Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Sri Lanka Brief
(Press release/ NPC) Sri Lanka currently has a government of national unity comprising the two largest political parties, the UNP and SLFP, which have hitherto been rivals for political power. As can be expected the forthcoming local government elections have aggravated the tensions between them.  It is customary that those who seek to win an election engage in boosting their own images and running down their rivals. The most recent cause for a spike in tensions came with President Maithripala Sirisena’s application to the Supreme Court to obtain its opinion on the duration of his term of office.  This action was taken in the midst of public disaffection with the government’s handling of the Central Bank bond scam case.
The National Peace Council is pleased that in compliance with the principles of good governance, President Sirisena has accepted the opinion of the Supreme Court, thereby reaffirming the supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.  However, recent reports that the President has taken offence at the various statements made against him on public platforms by members of the government in this regard are a matter of concern to us.  We welcome Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s admonition to his party members to desist from public criticism of the President.  At the same time we value the check and balance function that having two parties in power brings to the government in tackling national issues.  The exposure of the Central Bank bond scam is a relevant example.
The National Peace Council also stresses the importance of the two parties working together to bring resolution to the country’s protracted ethnic conflict.  We believe that the present partnership of the UNP and SLFP is of utmost importance and needs to be nurtured and preserved until the national ethnic issue is finally resolved.  Previous efforts to find a solution foundered on the rocks of narrow political partisanship. We urge the resumption of both the constitutional reform and transitional justice processes after the conclusion of the local government elections. The leadership provided by the President and the Prime minister will be crucial in giving proper direction to the future of the country and taking it out of the shallows in which it has been stuck for too long.
 Governing Council / National Peace Council

Hypocrisy Of Political & Religious Leaders

By P. Soma Palan –January 20, 2018

I refer to two front page headlined reports in the Daily Mirror of 17th January:
a) “ If men can manage and work in Bars, so can women”, a statement by the Minister of Regional Development, Mr. Sarath Fonseka
b) “ Gazette withdrawn to respect Culture”, a statement by the Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe regarding opening and closing times for Liquor Shops, and another earlier report,
c) “Extension of the closing time of Liquor Shops and Sale of liquor is against our Culture and values,” by the Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero.

The statements by the Minister at (a) above  in support of women working in liquor Bars and the extension of the closing time of liquor bars to 10 p.m. are nullified by the withdrawal of the Gazette notification ,by the Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. The statements of the two Ministers contradict each other. I will confine myself to this issue only, although there are several issues where the Government had made resolute decisions and then revoked them.

This recurring practice of the Government taking policy decisions and passing Regulations/laws and then backtracking, revoking or revising them is an habitual feature of this Government. This exposes the infirmity and lack of resolve and conviction of the Government on several matters.

Aren’t these Policy decisions and actions to be taken are discussed and approved by the Cabinet of Minister, in the first instance, prior to notification by the Gazette. It is only later it is discovered that such decisions/actions are not in accord with our culture and values. Isn’t this belated invocation of national culture and values, political hypocrisy to show the people their concerned commitment to national culture and values?

This ubiquitous verbal chant of our national culture and values, both by the Politicians and the Religious fraternity, sounds hollow, if our politicians and religious leaders take a walk in our streets ,to see at first hand the low level of our culture and values paraded, not only by the common man but even by those who are supposed to be educated and cultured. I would dare to say that 90% of them are uncultured and uncivilized.  The conduct and behavior of the motley crowd of pedestrians, all kinds of motorists, reflect the poor standard of our national culture and values. As a daily walker of the streets, I can say this with certainty and conviction. The day culture, values, civility are established on our streets and other public places, we can proudly proclaim of our national culture and values. Until then, it is nothing but sheer hypocrisy of our politicians and religious monks.
The statement of Minister Sarath Fonseka that “if men can work and manage bars, so can women” is absolutely correct. Isn’t prohibiting women to work in liquor bars discriminatory and a violation of a Fundamental democratic right? This is against our national culture and values, the politicians and our religious leaders say. But they have no qualms about our women working as House Maids in Middle East countries in menial positions, including the washing and cleaning of the toilets of the Sheiks. Only God knows whether they are strictly House maids doing household work or otherwise. Here money counts more than our national culture and values. Without the inflow of their Dollar remittances, our economy will collapse. Isn’t this utter hypocrisy of our Political and Religious leaders parroting about our national culture and values with an air of superiority, as if the cultures and values of other countries are degrading.

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Maithri who retreated like a shot rabbit back for another conspiracy –discusses secretly with SLFP seniors until dawn..!

-Portentous signals to the masses and UNP !

LEN logo 
(Lanka-e-News - 20.Jan.2018, 7.55PM)  President Maithripala Sirisena who literally ran out of the cabinet meeting on the 16 th saying ‘ I cannot run the government any longer’ had met with the SLFP seniors  the same night to discuss the future  course of (evil) action , based on reports reaching Lanka a news inside information division.This meeting has gone on until dawn.

The discussion started with  the presidential term ..

The president who was made a Sillysena by DilanPerera , Faizer Mustafa , Shiral Lakthileke and judge Chitrasiri    by following their advice that he can be in power for 6 years confessed  ,owing to this misdirection he is now in deep despair and trauma.

The president who wanted to add  an additional year to his term , and use the court verdict to his advantage at the up coming elections has bitterly and profusely blamed Dilan , Faizer and Shiral .The president has lamented , Dilan and Faizer have been unrelentingly prodding the president since  a year ago to seek Supreme court opinion to get another year added to his presidential term.

