Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sentence in Sandun Malinga murder case

DR.Vickramabahu Karunaratne-2017-01-19
The High Court of Badulla sentenced to death 5 police officers and a security officer for causing the murder of Sandun Malinga a 17-year- old young boy. The death sentence on the police officers gave a shock to the public that expects action on corrupt politicians and their friends, infamous for thuggery. Unusual but it is something that should have come many years ago. Because inquiries carried out by the FCID recently, exposed the involvement of police and security officers in crimes committed by corrupt politicians. It is true that this case did not receive much discussion in the media.
Sentencing of six persons connected with the police station should have been news that opens the eyes of the people to the criminal tendencies lingering behind the police uniform. It is acknowledged that inside police stations people are beaten and tortured. Some believe that should be the general nature of the police, in order to prevent robbery and other crimes committed by village ruffians. They argue that if the policemen are lenient household and village level crimes will increase. Often, middle class people are happy if tough police officers come to their area.
Precisely, because of such clumsy thinking, this judgment should have received serious attention of the Sri Lankan society as a whole, and for that purpose the media should have highlighted this issue and created opportunity for discussion of the case, so that the meaning of this sentence would have opened the eyes of people and also of all police officers throughout the country. It could have strong effects in the prevention of similar deaths in the future.
The boy and four of his relatives had gone to the town for the purpose of some business when police suddenly beat them in public and thereafter arrested them and took them to the police station and further tortured them. It appears that the police had a suspicion that Malinga was associated with crime and they wanted to get information. Their method is arbitrary torture of suspects. As a result, Sandun Malinga got seriously injured and the relatives, who were with him, tried to get the attention of the police to get medical care for the boy immediately. However, the police ignored all such requests. Next day the parents of the boy came to the police station and saw his condition, and again tried to get the attention of the police and also some higher up police officers in order to get some medical attention for Sandun Malinga . The police refused and instead, produced the five of them before a lady Magistrate. She remanded the five of them.
The boy died in his brother's arms
The next morning Sandun Malinga was with his brother and was suffering from a serious condition and even then the prison authorities failed to provide immediate medical attention to the boy and in the morning the boy died in his brother's arms inside the police station. Among the matters that should have been discussed is first of all the issue of arrest, without any justifiable ground.
It has become a common feature throughout police stations in Sri Lanka to arrest without any substantial grounds justifying the arrest. There are many instances in which serious injustices have happened and in some in which even very serious injuries have been caused on the innocent persons, simply because the police take this liberty to arrest anybody if they so wish. And most persons arrested by them are even without the slightest evidence to connect them to any crime. Secondly, there should be a discussion on the responsibility of judicial officers who have the powers to check the nature of arrest.
The matters that have not received serious attention of the National Police Commission and the Judiciary, the Ministries of Justice and Law and Order and also the Attorney General's Department are first of all the issue of arrest without substantial grounds for arresting a person. It is quite well known that in high profile cases which involved politicians who are known to the country, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) takes a lot of precaution in order to have a thorough inquiry to satisfy themselves of the evidence available of an accused before taking the step of arresting such an accused. However, this is not the case at the police station level, where almost every police station arrests a person purely without any warrant or any justifiable grounds for arresting the person. This matter needs very careful consideration and instructions need to be issued either by way of legislation or by regulations in order to stop this practice immediately. Legislation that should be brought about is that no arrest except in exceptional cases recognized by law, should be carried out without a warrant issued by a Magistrate and the Magistrate should be responsible to the safety of the arrested person.

Two Years Of “Yahapālanaya”: Is Development A Mere Mirage?

