Category Archives: authoritarian regimes

Mattala Airport in China’s Game-Plan

Brook Larmer,  courtesy of New York Times Magazine , 13 September 2017, where the title reads What the World’s Emptiest International Airport Says About China’s Influence”

   

The four-lane highway leading out of the Sri Lankan town of Hambantota gets so little traffic that it sometimes attracts more wild elephants than automobiles. The pachyderms are intelligent — they seem to use the road as a jungle shortcut — but not intelligent enough, alas, to appreciate the pun their course embodies: It links together a series of white elephants, i.e. boondoggles, built and financed by the Chinese. Beyond the lonely highway itself, there is a 35,000-seat cricket stadium, an almost vacant $1.5 billion deepwater port and, 16 miles inland, a $209 million jewel known as “the world’s emptiest international airport.”

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US Congress has Sri Lanka in Its Gunsights

Daya Gamage,  courtesy of Asian Tribune, where the title runs thus U.S. Congress Tightens War Crimes Noose on Sri Lanka”

The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations last week approved the FY 2018 Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill with $51.35 billion for diplomatic and humanitarian programs that strengthen U.S. national security and support American values abroad. Despite the Trump administration’s soft-peddling of American values abroad – democracy promotion, good governance, human rights, and rule of law etc. – the Senate Appropriations Bill, co-authored by Republican Lindsey Graham and Democratic Patrick Leahy, independent of the White House budget proposals released last month, underscored policy iteration or ‘riders’ on Sri Lanka’s commitment to “increasing accountability and transparency in governance; supporting a credible justice mechanism in compliance with United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution (A/HCR/30/ L.29) of October, 2015”.

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ELIYA launched as Challenge to the Present Lankan-US Dispensation

Shamindra Ferdinando, in The Island, 12 September 2017, with title “A challenging task for Gotabhaya”

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The high profile launch of Eliya (light) by wartime Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa underscored Sri Lanka’s PATHETIC failure to counter unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, directed by a section of the international community, since the conclusion of the war, in May 2009. Sri Lanka paid a very heavy price for its failure and the previous government can never absolve itself of the responsibility for the situation. Continue reading

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Shaping the Constitution: Several Voices, Discordant Scenarios

ONE = Editor, NewsIin Asia: “Political posturing unlikely to hamper Lanka’s constitution making process,” 12 Sept 2017

Forces which are eager to give the country a new constitution as per the pre-election promise solemnly made by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, are confident that the competing parties would sink their differences and agree to the Steering Committee’s Interim Report which is to be submitted to the Constitutional Assembly (CA) on September 21. writes P.K.Balachandran in South Asian Monitor.

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Ken Dharmapala’s Pessimistic Evaluation of the Sri Lankan Situation–2016 and Now

Michael Roberts

Mark Salter’s feisty “Comments” placed recently in the Thuppahi Item conveying Padma Rao Sundarji’s Q and A Session with Erik Solheim sustains the combative stance he has adopted in previous Colombo Telegraph interventions.[1] I rarely engage in the verbal fisticuffs that are the standard pattern in blog commentary. Most bloggers hide behind pseudonyms and their physical location in the world is not self-evident. Nor does the format enable citations and bibliographical listings that may sustain an argument.[2]

Yesterday, however, in once again reading the sixty-four (64) comments that were inserted way back in time in response to my article of 5th April 2016 about “Attempts to Rescue Piräpaharan et al in 2009,” I came across a set of comments by Ken Dharmapala that I deem pertinent to our reflections today – as they were, indeed,  pertinent then in 2016.

 “SINHA-LE” agitations of yesteryear pertinent to Dharmapala’s critical thrust

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Anguish!! Reading Mike

 Image from http://sangam.org/sachis-files-chapter-4-2/ by Sachi Sri Kantha, 16 October 2015,

When the essay “Anguish as Empowerment …A Path to Retribution” was presented on the 22nd March 2017, I received several private email comments from good friends. My recent little essay on Ëxtremist Cricket Fans” has led me to look over this set of remarks and a tirade of sorts directed at me by an embittered Tamil nationalist named Kathiravan espousing the cause of Eelam in February 2011 in the Blog Comments within Colombo Telegraph (and rehashed by me in Thuppahi = see ……………………….……………. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/an-angry-tamil-kathiravan-confronts-roberts/).

The unsolicited readings are too valuable to lie in the cupboards and I am waxing bold by presenting them to the world without the permission of my friends within the present reflections on EXTREMISM. Continue reading

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Solheim and Sri Lanka: Q and A Today

Padma Rao Sundarji  courtesy of Asian Tribune, 20 August 2017, where the title reads Ërik Solheim : “Regret we could not spend more time with Prabhakaran”

Erik Solheim, Norwegian peace mediator in the 30-year-long Sri Lanka civil war breaks his silence on his controversial role to Padama Rao Sundarji.

If we had spent more time with him (Prabhakaran), we would probably be able to influence him more,’ said Solheim

Padma Rao Sundarji: How and when did the government of Norway decide to mediate in Sri Lanka and why did they pick you?

Erik Solheim: We were invited in absolute secrecy by the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga. At the time, only two people in Colombo knew — she and foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar. It stayed like that for one-and-a-half years. Only later, it became public. I believe we were invited because we could potentially be acceptable to India as a small nation. And, we were invited because we had, at that time, seen some successes in the Middle East. They were small successes. But as a small, faraway nation it was felt that we could not really mess up Sri Lanka and could be acceptable to both the Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka at the same time. Continue reading

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