2013- A New Year Wishlist # Humor


 

 

My New Year Wish List For 2013

By Satya Sagar

30 December, 2012
Countercurrents.org

Here are some things I fervently wish will happen in the coming year.

1. Scientists find a way to render in an instant every real or wannabe rapist (including scientists) permanently impotent.

2. All policemen are put away in prison and the inmates put in their uniforms to improve the law and order situation.

3. A fisherwoman is appointed Chairperson of the Department of Atomic Energy and the Koodamkulam nuclear reactor is turned into an aquarium.

4. Manmohan and Montek Singh finally become eligible for pension from the United States government and migrate leaving the people of India in peace.

5. Rahul Gandhi finally becomes Prime Minister, of Robert Vadra’s real estate.

6. Atal Behari Vajpayee’s knees finally get better while Narendra Modi’s get worse.

7. The Sheikhs of Saudi Arabia are overthrown by their people after it is found they are aliens with petrol instead of blood in their veins.

8. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his coterie flee Sri Lanka and seek asylum in the Congo and the company of the many genocide artists there.

9. Vladimir Putin tries to impress the Russian people by shooting off alone into space in a rocket, with enough fuel to reach Mars but not return to Earth.

10. Barack Obama undergoes plastic surgery and becomes a white man. Since he is no different from earlier US Presidents why pretend to be Black?

11. China and Japan decide to stop fighting over ownership of a tiny, insignificant islandand instead jointly take over the United States.

12. All those who predicted Apocalypse in December 2012 have their property confiscated and distributed to the poorest of those who didn’t believe their prophecy.

Happy New Year!

Satya Sagar is a writer, journalist and public health worker based in New Delhi. He is also an associate editor at countercurrents.org. He can be reached atsagarnama@gmail.com

 

I Have Repeatedly Received Death Threats – Frederica Jansz, former editor-in-chief of the Sunday Leader


By Nilantha Ilangamuwa

22 September, 2012
Srilankaguardian.org

Founder hacked to death in daylight his successor sacked the future of the “Sunday Leader” questioned 

(September 21, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Here is an exclusive interview with the former editor-in-chief of the Sunday Leader , Frederica Jansz just moments after she was forced to resign by the new ownership of the paper, due to her refusing to accepted new editorial policy.

NI. Frederica, welcome to the Sri Lanka Guardian. Your services as the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Leader have been terminated as you refused to change editorial policy to support the government. What did they (owners) ask you to do? What are the basic points that you cannot stand with?

FJ. The new owner Asanga Seneviratne insisted that the articles carried in The Sunday Leader are “malicious and rubbish.” He ordered me to stop being critical of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family. He also asked me stop carrying cartoons of the President. He then added to a police complaint made by Sajin Vass Gunewardena, which claimed that a nutshell carried in The Sunday Leader of September 16 would incite violence against the President.

Despite my maintaining that the type of journalism practised at The Sunday Leader was independent and unbiased he could not understand or accept this position. As for me, I cannot work for someone who does not understand or respect freedom of expression or journalistic independence and credibility.

NI. You are the editor who took sole responsibility of the Sunday Leader just after the assassination of the late Lasantha. What are the challenges you faced in the last couple of years?

FJ. The challenges have been huge. Apart from having to revive a newspaper that had suffered a staggering blow following Lasantha’s assassination, I have had to deal with continuous harassment and threats including court cases and finally being insulted and maligned in a manner most degrading by the Defence Secretary, the President’s brother.

NI. Do you and your family feel safe to stay in the country?

FJ. No. I have repeatedly received death threats and even been followed home.

NI. I don’t want to reiterate words that the country’s secretary defence used in a recent interview published by the Leader. You had bitter experiences many times when you were directly dealing with those key players in the country. Can you brief us on the present political system in the country?

FJ. In terms of media freedom, the current political system will continue to stifle free of expression and the right to information. If compared to a thriving democracy, Sri Lanka continues to lag far far behind.

NI. At some point we talked about “Sri Lankan Journalism”. Do you have anything special to share with the people in this crucial time?

