அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு

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அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு.

'' நீதி, மதம், அரசியல், சமுதாயம் சம்பந்தமான எல்லாவித சொல்லடுக்குகளுக்கும் பிரகடனங்களுக்கும் வாக்குறுதிகளுக்கும் பின்னே ஏதாவதொரு வர்க்கத்தின் நலன்கள் ஒழிந்து நிற்பதைக் கண்டுகொள்ள மக்கள் தெரிந்துகொள்ளாத வரையில் அரசியலில் அவர்கள் முட்டாள்தனமான ஏமாளிகளாகவும் தம்மைத் தாமே ஏமாற்றிக்கொள்வோராகவும் இருந்தனர், எப்போதும் இருப்பார்கள். பழைய ஏற்பாடு ஒவ்வொன்றும் எவ்வளவுதான் காட்டு மிராண்டித் தனமாகவும் அழுகிப் போனதாகவும் தோன்றிய போதிலும் ஏதாவது ஒரு ஆளும்வர்க்கத்தின் சக்தியைக் கொண்டு அது நிலைநிறுத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. சீர்திருத்தங்கள், அபிவிருத்திகள் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆதரவாளர்கள் இதை உணராத வரையில் பழைய அமைப்பு முறையின் பாதுகாவலர்கள் அவர்களை என்றென்றும் முட்டாளாக்கிக் கொண்டே இருப்பார்கள். இந்த வர்க்கங்களின் எதிர்ப்பைத் தகர்த்து ஒழிப்பதற்கு ஒரே ஒரு வழிதான் உண்டு. அது என்ன?

பழைமையைத் துடைத்தெறியவும் புதுமையைச் சிருக்ஷ்டிக்கவும் திறன் பெற்றவையும், சமுதாயத்தில் தாங்கள் வகிக்கும் ஸ்தானத்தின் காரணமாக அப்படிச் சிருக்ஷ்டித்துக் தீரவேண்டிய நிர்ப்பந்தத்திலிருக்கிறவையுமான சக்திகளை, நம்மைச் சூழ்ந்துள்ள இதே சமுதாயத்துக்குள்ளேயே நாம் கண்டுபிடித்து, அந்தச் சக்திகளுக்கு ஞானமூட்டிப் போராட்டத்துக்கு ஸ்தாபன ரீதியாகத் திரட்ட வேண்டும். இது ஒன்றேதான் வழி. ''

மாமேதை தோழர் லெனின்
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Sunday, 22 February 2015

New Sri Lanka gov't ends US lobbying contracts

New Sri Lanka gov't ends US lobbying contracts
Associated Press By MATTHEW PENNINGTON

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a sign of improving relations with the U.S., Sri Lanka has terminated lobbying contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars a month that the previous government had signed to help it win friends in Washington amid war crimes allegations, the nation's ambassador says.

The investment in lobbyists to foster political and economic ties had gathered steam last summer, in the dying months of the administration of then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, but with little apparent benefit, as Sri Lanka's international isolation deepened over its refusal to credibly probe civilian deaths during the civil war that ended 2009.

But political change inside Sri Lanka itself has done the trick. There has been a turnaround in the U.S. relationship after new President Maithripala Sirisena won Jan. 8 elections and promised democratic reforms and accountability for human rights violations.

Sirisena was elected in large part because of public dismay over the rising cost of living on the South Asian island, where the monthly per capita GDP is about $540. Rajapaksa was also widely criticized for nepotism and alleged government corruption.

Washington-based lobbying groups are often hired by foreign governments to help win the ear of U.S. officials, lawmakers, media and other opinion-makers. Justice Department online records show Sri Lanka signed eight contracts with such groups from 2014, with monthly fees ranging from $5,000 to $75,000.

"The new government does not see a reason or requirement to have lobbying groups at this juncture," Sri Lankan Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam told The Associated Press on Friday. "To my knowledge, all those contracts have been terminated since the election of the new government."

Vinoda Basnayake of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough LLP said soon after the election, the embassy informed his company that its $35,000 monthly contract was not being extended. Nelson Mullins was one of several groups hired to serve Sajin De Vass Gunawardena, a lawmaker who had advised Rajapaksa on foreign affairs. Basnayake said its fees for the last quarter had been paid in advance.

But Connie Mack, executive vice-president of Levick Strategic Communications LLC, said its client, Sri Lanka's central bank — whose chief has been replaced by the new government — was three months or $180,000 in arrears on payments for the contract it terminated Jan. 28. Mack said he planned to meet with the Sri Lankan ambassador soon to discuss the issue.

Kariyawasam, a career diplomat who became ambassador last July, told the AP he did not know if any payments to lobbyists were outstanding because he did not sign any of the contracts.

The Obama administration is keen to improve relations with Sri Lanka, which forged closer ties with China under Rajapaksa. The island lies off the coast of southeastern India, on sea lanes linking East Asia and the Middle East.

New Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited Washington this month, winning U.S. support for a delay in the publication of a U.N. investigation into the war. The report is politically sensitive in Sri Lanka because it could implicate elements of the nation's military that crushed the resistance of ethnic Tamil rebels.
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MODI TO VISIT Sri Lanka

India leader to visit Sri Lanka as pro-China policy ebbs
Associated Press

The new Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena, returned from a visit to India this week, his first trip overseas, and highlighted the improving ties that had soured because of Sri Lanka's closeness to China under the previous administration.

Sirisena won a surprise victory last month against former ally Mahinda Rajapaksa, who relied heavily on China for infrastructure projects and backing against human rights allegations at the United Nations.

China's increasing influence in Sri Lanka had made India anxious because it considers the Indian Ocean region to be its strategic backyard.

China has provided loans for an airport, sea port, highways and power plants in Sri Lanka, where it became the largest investor. The new government, however, announced it would investigate a $1.5 billion Colombo Port City project, constructed on an artificial island off Colombo, because of suspicions it was not transparent.

The deal was sealed last September when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Sri Lanka and won Colombo's support for a proposed maritime "Silk Road" linking China with Europe.

The late Rajiv Gandhi was the last Indian leader to visit Sri Lanka in 1987 to sign a peace pact to end an ethnic Tamil separatist rebellion still in its infancy. India sent peacekeepers to Sri Lanka as part of that agreement, angering the Tamil Tiger rebels whose suicide bomber assassinated Gandhi in 1991 at an election rally.

The rebels were crushed by the Sri Lankan military in 2009. China assisted Sri Lanka in the civil war by providing arms and later defended the country at the U.N. Human Rights Council against allegations of abuses in the civil war.

Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Sri Lanka in 2008, but only to participate in a summit of South Asian leaders.
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MOVE TO BRING MR ON NATIONAL LIST

MOVE TO BRING MR ON NATIONAL LIST
Senior parliamentarians in SUPPORT of the Rajapaksa have launched a sudden operation to get former President Mahinda Rajapaksa into Parliament through the National List.

They have decided to meet Malani Fonseka and Janaka Priyantha, both United People's Freedom Alliance national list parliamentarians, to discuss this issue. Several senior parliamentarians have come forward for this and reliable sources say that parliamentarians who were appointed through the National List have not yet taken a final decision on this.

Senior parliamentarians in SUPPORT of the Rajapaksas have launched a sudden operation to get former President Mahinda Rajapaksa into Parliament through the National List.

They have decided to meet Malani Fonseka and Janaka Priyantha, both United People's Freedom Alliance national list parliamentarians, to discuss this issue. Several senior parliamentarians have come forward for this and reliable sources say that parliamentarians who were appointed through the National List have not yet taken a final decision on this.

However, the final decision of appointing parliamentarians through the National List rests with the General Secretary of the United People's Freedom Alliance. According to certain sources, Susil Premajayantha, who holds this post, is not in agreement with this operation.

No investigation conducted against KP so far!

KP travel ban to stay
No investigation conducted 
so far
Sarath Maslalasekera

The Court of Appeal yesterday extended the Interim Order restraining LTTE arms procurer Kumaran Pathmananthan alias KP from leaving the country until February 26, 2015.

At the outset, Solicitor General Suhadha Gamlath who appeared for the Attorney General moved court to extend the ban on KP for another week from yesterday as investigations were not being conducted. The Court of Appeal Bench comprising Justice Vijitha Malalgoda and Justice H J C Madawela accordingly extended the ban until February 26.

