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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An exhaustive analysis on Gampaha judge who conspired against media including LeN –Young Journalists Association Complaint to JSC against her..!

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News -30.Nov.2016, 6.10PM) The grave conspiracy hatched  and nurtured by  Gampaha magistrate Kaveendra Nanayakkara with the aim of attacking   the media including Lanka e news and its editor , has been exposed at length  by the Sri Lanka Young journalists association , while lodging a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) . A copy of the complaint is hereunder …
G.M. W. P. Jayathileke esq;
The Secretary
Judicial Service Commission
P.O. Box 573, Hultsdorf
Colombo 12 ,
Dear Sir , 

Regarding the verdict delivered by Gampaha magistrate in Upali Tennekoon’s case. 

The complaint made in connection with the assault launched on Rivira newspaper chief editor Upali Tennekoon , and the attempt made on his life on 2009-01 -23 was heard in the Gampaha magistrate court over  a long period.

Following the advent of the present government this investigation was handed over to the CID to make it transparent , and the suspect , Prem Ananda Udalagama, a sergeant of the army intelligence division was taken into  custody.
This case was  heard by Gampaha chief magistrate Ms. Kaveendra Nanayakkara . On 31 st July 2016 ,  Lanka e news  website published a report revealing a number of facts about Kaveendra in relation  to the arrest of magistrate Thilina Gamage over the illegal custody of an elephant cub and her   criticizing  the Attorney General (AG) via her face book over this arrest , as well as  the   publishing  of ‘modeling’  photographs of hers which are unbecoming of a judge .
On 2016 08- 26 , an identification parade was held pertaining to Upali Tennekoon case , when Upali Tennekoon and his wife identified the suspect Prem Ananda Udalagama .
On a subsequent date it was stated  in open court by Kaveendra that  Tennekoon and his wife identified the suspect Nanda Udalagama because the photograph of the suspect was previously published by Lanka e news. It is to be noted , no court had issued an order that the photograph of the suspect shall not be published. We do not know how the magistrate arrived at the conclusion that Tennekoon and his wife identified the suspect because his photograph was published by the media.
Along with the report of Lanka e news of 18 th July 2016 under the caption ‘ Two groups were deployed for  Lasantha’s murder’  the photograph of suspect Prem Ananda Udalagama was published. Later , in an article written by journalist Saman Gamage under the caption ‘ the new game in Lasantha’s murder  ……’ the photograph of the suspect was published in the Divaina newspaper of 7 th August 2016. 
Based on reports reaching us , the photograph of the suspect was published by  a website that is linked to a diplomatic mission. Hence , this photograph was first  published not by journalist Saman Gamage or Lanka e news .  When the police are unable to arrest  a suspect   , it is our assumption  publishing a photograph  is not an issue if it serves to quench  the curiosity of the public and a good cause, and if it concerns a  controversial incident.
In any event , though the magistrate gave an order to record a statement of Saman Gamage , and he was summoned to the CID , he did not respond. The magistrate then said , Saman Gamage ‘s non appearance at the CID is of no relevance  to this case , and to file a different case on another B report. Accordingly , the CID filed a separate case against Saman Gamage.
On a subsequent court date , based on an  anonymous petition received regarding Lanka e news  , Kaveendra ordered the CID to initiate an investigation . On every occasion Upali Tennkoon’s case was taken up for hearing  , it was the investigation  pertaining to LeN that was spotlighted and given  precedence, and not the Upali Tennekoon assault case .

The magistrate ordered to probe how Lanka e news received funds, its address , its editor , the registration of the website and the advertisements published by the website which were not germane to  Upali Tennekoon attempted murder case. The magistrate who instructed the CID to file a different case in respect of Saman Gamage’s issue ,  appears to have followed a different policy in regard to Lanka e news. The magistrate also several times blamed the CID for  not conducting investigations duly  pertaining to LeN.
The CID that was investigating the assault on Upali Tennekoon , had even recorded statements of ex Navy commander Vasantha Karannagoda. Instead of probing into the telephone calls , bank statements  etc . relating to those individuals,   orders were issued  to investigate Lanka e news which had no connection . This can create  grave issues. 
Dear Secretary ,
When  Lanka e news had previously reported about magistrate Kaveendra , the latter herself giving judgments pertaining to LeN website is most unethical  and uncivilized . Even  an ordinary layman  who knows just the basics of law would know it is creating issues.

