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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Buddhist terrorists strike a court in Sri Lanka

Violent monk threatening the judiciary
Buddhist monks are supposed to be peaceful, compassionate and tranquil persons.

But a section of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks are completely different.

One such section is led by a robed man called Galagod Aththe Gnanasara.

He leads an organization called Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) which means to be a force of Buddhist people. Although this organization is not officially armed, it is extremely violent and uses mobs to instigate violence against their targets.

They often target Muslims and evidently triggered anti-Muslim violence in Aluthgama and Dharga Town in June 2014 which resulted in loss of

At least four people were killed, 80 injured, houses, shops, factories, mosques and a nursery was burnt and 10,000 people (8,000 Muslims and 2,000 Sinhalese) were displaced by the riots.Then government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not conduct the probe properly and no action was initiated against the perpetrators.

In the most recent incident, Glalgoda Aththe Gnanasara forcibly entered Homagama court and verbally abused the judge, the lawyers and a witness of the prosecution of an abduction case. He disrupted court proceedings and left scot-free challenging the entire judiciary system and law enforcement authorities.

The case was against a group of military personnel who are accused of abducting and assassinating a journalist called Prageeth Ekneligoda who remains disappeared since January 26th of 2010.

Rajapaksa regime prevented the probes on the disappearance properly done but the enhanced investigations made a breakthrough after the new government elected in January 2015. The group of military personnel were arrested accordingly.

Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara wants the military officers released and case dropped. He says the abducted journalist is a Tamil Tiger rebel although he is a Sinhalese and no evidence has been found to link him to the presently defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam.

The violent monk threatened Prageeth's wife Sandhya Ekneligoda in the court who struggled fearlessly to seek justice to her husband.

The judge did not issue arrest orders at that moment but lately ordered the monk arrested. Gnanasara came to the court with a violent group of monks and surrendered to court. The monks behaved extremely violently threatening to people, disrupting court proceedings and damaging property.

They did not let the prison authorities to take away the remanded criminal suspect Gnansara.

The Buddhist monks who rampaged the court are yet to be arrested.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Socialism and waste management

“Garbage, in its "worthless" state, is the primary fuel for creativity.”
― Yusuf A. Leinge

Some say politics is dirty. Is it really so? But I think dirt is also politics. Why?

People who live in Colombo and who visit Colombo daily dump 750 tons of garbage every day. Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) relieves the burden of garbage at Meethotamulla where you can go for a hike on a mountain of dirt.

The residents of the surrounding areas protested last week violently against dumping garbage in their environment and they had a good bath after all from riot police. Are they citizens, I wonder and if they are citizens why doesn't the CMC listen to their woes? They may be thinking they are non-citizens themselves. Citizens do not burn old tyres on roads permanently damaging them. They are the roads they travel and not only the roads the garbage dumpers are driven. They are public roads and the tar is public money.

Fronline Socialist Party (FSP) leader Pubudu Jayagoda claimed in his Facebook that one of their activists was leading the agitation and Jayagoda was critical on whom he called liberals for not taking the side of the protesters. I don't know if they may like their counterpart(y) JVP takes to streets in Meethotamulla mobilizing people against dumping garbage there. The two leftist parties are in a tooth and nail battle for claiming the patent for protests over public issues. It is always good from the side of the people that some elements are available to support them when they want to go against the government, no matter whoever takes the political advantage.

Marxists argue capitalism cannot solve any problem of the system which it creates. I have not noticed anybody has spoken about the socialist solution for the garbage problem. Capitalism promotes consumerism. Extreme consumption patterns lead to produce and excess of waste. Therefore the solution for the problem of garbage must definitely be anti-consumerist.

Meethotamulla protest was successful since the garbage issue was taken out of the dump and set in the TV screens. People of Meethotamulla ask the authorities and the fellow citizens too if it is right to dump others' shit in their locality. Actually, garbage needs to be dumped in some locality. Residents of Meethotamulla say they can be dumped in Muthurajawela, an environmentally sensitive wetland which they consider wrongly as ground which is not in any locality of humans. What you give will come around in some way and be careful folks!