A senior lawyer on the other hand among the SLFP seniors has  asked the president why he followed the advice and legal premise  of brief-less lawyer  Shiral Lakthileke  after knowing well the putrid antecedence of Shiral , the lawyer alias liar with the   rare inglorious distinction of having  never won a   case in his whole lifetime .The seniors have blamed the president for not seeking their advice at least in relation to the presidential  term. 

Resign the ministerial portfolios and go to the opposition… 

Based on the recent Gallup poll results (survey on possible polling results) pertaining to the forthcoming elections , the Maithri SLFP group will poll only 13 % of the votes. 

The president has revealed that  a majority of the people have come to know of the true  situation, and even after banning Lanka e news , the latter is lambasting him. Hence the best course of action now is ,like how he walked out at the cabinet meeting , the SLFP ministers too should resign their portfolios and face the elections as an opposition , which would be advantageous .This is the edge Mahinda Rajapakse is wielding and that can be grabbed to their hands , the president has suggested to the seniors.

All the seniors have resisted that proposal , and told in one voice , at this juncture they cannot resign their portfolios. It was their view  if elections are sought sans government’ power and portfolios , even the votes they could secure  will be lost.  The people vote at the local body elections on the belief they can get things done from the government that is in existence , and if they cross over to the opposition , even those who want to cast the votes to them would vote for the UNP, they had pointed out.  Following this objection the president has withdrawn his proposal .

The second strategy to which all agreed...

The entire crowd had  assented to the second strategy , that is somehow mount criticisms and opposition against the Prime minister (P.M.) Ranil Wickremesinghe to  oust him  prior to the elections using the presidential  powers , and form an SLFP government .The seniors  have told  , towards that end, the anti Ranil UNP M.P.s shall be roped in , and finances for that can be collected. 

In case  a UNP senior minister instead of an SLFP er is made a P.M. again , the necessary number of M.P.s of the UNP for that  will not be difficult , the president  has  revealed. The Seniors had concurred in  that. In the event of the SLFP securing very few votes , it would be impossible to do anything which  are being proposed  , and therefore whatever that must be done should be  done  one week before the elections , at the discussion it was pinpointed.

Though two names of the UNP were mentioned other than Ranil for the post of P.M. , Lanka e news  prefers not to reveal them right now.

Accordingly ,it was decided , from the 17 th  the view shall be propagated  with vehemence among the masses that “P.M. should resign’ while the president instructed that this should be conveyed to the presidential media unit to ensure this is commenced on the 17 th itself.

Warning of danger to UNPers..

President Sirisena ,when the last General elections were around the corner , ousted the secretaries of the SLFP and UPFA thereby plunging the Rajapakse ‘s election campaign into chaos and confusion . His present conduct is reminiscent of what he did then. This time he is trying the same insane  but stealthy moves to scuttle the UNP election campaign and  change the P.M. 

In the circumstances the UNP must plan how to counter this conspiracy. It must decide whether it should mollycoddle  Sirisena (the serpent that gobbles  hoppers , is much more dangerous than the serpent gobbling eggs)  , and face the same debacle  it suffered in 2002 ? Or explain clearly  to the pro good governance masses who are reposing faith in it , and hit back so that it can safeguard its self respect  .  It is high time the UNP leader took  a final decision in this regard.

It is because of the injudicious  decisions taken by the leaders , the UNP was deprived  of its governmental  powers  in 2002 despite the party enjoying immense support of the people  . If the UNP is to allow a repetition of it now , it is best the second row leaders and UNP ers realize before it is too late that , this time they will not be able to come to power again for another 20 years . It is their duty therefore to compel the leader to take right decisions and act with perspicacity .

Ominous signals portending danger to the people… 

There is another danger threatening the people 

If ,as president says , he is truly engaged in a battle against the rogues ,  he would not give advice to a confirmed crooked criminal like Gotabaya Rajapakse who misappropriated Rs . 910 million of public funds to build a  mausoleum for his parents, to flee  the country because ‘you can be arrested when I am not there.’

This exposure was made of double faced Sirisena not by his foe but by a friend and party member Isura Devapriya . Unbelievably , it is the  highest in the hierarchy in the country ,  president Sirisena who should be promoting and holding aloft the rule of law instead is  encouraging lawlessness , by ordering the FCID chiefs  to halt the investigations in regard to the 8 massive frauds of Dilan Perera when all the facts and figures are ready and available with the FCID.

It is well for Sirisena to remind himself that  he was able to creep  into the presidential position on the votes of the UNP and the pro good governance forces. Hence the pro good governance masses and the forces that defeated the  SLFP rogues earlier have no necessity at all now to join  with these same rogues .

What these rogues who are flocking together are seeking to do  is,  multiply their ill gotten wealth manifold along with their brothers , son, daughter and son in law .. not enough the plunder they have committed already at the expense of public funds. After blaming the Rajapakse rogues , now these rascally culprits  are trying to break the corruption and fraud records set by the Rajapakses during their reign.

It is significant to note , president Sirisena has still not until today ,   explained how his son in law Thilina Sampath is able to wear a wristlet worth Rs. 8.8 million and a  waist belt worth Rs. 6 million despite the glaring exposures of this obscene ostentation.

In the circumstances , it is little wonder why Sirisena is leaving no stone unturned to tenaciously hold on to the anti Democratic abominable executive presidency power  , without which he cannot shield and safeguard the corrupt and the crooked , including his own  kith and kin.

It is therefore high time the people take to the streets against these villainies , perfidies and  state plunders. 