It is our view , by the magistrate Kaveendra trying to conduct the trial while  showing concern to matters which are absolutely unrelated , Upali Tennekoon the aggrieved party is being subjected to grave injustice. Even the CID appears to be facing unnecessary  harassment .
In this Upali Tennekoon case , it is  the CID that is the plaintiff and the investigations are also by the CID. Besides , the CID has not informed court that in this connection a statement must be recorded of LeN editor ,let alone arrested. Even on the day Kaveendra issued a warrant , the CID never made such a request.
In this backdrop  when  neither the CID nor the AG has filed a case , the Gampaha magistrate Kaveendra issuing an international warrant against LeN editor is most perturbing,  and on what grounds she issued it is questionable. 
There are fierce criticisms that there are delays relating to  cases  in courts , and is a   major issue confronting us.  While other cases are being delayed in this court , this particular case being heard in a  haste by taking it up on court  dates in close succession is suspicion ridden. If there was a hindrance to investigation by publishing the photograph of the suspect , the AG would have taken that into consideration when filing the case . Truly if such a thing has taken place , it does not constitute  a contempt of court , rather the suspect  stands to gain only.  When that is the actual situation , we would like to know on what legal premise the magistrate moved on this matter ? 
Court is not a loin cloth to be used to serve the private purposes of anybody , or  their whims and fancies , or is an Institution that can be used to cover anybody’s  nudity . The dignity of a court is decided not on the media reports that are published about it , but on how the court proceedings are  conducted.

In the circumstances , we humbly request that  an immediate probe be launched  into the conduct of Gampaha chief magistrate Kaveendra Nanayakkara  
We are also expecting to make two requests  to the AG :
To withdraw the case filed against Divaina newspaper journalist Saman Gamage , and 
to recall   the international warrant issued against Lanka e News editor Sandaruwan Senadheera

Yours faithfully

Sri Lanka Young Journalists Association. 

by     (2016-11-30 13:32:04)
TNA to Govt:/You haven't fooled us


The Government should not think it has fooled the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), MP M A Sumanthiran told Parliament yesterday.

 "Don't think you have fooled us just because we support you on constitutional reforms and vote in favour of the budget," he said.

 He said the government should expedite the process of devolving power and honour its promise to the international community.

 He urged the government to set up an office to probe disappearances. (Yohan Perera)

Current advertising and program rating systems are faulty says Minister

logoTuesday, 29 November 2016

Media Minister Gayantha Karunatileka yesterday informed Parliament on moves to establish a new rating agency for advertising and programs aired on electronic media.

The Minister, speaking during the Appropriation Bill Committee stage debate for Ministry of Mass Parliamentary Affairs and Media, said that flaws in rating systems available now have given way to deterioration in quality of both advertisements and programmes.

“Advertising industry and TV and the quality of digital programs go hand in hand. We also know that the quality depends on the ratings. There is a lot of criticism for the current rating systems, so we decided to study the system. A committee comprising of academics and professionals will study the current system with directions given to speak to all media institutions, advertising agencies, rating agencies and all other stake holders in the field. Their report has been submitted,” he said. 

02Media Minister Gayantha Karunatileka

After a four month long study the committee has submitted its report to the ministry, Karunathilaka informed Parliament. The committee report presented recommendations for a scientifically structured, formal system for rating, he said.

“I plan to give the recommendations to all stakeholders for their input and establish the system in the near future,” the Minister said.

Despite being criticised for moves suppressing media through the proposed commission to regulate the contents of news published in print and electronic media outlets, he said the ministry is determined to go ahead with the plan. 
Dismissing wide spread claims that the Government is trying to control media through the proposed commission, Karunathilaka said that the committee will only ensure that professional and factual reporting is carried out. He said that the ministry will receive comments and recommendations on the proposed commission from the public till the end of this year.

“Competition among media institutions should exist but reporting should have quality and be based on facts. The institutions should not follow political agendas. Media institutions should focus on public interest and nothing else,” he claimed.

“We need to push the media field to this level,” he said, adding that a new training institute will be established for journalists.