Colombo Telegraph
By Ratnam Nadarajah –January 18, 2017
Ratnam Nadarajah
Ratnam Nadarajah
8th January 2015 for most people in Sri Lanka was a new dawn, a new President followed in July with the formation of a National Unity government, with a promise of good governance and all that goes with the new broom.
There were all sorts of promises and mega plans for the nation. Also a promise to bring to account all those robbed the country during the previous regime.
Here we are two years down the line; what have we achieved. Not much, to say the least. Yes, we have borrowed to the tune of billions of dollars from various sources to prop up the economy, to service the loans and debts accumulated by the previous regime and currently to service the legislators needs and demands.
When simple checks and balances are made, there is nothing to show for; in the eyes and minds of the populace. “A week is a long time in politics”. Harold Wilson (who was also instrumental in formulating “the white heat of technological revolution” in the UK).
But two years is a lifetime in any book!
The balance sheet shows zero progress in the sphere of development of the nation. There have been many meeting, well hyped symposiums, and statements over the past two years. But to date there is nothing concrete except the recent fiasco of Volkswagen car assembly plant foundation laying exercise. Which turned out to be disappointing. The same thing with the so called Italian company funded tyre factory.Ranil W pic via PM's media
Let us start from the fundamentals of development:
Our citizens want to improve their living standards, want jobs especially for the youths; they look forward to the government of the day to take initiatives to full fill their election promises.
In evaluating the degree of economic development of nations, most commonly used indexes are the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP), and the Human Development Index (HDI). I dare say, we have made no significant progress in the last two years.
For any development to take place we need the resources; man power, material, infrastructure, and capital as pre-requisites. Do we have the skilled workforce in enough numbers to meet the demands of modern and technologically based industries we want to create and produce high value products? The short answer is no. The available pool of qualified technicians, engineers and managers is rather wanting in practical experience and training to meet the requirements of these employers both local and foreign multinationals. This is the egg and chicken situation.
A critical challenge for manufacturers will be to approach footprint decisions in a more nuanced way. Labour intensive industries will almost always follow the path of low wages, but others, with more complex needs, must weigh factors such as access to low-cost transportation, to consumer insights, or to skilled employees.
For policy makers, supporting manufacturing industries and competing globally means that policy must be grounded in a comprehensive understanding of the diverse industry segments in a national or regional economy, as well as the wider trends affecting them. For example, shapers of energy policy need to consider; higher or lower energy costs will affect which segments, how great the impact is likely to be, and what magnitude of difference will trigger a location decision. Environmental factors are another important aspect to be considered at the planning stages. We do not want to be the dumping ground. Policy makers should also recognise that their long-term goals for growth, innovation, and exports are best served by supporting critical enablers for manufacturers (such as investing in modern infrastructure) and by helping them forge the connections they will need to access rapidly growing emerging markets.

Peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka require consistent, discernible and sustained momentum

article_image 

FM Samaraweera with the then Australian FM 

Sri Lanka’s moment of truth is fast approaching. The expectation is that significant initiatives will be taken this year towards addressing the two issues that are vitally important to the Tamil people – a political resolution and accountability for war-time violations.

What is equally important is to maintain a consistent, discernible and sustained momentum towards reconciliation, bolstered by actions that make practical difference to the day to day life of the people and on this aspect, a lot to be desired in terms of commitment and drive.

The stalled progress on demilitarisation and land and prisoner release; extra-ordinary delay in repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act; condoning actions that could distort the established demography and religious landscape of the predominantly Tamil speaking regions; lack of consultations with Tamil leaders on development initiatives affecting the North-East; and the apparent backtracking on the extent of international participation in the judicial mechanism counselled in the UN resolution – all these have undoubtedly caused a degree of concern and frustration in the minds of Tamil people, and ought to be addressed swiftly.

Sri Lanka has a long history of missed opportunities for resolving its national crisis. More often than not, calculated activities by hard-line elements on both sides escalated minor differences into unmanageable levels, leading to total failure at the end. It is therefore important that no scope is given to such possibilities by the present day political leadership of all communities.

In this context, it is vital that the Tamil political leadership, including those in the Diaspora, reach out to all communities in Sri Lanka in addressing their respective concerns and fears, and seek their support for accommodating the aspirations of the Tamil community.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during his visit to Australia in April last year gave assurances regarding substantive changes envisioned for Sri Lanka and the government’s intention to arrive at a broad consensus, with a cornerstone being the consent of the elected Tamil political leadership. Such strong commitments were well-received by all stakeholders interested in the well-being of Sri Lanka.

The Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop hosted a luncheon in honour of the visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister at the Kirribilli House (the Australian Prime Minister’s official residence in Sydney). I had the pleasure of attending the luncheon on behalf of the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), and used that opportunity to reinforce our willingness to constructively contribute to positive developments in Sri Lanka. An abridged version of the following speech was delivered at the event. Though several months have passed, the contents of it are still relevant and worth reiterating.

Speech

This is the second time I am in the environs of the prestigious Kirribilli House. On the first occasion, in April 2009, I was one of the thousands of Tamils protesting outside this house, seeking Australian intervention to stop the dreadful war in Sri Lanka, a protest generally not acknowledged by the powers of the day. Today I am here inside this house, in this luncheon, in honour of the Foreign Minister Samaraweera. Undoubtedly the times have changed.

So, what is really different now? One, this reflects the political changes that have occurred in the context of Sri Lanka. More specifically, from a Tamil diaspora perspective, this is an outcome of the moderate, engagement-type of politics ardently followed by organisations such as ours. We are grateful for such recognition and trust bestowed upon us by the Australian government.

Despite such changed circumstances, the hard truth is that two important factors – political resolution of the Tamil problem and addressing the serious human rights violations committed by all sides – being the cause and outcome of the long drawn out conflict, remain unresolved seven years after the end of the war.

