Daily Archives: September 11, 2015

Rajapaksa Hits Back at Kumaratunga’s Remarks in Indian Media


COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa has hit back at predecessor Chandrika Kumaratunga for carrying out a personal attack on him through Indian media, saying it is “incongruous” as she ran “one of the most repressive governments in living memory”.

In a statement posted on his website yesterday, Rajapaksa said he much regretted Kumaratunga’s comments, and that as former leader of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and current member of its Central Committee and co-Patron, what she tells the foreign media during trips, “reflects on our party and our country”.

He reacted strongly to Kumaratunga’s remarks in media interactions during her recent visit to India that she had difficulties in looking around for a party front ranker to contest against him because “it was difficult to find anyone in the SLFP who wasn’t known to be corrupt or a murderer”.

“…it is incongruous for Mrs Kumaratunga to be talking of a police state because she ran one of the most repressive governments in living memory,” he wrote.

Rajapaksa hit back, saying when he took over as President from Kumaratunga in 2005 ending her 11-year rule, “terrorists were ruling about a third of the country”.

“For more than a decade, the country had seen very little development. During my tenure, I am proud to say that I concentrated on solving the country’s problems. I saw to it that terrorism was eliminated and that the country was developed.

“I did not spend my time persecuting my political opponents or go around the world maligning my own party and bringing disgrace upon my country. All members of the SLFP should be mindful that Mrs Kumaratunga’s statements about our party only goes to strengthen our opponents at our expense. We should be working to strengthen our party not to weaken it further,” said the 69-year-old former strongman.

Rajapaksa noted that almost all the SLFP members he had inherited from Kumaratunga were those who were ministers in her government.

“I took over the party that she left behind,” he added.

Charging that Kumaratunga had demeaned the SLFP in Indian media, Rajapaksa said: “No Indian would ever see a former leader (or a Central Committee member or Patron) of the Congress Party or The BJP expressing joy at the defeat of his or her own political party in that manner.

“While that alone would be cause for much shame and embarrassment for all members of the SLFP and the UPFA, some of the things that she said about our party are positively insulting.

“When the co-Patron and a sitting Central Committee member of the SLFP tells the foreign media that members of her own party are virtually all rogues or murderers, that reflects very badly on our party


Project Loon for Sri Lanka… Is it necessary?


We have all heard about the Project Loon.

What do the most of us know? Well… it’s something to do with internet and balloons, and it’s coming to Sri Lanka! Yup spot on.

And there were some humorous political talk on the subject (They should prohibit that Gonwansha on public media!! At least for the sake of science) This is a post intended to bust the myths and give a very very simple idea on what the Loon is all about.

Project Loon is a network of balloons. As per Google, following are the main intentions of the project that did their first pilot test just 2 years back, in 2013.

– Connect people in rural and remote areas

– Help fill coverage gaps

– Bring people back online after disasters

Each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area around 40 km in diameter (roughly 1250km2) using the wireless communications technology, LTE. Balloons make a network up in the sky and connect the rural subscribers and relay wireless traffic from cell phones and other devices back to the global Internet using high-speed links. Loon can’t operate alone. They have to partner with local telcos who own licensed cellular spectrum.

Large areas with low subscriber density that are too costly to be covered by the other existing means can be covered by Loon.

Google Internet Balloon
A Loon balloon looks like a large jelly fish. The inflatable part of the balloon is called a balloon envelope. Google engineers were challenged with air leaks that affect the duration a balloon can last in the sky and a lot of work had to go in to the design of the envelope. Currently it can survive around 100 days in the air.

A small box containing the balloon’s electronics hangs underneath the inflated envelope, similar to the basket carried by a hot air balloon.

This box contains circuit boards that control the system, radio antennas to communicate with other balloons and with Internet antennas on the ground, and lithium ion batteries to store solar power so the balloons can operate throughout the night.

Electronics are powered by an array of solar panels. The solar array is a flexible plastic laminate supported by a light-weight aluminum frame.

But nothing is holding the balloons right? Won’t they just float away with the wind, leaving us wondering “Where have all the balloons gone?”
This is where the Google smarty-pants have come up with a smart design. The balloons are floating in stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather (approximately 20 km above the Earth’s surface). Here there are many layers of wind, and each layer of wind varies in direction and speed. Loon balloons go where they’re needed by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel.

