Sri Lanka Express

Hillary’s latest corruption scandal involves American of Sri Lankan descent

An American of Sri Lankan descent is at the center of a growing corruption scandal that accuses Hillary Clinton of appointing a totally unqualified person to a sensitive State Department security intelligence board only because he was a major donor to the Democratic Party and gave as much as $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation.  The scandal first publicized by ABC News is once again in the spotlight with details that have emerged from the latest set of Clinton emails released to the public.

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Muslim liaison appointed by White House says he will represent Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs

 Zaki Barzinji promises to reach out to all communities


 The White House has appointed Zaki Barzinji (27) to the recently-created position of  American Muslim Community Liaison. Barzinji the former Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said that in addition to Musims, he will reach out to the Sikhs, Buddhists, and Hindus to ensure that the communities are represented at a federal level.


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Nirmana - An evening of nostalgic Sinhala music in the Southland
Sri Lankan artistes in Southern California presented an evening of nostalgia as they launched into a series of popular Sinhala music spanning several decades.  “Nirmana” held June 4 in Buena Park also attracted a sprinkling of younger Sri Lankans who seemed to enjoy the music of their parents’ generation.   The lineup included enduring songs made popular by the big names of yesteryear such as Sunil Shantha, Latha Walpola, and C.T. Fernando.   Photo above shows "Nirmana" artistes in performance.  

Muhammed Ali: A superstar is gone but the light shines on

He was one of the heroes of my youth, not just because he was a great boxer but also because of his "big mouth" as we said. He was Muhammad Ali who in the exuberance of his own youth, boasted he was "the Greatest", a claim that we thought, at the time, was nothing but an exaggeration, born of arrogant brashness, the very qualities for which
we loved the "Louisville Lip."


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SL Embassy Announces Appointment of New Honorary Consul in Chicago



Vigil planned at Cincinnati Zoo in tribute to slain gorilla

Animal rights activists plan a Memorial Day vigil for the gorilla killedat the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy slipped into an exhibit and a special zoo response team concluded his life was in danger.


FBI reaching out to stop female genital mutilation

500,000 women and girls are at risk of undergoing, or have already been subjected to, female genital mutilation in the US.  The FBI has dedicated a new unit to stop the practice which has been illegal since 1996.



Man pleads guilty to pulling off Muslim woman's hijab

A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge after authorities say he grabbed a Muslim woman’s hijab on a Southwest Airlines flight in December and pulled it off.



   Japanese Buddhists join Memorial Day Service















Salt Lake Buddhist Temple's Reverend Masami Hayashi, a veteran with MIS,
reads the "Sen No Kaze" (A Thousand Winds) poem during the memorial service Sunday, May 29, 2016, honoring the achievements and sacrifices of Japanese American men killed in action fighting for the United States in World War II and other Japanese American veterans who have passed on.  Read full story in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Sri Lanka has a new honorary consul in Chicago and his name is Ronald James Sorini.

If the headline sounds familiar, this is Mr. Sorini’s second time being appointed to the same position.  His first stint was in 2004 when, again, the United National Party led by Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe was in power.   
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Vesak celebrations continue in Southern California

The Sri Ratana International Buddhist Center in Anaheim, California held its Vesak celebrations May 28 with a lineup of traditional religious and cultural activities. 

Sri Ratana serves the growing Sri Lankan Buddhist community in Orange County and has a large number of devotees participating in its regular religious programs.   The temple's daham pasala (Sunday School) offers  Sinhala language classes in addition to Buddhist studies.  

 

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Vesak activities in progress at Sri Ratana, May 28.

"Los Angeles Remembers" - Anniversary of the end of the LTTE War Commemorated


Sri Lankans in Los Angeles gathered May 19 at the Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara for a ceremony commemorating the defeat of the LTTE who waged a brutal 30-year war for a separate state.

The traditional Bodhi Puja led by Ven. Pandith Ambalantota Kolitha Thero was followed by Anusasana delivered by Ven. Walpola Piyananda Mahathero.  Ven. Dr. Medagoda Abayathissa, a senior lecturer at Sri Jayawardanapura University who is currently following a course of study in the US delivered a special sermon reflecting on post-war Sri Lanka. 
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Is our gratitude in deep slumber?

Hassina Leelarathna on
"Los Angeles Remembers"

Ven. Medagoda Abayathissa
Consul Gen. Ms. Swarna Gunaratne
Ven. Medagoda Abhayatissa's speech (video)
Flowers in remembrance of Sri Lankan troops

Floods: International Relief Pouring in, USA Chips in $50k, China zilch

America gives Sri Lanka $50,000 for flood relief, Nepal $100,000. 

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Vesak 2016 - Messages from President Obama & Governor Brown ( Click here)
Children singing Vesak Bakthi Gee at Sarathchandra Buddhist Vihara, May 21
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US Probes Corruption in David Miliband’s Refugee Aid Group
International Rescue Committee, headed by the former British Foreign Secretary, sees funding suspended amid allegations of systemic corruption in Syrian refugee projects.
 Miliband is  best remembered  in Sri Lanka for his failed attempts to save the Tamil Tigers from defeat in the last stages of the war in 2009.
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Expat children showcase Sri Lankan culture at Asian Pacific Heritage Celebrations, George Mason University
Sri Lankan children thrilled the audience with traditional dances such as Ukusa Vannama and Wadiga Patuna at the Asian-Pacific Heritage celebrations held at George Mason University Center for Arts , May 5. 