FJ. It is sad that journalists in Sri Lanka have chosen to be cowed into submission. Next to winning the war, this in fact is this government’s second biggest success. The stifling of the local press.

NI. This is a worse stage of social control in the country by the regime. So now the Government has taken over most of print, electronic and other media, while giving the public a clear cut picture on censorship. What would be the future if this scenario continues?

FJ. An autocratic regime. With a stifled press accountability and transparency are non-existent.

NI. Do you think the opposition and the civil society can intervene to solve this stalemate?

FJ. The opposition is dead.

NI. Is there any role to be played by the international community?

FJ. I frankly do not think this government really gives a toss about the international community or what they may think or say. Other than China – and we all know their track record as far as freedom of expression is concerned.

NI. Most people welcomed the draft resolution by the US on Sri Lanka, which urges the implementation of recommendations given by the LLRC. The people of Sri Lanka expect that the government will be encouraged in the Universal Periodic Review to take gradual action, not only at the legislative level, but beyond that to implement basic principles of rule of law. Do you have any suggestions to the UPR which is going to have on next month?

FJ. Amongst the voluntary commitments undertaken by Sri Lanka, one is to “strengthen its national mechanisms and procedures to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens through the adoption and implementation of the proposed National Plan of Action”. Despite the government promising to implement the targets set out in the plan by 2009, it was only in 2012 that the initial stages of implementation were underway.

NI. This is my final question. You were a remarkable and fearless editor who worked in a tremendously stressful social situation. What is your plan for the future?

FJ. Change is a part of life. So for me, this is just another opportunity for a new beginning.

Indian who attempted self immolation over Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit ,dies #protest


English: Photo of Mahinda Rajapaksa, president...

English: Photo of Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SALEM, SEPTEMBER  19,  THE HINDU

The auto-rickshaw driver, T. P. Vijayaraj, who set himself afire on Monday to protest against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Madhya Pradesh, succumbed to his burns at the Government Medical College Hospital here on Tuesday.

The sources in the hospital told The Hindu that Vijayaraj died at 11.45 am “despite the best efforts put in by a team of doctors to save him.” The burns, a senior doctor said, were deep since he had drenched himself with petrol before setting himself on fire near Old Bus Stand.

As the news of his death spread, a strong crowd, including members of various Tamil outfits and political parties, gathered on the hospital premises. They raised slogans against a few State and national political parties blaming them for the death of the 28-year old youth. Workers of the VCK and the PMK attempted to block traffic near the Collectorate. Naam Thamizhar Movement’s founder leader Seeman visited the hospital.

Meanwhile Vijayaraj’s father R. Thangavelu submitted a petition to District Collector saying that he would accept the body provided Town Police, who are investigating the case, register cases under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code against a few Congress and BJP’s national leaders for “inviting Rajapaksa” as this had led to his son’s suicide. He urged the police to hand over him the photocopy of his son’s 36-page ‘last letter,’ which he had reportedly written prThe auto-rickshaw driver, T. P. Vijayaraj, who set himself afire on Monday to protest against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Madhya Pradesh, succumbed to his burns at the Government Medical College Hospital here on Tuesday.

The sources in the hospital told The Hindu that Vijayaraj died at 11.45 am “despite the best efforts put in by a team of doctors to save him.” The burns, a senior doctor said, were deep since he had drenched himself with petrol before setting himself on fire near Old Bus Stand.

As the news of his death spread, a strong crowd, including members of various Tamil outfits and political parties, gathered on the hospital premises. They raised slogans against a few State and national political parties blaming them for the death of the 28-year old youth. Workers of the VCK and the PMK attempted to block traffic near the Collectorate. Naam Thamizhar Movement’s founder leader Seeman visited the hospital.

Meanwhile Vijayaraj’s father R. Thangavelu submitted a petition to District Collector saying that he would accept the body provided Town Police, who are investigating the case, register cases under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code against a few Congress and BJP’s national leaders for “inviting Rajapaksa” as this had led to his son’s suicide. He urged the police to hand over him the photocopy of his son’s 36-page ‘last letter,’ which he had reportedly written prior to self-immolation and his statement from hospital bed before the magistrate.