Everybody thinks garbage is something, of which we must rid our immediate environment. We are the people who hang the dirt bag on a nail hammered to the parapet wall outside near the gate. We don't care how it stinks when the brew flows out on the road. It is outside, man. Developed nations dump developed garbage in outer space now with similar attitude. They are like the ones who throw their bag of shit on the road in wee hours while driving their vehicle at a breakneck speed so as the number is not noticed.

What is the actual practical solution to this?

Garbage is not totally waste. If we have proper ways to manage our waste, most of the things we throw can be recycled. Unfortunately, we don't recycle all paper we use. We import paper. It is same with glass and other materials too. Much of the matter of the dump in Meethotamulla comprises of compost automatically processed after dumping. Why can't people make compost at home and use them to be put into flower or vegetable plants in pots? We import chemical fertilizer and it is so cheaper for the farmers since the entire population pays for the fertilizer subsidy. Compost appear costly vis-a-vis the cheap and easy chemical fertilizer.

Super markets and the other retailers must be taken to the management of polythene and plastic waste. Nowadays, you cannot take your own cloth bag even to state owned retail network Lak Sathosa and ask for your commodities put in them. The busy and careless customer servicemen of public service reject your bag silently and put the stuff in polythene bags. Food City girls put even the box of matches in a polythene bag. The local government has to manage the waste they deliver. I think the cost for managing of polythene and plastic waste spread by the retailers is many times higher than the taxes paid by them. They must be asked to collect their waste and to assist the authorities to manage them.

The packaging industry of the modern times is packed in plastic and polythene. Therefore, there is no go back to 'Kadala Gotta' type waste paper packaging. People have health concerns too now which they did not have in the times of 'Kadadasi Gotta' package. But packagers must not be so lavish in throwing away material difficult to be recycled. There must be laws that must be thoroughly imposed on the packaging industry. Some regulations related to the thickness of the polythene matter were introduced by the previous regime but the laws are freely violated due to lack of monitoring mechanisms.

Recycling must definitely be rewarded. It is not a sin that we have a pompously subsidized recycling industry in the country. Give all sorts of relief to those who recycle. They are saving the planet.

The most hazardous general dumping is related to CFL bulbs and batteries of mobile phones. CFL bulbs are thanked for saving power but the flimsy, low quality CFL bulbs cause more severe damage to the environment due to mercury in thrown away bulbs. Laws must be brought to make compulsory for the distributors of the CFL bulbs to collect them back after the warranty period is over. The lifetime of most of those bulbs is the time of warranty offered by the producers.

Real revolution in waste management is actually in the minds of the people. We must change our attitudes from the mindset of taking all the polythene bags home and throwing them away thereafter to a mindset of say a sharp NO to unnecessary packaging. People must use them like misers. As citizens, we need to be extra careful in dumping garbage.

Authorities must have proper mechanisms for waste management. People tend to free themselves of the waste they produce in ad hoc ways when there are no proper ways and means to do it. The society must be disciplined in terms of waste management. Citizens may not mind even the Lee Kuan Yew type draconian laws against the polluters but only after streamlining the waste management systems of the country.

- Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe

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Friday, May 29, 2015

* Why were the suspects of murder of women of Kahawatta acquitted?

acquitted suspects, lawyers and relations (Photo: Dinamina) 
Three suspects of one of the ill famous women double murder cases of Kahawatta were acquitted by court yesterday since police failed to prove the charges against the suspects.

The case was heard by Colombo High Court Judge Devika De Livera Tennakoon as a special case. The suspects were charged with the murder of Liyanagahewage Premawathie (63) and her daughter Hewagamage Pushpika Kumari (23) on June 17, 2012, at Kotakethana in Kahawatte.

According to scientific evidence, the DNA samples taken from the rape victims did not match with the DNA patterns of the suspects.

The evidence of a crime accomplice who was made a witness of the prosecution also had contradiction. The investigations of the police were criticized for being biased.

People of Kahawatta agitated yesterday after the verdict was delivered. They might have protested the judiciary but the blame should have gone to police which had failed to investigate and frame the charges properly.

However, the case indicates the judiciary of Sri Lanka is independent, impartial and professional, instead of being driven by popular sentiments, back again.

In some previous occasions, the murder suspects of Kahawatta who were released on bail by court were killed by unknown groups. Police did not find the killers of these murders. Police under former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was often blamed for acting illegally for narrow popularity.

