« The Ocean seafood restaurant at Colombo’s five-star The Kingsbury was once famous for its magnificent view of the Indian Ocean. Its open-air wooden terrace that runs along the hotel’s western façade used to be so close to the beautiful coastline that waves lapped the rocks, sending sprays of sea foam into the air. Not anymore »
After the end of decades of armed conflict, an ice-cream parlour in war-torn Jaffna has gained popularity among Sri Lankans, thanks to its persistence in remaining open despite the violence.
Sivanathan Navindra was once known as Venthan, a former bodyguard of the slain Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation at the time, the Tamil Tigers.
When Sri Lanka goes to the polls on Aug 17, Mr Sivanathan will be a candidate, hoping to be elected as a member of parliament.
Sri Lankan security forces have continued to torture Tamil detainees even after the election of reformist president Maithripala Sirisena in January, according to a report.
The report, by the UK-based charity Freedom From Torture (FFT) and published on Thursday, comes just four days before critical parliamentary elections on 17 August. Sirisena, elected on a promise to lift government repression, is seeking to prevent a comeback by his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose government has been accused of systematic brutality against the country’s Tamils after the military rout of the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.
Sri Lanka’s government has been reaching out to the country’s influential Tamil diaspora with the aim of building minority support and boosting its international standing. But the contentious strategy holds risks for the government’s survival ahead of parliamentary elections next week.
Since Sri Lanka’s three-decade civil war ended in 2009, Nagarathnam Ganeshan has faced a major new uncertainty: how much water he will have to grow his crops.
« A half year after Maithripala Sirisena’s stunning defeat of President Mahinda Rajapaksa raised hopes for democratic renaissance, the complexities of partisan politics, and Rajapaksa himself, have returned to centre stage. Sirisena’s initial months with a minority government led by the United National Party (UNP) have opened important political space: robust debate and criticism have replaced the fear under Rajapaksa, and important governance reforms have been made, but much remains undone. By initial steps on reconciliation, the government set a more accommodating tone on the legacy of the civil war and the ethnic conflict that drove it. But divisions within government and Sirisena’s failure to take control of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) prevented deeper reform and allowed Rajapaksa and his supporters to mount a comeback. With Sirisena opposing Rajapaksa’s return, the 17 August parliamentary elections will test the continued appeal of the ex-president’s hardline Sinhala nationalism and give a chance for the fresh start that lasting solutions to the country’s social divisions require. »
‘The Cake that was Baked at Home’ attempts to unveil lesser known aspects Kadirgamar’s life. Told through Ajita’s memories, stories and recollections by those who knew him, extracts of published media and tributes composed specifically for the book, she endeavours to shed light on facets of a brilliant and complex man. Kadirgamar spent the last ten years of his life in the harsh and sometimes unforgiving public spotlight, adored by some, declared a traitor by others, all the while knowing he was constantly being targeted by the LTTE.
The 440 page book is also the author’s personal journey of healing and discovery where she poses the question, ‘Do we ever really know a person, even one’s own parent?’ Ajita admits in the concluding chapter, ‘People will certainly ask what kind of a daughter I am, that I can be so critical and judgmental about this much loved and respected man. They will see me as tarnishing a hero’s image. Well, I’m the kind of daughter who tells it like it is, and more so with advancing age. The fact remains that his greatness came at a price. We paid the price. We paid the price for his single minded ambition, drive and brilliance that led him to the highest echelons of public office. We stood in the wings helplessly as, first a woman and then a whole nation hijacked him as their own.’
Different ethnic members in the national party must also find accommodation in the cabinet. Such practices are not new to Sri Lankan politics. In fact, they were adopted under the Westminster model in the 1950s to 1970s. With the Gaullist model however, ethnic parties are having a field day. Religious leaders of the country, particularly the Mahanayakas, should bring pressure on the national parties to avoid pre-election pacts with parties like SLMC. Even if ethnic party candidates succeed in the election and enter the parliament let them sit in the opposition and warm up the seats. Their supporters will soon come to realise the futility of electing them and will switch their allegiance automatically to one of the major parties. An enlightened national party can make the ethnic parties redundant. That will be a healthy outcome to a plural democracy.
