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India's diplomatic victory By gaining access to Sri Lanka’s Mattala Airport, New Delhi has scored a silent victory over China. By Barun Das Gupta
Published Date: 11/07/2018 (Wednesday)
India’s diplomatic victory Last week, Sri Lanka finally agreed to let India operate the Mattala Airport situated about 40 km north-east of the Hambantota seaport that China has built in the southern tip of the island nation. China has acquired 60 per cent stake in the project as Sri Lanka was unable to repay the debt to the Chinese company that built it. India has thus scored a quiet but important diplomatic victory over China in Sri Lanka. Beijing was dead against India taking over the Mattala Airport. In the Sri Lankan Parliament, the Opposition led by former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka Freedom Party asked the government whether it was handing over the Mattala to India "to please the superpowers India and China". Read This - Democratise digital spaces
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Making public transport safe for women
Published Date: 10/07/2018 (Tuesday)
A majority of women in Sri Lanka have endured sexual harassment on public transport, and incidences of harassment continue to increase daily despite continuous efforts to combat sexual violence, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Council for Road Safety, Sri Lanka, claimed recently. Research released in 2015 by UNFPA, offers a view into women’s vulnerability to violence and discrimination, issues that are poorly understood - both in Sri Lanka and globally - because of underreporting and lack of data. It reveals that around 90 per cent of women and girls who use public transport services have endured sexual harassment. Despite the low frequency of formal data, these problems are all too common to women and girls.
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Church on Internet abuse: Adults far worse than youth and children
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
Parish priest of St. Annes Kurana church Rev Father Cyril Gamini Fernando, in his Sunday sermon, flayed the community, particularly the adults for wrongful use of the internet and a range of applications available today. Rev. Fernando warned of dire consequences unless the community took remedial measures, promptly, to ensure the internet didn’t ruin their lives. The former spokesperson for the Catholic church pointed out that the conduct of adults were far worse than that of younger people and children. Quoting a recent survey, Rev Father said that the
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House seeks clarification from Foreign Ministry Dual citizens as heads of diplomatic missions:
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
Joint Opposition Leader Dinesh Gunawardena, MP, yesterday said that in the wake of enactment of 19th Amendment to the Constitution the government should review its policy on appointing dual citizens as heads of Sri Lankan overseas missions. MP Gunawardena told The Island that the contentious issue of dual citizens given top diplomatic posts had been discussed at the last meeting of the parliamentary High Posts Committee chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in parliament where representatives of the UNP (Higher Education Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran) agreed with his stand.
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Minister Amunugama proposes alliance of Buddhist countries in the region
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
Science, Technology and Research Skills Development Vocational Training and Kandyan Heritage Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said in Kandy, last Friday, that he would initiate the formation of an alliance of the Buddhist countries in the region. Addressing a meeting of heads of Pirivenas in the Kandy District, Minister Amunugama said that in the past Sri Lanka had had close ties with Buddhist countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Burma and relations should be revived. Such an alliance in the region would help build a stronger ties among the Buddhist countries, Dr. Amunugama noted.
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India allocates USD 56 mn to discourage poaching in SL
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
As a part of efforts to keep Tamil Nadu fishermen from poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters, the Indian government has allocated US $ 56 million to dismantle bottom trawling boats and replacing them with new deep sea liners, it is learnt. This has been done consequent to talks with the Sri Lankan government on the need to discourage Tamil Nadu fishermen from unlawfully engaging in fishing in the Palk Strait. According to sources, 513 applications had been received by the Indian Government as of March 31 from owners of bottom trawlers who wished to replace them with deep sea liners.
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Civil society groups raise concerns with Office for Reparations Bill
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
15 civil society organisations and 28 activists have expressed their deep concern with aspects of the draft Bill titled ‘Office for Reparations’ (the Bill) gazetted on 25 June. Following is the full text of their statement: While the undersigned have several concerns with the process and content of the draft Bill, two issues regarding the powers and functions of the proposed Office stand out as the most pressing concerns. If these are not addressed forthwith, further engagement with the process will be moot. Therefore, we request amendments to the draft Bill to address these issues. We also urge any future action to be preceded by meaningful consultations on the content of the draft Bill allowing civil society and other stakeholders to make further submissions regarding other outstanding concerns.
