Sri Lanka's former leader Rajapaksa remains defiant

[ Al Jazeera ][ Apr 27 13:16 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's parliament is due to debate a bill limiting presidential powers. This is seen as an attempt to roll back the legacy of former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, who vastly expanded his powers while in office. Rajapaksa was unexpectedly defeated in elections in January. Some analysts say complacency cost him the presidency. He considers his defeat a conspiracy. Al Jazeera's Minelle Fernandez met Rajapaksa in southern Sri Lanka for his first television interview since losing the presidency. [ full story | comments ]

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Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran could be killed as early as Tuesday [ more ]



Sri Lanka president moves Constitution amendment bill

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today presented a bill in pa...


Sri Lanka: Widows of War

When a barrage of artillery slammed into Sivalingam Maheswary's town i...


Frittered and frazzled

THE date should have been one to celebrate: April 23rd was the hundred...



Scarborough Paint Centre





Sri Lanka president moves Constitution amendment bill

[ PTI ][ Apr 27 12:57 GMT ]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today presented a bill in parliament for a key amendment to the Constitution that seeks to dilute powers of the president. The 19A amendment was introduced after last week's aborted attempt caused due to disruption by supporters of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. "It has always been my desire to prune presidential powers. You all will agree that I have been very generous," Sirisena told the House. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka: Widows of War

[ Al Jazeera ][ Apr 26 13:57 GMT ]

When a barrage of artillery slammed into Sivalingam Maheswary's town in Sri Lanka's northeast, her husband and son were among those killed. Sivalingam was one of the few survivors, but she lost her right arm in the shelling on the frontline of the country's civil war. The guns have since fallen silent but 90,000 widows like Sivalingam are now struggling to earn enough to feed themselves and their children. The number of widows is almost as high as the death toll caused by the decades-long war. [ full story | comments ]

Vital week for Sirisena: Will he make or break the SLFP?

[ Sunday Times ][ Apr 26 13:45 GMT ]

Weeks of political uncertainty that thrust Sri Lanka on the road to instability are to end for good or for the worse next week. The good is if the 19A is passed in Parliament after a two-day debate due to begin tomorrow. It is to be followed by electoral reforms through a 20A within weeks. The bad, firstly, is if measures to prune down powers of the Executive Presidency, a main pledge that thrust Maithripala Sirisena to the Presidency, are defeated. Secondly, a double blow will come if efforts to introduce a new electoral system through a 20A are similarly voted out. The fears of such a possibility keep mounting. Parliamentarians supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa are stepping up the ante. [ full story | comments ]

To win the peace

[ Indian Express ][ Apr 26 13:43 GMT ]

President Maithripala Sirisena’s self-imposed 100-day deadline to prove that his government is indeed the promised clean break from the Rajapaksa regime ended on April 23. A day earlier, the Sri Lankan police made the high-profile arrest of Basil Rajapaksa, former economic development minister and brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on corruption charges. Nearly a month ago, there was another round of arrests but chances are you did not hear about it. Policemen burst into a dubbing studio in Colombo with a search warrant and arrested eight people present — five Tamils and three Sinhalese, including studio employees and voice artistes. [ full story | comments ]

EU isn’t alone in poor treatment of migrants

[ Toronto Star ][ Apr 26 13:28 GMT ]

The recent tragedies of the migrant deaths off the shores of Italy are a wake-up call. The EU must act immediately to implement practices in order to prevent the recurrence of these disasters. But beyond this obvious need for drastic change is the need to take a hard look at the thinking behind such tragedies. It is now common ground that the cuts to rescue programs were misguided. The notion that reducing rescue programs would act as a deterrent to the arrival of migrant ships was ill-conceived and illogical. [ full story | comments ]

Small steps forward? International pressure and accountability for atrocities in Sri Lanka

[ OpenDemocracy ][ Apr 24 12:45 GMT ]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was created to put an end to the presumption of impunity for the powerful. But in practice, the court’s ability to deliver justice free of politics has been limited, and its reach is not universal. Atrocities that occur on the territory of states that haven’t joined the ICC remain an extremely tough case for the pursuit of accountability, especially when committed by state actors. It is a truism that perpetrators of mass atrocities don’t prosecute themselves. For states that have joined the ICC’s treaty regime, the chance of justice for international crimes, even when perpetrated by state actors, is potentially improved. [ full story | comments ]

Rajapaksa fears prosecution of entire family by new Lanka govt

[ PTI ][ Apr 24 12:43 GMT ]

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday expressed fears that the new government led by his successor Maithripala Sirisena might end up prosecuting his entire family, a day after his two younger brothers faced questioning by anti-graft investigators. "Next, it will be Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa and Yoshitha Rajapaksa", the former President said. Namal - a parliamentarian - and Yoshitha are Rajapaksa's sons while Gotabhaya is his younger brother. [ full story | comments ]

The Evolution of... M.I.A.

