Daily Archives: December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers!

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May the message of Christmas fill your life with joy and peace. Best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season.

Rohan Kar

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60 international reporters killed in 2014: Report

At least 60 reporters were killed worldwide in 2014 with about one-fourth losing their lives in global trouble spots, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

An “unusually high proportion” of the international journalists lost their lives in 2014 while reporting from the world’s trouble spots, Press TV reported Tuesday citing the annual review by CPJ, a non-profit organisation based in New York.

According to the report, 44 percent of the reporters were targeted for murder. The CPJ said the number of the journalists killed in 2014 decreased from 70 in 2013, but the past three years have been the deadliest since the organisation started compiling such records in 1992.

The report said at least 17 journalists were killed in Syria in 2014. The four-year crisis in the Arab country has claimed at least 79 lives of journalists.

Five journalists and two media workers lost their lives in clashes in Ukraine between the government and pro-Russia forces.

The Israeli regime’s 50-day war in the Gaza Strip over the summer saw at least four journalists and three media workers killed. The organisation revealed that around half of the journalists were killed in the Middle East in 2014, with 39 percent of them losing their lives in combat or crossfire.

DH

Sangakkara Shows the Rajapaksas what is lacking in them

Sangakkara proves he is a true hero par excellence! rejects MaRa’s request to his face, and the billions offered…

Kumar Sangakkara,  a cricketer of the rare breed of heroes and a gentleman to the finger tips proved what he is worth when he forthrightly and to the face of the Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapakse said, he cannot support latter’s election campaign .What is most striking and significant to note is, Sangakkara had boldly and openly told this without any hesitation, to Mahinda Rajapakse at Temple Trees and had been able to walk out unharmed.

Sangakkara prior to his tour overseas was invited by Mahinda to Temple Trees who requested Sangakkara to extend his support to him at the upcoming elections. Sangakkara had however politely rejected the request.

Mahinda had then requested Sangakkara to appear at least for an advertisement for him, which too he had declined. Mahinda had thereafter told him,  as much as Rs. 2 to 3 billion! or any amount demanded can be paid to him in that regard, when Sangakkara had made it abundantly clear in no uncertain terms to Mahinda, he is playing cricket for the sake of the country, and not for political or monetary gains. So saying he has walked out of Temple Trees.

The people must consider themselves fortunate that there are still gentlemen cricketers par excellence like Sangakkara who are honorable sons of the Sri Lankan soil sincerely concerned about the country, as well as politicians like Maithripala who dared to lead a campaign after coming out from the Rajapakse camp against the ethanol dealers after making supreme self sacrifices in order to defeat the Rajapakse family, even though there are in their midst, scoundrels and betrayers like Dambulla Tennekoon who after making solemn promises to Maithri that he would wholeheartedly join Maithri in his campaign, at the last moment, sold his soul because of the filthy lucre in many millions offered by the Rajapakses, and a BMW car, and then subsequently hypocritically shed tears for an ‘appachchi ‘ (father) who supposedly appeared in a dream; shameless Attanayakes who after blabbering that an ‘army’ of 12000 UNP members will be formed by him against the Rajapakse family that is devastating the country, unconscionably pole vaulted with that whole list to the Rajapakse camp simply because of the colossal bribe in billions and a ministerial portfolio offered, thereby selling the honor of the party and people to whom he made grandiose promises as a UNP er just a while before somersaulting; and Gammanpila alias Gamba-pannina (leaping frogs) who in spotless white attire crowed from roof tops that he is prepared to sacrifice his life for the sake of the country,  but within a night metamorphosed into a gemba (frog), and a betrayer of his own people, falling prey to the fat bundles of cash (bribes) offered by the Rajapaksas.

Honest honorable people do not survive only on food. They exist by inhaling the fragrant air of other qualities of honesty, integrity, humane qualities, self dignity and self honor. What Sangakkara proved is this truth, not before cameras, himself alone fearlessly and forthrightly, right before the so called omni -potentates at close quarters in their own palatial headquarters. It is that aforementioned fragrance Sangakkara spread to the entire country from his own lungs by his rectitude.

Indeed Sangakkara is a true hero par excellence. It is no easy task to become such a truly great hero. He has by his honorable conduct become a national icon instantly.

LEN

Rajapaksa promises to reform presidency if re-elected

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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, facing flak from opposition for being autocratic, today promised to reform the powerful presidency within one year to meet people’s aspirations if re-elected for a record third term next month.

“I admit that there are flaws in the present Constitution with incompatible patchwork amendments,” Rajapaksa said in his election manifesto released here.

“I shall implement a new Constitution to meet people’s aspirations within one year,” he said. The admission by 69-year-old Rajapaksa is being seen as a response to the increasing support to his main challenger Maithripala Sirisena, 63, who is campaigning for democratic reforms and to reduce presidential powers.

Sirisena has promised a new Constitution allied to the Parliament in place of the “present autocratic executive presidential system.”

Rajapaksa said: “I shall deal with the executive presidential system, electoral system, rule of law and good governance in the new Constitution.” On foreign policy, Rajapaksa pledged expansion of ties with India, Pakistan and the SAARC nations.

“My good governance principals will be based not on neo liberalism but on the Indo-Lanka philosophy heritage based on righteous rule which has been time tested over 5000 years.”

According to the manifesto, his government would perform a peace broker’s role in regional and global conflicts.

The incumbent president has been accused by the opposition of nepotism, corruption, disregard to rule of law and politicising all areas of governance.

On law and order breakdown, for which Rajapaksa has come under severe criticism, he has pledged to set up a special crime court aimed at ending the drug menace.
At the release of the manifesto, Rajapaksa said: “In 2005, I promised peace for all citizens and I delivered that within four years.

“We developed the country as we promised in 2010. The latest part will make the country a developed one.”

“At this election, people should decide if they should go back to an era of destabilised society or go forward with strength and stability,” Rajapaksa, who has been in power for the last nine years.

Rajapaksa released his manifesto after his main rival Sirisena did last week. Backed by a joint opposition and a breakaway faction of the country’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Sirisena has promised several populist measures, including a 10,000-rupee salary increase to public servants, free Internet wi-fi zones across the country and a host of agricultural subsidies apart from constitutional reforms.

Rajapaksa has called for a snap election two years ahead of the schedule.

DH

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