This government installed surmounting grave odds cannot be allowed to topple : We are with LeN and we are on alert- Dep. Minister Ranjan R. (Video)

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News -29.Nov.2016, 5.20PM)  Judge Ayesha Abdeen was  sent on compulsory leave because of the exposures made by Lanka e news , and therefore the action of LeN is not wrong  Besides simply because they are judges they are not infallible , and not deities, said Ranjan Ramanayake the deputy minister of social empowerment and welfare while also exhorting  he is fearlessly siding with LeN.
During a special interview with the deputy minister pertaining to the political and judicial actions taken against LeN and its chief editor , Ranjan Ramanayake made the aforementioned salutary and fearless comments. Hereinafter are  several of the views he expressed….

 ‘I absolutely frown upon the charges that are mounted against the LeN website and its chief editor Sandaruwan Senadheera. LeN is a news website which made an invaluable  contribution towards the victory of the government of good governance.
It is Lanka e news which  reported about judge Ayesha Abdeen that she went and met a notorious criminal who is in the death row in violation of the laws and overstepping  her official powers, while all the other media feared to expose . It is that caliber  of cowardly media culture that is now in Sri Lanka. If LeN has not taken that bold step and written that , no Sri Lankan would have known it. Thanks to LeN , the Judicial service Commission (JSC) is now investigating into it after sending the erring judge on compulsory leave. Is  LeN ‘s action wrongful ?  
Judges are not gods and goddesses. If they commit a wrong they should also face punishment. Judges like Sarath N Silva and Sarath N. Abrew do not deserve our respect. But we deeply respect and  revere reputed judges like Sarath Ambepitiya and Padmini N.Ranawake Gunathileke of the new generation whose conduct is adorning the judiciary.
Speaking further the deputy minister went on to comment as follows :
‘We are informed , a media chain owner is behind these moves and maneuvers, and he is deploying  his financial resources too wrongly in this direction. Sri Lankans are not fools. Let us see what ‘s going to happen. 
These blokes who cannot issue a red warrant against Udayanga Weeratunge ; who  cannot deliver verdicts against websites that are mudslinging throughout the 24 fours of the day , are issuing an order to  apprehend Sandaruwan in a jiffy. 
Moreover , what Wijedasa Rajapakse uttered in the past do not represent the views of the good governance  government . He made racism related statements , and  spoke in favor of Gotabaya  to rescue him . These are not the views of our government.
We are on alert. This is a government that was installed in power overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles   and after great effort. We cannot allow such a government to topple. Though Rajapkses were defeated , their apparitions are still lurking among the sleazy characters.  Fearlessly write Ranajan Ramanayake is steadfastly with Lanka e news on  this issue . I shall speak in this regard even in parliament.
The discussion took place  with medical  student   M.L.M. Ambepitiya
The Speech of Ranjan Ramanayake in parliament regarding LeN issue as follows 
by     (2016-11-29 12:17:49)

Sri Lankan Muslim Women’s Struggle For Freedom, Justice & Equality: Some Fundamental Issues

Colombo Telegraph
By Ameer Ali –November 30, 2016 
Dr. Ameer Ali
Dr. Ameer Ali
The current focus on reforming the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, which is long overdue, is only one of several gender discriminatory issues with which Muslim women not only in Sri Lanka but also in other parts of the world are grappling with. In this struggle, which women are destined to win eventually, there are some fundamental issues that should be understood by concerned public.
When the Quran introduced and the Prophet and after him his immediate successors implemented reforms regarding the status of women in seventh century Arabia the impact was nothing short of revolutionary. Given the context of the time when the female half of the Arab world, for that matter even in Christendom, was treated with contempt as no more than heaven-sent gadgets for males’ sexual pleasure and items of material assets, which could be disposed of in any way men wished, the permission granted by Islam for women to inherit, own and manage property, to demand respect from and be counted by men as worthy participants in societal affairs, and above all this the unprecedented responsibility bestowed upon them in the affairs of the family, were indeed unique and revolutionary.
If one were to engage in an intentional reading of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet one cannot miss to delineate the progressive direction along which the Quranic spirit leads the reader regarding the status of women. The ultimate objectives of human freedom, justice and equality as enshrined in the Quran apply equally to men as well as women. Had that progressive path set by the Quran been followed by successive generations Muslim women within the restrictions that nature itself has imposed on them would have attained equal status with men long time ago. However, what happened in history was a betrayal and that progressive direction was halted and even reversed in the readings and interpretations of medieval theologians who were all males and products of patriarchal societies. With all their erudition and sharp minds these scholars remained prisoners of patriarchal values and norms. Patriarchal cultures essentially disfavour women. While the Muslim women were deliberately kept illiterate the theologians monopolised the task of interpreting the holy texts and dictating to the women what their rights were if any, how they should exercise those rights, what their duties were and what consequences would follow for failing in those duties. These theologically oriented norms were obviously gender biased and reversed the progressive direction of the Quran. This regression is now being checkmated by Muslim women themselves, thanks to modern secular education.
One of the positive legacies of European colonialism is secular education. While traditional religious teaching by the conservative ulema continued to indoctrinate Muslim children the art of reading and writing the so called holy language, Arabic, without understanding a word of it, state aided secular education not only taught the kids new sciences but also more importantly the art of reasoning, questioning and thinking. What the Quran itself demanded from its readers originally but subverted later by medieval theologians has now entered the Muslim world through the backdoor via secular education. Although it took a long time for Muslims to take advantage of this new development and even longer for Muslim women to get access to secular education, which explains why the Muslim world is still far behind the others in scientific advancement, this education has now thrown the gauntlet to centuries old received wisdom on women affairs.
Thajudeen Murder: No obstacle to Probe phone calls from PS,TT


Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris today advised the CID that there was no obstacle to deploy usual investigation into the phone calls received from the Presidential Secretariat (PS) and Temple Trees (TT) to the Narahenpita OIC on the day that Wasim Thajudeen was found dead.

The Magistrate directed the prosecution to summon any person attached to the PS or TT without hesitation if necessary for the inquiry. 

Considering the request made by Counsel Misba Sathar, who appeared for the aggrieved party, the Magistrate also informed the CID to take appropriate steps on former Colombo Chief JMO Ananda Samarasekara before long, because no court has given any stay order yet preventing him being arrested. 

The Magistrate told the prosecution to go ahead with necessary legal actions in line with the Criminal Procedure Code, if there is sufficient evidence over the suspicious behaviour of the former JMO. 

Filing a further report in court Deputy Solicitor General said investigation is continuing into the alleged phone calls received to Thajudeen's friend, Ahamad Safar, on the day Wasim Thajudeen was found dead. 

He also said the CID had recorded statements from few administrative officers over the inquiry which had begun in association with the Health Department, over the alleged dispatch of body parts from Judicial Medical Services office to the SAITM. 

Earlier, the CID and a team of experts searched the SAITM Laboratory based on the information revealed during the investigation that the former JMO Ananda Samaraseka had dispatched few body parts of late Wasim Thajudeen to the SAITM. And the recovered 19 femur bone pieces and seven bone pieces of chest area were sent to the 'Genetech' to conduct a DNA test using DNAs of Thajudeen's mother. 

The prosecution said that the suspects -- former SDIG Anura Senanayake and former Narahenpita Crimes OIC Sumith Perera -- had been charged under Sections 113 (Conspiracy) and 32 (Liability for act done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention) of the Penal Code, and that according to the provision in Section 13 of the Bail Act, a person who had been charged with an offence punishable with death or with life imprisonment, shall not be released on bail except by a judge of the High Court. (Shehan Chamika Silva) 

UN Policy Dialogue on Addressing Cyber Violence against Women and Girl Children

UN Policy Dialogue on Addressing Cyber Violence against Women and Girl Children

Nov 30, 2016

The growing reach of the Internet, social media and the rapid spread of mobile information and communications technologies (ICTs) have presented increased potential for cyber violence against women and girls.

The UN Gender Theme Group, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, organized a policy dialogue on Cyber Security at the BMICH today.
The policy dialogue, which was titled ‘Addressing Cyber Violence against Women and Girl Children’ was graced by the Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority, Ms. Natasha Balendra.   
Addressing the gathering Ms. Natasha Balendra stated, “It is critical that comprehensive cyber security strategies that encompass legislative, detection, reporting, prosecution of offenders and rehabilitation of victims are designed and implemented, together with efforts to transform the social norms and practices that make online harassment possible.”
Also speaking at the event, the Chair of the UN Gender Theme Group and Representative of UNFPA Sri Lanka, Mr. Alain Sibenaler stated, “With the increasing use and dependency on digital media, it must be ensured that women and girls are provided a safe space in the virtual world, free of fear of abuse, harassment, and violence.”
The panel discussion which followed, had the participation of Mr. Hans Billimoria of Grassrooted Trust, Dr. Harsha Wijayawardhane from the University of Colombo, Ms. Leelangani Wanasundara of CENWOR, Mr. Ramiz Behbudov of UNICEF and Ms. Rashani Meegama from the National Child Protection Authority.
Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to ratify the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, the only international treaty on cybercrimes that seeks to address cyber-crimes by harmonizing national laws and improving investigative techniques. 
The objective of this policy dialogue was to contribute to the development of a stringent cyber security policy, legislation and regulatory framework in Sri Lanka that recognizes the special needs of women and girls. 
The discussion contributed to an understanding of the current trends in cyber-crimes against women and girls in Sri Lanka, the legal and institutional measures and gaps, and the identification of special provisions to be included in the legislation to address cyber-crimes against women and girls.
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Now, para medical officers on road