Chandra Pradeep

Translated  by Jeff 
( Please understand we are unable to give the names of those who took part in the  nocturnal discussion because those who provided the information  to us will also come to light)  

by     (2018-01-20 14:32:03)

People vs the Swamp:Let’s take a stand

President; Untried criminals; Electricity chaos; PM & bonds; Budget


"Father forgive them for they know not what they do"

by Kumar David- 

Open any newspaper, enter any conversation, pause for a chat between sips at the bar, it’s always the same; grumble, grumble, bitch and mumble. People with contrary views converse freely tearing into the GMOA, yahapalana, or the Opposition using similar words but meaning opposites. "SAITM, what a mess" moan those who oppose private medical education and those who know the GMOA is a greedy bunch of closed-shop brigands. "The duo at the top has no spine" exclaim citizens who want political murderers prosecuted and billion-rupee thieves thrown into prison; but others who wish the blackguards would get away scot-free echo the same refrain. In this piece, for better for worse, I will take an unambiguous stand on some of these issues and perhaps inspire others to state what they mean without six-of-this and half-a-dozen-of-that ambiguity.

The chameleon president

The Supreme Court has ruled that the term of office of President Sirisena is five years. That’s it, full stop, matter closed. Speaking for the UNP, Lakshman Kiriella said the President should have consulted the UNP before approaching Court. Rubbish, why does he need UNP blessing to clarify his term limits? A second issue: Is Sirisena morally obliged not to seek a second term in view of the pledges he gave? Yes. Is he legally debarred from back pedalling? Of course not. What if the public disapproves of a second term? Well, it will declare its verdict at the polling booth. That’s it; cut and dry. I hope you are with me thus far.

But Sirisena is also a peddler of bogus religiosity. Who gave him the right to decide whether adult female persons can buy a bottle or have a shot, unaccompanied, at a bar? Humbug, vote catching, outdated, cultural hypocrisy! Sirisena is intent on forcing his bigotry down other people’s throats. If my mother, aunts, wife or daughter want to buy a bottle or have a shot, it’s nobody else’s business, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka included. My formidable grandmother in Jaffna gulped two-fingers of ‘Old Stuff’ every Sunday after a gingili oil rub and well-side head-bath. She would purchase the bottle herself; nobody dared obstruct her. And which nincompoop issued the 20-10-17 Gazette notice prohibiting the tapping of coconut trees for toddy w.e.f. 5-1-18?

We have watched bigotry inflicted as policy by Sirisena for three years. It’s time to say "We’re Fed Up!" Hope Mangala keeps up the fight; parochial male chauvinism must be castrated. Sirisena hopes to syndicate patriarchy with Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism in his bulath-koley versus poroppaya battle, but that’s his problem. Let the rest of us be forthright and not soft pedal criticism of obscurantism; this country needs to move forward. Oh, for a Ceylonese Kemal Ataturk!

To give credit where credit is due, despite the odd rumour or two, I have no reason, to the best of my knowledge, to doubt that the President, in contrast to some predecessors, is honourable in financial/monetary matters. When he bares a sword to decapitate the corrupt, I support and only ask: "What took you so long?"

Criminality and corruption

Murders, indictable rights violations and mega-scale corruption occurred under the previous regime. Let there be no ambiguity; the perception on all sides is that no action is taken because the top does not want to. The Lasantha murder inquiry could not have stalled unless President or Prime Minister, or both, wanted it that way. No intelligent person buys "the Attorney General’s Department is slow", "unavoidable delays" and such poppycock. There is no way so many murder and graft prosecutions against top Rajapaksas could be so long delayed, or stalled, without explicit, obviously verbal, instructions from the top. The public is fed up and will not be duped any longer.

A telling example is DBS Jeyaraj in the Daily Mirror of 13 Jan 2018 where he makes a damning indictment. He says, briefly; the murders are known to the police and have been questioned; the telephone from which the order to kill went has been identified; the chain of command is known; the hit squad operated out of Manning Market; the commanding officer has been questioned. Hence Jeyaraj argues that Lasantha’s murder could not have happened without orders from top; the then top triumvirate in defence-military was Mahinda-Gota-Fonseka. Now Gota "enjoys a special relationship" with Sirisena and Fonseka is a minister in the government. Jeyaraj leaves nothing to the imagination.

The point is that sleuths and prosecutors have the evidence they need and ready to prosecute but cannot get a green light from the top. This is all known to journalists but no one has made such an explicit indictment and exposé of the highest levels. Neither President nor Prime Minister have denied the story though it is obvious where the finger points.

I have devoted two paras to this not only because it is a heinous crime and an example of state collaboration in the perversion of justice, but also because it is the story of other criminal and corrupt acts the government is unwilling to pursue - Ekneligoda, Podddala, Trinco-5, 17 ACF aid workers and the killing of Jaffna journalists. The operative word is unwilling, not unable or lacking evidence. The blockage is not in the CID, nor the Commercial Crimes Division, nor the AG, not even in a lack of political will; rather a decision has been taken not to pursue these cases. Three reasons; political leaders protect each other and their families, prosecuting criminals in uniform will create a Sinhala backlash, and thirdly, other heads in Cabinet will be lopped off when the tumbrils begin to roll.

Chaos in the electricity sector

I am tired of explaining that dumping Sampur was a blunder that will drive us into darkness and billions (not millions) in losses. Pandemonium has reached Cabinet; darkness may strike in 2018 and worsen in 2019-23. Two panicky Ministers have abruptly proposed 1200 MW of coal power in lieu of 500 MW of coal power at Sampur which was dismissed as too polluting! Sampur could have been made as "clean" as any "clean-coal" alternative. And there is also a push to rush 300 MW of immensely expensive oil-fired power. I warned over and over that the Sampur cancellation will lead to a Rs 220 billion cost overrun. I was conservative, it’s going to be more.

A panic-stricken government is flustering like a headless chicken, if the front pages of the Sunday Times of Jan. 14 and Ceylon Today of Jan. 15, are believed.