(Text of a Press Statement Issued by the Canadian Tamil Congress on August 7th 2015)
The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) strongly urges Tamils and all citizens of Sri Lanka to exercise their right to vote at the upcoming Parliamentary elections.
The presidential election of January 8th, 2015 was a turning point in the recent political history of Sri Lanka. Voters turned up in large numbers and voted for change and a new beginning.
While Canada and other members of the international community acknowledged and welcomed these changes it is the duty of all responsible Sri Lankan citizens to ensure that these tenuous beginnings are consolidated without giving any chance for their reversal.
Although many issues of the Tamil people including land rights, political prisoners and disappearances were not addressed as expected, the election did bring about early signs of goodwill, as reflected in some actions that were taken by the current government. CTC believes that these positive developments, together with new-found political optimism, can be further strengthened after the August election.
The resolution of the Tamil problem will invariably involve meaningful negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka, the elected representatives of the Tamil people, and other relevant stakeholders. In this context, Parliamentarians elected by the Tamil people will have a major role to play. One strong united voice speaking for Tamils will have a significant impact at these negotiations.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), under the responsible and experienced leadership of Mr. R. Sampanthan, has earned the recognition and respect of not only the Tamil people, but also other community representatives in Sri Lanka and international community members like Canada, USA and India. He has carefully and consistently articulated the concerns, grievances and aspirations of the Tamil people
CTC works closely with TNA, and our partnership has been crucial in some of the diplomatic achievements made in Canada as well as at the UNHRC in Geneva. TNA’s Secretary for Legal and Foreign Affairs, Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran’s advocacy skills, experience and expertise has been beneficial to both CTC and TNA when meeting various government officials in Canada, Geneva and other parts of the world.
CTC firmly believes that a strong mandate given to the TNA to represent Tamils in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka will strengthen our position during negotiations. Together with a victory for the progressive forces that advocate democracy and good governance in the South, the chances of achieving a negotiated political resolution, accountability and sustainable reconciliation in Sri Lanka will more likely become a reality.
Sections of the Tamil Diaspora are on a virulent campaign against the TNA. Most Tamils abroad are not engaged in politics, because it is dirty and dangerous. Slanderous stories are put out against those not in agreement. Fear of being labelled, leaves the field open to virulent sections of the Diaspora to speak on behalf of all others.
In the US this mantle of Tamil leadership has defaulted to Tamils for Obama. As fair-weather friends, they were Tamils for Clinton when Hilary Clinton seemed likely to win the Democratic Party nomination in 2008 and then, when Obama did, they re-Christened themselves as Tamils for Obama. Now, in 2015, as Obama’s term is ending and Hilary seems likely to be the Democratic Party nominee and ultimately president in Jan. 2017, they wrote shamelessly to her on 10 May 2015 signalling their willingness to turn-coat again: “We are Tamils for Obama. We would like to remind you that before the nomination was settled in 2008, we were Tamils for Clinton. We are still here and eager to offer our support again. We were among your supporters before, and we haven’t changed our minds.”
6,151 Candidates from 21 registered political parties and 201 independent groups are contesting the Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections scheduled for August 17th 2015. Of these 3, 653 are from the 21 parties and 2,498 from independent groups. Predictably the spotlight in general has been on the major political parties both nationally and regionally in g. However a particular group of independents contesting in the north has also attracted much attention. This is because the group comprises former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday cast her lot against her party’s candidate and presidential successor Mahinda Rajapaksa, indirectly urging Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) supporters to vote against him at the 17 August election.
« It is hard to achieve a significant sustainable economic development without focusing on the development of the export sector, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
It is an achievable target to increase the export income to US $ 50 billion or more following a systematic approach to export development, he added.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was addressing the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2015, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce under the theme ‘Towards exports of US $ 50 billion’ in Colombo yesterday. »
C.V.Wigneswaran, who became Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province in 2013 thanks to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), appears to be drifting away from the party which propped him up.