Para Medical Services Front (PMSF) today launched a protest march from Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo 07 to the Health Ministry over several demands including immediate promotions for them. (Pix by Nisal Baduge)

Private bus and three wheeler unions geared to strike

Private bus and three wheeler unions geared to strike

Private bus and three-wheeler unions have decided to launch a continuous strike from midnight tomorrow.
The protest strike is being launched demanding that the newly increased motor traffic fine be removed.
A programme was held today at the Kaduwala bus stand to promote awareness on this strike.
General Secretary of the All Island Private Bus Owners’ Association Anjana Priyanjith says that they clearly request the government to remove the newly- imposed fine within the next few hours, and reinstate the previous fine which was Rs.550. He added that if not it is clear,  this strike will be in effect across the country from midnight tomorrow.
Meanwhile Chairman of the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association Gemunu Wijeratne noted that the fines will not increase. He said that the budget does not have the legal right to increase the fine to Rs.25,000 or to increase the fine by 25 cents.
Commenting on this issue, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva says that the issue that has arisen at the moment, is the issue of overtaking from the left, adding that he has submitted the relevant facts to the cabinet, and received its approval.
He adds that this is not something that will come into effect from tomorrow because the Motor Traffic Act must be subjected to amendments and a certain amount of time is required for the Act to be amended.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board states that in the event private buses refuse to operate on December 2, the board is prepared to face such a situation.
Chairman of the SLTB Ramal Siriwardana said that buses will be in operation from tomorrow so as to avoid any difficulties faced by passengers and that leave granted to all bus drivers, conductors has been cancelled. The SLTB also notes that leave for technical staff has also been cancelled for a week, commencing December 1.

Should our legislators’ remuneration be increased?

How many of our current legislators, let alone a basic degree, have successfully completed GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels? Of course, having a degree is not the sum total of it. During the Rajapaksa administration, one enlightened minister, a graduate and one time tuition master, stated Rs 2,500 was sufficient for a family of four to lead a comfortable life for a month. On that basis, he and all his colleagues are grossly overpaid. 


The Prime Minister has recently spoken in Parliament of the need to substantially increase salaries of our legislators. He is of the view current salaries are grossly inadequate. The Prime Minister believes higher salaries will reduce corruption and attract better talent to the legislature.

As of today, an MP earns a salary of Rs 54,285. Allowances are paid based on Rs 1,000 for entertainment, Rs 3,500 for a chauffeur, Rs 2,000 for a mobile phone and Rs 500 for each time he or she attends parliamentary sittings. A reimbursement scheme of Rs 10,000 for their private staff is in force. Each legislator receives between 283 and 639 litres of diesel a month, based on the distance between Colombo and the member’s constituency. The Tax Free vehicle permit currently valued at Rs 22 million based on a six year term of office, when sold would provide each legislator with an additional monthly income of Rs 305,555. Legislators are eligible for a state pension after serving a mere five years in Parliament. Food at highly subsidized rates are available for legislators at the Parliament Cafeteria.

Theoretically, the Prime Minister’s view of higher salaries reducing corruption, and attracting better talent has merit. It is a theory espoused by the former Prime Minister of Singapore, the late Lee Kuan Yew, who believed in paying very high salaries to cabinet ministers, similar or higher to those of top end CEOs in the private sector, enabling them a high standard of living without resorting to tender bending and other corrupt practices.

However, the Prime Minister’s proposition, as is the case with most theories of our politicians, looks at the issue from a narrow rather than a broad perspective.

Both in the state and private sectors, employment at the beginning of a career is based on educational qualifications to commensurate with the job position; besides participation in extracurricular activities. Such qualifications need be supported with work experience, and at times, with post graduate qualifications as the individual progresses in his or her career.