Senior Attorney Upul Kumarapperuma, Senior Counsel for the Petitioner JVP Propaganda Secretary Herath Mudiyanselage Vijitha Herath submitted that the investigations into KP's arrest and his ACTIVITIES were not conducted up to date.

Senior Counsel Kumarapperuma said that KP is living freely without any investigations being initiated against him by the authorities. He also sought a comprehensive report giving reasons from the Army Commander and Commander SECURITY Forces Kilinochchi for providing SECURITY to KP.

The petitioner has cited eight respondents. They are the IGP, Defence Secretary, Controller of Immigration and Emigration, Army Commander, Commander Security Forces, Kilinochchi, Director Terrorist Investigations Division (CID), the Attorney General and KP.

Senior Attorney Upul Kumarapperuma with Attorneys Thanuka Nandasiri, Kaushalya Perera, Keshani Jayasuriya, Ayantha Dehiattage instructed by Sunil Watagoda appeared for the Petitioner Vijitha Herath. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

"MR Should Speak To President If He Wants To Be Next PM"

"MR Should Speak To President If He Wants To Be Next PM"

Friday, 20 February 2015 10:07

Cabinet Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senarathne said if Mahinda Rajapaksa wants to be the next Prime Minister, he should  discuss the matter with President Maithripala Sirisena.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo, Minister Senarathne said that Rajapaksa is still engaging in ACTIVE politics as a Senior Advisory to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

“If he wants the post of Prime Minister he can discuss the matter with the President and compete in the general Election as the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the SLFP” the minister added.

Senarathne also asserted that  the objective of the 100 day programme is to end ‘family oriented’ politics, corruptions and to bring ‘good governance’ to the country.

"Therefore Rajapaksa does not have any barrier to compete as the Prime Ministerial Candidate", Senaratne said.

 “The message sent by Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Nugegoda rally did not mention anything about  him  competing as the Prime Ministerial candidate.” he said.

(Methmalie Dissanayake)

Rajitha: India did not insist on 13 A plus implementation

Rajitha: India did not insist on 13 A plus implementation
February 19, 2015, 9:36 pm  by Zacki Jabbar

India has not insisted that the 13th Amendment Plus pledge which former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given it, be implemented, the government said yesterday.

Asked during the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during last weeks official talks with President Maithripala Sirisena in New Delhi, insisted that the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan

Constitution be improved to 13A Plus as promised by Rajapaksa, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who was part of the presidential delegation answered in the negative.

"No there was no such demand. The former President had got plus and minus mixed up. That was the way he did his calculation, which eventually led to defeat," Senaratne observed.

Minister said that India had been assured of the Sirisena government’s commitment to resolving the ethnic issue in a manner that was acceptable to all communities.

The Tamil National Alliance would be engaged in a constructive and positive manner, the minister noted, adding that the government in principle was committed to devolution within a unitary state.

With change in Sri Lanka, US eyes deeper ties


With change in Sri Lanka, US eyes deeper ties
Associated Press By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
February 2, 2015 1:11 AM


WASHINGTON (AP) — The surprise defeat of Sri Lanka's authoritarian leader and the new government's early steps to end repression have stirred U.S. hopes that the South Asian island nation can revive ties with Washington and distance itself to some degree from China.

Sirisena won Jan. 8 elections. Sri Lanka's new foreign minister is expected to visit Washington this month.

Under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, relations with China intensified, with heavy Chinese investment in the strategically located island along busy sea lanes between the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Once-robust ties with the U.S.

deteriorated sharply, even as President Barack Obama pushed to engage nations across Asia and consolidate America as a Pacific power.

Obama wants a deeper partnership with Sri Lanka, and U.S. officials say the early signs are promising.

Within a week or so of taking office, former Rajapaksa ally Sirisena rolled back restrictions on the press and civil society. He also vows to reduce powers of the presidency that been inflated by Rajapaksa when his popularity ballooned during the ending of Sri Lanka's bloody civil war.

U.S.-Sri Lanka relations were strained over Rajapaksa's reluctance to investigate thousands of reported civilian deaths in the final chapter of the quarter-century conflict in 2009, when government forces crushed Tamil rebels who had been fighting for an ethnic homeland.

Sirisena has been cautious about promising action on accountability, but he did offer an early gesture to minority Tamils, who supported him at the polls, when he quickly replaced an unpopular ex-military governor appointed by Rajapaksa in the former battle zone in the north of the country.

The new government also says it is reviewing one of a series of major Chinese-financed infrastructure projects: a $1.5 billion land reclamation for a "port city" in the capital, Colombo. That's a blow to Beijing's progress in winning an ally in the Indian Ocean.

But officials in Colombo are also being careful not to alienate Beijing. Rajitha Senaratne, a Cabinet spokesman, said Sri Lanka does not "need to tilt towards any side."

"China has been a historical friend of ours, India is also the same," he told The Associated Press. "Our exports go to the E.U. and U.S." The new government assured India it will not align itself to any world power.

Two recent port calls by Chinese submarines at a Chinese-built terminal in Colombo , one before a visit in September by China's leader Xi Jinping, fueled speculation that Beijing's wants a "string of pearls," or port access along sea lanes

linking the energy-rich Persian Gulf and economic centers in eastern China. The submarine visits spooked India, which lies just 30 miles from Sri Lanka and shares U.S. uncertainty about Beijing's intentions as China's military power grows.

Washington has its own strategic reasons to be interested in Sri Lanka.

A 2007 agreement, sealed before relations with Rajapaksa soured, permits the U.S. and Sri Lanka to exchange nonlethal supplies and refueling during humanitarian operations and joint military exercises.

The U.S. has a significant economic stake in the nation of 20 million people. U.S. financial institutions are major investors in Sri Lankan bonds, and the U.S. is the second-largest market for Sri Lankan exports.

"The United States should keep up the pressure on human rights and reconciliation with ethnic minorities," said Bharath Gopalaswamy of the Atlantic Council think tank. "But that should not be the only thing the relationship is built on. It has to be broader engagement."

Sri Lanka also wants a better relationship with Washington. Rajapaksa's government spent liberally on U.S.-based lobbyists but with little apparent impact.

Acrimony with the U.S. and others over human rights deepened when a U.N. body last year approved an investigation into reports of civil war atrocities. The results are due in March.

Sirisena will be walking a fine line at home and abroad in how he responds. He's managing an unwieldy coalition of majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils, and the government could face parliamentary elections within months.

Ready for early parliament polls

Ready for early parliament polls

February 19, 2015 22:13

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the Government is ready to go for early Parliamentary elections, if the need arises.

Speaking at an event in Colombo today, the Prime Minister noted that the Government is looking at 100 days since taking office, to complete its 100 day PROGRAM.

He said that in order to achieve that goal the Government needs the SUPPORT of all the political parties represented in Parliament.

The Prime Minister said that if there is a threat to the Government obtaining a 2/3 majority in Parliament to implement the 100 day PROGRAM, including key constitutional changes, then Parliament will be dissolved and early elections will be held.

Wickremesinghe says the Government is keen to ensure the 100 day program goes through, during which the Presidential powers are also expected to be reduced.

The 100 day program of the Government ends on April 23 after which Parliament is to be dissolved and elections held.

The core group in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has already said that it will look to defeat Wickremesinghe at the polls and not form a National unity Government as proposed by Wickremesinghe.

(Colombo Gazette)

Government to investigate Funds of the LTTE



February 1, 2015 18:10

The LTTE activities over the past few years including its funding and alleged links it had with the former Government. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking in Mawanella today, said that the Government wants to know what happened to the FUNDS of the LTTE.

“This is part of our probe on corruption. The former Government always accused us of having links with the LTTE but it was they who had links with the Tigers,” the Prime Minister said.

He said that investigations will include 
Obtaining information on the 

1) LTTE ships, 
2) Gold 
3) and MONEY yet to be found even after the war.

The Prime Minister said that the public in the North have said they have evidence to SHARE over the LTTE and so that evidence will also be obtained.

“This is a large scale investigation,” the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister also CLAIMED that there was an attempt to use the LTTE to prevent the Tamils in the north from voting at the last Presidential elections.

Wickremesinghe also said that when the European court ruled in support of the LTTE the former Government did not take steps to assist the European Union to reverse the court ruling.

“We have said we will assist the EU to ensure the ban on the LTTE in the EU remains,” he said.