The opening address for the evening was given by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Prasad Kariyawasam who referred to the rich culture and traditions the Sri Lankan immigrants and their children bring to the mix from the small island of 20 million people.
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Australian Diaspora Groups call for Restoration of  Mahinda Rajapaksa's Security

Several Sri Lankan diaspora groups in Australia are appealing for the restoration of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s military security which was removed effective May 2 and replaced by police security.

In a letter to the Sri Lankan government, the groups said they were “extremely perturbed” by the decision to replace the elite Army Commando Unit with a police unit and called on the authorities to provide fitting security arrangements for the former president.


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Disgraced Billionaire Raj Rajaratnam in Latest Trove of Panama Papers
Billionaire Raj Rajaratnam who is serving an 11-year prison sentence in the US for insider trading is among the names found in the massive Panama Papers database released May 9.  The Sri Lankan-born founder of hedge fund Galleon Group who is known to have provided support to the Tamil Tigers was sentenced in 2011 to an 1l-year sentence on nine counts of securities fraud and five counts of conspiracy.
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First SL Theravada Temple in USA Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser attending the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Washington Buddhist Vihara on May 1, 2016 declared the day as “the Washington Buddhist Vihara Day”, recognizing in the Declaration that the District of Columbia is the home to the first Theravada Buddhist Temple in America and that the Vihara has been dedicated to presentation of Buddhism and extending welcome to all.  Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam joined Mayor Muriel Bowser on this occasion. 
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Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser with Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri Nayake Thero and Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam
Mothers Day May 8, 2016

Mothers by the Numbers in the USA

"Dheepan" Action Thriller about LTTE Refugee Showing in US Theaters

“Dheepan” the Jacques Audiard crime action thriller  about an LTTE militant who gets asylum in France  opened in theaters in the US May 6.  The highly-acclaimed movie which received  the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year focuses on three Sri Lankan refugees (Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby) who pretend to be a family as they try to make better lives for themselves in a Parisian housing project.
43.5 m
Number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 who have children. These mothers gave birth to 95.8 million children.
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3.9 m
Number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 who gave birth in the past 12 months.

Vatican calls on Buddhists to Join Christians to Save the Environment

In a Vesak Day message, the Vatican has called on Buddhists worldwide to join hands with  Christians to work for the environment. 

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent a message to the Buddhists of the world to mark the “Feast of Vesakh, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha,” Vatican Radio reported.
5.2 m
Number of stay-at-home moms in married couple family groups in 2015
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Source: US Census Bureau
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran

Oregon Buddhist Vihara greenlighted for expansion

It’s been a long time coming but the Oregon Buddhist Vihara ‘s is finally primed to expand. 

The Theravada temple in Hillsboro, about 20 miles west of Portland, has just been greenlighted by the city for a 3,172 square foot, two-story building, its first expansion since opening in 2004 in a one-bedroom house. 
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Secretary of State John Kerry's New Year Greetings
On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I join you in celebrating the Sri Lankan New Year.

The past year's accomplishments have been historic, demonstrating the deep commitment of the Sri Lankan people for reconciliation, tolerance and peace.

I offer my best wishes for a happy New Year and continued success as you move ahead with the new constitution and further efforts to strengthen Sri Lanka's democracy and prosperity.
PANAMA PAPERS BOMBSHELL!

Sri Lankan Airlines - Who is the real Phoenix Duty- Free Contractor ?

Mangala Wants SL to Join TPP

It hasn't even been ratified yet!
Sri Lanka Express Archives Gallery

Take a walk down memory lane
Open Gallery
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More on Panama Papers: Clinton's campaign manager & Tamils' lobbyist Podesta involved Read full story

Books
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US Elections

Most Asians favor Bernie
"We came, we saw, he died"

Hillary Clinton's emails & new scrutiny of her role in Libya
Selections from the world of the arts & entertainment
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“We are more like the US now” – Ambassador Independence Event

Career diplomat Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, no stranger to many who had known him during his tenure in Washington (1995-1998) received an enthusiastic welcome at an Independence Day event at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles last weekend. But he also had his work cut out trying to convince his compatriots that things are moving in the right direction in Sri Lankan-US relations.   After all, many here suspect the US had a hand in the “regime change” that ousted President Rajapaksa last year. Read Full Story

FM Samaraweera in DC for US-SL Annual Partnership Dialogue

Washington, DC - Secretary Kerry welcomed Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to the State Department in Washington, D.C., on February 25 for the inaugural U.S.-Sri Lanka Annual Partnership Dialogue, which the two had announced during Secretary Kerry’s visit to the country in May 2015.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon led the U.S. delegation for discussions on democratic governance, development cooperation, people-to-people ties, economic cooperation, security cooperation, international and regional affairs, and other issues of mutual interest.  Read Full Story
 
Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera pose for a photo before their bilateral meeting at the U.S. Department of State  [State Department photo]

Bandula Gunawardane Slams US Double Standards

Opposition parliamentarian Mr. Bandula Gunawardane speaking to expatriates in Los Angeles accused the US government of double standards  saying that despite egregious violations of democratic and human rights the US has nothing but praise for the current Sri Lankan regime.   Read Full Story
US 7th Fleet Flagship in Colombo
The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Colombo for a port call March 26, the first visit by a U.S. Navy ship since October 2011. The USS Blue Ridge team consists of more than 900 sailors, who will interact with their Sri Lanka Navy counterparts... Read Full Story