March 18, 2018
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Wigneswaran to meet Ranil to discuss concerns

Aug 22, 2016 0

WigneswaranNorthern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran is to meet Prime Minister Ranul Wickremeinghe to discuss concerns on former LTTE members.

Wigneswaran told the Colombo Gazette that he is expected to meet the Prime Minister tomorrow in Colombo following an invitation extended to him.

He said that he will discuss the allegation that former LTTE cadres who were released after being rehabilitated, had been injected with a poisonous drug.

Wigneswaran said that he will also discuss concerns over the failure to release Tamil political prisoners still in detention.

The Government has said it is prepared to investigate the allegations that former LTTE cadres were injected with poison if the details of such former LTTE cadres is submitted to the relevant authorities.

Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganeshan said that there is no need for Wigneswaran to take the issue to the international community as it can be investigated locally.

Wigneswaran is reported to have sought US assistance to investigate the issue but the US had turned down the request.

The Northern Province Chief Minister said that he has advised doctors in the North to look into the issue and submit a report.

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“Our fishing nets have been cutting by Sinhalese fishermen” – Tamil fishermen in Vadamaradchi East alleged

Aug 16, 2016 0

IndiaTv3afb2a_fishermanTamil fishermen in Vadamaradchi East alleged that hundreds of Sinhalese fishermen from the south have been allowed by the Sri Lankan military to fish in restricted areas, as tensions between the groups heighten.

The Sinhalese fishermen have also been cutting the nets of the Tamil fishermen, they said at a meeting at the Divisional Secretariat in Marudhankeni earlier this month. Some 700 boats belonging to the Sinhalese can now be seen along the Vadamaradchi East coastal region they added. With Sri Lankan military assistance, the fishermen have been in waters that remains off limits to the Tamil fishermen they claimed, and have been able to do so without permits.

With the military watching over the Sinhalese fishermen, the Tamils are  left unable to challenge their activities they added.

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Tamil political prisoners locked in Sri Lankan jails launched a hunger strike this week

Aug 13, 2016 0


Tamil political prisoners locked in Sri Lankan jails launched a hunger strike this week, as they continued to call for their immediate release from detention.

Approximately 99 prisoners started their hunger strike earlier this week reports demanding that they either be released or formally charged.

The hunger strike comes as a protest took place in Jaffna on Monday, demanding the release of political prisoners.

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Adopting federalism is the only way to assure transitional justice and provide a long-lasting solution to ethnic conflict – C.V.Wigneswaran

Aug 12, 2016 0

1879091245v3C.V. Wigneswaran, chief minister of the Northern Province and member of the Tamil National Alliance, says adopting federalism is the only way to assure transitional justice and provide a long-lasting solution to ethnic conflict.

In January 2015, longtime President Mahinda Rajapaksa lost his bid for what would have been an unprecedented third term in office. The new government, based upon a coalition between rival political parties has made some steps in the right direction, although deeper reform has been hard to come by; nowhere is this truer than in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province. In this interview, C.V. Wigneswaran, the chief minister of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka and a member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), shares his thoughts on the current state of affairs, Tamil politics, the path towards more meaningful change and the need for sustained commitment from the international community.

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The Sri Lankan army continues its surveillance and interference in released land, local sources report

Jun 30, 2016 0

KKTThe Sri Lankan army continues its surveillance and interference in released land, local sources report.

A barricade, with at least one soldier keeping surveillance, went up in Kankesanthurai the day after the use of another army check-point was discontinued.

63 acres of land were released in Kankesanthurai, and the announcement that the army checkpoint would be removed was welcomed by locals.

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Supreme Court refuses to hear petition against Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister

Jun 30, 2016 0


The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has refused to grant leave for a Fundamental Rights petition against Eastern Province Chief (“EPC”) Minister Nazeer Ahamed for allegedly verbally abusing and threatening a Naval Officer.

The incident which the petitioner alleges amounted to verbal abuse and threats occurred at the end of May and was telecast on numerous media channels. The video showed the EPC Chief Minister raising his voice at a naval officer in front of others.


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How an American idea influenced Swiss morality

Jun 29, 2016 0

02-buchman-with-adenauer-jpgThe Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation, formerly Moral Rearmament, is celebrating its 70th anniversary. looks at an international evangelical and anti-communist movement which has left its mark on Swiss conservatives – both before and after the Cold War.