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U.S. Government Funds Renovation of Two Schools in Eastern Province
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
As part of the U.S. government’s support for a reconciled and unified Sri Lanka, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) renovated two schools in the Eastern Province. James L. Russo, the U.S. Embassy’s Counselor for Press, Academic, and Cultural Affairs, presided over the official ribbon cutting ceremonies on July 2 and 3, 2018. Also participating were Deputy Minister of National Integration, Reconciliation, and Official Languages Mr. Ali Zahir Moulana; Coordinating Secretary for Deputy Health Minister Mr. Zarrjun Aboobucker; Zonal Director of Education Mr. M.L. Ahamed Junaid; and Captain Robert Holbrook of PACOM.
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Breakthrough for Cooperatives with inclusion into NEC by President Sirisena
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
President Maithripala Sirisena presents an award to a young cooperative employee who was a winner at the 96th International Cooperative Day event in Batticaloa on 7 July as Industry and Commerce Ministry Secretary K.D.N. Ranjit Ashoka (far left), Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd. Cooperative Development Director A.K. Singh (second from left), Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana (fifth from left), Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen (third from right) and Eastern Province Governor Rohitha Bogollagama (far right) look on • Bathiudeen announces tax exemptions, lifetime pensions for coops • 40% of Lankans now a member of a coop unit, coop assets now close to $ 3 billion • ‘Global coops positioned for SDGs’: Indian Coop’s Singh
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Wijeyakala cover for ‘Corrupt and Miserable’ politicos and racist Urbanites
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
During the past week, much has been written and spoken about the statement on “the need of a LTTE rule again” made by Wijeyakala Maheswaran, the State Minister for Child and Women’s Affairs. For racist politicos and the urban middle class it was God sent to shelve the “sermon proposing a Hitlerite rule” by Ven. Wendaruwe Upali thero, the ‘Anu-nayake’ (second in authority) of Asgiriya. While some in the Sinhala South sympathise with the “sermon proposing a Hitlerite rule”, some do disagree. But all have nevertheless condemned the call for a “LTTE rule again” as divisive, arrogant and disrespectful of democratic governance. Some stand the ground that it is a call for a “separate State” and should be legally punished. There are a few who try to understand the “call for LTTE rule again” as anger and vengeance against the “yahapalana” government and also against the military with the Tamil Diaspora still nurturing the “separatist” LTTE ideology. The “Hitler story” shelved
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Debut Stories Trace the Aftershocks of the Sri Lankan Civil War
Published Date: 09/07/2018 (Monday)
In Tamil, farewells are never final. As Akil Kumarasamy pointed out in a 2017 interview, the Tamil equivalent of goodbye is poyittu varen, meaning “I’ll go and return.” These are parting words especially suited to the refugee: ever running away, ever looking back. Kumarasamy poignantly illustrates this tension in her debut story collection, “Half Gods.” Across decades and continents, her characters are haunted by catastrophic violence, their emotional scars passed from one generation to the next.
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Studies Find Torture by Indian Troops in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 08/07/2018 (Sunday)
Indian peacekeeping troops in pursuit of suspected Tamil militants or their supporters in northern and eastern Sri Lanka have beaten, tortured and killed local Tamil-speaking civilians, according to two recently completed human-rights reports. Hundreds of people have been detained and dozens are reported to have disappeared in Indian Army custody, the reports said. The Indians have declined to cooperate with Sri Lankan courts, where they operate. It is unclear whose justice, if any, prevails in northeastern Sri Lanka.
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UN urged to Ensure the Safety of Tamil Mothers of the Disappeared after they Return to Sri Lanka from UNHRC: TGTE
Published Date: 08/07/2018 (Sunday)
An urgent appeal was made to the President of UN Human Rights Council H.E. Ambassador Vojislav Šuc, to take steps to ensure the safety of six Tamil Mothers of the disappeared when they return to Sri Lanka after giving statements at the current UN Human Rights Council session. These mothers were threatened and abused by Sri Lankan Security force officers and military intelligence at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Names of the six mothers are attached in the bottom. These Mothers are appealing UNHRC for help to find their children who disappeared in Sri Lanka and other thousands of Tamils who disappeared over the years. Several of the disappeared were surrendered by their families to the Sri Lankan security forces nine years ago at the end of the war.
