Sri Lanka Express

Foundation laid for chaithiya

Udaya Gammanpila in town

"Foreignization could make Sri Lanka a Libya or Cyprus," the parliamentarian tells expats in Los Angeles.
Another milestone for Sarathchandra Buddhist Center.

Dharma Vijaya's "excruciating birth pangs" recalled at stupa unveiling ceremony

  " I feel vindicated!" - Dr. Gamini Jayasinghe
    Dr. Gamini Jayasinghe
Dr. Gamini Jayasinghe, principal founding member of  Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara,  speaking at the temple's stupa unveiling ceremony, May 20th, took the audience “down memory lane,” recalling the “excruciating birth pangs” before its opening 37 years ago.

“I call Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara “the temple that was born on the streets of LA”.  That’s where the monks were stranded in mid 1980.”
     Stupa being unveiled at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, Los Angeles, May 20.
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Happy mothers on Mother's Day

Hallmark fused with  Sinhala Buddhist traditions at the Mother’s Day celebration at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, Los Angeles, May  14.   Children offered roses and gifts (provided by the temple), sat at their feet, and worshipped their mothers in unison.   Participants were served rice & curry lunch cooked by one of the monks of DVBV with the assistance of several young community leaders.  Mother’s Day in the US is celebrated on the second Sunday of May and is the most significant sales driver for the flower industry ($27 b) and third-largest card-sending holiday (113 million cards).   Ven. Walpola Piyananda started the annual celebration at Dharma Vijaya several years ago.  (Pic by Hassina Leelarathna)

Two Sri Lankan students are taking home awards from  Intel Science Fair in L.A.


Two students from Sri Lanka did their country and their school proud winning special awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2017 held in Los Angeles May 14 – 19.

Photo (Left) shows Alujjage Sankalpa Perera and  Shehan Pattiyage Kavishka who  each won a special award (King Abdul-Aziz & His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity Special Award) in the Category of Earth & Biomedical Sciences at the Special Awards Ceremony held on 18 May 2017 for their Science Project on “Micro and nano engineering for wastewater: magnetized biochar and nanoparticle composite for toxic Cr(VI) removal."

 
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U.S. interfered in 4 elections in Sri Lanka to help UNP, says American professor

The United States has interfered in at least four elections in Sri Lanka in order to help the United National Party, according to a US professor who is a leading expert on American and Russian interventions in foreign elections.

Prof. Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon university who has analyzed data from 117 elections in countries across the globe, including Sri Lanka, says his research in general has shown that these interventions are often directed from the highest levels of US government, i.e., the White House/senior cabinet secretaries.  Different US government agencies have been used, based on the type of intervention.  Local US embassy staff and ambassadors have been used for many public threats while the CIA has been the favorite conduit for campaign funding and "dirty tricks," he said in an interview with Sri Lanka Express.


Prof. Dov Levin

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Federal agents raid televangelist Benny Hinn's offices in Texas


The Texas headquarters of well-known televangelist Benny Hinn (real name Toufik Benedictus Hinn) who has thousands of followers in Sri Lanka and South India and had connections in the past with the SL consul general’s office in Los Angeles was raided by federal agents, April 26.
Reports said criminal investigators from the Internal Revenue Service agents armed with a search warrant and United States Postal Inspectors were seen coming and going in and out of his headquarters in Grapvine in north Texas.

Benny Hinn conducting faith healing.  

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Trustee sues Rajaratnam to recover millions owed to creditors


Disgraced billionaire Raj Rajaratnam who is serving an 11-year sentence in federal prison for insider trading is facing a new lawsuit, this time in New York bankruptcy court.

An adversary proceeding filed April 18 by Alan Nisselson, trustee overseeing the liquidation of Galleon, says Rajaratnam  paid himself around $131 million from Galleon Management LP, one of his company's units while he faced insider trading charges in 2010.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

  1. Sri Lankan-American "Jeopardy" champ
    Sri Lankan-American "Jeopardy" champ
    Nilanka Seneviratne, an American of Sri Lankan descent, presently an international development nonprofit professional in Washington, D.C., emerged as the champion on the April 20th episode of “Jeopardy.”
  2. Several dignitaries expected for DVBV stupa opening
    Several dignitaries expected for DVBV stupa opening
    Los Angeles – Minister of Justice & Buddha Sasana Dr. Wijedasa Rajapakshe and MP Udaya Gammanpila are among dignitaries expected to attend the ceremonial unveiling of the new stupa at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, May 20.
  3. Vatican's Vesak Message
    Vatican's Vesak Message
    In a special message for Vesak, the Vatican has called on Catholics and Buddhists to emulate the founders of their respective faiths by working together to promote nonviolence and peace.
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No New Year greetings from USA to Sri Lankans this year!

The US State Department seems to have struck Sri Lanka from its list for this year’s New Year greetings.

Sri Lankans at home and abroad celebrated the Sinhala & Hindu New Year April 13 & 14.  