It was during the first half of the 20th century, when the West was at war and in crisis, that an American evangelist had an idea that would develop into the Moral Rearmament movement. On Friday, the movement marks 70 years at its headquarters above Montreux, overlooking Lake Geneva.

Frank Buchman (1878-1961) was convinced he had the solution to saving the world from the torments it was going through. In the 1930s, he and his followers founded the Oxford Group, which played a role in the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

But Buchman, a man with conviction and Swiss roots, didn’t plan on stopping there. Faced with what he saw as the vices of capitalism and devil-led projects of atheists, he stressed the need for a “moral rearmament”. In 1938, that became the official name of the movement launched by the Oxford Group.

In a book devoted to this movement, the US historian Daniel Sack wrote: “Moral Rearmament sought to change the world by changing human nature, even in political and economic arenas, not through rational persuasion or logical argument but through storytelling.”

‘Soft Swiss fascism’

This resonated throughout Europe and the world. In Switzerland, almost 30 political conservatives joined the movement. The political positions of the Swiss members of Moral Rearmament reflected the debates among Swiss conservative parties.

“During the 1930s the crisis was total – simultaneously economic, political and intellectual,” said conservative historian Olivier Meuwly.

“The rise of fascism and communism scared a lot of the world. And a minority of the Radical Party [the largest party on the right at the time, holding a majority in the Swiss government] questioned the concept of parliamentary democracy, all the while asking themselves whether it was necessary to reform capitalism. That was where some people got the idea of finding an authoritarian solution for Switzerland.”

In the second half of the 1930s, this idea was spread with a certain success in Switzerland by the ultra-Catholic aristocrat Gonzague de Reynold, who worshiped the memory of António de Oliveira Salazar, ruler of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. In 1933, Salazar installed the Estado Novo, or Second Republic, an authoritarian, conservative, Catholic and nationalist regime which was overthrown in 1974.

“Salazar was a model for a soft Swiss fascism,” said the leftwing historian Hans-Ulrich Jost, adding that this included Protestant conservatives.

For some on the political right it was a question of defending Switzerland’s sovereignty in the face of Nazi Germany, while bearing in mind the numerous authoritarian regimes in Europe which were stamping a new European order – actually a period of destruction and massacre.

This vision was doing the rounds in several conservative associations – think tanks before the term existed. “But the historical research hasn’t been carried out explaining the links between the various conservative associations during the 1940s and 1950s,” Jost said.

This provokes a reaction from Olivier Meuwly. “These associations make certain historians on the far left fantasise – not so much about Moral Rearmament but theMont Pelerin Society, seen as a global conspiracy to establish the reign of money,” he said.

The Mont Pelerin Society, which would play a founding role in the promotion of the neo-liberal economy, was founded in Caux a year after Moral Rearmament. They are geographical neighbours, but Hans-Ulrich Jost sees another similarity.

“The Mont Pelerin Society defended the same values as Moral Rearmament but without the religion. It had been founded by the economist Friedrich Hayek and his colleague Wilhelm Röpke, who in 1942 launched a moral appeal in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung for a renewal of Switzerland centred on individual and economic liberty with a harnessed state without a social policy.”

Change of direction

“After the war, all the slightly posh conservatives were in Moral Rearmament, a network which had a certain impact on all those associations which were looking to have an influence on politics and the army by targeting the elite,” Jost said.

This view is shared by a former official in the movement. “I went to Caux for the first time when I was 18 or 20, at the beginning of the 1960s,” Jean-Pierre Méan said in an interview with the Protestant News Agency in 2010.

“The message at the time – as far as I understood it – consisted above all of mobilising Christian values against communism. A lot of effort was spent on the leaders of third-world countries so that they didn’t turn to communism when they gained independence. This approach didn’t interest me.”

The reason that Méan eventually rejoined the Caux Initiatives of Change Foundationin the 2000s stems from the change in direction taken by Cornelio Sommaruga, who took over Moral Rearmament, as it was still called, when it had lost a lot of its 1970s aura.

Highly regarded in Switzerland as well as within the international organisations based in Geneva, Sommaruga humanised and embodied – like no one before him – the presidency of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a post he held from 1987 to 1999.

Under his direction, the title Moral Rearmament, which had become cumbersome, was dropped and the organisation became the Initiatives of Change Foundation. The original spirit intended by Frank Buchman has been preserved, minus the most ideological trappings.
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