Foreign Affairs

Extreme World: Is Sweden as Clean as it Seems

Ceybank Asset Management (CAM), Sri Lanka’s largest unit trust fund manager, has launched an open ended gilt-edged fund aiming to attract small investors especially in rural areas, officials said.

The ‘Ceybank Surakum’ fund will invest in government Treasury bills and bonds and other government-backed securities but not in equities and aim to give a return higher than interest rates on bank deposits which have been falling.
Chitra Sathkumara, chief executive of CAM, said their initial target is to raise at least two billion rupees

“This will give small investors a better choice,” he told a news conference.

“In Sri Lanka most people invest a part of their money in savings accounts and fixed deposits but interest rates on savings accounts are falling while the cost of living is increasing, and people get poorer.”

This had prompted some investors to search for high interest yielding but risky products and lose money in financial scams, he said.

“Many investors lost their life saving trying to get super returns. The Surakum fund aims to earn returns above savings accounts while ensuring safety. We aim to bridge the gap between savers and investors through this fund.”

The minimum investment in the fund is 10,000 rupees and each unit 10 rupees.

The Ceybank Surakum fund will pay two dividends a year in January and July, with the first dividend being paid in July 2011.

Dividends from investments are tax free, the investments can be encashed at the prevailing market price and investors can switching their money among other funds managed by CAM.

The fund will be marketed with the help of the branch network of the state-owned Bank of Ceylon, which has a 43.4 percent stake in CAM.

Other shareholders are state-owned Sri Lanka Insurance, Carson Cumberbatch & Co. and Unit Trust of India, said K Hewage, chairman of Ceybank Asset Management.

Proposals in the government’s 2011 budget announced last week exempting unit trusts from certain taxes and relaxing foreign exchange controls to allow foreigners to invest in the funds will help promote the industry, he said.
The budget also made income earned by unit trusts from listed stocks and bonds free from income tax.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka extend support to legal affairs in Fiji island

(SLBC) Sri Lanka is to provide support to enhance legal section in Fiji Island. Visiting Fijian Chief Justice Anthony Harold met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees this morning. At the discussion he pointed out that many Sri Lankan legal experts are engaged in state and private legal activities in the Fiji Island. President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that service of the Sri Lankan legal experts should be obtained in more efficient manner and pledged necessary support and advice to streamline legal activities in the Fiji island.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka ready to assist India in combating LTTE

Sri Lanka is to consider assisting India in combating the threat posed by LTTE elements said Minister of Media Keheliya Rambukwella.

Answering a query of a journalist at the Cabinet media briefing held in Colombo a short while ago (16), he said that Sri Lanka will consider on the issue if such a request is made and the country will share all its experiences in combating terrorism.

India is the neigbhouring country of Sri Lanka who has had strong ties for centuries mentioned the Minister.

The Minister mentioned this commenting on the very recent reports on LTTE attempts to take the lives of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and TamilNadu Chief Minister M Karunanidi. These details were revealed by the intelligence units of the country.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka ready to assist India in combating LTTE

Sri Lanka is to consider assisting India in combating the threat posed by LTTE elements said Minister of Media Keheliya Rambukwella.

Answering a query of a journalist at the Cabinet media briefing held in Colombo a short while ago (16), he said that Sri Lanka will consider on the issue if such a request is made and the country will share all its experiences in combating terrorism.

India is the neigbhouring country of Sri Lanka who has had strong ties for centuries mentioned the Minister.

The Minister mentioned this commenting on the very recent reports on LTTE attempts to take the lives of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and TamilNadu Chief Minister M Karunanidi. These details were revealed by the intelligence units of the country.

Foreign Affairs

Spanish-Thai forgery probe reveals new links to LTTE

Spanish and Thai police investigating a gang that supplied forged passports to al-Qaeda linked groups have found new evidence of links to Sri Lanka’s defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, Spanish authorities said today.