Hewagamage Pushpakumari - one of the victims 

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Monday, May 25, 2015

* Swiss national among rapist killers of Sri Lankan school girl

Sri Lanka police sources say that a Swiss national is also a suspect of a brutal rape and murder of a 17-year-old school girl of Kaits Island of Jaffna.

The Swiss national suspect who engaged in the group rape and killing of the underage girl has been identified as Mahalingam Rishikumar (41).

The suspect who hailed from Kaits was temporarily residing in Wellawatta. He was arrested while attempting to return to Switzerland secretly.

Rishikumar belongs to the generation of Sri Lankan Tamils who sought political asylum in Europe stating that they are discriminated by Sri Lankan government and military.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

* Sri Lanka's former President vows to change the rule before long

Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed on May 22nd that he would change the system soon.

"We shall change this. Before long, we shall change," he said to a violently cheering crowd in the Buddhist temple.

He said this addressing religious function held in  Mahawapi temple in Ampara in the Eastern Province.

The former President highlighted in his speech that those who voted Swan were from Northern and Eastern Province. He said they have voted to change the President but not the Prime Minister.

He lamented that the investigations conducted against corruption of his regime were acts of revenge.

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* Charred body recovered near Colombo

Athurugiriya police recovered a dead body which was being transported illegally in a van.

The body was half burnt when it was arrested by police.

The body is believed to be of a 40 year old man of Galle. The man has reportedly been tortured and killed.

The van, the driver and another person has been arrested.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

* Foul play suspected in resignation of Commissioner of Bribery in Sri Lanka

Sources close to the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission of Sri Lanka say that the resignation of Commissioner Keerthi Wimalachandra may be aimed at disrupting the functioning of the Commission.

Retired judge of the Court of Appeal Keerthi Wimalachandra resigned on May 15th citing personal reasons, the same day the Speaker of the parliament endorsed the 19th amendment.

Under the 19th amendment, the Commissioners for the independent Bribery Commission must be appointed through the Legislative Council.

Appointing of Legislative Council is delaying due to conflict of ideas between political parties. JVP is in the view that the Legislative Council must be appointed by a new parliament.

However, the resignation of the Commissioner Wimalachandra has paralyzed the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission since it now lacks quorum. Replacement was unable since he resigned just before the endorsing of the 19th amendment.

The Commission cannot order new investigations and legal action now. However, complaints are received and the legal actions already taken are proceeded.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

* Sri Lanka's elderly politician Vasudewa speaks filthy words in parliament

Sri Lanka's veteran leftist and leader of Democratic Left Front Vasudewa Nanayakkara used filthy Sinhala language words in parliament to blame Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.

Vasudewa called the Prime Minister 'Pakaya.'

Pakaya in Sinhala language is similar to fucker.

However, the word literally meant fruit in old Sinhala literature.

Seventy-six years old Vasudewa Nanayakkara is a former Minister of National Languages.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa warned him to mind his language since school children were in the gallery.

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*Are racist elements behind mob violence in Jaffna?

The victim 
The mob violence seen in Jaffna when the suspects of raping a 17-year old school girl of Kaits were produced in court indicate the depth of tension that prevails in the northern society.

The rape was not connected to military and police arrested the suspects and produced them in court. The investigation did not appear flawed. Then what was the reason for hurling rocks at court, insulting the judiciary and damaging public property?

The motive appears to be disruptive. The demand of the mob was offering the suspects to them to be killed. Some of the perpetrators have been arrested and remanded.

Probes must lead to arrest the disruptive elements that ignited violence. Desperate racist elements can be behind it and the their counterparts in the south can be seen elated in social media. They appear to be too early to predict a war.

Sociological researches must be conducted to understand and remedy the undercurrents that lead to this type of crimes and social backfire to them in post-war Tamil areas of Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

* New political front in the formation in Sri Lanka under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena

Sri Lanka's political sources say that preliminary discussions are underway to form a broader political alliance aiming the upcoming general election.

Sources say that a  number of political parties which were in the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) would join the new alliance.

The new alliance is likely to be build up against the political front being built up by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the political parties like a faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, National Freedom Front, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and Democratic Left Front.