Sri Lanka is an island with an area of 65,610 km, less than half the size on New York. If we’re going to get all around “balloon-coverage” we’d need 52 balloons.

However the fact to remember is that we are already a technologically advanced nation  (J J) with a wide broad band coverage and world’s lowest mobile broadband rates (Someone should put that in tourist brochures, Come to SL and enjoy dirt cheap internet while basking in sun!)

In SL 80% of the population has broadband coverage (Voice coverage is 100%), considering all telco operators. The remaining 20% live scattered in very rural areas and their internet requirements are questionable to say the least. When it comes to the area, around 60% has broadband coverage.

Will those of us, who are already covered, get any additional benefit from the project? Speed, rates, congestion solutions may be? The answer is “no, not really”.

If that is the case, there is a question of why. Why Loon for Sri Lanka?

It does help place the country with some good names, Google, latest technology etc. Helps build the brand value of the country as a whole and also of the telco providers who join hands with the project. Sri Lanka is already featured in many news articles, forums with the initial plans made public. It will help build network, make friends and hopefully pave the way for some more good things to come our way in technological fronts.


No Clean Chit to KP in Terror Cases, Clarifies Sri Lankan AG


COLOMBO:Sri Lanka’s Attorney General Y J W Wijayatilake has clarified that the former LTTE international wing leader, Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, has not been exonerated of charges of terrorism. But, investigations into 46 of the 193 cases against him had revealed that he had no role to play in those acts of terrorism, Wijayatilake added.

In a statement published in the state-owned Daily News, Wijayatilake said in a  Writ Application filed in the Court of Appeal, 193 cases of terrorism in which KP was allegedly involved were cited. Out of these 193 cases, 46 had been investigated and no evidence was found to implicate KP in them. This was told to the court. Since there were many cases to be investigated, the Attorney General’s office did not say that KP had been “exonerated”, Wijayatilake said.

Grilled Twice by CBI

Earlier, in 2012, KP told Canada-based journalist DBS Jeyaraj that he was “interviewed” by the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation twice, in 2010 and 2011 at the Defence Ministry in Colombo.

“The first meeting was specially about the Rajiv murder and the second one a more general discussion on political developments connected to the LTTE,” KP said.

“The CBI wanted to know whether I had any prior knowledge about the killing. The girl who blew herself up and killed Rajiv Gandhi was wearing a belt strapped with explosives. They asked me whether I had supplied the belt and the explosives. I replied no. I told them that RDX explosive can be bought in India itself and that I don’t have to buy explosives abroad and send them a little to be used in the belt. I also said that to my knowledge the explosive belt was not bought abroad but manufactured by the LTTE locally. They (CBI) seemed to agree,”  KP said.

On whether he supplied a 9 mm pistol to Sivarasan, the one-eyed handler of the killer girl Dhanu, KP said that he told the CBI that he had not supplied it. “They seemed to accept that,” he added. 

The Special Investigating Team (SIT), which investigated the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, did not find KP playing a role in the killing. But the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency and the Jain Commission wanted the matter investigated further.

Infographic via Lankapage


‘Raising Palestinian Flag at UN Step Towards Member Status’


PARIS: The raising of the Palestinian flag over UN headquarters would be a key step towards the Palestinians obtaining the status of a member state, the prime minister said today.

The General Assembly in New York is set to vote at 1900 GMT on a draft resolution to allow the flag-raising that diplomats say is almost certain to obtain a majority in the 193-nation UN, despite strong opposition from both Israel and the United States.

Palestinian premier Rami Hamdallah said after talks with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Paris that the move was “a step on the road towards Palestine becoming a full member of the United Nations”.

The Palestinian territories currently only have non-member observer status.

If adopted, the United Nations would have 20 days to implement the move, which would be in time for a visit by president Mahmud Abbas on September 30.

Hamdallah also told Valls he hoped France would one day “recognise a Palestinian state” — something Paris so far refuses to do.

Asked about the possibility of resuming peace talks with Israel, the premier said he saw no point unless the issue of Israeli settlements was addressed.

“We do not want to negotiate for the sake of it. If there are negotiations, we want them to have a framework,” he said.

“The most important thing is that settlement building must stop. All of the agreements that we have signed with Israel foresaw the end of settlement building, but in fact it is extending further and further, and it will end by killing off the idea of a two-state solution.”

Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been comatose since a failed US diplomatic effort in April last year, and a war in the Gaza Strip last summer left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and 73 killed on the Israeli side.


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