Spanish and Thai police are analysing material seized late on Tuesday in a joint operation in which 10 people -eight Pakistanis, a Nigerian and a Thai national – were arrested in the two countries, Spain’s interior ministry said in a statement.

The 10 are suspected of providing forged passports to organisations linked to Al-Qaeda, including the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, accused of plotting the attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 166 people in November 2008, as well as to the Tamil Tigers.

Police seized forged passports, immigration documents, faked rubber stamps, computers, mobile phones, passport photos, British driving licences and sophisticated counterfeiting equipment in the swoop named Operation Kampai.

Spanish police experts “have travelled to Thailand and are working with Thailand’s department of special investigations to analyse the numerous documents seized from the cell,” the interior ministry said Friday.

“An initial examination of photographs seized has turned up evidence of the membership of some members of the terrorist organisation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.”

The LTTE “has perpetrated bloody attacks, many of them by suicides, such as that which killed the former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

“Many of its members were based in Western countries, where they obtained financial assistance for the organisation through extortion and drug trafficking,” it said.

The LTTE fought a violent 37-year campaign for an independent Tamil homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka before being crushed by government forces last year.

Thai police said yesterday that the three arrested in Thailand – two Pakistani men and a Thai woman – were part of criminal networks tied to “many terrorist attacks”.

These included the 2004 Madrid bombings, when blasts on packed commuter trains in a city suburb killed 191 people and wounded 1,841 others. However, Spanish authorities have not confirmed any such link to those arrested.

Spanish police detained seven suspects – six Pakistanis and a Nigerian – in the northeastern city of Barcelona during the operation.

Foreign Affairs

Desi Journalist Abused, Thrown Out of pro-Eelam Meeting in NJ

A veteran Indian-American journalist was forcibly thrown out of a pro-Eelam meeting organized by Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA and Ilankai Tamil Sangam when he went to cover the event at Rasoi restaurant in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey on Saturday noon.

Dr Prakash M Swamy, a senior journalist of New York and a United Nations accredited correspondent, was manhandled and pushed out of the venue after being invited to cover the event by the organizers. The organizers also abused him as “an agent of Government of India and Sri Lanka” while forcibly pushed him out of the door in the cold when he pleaded that he had come all the way from New York traveling over two hours to cover the event at their invitation.

According to Dr Swamy, Palani Sundaram, president of Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (Fetna) was heard shouting and giving directions to the volunteers to throw him out saying that the writer could bring disrepute to the organizations with his “negative reporting.”

Dr. Swamy is a Tamil-speaking English journalist who specializes in South Asian affairs and has written several articles and scoops on the formation of Trans-national Government of Tamil Eeelam (TGTE) headquartered in New York and led by attorney Visuvanathan Ruthrakumaran in the Indian media especially for popular Tamil magazines such as Junior Vikatan.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka Gains from Indo-Chinese Supremacy Battle

As India and China jostle for influence in the Indian Ocean region, the island nation of Sri Lanka seems to be getting unintended economic benefits.
China has pledged more financial assistance as Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Shanghai Expo exhibition earlier this month.

China is already the biggest lender for the Indian Ocean island. Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene says that China has, so far, pledged more than $3bn (£1.9bn) for infrastructure development, maintenance and other projects.

“China has been investing in Sri Lanka when many other countries were reluctant to invest during the war,” he tells BBC Sinhala service.

China has finished the first phase of the major sea port of Hambantota on the southern Sri Lankan coast – Mr Rajapaksa’s hometown – and is funding a new airport in the south. Chinese firms are also rebuilding roads in the north.

Many other projects are already in the pipeline, including handling a Special Economic Zone, a 900 megawatt coal-fired power plant and the Colombo-Katunayake expressway, the road connecting the capital with the island’s only international airport.

