodyguard, who is also a leading underworld figure, known as Kudu Lal, overseas as a precautionary measure.
Although the government has launched an operation to wipe out underworld figures in the country, it is yet to be reported of any underworld figure affiliated to government members and ministers or of Sinhalese ethnicity being eliminated under this programme.
An officer involved in the operation against the underworld said that so far the underworld figures who have been killed by unidentified people have been Muslims, which is an indication of the plan to destroy the Muslim political power base that is developing in the city.
DIG Prathapasinghe says Matara Mayor Upul Nishantha would be removed soon
2009-07-31 | 4.20 PM
Sources from the Matara Municipal Council say that Matara Mayor Upul Nishantha and DIG Prathapasinghe, who is hoping to contest the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council election under the UPFA ticket, are at loggerheads over the erection of a propaganda hoarding of the latter.
One of Prathapasinghe’s representatives had met with the Mayor on the 28th to receive permission to put up a hoarding within the Matara city limits. The Mayor had clearly stated that he could not permit the erection of the hoarding, which will carry a photograph of Prathapasinghe in uniform with two children, as it was in violation of election laws.
The Mayor had also said that the request could be considered if Prathapasinghe was in civvies in the photograph.
A senior UNP parliamentarian told Lanka News Web that UNP Hambantota District parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa, who requested the party’s Working Committee to appoint him as the Moneragala District campaign coordinator, had not even visited the district in the run up to the Uva Provincial Council election.
The party leadership and the Working Committee unanimously agreed to grant Premadasa’s proposal to take charge of the Moneragala District. When granting approval, UNP parliamentarian, Vajira Abeywardena told Premadasa that it was an opportunity for him to prove himself.
A senior SLFPer told Lanka News Web that the President has provided SLAF helicopters to help the campaign work of Sajin Vass Gunawardena, who is to contest the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council election as the President’s special representative.
Sajin had attended an election related meeting in Hiniduma in a VIP helicopter provided on a presidential directive. The helicopter had landed in the grounds of Sri Sunanda Vidyalaya, Hiniduma, on a school day without giving any prior notice to the school principal and the respective zonal education office.
JVP comes forward to rescue General Sarath Fonseka
2009-07-31 | 4.10 PM
The JVP has decided to launch its presidential election campaign on August 10 by building a public opinion on the government’s decision to slash the security of Chief of Defence Staff, General Sarath Fonseka, who steered the war that defeated the LTTE, informed sources told Lanka News Web.
Sources said the JVP had also planned to take the matter of Fonseka’s security to the Supreme Court and call for a debate in parliament as well.
Mahinda talks of “home grown” solutions. Nivard, soon after taking office at the Central bank wanted “Sinhala kavili” instead of “patties” and “cutlets” to be offered to visitors to the Bank. There have been recent press reports that Mahinda had asked Champika to resubmit a document in Sinhalese, rather than English etc.
These days we are also telling the “whites” where to get off.
Government cannot intervene in the fraud of Rs. 13 billion
– Yasantha Kodagoda
2009-07-31 | 12.15 PM
The Attorney General says the government cannot intervene in the matter of the alleged financial fraud by the Finance and Guarantee Company, which is a member of the Ceylinco Group.
This observation was made by Deputy Solicitor General, Yasantha Kodagoda on behalf of the Attorney General when the case of the alleged financial fraud against the Finance and Guarantee Company was taken before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court.
The CID filed a case against the Finance and Guarantee Company following an inquiry conducted by it and five persons including the Deputy Chairman of the Company have been cited as respondents.
JVP on the JVP - Lionel Bopage on Somawansa Amarsinghe
2009-07-30 | 7.10 PM
Groundviews recently published an exclusive interview with the JVP's leader, Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe. This video was the first in-depth interview in English with Mr. Amarasinghe broadcast on terrestrial television in Sri Lanka. Watch the video here - http://www.groundviews.org/2009/07/03/exclusive-video-interview-with-somawansa-amarasinghe-the-leader-of-jvp-in-english/
Lionel Bopage is a former General Secretary of the JVP and was involved with the party since 1968. He resigned in 1984. In Sinusoidal nature of the JVP Policy on the National Question Mr. Bopage critically interrogates Mr. Amarasinghe's comments, on the one hand noting positively that,
Military informs government that Pottu Amman is unharmed
2009-07-30 | 4.40 PM
Military sources reportedly say that although the security forces managed to defeat the LTTE and kill its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and several other senior leaders of the organization, its intelligence unit head, Pottu Amman, had managed to escape unharmed.