What would be the minimum educational qualifications and professional experience required in the state and private sectors today, for a job seeker to qualify to apply for a position entailing a remuneration package in excess of Rs 400,000 per month (this figure excludes Parliamentary sitting allowance of Rs 500 per day and contains minimum diesel allowance)?

How many of our current legislators, let alone a basic degree, have successfully completed GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels? Of course, having a degree is not the sum total of it. During the Rajapaksa administration, one enlightened minister, a graduate and one time tuition master, stated Rs 2,500 was sufficient for a family of four to lead a comfortable life for a month. On that basis, he and all his colleagues are grossly overpaid.

In a country where even an ordinary bus driver in the state bus service requires minimum educational qualifications for employment, should not legislators possess minimum educational qualifications in order to qualify to contest in a parliamentary election?

Further, would it not be prudent for the Prime Minister to task a group of persons (certainly not another committee of legislators) with the preparation of a meaningful matrix of minimum education qualifications, Pay & Perks and a mechanism or formula for periodic review for COL adjustment for legislators, who have already exceeded the Rs 400,000 mark?

Last but not least, should not our legislators be subjected to an annual Performance Appraisal? No doubt, the best performance appraisal was during elections under the Westminster system. The current system enables entry and re-entry to many undesirables, and rejects too, as we observed after 09 January 2015. Legislators are often found not attending parliament. Whereas state and private sector employees have a set number of days permitted to be away from the workplace with permission, legislators may stay away up to three months after which approval is necessary. When in attendance, some, including senior cabinet ministers, have been found fast asleep in the chamber during proceedings, including budget debates. Some rarely contribute to parliamentary proceedings; the contributions of some others are better suited in a farm for animals of the braying variety. Some are absent when important bills are being voted, whereas a Yes or No vote should be mandatory.

The Prime Minister would be doing a favour to the nation by addressing the issue of legislator’s Pay & Perks not from a narrow perspective of improving their living standards, but from a broader perspective of selecting the correct persons to contest; thus giving the voter an opportunity to elect qualified and capable candidates and then tasking the successful candidates with development projects in their respective electorates, with a suitable monitoring mechanism in place. In such a scenario, no sane person will object to the remuneration packages of capable legislators.

In a lighter vein, the Prime Minister who feels "my wife’s salary is more than what I get", under a revised scheme might be able to say ‘finally my salary is more than what my wife gets’!

Rajeewa Jayaweera


Image: Gotabhaya’s son lived illegal occupation of  Govt. owned house on LA cost 27.69 million rupees for 21 months.

Sri Lanka Brief01/12/2016

ECONOMYNEXT – Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told parliament Wednesday that former defence secretary’s son had illegally occupied a house rented for a consulate in Los Angeles and caused millions of rupees in losses to the state.

The minister said the then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s only son Daminda Manoj Rajapaksa occupied the rented premises even after the fall of his uncle Mahinda Rajapaksa at the January 2015 presidential election.

“This house had been rented even after our government came to power, but when we got to know about it in July 2015 we stopped it,” the minister said during the committee stage discussion on the votes of his ministry.

He said Sri Lankan tax paye 27.69 million rupees for 21 had to bear the cost of Daminda Rajapaksa’s water, electricity, gas, cable TV and telephone bills in addition to rent which amounted to 27.69 million rupees for 21 months.

The younger Rajapaksa had no official position with the Sri Lankan foreign ministry, but he had also been provided with two Sri Lankan soldiers for his security.

The opposition JVP wanted the minister to recover the payments from officials who had authorised the payments and Samaraweera said an investigation was underway in to the abuse of state resources during the final years of the Rajapaksa regime.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, a lieutenant colonel in the army, secured a discharge from the military in 1991 and lived in Los Angeles and obtained US citizenship. However, he returned in 2005 for his brother’s presidential election campaign and went onto become one of the most feared defence secretaries.

“White-vanned” became a verb during his tenure because a large number of people were kidnapped in ubiquitous white painted vans and in most cases the victims were killed for being either political rivals or suspected Tamil rebels or their supporters. He is also accused of orchestrating the killing of prominent anti-establishment editor Lasantha Wickramatunga, a charge he has publicly denied.