China is also funding port projects in Chitagong in Bangladesh and in Pakistan and Burma.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lankan Media Breaks Silence On Sirisena Brat

The Day-to-day Mirror website in a surprising twist decided to break the censorship of all other Sri Lankan mainstream media homes, when they carried a story titled &#8220Daham Sirisena Justifies His Trip To UN&#8221 regarding the first son junket Daham Sirisena&#8216s trip to the United Nations which is at the moment being funded by tax payers cash.

Daham Sirisena - Pasikudah | File photo

Daham Sirisena &#8211 Pasikudah | File photo

Not a single mainstream media property reported Daham Sirisena&#8217s pay a visit to to the UN up till this point as of yesterday, as hundreds of Sirisena supporters started to criticize Colombo Telegraph internet site for breaking and following up the news concerning his pay a visit to propped up by a sense of pure nepotism that went wild on social media.

An avid reader of Colombo Telegraph sent in an e mail citing &#8220friend of mine who operates for the Daily Mirror mentioned she had been reading the Daily Mirror website routinely, but in no way knew that Daham Sirisena was in the US attending the current UN conference. How can she know anything of this sort as Day-to-day Mirror by no means carried something relating to the Daham saga has designed hence far&#8221 concluded the Colombo Telegraph reader.

&#8220The principal stream media failed to raise this distinct nepotism situation, as it focused on mostly raising troubles that blamed the the former Rajapksa regime as an alternative&#8221 stated our reader.

Writing to Colombo Telegraph media researcher Nalaka Gunawardene stated&#8221The [email protected] episode has shown up our mainstream media as properly. None of them had the courage to comment on this matter, or at least report the widespread social media condemnation of it. For some, the first time they ever described it was when they carried Daham’s ‘explanation’ on Facebook.&#8221

&#8220Is it since our media has been suppressed for also extended that, even now, they cover the President, his household and other political leaders with as well much deference? Why do most of our media treat the head of state as a feudal lord &#8212 when the incumbent has said he does not want to be treated as such?&#8221 he questioned.

&#8220Is it that parrots who have been caged for a decade do not want to fly away when released, so they just hover about repeating what the former master/captor taught?&#8221 he further asked.

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Foreign Affairs

Taking Reconciliation Method Forward Right after Co-Sponsored Resolution 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The government took a key step forward in rejoining the international community on equal terms when it reached agreement with the United States and other Western countries in the UN Human Rights Council to co-sponsor the resolution on the future its post-war accountability procedure. For the past six years Sri Lanka was on the defensive internationally for its conduct of the final phase of the war. From 2012 onwards it was at the getting end of increasingly adverse resolutions by the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution in 2014 mandated an international investigation into the previous. Every year the meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva became the occasion of confrontation abroad and for political mobilization inside the country in which ethnic nationalism took the centre stage.

The new government’s agreement with the United States to co-sponsor the draft resolution that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday is an indication that each sides sat collectively to sort out the difficulty. Unlike its predecessor the present government has acted on the rational basis that a policy of confrontation would not resolve the problem but only aggravate it. Though the confrontational approach of the preceding government was common at home it was major to an internationally imposed outcome which would have produced a bad predicament worse. The government’s issue solving method enabled it to convince the United States, and other Western countries, to drop the particular reference to a hybrid judicial mechanism. This was the most controversial function of the UN Human Rights Higher Commissioner’s report on Advertising Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka.

Kerry and Mangala 02 05 2015 Colombo TelegraphThe latest draft resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on advertising reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka affirms “the significance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, such as the Unique Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.” This was in contrast to the UN Human Rights Higher Commissioner’s Report that named for a hybrid judicial mechanism with the participation of international judges, lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to guarantee the credibility of the accountability approach. The replacement of the emphasis provided to the hybrid judicial mechanism and its replacement with a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism would give the Sri Lankan government a greater measure of credibility in dealing with the nationalist sentiment within the nation.