The two Ministers somersaulted and changed tack to 1000MW of gas-fired power and a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal of one million tons capacity. The floating LNG terminal, when all gets done, will cost about $600 million. A 1 GW (1000 MW) gas-fired power plant will be another $1000 million ($1 billion). Yes, the capital cost of coal is higher than gas, but fuel is cheaper so overall electricity is cheaper. Having thrown away a fully designed and financed option at Sampur, it will take five to six years to conclude a $1.6 billion financial agreement, and design, award tenders and build. And then, a floating re-gasification facility is only a stop gap, a fixed LNG harbour-terminal is essential if we are serious about gas.

Ms Namini Wijedasa and Ms Niranjala Ariyawansha, authors of the stories, say Cabinet has approved and the line Ministry instructed CEB to use a strange, rarely used mechanism called Swiss Challenge. This is where a favoured vendor puts up a proposal and competitors have to bid to lower the price of that plant and design. In-house CEB led designs and alternative proposals are locked out. You can buy any colour of petticoat, provided it is orange! But this is not the worst. The CEB will be locked into a one-million tons per year take or pay gas purchase contract at seller’s (project counter-partner and financer) price, the stories say. LNG prices fluctuate but if we use prevailing rates the CEB will be locked into a (say) $500 million per annum take or pay contract. That is, take the full quota, a part, or none at all, but always cough up the full amount.

Another term of this is ‘sucker’s contract foisted on a mutt who has been taken for ride once before on an oil hedge’. Why oh why can’t the government make use of competent expertise and transparent technical and economic processes? We are in for another cock-up, perhaps unintended (I am not alleging corruption), that will make the bond scam look like seenibola.

PM and bond scam

So much has been said in the media and so many heads broken in parliament that I have little to add. I will repeat my pet refrain in three sentences. I do not believe the Prime Minister is corrupt. I do believe that he has shown lousy judgement in appointing and defending Mahendran. And third, how would the UNP and Sirisena-supporters have found the money for a presidential election to match Rajapaksa’s golden horde of loot? Would you rather have had Rajapaksa for a third term? No thanks, not this correspondent. Sometimes Lenin got the Bolsheviks to break banks. Debts have to be repaid; I promised to be frank and am keeping my word.

Mangala’s budget

My refrain on the correct economic direction for Lanka has been: A state directed strategy, with foreign state-assistance, private-public partnerships, and ample space for domestic and foreign private capital. That’s a generalisation; the short sharp question in line with the style of this piece is "What do I make of Mangala’s budget". The, constraint that this government can only offer a liberal bourgeois road-map is taken as given. Then Mangala’s budget is forward looking and sensible; in the context of this characterisation of the government, the budget should be supported. Ranil hallucinates neo-liberalism, Mangala envisions private enterprise led expansion. Poppycock, the state is running the show (Colombo Port City, Hambantota Economic Zone, Indian, Japanese and Korean state-financed power plants, proposed ECTA and Trinco economic zone, highway and rail modernisation, an LNG terminal). FDI? What FDI! Where is it? Hotels and luxury apartments! Ranil and Mangala, in their imagination, court free enterprise; in real life they have no option but to walk the plank. Dream on, just stick with a dirigisme strategy in practice; you have no choice anyway.