However, Sri Lanka for sure, appears to be a country in transition, and we are in the thrust of what seems to be a once in a generation opportunity, where a coalition government has taken steps – to democratise the state, to cooperate with the UNHRC, and to draft a new constitution – initiatives unthinkable just over an year ago.

But, I will not be honest if I don’t articulate the fact that there is a debate, sometimes intense, about how much this government can be trusted, and at times, it appears that a pessimistic point of view is the dominant narrative among our constituency, the Tamil diaspora. Nevertheless, there is also a strong counter point of view, an optimistic one that the Tamil community should do everything possible to consolidate the progressive changes so far, to solve this decades-old problem forever.

One common thread in this discourse is that Minister Samaraweera is the most prominent political leader in Sri Lanka, who is working with single-minded determination and dedication in all facets of the reconciliation process. His famous appeal and pledge, "Trust Us – Don’t Judge Us by the Past", originally delivered at the UNHRC and later in Washington and Jaffna, hugely resonates with the Tamil community.

This brings Minister Samaraweera and us as partners in peace to a common future where our stakes are intimately linked.

For those of our constituents telling us "we are naive and overly trusting", our reaction has been "we are not blindly trusting; our level of engagement is linked to real progress on the ground; but, we are keen to take initiatives ourselves (rather than waiting for events to take their own course), to build mutual trust and to increase the chances of success."

And, for me personally, even if failure eventuates, taking a proactive approach towards peace and reconciliation is a more worthwhile and conscionable option, than remaining uninvolved, and contribute to the chances of letting this opportunity slip away.

For those pointing to us "we are not conscious of the history with litany of failures", our response is "when an opportunity arises to change the course of history – that needs to be identified and grasped with both hands." And in our mind, that is exactly the approach we are espousing.

But, we are acutely conscious that though political leadership often involves bravely marching along unchartered territory, if the majority of the people are left behind, failure can eventuate. And history has valuable lessons on several such failures.

With such concerns at the forefront of our mind, we are offering our hands of friendship to the Minister and in return seek his partnership for the difficult journey ahead. Any concrete actions from the government that will make our positions more acceptable to our people, and any initiatives from our side (the Tamil diaspora) that will make the government more appealing to its constituents, will tremendously help to consolidate the fragile path we are cautiously treading. Some of the initiatives we are working on, with immense help from Australia, are precisely aimed at this.

That brings me to my adopted country, Australia, to conclude this speech. There are times we were disappointed with Australian policies related to our issues, and I am sure it is bound to happen in the future too. But, beyond such policy positions and outcomes, the access we have had to our government – to the Foreign Ministers and to the Senior Officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – and not just the access but also the sympathetic hearing and importance that is given, the recognition that is bestowed, and the extent to which Australia is prepared to help Sri Lanka to march along this progressive path ….….. In me, it brings a feeling of awe.

I have often expressed my sentiments to my friends and colleagues, both Tamil and non-Tamil, "The more I am involved in Tamil advocacy, the more I feel an Australian." This emotion is, obviously, not linked to my citizenship status or the type of passport I carry, but a feeling arises due to the way I am treated in this country, the way I am listened to and the way I am respected – even though the issues I raise with the government are not the most pressing issues this country faces. Obviously, there are several avenues to develop one’s sense of citizenship.

It is such feeling of belonging to one’s country that has been lacking in Sri Lanka for a significant segment of its population. As a child and later as a youth growing up in Jaffna, I was fully adapted to the thoughts that, "I will be discriminated in this country, opportunities will be denied to me in this country, and ultimately I don’t fully belong to this country." Most fundamentally, it is this, such a narrative, such an emotion and such a feeling that needs to change. No doubt, it will be a long and hard process. But, this is a dream worth having and an ambition worth working towards.

So, let’s dream of a Sri Lanka, where a child born to Tamil parents will feel proud to be a Tamil and at the same time truly feel a Sri Lankan – not because this was the country he was born in, but because of the manner in which the country treats him, and the way he naturally feels about his citizenship.

Let’s commit ourselves to collaborate and work together, to make this dream a reality with the dedicated help of our international friends. And I have no doubt, Australia will be at the forefront doing more than its fair share.

Dr. K. Mukunthan is one of the Executive Directors of the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC). He is also a Director of Global Tamil Forum (GTF) where he is a Senior Member of the Strategic Initiatives Team.

Government needs to campaign harder for reconciliation -NPC


LEN logo(Lanka-e-News -19.Jan.2017, 4.00AM)  There is growing scepticism both locally and internationally about the government’s commitment to deliver on the promises regarding the reconciliation process that it made during the last elections.  These concerns have surfaced with the initial governmental response to the report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister.  Some government members have publicly criticized the report.   The Task Force report is one that is victim-centered and would also go a considerable part of the distance to meet the expectations of the international community and those who believe in international standards when it comes to matters of human rights.