Political Challenge 

The government is preparing to meet the political challenge that it expects from the opposition with regard to the compromises it is creating in Geneva. Getting dealt with the dilemma in Geneva, the government is now moving towards guarding itself politically within the nation. It is conscious that it is sitting on best of a volcano of ethnic nationalism. This is the identical volcano that developed the background for the assassination of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike in 1957 when he tried to allay Tamil nationalism by conceding language and devolution rights to the men and women of the Northern and Eastern provinces, to the uprising of the JVP in 1987 when President JR Jayewardene signed the Indo Lanka Peace Accord to bring an finish to the Tamil uprising by conceding devolution of energy, and to the downfall of the UNP government in 2004 headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he attempted to have a negotiated political settlement with the LTTE via the Norwegian facilitated ceasefire.

More than the weekend the newly appointed Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganesan referred to as two meetings, a single each with heads of media organizations and yet another with civil society activists to discuss the forthcoming Geneva resolution and how very best to take its message to the general population. The meetings have been chaired by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who pointed out that the Geneva resolution that the government was co-sponsoring was not only about a probe into war crimes allegations, but was also about restoring democracy and bringing national reconciliation. He explained that the judicial mechanism for accountability would be one that was Sri Lankan and approved by Parliament.

At the civil society meeting, he indicated that the presence of international legal personnel in this judicial mechanism would not be as mere tokens. He pointed out that Sri Lankan judges held high positions in courts in foreign nations and it could be the other way round also, specifically in instances exactly where the neighborhood knowledge was either lacking or required to be supplemented. Such an international presence is anticipated by the Tamil polity which has no faith in the Sri Lankan judicial approach in relation to concerns of the war and the conduct of the Sri Lankan military during the war and its aftermath. This would also be the position of international human rights groups and numerous foreign governments.

Even so, the involvement of international judges and legal personnel in the judicial accountability approach in which the leaders of the former government and military are implicated will supply a political rallying point to Sinhalese nationalist leaders. The former leaders of the government who gave leadership to the war effort that saw the final victory over the LTTE and the military that created it achievable have been broadly perceived by the Sinhalese polity to be war heroes. There is tiny or no want on the part of the ethnic majority Sinhalese population to see them differently. So far the news media seems to be cooperating with the government in downplaying the compromises produced in Geneva and the implications for the country. The voice of the nationalists within the opposition has not been receiving the higher levels of publicity that they received during the period of the prior government. But this is probably to alter soon after the resolution in Geneva is passed with the Sri Lankan government co-sponsoring it, and the time for implementation begins.

All Inclusive 

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe seems to have taken note of the lessons of the previous. In the course of the abortive 2002-2004 peace process he and his government confronted the then president Chandrika Kumaratunga who undermined him. On this occasion the Prime Minister is operating closely with President Maithripala Sirisena who has the credibility to give him covering assistance against Sinhalese nationalism. During the 2002-2004 peace process, the government did not actively engage with civil society in taking optimistic messages of the peace method to the individuals. The early meeting that the Prime Minister chaired with civil society groups indicates that he appreciates the function that civil society played in advocating the lead to of very good governance in the course of the presidential and common elections earlier in the year. In a democracy unless there is well-known understanding and acceptance of the need to have for reform it is unlikely to be effective. Sri Lankan civil society organizations have a track record in taking advocacy and educational messages to the common population.

It is significant that the draft resolution recognizes the need to have for a method of accountability and reconciliation for violations and abuses, including those committed by the LTTE as highlighted in the UN report. The Sinhalese folks need to know that the accountability process is meant for all who violated human rights and committed war crimes, and is not targeted only against the government. Action against financiers and other international operatives and agencies will be an integral element of the criminal investigation that the UN Higher Commissioner’s report has proposed by way of the recommended involvement of international personnel in the accountability procedure. At the identical time, it is also essential for the government not to lose sight of the concerns of the Tamil population on the ground. They could not require to be convinced of the merits of possessing an international component in the Sri Lankan judicial mechanism to ensure accountability. However, their interest in a swift return to normalcy requirements to be taken into account. The requirements of the war-affected folks of the North and East are urgent ones. The government has announced a mechanism to deal with the past that will be based on a fourfold system which will include a Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation, an Office of Missing Persons, a judicial mechanism with special counsel to be set up by statute and an Office of Reparations.