V o t e thoughtfully

Saturday, January 20, 2018

“I left the former government showing my opposition to fraud and corruption, and formed a new government. Is it to continue the same frauds and corruption I ask you? It is true that UNP supporters voted for me, and I owe my gratitude to them. Are the UNP members attacking me to frighten me? Or to chase me out? I do not know whether they are doing these things with a purpose or others leading them to do such things. I walked out that day ignoring the risks I would have to face. Therefore this type of criticisms is not something new to me. Some UNP members are going round saying that the Bond Commission was appointed in order to attack the UNP. I appointed the Bond Commission in order to probe the Bond issue. I have no personal issues with anyone ...” so said President Maithripala Sirisena recently.
I am sure there is a basis for his anger. However, any misappropriation of state funds becoming corruption depends on what purpose the money was used for. Throughout history we have seen political leaders illicitly using states funds, but using such money for implementation of radical political projects had never been approved by any democratic assembly; yet history had given positive verdicts.
That established the rule - end justifies the means. That is why we caution any over determination on the findings of Bond Commission. Just because the operation is illicit it does not become a crime. In politics such actions become crimes, if money is used for personnel and private family purpose or kept secretly hidden for such purpose. In the period 2008 to 2014 that happened very prominently; state funds were used not only for private purposes, but also for fascistic murders and cruel repression. The general appeal today is, not to use present Bond Commission report for political campaigns.
Lankans manipulated by racist politicians, have taken to the rule of the jungle and survival of the fittest has become the norm; what all such rulers could do was to suppress the masses who make protests, resulting in two uprisings from the economic minorities in the South and a bloody civil-war in the North that extended to East between the national and social minorities, all against the state. Today, a new mindset is needed to move away from the present extremely selfish, a deadbeat education system where students are tutored only to get through exams.
Instead we must create a holistic generation that is encouraged to think outside the box. Not only should they depend on the internet but also by absorbing the world around them to look and learn. Some suggest achieving this by changing the school curriculum to follow the Yala and Maha crop cycles, instead of the unrelated school holidays, that would give youth the chance to feel and smell the richness of the earth! Their future for Lanka lays solely in a high-tech, scientifically confirmed, chemical fertilisers free, bio-sustainable food production from agricultural science applied farming methods.
According to them, another area not well exploited by the people is the resources around them in the sea and below in the island nation. For generations Lankans have allowed other countries, particularly India to pouch into this unlimited ocean wealth while poverty has increased in the land over the same period, having missed golden opportunities to explore the ocean resources to their benefit. The fishing sector is in need of proper management for country is still importing fish for consumption. They say these are the things that should be discussed in this island-wide Local Government election.
Local Government election
The Local Governments election campaigns are on and voting is close by. This time without preferences and ward orientation compulsory, no doubt eager political and social elements will enter politics from all parties.
As political parties have fielded their candidates in a hurry, there is a chance that many fools or unfit candidates too would have received nominations to get elected to this bottom level of power. But by nominating such persons as candidates, the parties are doing a disservice to the people for they cannot put an end to the corruption, money rackets and even nepotism present in politics today and will not get the voters to breakout of the trapped incompetent backward feeling. Much worse; it is such fools and unfits who are easily moved into racist, fascist political tendencies.
They become famous politicians by shouting against minority communities. On the other hand, take the cases of the people in the northeast; for example the presence of excess Sinhala soldiers, the failure to free more Tamil land held by the military and the failure to abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act. These are all particularly detrimental to the restoration of normalcy in this region.
However, this grievance of being trapped in impotent feeling, as shown above is not specific to the northeast or to the Tamil people, although they are the most vocal about the failings of the government to deliver on its promises. Clearly the complaint regarding the slowness of the government is more widespread.
Good governance
In Lanka all those who voted for the government to ensure that there would be good governance, expansion of democracy with a constitution acceptable to all communities and economic prosperity from all over the country are dissatisfied with the progress that has been made so far. They see the failure of the government to take those accused of corruption, abuse of power and racist fascistic oppression to trial and to prison, as indications of infirmity of those who may do the same in the future. On the other hand, the less political, larger population whose main priority is to improve their standard of living and get out of the poverty traps they are in, are disappointed that the government has patently failed to jump start the economy.
Some bourgeoisie economists demand that Lankans must accept the reality that the country as a whole is not generating enough wealth and it had been the main cause for disintegration of them into smaller groups divided by regions based on nationality and religions; while the majority dominating the minorities due to the folly of the past leaders who were stupidly hero- worshipped by the people. This is putting the cart before the horse. It is the development under Capitalism that created nationalist consciousness that was misdirected by parochial political leaders.
There were vulgar racists in the past who advised people to boycott elections as it happened at the first Provincial Council election in 1987 and later years at the 2004 general election and the whole world knows the consequences. In 88-89 the JVP led the racist campaign against devolution, parity of languages and citizenship for upcountry Tamils. They killed many people and in the end bourgeoisie state carried out a repression where nearly 40,000 disappeared. In 2005 election boycott by Tamils gave the opportunity to Mahinda Rajapaksa to win.
He destroyed the Tamil liberation and finally established a fascist regime. Today too there are theoreticians who advise people to go to polls and spoil their votes at the oncoming Local Government elections. To any sensible person it should be clear that there is no sense in wasting votes; but time is ripe now for Lankan people to shatter this barrier in their mind and break out of the trapped in feeling of incompetence, to select the right candidate to represent them at this lowest level of power, in the journey for national unity and democracy. 

How Misogynistic Is Sri Lankan Society?

By Harini Amarasuriya –January 21, 2018

imageThe recent debate particularly on social media spurred first by the government’s decision to repeal a law forbidding women from buying or selling alcohol and then to revoke that decision to repeal, has highlighted something that most Sri Lankan women have known almost all their lives: we live in a highly misogynistic society. Our women may not be dying in their thousands and child birth; we may not kill baby girls simply because they are girls; we may not expect our widows to jump into the funeral pyre along with their husbands; our education statistics may show that women outperform men at almost every level of education; but it’s time we stopped hiding behind these statistics and confront what Sri Lankan women have consciously or unconsciously known since birth: our society is NOT good for women. Our society is not good for women of any class, ethnicity or religion. Let’s stop pointing to the exceptional women who have carved out successful lives for themselves, as indications of how progressive our society is with regard to women. Privileged women who are able to do as they please including buying alcohol, aborting unwanted pregnancies, ending unhappy relationships and marriages do so despite society’s restrictions and because of their privileged positions. Those women succeeded because of their individual circumstances and not because their rights have been recognised in our society.    

At a recent public discussion, at which I was present, one speaker stated that perhaps this is one of the most liberal government we can expect. Of course, the speaker was not suggesting that this is the most liberal government per se, but that in the Sri Lankan context, the most liberal government we can expect to have. Liberal governments are generally considered to be progressive on women’s rights and freedom – at least from the point of view of equality especially in relation to individual rights. Let me cite a couple of recent examples, to show this government’s record on women’s rights. The attempt to reform Sri Lanka’s archaic abortion laws and bring in some minimal reforms, such as the right to abort in an instance of rape, has gone nowhere. The moment religious groups, led by the Catholic Church objected, the reform initiative was withdrawn. The long running efforts by Muslim women’s groups, to reform Muslim marriage and divorce laws have been running into one brick wall after another. In all of these instances, powerful men – across the political, religious and ethnic spectrum have united to oppose these reform initiatives. In almost all these instances and others, men have told us:  these are not the ‘real’ problems women face – focus on the ‘real’ problems.   

Another characteristic of resistance to reforms pertaining to women in Sri Lanka, is the extent to which ‘culture’ features as the barometer by which the appropriateness of the reform initiative is measured. Not just any culture, but the ‘great and unique culture’ that we have inherited. I know of no other country where from our birth, we are reminded that ‘our culture’ is superior to every other culture in the world and that we have a ‘unique’ culture that is different to every other culture in the world. Predictably, on the alcohol issue as well, culture was piously invoked as the reason for withdrawing the earlier gazette. Minister Rajitha Senaratne at a media briefing reminded us that we are not England or America. JVP MP Vijitha Herath also reminded us that laws have to be ‘culturally appropriate’. Culture is the most invoked category for resisting reforms that target women’s issues. 
It is indeed an utter indictment of our political leaders that in this day and age, they invoke ‘culture’ as if it is a bounded, fixed, and holy category that has divine status. It is especially sad, when politicians on the left of the political spectrum or those who profess liberal positions do so. The silence of those who know better, is even worse because it shows that pragmatic politics in Sri Lanka – has always meant compromising with the powerful, and with regard women, that has meant that men get to decide what is right, what is important, what is real for women and what is appropriate for women.