The Prime Minister also questioned the former Government’s failure to handover Kumaran Pathmanathan, better known as KP, to India.
KP is wanted in India over the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
 (Colombo Gazette)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

மீண்டும் அரசியலுக்கு வருவேன்! - போர்க்குற்றவாளி ராஜபக்ச

Sri Lanka's ex-President Rajapaksa vows political return
Associated Press

 COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday vowed to return to politics following his stunning defeat in last month's presidential election and said he may contest for prime minister later this year.

Rajapaksa told a rally of tens of thousands of supporters urging him to return that he is unable to ignore their wishes.

Rajapaksa was defeated by former ally Maithripala Sirisena in the Jan. 8 election.

His supporters say Rajapaksa, who ended a decades-long civil war during his nine-year rule, must return because the new government has endangered the country's unity by being lenient toward ethnic minority Tamils.

"What we are experiencing today is not a defeat but a result of a conspiracy," he said in a message read out at the rally. "I say firmly that I am in anyway unable to ignore the wishes of those of you who think about the country and are committed for the country."

Rajapaksa's supporters asked him to contest for prime minister in elections likely to be held in July.

Sirisena has promised to prune presidential powers and empower the parliament under a prime minister who will be the head of government.

Wimal Weerawansa, a lawmaker calling for Rajapaksa's return, said the new government's moves to lift travel restrictions to the former northern war zone, plans to release land occupied by the military and a promise to the United Nations to

conduct its own inquiry into war crimes allegations against government troops and the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in the final months of the fighting in 2009 risked the country's unity.

Sri Lanka, India leaders eye new era in troubled ties



Sri Lanka, India 
leaders eye new era 
in troubled ties
AFP By Abhaya Srivastava  February 16, 2015 1:29 PM

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena after a signing agreement ceremony in New Delhi on February 16, 2015

The leaders of India and Sri Lanka vowed Monday to strengthen their relationship after a period of tensions and declared their countries' fortunes were intertwined as they held their first summit in New Delhi.

After signing a deal on nuclear safety, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena that there was "unprecedented opportunity" to take ties to a new level.

China's growing influence in Sri Lanka over recent years has been a source of disquiet in India, which has long regarded the neighbouring island as within its natural sphere of influence.

But Sirisena's victory over long-time ruler Mahinda Rajapakse in elections last month has been seized on by both sides as a chance for a reboot in relations, fuelled by the new president's decision to make India his first port of call.

"It's an honour that you have chosen India as your first foreign destination," Modi said after hosting talks with Sirisena, who is barely five weeks into his tenure.

"India is the closest neighbour and friend of Sri Lanka. Our goodwill and support will always be with you. I believe that our destinies are interlinked."

"We share very strong relations that span several thousand years," said Sirisena, whose country lies at the southern tip of India.

"The courtesy extended to us on this visit has been very great... this is my first official visit to India and it has been very fruitful.

"I can clearly say that our bilateral relations have been further strengthened."

Under the nuclear deal, India will provide safety training to Sri Lanka where there have been longstanding concerns about how to handle the fallout from a disaster involving the Kundankulam nuclear plant in India's southern Tamil Nadu state.

Official sources in Sri Lanka said the cooperation deal was aimed at training local scientists and did not involve a power generation programme.

"We are not talking about setting up nuclear reactors or anything like that," a foreign ministry source in Colombo told AFP. "We haven't even thought of feasibility studies (on nuclear energy), this is about training our people."

India has long considered Sri Lanka to be within its strategic sphere of influence, sending troops to the island in 1987 to enforce a peace accord it brokered between Colombo and separatist Tamil rebels.

But under Rajapakse, China ploughed huge sums into Sri Lankan infrastructure projects, becoming its biggest foreign financier and enjoying significant political and even military influence.

India was reported to have been furious at the brief appearance last year of two Chinese submarines in Sri Lankan waters.

China has been accused of seeking to develop facilities around the Indian Ocean in a "string of pearls" strategy to counter the rise of its Asian rival India and secure its own economic interests.

While neither leader mentioned China by name, the announcements of memoranda of understanding between the south Asian neighbours on issues such as defence cooperation and energy will have been noted in Beijing.

Modi said he and Sirisena had "agreed to expand our defence and security cooperation" as well as work together on maritime security.

Analysts say the visit's main significance is as a signal of intent from Sri Lanka.

"This visit is very significant because it could very well be a turning point," K.G. Suresh, senior fellow at the Delhi-based Vivekananda International Foundation think-tank, told AFP.

"Suspicions that earlier marked India-Sri Lanka relations could now give way to more confidence and strong ties between the two."

Sirisena is keen to attract greater Indian investment in Sri Lanka, which said last week it was seeking an international bailout of more than $4.0 billion.

China funded much of Sri Lanka's post-war infrastructure under the Rajapakse administration but the new government has said the interest rates charged on the loans averaged between five and seven percent -- much higher than the market rate.

Sirisena is being accompanied by several ministers, including Reconstruction Minister D.M. Swaminathan, who said the government was keen to secure India's support for ethnic reconciliation following the island's decade-long ethnic war that ended in 2009.

Sri Lanka's minority Tamils share close cultural ties with the Tamils in Tamil Nadu.

On Tuesday Sirisena will travel to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya and a Hindu temple in Tirupati further south before leaving the next day.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

பக்ச பாசிசம் ``புதிய` மைத்திரி பாசிசத்தின் அங்கமே!

MR, CBK in SLFP top team to prepare for polls



The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) yesterday appointed a top level committee to advise the party and spearhead the parliamentary election campaign.

The appointments were made during the party’s executive committee meeting.

The committee headed by President Maithripala Sirisena will include former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, former  Prime ministers D.M. Jayaratna and Ratnasiri Wickremanayke, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, former Minister Vishwa Warnapala and former Governor Alavi Moulana.

Both, Mr. Rajapaksa and Ms. Kumaratunga were not present when the appointments were made. They had excused themselves from the meeting.

Former Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa was named the General Secretary of the SLFP.   Former Minister John Seneviratne was named as the Senior Vice President. Ten other Vice Presidents were also named.

The party also appointed former Minister Susil Premajayantha as the National Organiser, replacing Basil Rajapaksa, while former senior minister S.B. Nawinna was appointed as Treasurer. 

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna, who was a vice president, was appointed only as a Central Committee member.

மைத்திரி ஆட்சியில் இந்திய விரிவாதிக்க அரசுக்கு இலங்கையில் பொருளாதார மேலாதிக்கம்.

Hopes for strong economic ties with India


President Maithriapala Sirisena will leave for India today on a four-day visit leading a 16-member delegation in his first overseas visit after last month’s presidential election. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka and Resettlement Minister D.M.

Swaminathan will accompany the President while Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera who is in the US will join the President in India.

President Sirisena will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow. He will also meet other political leaders.

The president is also scheduled to visit Buddha Gaya and the Tirupathi temple before he returns on Wednesday. Meanwhile, economists said the warming of relations between India and Sri Lanka with the advent of new leaders in the two countries after a prolonged period of suspicion and distrust, was the ideal platform to revisit stalled negotiations on a proposed economic and trade services agreement.

The visit for talks with Prime Minister Modi on key issues including the peace and reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, should also set the tone for fresh  talks on trade and economic cooperation, they said. “(Prime Minister) Modi has an open mind and is very accommodating. This is the time to restart negotiations on the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and also revisit the ongoing FREE TRADE Agreement (FTA),” a senior economist said.

He said the FTA had come to a stage of stagnation and like all trade pacts needed to be fine-tuned to keep in line with modern trends and global changes in trade and commerce.

R.D.S. Kumararatne, Director General of Commerce, said Sri Lanka, at the moment, would focus on the FTA as the CEPA had been stalled for some time.

Negotiations leading to a proposed agreement on the CEPA started during Ranil Wickremasinghe’s previous term as Prime Minister (2002-2004), which the economist said would be a positive factor in restarting talks on the proposed deal.

CEPA talks crashed during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2004-2014 tenure owing to protests by local industrialists and other parties. They claimed the pact would open the doors for Indian professionals and semi-professionals to work in assigned sectors in Sri Lanka, thereby depriving locals of jobs.

These concerns were countered by trade experts and economists working on the Sri Lankan side saying such concerns would be addressed. However, the anti-CEPA lobby was so strong that it led to the former President putting the negotiations on the back burner.

Economists say the FTA also needs review and in both cases, FTA and CEPA, domestic concerns — restricting trade, investment and services in areas where Sri Lankans are building a  base –  could be addressed by the negative list. They said that uncertainty as to whether such concerns would be addressed in the negative list had deepened ANXIETY by local industrialists over the proposed pact.