[ Noisey ][ Apr 24 12:35 GMT ]

Remember when “Paper Planes” propped up stoner comedy film trailers and sport montages and everyone was treating M.I.A. like she was just this new thing that appeared rather than a totemic cultural figure who’d spent over a decade grafting through war zones, bourgeois music circles, tabloid frontlines, and political exile? Her story shouldn’t be skirted over. So here we retrace the evolution of M.I.A., from small-town beginnings to an unlikely global icon: a pop star responsible for radio bangers; an anti-style icon with a conscience; a terrorism relativist; a dominating trans-global force of creativity. M.I.A. has thrown the finger to middle America, supported Wikileaks, worn pants capable of inducing epileptic fits, and collaborated with some of the most innovative in the international underground.But before all that,there was Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam. [ full story | comments ]

The 100 days programme of President Sirisena: People’s perspectives

[ Groundviews ][ Apr 24 12:31 GMT ]

On the 23rd April, President Sirisena completed a 100 days in office. On a site – one of many – that has monitored the implementation of the 100-days programme, 10 out of 25 promises are indicated to have been fulfilled. This week Groundviews wandered around in Colombo talking to its citizens in an attempt to find out what the public opinion is; are people satisfied with the new government? Have the last three months had an impact on the lives of the Sri Lankan citizens and what are their prospects for the future? The opinions are diverse; some see change and have experience improvements in their lives, and some don’t. Some support the new government and some still support Mahinda Rajapaksa. [ full story | comments ]

Hope drives migrants to risk death

[ Globe and Mail ][ Apr 23 13:05 GMT ]

A young Sri Lankan man crammed into the cargo hold of a ship with nearly 500 others had only one thing on his mind – getting to the promised land called Canada. Nearly five years after the MV Sun Sea arrived on British Columbia's coast, the refugee claimant said he understands the plight of an estimated 1,700 migrants who have died in the Mediterranean Sea since April 13. “I am extremely sorry to find that they had to die as a result of escaping from danger,” said the man in his 30s, whose identity is protected by a publication ban. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka journalists in exile in Nepal to return

[ PTI ][ Apr 27 12:55 GMT ]

Sri Lankan journalists who fled the country for safety reasons and now living in exile in Nepal will be allowed to return, foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera told the parliament today. He was responding to a query from opposition legislator Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Dissanayake said the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Nepal had refused to facilitate the evacuation of Lankan journalists in the country. "We know that journalists had to flee the country for safety in the recent years. They were scared of white vans chasing them," Dissanayake said. [ full story | comments ]

Frittered and frazzled

[ The Economist ][ Apr 26 13:46 GMT ]

THE date should have been one to celebrate: April 23rd was the hundredth day since Maithripala Sirisena formed a government after winning a fraught presidential election, in January, as the head of a broad coalition of parties. The surprising victory was rightly feted as a democratic triumph. It ended nearly ten years of authoritarian, nepotistic rule by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man who in 2009 inflicted a military defeat on Tamil Tiger rebels. Mr Sirisena had promised, however, to build a “new country” in his first hundred days. He has a long way to go. The change of government offered a chance to face up to Sri Lanka’s bloody past, including atrocities during the war with the rebels. [ full story | comments ]

UPFA insists on dilution of 19A

[ Sunday Times ][ Apr 26 13:44 GMT ]

The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has proposed changes to the latest draft of the 19th Amendment and is demanding that they be included during the committee stage of the bill as a precondition for support. “I would like to kindly inform you that the central working committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party agreed to support the 19th Amendment to the Constitution on the basis that the above-mentioned changes are accepted by the Government,” Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a letter on Friday. The changes, that dilute key provisions in the bill, run into 13 pages. The Government has itself proposed revisions to the 19th Amendment for introduction during the committee stage. The bill is scheduled to be taken up in Parliament tomorrow. [ full story | comments ]

Bali pair told the date of their execution

[ SMH ][ Apr 26 13:41 GMT ]

The end has come for the Bali nine organisers and others on death row in Indonesia who have been told they will be executed on Tuesday night. On Sunday morning the family members and friends of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran made the grim journey across to Nusakambangan to visit the Australians. Chan's fiancée Feby Herewila, brother Michael and mother Helen and long-term friend and supporter Senior Pastor Christie Buckingham all boarded the ferry. [ full story | comments ]

Alberta judge grants Omar Khadr bail

[ Toronto Star ][ Apr 24 15:17 GMT ]

A Canadian judge has granted Omar Khadr bail, offering the former Guantanamo Bay detainee his first taste of freedom after more than 12 years in custody. Alberta Justice June Ross released her verdict Friday, a month after Khadr appeared in an Edmonton court appealing for bail while his Guantanamo conviction is being challenged in a Washington court. “This is a circumstance where balancing a strong appeal and the public confidence in the administration of justice favour the same result,” she wrote. [ full story | comments ]