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Rajitha lambastes Shiral Lakthileke ! Who is this non entity who is trying to appoint governments ?

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News - 20.Jan.2018, 7.35PM) Shiral Lakthileke the NGO crook cum brief-less lawyer  who is evil personified  and has been the cause of fiasco wherever he had been was ‘torn into shreds’ by cabinet spokesman cum  minister Rajitha Senaratne  . Shiral Lakthileke the discarded scoundrel  from the scum of society who  deservedly got thrashed with ‘cardamom clubs’ from the people for villainously going in procession on behalf of the corrupt criminal Rajapakses ,  and then in keeping with his renegade nature clung on to the sarong of Sirisena ( the only Sillysena who would tolerate him ), to finally become his co-ordinating secretary and now crawling like a maggot living on the decayed parts of Sirisena  was lambasted and given a ‘thundering slap direct in the face’ by Rajitha which would never ever be forgotten  by Lakthileke .  Rajitha made his caustic remarks when answering a question posed by a journalist at the cabinet meeting   to reveal the cabinet decisions on the 17 th. 
The question posed by the journalist was , whether a caretaker government will be formed after the local body elections as revealed by Lakthileke .
Rajitha answered thus :
''Who is this Shiral Lakthileke? How can he appoint a  government ? From which hellhole has he emerged  to form a caretaker government , let alone any government ? If Lakthileke can , any idler on the pavement and junction can also form this government and that. Who the hell  is he ?'' 
Journalist : ''He is a coordinating secretary to the president'' 
Rajitha : ''What ? If he can appoint a caretaker government , then what can the presidents appoint ?  What is this nonsense ?''

Meanwhile , following the Supreme court (SC) decision on the term of the president , Shiral and his equally boorish buffoon , Keerthi Tennekoon of CaFFE were propagating  the false view  that , since president’s term began in April 2015   it would end in April 2020. In reply to this fairy tale  of these two clownish rumor mongers  , Rajitha said , there is no doubt the presidential elections will be held on 8 th January 2020.
When a journalist questioned Rajitha , what are the preparations for that ?

Rajitha in his characteristic witty style said , ‘if  a man who is going to bathe in the Mt. Lavinia sea, is to wear his trunks long  before on  the road , he will be considered as mad. Wearing the trunks is no issue if he wears it on the beach  ’
by     (2018-01-20 14:14:08)


By Ravi Ladduwahetty-2018-01-21

The now beleaguered former Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, who is in Singapore could be arrested at any time, Attorney General, President's Counsel Jayantha Jayasuriya told Ceylon Today.

"There was intense speculation that he could not be arrested as he is not a Sri Lankan citizen, but a Singaporean, but the existing laws in Sri Lanka are sufficient to arrest him," AG Jayasuriya said.
"The laws in Sri Lanka are such that even if a non-Sri Lankan, such as a foreign tourist, commits a crime here, he/she could be arrested if he/she has acted in contravention of Sri Lankan laws. The former Central Bank Governor is no exception to the laws of Sri Lanka," he explained.

Meanwhile, authoritative legal sources told Ceylon Today on the condition of anonymity, last night, that Mahendran was a Singaporean citizen and he has returned to Singapore after giving evidence to the Commission. If the Sri Lankan CID wants to arrest him, they will have to request him to come to Sri Lanka. If he refuses to do that, they will have to move for his extradition.

Responding to a question as to whether there was an existing Extradition Treaty, already in operation, between Sri Lanka and Singapore, he said that such an Extradition Treaty was not mandatory under these circumstances as Sri Lanka and Singapore were Commonwealth countries......and there was a separate regime which was operational and could be used under the circumstances.

"It will be up to the Government of Singapore whether to extradite a citizen of theirs, but, there was no evidence as of today to objectively conclude that Mahendran was absconding as he had come to provide evidence before the Commission and he has returned to Singapore," he said.

"If there was a move to arrest him prior to the institution of criminal prosecution being filed against him, by the Attorney General, then he will have to be extradited, If that also fails, the Government will have to get an international agency to arrest him and bring him to Sri Lanka, the legal source said.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, responding to a question from this newspaper, on what methods and procedures were followed or were being followed after President Maithripala Sirisena sent the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Bonds issue to him and his Department, said: "Now that I have received the report, I have entrusted it to a team of officers in the AG's Department. They are from the Civil and Criminal Divisions. They will study the report and the specific recommendations that need to be addressed and it will be up to the Civil and Criminal Divisions to take the proceedings further in terms of implementations of the recommendations.

Responding to a question as to whether the AG's Department was going to institute legal proceedings against the ex-Governor and his son-in-law, he said: "First these two Departments will examine the material. The report has the recommendations and various details of the key transactions and the summaries of evidence.

We will have to examine all the material and the evidence before we go to Court. The material which has been used in the report also has been sent to us. The material is in volumes, these are documents and the material, which are the full documentations of the witnesses' testimonies.

Responding to a question over the methods of recovering the Rs 11.1 billion, which has been announced as lost, by President Maithripala Sirisena in his address to the Nation, and also in the light of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe saying that Rs 9.2 billion of the Rs 11.1 billion, which was claimed to be lost, would be recovered from the now frozen assets of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd, the Attorney General said : "Civil recoveries by way of civil action and along with the other processes recommended in the Report, will be taken and different steps will also be taken as provided."