“But all these concerns can be addressed now,” noted the senior economist, stressing that “India (under) Modi is very generous and reaching out to its neighbours unlike before”.

இந்திய விரிவாதிக்க அங்கீகாரப் பாதையே, மைத்திரி கும்பலின் பிராந்திய வெளிவிவகாரப்பாதை!

Sirisena-Modi Talks: Lankans Urge Cautious Approach to Ties With India

By P.K.Balachandran Published: 15th February 2015 04:32 PM Last UPDATED: 15th February 2015 04:32 PM

COLOMBO: As Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena prepares to have talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday,

Opinion makers in Lanka have urged him to be cautious in his bid to improve ties with India, even as they endorsed his policy of recognizing India’s pre-eminent position in the South Asian region.

“President Sirisena’s visit must essentially be a goodwill visit. It must be devoid of joint statements which the Indian MEA will draft. They see things with their heads, not their hearts. It is too early for the Sri Lankan government to get into the crux of substantive bilateral issues on such a visit. This can be left to a subsequent visit by the Prime Minister or during a reciprocal visit by the Indian PM to Colombo,” said Sunday Times.
Pointing out that the Indian side will raise the issue of fully implementing the 13 th.Amendment (devolving power to the provinces), the paper said that India should not be allowed to treat the Tamil areas of the North as an Indian “enclave” or “colony”.
Saying that the MEA is “led by southern Indians” the paper urged the Lankan mission in New Delhi to go above them and cultivate the Central political leaders to stop Tamil Nadu trawlers from massively poaching in North Lankan waters.
The paper charged that Indian taxes block the entry of Lankan goods into the Indian market, despite the existence of a FREE TRADE Agreement. It also pointed out that while India had stated its agenda for the talks, Lanka had not.
Sunday Leader urged India not to push for further devolution of power to the Tamils as that might “create a conflagration”. Ceylon Today appealed to Delhi not to do anything that might upset Sirisena’s plans to usher in a new order in Lanka.
The Tamils have urged Sirisena to firmly reject the Indian proposal to repatriate 100,000 Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu.“There should be no repatriation till all the lands appropriated by the Lankan armed forces are returned to the people,” said Suresh Premachandran, spokesman of Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Mangala’s U.S. talks “successful”

Mangala’s U.S. talks “successful”

By admin
February 15, 2015 11:04

The Government says the just concluded visit to the United States by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, was successful.

Samaraweera was in the US to brief US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon on the efforts being taken by the new Government to address human rights concerns.

The Minister also sought to mend ties with the US, which had been strained after the former Government refused to work with the US on the human rights issue.

The External Affairs Ministry said that the visit by Samaraweera, which was his first to the US capital since assuming office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs followed the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal to Colombo earlier this month and coincided with the completion of 30 days in office of the new Government in Sri Lanka.

During the two day visit, the Minister held a range of meetings including with Secretary of State John Kerry, National SECURITY Adviser Susan Rice, co-chairs of the Sri Lanka Caucus in the US Congress, Chris Van Hollen and Robert Aderholt, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce and Ranking Member of the Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel.

Inviting Secretary Kerry to visit Sri Lanka at an appropriate time, Minister Samaraweera stressed that he looks forward to working closely with the Secretary of State and other important partners in the United States to enhance relations between the two countries to a state of excellence.

Addressing a full house at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest international affairs think-tank in the US, after warm welcome remarks by its newly appointed President, the former US Deputy Secretary of State Ambassador William J. Burns, the Minister spoke at length on the post-Presidential election developments in the country including steps being taken for reconciliation, strengthening democracy and good governance and also set out foreign policy objectives of the Government.

Speaking on Sri Lanka-US Relations at the National Press Club, the Minister observed that SHARED values and commitment to democratic ideals gives much scope for the two countries to work together and that the Sri Lanka – US partnership must take into account the island’s strategic geographic location.
(Colombo Gazette)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Trade Unionist demands report on FTZ worker’s killing in May 2011

Trade Unionist demands report on FTZ worker’s killing in May 2011

By Leon Berenger
View(s): 32

A leading TRADE unionist yesterday called on the new government to release without further delay, the report compiled by former High Court Judge Mahanama Tillekeratne who probed the killing of young factory hand, Roshen Chanaka on May 31, 2011, during a labour protest.

“We have already written to the office of President Maithripala Sirisena in this regard, as the earlier administration had apparently kept the report in limbo for the last several years.
The family of the dead factory worker in particular and the public in general, need to know the findings, following the incident that also left some 260 other factory workers injured, including 14 in a critical condition,” Apparel FREE TRADE Workers’ Union member Anton Marcus told the Sunday Times.

The factory hand was shot dead allegedly by the police who had stormed into the Katunayake FREE TRADE Zone to break up workers agitating against government moves to replace the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) with a private pension scheme.

Mr Marcus who led the protest at that time, in his submissions to the Mahanama Tillekeratne Commission said he had provided material evidence that linked regional politicians in the Gampaha District to the disturbances which fuelled the situation that led to the police charge on the workers inside the FTZ, and the eventual death.

He said that, these same politicians had also promised monetary and other relief to the victim’s parents, but subsequently fell short of these obligations with the passage of time.
The proposed private pension scheme was subsequently withdrawn and the present EPF system allowed to CONTINUE.

US tells Zeid to decide on Lanka

US tells Zeid to decide on Lanka

February 14, 2015 07:04

Jen-Psaki

The United States says it is upto the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein to decide on the report on the investigations over the war in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is seeking a postponement of the report which is scheduled to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council during its session next month.

US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the issue was discussed during meetings Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had with the US Government this week.

However she said it is a matter for the UN High Commissioner to determine and the US has absolute confidence in him and in the process.

Samaraweera met US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday as part of his official visit to the US and Psaki said that Kerry underscored the United States and international commitment to accountability and reconciliation after nearly 30 years of war, and expressed ongoing support for a Sri Lanka that is peaceful, democratic, prosperous, inclusive, and unified.

“Well, let me first do just a quick readout. The Secretary and the foreign minister met yesterday to discuss our bilateral relationship and other regional issues. The Secretary reiterated our commitment to the people of Sri Lanka after the historic January 8th elections and for the ongoing effort to strengthen democratic institutions in Sri Lanka. The Secretary reiterated support for the new government and its 100-day plan. He also underscored the United States and international commitment to accountability and reconciliation after nearly 30 years of war, and expressed ongoing support for a Sri Lanka that is peaceful, democratic, prosperous, inclusive, and unified,” she said.

Psaki said that the focus of the United States and the focus of its partners in the international community is supporting accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

“We’re determining the best way forward to address these issues,” she added.

Asked if Kerry had accepted an invitation to visit Sri Lanka, the US State Department spokesperson said that Kerry would like to visit Sri Lanka at an appropriate time.

(Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka’s Duty on War Crimes NYTimes


The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL
Sri Lanka’s Duty on War Crimes
By THE EDITORIAL BOARDFEB. 10, 2015

It was just one month ago that Sri Lanka surprised the world by electing opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena as president, rejecting the authoritarianism, corruption and dynastic politics of the administration of the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Sirisena has moved swiftly to usher in a new chapter of hope for Sri Lanka.

So as not to reopen old wounds too soon, his government is now seeking a delay in the release of a report that is scheduled to be presented next month on a United Nations inquiry into war crimes and other human rights abuses committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war that ended in 2009. The government is also lobbying for support from the United States and the United Nations for a proposed domestic tribunal on abuses. The United Nations says as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians may have been killed during the last months of the war. Mr. Rajapaksa had flatly refused to cooperate with the United Nations inquiry.

Mr. Sirisena’s government has taken other positive steps to begin the healing process. It has pledged to free hundreds of detained ethnic Tamils and to restore to Tamil owners land seized by the military for commercial development projects. It has also appointed a new civilian governor for the ethnic Tamil-populated Northern Province and lifted a travel ban on foreigners to the area.

Mr. Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who, as defense secretary, oversaw some of the worst abuses during the civil war, are still national political forces. One of the new government’s concerns is the outcome of upcoming parliamentary elections.

However noble its motives, the Sirisena government must deal with the legacy of the past. Any delay in the release of the United Nations report must be brief. And the United Nations must remain involved. This is not a rebuke to Mr. Sirisena’s welcome intentions. It is simply the best way to guarantee that the inquiry is swift and independent, that witnesses are adequately protected and that perpetrators are finally punished.