He currently faces charges of causing a loss of 11.4 billion rupees to the state by illegally allowing a private company to operate floating armouries. He also faces allegations of siphoning off millions of dollars from a controversial MiG aircraft purchase deal. (COLOMBO, Nov 30, 2016)

Mahinda And Family Spent Rs 2.3 Billion For Overseas Travels, Rs 28 Million Spent For Gota’s Son’s House

Colombo Telegraph
November 30, 2016
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members have spent 2.3 billion rupees of government funds between the years 2012 and 2014 for overseas travels, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has revealed today.
MahindaParticipating in the Budget debate, Samaraweera said that Rajapaksa had rented a house in Los Angeles in 2013 and more than Rs.27.6 million was spent on rent, telephone bills, maintenance, cable TV charges, water and gas. The house was empty adding 10,000 dollars was paid to the owner for repairs as well. Former Secretary to the ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s son was residing in the house, Mangala Samaraweera added.

Bribery commission to work sans police officers

Bribery commission to work sans police officers

Nov 30, 2016

In an effort to make the functions in the Bribery Commission to be more independent a decision has been made to function devoid of police officers.Instead of police officers an alternate group are to be assigned.

It is reported that those to be recruited are from the level of university human resources.Those recruited would be given a special training was what lamented by the  new bribery commissioner Neville Guruge.In this regard a proposal has been submitted to the government was also added by Neville Garuge.

CB takes decision on son-in-law’s company


November 29, 2016

The initial investigation carried out by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank on Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. involved in the Central Bank bond scam has been completed but due to the prevailing legal affairs he would not be able to make any statement regarding it says the Governor of Central Bank Indrajit Kumaraswamy.
The Governor has stated this at a press conference held at the Central Bank today (29th) morning.

He said he could only say that a decision has been taken on the action to be taken on the Perpetual Treasuries Ltd . As there is legal proceedings and considering the sensitivity in the market he would not reveal what action would be taken said the Governor.

After Abbas: Who does Israel want to lead Palestinians?

Analysts explain who the Israeli government wants to succeed the 81-year-old president of the Palestinian Authority

Occupied: Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, at the seventh Fatah Conference in Ramallah (Reuters)

Jonathan Cook-Wednesday 30 November 2016
TEL AVIV, Israel - The Fatah movement launched its seventh general congress this week, amid heated speculation about the future of its leader, Mahmoud Abbas. He also heads the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians’ effective government-in-waiting in the occupied territories.
Among those watching closely as events unfold over the next few days in Ramallah is the leadership of Israel. The congress – the first since 2009 – will determine the make up of Fatah’s main representative bodies and may offer clues as to whom is best placed to succeed the 81-year-old Abbas.

Why did Rep. Keith Ellison condemn BDS?

US Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, left, and then-Rep. Brian Baird of Washington, take photos of the rubble of the American International School in the northern Gaza Strip in February 2009, after it was destroyed by bombing during Israel’s assault on the coastal territory the previous month.Adel HanaAP

Michael F. Brown-30 November 2016

Representative Keith Ellison’s bid to head the Democratic Party’s top governing body created a surge of excitement among Palestine solidarity activists when first announced earlier this month.

The congressman has long been known as a critic of Israel’s human rights abuses, so his chairing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) would be big news.

The enthusiasm waned a bit last week, however, when Ellison sent out a statement highlighting his opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Ellison failed to make an explicit statement of support for Palestinian rights and freedom, while reaffirming his support for a two-state solution. That two-state approach appears increasingly to be a fantasy in light of Israel’s nearly 50 years of unrelenting land theft and settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Activists, who largely did not want to go on the record, believe Ellison, who represents Minnesota’s fifth congressional district and was the first Muslim elected to Congress, is still likely to be the best candidate for the job.

They are in a difficult position. Ellison has for many years been one of the most aware congressional leaders regarding the realities Palestinians confront.

In 2014 he penned an op-ed for The Washington Post calling for an end to the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza.

Noting that he has visited Gaza three times, he stated, “Gazans want and deserve the dignity of economic opportunity and freedom to move. This can be accomplished only with an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which must be considered within the framework of a ceasefire.”

Five years earlier on the House floor he declared that the “inhabitants of the Gaza Strip existed in a state of dreadful isolation, cut off from the world, often including the world’s media.” Where others were silent or embraced Israel’s war crimes, he raised concerns that ran contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington.


Leading up to his statement on BDS, Ellison was the target of unrelenting attacks by Alan Dershowitz.
The Harvard academic and prominent pro-Israel activist misleadingly criticized Ellison, both on MSNBC and CNN. Dershowitz claimed Ellison has supporters who are anti-Semitic and that Hamas would cheer if he were to head the DNC.

He also attacked Ellison for his pre-Congress connection to Louis Farrakhan – a relationship with the Nation of Islam that Ellison has distanced himself from for many years.

But in the MSNBC interview, Dershowitz dramatically undercut his professed concern about bigotry by making light of the outrage over Stephen Bannon, the former Breitbart News executive closely associated with the white supremacist alt-right movement, who President-elect Donald Trump has appointed to a senior White House role.

Civil rights tactics

Boycott, divestment and sanctions tactics have a long history as nonviolent tools applied by social justice movements, including the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. And in a landmark ruling related to the civil rights struggle against racial segregation in the southern United States, the Supreme Court found that boycotts are constitutionally protected free speech.

It therefore came as a surprise when Ellison, as part of his campaign to head the DNC, denounced the tactic when used by Palestinians.

Jacob Pace, communications director for Interfaith Peace-Builders, a group that organizes delegations to Palestine, told The Electronic Intifada: “BDS is a nonviolent strategy initiated by Palestinians in response to Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Arab lands.”

Noting the role of similar tactics in the US civil rights struggle and in South Africa, Pace added, “As people of conscience, we should support Palestinians in their efforts and we should demand that our political representatives do the same.”

Israel lobby pressure

The decision regarding the DNC leadership will not be made until early 2017. In the meantime, other groups and individuals will be considering whether to support Ellison, keep quiet or to publicly criticize his rejection of BDS.

Some point to the experience of Dwight Bullard, who recently lost his seat in the Florida state senate after initially opposing anti-BDS legislation in the state on constitutional grounds.

Bullard had faced fierce pushback and smears from Israel lobby groups for visiting Palestine.

Despite his early opposition, Bullard eventually voted for the Florida anti-BDS measure, telling The Electronic Intifada in August that he had felt “bullied” into doing so.

Another case activists might recall is that of Barack Obama, who went largely unchallenged from the left as he adopted ever more stridently pro-Israel positions throughout his career. Barring a last-minute intervention, the crowning Palestine-related legacy of a president once seen as a great hope for Palestinians will be his handing Israel the biggest military aid package in history.

Opponents of Palestinian rights and freedom are not standing by idly when it comes to Ellison either.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), initially came to Ellison’s defense as “an important ally in the fight against anti-Semitism and for civil rights.”

Yet days later – as right-wing criticism appeared to gain traction – Greenblatt backed away from his apparent initial support.

“In particular, it is very disturbing that someone who has been excessively critical of the State of Israel at key junctures in recent history might become the titular head of the Democratic Party,” Greenblatt wrote.

Greenblatt then proffered neutrality, saying that as a nonprofit charitable organization, the ADL “will not endorse or reject individuals for such a position.”

But in the very same paragraph, Greenblatt appears to give a non-endorsement anyway: “Without a clear understanding of his positions [on Israel], it seems impossible to imagine [Ellison] could build the trust needed to lead a major political party at such a delicate time.”

Unprecedented opportunity

Following the stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton, the fight for the direction of the Democratic Party is underway. Progressive activists have never been closer to having as head of the DNC a person who has gone further than most in supporting Palestinian rights.

Yet on the threshold of the powerful DNC position, Ellison has backed away from holding Palestinians as equally human to other groups that have turned to BDS-like methods to secure their rights and freedom.
In his desire to attain the position, it is clear that Ellison is willing to cast aside fundamental principles to curry favor with potential allies who are already making clear that he will have to leap one hurdle after another to meet their pro-Israel demands.

How far is Ellison willing to go to establish pro-Israel bona fides and renounce his recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people? Activists will have to think seriously how they intend to convince Ellison that he cannot simply discard their most serious current means – BDS – for achieving Palestinian freedom.

And they should challenge the other DNC candidates – Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez among them – to demand that the right of Palestinians to pursue freedom through BDS be recognized. Why line up behind Ellison before Perez is even queried on the subject? Groups working in solidarity with one another will also need to give careful thought to which candidate will best advance broader intersectional concerns.

The Democratic Party is changing rapidly at the base and fractures are occurring over the rights of the Palestinian people.

There may be an unprecedented opportunity to continue pushing for changes in the party’s traditional anti-Palestinian stances.

But it is difficult to see how Democratic leaders will move in the right direction if progressive and pro-Palestine activists remain quiet and demand little, while Israel lobby groups make all the noise.