When asked how long the processes and the procedures would take, he said that he would not be able to spell out any specific time frame for it but, remarked that the AG's Department was acutely conscious of the urgency of the proceedings.

"Anyway, we will do it as practicable as possible," he said.

A diluted President

Never a sober week in Sri Lanka

President Maithripala Sirisena

Sanjana Hattotuwa- 

With a coalition government now at the level of the PM having to instruct his party to not publicly attack the President, the prognosis for political cohabitation is bleak. A shared interest in keeping the old regime out of power will continue to animate how the President and PM interact. How this interest translates into political machinations is up for contestation. The President – used to cold calculations and indeed, betrayal, is unsure of his role and relevance beyond 2020 especially after a slap in the face from the Supreme Court. He will use his charisma and political acumen to secure for himself and those close to him deals, including by overtures in private to the old regime, that will ensure, at the basic minimum, security, safety and some creature comforts in office beyond his present term of office. The PM’s approach of playing everyone against each other will contest these deals, and may even occasionally complement them, if it involves a configuration beneficial for his and the UNP’s interest in retaining a controlling hand in the country’s political future. In all this, what’s certain is that the old regime will continue to publicly decry and privately engage with anyone from government who in their opinion – and these calculations are always in flux - can secure the best possible path for one of theirs to come into power, and for persecutions to be kept at bay.

All this doesn’t take genius to figure out – it is playing right in front of us. Particularly disheartening is that at the height of optimism in early 2015 – no matter with what cynicism and derision one can look back at that time now – the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe combination was seen as the best possible chance for a new country - one that left behind the politics of self-aggrandisement, the cult of personality, corruption, wanton waste, violence, apathy and nepotism. The vote in January and again in August of 2015 was not a vote for those now in government as much as it was a vote against what was a culture, polity and society many wanted to move away from, and see real change around. The pace of reform given the complexity of government would always and by far respectively take longer and be more difficult than at first imagined. This was a problem, but the bigger one was that the government hasn’t since being elected to office connected with those who elected them as to why what was promised hasn’t happened, and why promises made repeatedly on a number of issues, just haven’t been kept.

Last week witnessed a lot of debate around a gazette that allowed women the same rights as men. Many sought to justify or decry the gazette on the basis of statistics around how many women in Sri Lanka consumed alcohol and whether there was any discernible increase in this consumption in recent years. That’s missing the point. A constitutional right around equality is precisely that. It isn’t pegged to any statistical determinant around its validity or application. If it was somehow proven to be the case that only a single woman in the country consumed alcohol, and wanted to purchase it, the law needs to be such that she is able to do so, without harm, hate or hindrance. The best way men can use their political office to ensure the rights of and as some would paternalistically argue, the protection of women, is to allow women to take control of their own lives, and with as much fallibility as grown, adult men, take their own decisions around their lives, bodies, health and future.

But I digress. In all this, what is of relevance to this column is the behaviour of the President. His public stature in 2015 was one of selflessness, courage and indeed, greatness – a man who on the evening of January 9, 2015 when taking oaths as President, we were hoarse cheering on, all the while expecting to be killed by a loyalist from the old regime. In one of his first addresses to the country, he thanked, indirectly, those who had voted for the first time and the role of social media, in being elected to office. Here was a man a lot of us didn’t openly campaign for, but wanted in office, because the alternative was too horrible to contemplate.

That man, that promise, that optimism is gone. Kaput. Looking back, it is unclear whether that man ever really existed, or was instead a projection of our own desperation pegged to an individual who till then, to be either loved or reviled, wasn’t known for anything significant. And that’s precisely why he was a prime candidate to contest Mahinda Rajapaksa – Sirisena didn’t display at the time a vaulting ambition to seek or retain the kind of absolute power he was elected into. That is no longer the case. Power has made the President into a very small man. Antics in Cabinet – purported nature calls aside – suggest a petulant, prissy child, reminding us of an old joke where after much crying and whining, an individual who refuses to go to school is reminded by his mother that he must in fact go, because he is an adult and in fact the Principal. We now have a President who is feverishly shaping a new currency as the saviour of all that is good and great about a languid, but if provoked, violently assertive Sinhala Buddhist conservatism in politics and social outlook.

Therein lies the rub.

It’s not about the gazette around giving women the freedom to purchase alcohol. It is not about the commission on the bond issue. It is not about the other commissions the President will appoint in the future, the drama in Cabinet meetings, or the perorations in public meetings. President Sirisena’s vision has contracted, even as his power increased. It is a common ailment, where one’s legacy sought to be secured through family succession and political entrenchment. The President’s early interest in women’s undergarments and now their ability to buy alcohol, seeks to gloss over the fact that he is now a common liar to so many women in the North, who are still waiting for news of those who disappeared he promised he would secure but never has. The President’s tiresome preaching in public about anti-corruption doesn’t take into account that Lanka E News remains blocked in Sri Lanka for running very serious allegations around his own complicity in dubious contracts to procure a Russian warship. Ironically, confirmation around the greatest validation of concerns expressed on a website not even remotely known for its professional journalism was in the actions of those close to the President to block it, and the total silence from the Presidential Secretariat around unconstitutional, extra-judicial actions. We have now a President who cannot countenance public criticism, and has to hide behind ludicrous assertions of the Cabinet Spokesperson. We have a President who isn’t Presidential anymore. Or more accurately, a President who is increasingly motivated to remain as such, and deviously anchor, even project, what is a personal thirst for power in various pious submissions that it is in fact the public who want to keep him in office.