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Is the government seriously committed to democracy functioning in regard to provincial governance, asks TNA Leader Sampanthan MP
Published Date: 07/07/2018 (Saturday)
I am happy to second the Motion that has been moved by the Hon. M.A. Sumanthiran, Member of Parliament. He has dealt, Sir, primarily with the issue of the elections not being held and discussed various steps that have been taken thus far and also discussed what needs to be done to ensure that democracy is functional in the provinces and that elections are held without undue further delay. That, no doubt Sir, is a very serious issue which also raises the question of whether Governments in this country are seriously committed to democracy functioning in regard to provincial governance.
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Ramgarh Lynching: Minister Jayant Sinha Greets Accused With Hugs and Sweets As They Come Out of Jail on Bail
Published Date: 07/07/2018 (Saturday)
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha who has been speaking out in support of the convicts of the Ramgarh lynching was there outside the Central Jail at Hazaribagh to welcome the eight as they walked out on bail. Life sentences for the murder of a Muslim trader Alimuddin alias Asghar Ali given by a lower court were suspended by the Jharkhand High Court on June 27. Sinha was present with sweets and garlands, felicitating the convicts. At the time of their arrest and conviction by the court of additional district judge Om Prakash the Minister had been quoted in the media as stating that “from whatever I have gathered whatever after consultations and studying the various facets (of the case), I firmly believe that complete justice has not been done. I am not a police officer, and I have not done a detailed inquiry, but as per my understanding, complete justice has not been done. I consulted senior lawyers and
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India to operate “world’s emptiest airport” The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport would be operated as a Sri Lanka-India joint venture, Sri Lankan government tells Parliament
Published Date: 06/07/2018 (Friday)
India would operate Sri Lanka’s loss-making Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota, the Civil Aviation Minister has told Sri Lankan Parliament in Colombo. The $210 million facility, 241km south-east of Colombo, is dubbed the “world’s emptiest airport” due to a lack of flights. India would operate the airport as a Sri Lanka-India joint venture. The joint venture would see India gain a major stake of the airport, Minister of Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva told the Parliament.
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Rajapakses exploiting Wijeyakala’s statements to divert public attention from their Hambantota Ports colossal robbery !!
Published Date: 04/07/2018 (Wednesday)
When the parliament commenced sessions on the 3 rd (today) , questions were raised as to what action should be taken by parliament in the future in connection with the pro LTTE announcements made by State minister Vijayakala Maheswaran in the North. A number of joint opposition MPs pointed out the need to take action , and that her statements are violating the oath she has taken under 7 th schedule of the constitution. The speaker who considered the views took measures today to inform the Attorney General to probe into whether any legal provisions have been violated , and to take legal action
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In memory of Rajani: the mother, the wife and the revolutionary Keeping memories alive
Published Date: 04/07/2018 (Wednesday)
Dr. Rajani Rajasingham Thiranagama, a symbol of Tamil human rights activism was shot dead by the LTTE in 1989. At the time of her murder, Rajani was the head of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Jaffna. She was also one of the founding members of the Jaffna branch of University Teachers for Human Rights. Breaking ethnic and religious barriers Rajani married Dayapala Thiranagama a student leader from Kelaniya University who went onto become an academic in his own right. The following article written by Dayapala Thiranagama first appeared in September 2009, to commemorate Rajini’s 20th death anniversary. It is reproduced to remember her 64th birth anniversary which fell on February 23, 2018.