Judge: Rights of alleged Tamil people-smuggler at risk without legal funding

[ The Province ][ Apr 24 12:44 GMT ]

A judge has ruled that the fair trial rights of one of six men accused of smuggling 492 Sri Lankan Tamils into Canada aboard a ship in 2010 will be jeopardized if he doesn’t get legal funding. But B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman stopped short of ordering the remedy of a stay of proceedings for Nadarajah Mahendran unless he gets that funding. The judge gave the federal Crown a chance to respond to his decision, released Thursday in Vancouver. [ full story | comments ]

Disabled and Denied?

[ Groundviews ][ Apr 24 12:37 GMT ]

Although a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2007, the rights of people with disabilities in Sri Lanka has remained at a dismal state over the past several decades. A recent manifestation of this issue has occurred at my Alma Mater, Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, where a mother of a student was forced to file a complain with the Human Rights Commission to obtain adequate accommodations for her differently-abled daughter (a Grade 8 student of the school). [ full story | comments ]

Bali Nine: Indonesian government orders preparations be made for execution of Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran

[ ABC News ][ Apr 24 12:34 GMT ]

The Indonesian government has ordered that preparations be made for the executions of Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran as well as eight others on death row. Tony Spontana, a spokesman for the Indonesian attorney-general, said the head of General Crimes had issued letters ordering prosecutors to start preparing for the executions. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka: Executive Presidency Has Huge Challenges – Analysis

[ Eurasia Review ][ Apr 23 13:06 GMT ]

With the Sri Lankan Supreme Court’s statutory ‘determination’ that provisions for ‘transfer of power’ at the helm, in the government-proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution, cannot be enforced without a mandated public referendum, the much-maligned and equally abused ‘Executive Presidency’ scheme will stay, at least for now. On the ‘positive side’, especially for the government, the ‘determination’ of the Bench headed by Chief Justice K. Sripavan has kept alive the hopes of early parliamentary polls, promised in President Maithripala Sirisena in his manifesto for the January 8 election. [ full story | comments ]

Refugees don’t need our tears. They need us to stop making them refugees

[ The Guardian ][ Apr 23 13:03 GMT ]

In the desert, the smugglers lace their water with petrol so the smuggled won’t gulp it down and cost more. Sometimes the trucks they’re packed into stall crossing the Sahara; they have to jump out to push, and some are left behind when the trucks drive off again. In transit camps in Libya before the perilous venture across the Blue Desert, they play football, fight, and pool their scanty resources so an even poorer friend can pay his way. One man says his tiny wooden boat was flanked by dolphins as they made the journey, three on each side, like guardian angels, and this was what gave him hope. [ full story | comments ]

>> News Archives


2015-05-15 - Toronto, ON

Toronto Festival of Literature and the Arts 2015

Featured News

[PTI - Apr 27, 2015 12:57:54 GMT]

Sri Lanka president moves Constitution amendment bill

[Al Jazeera - Apr 26, 2015 13:57:47 GMT]

Sri Lanka: Widows of War

[The Economist - Apr 26, 2015 13:46:26 GMT]

Frittered and frazzled

[Indian Express - Apr 26, 2015 13:43:36 GMT]

To win the peace

[SMH - Apr 26, 2015 13:41:04 GMT]

Bali pair told the date of their execution

[Toronto Star - Apr 24, 2015 15:17:38 GMT]

Alberta judge grants Omar Khadr bail

[OpenDemocracy - Apr 24, 2015 12:45:44 GMT]

Small steps forward? International pressure and accountability for atrocities in Sri Lanka

[The Province - Apr 24, 2015 12:44:07 GMT]

Judge: Rights of alleged Tamil people-smuggler at risk without legal funding

[ABC News - Apr 24, 2015 12:34:17 GMT]

Bali Nine: Indonesian government orders preparations be made for execution of Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran

[Globe and Mail - Apr 23, 2015 13:05:48 GMT]

Hope drives migrants to risk death

[The Guardian - Apr 23, 2015 13:03:17 GMT]

Refugees don’t need our tears. They need us to stop making them refugees

[Al Jazeera - Apr 22, 2015 18:53:47 GMT]

Former president's brother arrested in Sri Lanka

[Globe and Mail - Apr 22, 2015 4:28:37 GMT]

Australian PM’s solution to ending deaths of migrants at sea

[London Evening Standard - Apr 22, 2015 4:24:56 GMT]

A tantalising tea break in Sri Lanka

[Indian Express - Apr 19, 2015 12:29:08 GMT]

Will Solve Fishermen Issue: Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe