Category Archives: governance

Australia: International Students– Chinese Inflow

‘Tim Dodd, in The Australian, 18 April 2018, with the title “Chinese defy warnings and flock to Australian universities”

Chinese students have defied unspecified ‘‘safety’’ warnings from their government amid fears of undue Chinese influence, flocking to Australia in larger numbers this year than ever before. Official figures to be released today show 173,000 Chinese students enrolled in Australian universities, colleges and schools in the first two months of 2018, 18 per cent more than in the same period last year.

In total, 542,000 students from more than 190 countries have enrolled in Australia so far this year, according to the latest data. This is 13 per cent more than for the same period last year, indicating yet another boost is on the way for education exports, which were valued at $32.2 billion in 2017. Continue reading

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Sri Lanka is Drowning in its Own Shit. Two Appraisals. Ajit and Elmo

Emphasis by highlighting in blue is the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

parliamentary kehel mal!

ONE: “The Perfect Storm” by Ajit Kanagasundram in Sunday Island, 15 April 2018

The optimism that accompanied the Yahapalana government in 2015 has evaporated. We simply seem to have exchanged the misguided and dictatorial regime of Rajapaksa for the misguided and weak government of Sirisena/Ranil. There is a confluence of factors – political, economic, financial, inter-ethnic relations and international that are converging and will cause a major crisis within two years. Continue reading

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Saving Tamil Civilians by Sea: More on the ICRC-cum-SL Navy Operations: Admiral Travis Sinniah Speaks

Michael Roberts

I sent my article “Gash Files III” to Admiral (Retired) Travis Sinniah as soon as it was placed on web and was able to conduct an extended Skype-Chat with him on 12th April.[1] He had no major quarrels with the gist of that article. However, he stressed that the whole exercise was an extremely difficult one – involving difficulties that words cannot quite capture.

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The Gash Files III: Trapped Tamils Out by Sea in 2009

Michael Roberts

As evident then and as confirmed by subsequent accounts, during the last phase of Eelam War IV from circa December 2008 segments of the corralled Tamil population began to rebel against the privations and dangers they were being subjected to by the LTTE’s grand strategy. While a considerable section of the people remained loyal to the LTTE to the very end,[1] others secured release from their situation through the efforts of international agencies working in cooperation with the LTTE and involving[2] the ICRC acting in concert with the Sri Lankan Navy and the Red Cross.

  Also see Roberts: TPS. Pictorial. Fig. 95 and its details

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The Gash Files II: LTTE’s Strategic Design

Michael Roberts

In Despatch COL/2/08 of12 March 2009 Lt. Col Anton Gash has this summary appraisal for his superiors: The LTTE has been forcing the civilian population to move in accordance with their tactical requirements. The NFZ is rigorously policed and patrolled by LTTE cadres, who control access to food and medical facilities, ensuring that their own needs are met before any capacity is allowed for civilians.”

This is a critical observation pointing in the right direction. Nevertheless, it falls short of the mark. The mass of Tamil civilians was not merely a tactical element. They were a central pillar in the LTTE’s grand strategy. For one, they constituted a defensive formation: just so many sandbags restraining the full deployment of the government forces’ military weaponry. While the standard description of the civilians as “hostages” in HR and Western circles does point in this direction, the terminology is “weak” and does not fully capture the overarching strategic purpose of the corralled civilian mass. In addition to serving as a restrictive ‘bund’, the civilian mass provided an active incentive for Western intervention in favour of a ceasefire and some sort of “political solution.

 a tent citty in the Tigers’ last redoubt –-Pic from UNPoE circa February 2009

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Looking Down a Ship’s Cannon: Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah in Q and A

Manjula Fernando, in Sunday Observer, 27 August 2017, where the title is “”I was always the target of the LTTE” …. Note: the highlighting is my imposition and see additional references at the end — Editor, Thuppahi

Speaking about his ascension to become the topmost Naval officer in the country, the son of a Tamil Naval doctor who developed a love for the service as a little boy, he says, “I was destined to be a front line executive officer to go out to sea, and carry out certain missions which would have changed the tide of the war with the LTTE.”

 

MANJULA FERNANDO’s QUESTIONS

Q: There is a popular perception that war heroes are born in a particular genre of schools. Are you the first Trinitian to be appointed to this prestigious post?

As the Navy Commander yes, I am the first. But, it doesn’t mean Trinitians haven’t gone to war. Trititians have fought in World War 1 as well as WW 11. Many Trinitians have served in the security forces but unfortunately, none have lived long enough to rise to the top. There were Trinitians, like Commander Shanti Bahar, Gen. Densil Kobbekaduwa and Lieutenant General Parami Kulatunga who made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of this country. I represent all of them. Continue reading

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Is there a Chinese Dragon Looming over Sri Lanka ?

 in Hambantota and in The Guardian, 26 March 2018, with this titleThe biggest game changer in 100 years’: Chinese money gushes into Sri Lanka,” … with highlights being the imposition of  The  Editor, Thuppahi

Little disturbs the serenity of Guan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion, as her statue sits in contemplation at the centre of Mattala Rajapaksa international airport. The last flight from the airport departed at 7.50am. The next is scheduled for 7.50am tomorrow. In the meantime, check-in counters are empty, car rental desks deserted, and the only sign of life a handful of staff laughing around an information desk who disperse when a visitor arrives.

Mattala Rakapaksa airport, built with Chinese loans, handles 50,000 passengers a year, a fraction of its capacity of 1 million. Photograph: Michael Safi

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