One of LTTE’s Eastern leaders, Ram had telephoned Karuna Amman during the final stage of the war and informed that he was ready to surrender to the security forces and requested for safe passage to two senior LTTE leaders, who were injured. However, the agreement arrived between Ram and Karuna Amman ended when 11 out of the 15 LTTE rebels who tried to surrender were killed by the security forces.
More websites including ghs.google.com blocked in Sri Lanka?
2009-07-30 | 10.30 AM
Reports online and which I received through email indicate that more sites are being deliberately or inadvertently blocked in Sri Lanka, with most of the disruptions occurring on Sri Lanka Telecom ADSL broadband connections.
Some reports claim that domains hosted on blogger.com are being blocked, and other reports indicate that this is now a matter that is resolved. Other reports confirm that sites resolving to ghs.google.com were blocked and that ISPs have now removed the block. It is not clear why ghs.google.com was blocked.
Sources from temple Tress say that the President has received information to prove the direct involvement of Foreign Employment Development Minister Keheliya Rambukwella in a large scale fraud carried out by the Foreign Employment Bureau.
Sources further noted that a decision has therefore been arrived at to remove Rambukwella from the portfolio and to hand it back to Athauda Seneviratne.
Thiru Nadesan organizes special pooja to bless the President
2009-07-30 | 10.30 AM
A pooja organized by businessman Thiru Nadesan at his Barnes Place residence on the 21st to bless the President against the bad period experienced by him ended yesterday after a special pooja, reliable sources told Lanka News Web.
This pooja, which is aimed at bringing blessings from the nine planets, includes cows and the seven day pooja had brought seven cows into Nadesan’s residence.
Although this respective pooja is usually held at the Captain’s Garden kovil, it was held at Nadesan’s residence to help the President keep it a secret.
The Attorney General has requested courts to grant bail to two of the five respondents produced before courts for the alleged financial fraud amounting to Rs. 4,300 million at the Finance and Guarantee Company, which is a subsidiary of the Ceylinco Group.
The reason for requesting to grant bail to the two respective respondents in the case according to the Attorney General is that they had cooperated with the inquiry into the company.
Information office of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London to fall to the hands of an illiterate
2009-07-29 | 9.30 PM
The Sri Lankan High Commission in London is to be invaded by individuals with little or no knowledge of diplomatic relations.
An active member of Sri Lankans Against Terrorism (SLAT) also known as Sri Lankan Against Career Diplomats, Anura Medagedara is to be appointed as the press officer of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London following the completion of the contract of the current officer Walter Jayawardena.
Thousands converged in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, 26 July 2009 to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Black July 1983 riots in Sri Lanka, during which over 3,000 Tamils were killed and over 150,000 made homeless in Sinhala State sponsored anti-Tamil pogroms.
The stage, situated at the foot of Nelson’s column, adorned with red and yellow flags symbolising the national colours of the Tamil homeland, boasted a striking banner saying “Black July 1983 – 26 years Sri Lanka’s Genocide of Tamils continues”.
Dayan Jayathilaka seems to think that 13A, if implemented, can gently be manipulated so that the Tamils can eventually have autonomous rule in the north and east. This can be done, he says, through “the future electoral strength of the Tamil parties.” [Groundviews - Comments on Aachcharya's article]
Dayan believes that “starting with August 8th and peaking with next year’s parliamentary election” the situation will gradually improve. That, he thinks, will give Tamils “the bargaining power.”
Sources from Temple Trees say the government has taken steps to create Sinhalese settlements in the north before resettling those displaced due to the war against the LTTE.
The key feature of the programme is to build military villages under the guise of building houses for public servants. It is learnt that although these housing schemes are said to be for public servants, they would in fact be given to families of military personnel.
Cultural Police to protect morality
Adults’ only films banned!
2009-07-29 | 10.00 AM
The government has banned the screening of adult’s only movies and is looking at bringing about strict laws against morally incorrect material being circulated in society. It has decided to appoint a committee comprising lawyers, professors, doctors and intellectuals to monitor the strict laws.
Cultural and National Heritage Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told the media on Monday (27) that advertisements to be carried in the print and electronic media would in future need the approval of the Censors Board.
Arjuna to be made Sports Minister after Uva elections
2009-07-29 | 10.00 AM
The President has reportedly decided to appoint Arjuna Ranatunge as the Sports Minister after the conclusion of the Uva Provincial Council elections.
The decision it is learnt was arrived at by the President after Ranatunge had proven to him that Gamini Lokuge had accepted a sum of Rs. 500 lakhs to offer Sri Lanka Cricket rights to Taj TV from Rupavahini.