The Task Force recommendations have met with the support and appreciation of the international human rights community and the ethnic minorities.   The report itself provides material that is invaluable in terms of concepts and cases that could be used for a public education campaign.  However, the lukewarm if not negative response from those in the government is clearly visible.  The problem that the government seems to be having is that some of the Task Force recommendations do not correspond to the general sentiment in the ethnic majority Sinhalese population.

While the report appears to have taken many of the issues highlighted by participants in different consultations, at least two members of our own partner organisations who were members of the district level task forces were disappointed with the recommendation on the proposed accountability mechanism that calls for international  judges, prosecutors and investigators.  They highlighted that their recommendation to seek technical assistance rather than a hybrid court for the transitional justice process from the international community had not been included.  The challenge for the government will be to take the recommendations of the Task Force and implement them as it will be a crucial step on a journey towards lasting peace and meet its local and international obligations.

The National Peace Council calls on the government to undertake a national education and outreach campaign with the support of civil society organizations that are active in the reconciliation process.  It is necessary to persuade the general population that the recommendations of the Consultation Task Force on reconciliation mechanisms are in accordance with the government’s commitments and these commitments are in the best interests of the country.  Failure to do so can pave the way for the breakdown of trust between the government, the war-affected people and the international community.

The National Peace Council holds that a failure to grapple seriously and sincerely with the recommendations of the Task Force would also be a betrayal of the hopes and aspirations of those who were victims of the war.  It must be recognized that lasting peace in Sri Lanka can be achieved only if all communities living in the country are brought on board irrespective of political affiliations and manipulations.  We call on the government and opposition leaderships to rise above partisan petty political and electoral considerations and ensure that CTF recommendations are also not squandered.
National Peace Council Sri Lanka
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by     (2017-01-18 22:48:39)
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logoThursday, 19 January 2017

Stockholm: Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process and bilateral relations were in the centre of discussions when Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera met Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström Tuesday in Stockholm.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is visiting Sweden from 17-18 January 2017 at the invitation of his Swedish counterpart Minister Margot Wallström.

“Good discussions today with FM Samaraweera on Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process, bilateral cooperation, regional issues and much more,” Minister Wallström tweeted following the discussions.

With a view to broadening bilateral cooperation, Minister Samaraweera will participate in a round table discussion on the theme, ‘Smart Cities and Sustainable Development’ and in an interactive session with leading Swedish business houses, a Foreign Affairs Ministry statement said.

The discussion will include members of Business Sweden (the Swedish Trade and Investment Council), the Sri Lanka Sweden Business Council, as well as leading Swedish business companies in trade, food retail, automotive, energy and the cargo and transport sectors.

Minister Samaraweera will also meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lovin, Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Urban Ahlin and Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde.

The Minister will conclude the visit with an address to participants at a Round Table to be held at the Institute for Development and Security Policy (ISDP) in Stockholm today.

It is the first State visit by a Sri Lanka leader to Sweden in over 30 years. 

WIDER PARTICIPATION MANDATORY FOR PEOPLE-FRIENDLY CONSTITUTION

BY RAVI LADDUWAHETTY-2017-01-19
Chairman of the Public Representations Committee of the Constitutional Reforms Process, Senior Attorney-at-Law and former Opposition Leader of the Central Provincial Council Lal Wijenayake said that, a wider contribution from society was mandatory for enacting what would be a people-friendly Constitution.

