Ruhunu Undergrads on the road against Batticaloa Campus View(s):Students of Ruhunu University, on Wednesday, protested, demanding that the Government take over the Batticaloa Campus (Pvt) Ltd, which planned to teach Shariah Law in its campus. The protest caused traffic congestion on the Matara-Kataragama main road. Pic by Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk.
Wickramaratne, Members of the Constitutional Council (CC), Director SIS Nilantha Jayawardena, Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) Sisira Mendis and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando have been cited as respondents. In his FR Petition, the IGP states there was an ongoing intelligence operation against the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ). The petition further claims that the President required 4th Respondent SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena, as Director SIS, to report directly to him. The petitioner states that, when sending the CNI’s letter to the four senior officers, the petitioner marked the document ‘Top Priority’. The petitioner states he received three letters on 18th, 19th and 20th April 2019, all relating to the NTJ, Zahran Hashim and matters incidental to the same.
Sri Lanka’s media has played a considerable role in promoting this hysteria. One good example was the hype surrounding the discoveries of swords in Muslim houses during raids immediately following the Easter Sunday attacks. Numerous tugs of war took place, administrative or political as the case may be, where Tamil villages bordered Muslim villages. And as reiterated in these column spaces, framing the crisis entirely within the context of Sri Lanka’s majoritarian violence as directed against the minorities is profoundly disrespectful of the truth. Framing the narrative in this way to protect political interests can only continue to be counter-productive.
HRC calls out BASL for unethical behaviour of some lawyers View(s):The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has pulled up the Bar Association of Sri Lanka after members of some of its regional branches refused to appear on behalf of members of the Muslim community arrested in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks. The areas these lawyers belong to include Mawanella and Badulla. “As a result, family members of those arrested have been compelled to obtain services of lawyers from other regions, entailing much financial hardship and inconvenience,” wrote Deepika Udagama, HRCSL Chairperson to BASL President Kalinga Indatissa. “This is a serious situation which questions the core values of our legal profession,” Dr Udagama states. We would be appreciative if you would share with the Commission action taken by BASL in this regard.”Mr Indatissa said the “contents of the letter are wrong”.
Appearing before the PSC on the first day, Wednesday, were two top officials of the government security apparatus — Defence Secretary Shantha Kottegoda, and National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis. Responding to questions, the CNI also said the National Security Council (NSC), the topmost decision-making body dealing with the country’s national security, had not met after February 19. Though he wanted to speak to the then Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando on the matter, he did not get an opportunity to speak to Mr Fernando till about 3 p.m. that day, as April 8 was a busy day since the Indian Defence Secretary was also in Colombo. The CNI added that it did not seem as if the Defence Secretary was aware of the information till he spoke to him about it. Field Marshal Fonseka faulted the then Defence Secretary for not taking up the matter at the ICM.
Schoolgirl’s life hangs in the balance: Needs blood transfusion in Mumbai View(s):Life has been an excruciating struggle for Chalani Divumini. Chalani underwent surgery for a congenital cardiac condition when she was just three months old. Since then, there was no looking back as she had to be admitted to the Madras Medical Mission (MMM), Chennai, from time to time for “surgical corrections and treatments”. Dr. K. Sivakumar, Head, Department of Paediatric Cardiology, Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases, MMM in Chennai, wants Chalani admitted to Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai for a “blood transfusion as per dialysis system”. With the life of their daughter hanging in the balance, the family is desperately trying to raise funds to meet the expenses involved.
May 25, 2019 19:35 UTC
SL permanent rep to UN hits out at Special Advisors’ joint statement View(s):Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York has criticised two UN Special Advisors who issued a joint statement earlier this month expressing alarm at the “growing acts of violence on the basis of religion” in the country. Sri Lanka has enjoyed hard-won peace and freedoms in the past 10 years after nearly three decades of struggling against separatist terrorism, Dr Perera says. “I am constrained to state that your statement demonstrates a limited understanding of events and is an expression of preconceived opinions. These attacks, mainly against Christians at prayer, form part of global trends of radicalisation and extremism. “Ill-timed statements from responsible authorities will only serve to strengthen the hands of parties with vested interests and extremist elements determined to veer Sri Lanka from the path of peace and development,” he adds.