Lao, Khmer, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar who share the same New Year each received the traditional greeting on April 12 from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.  For some reason, no greetings were extended to Sri Lankans.
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

  1. Sri Lankan bank accounts must be reported to IRS
    Sri Lankan bank accounts must be reported to IRS
    Have a bank account with more than $10,000 in Sri Lanka? Earned interest on foreign bank accounts? You are required to report these assets as well as pay taxes on interest earned.
  2. 
Ethnicity & heart disease
    Ethnicity & heart disease
    Sri Lankans who are not overweight may be more at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes than normal-weight Caucasians.
  3. Angelenos celebrate Sinhala & Hindu New Year
    Angelenos celebrate Sinhala & Hindu New Year
    Students of Thath Jith Dance school, Los Angeles, performing a traditional dance at the New Year celebrations held at Woodley Park, April 8.
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Reading the tea leaves on ex CIA analyst
Lisa Curtis, Trump's point person for S. Asia

April 8, ,2017

Lisa Curtis a senior research fellow of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, also a former CIA analyst and a leading subscriber to Washington’s narrative that the 2015 regime change saw the birth of democracy in Sri Lanka, will be joining the National Security Council as Senior Director for South Asia.

In this position (not yet officially confirmed by the White House) she will be exerting considerable influence on President Trump’s South Asian policies, including future US-Sri Lanka relations.
Read the full Commentary

Harvard’s “economic diplomacy” course for SL foreign ministry: beginning of a Soros incursion?


E-learning, aka online courses or self-paced learning, is practically par for the course in the present-day workplace. Yet an 18-week online course in “economic diplomacy” for foreign service staff, offered by Harvard University’s Center for International Development (HCID) under its Growth Lab initiative, received a “ceremonial” launch at the foreign ministry office in Colombo, March 7.

What didn’t get any attention in reports of the event was the one fact that makes it newsworthy: that it is funded by the messianic (“I’m God”) billionaire George Soros via his flagship NGO the Open Society Foundations (OSF).


Acting foreign minister Harsha de Silva (center) flanked by  Mrs. Sonali Wijeratne, Director General, Department of Commerce and Professor Matt Andrews of Harvard. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs) at the ceremonial launch of the online course.
Read the full Commentary

News Feature

US issues restraining order on Sri Lankan bank accounts tied to Edwards in $50m CUP fraud scheme

A United States federal judge has placed a restraining order on bank accounts, several in Sri Lanka, owned or controlled by the defendants in the Cities Upliftment Program (CUP) fraud scheme that allegedly bilked investors worldwide to the tune of $50 million.

Accounts in NDB, HNB, HSBC, and Sampath Bank tied to  Sri Lankan businessman Rienzi Edwards and his associates are among those targeted for criminal forfeiture.

Edwards and New Mexico resident Michael J. Jacobs, the alleged ringleaders of the bogus international investment scheme, and 4 other co-conspirators were indicted in December 2016 for wire fraud, impersonation of a U.S. employee, aggravated identity theft and various money laundering and conspiracy charges.

 



  Rienzi Edwards
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  Michael J. Jacobs
  1. "International Crisis" over Pol Mal
    "International Crisis" over Pol Mal
    How the Ambassador's daughter got her "traditional Ceylon wedding." From "Anecdotes from our history in the USA."
  2. US Marines work with SL Navy for 2nd time
    US Marines work with SL Navy for 2nd time
    U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45) arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 27 for a Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) engagement with the Sri Lankan Navy and Marine Corps.
  3. Hindus protest CNN documentary
    Hindus protest CNN documentary
    Hindu Americans are up in arms over a documentary aired by CNN which they say portrays the religion in a negative light and have held protests against the cable network.
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  1. Kusuma Cooray honored
    Kusuma Cooray honored
    Kapiʻolani Community College Professor Emerita Kusuma Cooray was honored by the U.S. Pacific Command for her work as Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka from 2001 to 2017.
  2. Ekneligoda gets Courage Award
    Ekneligoda gets Courage Award
    Sri Lanka’s Sandya Eknelygoda, wife of Prageeth Ekneligoda, was among thirteen women from across the globe to receive the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage award for 2017.
  3. Will "extreme vetting" impact Lankans?
    Will "extreme vetting" impact Lankans?
    The number of Sri Lankans traveling to the US on non-immigrant visas has steadily increasing, from 8,512 in 2009 to 14,881 in 2016. Will Trump's "extreme vetting" buck this trend?
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  1. Cold War Salvos
    Cold War Salvos
    Moscow is retaliating against CNN & other outlets for attacks on Russian media in the USA. “One must be mutually polite,” says Russia.
  2. Oops, a slit in the saree
    Oops, a slit in the saree
    The cover of the latest issue of Jodi Bridal which shows a model “Tamil Bride” wearing a saree with a revealing slit that exposes her leg has sparked a ruckus on social media.
  3. Sri to Shining Sea
    Sri to Shining Sea
    Sri Lanka conjures images of heavenly sunsets ... After the devastation of the 25-year war and the 2004 tsunami, new resorts and tourists are bringing the island back into focus
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