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The Self-Serving Scramble for the Developing World
Published Date: 04/07/2018 (Wednesday)
By David Kowalski The world’s richest countries insist their involvement in developing nations is prompted by altruism, but this magnanimity rings hollow. The tiny Pacific nation of Vanuatu is only the latest developing nation to fall victim to a highly disturbing trend: regional economic giants—in this case China and Australia—playing out their personal rivalries on emerging economies’ soil. Wealthier countries like these are engaged in a constant proxy war for influence, coercing poverty-stricken nations around the world to host their military bases and miring them in debt with gargantuan infrastructural projects
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Basil Pooh-Poohs War Heroes
Published Date: 03/07/2018 (Tuesday)
Basil Rajapaksa, brother and right hand man of ex president Mahinda Rajapaksa commenting on Army excesses when trying to quell protests in Rathupaswala said that it was so brutal that he could well imagine how they would have operated in the North. Rajapaksa made these observations in an interview with the ‘Ada’ newspeper. He said in Sinhala: “ඉස්කෝලෙ ළමයිනෙ මිය ගියේ, අපේ ශාඛා සමිතිවල සාමාජිකයින්ගෙ කකුල් 21 වෙඩි වැදිලා කැඩිල තිබුණ. එතකොට මට උනත් හිතෙනවා මුන් උතුරෙ ගිහින් කොහොම මරන්න ඇතිද කියලා. ඒක මහ අමානුශික දෙයක්.” The statement is in stark contrast to the general image of the security forces portrayed by that government.
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Sampanthan to meet Mahinda to discuss new Constitution
Published Date: 03/07/2018 (Tuesday)
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and opposition leader R Sampanthan is to meet former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the process to draft a new Constitution. TNA Parliamentarian M.A Sumanthiran said that the new Constitution must have the backing off all political parties. As a result he said that Sampanthan had talks on the new Constitution with the group of 16 who left the Government as well as others in Parliament.
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Vijayakala's statement: Speaker refers matter to AG
Published Date: 03/07/2018 (Tuesday)
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has asked the Attorney General whether State Minister Vijayakala Mahsewaran’s controversial statement calling for the resurgence of the LTTE violates the Constitution or any other laws of the country and if so to take appropriate action against her. “A question has arisen as to the type of action to be taken against Ms. Maheswaran after the sentiments expressed by MPs in the House today. The MPs stressed the need to take action against Ms. Maheswaran. They argued that the state minister had violated the oath an MP takes as per the annexure 7 of the Constitution,” a statement from the Speaker’s office said. Meanwhile, the Speaker informed parliament today that he would inquire into the statement made by state minister Maheshwaran regarding the LTTE and take disciplinary action in addition to the inquiry by the Prime Minister on this matter.
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China refutes so-called \"debt trap\" over Sri Lanka\'s Hambantota port project
Published Date: 03/07/2018 (Tuesday)
China and Sri Lanka are committed to pushing forward cooperation on the Hambantota port project and realizing the goal of making Sri Lanka the logistics center of the Indian Ocean, said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Tuesday. \"This is not only conducive to the economic development of Sri Lanka, but also conducive to regional interconnection and the common prosperity of regional countries,\" Spokesperson Lu Kang told a press briefing. Lu made the remarks in response to allegations that appeared in U.S. media reports, which stated that China\'s acquisition of the Hambantota port from Sri Lanka highlights its \"debt trap\" and ambitious use of loans to gain influence around the world.
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Sri Lankan Lawmakers Target Reporters in Times Investigation
Published Date: 03/07/2018 (Tuesday)
Angered by a New York Times investigation detailing how China seized ownership of a seaport in Sri Lanka, a group of Sri Lankan lawmakers denounced the newspaper on Monday, focusing their ire on two local journalists for the newspaper. On Monday night, the lawmakers, who are allies of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, held a televised news conference in which they claimed that the journalists, Dharisha Bastians and Arthur Wamanan, were working on behalf of the current government to malign Mr. Rajapaksa. One lawmaker displayed a close-up photo of Ms. Bastians’s face for the cameras.
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Na tree planted to celebrate RI-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations
Published Date: 03/07/2018 (Tuesday)
Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia and ASEAN Dharsana M.Perera planted a na tree, the Sri Lankan national tree, at Bogor Botanical Gardens on Monday to mark the 65th anniversary of Indonesia-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations. Perera said na tree, also known as Sri Lankan ironwood, was special to Sri Lankan people. For several centuries, na tree has been used as a traditional herbal plant and its wood has been widely used to construct temples and bridges. The tree’s flowers are also used in religious rituals in Sri Lanka. “Na tree is a rare plant in Sri Lanka,” said Perera, adding that na tree had been officiated as the Sri Lankan national tree in 1986.
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