This is a problem. The President has become a populist. He is now a common, small man, far removed from the elder statesman figure of 2015. He is now just another politician, with the usual trappings. The more the banal bluster, the more he secures his position as an impediment and anti-thesis to all he represented, stood for and commanded on the steps of Independence Square on January 9, 2015.

And that is our loss, more than it will ever be his.

Will Sirisena assert himself or be a lame duck President?

Will Sirisena assert himself or be a lame duck President?
By Veeragathy Thanabalasingham/Daily Express-By  on 
Colombo, January 19: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s emotional outburst and the subsequent storming out of the Cabinet meeting earlier in the week, infuriated by public criticism against him by Members of Parliament from the United National Party (UNP), was a glaring demonstration of the increasingly heightened political conflict between the two main partners of the National Unity Government.
This was perhaps the first time an Executive President of Sri Lanka, presiding over the government’s Cabinet, has walked out of the meeting in protest.
Subsequent reports revealed that President Sirisena had singled out several UNP MPs, named them and censured them for criticizing him unfairly, before declaring that a country could not be ruled under such circumstances.
He had said that he was being attacked because some UNP MPs thought that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Bond Issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka had been set up by him in order to target their party, while in fact he was only going after the corrupt.
The President had remarked that it was better for members of the Cabinet to decide whether the country should be governed this way the MPs seemed to want. Saying this, he stormed out.
Reports said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and several senior ministers from both the main parties in the cabinet visited him later and persuaded him to come back and chair the Cabinet meeting.
It is significant that this incident took place in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s determination that President Sirisena’s official term is five years and will end on January 9, 2020. This determination was in response to the President’s seeking the Supreme Court’s opinion on whether he could serve up to six years.  This, according to a statement from the Presidential Secretariat, was because President wanted to clear the ambiguity regarding his term of office as differing opinions were expressed on the issue.
The unanimous determination of the five judges of the Supreme Court, led to several political observers speculating about a possible scenario of Sirisena’s becoming a lame duck ruler unable to assert himself politically.
It is interesting that the Supreme Court’s determination completely rejects the interpretation of the Attorney General, who maintained that since President Sirisena was elected and assumed office before the passage of 19th Amendment to the Constitution, he can therefore serve a 6-year term as previously. According to his argument Sirisena’s term doesn’t end until January 9, 2021.
Joint Opposition and SLFP faction leader Mahinda Rajapaksa with his followers
The President’s decision to ‘clear the ambiguity’ as his office claims, compels one to revisit the promises he made to the nation from the Independence Square in Colombo,  immediately after being sworn in on January 9, 2015. He pledged to do away with the Executive Presidency, and not to contest another Presidential election. His avowal was viewed as an honest demonstration of his determination to abolish the Executive Presidency. But his recent actions, especially his studious silence in the face of ministers from his party continuously talking about the possibility of fielding him as the party’s presidential candidate in the next election, makes one rethink about his pledge and question his sincerity.
On Tuesday (16), the State Minister of Finance, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, said President Sirisena would definitely contest the next presidential election if the constitution remains unchanged and the Executive Presidency remains intact. There was no rebuttal from Sirisena. So, what emerges as ambiguous now is, whether he will retire from office after two years when his current term ends or contest the 2020 Presidential election as the candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) or the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
This also gives rise to another question. Will Sirisena be able to abolish the Executive Ppresidency in the remaining two years through constitutional reforms?
Of course, Sirisena has refuted criticism about him in regard to seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court about his term. He has also said that he did not come to stay in power forever and that he is ready to leave any time.
This of course brings up a critical question about his political future should he honour the promise he made three years ago and not contest another presidential election. Reneging on a pledge and willingly getting into the fray would certainly damage his political credibility.
In this context, one wonders how long his party, particularly the ministers and MPs who are always interested in enjoying power and privileges, will remain loyal to him,  knowing he would leave the office in two years.
The issue becomes significant given the SLFP’s internal divisions. There is one faction which is participating in the National Unity government and being led by Sirisena and the other calling itself the Joint Opposition, is outside and led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. These two are at constant loggerheads.
As there is no alternative leader who is nationally acceptable to take up the mantle of the leadership of the SLFP, his partymen will naturally flock towards the Rajapaksa brothers for leadership.
It is a given that the politicians who are now with the President will desert him if he is not going to be in electoral politics any more,  as they need to ensure a political future for themselves.
Even now, when President Sirisena is the leader of  the SLFP officially,  a majority of the party’s  MPs are supporting Rajapaksa and campaigning for candidates contesting the February local Polls under the banner of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. (SLPP). He SLPP is the party regarded by Rajapaksas as their future political vehicle in the event they fail to recapture SLFP’s leadership.
As far as the UNP is concerned, only the really naive would think the party is sincerely interested in continuing political co- habitation with the SLFP.
The subsequent course of actions taken by the President on the report of the Bond Commission and the outcome of the local government elections will decide the relationship between the two main partners of the unity government.
No doubt the UNP is devising a strategy to face and win the 2020 elections on its own rather than going out of the way to show interest in maintaining the coalition government.
A clear and visible alienation of the main partners in the Unity Government will place President Sirisena in a politically vulnerable position. He cannot afford to break ranks with the UNP at present, because if he does so, he will certainly face many a problem in safeguarding his leadership of SLFP, whose leaders, being used to power, would not hesitate to leave him in the lurch if his ‘lame duck’ status deprives them of their ministerial positions.
So, the President will have to spend the next two years as an executive who is unable to assert himself politically. He is on the horns of a dilemma. Is he astute and shrewd enough to ward off a situation in which he is a mere lame duck President?
(The featured image at the top shows President Sirisena in a deep discussion with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe)

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