Unity Of Muslims In Sri Lanka

Colombo Telegraph
By Nishthar Idroos –January 17, 2017
Nishthar Idroos
Nishthar Idroos
When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”  ― Winston S. Churchill
“Negative and vicious forces are currently engaged in serious attempts to destroy the unity of Muslims to alter the current political stability, said SLMC Leader and Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Rauff Hakeem recently. The reference by the veteran Muslim politician could have been directed not only at those orchestrating implied treacheries from within but also perhaps alluding to the notorious ones indulging in traditional sniping, genre characterized by remote-control ploys through agents within executing a well-conceived modus-operandi.
Being a seasoned politician, having countenanced and survived many attempts on his long and illustrious career, he must be weighing in the implications revolving the latest attempt to introduce purported instability. It may be opportune for Mr. Hakeem to re-energize his sense of perspicacity and circumspection in anticipation for another bout of shadow sparing with forces and faces only known to him. He is that kind of guy with a unique sense of style irksome to many and inviting an avalanche of displeasure to an army of detractors.
Minister Rauff Hakeem further said “every party had within its ranks negative forces who subverted party unity and progress from within” “Sinister motives could be defeated only by vigilance, open discussion and harmony among the rank and file” Very reassuring words but not sustainable. It may come as a surprise to the minister, the world has passed that threshold. Betrayal, duplicity, deceit is today very much woven intimately to the fabric. You can never separate or eliminate them. Symptomatic of the times we live. You only have the tools of vigilance and management as available coping techniques. Ofcourse faith to those who have it. Even the most robust rope of loyalty has its price today. I am nether a cynic nor a pessimist but an informed and indomitable realist. Sir Winston S. Churchill’s haunting observation “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” is indeed true if not prophetic.
Muslims in Sri Lanka would welcome the sentiments expressed by the minister. He had talked about unity – a commodity very much in need for the Muslims. Though negative in context its derivable attributes meaningful. Diluted and diminished Muslim unity is an awesome reality politically for the main two parties of Sri Lanka. Perpetual disunity of the Muslims is to their advantage. They would love to entrench the status-quo, you cannot blame them for that. It’s all about maximizing opportunities for navigation for them. They have in their arsenal alternate antidotes for every discerning need. To those initially obstreperous or to the one readily making his claim. Many lubricating oils had been used in the past to entice an entire salivating species.
These tactics nothing new but an integral and “wholesome” part of the evolving neo universal democracy stridently and subvertingly practiced by third world and first world politicians alike regardless its legality, Democracy though well-meant and assigned benign attributes at its genesis pollutes, contaminates and reeks. The stench today has reached high heavens. Its subtle, scheming and systematic emasculation of the voter only heightens the junk known as representative or participatory democracy. Incidentally Donald Trump is more keen today of building a Trump Tower in every popular city of the world than going ahead with the much-touted wall he so raucously clamored during electioneering.
As one wise guy said “Nations have progressed through bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence, back into bondage.”
Its interesting Minister Hakeem said what he said. Since the advent of SLMC in the late eighties under the charismatic late leader A H M Ashraff and his untimely death Rahimahullah (may Allah have mercy on him) the party had given birth to bubbly quadruplets twice over through its many libido-rich detractors and dissenters which is certainly not the epitome of unity. A myriad of new political parties sprouted. Each one vocal and vociferous to unite Muslims and firm in working for their upliftment. The reality is they’ve carved their own fortunes whilst being champions of disunity in the process.
This is not something unique to Muslim politicians or Muslim political parties. In essence the worse losers are the majority Sinhala Buddhists. They’ve been reduced to mere numbers, securely kept in data mining repositories. Retrieved just before an election analyzed, extrapolated, imputed and manipulated to evince a favorable outcome. Some over-ambitious politicians in the past had embraced the art of violence by unleashing the mob against minorities just to confirm and comply with an opinion of a trusted Data-Mining expert. This does not in any way mean that these politicians are communal or averse to working in a coalition environment. But one thing it does mean is that man has become distanced, desensitized, diabolical, deranged and distinctly dangerous.
Dividing to seemingly unite, downgrading, undermining and subverting the constituency for one’s own upliftment though a blatant irony and against cherished principles of democracy seems the norm and very much consistent with contemporary values.
Its time Muslim leaders of Sri Lanka made a firm resolve towards unity based on strong Principles. Let’s not forget the Muslims of Sri Lanka did demonstrate historically this spirit. It was their unity that prevented this country from being divided. They paid the ultimate for this in blood and corpses, who can deny this? So why then would Muslim leadership not unite and project the actual and real strength so that none will try to play games next time around.

SRI LANKA: IMPLEMENTATION OF 27 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS ONLY CRITERIA FOR GSP PLUS

Sri Lanka Brief18/01/2017
The European Union issuing a press statement has  reiterated that the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions signed by a succession of Sri Lankan governments, are the only criteria on which the Government of Sri Lanka’s application to rejoin the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) is assessed. These conventions relate to international human rights, labour rights, environmental standards and good governance. Benefitting from GSP+ requires the government to undertake to make further progress in implementing the conventions and to cooperate with the EU to monitor implementation and address shortcomings, say the statement.
The rest of the statement follows:
More generally, the European Union supports the leadership shown by this government in committing to address historic and long-standing problems that have caused conflict and negatively affected the lives and living standards of all Sri Lankans. This includes the undertakings made, for instance, in the resolution that Sri Lanka co-sponsored at the UN Human Rights Council. The European Union is working with the government and civil society organisations to structure our support and engagement to positively contribute to the government’s national reconciliation and good governance aims.
Background The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market, accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports. In 2015, total bilateral trade amounted to €4.7 billion. The EU’s Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance, GSP+, is part of EU’s unilateral tariff preferences in favour of developing countries. The GSP+ scheme is designed to help developing countries by granting full removal of tariffs on over 66% of tariff lines covering a very wide array of products including, for example, textiles and fisheries. The GSP Regulation sets strict and clear criteria for granting GSP+.
Firstly, the applicant must meet economic criteria, i.e. it must be a vulnerable developing country with a non-diversified economy and low level of imports into the EU. Secondly, the country must have ratified the 27 international conventions required under GSP+. It must not have formulated reservations which are prohibited by these conventions, and the most recent conclusions of the monitoring bodies under those conventions must not identify any serious failure to effectively implement them.

