Category Archives: transport and communications

Addressing the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists: Where Fervour Trumps ‘Deep Throats’

Michael Roberts

When one of my articles on the jihadist network that perpetrated the 21/4 attacks in Sri Lanka referred to the inspirations behind the 9/11 attacks in USA, I was surprised to receive vehement rejections of the latter contention from two good friends and one distant  ‘aide’ in Canada – challenges sent independently of each other.

These challenges have been rejected by other friends – at times quite bluntly. But Jeremy Liyanage,[1] Jean-Pierre Page[2] and Chris Black[3] are individuals with whom I have interacted fruitfully and whose commitment to the pursuit of truth and reform in this world are not in doubt. So, this revisiting of 9/11 and its perpetrators on my part is a personal journey that addresses my three friends, while yet seeking to raise significant issues in today’s world – especially embracing the ramifications of the ideological currents known as “Wahhabism” and “Salafism” (terms that seem to be deployed interchangeably).[4] Continue reading

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The VVT Thonies and Their Mastery of the Oceans Past

Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 July 2019, with this title “VVT, Tahiti, and the ghost of the Bounty. The ship from Valvettithurai which sailed the seven seas” and this dedication “Dedicated to the late Mr. Kumaraswamy of Oxonia Institute, Colombo, proud son of Valvettithurai, with whom I was to co-author a work on our northern nautical culture. On him, be Peace.”

article_imageA traditional Thoni showing the backward-coiling Surul and nailed-on occulus.

The story begins …

In 1937 an adventurous ‘Yankee’ sailed a small yacht round the world – the smallest to do so, at that time – stopping awhile in Ceylon. After many adventures, he returned to Ceylon in search of a Jaffna-built ship whose elegant lines had caught his eye. He found her, bought and refitted her in Colombo and sailed for Boston, with an all-Jaffna crew. Boston was as overwhelmed by the vision of this ‘ghost’ of the legendary Bounty, as by its dusky crew and of the voyage itself. But a couple of months later she was sailed again, this time with an all-American delivery crew, to Tahiti. And then, like the Bounty, she disappears.

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Profound & ‘Coloured’ Insights into Our Environmental Degradation

Prasad Abu Bakr, in Sunday Observer, 7 July 2019, …. http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2019/07/07/art/book-review-slow-cooked-thoughts

This is a ‘must-read’ book for those who lived during that glorious past, which is quietly slipping out of our grasp. It is also one for the next generation, who live in a world of make-believe – thinking that demolition of that glorious past and the pristine environment that was there, in the name of ‘development’ is aimed at making the world a better place to live in.

In her Foreword, Jill Macdonald refers to Slow-cooked Thoughts as a compelling compilation of writings both occasional and various, linked by a common motif of the writer’s passionate and unwavering belief of what constitutes a right relationship with the world around us.

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Cumulus Clouds shroud the Death Penalty in Sri Lanka

Gerald H Peiris, in Island, 8 July 2019, where the title is “To Hang or Not to Hang?: Our Heads in Shame”

Our press coverage of the ‘Capital Punishment’ debate that followed President Sirisena’s announcement on 26 June of his signing death warrants on four persons convicted for serious narcotic-related crimes – I refer to ‘Features’, ‘Opinions’, news reports such as those on intimidatory “orders” conveyed to the government of Sri Lanka by foreign diplomats and spokespersons of INGOs, decisions of trade unions and other civil society outfits, and the seemingly casual statements by political leaders in the course of censuring the president’s wayward performance −  provided no cause for surprise in the sense that they were the expected responses. For instance, those from the regimes of the sanctimonious agents of the ‘West’ and their INGOs were displays of both pretended “humanitarian” commitments as well as economic muscle-power directed at governments like ours that readily genuflect.  Likewise, the more prominent among our political leaders are obviously impelled by electoral considerations. The civil society stances reflect, more than all else, the widespread unpopularity of the ‘Yahapalanaya’ which the president is believed to nominally lead.

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Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, conspiracies, economic processes, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, working class conditions, world events & processes

Sleeper Trains: The Way to Absorb the Landscape

News Item in Sunday times, 7 July 2019, with this title “Sri Lankan Railway revealed as one of most beautiful sleeper trains in world”

Travelling by sleeper train has long been a glamorous and exciting way to see the world – allowing one to fall asleep in one country and  wake up in another feeling refreshed and ready to explore. But which sleeper trains are the best value?

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The De Lanerolles and Sri Lanka

Item in Sunday Times, 7 July 2019, with this title

“Tale of a French ambassador in the time of the Kandyan Kingdom

Author Yasmin Rajapakse

The story of the ambassador from the French imperial court who became a naturalized subject in Kandy, producing progeny who were to make their mark on the island’s history, is an adventure told against the backdrop of an Indian Ocean made dark and stormy with colonial battles and a mountain kingdom at its edge. “The Odyssey and Living Legacy of Monsieur de La Nérolle, The French Lieutenant of the Expedition Escadre de Perse to Ceylon in 1672” by Yasmin Rajapakse was launched last month in the presence of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Eric Levertu, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka.

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USA’s Infiltration via ACSA and SOFA

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 7 July 2019,where the title is  “Inside story of how Sri Lanka fell into the ACSA-SOFA trap”

Amid mounting opposition, President should appoint expert probe team to identify weakness in the national security system 
Despite denials and clarifications by the US, the two deals give America a major footprint in Sri Lanka
With little or no prospect of contesting presidential election, Sirisena may settle for a portfolio close to his heart

Opposition is mounting over the two defence related agreements between Sri Lanka and the United States, one already signed and another now pending.The first is the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). For almost two years it was not tabled before Parliament. Nor was there a government statement explaining the contents, on a matter of such national importance to Sri Lankans.

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