Category Archives: press freedom

The Western Bloc vs China in Clash of Giants: A Veteran Lankan Leftist Speaks

Lakshman Gunasekara**

“I am NOT interested in Western anti-Chinese conspiracies, having been familiar with them all my Left activist life since 1974. My interest is (as a good Communist) in the internal problems faced within China and grappled with by the Communist regime there – including the Han ethnocentrism, the anti-Uighur AND anti-Tibetan racism, the huge social problems faced by the intricately managed, partial transition to the capitalist market and, by the new class relations that the CCP must manage with the rise of private capital. So, I repeat my request that if you do come across such studies, please do point me to them. Not this stuff which is as old as the Cold War.

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Murugappan Asylum-Seeker Family on Verge of Legal Victory and A Return to Biloela

Nick Pearson in 9news, 16 February 2021, where the title reads Biloela family spared deportation for now, but remain on Christmas Island”
The Federal Court has stopped the deportation of a family from the Queensland town of Biloela, upholding a decision made in April 2020 which the Department of Home Affairs had sought to have overturned. But Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two young children will remain in Christmas Island Detention Centre for now. The Murugappan family’s lawyer Carina Ford are now considering an appeal to get the family back to their home in Biloela.

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The LANKA COURIER takes off …

https://www.lankacourier.com/

Sri Lanka’s Neutral Foreign Policy

LANKA COURIER   FEB 08, 2021

 The following article has been adapted from the address by the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the general debate of the 75th Session of the United…

Features  ….. Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka

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Suri Ratnapala enters Debate on the Control of FB and Other Such ‘Engines’

Suri Ratnapala, in The Australian, 2 February 2021, where the title reads thus “Proof of life on social media to screen out evils” …. with highlighting emphahsis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The suspension of Donald Trump’s accounts by Twitter and Facebook and the shutdown of Parler by Amazon following the events of January 6 heighten concerns about the power of the Big Tech firms to censor political information and debate.

First, a full disclosure. I am a critic of Trump of a classical liberal disposition. I am a social network recluse with only an email account. I believe the silencing of Trump by Facebook and Twitter may have served the immediate public interest but has troubling consequences for liberal democratic government.

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Aubrey Collette’s Satirical Work — An Appreciation

Neville Weeraratne, being Chapter IX in his opus, entitled Collette’s Cullings. The satirist’s fine line”

COLLETTE: Cartoon comment in the Observer following a ‘43 Group exhibition.

Everybody enjoyed Aubrey Collette’s work though he would not have satisfied every political aspiration. You turned to him for your reading of the day, originally in the Times of Ceylon, later in the Observer, and then as ‘Spur’ in a series he did for the Daily News as well. He gave a sharp edge to his drawing which, indeed, was capable of cutting deeply but never maliciously. Collette had the rare and splendid gift of observation: to remember a foible, to swiftly size up a characteristic, and enjoy having summed up the hapless one who had fortuitously wandered into his sights. To have been noticed by Collette was itself honour enough, and those who had been so distinguished by a portrait, as in Collette’s 1954 FACES – a collection of seventy-three pastel studies – soon bought them up, more for the immortality it conferred on them than for the fear of what their enemies might make of the caricatures. Collette very simply had the gift of showing some how others saw them, bestowing upon them the poet’s wish. You might have rejected these insights as subjective had you not yourself been drawn inevitably into the process of assessing the subject.

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The Pacha-Gaha of Yesteryear in the Heart of Galle

Ruhuna Putra, in Island. 22 July 2020, with this title Galle’s famous Fibber’s Tree”

It was a giant tree of the Banyan family (Ficus altissima), fairly tall, most of its branches canopied and dotted with many a rookery, while some branches bent downwards to the ground and propagated. It also had several subsidiaries. It was centrally located within the town of Galle in a small section of the large cattle pen of the mighty King Ravana covering vast acres, opposite the present police station and close to the war memorial roundabout.

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A Prospering Chinese Economy Today

Paul Schatz on “The Chinese Economy  is strong and getting stronger,” 24 July 2020

28,064 views ….333K subscribers
Heritage Capital President and CIO Paul Schatz joins Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita to break down the latest market actions and tensions between the U.S. and China. #USCHINA #TrumpChina #

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The Threads of Intolerance within Contemporary Liberal/Radical Fervour

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate …. Harpers’ Magazine, July 7, 2020 ……………..
……… The letter below  will be appearing in the Letters section of the magazine’s October issue. We welcome responses at letters@harpers.org

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

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Authoritarian Populism is the Danger Ahead

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 6 July 2020, where the title runs “Regimes in Times of Crisis: Authoritarian Populism, Bonapartism and Fascism”

The crisis we face now is like a tectonic shift in the economy. Global production, the labour used for it, and the demand to realise it, are all in free fall. What will be the political consequences, and what kind of regimes will emerge out of such a deep crisis?
In Sri Lanka, as we approach a significant parliamentary election, my question is not about the character of the parties and the personalities of the candidates that may win or lose. The victory of the SLPP and its consolidation is a bygone fact; that battle was lost with the presidential election last November.

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A Chilling and Terrifying Word-Picture of USA Today

David Kilcullen, in The Inquirer, 30 May 2020 and the Australian, 4 June 2020, with this title Home of the hateful, fearful, heavily armed” …..

Coronavirus is threatening to ignite a tinderbox of grievances in the US. The growing parallels with Iraq, Lebanon and Somalia are real and disturbing.

The rise of militias and armed protesters across the US is sometimes seen as a fringe right-wing issue, but it is much broader. Armed groups have formed across the political spectrum, worsening divisions the coronavirus has exposed in American society.

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