The new GSP Regulation provides for continuous monitoring of the GSP+ beneficiaries’ obligations. Once a country is granted GSP+, the EU must, therefore, monitor that it abides by its commitments, namely to: maintain ratification of the international conventions covered by GSP+; ensure their effective implementation; comply with reporting requirements; accept regular monitoring in accordance with the conventions; and cooperate with the EU and provide all necessary information.
There are currently 8 GSP+ beneficiaries: Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia,Pakistan, Paraguay and Peru.
Contacts:

Political, Trade and Communications Section
Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives
Tel: + 94 11 2674413-4

Well done President Sirisena

Well done  President Sirisena

Jan 18, 2017

Lanka News WEB the popular news web has exposed the conduct of people like Paskaralingem, Charitha Rathwatte, Malik Samarawickrema and Sagala Rathnayake. All friends of the Prime Minister for engaging in corrupt deals and abuse of power using the Economic affairs committee .

The Prime Minister who is supposed to be Mr Clean did nothing to reprimand them or move them out. He turned a blind eye. Finally the President has clipped the wings of the Economic Sub Committee. Well done Mr President. How long can the public tolerate when 100 acres of prime land in Horana is given at 100 Rs an acre. or money is squandered for global lobbying .
 
Thank you for canceling the fraud land deal. I hope you take action to sack all the corrupt ministers and appoint decent people as ministers. The BOI Chairman has been asked to go for refusing to sign the letter for the 100 acres by  Minister Malik. They both need to go home. The Ministry of strategies have failed miserably. Last year they collected only $300 Million FDI .
 
Even in the worst of times FDI was over $500 Million.
 
President pls honor the pledges you gave the 6.5 million voters who put you there.
Four brothers to Maithri-Ranil Combo: The jury is still out

2017-01-18

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.”  ~ Plato 

The defection of Maithripala Sirisena from the ranks of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has only one parallel in history. That was when C P de Silva, the then second-in-command of the SLFP-led government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike and thirteen MPs crossed over from the government ranks to the Opposition and voted against the governing coalition at the time. That was in 1964. The so-called double doctors of the calibre of Dr. N. M. Perera, Queen’s Counsel-level legal luminaries such as Dr. Colvin R. de Silva and Felix Dias Bandaranaike were stumped and humiliated by J. R. Jayewardene, the most astute politician Sri Lanka has seen in her last six decades after Independence. In one of the most remarkable parliamentary coups ever to have been orchestrated, the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike was defeated in parliament.  

Such a dramatic event, however, did not occur in 2014. Yet, the announcement by Maithripala Sirisena, the sitting General Secretary of the SLFP and Minister of Health in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cabinet to leave the Mahinda-led coalition government and contest as a Common Candidate backed by the United National Party (UNP), the arch rival of the SLFP, had all the elements of a blockbuster event in a modern political scenario. Sirisena’s move was a bold one. Unlike the C P-crossover in 1964, which had the desired result of defeating the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike as a fait accompli, Maithripala’s gambit did not assure any certain result. In fact, it was one of the most daring political moves enacted by any political leader since Independence.  

In a bitterly fought election, Maithripala prevailed and he did solely because of the Tamil and Muslim vote plus the UNP vote. It is beyond question that Maithripala would not have secured the eventual result, if not for the UNP vote and Sirisena knows it. Sirisena carried his own district, Polonnaruwa, without much of a fight, but the rest of the country where the minority vote was not a deciding bloc, he lost. For example, deeply Sinhalese-Buddhist districts like Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Monaragala, Kalutara, and the entire Southern province where the minority vote was not of a reckonable magnitude, Mahinda won handsomely.However, Sirisena carried the districts that had the highest populations, Colombo, Kandy and Gampaha and swept those districts that are heavily minority-dominated, the North and the East.

