US Bureaucrat Highlights US Support for Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery


In an official visit to Sri Lanka, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Afreen Akhter, reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting Sri Lanka’s economic recovery. During her stay, which concluded on May 17, DAS Akhter engaged in a series of consultative meetings with government officials, highlighting the longstanding diplomatic relations between the two countries, which recently marked their 75th anniversary.

One of the key highlights of DAS Akhter’s visit was the discussion of the $270 million in new support that the United States has provided to Sri Lanka over the past year. Encouraging the Sri Lankan government to continue implementing economic reforms and transparency measures under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, DAS Akhter emphasized the importance of sustained collaboration and progress in ensuring long-term economic stability.

During her meeting with Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe on May 15, DAS Akhter stressed the significance of ongoing reform efforts in Sri Lanka. She further urged the government to foster collaboration with civil society, emphasizing the need to consider all voices in the legislative process, including pending legislation such as the Anti-Terrorism Bill. The United States continues to advocate for an inclusive and transparent approach in addressing important national issues.

DAS Akhter also held productive discussions with State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya and State Minister of Defense Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon. Their talks covered various areas of mutual interest, including collaboration in maritime security and addressing shared regional challenges. The United States and Sri Lanka reaffirmed their commitment to working together to ensure peace, stability, and security in the region.

Before her departure, DAS Akhter took the opportunity to meet with a small group of journalists to further strengthen the relationship between the United States and the Sri Lankan media. This interaction provided an opportunity to exchange perspectives and foster a better understanding of the common goals and challenges faced by both countries.

DAS Afreen Akhter’s visit to Sri Lanka underscored the United States’ commitment to supporting the country’s economic recovery and strengthening bilateral relations. The $270 million in new support, along with ongoing collaboration on various issues, demonstrates the mutual desire for enhanced cooperation and shared prosperity between the United States and Sri Lanka.

Anchorage: Home for Brave Sailors Wounded in Action


In commemoration of Ranaviru month, a time dedicated to honouring the sacrifices made by military and police personnel for the country, we turn our attention to a remarkable story of resilience and compassion. Today, we shine a light on “Anchorage,” a permanent home for two critically wounded sailors located at Walisara, Sri Lanka. This facility serves as a sanctuary for naval personnel who have sustained severe disabilities in the line of duty.

Anchorage, an exquisite eco-friendly building constructed by the Navy Civil Engineers, stands proudly adjacent to the Aqua Golf Driving Range, providing a scenic view of the lake. It was made possible through generous funding by the SLN Seva Wanitha Unit and was officially inaugurated by the then Navy Commander, Admiral Piyal De Silva, on July 1, 2020.

This sanctuary is now home to two sailors who were wounded in separate incidents while bravely serving their nation. Leading Seaman (SBS) B M R K Basnayaka, a member of the elite Special Boats Squadron, suffered critical injuries on November 10, 1995, during an operation off Illankanthai, Trincomalee. Petty Officer M D N W Piyasingha of the Fast Attack Craft Squadron, also critically wounded, endured his injuries on September 16, 2001, off Point Padró, Jaffna. Both sailors, due to spinal injuries, have lost mobility below the waist and require assistance in their daily activities.

Tragically, as these sailors fought to defend their country, they also had to face the loss of their parents. Being bachelors and with their siblings’ children growing up and venturing into their own lives, the sailors found it increasingly challenging to manage on their own. Recognizing their plight, the Sri Lanka Navy took the noble initiative of constructing Anchorage, a safe haven where these war heroes could receive the care and support they deserve until their last days. The Navy’s dedication and compassion deserve applause.

The devoted staff at Anchorage ensures that both WIA sailors receive daily exercises, physiotherapy sessions, necessary medical care, and assistance with daily routines. They also arrange short trips for them in a specially designed van, allowing them to visit their relatives on a monthly basis. Additionally, the sailors are provided with proper nutrition and remuneration, but it is the appreciation and support from the community that truly motivates them to live fulfilling life.

As we observe Ranaviru month, let us remember and honour the sacrifices made by our military and police personnel. Anchorage stands as a testament to the enduring gratitude we owe to those who have selflessly served our nation, ensuring the peace and security we enjoy today.

India: Namo’s Politi Crushes in Karnataka


In a shocking turn of events, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a crushing defeat in Karnataka, the only state in South India where the party has a significant presence. Despite running a polarised campaign based on its traditional Hindutva plank, featuring a Bollywood film and a Hindu god, and promising a “double engine” government with 75 new faces, the party was unable to secure victory.

According to leaders of the state unit, the party’s campaign failed to connect with voters due to a lack of strong local faces or local issues as part of the narrative. Instead, the campaign focused on rallies by national leaders, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ( Namo) holding over 20 rallies and Home Minister Amit Shah holding as many as 30 rallies.

During his rallies, PM Modi had urged voters to watch the Bollywood film, The Kerala Story, and highlighted the Congress’s plan to ban Bajrang Dal, which he portrayed as an insult to Bajrang Bali, the Hindu god Hanuman. However, these efforts were not enough to convince voters amid mounting anti-incumbency against the party’s state leadership.

