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Why India's increased military assistance to Afghanistan is a step in the right direction
Published Date: 17/02/2017 (Friday)
India and Afghanistan have a deep rooted relationship. Afghanistan is a strategically important country, not only to India but to the entire region. It is India’s gateway to Central Asian republics. Afghan people are fiercely independent and follow the Sunni sect that follows Hanafi Islamic Law. Tribal affinity and affiliation have been the hallmark of politics in Afghanistan. The country can proudly claim that no outsider has ever been able to subjugate her.
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Lasantha’s murder; SC holds Army officer’s rights violated
Published Date: 16/02/2017 (Thursday)
The Supreme Court yesterday held that the fundamental rights of an Army Officer attached to the Intelligence Unit, who had been arrested and detained under the pretension of being a suspect regarding the murder of Journalist Lasantha Wickramathunga, have been infringed and awarded Rs.100,000 as compensation. The Bench comprised Justices Sisira J. De Abrew, Upaly Abeyrathne and Anil Gooneratne.
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President steps in to break deadlock in constitutional negotiations
Published Date: 16/02/2017 (Thursday)
President Maithripala Sirisena has stepped into break a deadlock in constitutional negotiations, holding a round of tripartite talks with the United National Party (UNP), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and his own Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) late last month. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe attended the tripartite discussions, together with UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema and Party General Secretary Kabir Hashim. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan attended with TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran. President Sirisena chaired the meeting, with SLFP Ministers Susil Premajayantha, Faizer Mustapha and Nimal Siripala De Silva also present. Daily FT learns that JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake was also invited to attend the talks but had been unable to participate due to other commitments. The meeting took place on 30 January, subsequent to discussions between President Sirisena and the TNA about ongoing consultations on the new constitution.
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Zeid’s office needs USD 648,000 for work in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 16/02/2017 (Thursday)
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says it needs USD 648,000 for its work in Sri Lanka this year. The UN Human Rights Office today launched its most ambitious funding appeal yet, urging States and private donors to bolster the Office’s ability to work and stand up for human rights for all people, everywhere.
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Most people worried about referendum: Chandrika
Published Date: 16/02/2017 (Thursday)
The Sri Lankan government will soon launch a campaign to garner support for a new Constitution which it hopes to put to a referendum this year, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said. “Most people are worried about a referendum. Given the general situation at the moment, [they fear] whether one could win a referendum,” she told Colombo-based foreign correspondents on Tuesday. Her comments come at a time when Sri Lanka is drafting a new Constitution that minority Tamils hope will deliver a lasting political solution.
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TNA denies hand in controversial HC appointment JO challenged to prove accusations
Published Date: 15/02/2017 (Wednesday)
The four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has strongly denied Joint Opposition accusation that it influenced recent appointment of Ramanathan Kannan of the private bar as a High Court judge. Raghu Balachandran, Media Secretary to the TNA leader as well as the leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan yesterday told The Island that there was absolutely no basis for the accusation.
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War Crimes Probe: TNA Miffed With Government’s Time Buying Tactics
Published Date: 15/02/2017 (Wednesday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is miffed with the government’s latest time buying tactic in its attempt to further postpone the war crimes probe, sources said. During several forums, the TNA MPs, including its leader R. Sampanthan had expressed both disappointment and annoyance following the government’s recent declaration that it will seek more time from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to probe war crimes
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Sri Lanka Tamil Party is for a public referendum on constitution - MP Sumanthiran
Published Date: 14/02/2017 (Tuesday)
Lanka's main Tamil Party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is of the view that adoption of a new constitution should take place with the approval of the people at a referendum and it supports the proposal put forward by the government to hold a public referendum, TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran said. Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya, Parliamentarian Sumanthiran said the TNA is prepared to engage in a meaningful discussion on the issue of devolution of power in the new constitution instead of insisting on words.
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Karuna forms new political party; fires salvo at TNA
Published Date: 12/02/2017 (Sunday)
Former deputy minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman on Saturday floated a new political party to press for all Tamil issues as he accused the main party representing the minority community of not doing enough for the Tamils. The former top LTTE military commander, who later became a deputy minister in the former government, formed the Tamil United People’s Front in the eastern town of Batticaloa.
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A new Constitution is the most potent weapon for non-recurrence of Sri Lanka’s conflict, says Mangala Samaraweera
Published Date: 09/02/2017 (Thursday)
A new Constitution is the most potent weapon for non-recurrence of Sri Lanka’s conflict and would have to be given priority over accountability mechanisms, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. The country, which suffered two youth insurrections and a 26-year-long war, had seen enough violence and bigotry, and needed checks and balances to ensure that the road ahead is peaceful, he told Colombo-based foreign correspondents on Wednesday.
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EU grants worth 44.5m for agriculture and reconciliation work
Published Date: 09/02/2017 (Thursday)
The Government yesterday announced plans to enter into an agreement with the European Union (EU) to provide grant assistance of €42 million to finance two agriculture based programs. A major component of the funds, provided under EU’s Multiannual Indicative Program 2014-2020, will finance programs to “support the Modernisation of the Agricultural Sector in Sri Lanka” and “strength the reconciliation processes in Sri Lanka”. The funds allocated under the EU aid program remained unused during the past regime due to the country’s political disengagement with the EU.
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Sri Lanka to Ask UN for More Time to Probe War Crimes
Published Date: 08/02/2017 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka says it needs more time to fulfill promises given to the U.N. human rights body to investigate war crime allegations from the nation's long civil war, which ended nearly eight years ago. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told foreign correspondents late Tuesday that the government will seek more time at the next U.N. human rights session, starting Feb. 27 in Geneva.
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Thailand: Reopen Case of 'Disappeared' Activist Justice Marred by Cover-Up, Shoddy Inquiries, Gaps in Law
Published Date: 07/02/2017 (Tuesday)
Thai authorities should immediately reopen the investigation into the enforced disappearance of a prominent ethnic Karen activist who went missing nearly three years ago, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 16, 2017, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) of the Ministry of Justice ended its investigation for Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, known as Billy, who was last seen in government custody at Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province in April 2014. The government remains obligated under international law to provide information on Billy’s fate or whereabouts, Human Rights Watch said.
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Non-resident envoys to be appointed: Mangala
Published Date: 06/02/2017 (Monday)
A number of non-resident ambassadors would be appointed to selected countries as envoys of Sri Lanka instead of resident ambassadors, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said today. “Cabinet approval had been granted to go ahead with the concept. The appointments would be made in near future,” he said. He said that these non-resident ambassadors would travel to assigned countries occasionally on their own expense.
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Sri Lanka Red Cross launches World Disasters Report 2016
Published Date: 06/02/2017 (Monday)
The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS), along with the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), launched the World Disasters Report 2016 in Colombo on Friday. The report, which focused on resilience, was aimed at providing key players in disaster management with an overview of the trend as to how disasters would affect vulnerable people and what action was required, according to the SLRCS.
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Information sought on assets of President, PM under Right to Information Act
Published Date: 06/02/2017 (Monday)
An application has been filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information on the assets of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The application was filed by Transparency International Sri Lanka. Information has also been sought from the Customs Department and Bribery Commission.
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Constitutional Reform To The Fore Again
Published Date: 06/02/2017 (Monday)
The constitutional reform process appeared to be on track with the presentation of the report of the Public Representations Committee in June last year followed by the reports of the six parliamentary subcommittees in November. However, time tables and road maps are necessarily contingent. Whether the time frames or the targets to meet are realistic will also depend on the actions of others and cannot be exactly predicted. The government’s most ambitious reform project is the drafting of a new constitution. This could change the power balance between the different branches of government, the ethnic communities and between the government and people. It would hardly be cause for surprise if the time frame for constitutional reform changes or the content of the envisaged reforms themselves should be revised.
