Last Updated : 2020-01-21 06:59:00
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Mon, 20 Jan 2020 Today's Paper
11 Jan 2020
This is my third and final column in the trilogy of articles about the singing of Sri Lanka’s national anthem in Sinhala and Tamil languages. I would have very much liked to write about hot topics like Ranjan Ramanayake’s voice recordings or President Gotabaya’s policy speech or internal troubles of the UNP,
04 Jan 2020
2020 has dawned! Greetings for the new year to all readers. My article in this column last week about moves being contemplated to forbid the singing of Sri Lanka’s national anthem in Tamil at the 70th Independence Day event seems to have been received well, judging by the positive responses I have been getting from readers this week. What makes me most happy is the fact that an overwhelming number of these responses have been from Sinhala reade
28 Dec 2019
The news item appearing in Dailymirror last week was like a bolt out of the blue. It said the national anthem would be sung in Sinhala language only at the forthcoming celebratory event of Sri Lanka or Ceylon gaining full independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. The practice adopted since 2016 of singing the anthem in Tamil too would not be followed. This is what the news item penned by Sandun A. Jayasekera said:
21 Dec 2019
December 18, 1949 was a red letter day in the political history of Sri Lankan Tamils known as “Ilangaith Thamizhar” in their mother tongue. On that day, a group of sixty Tamils including two parliamentarians and two senators launched a new political party with the avowed goal of establishing an autonomous State for Tamil-speaking people of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was known then) within a united island. The new party was named in Tamil as “Illankai T
14 Dec 2019
Recent events have focused the media spotlight on the Federal Republic of Switzerland known officially as the Swiss Confederation. The landlocked European nation is respected highly on a global scale due to its policy of armed neutrality. Despite the impeccable credentials of Switzerland, the country is being viewed negatively by influential sections of the Sri Lankan people. There is suspicion that an orchestrated campaign is being pursued by ce
30 Nov 2019
The election of Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the seventh Executive President has effectively demonstrated that the “Ruhunu Rajapaksas” have come to stay as a dynastic political force in the country. As stated last week in the first of this two-part article, the patriarch of “Medamulana Dynasty” was Don Alvin Rajapaksa (D.A. Rajapaksa), the father of Chamal, Mahinda, Gotabaya, Basil and five other children.
23 Nov 2019
The 2019 presidential election is over and Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected as the seventh Executive President with a thumping majority. The result seems to have upset the calculations and predictions of many a commentator and analyst writing in English both in Sri Lanka and abroad. It has indeed been amusing to see some of them “blaming” the voters for going against the grain of their assessments. What they fail to realise is that
02 Nov 2019
This writer devoted several hours in the past fortnight to communicate with a cross-section of Sinhala media personnel in the Southern, Central, Sabaragamuwa, North Western and North Central Provinces of Sri Lanka. A few journalist colleagues in Colombohelped to put me in touch with them. Our discussions were focused on the upcoming presidential election and about how chief presidential candidates were likely to fare. I was very much interested i
19 Oct 2019
“Onna Babo Billo Enawaa” was a familiar threat often used by grown-ups to frighten children into obedience in those days. Fear would be instilled into children that the kidnapper with the sack (Goni Billa) would grab them if the kids did not do as they were told. Nowadays, a few people resort to such threats in dealing with children.
12 Oct 2019
The political spectacle“Ekwa Idiriyata” (Forward Together) that unfolded on October 10 at Galle Face Green has elevated the morale of the green party to ecstatic heights. A mammoth crowd -- estimated by some of being in the range of six digits – gathered on the shores of the Indian ocean to see, hear and cheer the United National Party (UNP) leaders. A festive mood was much in the air as the DNF’s presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa launched
28 Sep 2019
Sixty years ago on September 25, 1959, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (SWRDB) the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon was shot and seriously wounded by a Buddhist monk named Ven.Talduwe Somarama Thera. Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike succumbed to his injuries the following day. The fourth Prime Minister of Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka passed away on September 26, 1959 exactly twenty-two hours after he had been shot.
21 Sep 2019
“The Prime Minister is Dead” was the striking headline in extra-large, bold letters of a special edition published by the now defunct “Times of Ceylon” on the morning of Saturday, September 26, 1959.
09 Sep 2019
Ever since the name of Gotabaya Rajapaksa began to be bandied about as a potential candidate at the Sri Lankan presidential elections, doubts have been raised as to whether the former defence ministry secretary could win at the hustings.
03 Aug 2019
There is political excitement in the air in anticipation of the presidential election before year end. Although no dates have been specified, there is much speculation about prospective candidates and their prospects. Among those being spoken of as potential presidential election contenders is Hambantota District Parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa who is also the United National Party (UNP) deputy le
27 Jul 2019
The eighth Sri Lankan presidential election is expected to be held on or before December 7 this year. Although dates have not been announced yet, many names are being bandied about as potential candidates. Among them is Hambantota District Parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa who is also the United National Party (UNP) deputy leader.
