Connect with us


Unauthorised constructions cannot be permitted within university premises – GL



Controversy over LTTE memorial

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday (11) said that monuments of any kind couldn’t be built within university premises under any circumstances without approval from the relevant authorities.

Prof. Peiris emphasised that the Jaffna University couldn’t be exempted from regulations pertaining to building of monuments.

Prof. Peiris said so at the weekly media conference at the SLPP office, Battarmulla yesterday. The Education Minister dealt with primarily three issues, namely controversy over the removal of the LTTE memorial in the Jaffna University over the last weekend, the molestation of orphaned girls at a Child Welfare Centre in the Anuradhapura District and reopening of schools in areas outside the Western Province and isolated areas amidst continuing Covid-19 rampage.

The Jaffna University monument was unveiled in 2019, a decade after the LTTE was militarily defeated.

However, earlier in the day, Jaffna University Vice Chancellor Prof. S. Srisatkunarajah laid the foundation stone for what the protesting students call the Mullivaikkaal Memorial Monument previously demolished at the behest of the university administration.

In spite of the Education Ministry reiterating illegal structures couldn’t be allowed in Universities, the Jaffna University administration succumbed to heavy pressure. The four party Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) demanded the restoration of the monument.

Prof. Peiris said what mattered was whether the monument in question had been built with proper approval.

Chairman of the ruling SLPP Prof. Peiris alleged that some interested parties were trying to exploit the situation. He underscored the importance of promptly thwarting such plans.

Referring to talks the Jaffna University VC Srisatkunarajah had had with students, Prof. Peiris offered to send Chairman of University Grants Commission Prof. Sampath Amaratunga to Jaffna to help resolve the dispute.  The Minister also referred to the talks Prof. Srisatkunarajah had held with students in the morning at the University.

Minister Peiris issued warnings over interested parties fishing in trouble waters in the wake of the SLMC throwing its weight behind the protest in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in support of Tamil campaign against the demolition of the war memorial.

Secretary of SLMC M. Nizam Kariapper in a statement issued urged the Muslims and its supporters in the north and east to join hands in solidarity with fellow Tamils and to support fully the hartal called on Monday (11)  against what he called insensitivity around memorialisation and treating the dead with dignity by the government and to condemn the  destruction of memorial monument for the dead in Jaffna  university and forced cremation Muslim janazha (infected with Covid 19 virus).

Commenting on alleged molestation of orphans at an Anuradhapura child welfare facility, Prof. Peiris assured an impartial inquiry. The media recently exposed how those working at the state-run facility took advantage of the girls sent there on court directives.

Minister Peiris said that State Minister Piyal Nishantha had visited the centre and was in the process of conducting an investigation.


U.S. Ambassador to UN Agencies in Rome Cindy McCain to visit Lanka



Colombo, September 23, 2022: United States Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome Ambassador Cindy McCain will visit Sri Lanka from September 25-28 to highlight U.S. food assistance programs in Sri Lanka and reinforce the U.S. commitment and lasting partnership with the island nation.

In addition to meeting with senior government officials and aid organizations in Colombo, Ambassador McCain will join U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung to travel to Central Province to visit schools, agricultural research facilities, and community organizations and meet with recipients and implementers of relief provided through U.S. government-funded humanitarian assistance programs.

The United States is the single largest country donor to the three United Nations food and agriculture agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Program (WFP).  U.S.-funded UN projects showcase how the U.S. government, the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, and the government of Sri Lanka collaborate to reduce food insecurity and advance humanitarian relief, livelihood protection, and agriculture-led economic growth, especially at this critical time of increased global hunger.

The United States has provided partnership and assistance to the people and government of Sri Lanka for more than 70 years.  Since June, Ambassador Chung has overseen the announcement of nearly $240 million in new U.S. government assistance to Sri Lanka, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power’s September 2022 announcements of an additional $40 million to provide Sri Lankan farmers with fertilizer and $20 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the country.

Continue Reading


President urges SL diaspora in the UK to invest in their motherland



By Sujeeva Nivunhella
reporting from London

President Ranil Wickremesinghe last week urged the Sri Lanka diaspora in the United Kingdom to invest in Sri Lanka projects to revive the economy. Addressing a gathering at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, he said that he is proud that the British Sri Lankan community for making a mark in every field of the UK economy such as trading, services, business, and requested them to come together as Sri Lankans and people of Sri Lankan origin to help build the motherland.

The President added that Sri Lanka is looking at transforming its economy to a competitive export-oriented one to meet the current challenges and build social systems and modernize the education system.

He remarked on the special affection Queen Elizabeth II had towards Sri Lanka as the Head of the Commonwealth and the longest serving Head of State of Ceylon for 20 years prior to the nation becoming a Republic and stated that her passing is the end of an era.

The president, first lady and party arrived in London on Sept. 17 via Dubai by an Emirates flight to attend the State Funeral Service of Queen Elizabeth II.They were received at the Heathrow airport by High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena and were driven to the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane, London where they stayed.

On Sunday (Sept. 18), the President accompanied by the First Lady and High Commissioner attended the Lying-in-State of the late Queen at the Palace of Westminster which was followed by a Reception hosted by His Majesty King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.The President and the First Lady attended the State Funeral Service held at the Westminster Abbey on Monday (Sept. 19).  On the same day, he signed the Book of Condolence. The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly MP hosted a reception for the visiting world leaders at Church House.

On 20th September, the President met the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland QC. They discussed Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Commonwealth Secretariat and matters of mutual interest. He also visited the London Buddhist Vihara during which Ven Dr Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Incumbent of the Vihara and the Chief Sanga Nayaka of Great Britain invoked blessings on the President and the people of Sri Lanka.

Continue Reading


Families countrywide facing malnutrition, says Cardinal



By Norman Palihawadane

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has warned that the prevailing economic crisis and increasing unemployment and food prices are accelerating malnutrition among hundred thousands of families countrywide.

Addressing a ceremony at the annual get-together of the Archdiocesan Family Apostolate Service held at St Peter’s College Auditorium in Colombo, the Archbishop said that it was a shame that responsible local officials keep denying the prevailing status quo when world humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF continue to warn of the increasing malnutrition levels among children.

Many international organizations have pointed out that malnutrition in Sri Lanka was increasing at an alarming rate but the authorities responsible are hiding the truth and go to the extent of rejecting such reports.

“If they reject the reports of international organizations, then it is their paramount duty of conduct proper surveys to understand the situation. It is no secret that large numbers of Lankan families are starving due to the high prices of food. According to the UNICEF more than six million people consume only a single meal a day. It is so unfortunate that Health Ministry officials who spend their times in the air conditioned rooms in Colombo do not know the plight of the poor in rural areas,” the Cardinal said.He said that 225 MPs were concerned only of their well-being while continuing to ignore the actual and pressing issues of people.

“This country is in dire situation today mainly due to inefficient and corrupt political leaders. It is sad that these so-called people’s representatives are not concerned of the situation of people who are experiencing the worst ever economic and political crisis this country has ever faced,” the Cardinal said.

Continue Reading