இலங்கையில் இடம்பெற்றது இனப்படுகொலையே : வடமாகாண சபை

இலங்கையில் இடம்பெற்றது இனப்படுகொலையே : அரசு நிராகரிப்பு 

 இனப்படுகொலை நடைபெற்றதாக வடமாகாண சபை நிறைவேற்றிய தீர்மானத்தை ஏற்க முடியாது எனக் கூறி, அரசு நிராகரித்துள்ளது.

இனப்படுகொலை இலங்கையில் நடைபெற்றது என்பதை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள முடியாது என அமைச்சரவை பேச்சாளர் அமைச்சர் டொக்டர் ராஜித்த சேனாரத்ன  தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.

இறுதிக் கட்டப் போரின் போது ஏராளமான தமிழர்கள் பாதுகாப்பு படையினரால் காப்பாற்றப்பட்டார்கள் என்பதை அனைவரும் அறிவதாக அமைச்சர் கூறியுள்ளார்.

போர் இடம்பெற்ற காலப் பகுதியில் சிலர் அட்டூழியங்களைச் செய்திருந்தாலும் அவற்றை இனப்படுகொலை என கூற முடியாது என அவர் வலியுறுத்தியுள்ளார்.

இனப்படுகொலை என்ற வார்த்தைக்கு என்ன அர்த்தம் என்பதை வடமாகாண முதலமைச்சர் சி.வி விக்கேஸ்வரனுக்கு நன்றாகவே தெரியும் என கூறியுள்ள அமைச்சரவை பேச்சாளர், கடந்த முறை இதே தீர்மானம் சமர்ப்பிக்கப்பட்டபோது அதனை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளாத முதலமைச்சர் தற்போது எவ்வாறு அதனை ஏற்றார் எனவும் கேள்வி எழுப்பியுள்ளார்.

இறுதிக்கட்ட போரின் போது நடைபெற்றதாக கூறப்படும் சில அட்டூழியங்கள் குறித்து விசாரிக்க சர்வதேச நடைமுறைக்கு அமைய உள்நாட்டிலேயே இலங்கை அரசு விசாரணை நடத்தவுள்ளதாகவும் டொக்டர் ராஜித்த ஹேனாரத்ன கூறியுள்ளார்.

``தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள் பொது மக்களை போரில் மனித கேடயங்களாக பயன்படுத்தியதே இறுதிக் கட்ட போரின் போது ஏற்பட்ட பெருமளவு உயிரிழப்புக்கான காரணம்.`` 
மைத்திரி அமைச்சரவை பேச்சாளர் அமைச்சர் டொக்டர் ராஜித்த சேனாரத்ன  

வடக்கு மாகாண சபையில் இன அழிப்பு தொடர்பிலான பிரேரணை நேற்று ஏகமனதாக நிறைவேற்றப்பட்டுள்ளது.

மாகாண சபை உறுப்பினர் எம்.கே சிவாஜிலிங்கத்தினால் 06 மாதங்களுக்கு முன்னர் இந்த பிரேரணை சபையில் முன்வைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தமை குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.

Obama: POWER TO WAR

February 11, 2015 4:35 pm
Obama asks Congress to back war on Isis
Geoff Dyer in Washington

In a statement at the White House, Mr Obama said the resolution was designed to give the “flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances”. He would consider using US forces in Iraq or Syria if, for instance, the US received information about a meeting of Isis leaders.

But he insisted that the US was not getting “dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East”. The resolution was “not the authorisation of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq”.

However, the risk is that the White House’s proposal could backfire because it satisfies neither Republicans who want a more aggressive strategy against Isis, nor Democrats who are deeply wary about a new open-ended commitment to a war against Islamist terrorism.

Even some of the members of Congress who are strong supporters of the military operation against Isis fear that the new resolution could become bogged down in partisan political fighting that will damage US credibility.

“I worry about that a lot,” said John McCain, the Arizona Republican who now chairs the Senate armed services committee.

In a bid to address the different concerns in Congress, the administration has written a resolution text that is at once broad and narrow.

Although operations against Isis so far have taken place only in Iraq and Syria, the resolution places no geographic limits on the fight against either Isis or what it calls “associated persons or forces” — a phrase that has been used in the past to justify counter-terrorism operations against a range of different groups.

However, at the same time the resolution calls on the next president to return to Congress in three years’ time to either justify or change the military campaign and bars the US military from conducting what it calls “enduring offensive ground combat operations”.

As the debate starts to kick off in Congress, the most controversial issue will be the potential use of US ground troops in the conflict. There has already been some tension on the subject between the president, who has repeatedly pledged to avoid sending ground troops, and the Pentagon, which wants some US military personnel to be present during any ground offensive to retake towns in northern Iraq.

Senior Republicans — some of whom have openly called for US troops to PLAY a more direct role in the anti-Isis campaign — immediately accused the president on Wednesday of tying the military’s hands behind its back.

“If we are going to defeat this enemy, we need a comprehensive military strategy and a robust authorisation, not one that limits our options,” said House speaker John Boehner. The president’s request did not give military commanders “the flexibility and authorities they need to succeed and protect our people”.

“Rather than expanding his legal authority to go after ISIL, the president seems determined to ask Congress to further restrict the authority of the US military to confront this threat,” said Kevin McCarthy, the house majority leader.

However, a number of Democrats — who are mostly deeply opposed to the return of US ground troops to Iraq — said that there needed to be more specific restrictions on what the US military could do.

If we are going to defeat this enemy, we need a comprehensive military strategy and a robust authorisation, not one that limits our options
- John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives

Tim Kaine, a Democratic senator for Virginia, said that the phrase adopted by the administration about “enduring” ground operations was too “vague and ill-defined” and could still be used to justify the extensive involvement of US forces.

A proposal he introduced last year says that US forces can be used in the battle against Isis only in specific circumstances, such as search and rescue operations, providing information for air strikes and special operations forces.

Some Democrats also fear that the resolution could permit the launch of new military operations against Jihadist groups in other countries, such as Libya or even Nigeria, without ever having to consult Congress.

The new Authorisation for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) retires a previous 2002 measure approved by Congress which authorised the Iraq invasion, but it leaves in place a separate 2001 resolution which backed the campaign against al-Qaeda.

Although the Obama administration wants the political seal of approval of a new resolution, it insists that the 2001 resolution — which also included language about “associated forces” — gives it the legal backing to launch the military campaign against Isis.

However, Mr Kaine said that there was “high scepticism” in Congress that the earlier authorisations could be used to support the anti-Isis operations.

In the letter to Congress, Mr. Obama justified the authorization on the premise that the Islamic State could at some point endanger the United States. “If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland,” he wrote.

While he repeated his contention that “existing statutes provide me with the authority I need,” he said he wanted to work with Congress to obtain bipartisan support. “I can think of no better way for the Congress to join me in supporting our nation’s SECURITY than by enacting this legislation, which would show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by ISIL.”

The president’s proposal was sent to Congress shortly after confirmation of the death of Kayla Mueller, 26, an American held by the Islamic State. The draft legislation specifically mentioned her and three other Americans who were held hostage and then killed by the Islamic State — James Foley, Steven J. Sotloff and Peter Kassig — in clauses justifying the need for military action.

If approved, the proposal would be the first time Congress has authorized a president’s use of force since lawmakers voted in 2002 to permit President George W. Bush to invade Iraq. Mr. Obama pulled troops out of Iraq in 2011 but has sent a limited number back as part of his campaign against the Islamic State. His proposed legislation would repeal the 2002 authorization but leave in place separate legislation passed in 2001 allowing force against Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

Mr. Obama, who plans to make a statement at the White House at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the matter, repeated in his letter his desire to work with Congress to “REFINE and ultimately repeal” the 2001 measure and distinguished his limited mission from the wars waged by his predecessor.

“My administration’s draft A.U.M.F.,” or Authorization for Use of Military Force, “would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he wrote. “Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations.”

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he welcomed Mr. Obama’s decision to seek the involvement of Congress in the military campaign. “It also will be important that the president exert leadership, lay out a clear strategy for confronting the threat posed by ISIS, and do the hard work of making the case to the American people why this fight is necessary and one we must WIN,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Corker said hearings would be scheduled to consider the matter and repeated his support for passage of a force measure. “Voting to authorize the use of military force is one of the most important actions Congress can take,” he said, “and while there will be differences, it is my hope that we will fulfill our constitutional responsibility, and in a bipartisan way, pass an authorization that allows us to confront this serious threat.”