The BJP’s defeat in Karnataka is a significant setback for the party, which had hoped to build on its previous success in the state. It also highlights the party’s need to focus on local issues and candidates, rather than relying solely on national leaders to drive its campaign. With important state elections coming up, including in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, the BJP will need to re-evaluate its campaign strategy if it hopes to retain power in these crucial states.

Further analysis of the BJP’s campaign strategy reveals that messaging focused on national issues failed to resonate with voters in Karnataka. According to a parliamentarian from the party who spoke to local media, the Congress party had successfully employed the Amul vs Nandini plank, but the BJP failed to follow suit.

The BJP’s attempt to raise issues like the proposed ban on Bajrang Dal also failed to help the party, with the exception of a few seats in the Udupi-Mangalore region.

The party’s efforts to replicate its success in states like Gujarat by fielding 75 new faces and changing the chief minister mid-term also fell short. Over 60 of the new faces the party fielded lost their elections, highlighting the BJP’s failure to select strong candidates.

Furthermore, the party’s failure to highlight the sitting Chief Minister during its campaign showed a lack of confidence in its own leadership.

The BJP’s crushing defeat in Karnataka serves as a wake-up call for the party, which will need to re-evaluate its campaign strategy if it hopes to succeed in upcoming state elections. The party will need to focus on local issues and candidates, and avoid relying solely on national leaders to drive its campaign.

Pixstory: New head of CPC and Trincomalee Petroleum Terminals calls on CDS


Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne (Retired)  former Chief of Defense Staff, now Managing Director Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Chairman Trincomalee Petroleum Terminals Ltd  ( CPC-IOC joint venture)  called on General SHAVINDRA Silva, Chief of Defense Staff at his office. He thanked CDS for all the  Military support he extended for distribution of fuel to the public during difficult times.  Mementoes were exchanged to mail the occasion.

Sri Lanka: Arrest Made in Connection with Easter Sunday Attack After Intel Tip


The Kochchikade Police have reported that on Easter Sunday (April 9), they arrested the brother of Saharan Hasim’s wife in the Kochchikade area of Negombo. Hasim was identified as the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday attack. The suspect had been in remand custody for three and a half years on suspicion of being involved in the attack and was released on bail. According to the police, the suspect and his wife were arrested on suspicion based on an intelligence tip when they arrived at her parents’ house. The suspect claimed that he was going to his wife’s parents’ house in Kochchikade after being informed by the Katupotha police. The arrested couple appeared before Negombo Acting Magistrate Nelson Kumaranayake and have been remanded until May 20th.

Breaking news: Government analyst confirms that Sara Jasmine died

According to the Police Media Spokesperson’s Office, DNA tests have confirmed that Pulastini Mahendran, also known as Sara Jasmine, a woman who was involved in the Easter Sunday terrorist attack in April 2019 and fled to another country, died in the suicide bomb attack in Saindamarudu on April 26, 2019.

It was previously believed that Mahendran had fled to India with the help of a few agents in a neighbouring country. However, DNA testing was conducted on the remains of individuals who died in the Saindamarudu attack, and arrangements were made to match the samples with the DNA samples of Mahendran’s mother, Rajaratnam Kavida, based on a court order. The government’s DNA testing department has confirmed that the DNA samples from several bone fragments match the DNA samples obtained from Kavida.

This comparison confirms the biological relationship between mother and child. After comparing the samples of Kavida with the bone samples obtained from the deceased, it has been confirmed that the probability of Mahendran being Kavida’s biological daughter is 99.999 percent. The Inspectorate’s report submitted to the Police stated this information.

The Police Media Spokesperson’s Office has announced that the report on this DNA test, which was conducted based on a court order, will be submitted to the court in the future.

Click here to read our exclusive investigative report on Sara Jasmine

Strong tremors felt in India and Pakistan after 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan

Strong earthquake tremors, lasting for several seconds, were felt in Delhi and neighbouring cities late on Tuesday evening. According to reports, the earthquake shocks, measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, were felt in Turkmenistan, India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The epicentre of the earthquake is believed to be 90 km from Kalafgan in Afghanistan.

Earthquake tremors were felt in Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar, Pakistan’s ARY News report said.

In India, besides Delhi, heavy tremors were also felt in Jammu and Kashmir, western Uttar Pradesh.

“An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter Scale hit 133km SSE of Fayzabad, Afghanistan today at 10:17 pm IST,” said National Centre for Seismology. The US Geological Survey said the earthquake rocked Afghanistan its epicentre was 40 kilometres south-southeast of the Afghan town of Jurm.

The Delhi Fire Services said that they have received a call about the tilting of a building in the Shakarpur area in East Delhi. However, Fire Director Atul Garg said no building was found tilted. “An initial call was given by some of the neighbours. The occupants of the building were not aware of the call,” he said. 

Delhi has witnessed quake jolts in the past few months but this was the strongest in the recent past. Speaking to India Today, some residents in Nodia said they felt the tremors which they said lasted about 2-3 minutes. Videos have been pouring in of people in panic as the tremors, which lasted for over 30 seconds, struck.

