Monthly Archives: November 2012

Asoka Handagama’s INI AVAN, or “Him, Here, After,” in Paris

Press Release from the SL Embassy of Paris

INDI AVANOn November 28th, 2012, a special screening of Ini Avan (Him, Here After), Asoka Handagama’s latest movie, was organized at Club Lincoln, in Paris, by Heliotrope Films. Premiered at Cannes 2012 as one of the films under the Association of Independent Cinema ACID (l’Association du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion), Ini Avan has been listed in some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world during the past months including Toronto, Edinburg, Tokyo, Hanoi. Continue reading

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Paper Tigers on the Prowl: Rumors, Violence and Agency in the Up-Country of Sri Lanka

Daniel Bass of Florida Atlantic University in Social Thought and Commentary

In February 2007, international press reports from Pakistan were filled with accounts of Pakistanis refusing to participate in polio vaccination campaigns coordinated by UNICEF out of fear that the vaccines caused sterilization (see Latif 2007; Walsh 2007). Several local clerics had claimed that the vaccines were actually part of an American-led conspiracy to sterilize Muslims. Similar rumors about vaccinations and sterilization were widespread in Nigeria’s Kano state in 2004 (see Associated Press 2004; Walsh 2007), and had also received significant attention in the international press. However, press accounts of these rumors contain little to no explanation for why local leaders in Pakistan and Nigeria spread these rumors, except for accusations of ignorance or general references to anti-Americanism. Continue reading


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LTTE Roots in Tamilnadu

A. Subburaj of TNN in Times of India, 28 November 2012, where the title reads ” For Puliyoor Resdents, LTTE is Living Presence

COIMBATORE: On Tuesday late evening, over 400 people including 100 women and children, gathered at Puliyoor, a nondescript village in Salem district, and lit candles to remember the fallen heroes of a war fought across the seas.  The  LTTE has been wiped out from Sri Lanka, but the Tigers are a living presence for the villagers here. At Ponnammaan Memorial Bus Shelter at Puliyoor Pirivu here, men, women and children from Puliyoor, Mettur Dam, Kolathur and surrounding villages stood in a line, with candles in hand, as they have been doing for the past 21 years, to remember Tamils who died fighting  Sri Lankan army during the three decades of ethnic strife. They sang songs in praise of the heroes and for the Eelam. Continue reading

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Jaffna and the North today: Jehan Perera’s visit

Jehan Perera, in the Island, 27 November 2012

The landscape in the more densely populated parts of the once war ravaged North is a rapidly changing one. The government’s focus on investing in physical infrastructure such as public buildings and roads is showing visible results. Suddenly the skeletal structures of buildings get filled out and transform the appearance of an entire area. When we passed the town of Kilinochchi, the onetime administrative capital of the LTTE, it was lighted up even though the hour was late in the night. It looked like a model town. The challenge for the government will be to make this external change an internal one as well, in which the people who meant to be the beneficiaries also rejoice in the transformation and feel that justice is being done to them. Continue reading

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Adelaide University establishes scholarship link in Sri Lanka

Courtesy of The Island, 27 November 2012

 Professor Quester is the lady in a blouse and Dr. Amal Karunaratne is the elegant gent with silver-hair to our right

The University of Adelaide, one of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities and ranked among the top one per cent worldwide, is for the first time offering a scholarship for a Sri Lankan student to study for a bachelor’s degree. Prof. Pascale Quester, Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic), Adelaide University, addressing a ceremony to announce the Lindsay McWha Accomodation Scholarship, valued at AUD 6,250, to a Sri Lankan student, at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo on Friday, said that selection would be strictly on merit and it had to be taken in the year for which it was offered and could not be deferred. Continue reading

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Chandrika bewails recent encroachments on the judiciary

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, in The Island, 27 November 2012, where the title is “Democracy, the State and the Judiciary”

The last few months have seen several attempts at interference with the proper functioning of the judiciary. The Mannar incident, the unprecedented statement of the Judicial Service Commission, the physical attack on the Secretary of the JSC who released the statement on the direction of the JSC, use of State media to attack the judiciary, especially the Chief Justice, and now a Motion to impeach the Chief Justice. A Member of Parliament who submitted the motion to the Speaker has publicly stated that the reason for the impeachment motion is the Supreme Court’s determination on the Divineguma Bill. As that Bill seeks to make severe inroads into the areas of competence of Provincial Councils while concentrating power in the hands of a single Cabinet Minister, such a determination was only to be expected. But, in the intolerant political environment that pertains today, judicial decision unpalatable to the Government are not tolerated. Continue reading

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Velupillai Pirapāharan: VEERA MARANAM

Michael Roberts

 That the LTTE talaivar, Velupillai Pirapāharan, died a heroic death as a vīra maranam on the 18th or 19th May 2009 is now certain.[1]Though Tamil sources claim that he shot himself with his pistol when he and his troops were trapped in the mangrove swamps on the eastern shoreline of Nandhikadal lagoon, the weight of evidence suggests that he was hit by a bullet “traveling diagonally across VP’s skull, probably from left forehead to right rear of skull –[a bullet that was part of] either a rifle round, or a rifle-calibre round”(David Blacker, email to Roberts, 14 February 2012).


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India hangs Ajmal Kasab, the one surviving gunman of 2008 Mumbai attacks

Mohamed Ajmal Kasab

NBC News staff and wire reports

India hanged Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the only militant to have survived the 2008 attacks on the financial capital Mumbai, officials said Wednesday.In August, India’s Supreme Court upheld Kasab’s death sentence over the attack on a string of targets in Mumbai that killed 166 people. Kasab, 25, was a Pakistani national. He was executed at 7:30 a.m. local time.

The execution at Yerawada Prison in Pune, near Mumbai, came just hours after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a mercy plea by Kasab, who had said he belonged to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Continue reading

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The UN hacks off its own toes

Kath Noble, courtesy of the Island, 21 November 2012, where the title isThe UN’s plan for making white people feel better”

Last week I felt like I had been transported back in time. We were back in those awful first six months of 2009, when I was by turns horrified at the plight of the people caught up in the fighting in the Vanni and disgusted with the way in which the international community was responding.

Of course, we all wanted to stop the war. I hate violence. But as I argued then and continue to believe, at that point, the only way the war was going to stop was with the defeat of the LTTE. Prabhakaran would not give up on Eelam. He was going to continue his vicious campaign against the Sri Lankan state and all its communities until he was caught or killed. Our task, therefore, was to minimise the damage. We had to try to ensure that it was done with as little death and destruction as possible. Continue reading

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Rajapaksa Dynasty’s Concentrated Power: Question Marks

CHINA POST where the title reads “Power concentration in Sri Lanka threatens economic possibilities”

From foreign hotel towers sprouting on Colombo’s seafront to the new motorcycles and mobile phones buzzing in war-ravaged Jaffna, at first glance, Sri Lanka seems to be living up to its claim as Asia’s latest frontier market. But private businesses are not investing enough, threatening the boom that has swept the island since the end of a long ethnic conflict, while President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family are tightening their grip on the economy and institutions with what critics see as an unusually personalized system of government. The global economy may be in poor shape, but with 17 percent growth since the war ended in 2009 and an eye-popping 200-percent rise in the stock market, investors should be flocking to Sri Lanka’s palm-fringed shores. Instead, even home-grown businesses are shy. Continue reading

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