May 25, 2019 19:23 UTC
Tourism sector wants safe country for Sri Lankans and visitors By Pravin Jayasundere View(s): View(s):The tourism industry suffered a further blow with last week’s sporadic incidents in the North Western Province and parts of Gampaha, as hoteliers began offering discounts of up to 70% in some instances. The industry is particularly concerned about overseas travel warnings, said Mr Dayananda. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure the safety of the country, both to outside nationals and to its citizens. Committee member of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), Mr Nishad Wijetunga, said there are other segments that are suffering. “As long as the travel warnings are in place, overseas tour operators are prohibited from selling Sri Lanka as a destination.”Overseas travel warnings are an obstacle to DMC operations.
Kurunegala doctor arrested; probe on assets View(s):A Kurunegala Teaching Hospital doctor has been arrested over allegations that he had acquired a large number of assets through suspicious means, Kurunegala Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Wasantha Kithsiri Jayalath said. The suspect, who police identified as Seigu Siyabdeen Mohammed Shafi (42), is a resident of Gettuwana, Kurunegala. Meanwhile, the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital is conducting an internal preliminary inquiry to determine whether there has been misconduct by a Medical Officer when performing Caesarian operations. “We are holding a preliminary investigation, at the conclusion of which a report will be submitted to the Health Ministry,” said the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Director Dr. A.M.S. Dr. Weerabandara, however, declined to confirm whether the Medical Officer who is now in police custody was implicated in the name-change complaint.
When the shepherd doesn’t know his sheep… View(s):It was about two weeks after the Easter Sunday terrorist attack that in an unexpected moment, police officers were at my doorstep. Romans’ population censusThe last story I want to recall is about population census: Even more than 2000 years ago, the Romans have carried out a population census. The most recent Population Census of Sri Lanka was carried out in 2011/12, which reported over 20 million total population. Moreover, I want to highlight the fact that today in many countries a population census is just a “mouse-click” away. The cases I mentioned above shows that the Police, the Inland Revenue Department and, the Census Department all need people’s information.
From the moment a visitor steps into Jetwing ‘Kaduruketha’ in rustic Wellawaya, there is a wonderland not commonly experienced elsewhere around the country – agro-eco tourism with a lavish touch of class and comfort. The architecture and theme are Kandyan, proudly depicting the red, yellow and black of that era. We arrived as the sun set across the Poonagala mountain range and were serenaded by the distinctive calls of peacocks. The hotel is in a symbiotic relationship with the farming community as 31 families have the responsibility of cultivating the land organically. Although Kaduruketha could be the hub for many an excursion, who would venture out leaving this rustic beauty behind?
About 87% of Lankans who are online have social media accounts, with 85% of them having Facebook accounts. Terrorism 3.0 is radicalisation, recruitment, and operation of terror networks purely based on social media and virtual decentralised groups. Recruitment is done via social media, while communications and operations are facilitated via highly encrypted messaging apps (eg Threema). ISIS terror group’s primary recruitment methodology leverages online social media tools and messaging that are structured similar to marketing campaigns. This entire process is led by social media platforms and secure messaging apps.
The politics of terrorism View(s):Last weekend’s somewhat muted Vesak celebrations resulting from the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings and the prevailing uneasiness in the country prevented the 10th anniversary of the defeat of the three decade-long northern terrorism from being given the attention it deserved. It was terrorism that was defeated in 1971, 1989 and 2009. There are also lessons for political parties in Sri Lanka; the good, the bad and the ugly. The fact that one party won an outright majority is good news for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, has to lift its efficiency levels in its dealings as an equal partner.
The road to economic recovery and development View(s):The question uppermost in the minds of most persons is whether the peace of the Vesak weekend was the turning point to peaceful conditions and economic recovery. Economic recoveryFor the present a return to peace and normalcy would provide the environment for economic recovery. While achieving the low rate of economic growth of the past few years is not a difficult task, achieving economic growth of over 5 percent in 2019 is unrealistic. PoliciesThe lack of clear and certain economic policies, a weak capacity to implement economic policies, inability to undertake essential economic reforms and corruption have been among the main reasons for slow economic growth. Economic recovery would depend very much on the political leadership and implementation of economic policies.
Single-bid contracts: Hungarians to build two flyovers By Namini Wijedasa View(s): View(s):Single-bid contracts–this time for two flyovers funded through a Hungarian loan of 52mn Euros (Rs 10.2bn)–have crept back into the Road Development Authority (RDA). The Cabinet this week approved the construction of two flyovers at the Kohuwala and Getambe junctions “as a remedial measure” for heavy traffic congestion. This means that a competitive process that could have ensured better prices–provided the flyovers were deemed necessary–was not followed. The contract for the flyovers was finalised by the RDA, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry’s External Resources Department said. The Governments of Hungary and Sri Lanka have entered into a framework agreement for infrastructure financing covering transport and highways.