As initial self-confidence developing gestures, the government can have a prison census and folks uncover their missing ones so that no one particular gets lost in the program, either deliberately or inadvertently. It can also speed up release of persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act with no charge and also the release of land taken more than throughout the war back to the individuals. There is also a want to help displaced persons who nevertheless number in the tens of thousands to resettle in their original areas if that is what they want. This is a difficulty that continues to have an effect on a massive proportion of the 90,000 strong Northern Muslim neighborhood who had been forcibly evicted from their homes in the North by the LTTE in a single of the war crimes that took location in the course of the course of the war. The benefits of the transitional justice approach will be applicable to all communities, as will accountability. Many of the required actions do not need to have any new mechanism but the political will of the government.

Foreign Affairs

5 Lies In Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement On OHCHR Report

By Niranjan Rambukwella

The Member of Parliament from Kurunegala, Mahinda Rajapaksa, not too long ago released a statement explaining his position on the lately released United Nations investigation into allegations of human rights abuses and crimes that occurred in the course of and after the war in Sri Lanka. His statement contained five main factual inaccuracies.

Mahinda1. “The investigation on Sri Lanka was not carried out by an independent Commission of Inquiry but for the really initial time, by the OHCHR.”

This was not the very first time the OHCHR has carried out an investigation. Other investigations contain the OHCHR investigations into Darfur in 2004, and the investigations on Afghanistan and Kyrgystan. These have been all carried out by the OHCHR.

two. “Similarly, I as well had to go against the wishes of certain strong nations to defeat terrorism and bring peace to this country.”

The LTTE is banned in the United States, EU and India. The US and India both supplied vital intelligence, instruction and military gear that played a crucial role in the defeat of the LTTE. EU nations also assisted with coaching and gear. There is no basis for saying that these nations did not want the LTTE defeated.

three. “Some politicians have been telling the individuals that all these international initiatives are based on my joint communiqué with the UN Secretary Basic of 23 May possibly 2009. I see that as a deliberate try to mislead the individuals and seek justification for their own cooperation with interventionist foreign forces.”

These are the words of the Mahinda Rajapaksa-Ban Ki-moon Joint Communique, “The Secretary General underlined the value of an accountability method for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances .” Dayan’s renowned congratulatory but self-defeating resolution in 2009, created this guarantee to the complete world, it “welcomes the check out to Sri Lanka of the Secretary-Common of the United Nations at the invitation extended by the President of Sri Lanka, and endorses the joint communiqué issued at the conclusion of the check out as properly as the understandings contained therein”

4. “The most that can be accomplished with a report of this nature is to suggest the setting up of a war crimes tribunal and that has been done.”

The report could have completed a great deal a lot more than advocate a tribunal. It could have advised referral to the Safety Council, it could have named men and women and it could have advised an international tribunal. It could even have advised financial sanctions.

five. “Some seem to believe that had my government still been in energy, this report may possibly have led to financial sanctions becoming imposed on Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, neither the UNHRC nor the OHCHR can impose financial sanctions on a country.”

As these are UN reports and taken extremely seriously by the whole world, if the OHCHR recommended sanctions, it is very likely that the economy would have been in tatters. The OHCHR report would have led to numerous governments thinking about sanctions. The little investment Sri Lanka received would have dried up, tourist arrivals would decline, the interest prices Sri Lanka pays would rise and access to concessionary finance would be even a lot more difficult. Furthermore, it would make it extremely challenging for the US and EU, which account for more than half our exports, to not have targeted sanctions and travel bans. In a couple of years the Rajapaksas lost GSP+, with a damning report recommending economic sanctions, the Sri Lankan economy would have been in free of charge fall.

The query we want to ask is, why does Mahinda keeping lying to us?