In Jammu and Kashmir, devotees rushed out of guest houses in Katra. Shubham, a guest house owner, said very strong tremors were felt and all the devotees rushed out of the guest house. “With Maa Vaishno Devi’s blessings, there was no loss of lives and they are returning to their hotels.”

In Punjab, people gathered in open spaces in Ludhiana, Bathinda and other cities. “I was sitting on the sofa and talking to my son when it started shaking. I raised an alarm. Everyone rushed out, very strong tremors were felt,” a woman said. Another woman said she was setting her bed when her husband raised an alarm and told her to rush out. 

Pakistan’s Dawn News reported that so far there was no news of any damage or loss of lives. The country’s rescue department had received a phone call each from Swabi and Lower Dir on which rescue teams were despatched. “No confirmed reports of any loss of life or property have been received yet. Rescue 1122 is on high alert and ready to provide services during any emergency,” rescue department chief general Dr Khateer Ahmad told Dawn. 

(With inputs from agencies)

South African Trade Unionists Demand Freedom for U.S. Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

On March 10, members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) marched to the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria to demand freedom for journalist and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been incarcerated for more than 40 years in the United States.

This march to demand his release was organized as part of an ongoing month-long global solidarity campaign that was launched on February 16 and involved a host of organizations, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 in the U.S. The campaign comes at a time when a judgment based on an appeal, which “would allow for a retrial” in the matter, is expected soon due to the discovery of previously unseen exculpatory evidence.

A former member of the Black Panther Party, 68-year-old Abu-Jamal has been convicted for the killing of a police officer, Daniel Faulkner, in Philadelphia in 1981.

Abu-Jamal had been targeted and surveilled by state forces since he was a young teenager. His trial and subsequent sentencing in 1982 were marked by official misconduct, corruption, and blatant racism, with the original presiding trial Judge Albert Sabo declaring that he was going to “help them fry the [racist slur].”

Abu-Jamal has been incarcerated under inhumane conditions, including severe medical neglect.

“The struggle for the civil rights movement in the 1960s captured the imagination of the world. Figures like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Junior, and Malcolm X became global icons—they fought and died for human justice,” NUMSA national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said in a speech outside the U.S. Embassy on March 10. “To our disappointment as peace loving South Africans, a Black man in America is always guilty in the eyes of the police.”

Credit Line: from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

Questions Grow About Tunisian Government Response to Yet Another Migrant Boat Tragedy

The latest migrant tragedy off the Tunisian coast, in which at least 14 people were killed during the first week of March, has led to further scrutiny of the country’s treatment of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

Most of the people who drowned on the nights of March 7 and 8 were from sub-Saharan African countries and were trying to get to Italy. Tunisian officials claimed they were able to rescue 54 people.

The situation of migrants from the sub-Saharan region has worsened after Tunisian President Kais Saied on February 21 “denounced” the influx of undocumented immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa adding that this move was aimed at changing Tunisia’s demography. “The undeclared goal of the successive waves of illegal immigration is to consider Tunisia a purely African country that has no affiliation to the Arab and Islamic nations,” he said.

Workers’ Party of Tunisia and the African Union have criticized Saied’s remarks as being racist, with the party demanding an apology from the president. While Saied is now claiming that Tunisia “was proud to be an African country,” the woes of migrants continue.

Migrants living in Tunisia have been heavily targeted by authorities. Many have also lost their jobs and were forced to return to their homelands. However, a section of them, in a bid to escape their dire economic and political conditions, have tried to migrate to Europe.

Credit Line: from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

About 700,000 Afghans Have Lost Their Jobs Since Taliban Takeover, Says UN Report

An estimated 700,000 people have lost their jobs in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, “with the agriculture, civil service, and construction sectors the most severely affected,” according to the latest report by the UN special rapporteur to Afghanistan.

The report, which covers developments in the country between July and December 2022, stated that around two-thirds of households in Afghanistan have acknowledged “difficulties in meeting basic food and non-food needs.”

“[M]assive job losses, business closures, and the reluctance of foreign investors to engage in the [country’s] economy” have had catastrophic impacts on the lives of millions of Afghans, the report said.

Afghanistan’s worsening economic decline—which stood at around 30 to 35 percent in 2021-2022—has further worsened the humanitarian crisis. “This crisis has been exacerbated by the unintended consequences of political cautiousness and overcompliance with [U.S.-imposed] sanctions, despite the humanitarian exemptions afforded by the Security Council,” the 19-page report that was submitted to the UN said.

The report further stated that an “estimated 18.9 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity, a number which is expected to rise to 20 million, and over 90 percent of Afghans are suffering from some form of food insecurity, with single-parent female-headed households and children being disproportionately affected.”

The report also raised concerns about targeted killings of members of the former Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, allegedly by the Taliban. Similar apprehensions have been raised in another report that claims that the Taliban has gained access to biometric data, which they are utilizing in tracking down Afghans who formerly worked with the U.S. government.

Credit Line: from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

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