20 Jul 2019
Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been elected President of the European Union (EU) commission following a secret ballot among Members of the European Parliament. She is the first woman to be elected President of the EU commission and will replace incumbent President Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1 this year. With Ursula von der Leyen’s victory, another traditional male bastion has fallen.
13 Jul 2019
The cruelly tragic killing of five Tamil students by members of the security forces thirteen years ago in the Trincomalee town was revisited in these columns last week. This week’s column seeks to revive memories about a murder most foul perpetrated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Colombo exactly thirty years ago. It was on the fateful day of July 13, 1989 that foremost Sri Lankan Tamil political leader and former opposition lea
06 Jul 2019
Five Tamil students were killed near the beach in the Trincomalee town thirteen years ago on January 2, 2006. Two other students suffered injuries but survived. The names and dates of birth of the five victims were: Manoharan Rajiharan – 22.09.1985; Yogarajah Hemachandra – 04.03.1985; Logitharajah Rohan – 07.04.1985; Thangathurai Sivanantha – 06.04.1985 and Shanmugarajah Gajendran – 16.09.1985. The two injured youths were Yogarajah Poongulalon a
15 Jun 2019
The orchestrated political campaign by the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led opposition in association with sections of the Buddhist clergy and mainstream media against three prominent Muslim politicians has ostensibly succeeded. The said aim of the campaign was to secure the dismissal, resignation and/or arrest of two Provincial Governors and a Cabinet Minister. Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah and Western Province Governor Azath Salley have bo
08 Jun 2019
Sri Lanka once again hurtling towards another orgy of anti-Muslim violence. Buddhist monk Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera who is also a Member of Parliament was on a ‘fast unto death’ in the vicinity of Dalada Maligawa(Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) hallowed by Buddhists in Sri Lanka and abroad.
04 May 2019
Mohammed Zahran the founder-leader of the National Thawheed Jama’at and suspected ring leader of the Islamic State (IS) inspired attacks on Easter Sunday has been officially reported dead by the Sri Lankan Police.
02 May 2019
Sri Lanka’s security forces have engaged in many battles and armed confrontations during the long war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 brought an end to the conflict. Thereafter for ten years, the country has been experiencing peace and relative tranquillity. The armed forces too were confined to
27 Apr 2019
Easter Sunday is celebrated by Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, as the day on which the crucified Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It is a joyful day on which Christians sing jubilantly – Death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory? He’s alive, He’s alive, He is risen! In a cruel twist of fate, this year’s Easter on April 21 turned out to be a day of tragedy and sorrow. The destruction and carnage caused on Easter Sunday by
20 Apr 2019
‘Aadara Sevana’ (Abode of Love) in Anuradhapura is a social service cum prayer centre run by the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka. It is located a few kilometres away from the Anuradhapura town at a place called Kundichchaankulama in Sinhala and Kundichchaankulam in Tamil. The relatively-unknown Methodist Centre in the North Central Province has been in the news lately for extremely-troubling reasons.
30 Mar 2019
Lester James Peries is regarded by many including this writer as Sri Lanka’s greatest film director. The birth centenary of the master film maker born on April 5, 1919 will be commemorated this week.
23 Mar 2019
‘Is Mahinda playing fair by Gota in the presidential candidacy issue?’ was the title of an article by this writer that was published a fortnight ago in Daily Mirror. Let me begin this week’s article by excerpting five relevant paragraphs from the D.B.S. Jeyaraj column of March 9, 2019. Here are the first four paragraphs from the beginning of the article –
09 Mar 2019
Is former President Mahinda Rajapaksa playing fair by his younger brother Gotabaya as far as the presidential election candidate issue is concerned? This question has popped up in the minds of many observers of Sri Lanka’s political landscape in recent times. Although the Rajapaksa brothers present an outward image of monolithic unity, the political grapevine has hummed many times about strong political differences existing within the ‘Kurakkan
23 Feb 2019
The year was 1985. Junius Richard Jayawardene was the Sri Lankan President while Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister of India. The New Delhi facilitated talks between an official Sri Lankan Government delegation and six entities representing the Sri Lankan Tamils were going on in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu during the months of July and August. The Sri Lankan delegation was led by President Jayewardene’s brother H.W. Jayawardene. The Tamil side
16 Feb 2019
Journalists in the line of duty are required to write about different people from all walks of life but it is very rarely that they write about themselves or fellow journalists. It is accepted as part of a scribe’s lot in life. As far as the fourth estate is concerned, it goes with the territory. Sadly, if at all we do write about a journalist, it is only after he or she passes away. It is against this backdrop therefore that I write this w
09 Feb 2019
The Constitution reform or Constitution-making process appears to be at a standstill. Apart from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), all other political parties represented in the Constitutional Assembly do not seem keen on taking the process forward at this juncture. The chief reason for this lethargy seems to be real and imaginary concerns over impending elections in the near future. The presidential elections are definitely due this year. At th
20 Jan 2020