Unlike the United States of America which elects her President on the Electoral College system, Sri Lanka elects her President on the popular vote. No President in Sri Lanka can be elected exclusively on the majority Sinhala-Buddhists’ vote. Time and time again, it has been proven that the winner always gets a sizeable majority of the minorities in the country. Some might argue that this theory is not correct and they cite the election result in 2005 at which Mahinda was the victor. But don’t forget the boycott of elections in 2005 by almost 99% of the Tamils on the decree issued by Prabhakaran and it is beyond a shadow of doubt that this boycott was arranged between Prabhakaran and the then coalition party that ran Mahinda Rajapaksa as its candidate. Had the Tamils been allowed to vote in the North and East, Ranil Wickremesinghe would have become President in 2005!The ‘Four Brothers’ and their cohorts prevented it. Victory at any or all costs was the motto of the ‘Four Brothers’.

Such costs, Sri Lankan either can afford, nor can she suffer. Presidential Election in 2015 marked, certainly not a revolution as some heavily-biased commentators interpret. As far as this writer is concerned, there was only one attempt of a revolution made in Sri Lanka and that was the famous April Insurrection in 1971 by the then Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) led by Rohana Wijeweera. What they attempted in 1987/’89 period was an endeavour to oust a democratically elected government by political terror, fear and murder. Innocent civilians were killed at random; political opponents were subjected to horrifying and shaming treatment and the whole country was in a grip of a fear psychosis; body-less heads were seen almost at every other culvert. It was not a revolution; it was a ruthlessly executed orgy of murder. Hence to call the 2015 elections a revolution is a total disfiguration of facts, figures and character of a real revolution.  

Yet why most folks call it a revolution could be explained when the change the 2015 Presidential Elections caused is taken in the context of the high expectations the broad masses envisaged. And it is in that context the current administration led by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe is being judged and prejudged. Certain strategic errors were committed by the Maithri-Ranil combo. Among them, but not limited to, are:  

 1. Not dissolving parliament within days after the Presidential Elections  
 2. Promulgation of a 100-Day Programme   
3. Bringing into parliament some known Mahinda Rajapaksa-lackeys such as S. B. Dissanayake and Dilan Perera   
 4. Going beyond a reasonably acceptable number of Cabinet Ministers  
 5. Non-removal of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran on the first signs of trouble and misdemeanour  

Being elected on a platform of eradication of corruption, establishment of transparency and accountability, it is anybody’s reasonable expectations that such drastically imprudent decisions would not be made by the leaders of the new coalition- Maithri-Ranil combo.Yet they made those irrational and sometimes idiotic decisions and they would have to pay for them unless they take some remedial measures almost immediately. Memories of our people are short; demands on their day-to-day chores are increasing exponentially in this fast, modern world. Smartphones and Facebook have become regular and necessary tools in their hands; PEO TVs are no more the exclusive possessions of the rich and in a world dominated by these modern-day gadgets, keeping information away from the general masses is simply not possible. Any attempts by those in power to hoodwink the masses the way the Rajapaksa regime did would be exposed by a very alert social media and galvanized civil organizations.  

Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe have quite an unenviable task at hand. The sharpening of the minds of an otherwise dormant intelligentsia, a mission they undertook at the elections in 2015, might one day come back on them and bury them forever if they don’t stop being foolish.To show even the slightest tendency to accumulate more power and wealth would be disastrous. That is the cost of sharpening the minds of the general masses. They simply cannot afford to disregard the influence of the social media. Merely attacking the Rajapaksas has to lead to its logical conclusions such as bringing them before the law. The people will make up their own minds, if they have not done so already. The path of greed and avarice the Rajapaksas showed cannot be trekked by the Sirisenas and Wickremesinghes and their supporting crews in their respective party machines.   

One last message for President Maithripala Sirisena: He seems to be obsessed with the notion of not to be the leader of the SLFP who would preside over its own demise. He must let that go. If the SLFP is going to dissolve as a political party, it would do so not because of President Sirisena, but because of various other factors amongst which are:the general degeneration of the party as a consequence of lack of discipline at the top, too much emphasis on ‘government’ as a solution to every problem, romanticist attachment to the party as a vehicle of the ‘common man’, lack of accountability built over a long period of time, a philosophical difference between the reasonableness of those who occupy a middle-ground and dependence syndrome enunciated in the policies of the party, thereby increasing dependence on politicians and their importance as saviours of the masses etc. All in all, the people are beginning to lose confidence and faith that they ascribed to the Maithri-Ranil combo at the beginning.


Lack of timely responses to the various allegations hurled at them by the so-called Joint Opposition coupled with the notion that the stability of the present government is in question and allowing the SLFP MPs and Cabinet Ministers to criticize the UNP, their coalition partner, has contributed to the collapse of confidence of the people. In that context, it is pertinent to mention that neither any UNP Cabinet Minister nor any UNP MP has been seen as criticizing the SLFP, it was always the SLFP members (outside the Joint Opposition MPs) who have been seen as lacking in discipline. Twenty years in power has corrupted the minds of the SLFP ranks. It has been entrenched in them that power is forever. The fear of losing that power and any existence outside that power have gripped their minds and made them impotent. That fear of impotency is their tragic ailment.  