Jathika Hela Urumaya, Lanka Samasamaja Party, Communist Party, upcountry Tamil parties and several Muslim Parties have shown interest to join the new alliance which is to be led by President Maithripala Sirisena. The President's winning symbol Swan has won the attraction of the alliance campaigners but a political party linked to UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka has the legal rights for the symbol.

The campaigners for the new alliance have focused to the People's Liberation Front (JVP) and Democratic Party led by Sarath Fonseka also to take them to the alliance.

However, the sources say that the United National Party is likely to contest as an individual party hoping the majority power in the parliament.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

* Mahinda Rajapaksa to form New Sri Lanka Freedom Party

Mahinda Rajapaksa campaign politician Wimal Weerawansa's website Lanka C News reported today that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would form a new political party as New Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

The symbol of the new party is Wee Karala (pod of rice).

The website reported that about 100 MPs of present parliament have agreed to contest under the new party.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

* Sri Lanka's powerful Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) split

Sri Lanka's powerful doctors' union Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) has split.

A specialist doctors' association has been restructured and the union held its first media briefing today.

The  secretary of the union is Ravi Dayasena. Chairman is D.J.N. Rathnasena.

The Chairman said that the union was preparing a list of names of specialist doctors.

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* Sri Lanka's Mahinda camp polico's wives accused of forging national identity cards

MP Wimal Weerawansa, a leader of Mahinda Rajapaksa camp of Sri Lanka will be summoned by Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for interrogation.

He is to be questioned about his wife's use of forged national identity card and passport. She had a diplomatic passport also in her possession.

CID informed court yesterday that Shashi Weerawansa's national identity cards and passports were erroneous.

CID has sought legal advice from the Attorney General to proceed with the case.

Meanwhile, former President Mahinda Rajapaksha's wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa is also accused of providing false details to open a bank account. She has provided the national identity card number as 222222222V and the Department of Registration of Persons has verified the number is false.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

* Is online applying for university entrance fair in Sri Lanka?

University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka has introduced an online application process for university entrance for the first time in the history.

The application process included submitting data and uploading a scanned soft copy of the national identity card of the student.

The student must fill all the entries online and take a printout. After that, the application must be endorsed by the principal and the final stage is sending it via registered post to the Commission.

Only the students who do not possess national identity cards are allowed to apply fully via postal services.

Although the University Grants Commission expects all students to be thorough with computer and internet, the majority of the schools do not provide IT education to the students. They do not possess computers, scanners and printers etc. Outsourcing such services in rural areas is not easy and they lack quality too.

Internet connectivity is a problem in many of the rural areas and mostly the younger generation uses smart phones for surfing. The application process is not optimized for such situations.

On the other hand, the English language knowledge is also not very good in rural areas. Although General English is a subject in the curriculum, a pass is not compulsory for university entrance. Most of the students do not focus to English language during reading for highly competitive Advanced Level examination.

Sri Lanka has still not introduced a standard for writing personal and place names of original Sinhala language in English transcript.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

* Why do people love TV pranks?

Pranks are a major part of the schedules of profit seeking commercial TV stations.

Sri Lankan actor Mihira Sirithilaka was once a victim of this kind of foolish prank by a local TV channel.

Recently, one such TV station performed an inhuman prank with an underage girl. The story was described by BBC like this.

A Mother's Day prank on Cambodian TV has backfired on social media, with the producers accused of cruelty to a teenage girl.
Autumn Allen, a 13-year-old American singer living in Cambodia, had just performed on a local television show last Sunday when she was told that she would be reunited with her mother.
Ms Allen has been living in Phnom Penh with her father since 2008. She last saw her mother, who lives in the US, when she was six.
Wiping away tears, Autumn told the show's hosts that it was her "dream to see her mother again".
"My mother last held and kissed me and told me that she would always love me," she told the audience.
But the promise turned out to be a prank staged by the TV station. Instead of Autumn's mother, a local comedian - dressed in drag - came out pretending to be her.
TV pranks are another aspect of the consumerism. The TV stations are manipulating the sadistic and fraudulent uncivilized inner mindset of people to sell these programmes. People watch these programmes since they love to see other people embarrassed.

Creativity is a waste here. Why must the people be innovative to cheat others?

But it happens in market. It happens in art and politics too. It happens in religion. Therefore, why not in media?

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