But the contours of the debate to come were already clear on Wednesday. While some Republicans were concerned that Mr. Obama’s proposal was too constricting, setting the stage for an ineffectual effort, some Democrats quickly expressed concern that the measure would still give the president the power to go too far.

Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said Congress should not limit options. “If we’re going to authorize the use of military force, the president should have all the tools necessary to WIN the fight that we’re in,” he said at a news conference. “I’m not sure that’s a strategy that’s been outlined to accomplish the mission the president says he wants to accomplish.”

Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, said Mr. Obama needed to make clear to the American public that he was genuinely committed to victory. “If the president wants to engage in a halfhearted P.R. effort, to go through the motions to give the appearance that we’re fighting when we’re not doing what is necessary to WIN, then we should not engage,” he said.

On the other hand, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he worried that the president’s proposal set no geographic limits to the military campaign and that the definition of associated forces was too elastic. Moreover, he argued that unless it repealed the 2001 measure authorizing force against Al Qaeda and its affiliates or set a timetable for its expiration, the three-year limit on Mr. Obama’s measure was effectively meaningless because the next president could CONTINUE the war by claiming the authority of the earlier legislation.

“Additionally,” Mr. Schiff said, “a new authorization should place more specific limits on the use of ground troops to ensure we do not authorize another major ground war without the president coming to Congress to make the case for one.”

Chris Anders, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, echoed those concerns. “If Congress grants any new authority for the use of military force, the authority must be significantly more limited than the authority the administration has proposed,” he said.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the majority leader in the upper chamber, offered a cautious, noncommittal response to the president’s request and said the Republican conference would meet later Wednesday for a discussion to be led by Mr. Corker and Senator John McCain of Arizona, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

“Individual senators and committees of jurisdiction will review it carefully and they’ll listen closely to the advice of military commanders as they consider the best strategy for defeating ISIL,” Mr. McConnell said.
Source :FT

Sri Lanka’s new leaders seek $4bn IMF bail-out

Sri Lanka’s new leaders seek $4bn IMF bail-out

Thursday, 12 February 2015 18:19 Posted by Imaduddin

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's new government will seek to borrow more than $4.0 billion from the IMF and other international lenders as it "restructures" expensive Chinese DEBT, the finance minister said Thursday.

Ravi Karunanayake said he was travelling to Washington next week for talks with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on SECURING support to boost reserves and finance investments in health and education.

"With the new government in place, there is a lot of international goodwill," Karunanayake said.
"We would love to have an enhanced programme with the IMF for balance of payments support."
Sri Lanka was expecting to tap the IMF for about $4.0 billion while additional funding was sought from the World Bank.

The previous IMF bail-out was $2.6 billion in 2009, when Sri Lanka faced a balance of payments crisis at a time when Tamil Tiger rebels were being crushed in a major military onslaught.
The minister said Sri Lanka would also talk to the World Bank about SECURING aid for projects relating to health and education.

Beijing, Sri Lanka's biggest lender in recent years, funded much of the country's post-war infrastructure driver under the previous administration of Mahinde Rajapakse.
Karunanayake said these LOANS had been granted on average at rates of between five and seven percent.

"In some cases, the interest rate on Chinese LOANS is as high as eight percent," Karunanayake said. "Where possible, we want to renegotiate and reduce the rate."

Sri Lanka's economy is among the fastest growing in South Asia, but the IMF last year warned the island was vulnerable to sudden external shocks due to high levels of foreign commercial borrowings.

By the middle of last year, Sri Lanka's foreign borrowings stood at $42.4 billion, up from $39.7 billion at end 2013 and a figure the IMF considers high.


In 2013, the previous government dropped plans to seek a fresh $1.0-billion LOAN from the IMF following disagreements over how the money should be spent. However, Sri Lanka later raised the same amount through a bond issue.

The country's economy grew by a blistering 8.0 percent in the first two years after the end of a decades-long Tamil separatist war in 2009, but growth has since moderated.

The IMF is forecasting a growth rate of 6.5 percent this year, lower than the government's TARGET of 7.0 percent.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Sri Lanka to seek World Bank help in tracking down hidden assets

Sri Lanka to seek World Bank help in tracking down hidden assets
Feb 06, 2015 10:34 AM
COLOMBO (EconomyNext) - Sri Lanka is seeking World BANK help to track down assets hidden abroad, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said, with an ant-corruption watchdog due to visit Washington soon.

Minister Samaraweera said J C Weliamuna an anti-corruption activist and head of the Sri Lanka chapter of Transparent International, will visit Washington for talks with World BANK.

The government has already announced it will seek help from the IMF, World Bank and the Reserve bank of India to track down over five billion US dollars of CASH suspected to have been stashed abroad, but the visit next week will be the first practical move to establish a mechanism to track down ill-gotten wealth.

Ministers of Sri Lanka's Maithripala Sirisena administration have claimed that the members of the Rajapaksa regime skimmed off billions of dollars from inflated state contracts mainly awarded to China without tender.

But the new regime said Thursday it will go ahead with a 1.4 billion US dollar concession awarded to a Chinese company to reclaim and develop a 'Port City' in the main beachfront of the capital Colombo, after earlier slamming the project as an environmental disaster.

Financial INVESTIGATIVE Units were set up in many countries following a United Nations initiative spearheaded by developed countries.

Though Sri Lanka also has an FIU, Samaraweera said the country lacked expertise in tracking down complex MONEY laundering networks involving Sri Lankans.

In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has an Asset Forfeiture/MONEYLaundering Unit (AF/MLU) which seizes assets of criminal networks and also a Financial Intelligence Centre which is engaged in data analysis to combat crimes including those against governments.

Govt. keen on FTA with China

Govt. keen on FTA with China
2015-02-06 20:18:49

Chinese Special Envoy Liu Jianchao, who is also the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, after meeting Sri Lankan leaders, said the new Sri Lankan Government was keen on entering into a the FREE TRADE Agreement( FTA) with China.

The new Government has decided to review all China-funded projects in Sri Lanka and CONTINUE with the previously initiated dialogue with China on the signing of the proposed FTA.

Addressing the media and Sri Lankan scholars at a function in the Chinese embassy, Mr. Jianchao said the new hopeful of signing the FTA with China. He said China appreciated the progress made in this regard.

"It will help Sri Lanka to achieve its TARGET of increasing its export volume to US$20 billion by 2020," Mr. Jianchao said adding that the Government had agreed to proceed with all Chinese-funded projects subject to revaluation and

reassessment in a manner that would not disrupt the “time tested and time honoured relationship” between the two countries.

He met President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

"I don’t see any obstacles. Sri Lanka is an all-weather friend of China. This friendship started with the Rubber-Rice Pact. It was an agreement important both in terms of economic and strategic interests," Mr. Jianchao said.

He said China-Sri Lanka relations had not been designed to target a third party and it was meant only to ensure peace and prosperity for the people. Asserting that both sides agreed to further strengthen the existing bilateral relations, Mr. Jianchao said China was happy about Sri Lanka having more friends both in the region and other parts of the world.

With regard to China-funded projects, he said all these projects were initiatives with the accepted procedures and regulations stipulated by the Sri Lankan Government.

When asked about India raising concerns about a Chinese submarine which docked in the Colombo Port, Mr. Jinchao said Chinese warships had continued to escort TRADING vessels through this shipping lane, and therefore it was nothing new. He said China would never use Sri Lanka against the security interest of another country.

China welcomes Lanka's decision to go ahead with port project

China welcomes Lanka's decision to go ahead with port project

China today welcomed new Sri Lankan government's decision to go ahead with the controversial USD 1.5 billion Colombo Port City project FUNDED by it, calling the country an important partner in implementing its mega Maritime Silk Road project in South Asia.

"We regard Sri Lanka as an important cooperative partner in promoting belt and road initiative in South Asia," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

The port, expected to play a key role for China's ambitious Maritime Silk Road project in India's backyard, is being seen as the single largest private sector development ever in the island.

The project involving the 233 hectares of reclaimed land in capital Colombo was cleared by the new Sri Lankan government after expressing reservations over its environmental impact.

The deal included state-run China Communications Construction Co Ltd, taking over 108 hectares including 20 hectares on an outright basis and the rest on a 99-year lease.

The deal was struck by former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as he moved closer to China much to the disquiet of India permitting even Chinese submarines docking in Colombo harbour.