But let us not prematurely pass judgment on the performance of the Maithri-Ranil combo.    The jury is still out.   

The writer can be contacted on vishwamithra1984@gmail.com  

A historic betrayal..! Vice Chancellor a MR’s henchman to sell Moratuwa University intellectual property rights on the sly..!


LEN logo(Lanka-e-News -19.Jan.2017, 1.15AM) Professor Ananda Kithsiri Wijenayake Jayawardena was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the Moratuwa University  by presently deposed and discarded ex president Mahinda Rajapakse who is now a byword for corruption and criminalities , during the cruel, despotic and  corrupt Rajapakse regime. 
In keeping with the overriding corrupt traits which characterize  all those of the Rajapakse clan and his cronies , Ananda Kithsiiri too  on the sly  is seeking underhand modes to sell the intellectual property rights belonging to the academics of the College to a private Co. 
It is with deep sorrow and profound concern Lanka e news reports this most shameful and shocking news of corruption involving a professor of the highest seat of learning .
The Vice Chancellor alias vice ‘committer’ is surreptitiously trying to make a sale of the intellectual property rights to a  private Co. ‘CODEGEN’. In view of this sale  , this private Co. is in the readiness to pay a colossal amount of money and grant a  number of perks and privileges to the Vice Chancellor and his close sidekicks. 
Unfortunately for this Vice committing Vice Chancellor , though he is determined to sign this agreement with the Co. stealthily , the chairman of the  advisory committee of the Moratuwa university concerning  intellectual property has fiercely  opposed this . As a  result the Vice chancellor alias ‘Vice Committer’ is unable to go ahead with his calculated and  crooked plan. 
The crafty and corrupt Vice chancellor  with a view to holding  discussions had summoned the Academics Board suddenly without giving adequate notice  violating the administrative regulations .Only a few academics attended this meeting ,and sadly , a majority of them were henchmen of the Vice committing Vice Chancellor.  
The president of the Moratuwa University academics association following this controversial and sinister  move of the Vice chancellor  sent an e mail message highlighting the irregularities  to the Vice chancellor .In that it was  noted that the Vice chancellor has neglected his duty to give adequate time to the Academics Board to enlighten itself  in connection with the agreement that is going to be signed with the private Co. In other words  the Academics Board  was  deprived of its opportunity  to do a research and gives its counter suggestions .
The disillusioned Academics board  is of the view ,    owing to the corrupt and fraudulent efforts of the Vice Chancellor , there has arisen a division  among the Board  members. The Board  has therefore  lambasted the Vice chancellor over his selfish unscrupulous moves  to acquire self centered  personal gains. This  (mis)conduct will also   poorly reflect on the Moratuwa University in the local and international spheres ,they have pointed out.
The president of the academics board while  insisting that  the intellectual property laws pertaining to the Universities should be extensively amended , pinpointed , right now adverse pressures are being exerted against the innovative measures which are  being initiated at the Moratuwa University towards a new culture relating to the  technological and engineering spheres. 
It is the view of the academics possessed of  expertise who are showing concern in the best interests of the University  and the country  that if this agreement is signed  for any  reason , the intellectual property rights belonging to the academics and the students will completely be transferred to the private Co. and that would be irreversible .
When  the president of the Intellectual property advisory Committee (IPAC) refusing to sign the agreement  , it  was  presented before the University Grants Commission (UGC) . It is the hope of the  Moratuwa University  academics and students that the UGC will probe into this dispassionately and impartially. In addition , it is their fervent hope that the president , the Prime Minister and the minister of higher education will seriously focus their careful attention on  this fraudulent attempts and dastardly action. 
The Vice Chancellor alias Vice ‘committer’ Ananda Kithsiri , (who  only has a civil engineering qualification ) despite his so called education,  instead of making an honest and worthwhile contribution to the esteemed Institution he is serving  or his motherland , and  acting this way to achieve  selfish and sordid gains  is most reprehensible and  most disgraceful  from all angles. It is  the Rajapakses who are as shameless as he when it comes to  earning filthy lucre , who appointed Ananda Kithsiri as a Vice Chancellor  of a  highly esteemed Moratuwa University. At any rate ,  we are ashamed to reveal , in his whole life Kithsiri  has only written one book, and that was for his University degree. 
Neither has he done any worthy research nor  won any international acclaim.  Cast in the same mould as the Rajapakses,  his mouth is so wide only the mouth of a  spittoon can beat that orifice in size.
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by     (2017-01-18 19:52:34)