BACKGROUND FROM SALEM

Vijayraj, a auto rickshaw driver self immolated himself protesting the arrival of Rajapakshe the president of Srilanka and the chief architect of the war and the genocide against tamils in srilanka. The salem resident did this after writing a thirty four page dying declaration writing in detail about the reasons for his frustation.

Rajapakshe lands in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh on invitation from Sushma Swaraj, BJP leader and Leader of the opposition. He passed away today.

The act though rash only exposes the frustrations of the people of tamilnadu who share empathy to the plight of the tamils in Srilanka. The Dravidian parties show their false dentures once in a while, but the hollow promises only weaken the position of Tamil’s in Srilanka. The Police for the past six hours have refused to give the dying declaration written by Vijayaraj. vHe passed away yesterday and it has been 24hours since his death. The Police are refusing to give his written statement that he intended for public distribution. He has also given a dying declaration to the Magistrate. None of the Dravidian parties nor MP’s, Mla’s have cared to pay respects nor heed to the demands.. exposing them.

Sri Lanka: No Progress on Justice | Human Rights Watch


A member of the Free Media Association shouts slogans in front of an image of missing cartoonist and columnist Prageeth Eknaligoda during a protest in Colombo June 8, 2011. The protest was held to mark 500 days since the disappearance of Eknaligoda, a pro-opposition journalist who worked for Lanka-e-News, a private-owned independent website that was critical of the government. The placard reads “500 days since Prageeth’s disappearance.” © 2011 Reuters

In 2011, accountability remained a dead issue, the media faced increasing censorship, and the long-standing grievances which led to the conflict were not seriously addressed. Sri Lankans face a lack of justice, weak rule of law, land grabbing, and a censored media from a government that is increasingly authoritarian.
Brad Adams, Asia director

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government in the past year failed to advance justice and accountability for the victims of the country’s 26-year-long civil conflict, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012. While Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged north and east became more open, the government deepened repression of basic freedoms throughout the country.

The government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa continued to stall on accountability for abuses by the security forces, threatened media and civil society groups, and largely ignored complaints of insecurity and land grabbing in the north and east, Human Rights Watch said. The long-awaited report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), published in December, largely absolved the military for its conduct in the bloody final months of the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in May 2009.

“In 2011, accountability remained a dead issue, the media faced increasing censorship, and the long-standing grievances which led to the conflict were not seriously addressed,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Sri Lankans face a lack of justice, weak rule of law, land grabbing, and a censored media from a government that is increasingly authoritarian.”

In its 676-page report, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including popular uprisings in the Arab world that few would have imagined. Given the violent forces resisting the “Arab Spring,” the international community has an important role to play in assisting the birth of rights-respecting democracies in the region, Human Rights Watch said in the report.

The government’s failure to hold perpetrators of abuses accountable remained a key issue throughout the year. No one was prosecuted for atrocities committed during the conflict with the LTTE. The government ignored the findings of a Panel of Experts report, commissioned by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which found rampant abuses by both government forces and the LTTE, and called for an independent international mechanism to investigate laws-of-war violations. The government insisted instead that its LLRC would be the mechanism to address wartime abuses, though the mandate, composition and procedures of the commission were deeply flawed. The LLRC effectively exonerated government forces for laws-of-war violations, rehashed long-standing recommendations, and took no concrete steps to advance accountability.

The commission’s findings stand in stark contrast to those of the UN Panel of Experts, the UN special envoy on extrajudicial executions, and nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch. Although the LLRC found that government shelling resulted in civilian casualties, an allegation that the government had strenuously denied, it did not even consider the repeated attacks on civilian areas and hospitals as possible indiscriminate attacks prohibited by the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said.

“The abuses by government forces detailed in the UN Panel of Experts report are strangely missing in the LLRC’s findings,” Adams said. “Even the LLRC’s useful recommendations seem destined to join those of other Sri Lankan commissions that got filed away and ignored.”