A detailed discussion is expected to be held during new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena proposed visit to Beijing in March.

The threat to review has caused concern here as Colombo Port was regarded as key to the success of Chinese President Xi Jinping's mega Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road project.

Colombo's decision came as China dispatched its Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao as Special Representative of Chinese government to hold talks with Sri Lankan government.

"We believe that Sri Lanka's new government will bare in mind the overall interests of China Sri Lanka friendly relations and the fundamental interests of Sri Lanka ensure that major cooperation projects between the two countries will not influenced by political changes in Sri Lanka," Hong quoted Liu telling Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo yesterday.

Liu also said Chinese side places the China-Sri Lanka relations on important position on China's neighbourhood diplomacy.

Liu also met new Prime Minister Ranil Wickaramasinghe and discussed the bilateral ties.

"All the major cooperation project between China and Sri Lanka including the Colombo Port meets the requirements of Sri Lanka to improve people's livelihood and deliver tangible benefits in Sri Lanka," Liu said.

Wickamarsinghe said China has become largest partner of development of Sri Lanka and the country is thankful for all the help.
============== 

U.S. security adviser Rice pledges help for Sri Lanka 'transition'

U.S. security adviser Rice pledges help for Sri Lanka 'transition'
Reuters By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States pledged on Friday to assist Sri Lanka's new government in creating a more open and democratic society.

In a speech laying out President Barack Obama's updated national security strategy, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice included Sri Lanka alongside Myanmar - which is also known as Burma - and Tunisia as a country "in transition."

"We’ll help countries in transition - like Burma, Tunisia, and Sri Lanka - become more open, more democratic, and more inclusive societies," Rice said in a speech at the Brookings Institute.

Earlier, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States had commended steps by new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to address post-war reconciliation and long-standing issues such as governance and accountability.

"Certainly have seen some positive steps here," she told a regular news briefing.

On Thursday, Nisha Biswal, the U.S. State Department's senior official for South Asia, who visited Sri Lanka last week, told reporters Sri Lanka still faced "big challenges" dealing with issues such as reconciliation.

"But there’s such a strong commitment that’s visible in this government to want to address these issues that we very much want to work with them to see that happen," she said.

The United States is keen to bolster ties with countries throughout Asia as part of its effort to counterbalance an increasingly powerful and assertive China, which has sought strategic influence in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government said this week it was planning a new investigation into accusations of human rights abuses in the final stages of a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009, amid international frustration at the failure of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into numerous civilian deaths.

Rajapaksa had refused to cooperate with any United Nations investigation into claims the army committed atrocities in the war. He was ousted in a surprise election defeat last month.

Sri Lanka's new Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is expected to visit Washington next week.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton and Lou Charbonneau; Editing by Ken Wills)

Obama on Ukraine: Keep military Option Open!

EUROPE
Obama, Meeting With Merkel on Ukraine Crisis, Keeps Military Aid Option Open

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and ANDREW HIGGINS FEB. 9, 2015

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Obama said the alliance between the United States and Europe remained strong, despite potential disagreements on whether to provide arms to Ukraine. 

Publish Date February 9, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

WASHINGTON — President Obama said he was weighing providing lethal weapons to Ukraine to help Kiev defend against Russia’s aggression if diplomatic efforts fail to defuse the tensions there, even as he said the United States remained united with Europe in maintaining sanctions against Moscow.

“The prospect for a military solution to this problem has always been low,” Mr. Obama said, given the extraordinarily powerful military that is at the disposal of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and the length of Russia’s border with Ukraine.

Nevertheless, at a joint news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany at the White House Monday, the president said it was clear a set of steep sanctions against Russia “has not yet dissuaded Mr. Putin from following the course that he is on.” He said that had prompted him to ask his team to “look at all options,” including providing an array of defensive weapons to bolster Ukraine’s forces.

Most European countries, including Germany and France, oppose sending arms, arguing that doing so would only make the conflict worse.

“We CONTINUE to pursue a diplomatic solution, although we have suffered a lot of setbacks,” Ms. Merkel said. “I’ve always said I don’t see a military solution to this conflict.”

The issue has threatened to cleave what has until now been a united front among the United States and its European allies over how to respond to the Ukrainian conflict, which has been stoked by a steady supply of weapons and soldiers from Russia.

Many European capitals share Washington’s distrust of Mr. Putin, but continue to hope that the pressure of economic sanctions will lead him to accept some sort of settlement.

Despite their possible differences on weapons, Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel worked to project a unified front.

“Russian aggression has only reinforced the unity between the United States, Germany and other European allies,” the president said. “There’s going to continue to be a strong, unified response between the United States and Europe —  that’s not going to change.”

The two leaders spoke after European foreign ministers agreed to postpone imposing a new round of sanctions against Russia, hoping to avert a rift with the United States over sending arms and to nudge forward so far fruitless talks with Moscow.

Diplomats who attended Monday’s meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels said that Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, had proposed delaying new sanctions for a few days after a request for a pause from the leadership in Kiev.

Ukraine had previously lobbied Europe to take tough action against Moscow, but apparently now worries that further moves might jeopardize efforts for a truce with rapidly advancing pro-Russian rebels. Such an accord could be reached at a possible meeting later this week among the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

European governments decided to expand the list of sanctioned individuals who are facing asset freezes and travel bans after pro-Russian rebels mounted a rocket attack late last month on the port city of Mariupol, killing about 30 Ukrainian civilians.

The sanctions apply currently to more than 130 Russians and Ukrainian separatist leaders backed by Russia.

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine have tentatively agreed to meet on Wednesday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. But it was unclear on Monday whether that meeting would actually take place.

Speaking to reporters early Monday in Brussels, the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also expressed uncertainty over what he called the “possible summit in Minsk.”

As Europe pushes for a diplomatic settlement to the Ukraine crisis, the Obama administration is weighing whether to send arms to help Ukraine’s military counter an offensive by the pro-Russian rebels in the east. Most European countries, including Germany and France, oppose sending arms, arguing that doing so would only add fuel to the fire.

Even generally pro-American nations like the Netherlands are skeptical about the wisdom of sending weapons. “I don’t think it is the moment right now,” said the Dutch foreign minister, Bert Koenders. “We really need to come to a political solution.”

The issue has threatened to divide what has until now been a united front among the United States and its European allies over how to respond to the Ukrainian conflict, which has been stoked by a steady supply of weapons and soldiers from Russia. Many European capitals share Washington’s distrust of President Putin, but CONTINUE to hope that the pressure of economic sanctions will lead him to accept some sort of settlement.

Mr. Fabius, the French foreign minister, said that any future settlement must be based “as far as possible” on the terms of a stillborn truce reached last September in Minsk. But he acknowledged that “there have been certain evolutions on the ground” that make a settlement difficult. Russian-backed separatists have captured more territory since September and have said they will never agree to retreat to their previous positions.

The sanctions delay, Mr. Fabius said, will give the 28 nations of the European Union time to review Russia’s willingness to work toward a peaceful solution. He said a critical issue was whether a firm agreement could be reached to withdraw heavy weapons behind specified lines. Previous agreements have all collapsed.

More hawkish countries, notably Britain, argued against a pause in sanctions but went along with other nations on Monday in endorsing a delay. “Until we see Russia complying on the ground, we can’t relieve the pressure,” the British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said ahead of the meeting. “We need not just words but deeds on the ground.”

One of the few countries urging military support for Ukraine’s beleaguered government is Lithuania, a tiny Baltic nation that, along with other countries once occupied by the Soviet Union, takes a highly skeptical view of the Kremlin’s declarations in favor of peace and Western Europe’s hopes for a political settlement.

“How can you have a peaceful solution when the other side is still fighting?” asked Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania’s foreign minister, “The only peaceful solution in this case is surrender.” Russian statements, he added, “are all worthless.”

Julie Hirschfeld Davis contribued reporting from Washington, Andrew Higgins contributed from Brussels, Alison Smale and Melissa Eddy contributed from Berlin.

Vladimir Putin condemns West in Ukraine blame game for 'breaking pledges'


Vladimir Putin condemns West in Ukraine blame game for 'breaking pledges'
Nigel Wilson By Nigel Wilson
February 9, 2015 10:02 GMT69 2  

Western countries had reneged on a pledge not to expand Nato eastwards and pushed countries to choose between Russia and the West, Putin told an Egyptian newspaper on Monday (9 February).

 Putin has recently re-entered talks with European leaders, who have sought to revive the defunct Minsk peace deal agreed in September 2014.