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The Way Forward For Genuine Peace & Reconciliation In Sri Lanka
Published Date: 06/02/2017 (Monday)
While the processes of making a new Constitution are under way, there are conflicting signals emanating from the ranks of the Cabinet Ministers themselves, of the first ever UNP-SLFP National Unity Government as to the duration of this exercise, as well as its final outcome. It has been generally expected that the new Constitution will be promulgated before the end of this year. However, some Ministers, particularly from the SLFP, who entered Parliament through the National List after being defeated at the August 2015 Parliamentary election, are vociferously expressing contradictory positions. For instance, Minister S.B. Dissanayake has bluntly asserted that the new Constitution will only see the light of day by 2020. Moreover, while the Presidential election pledge was to abolish the Executive Presidential system by 2020,
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Gunning for Sumasnthiran
Published Date: 04/02/2017 (Saturday)
Plans to assassinate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Mathiaparanam Abraham Sumanthiran, who is a confidant of TNA Leader and Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, have been unearthed by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) with the arrest of five suspects. The preliminary investigation carried out by the TID has brought to light that the assassination plot was hatched with the involvement of certain pro-LTTE activists abroad.
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SLFP Wants Some Executive Powers To Remain
Published Date: 04/02/2017 (Saturday)
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) says some executive powers of the President must remain. SLFP Treasurer S. B. Dissanayake said that the SLFP feels that the executive powers the President has under the 19th Amendment must remain. Dissanayake said that while there is a move to devolve powers to the provinces, there is a feeling that with the President having some executive powers, the unitary status of the country will be protected.
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Sri Lanka seeks to strengthen ties with Kingdom
Published Date: 04/02/2017 (Saturday)
RIYADH: Sri Lanka looks forward to further strengthening ties with the Kingdom, especially in the fields of employment, trade, investment and tourism, the island’s Ambassador Azmi Thassim told Arab News on the eve of his country’s Independence and National Day on Saturday. “Appreciating the long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia, our country wholeheartedly supports Vision 2030 under the wise leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the NTP (National Transformation Program) 2020 initiated by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister,” Thassim said.
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Gotabaya responsible for making Colombo a clean city – SB
Published Date: 04/02/2017 (Saturday)
Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare S. B. Dissanayake says that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was responsible for transforming Colombo into a really clean city. Addressing the gathering during a foundation stone laying ceremony in Rikillagaskada today (3), he stated that except for Japan no other Asian country has a city as clean as Colombo.
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ndian entrepreneurs suggest suitable strategies for industrializing Jaffna
Published Date: 03/02/2017 (Friday)
Indian entrepreneurs who participated in the Jaffna International Trade Fair held here between January 27 and 29, have suggested strategies to industrialize Jaffna and the rest of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking Northern Province making use of local resources and talent. Amandeep Azad of Azad Engineering Company of Gaziabad, who manufactures small and medium sized machines to process coconuts and make coconut based products, said that with coconuts being available aplenty in the Northern Province, coconut based industries which can even be run by housewives in their homes have a bright future.
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Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka break record for January
Published Date: 03/02/2017 (Friday)
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka grew by 13 percent reaching 219,360 visitors last month, which is an all time record for the month of January, despite the partial airport closure, tourism ministry said. The ministry has been spearheading efforts to mitigate the fallout from the daytime closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport in order to facilitate rehabilitation of the two decade old runway.
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Foreign Affairs Minister meets Ethiopian President
Published Date: 03/02/2017 (Friday)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera called on Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, at the Presidential Palace in Addis Ababa. Sri Lanka is working on new policy of restoring friendship with traditional friends and allies, and building stronger relations with the African region. The decision to set up a Sri Lankan consulate in Ethiopian was made with Ethiopia emerging as the ‘diplomatic and political capital of Africa’, with the African Union also being headquartered in Addis Ababa.
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