Free expression in Sri Lanka was under assault in 2011. The editor of a Jaffna-based newspaper was beaten with iron bars by a group of unidentified youths in late July. Also in July, a team of Radio Netherlands journalists were harassed by police and later robbed and attacked at gunpoint by men in a white van, a notorious symbol of terror in Sri Lanka. The chairman of the Sunday Leader, whose brother Lasantha Wickrematunge had been gunned down in 2009, received a phone call from President Rajapaksa who threatened to attack him personally in response to articles in the Sunday Leader about high-level corruption. In December, two human rights activists, Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan, disappeared, apparently abducted while en route to a planned protest rally in Jaffna. Weeraraj’s father stated that his son had received anonymous phone calls prior to the protest telling him that he would be eliminated if he continued his political involvement.

In November, the government-owned Daily News announced that the government would issue guidelines and a code of conduct for the country’s media. The Media Ministry called on all news websites to register. At least five websites critical of the government were subsequently blocked inside the country.

“A free media is an essential building block of a democratic state,” Adams said. “The Rajapaksa administration is putting this in jeopardy by reacting to criticism with heavy-handed measures.”

The government says that there has been meaningful progress on reconciliation, but there is little evidence to support that contention, Human Rights Watch said. Talks between the government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on distribution of powers remained stalled through most of 2011. While campaigning ahead of elections in Jaffna in June, members and supporters of the TNA were attacked by army personnel wielding rods, batons and sticks.

There were some improvements for the Tamil population in the north and east in 2011. Freedom of movement to the north has allowed for greater access by humanitarian, local human rights and media groups, as well as by families. However, the government took inadequate steps in 2011 to normalize living conditions. Security in the region remained poor, with alarming incidents reported of gender-based violence and enforced prostitution. The unsettling attacks mid-year by “grease devils” – unidentified male assailants – exposed the vacuum in the security forces’ ability to respond adequately to civilians’ needs for protection. The heavy military presence in the north and east was a continuing source of distrust among the largely Tamil population.

The issue of land, one of the central problems undergirding the decades-long conflict, remains unresolved. Although the cabinet in April passed a circular intended to address the issue of land ownership and competing claims, particularly for those who fled during the war, little was done to implement its provisions.

Further, the government failed to appoint a National Land Commission, as required under the 13th amendment to the constitution. Reports of land-grabbing by the military in the north and elsewhere in the country increased through 2011. In some cases, the military provided some compensation, but sporadically and only when initiated by the owners, not the occupiers.

“The government has barely made an effort to address the grievances of the Tamil population,” Adams said. “Instead of the government facilitating greater dialogue, Tamil political representatives are subject to threats and harassment.”

Most of the nearly 300,000 displaced persons illegally confined in military-controlled detention centers after the war were able to leave by early 2010, but many have still not been able to return to their previous homes or communities. About 57,000 people live with host families, and another roughly 53,000 remain in the camps, in part because de-mining activities have not yet been completed in their original home areas.

By December, the government had released all but about 1,000 of the nearly 12,000 LTTE “surrenderees,” alleged combatants and supporters that it was detaining without charge or trial, and claimed that those remaining would be released by mid-2012. The government says these former combatants have been rehabilitated and trained to enter civilian life. The government said another 1,000 “hardcore” LTTE members are being held at Camp Boosa. The conditions for all of these detainees are not known.

Allegations of mistreatment and torture in custody have not been investigated.
The Emergency Regulations were allowed to expire on August 31, but the 1979 Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and other laws and regulations permitting detention without charge for up to 18 months leave an abusive detention regime in place.

Local government elections held between March and October further consolidated the hold of Rajapaksa’s United Freedom People’s Alliance party. It won control over 270 of the 322 local authorites contested. As in previous years, the president relied on close family members to strengthen his hold on government. Various Rajapaksa brothers remain as cabinet ministers with important portfolios. Opposition parties were effectively sidelined.

Sarath Fonseka, the former army commander who challenged Rajapaksa during the 2010 presidential election, was sentenced to an additional three years in prison after his current sentence expires in January 2012.

“As the Rajapaksa government has strengthened its grip politically, basic rights protections in the country have deteriorated,” Adams said.

Download-World Report- Srilanka 2012

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