The ceasefire was never fully respected and violence in eastern Ukraine has escalated dramatically since the start of the year.

More than 5,300 people have been killed in the conflict since April 2014, according to United Nations figures.

The United States and the European Union have accused Russia of fuelling the conflict in eastern Ukraine by providing weapons and fighters to the pro-Russian separatist cause.

US President Barack Obama has come under increasing domestic pressure to send lethal aid to Ukraine's government.

Prominent foreign policy specialists in the Republican party have argued that Kiev needs military support against rebels being supplied by Moscow.

The US and EU have sought maintain a united front over the Ukraine crisis, although some analysts have argued that the allies differ on the question of whether to provide arms to Kiev.

Govt. to extend controversial detention law by 2 more years

Govt. to extend controversial detention law by 2 more years


The new Government is to extend for two years a controversial law which allows the Police to detain for upto 48 hours persons arrested without a warrant on charges of murder and other serious crimes. 

The Minister of Justice has issued a Gazette notification to extend for another two years the operation of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Act No. 2 of 2013, a law that was opposed by the UNP when it was introduced by the previous government.

The Act was certified by the Speaker on February 6, 2013 and its two year period of validity lapsed this week. The validity of the law can be extended with a Gazette notification, following which it will have to be approved by Parliament.

The law allows for persons arrested without a warrant to be detained up to 48 hours and also allows the Attorney General to forward indictments directly to the High Court in special cases where murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, rape, and offences committed with the use of explosives or an offensive weapon or gun. Such proceedings have to be concluded within ninety days under the terms of this Act.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

இலங்கையில் அரசியல் கைதிகள் என்று யாருமில்லை - பொலிஸார்

அரசியல் கைதிகள் என்று யாருமில்லை: பொலிஸார்
[ ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை, 08 பெப்ரவரி 2015, 04:44.03 PM GMT ]

இலங்கையில் அரசியல் கைதிகள் என்று யாருமில்லை என பொலிஸார் தெரிவித்துள்ளனர்.

தற்போது வழக்கு தொடரப்பட்டுள்ள தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிச் சந்தேக நபர்கள் அரசியல் கைதிகளின் வகையீட்டுக்குள் உள்ளடக்கப்பட மாட்டார்கள்.

குண்டுகளை வெடிக்கச் செய்தல், மனித படுகொலைகள் உள்ளிட்ட பல்வேறு குற்றச்சாட்டுக்கள் சுமத்தப்பட்டவர்களே இவர்களாகும்.

புனர்வாழ்வு அளிக்கப்பட்டு சமூகத்துடன் மீள இணைக்கப்படக் கூடிய புலி உறுப்பினர்கள் ஏற்கனவே விடுதலை செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளனர்.

தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிச் சந்தேகநபர்களுக்கு எதிராக வழக்குத் தொடரப்பட்டுள்ளது.

இந்த வழக்கு விசாரணைகளில் 50 - 60 வீதம் வரையில் பூர்த்தியாகியுள்ளன என பொலிஸார் தெரிவித்துள்ளதாக சிங்கள ஊடகமொன்று செய்தி வெளியிட்டுள்ளது.

==================================================================
மைத்திரி ரணில் பாசிசமே, யுத்தக் கைதிகள் அனைவரும் அரசியல் கைதிகளே!
அரசியல் கைதிகளை உடன் விடுதலை செய்!
=================================

புலம்பெயர் தமிழ் அமைப்புகள் மீதான தடை தொடரும்


புலம்பெயர் தமிழ் அமைப்புகள் மீதான தடை தொடரும் 
புலம்பெயர் நாட்டிலுள்ள தமிழ் அமைப்புக்களுக்கு விதிக்கப்பட்டுள்ள தடை புதிய மைத்திரி அரசிலும் நீடிக்கும் என பிரதி வெளிவிவகார அமைச்சர் அஜித். பி. பெரேரா தெரிவித்தார்.

வாரப்பத்திரிகை ஒன்றிற்கு வழங்கிய செவ்வியிலேயே பிரதி அமைச்சர் மேற்கண்டவாறு தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.

மேலும் , விடுதலைப்புலிகளை மீள உருவாக்கும் முயற்சியில் புலம்பெயர் அமைப்புக்கள் செயற்படுகின்றன என தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டு கடந்த மகிந்த அரசில் புலம்பெயர் நாட்டிலுள்ள தமிழ் அமைப்புக்களுக்கு தடை விதிக்கப்பட்டது.

எனினும் தற்போது புதிய அரசு தோன்றியுள்ளது. இந்த நிலையில் தமிழ் அமைப்புக்களின் தடை குறித்து பிரதி அமைச்சரிடம் கேட்கப்பட்ட போதே அவர் மேற்கண்டவாறு பதிலளித்தார்.

அத்துடன்  நாட்டில் பயங்கரவாதம் மீண்டும் தலை தூக்காது இருக்கும் வகையில் புதிய அரசு தடையினை தொடர்ந்து நடைமுறைப்படுத்தும் என்றார்.

இதேவேளை, மகிந்த அரசின் ஆட்சியில் நாடுகடந்த தழிழீழ அரசு, உலகத் தமிழர் பேரவை, பிரித்தானியத் தமிழர் பேரவை உட்பட 15 அமைப்புக்களுக்கும், தனிதபர்களுக்கும் தடை விதிக்கப்பட்டிருந்தமை குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.
( மூலம் : ஊடகம்)

Merkel to meet Obama over Ukraine



February 8, 2015 6:47 pm
Merkel to meet Obama over Ukraine
Stefan Wagstyl in Munich

Angela Merkel is to meet President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday in a bid to SECURE a diplomatic solution to the escalating Ukraine crisis amid calls for the US administration to arm Kiev.
The German chancellor’s visit comes after the latest round of talks between France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia failed to result in a peace accord at the weekend.

Adamantly opposed to arming Ukraine, Ms Merkel is putting huge efforts into bringing Russian President Vladimir Putin to the negotiating table.

In a four-way phone call on Sunday, Mr Putin and Ms Merkel, together with French President François Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, agreed to meet on Wednesday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Talks have taken on new urgency following the collapse of September’s ceasefire agreement as Russian-backed rebels seize government-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine.
The Washington meeting comes as attitudes appear to be hardening in the US, where several senior politicians have demanded that Mr Obama take a more forceful stance to reverse these gains.

“I think most in the US Congress would like to see all of us  participate in defensively arming Ukraine,” said Bob Corker, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at the weekend.
Republican senators Lyndsey Graham and John McCain have been critical of Ms Merkel’s resistance to sending heavy weapons to Kiev to bolster its defences.

“The Ukrainians are being slaughtered and we’re sending them blankets and meals,” Mr McCain said at the Munich security Conference. “Blankets don’t do well against Russian tanks.”

Joe Biden, vice-president, last week also scorned Ms Merkel’s diplomatic bid, saying Mr Putin did not stick to agreements.

John Kerry, US secretary of state, sought to play down fears that the transatlantic consensus on Ukraine was fracturing as a result of the arms debate.

“We are united. We will remain united,” Mr Kerry told the Munich conference, comparing the arguments to last year’s bargaining over economic sanctions.

However in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, he added that Russia was leaving the global community with no other choice but to impose additional economic sanctions.

Ms Merkel has been implacable in opposing the delivery of arms and the chancellor’s speech to the Munich conference at the weekend was laced with references to the second world war. On Sunday her position was defended by her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “I don’t believe our scepticism [in supplying arms] is born of cowardice or from our history,” he said.

Mr Obama, who last year blocked deliveries, has not yet revealed his hand. He is expected to listen to Ms Merkel’s arguments but is not likely to decide while she is in the US. European diplomats say he will wait to see what happens in Minsk.

The diplomatic initiative centres on the September Minsk agreement, which declared a demarcation line to separate government-controlled areas from rebel held territory. The Minsk talks will include amendments to reflect the extra territory won in recent months by the separatists.

Kiev is concerned that any new pact should not undermine its sovereignty by legitimising separatist control of eastern Ukraine. US officials are also worried.

On Sunday the US state department warned in a statement that any agreement reached in Minsk “must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

A Russian government source said among the most difficult points was how a ceasefire should be supervised. “It is felt that the past attempts have not worked, but the challenge is to create a mechanism that all sides feel is fair and impartial,” he said.

Additional reporting by Gina Chon in Washington and Kathrin Hille in Moscow (FT)