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Lord Naseby Meets Jaffna Commander
Published Date: 09/01/2017 (Monday)
Lord Naseby, President of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sri Lanka in London (APPG-SL) reported to have had a meeting with Major General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander Security Force (Jaffna) on 04 January 2017 at the military head quarters in Jaffna.. At the meeting several issues including the present situation in Jaffna Peninsula and the role of Civil Military Coordinating Activities assisting to uplift the livelihood of Jaffna people were taken up.
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Tense situation at launch of Hambantota development project
Published Date: 07/01/2017 (Saturday)
A tense situation has been reported in the Mirijjawila area in Hambantota during the opening of the Sri Lanka-China Industrial Zone Development Project, a short while ago. Police used tear gas to disperse a group of protesters who reportedly pelted stones at the site. The development project was launched by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Mirijjawila investment promotion zone today.
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Gotabaya was behind Bodu Bala Sena: Minister Rajitha Senaratne
Published Date: 06/01/2017 (Friday)
Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday pooh-poohed an allegation that he was involved in creating the Bodu Bala Sena made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week, counter-alleging that it was his brother former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was the true patron of the extremist Sinhalese movement accused of targeting religious and ethnic minorities in the country. Senaratne told reporters at the Cabinet press briefing yesterday that the former President’s claim was the “joke of the 21st Century.”
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JHU says Wigneswaran spreading racism
Published Date: 06/01/2017 (Friday)
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday urged President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to stop the spreading of racism by the Northern Provincial Council. Addressing the media at party headquarters, Western Provincial Council member Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said the behaviour of NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran was an impediment to reconciliation.
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Sri Lankan president Sirisena rejects Rajapaksa's claim about toppling govt
Published Date: 06/01/2017 (Friday)
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dismissed as "dream" the claim by his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa that he would make a political comeback by toppling the current government this year. "Certain people can dream but the government would not be toppled before 2020," Sirisena said, addressing a gathering last night at the state radio.
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Cabinet Spokesman’s remarks that UN envoy for human rights endorsed Govt. ‘no foreign judges’ stand denied by OHCHR
Published Date: 06/01/2017 (Friday)
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) yesterday insisted that High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s position on a hybrid court to prosecute alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war remained unchanged. The OHCHR took to Twitter yesterday to clarify what it called Zeid’s “unchanged” position, after Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne controversially proclaimed to reporters on Wednesday (4), that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had endorsed the Government’s position that foreign judges would not sit on a proposed war crimes tribunal.
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Could Sri Lanka have become another Singapore if we had a Lee Kwan Yew?
Published Date: 06/01/2017 (Friday)
Although I have lived and worked in Singapore since the riots of 1983, I am a constant visitor to Sri Lanka which I consider my true home and where my closest friends are. I find these visits exhilarating for a number of reasons, one of which is the lively discussions that take place on politics at every party and meeting of friends. In Singapore very few discuss politics because it is so boring (like its newspapers!) as politics is so dull. Governments are elected every 5 years (the same party for 50 years!) and they make promises which they invariably fulfill or exceed – nothing to talk about. But Sri Lanka is so different – gossip on who is going to cross over, new parties being formed, Ministers undermining their leaders, the latest corruption scandal, announcement of the latest mega projects and the enormous FDI expected, but which always fail to materialize – really interesting stuff! One reason is that, with a few notable exceptions, politicians in Sri Lanka are demagogues or even thugs. In Singapore all parties select MPs based on their education and professional experience.
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TREAT EX-LTTE CADRES AS NORMAL CITIZENS
Published Date: 06/01/2017 (Friday)
Due to unforeseeable circumstances, this year started off with a series of protests around the country. As the first of January dawned, paving the path to a brand new year, several groups were getting ready to protest against the government. Thus, three days into the New Year, the country faced another protest, even before the previous one ended. A group of rehabilitated LTTE cadres thus engaged in a protest opposite the Civil Defence Camp in Iranamadu, Kilinochchi recently. The protestors demanded that the government quickened the process of providing job opportunities at the Civil Defence Department or any other government institution.
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Challenging Sri Lanka’s Sixth Amendment: An Interview with Rudrakumaran, PM, TGTE
Published Date: 05/01/2017 (Thursday)
Mr. Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran is Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). He is based in New York City. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
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SRI LANKA: Beginning of a New Peoples’ Movement Targeting Large-Scale Membership
Published Date: 05/01/2017 (Thursday)
I have had the privilege of witnessing the birth of an initiative to create a people\'s movement not affiliated to any political party, which targets a minimum of one million memberships. It will be entirely locally funded and independent. The new movement springs from the initiative of Victor Ivan, a veteran journalist and the Founder Editor of weekly paper Ravaya. An invitation made by him has found quick response and, in many parts of the country, local support groups are being formed rapidly. The spontaneous response received from people from many walks of life, i.e. professionals, activists of many sorts, and the ordinary folk, is amazing.
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Consultations Task Force concludes work; recommends hybrid court, swift appointment of Special Prosecutor
Published Date: 05/01/2017 (Thursday)
A special task force set up by the Government to solicit public views on reconciliation and justice have recommended a hybrid court comprising local and foreign judges to prosecute war crimes, and urged the Government to appoint a special prosecutor to commence investigations into the controversial cases without delay. An islandwide consultation process on proposed Government mechanisms to bring about reconciliation and justice conducted over the course of a year ended on Tuesday, with the task force appointed for the purpose handing over its final report.
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Govt. says no to international judges – Rajitha
Published Date: 05/01/2017 (Thursday)
Co Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne says the government refutes the recommendation by the Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms to include at least one international judge on every bench hearing alleged war crimes charges. Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing this afternoon the Minister said even the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights consented to the government’s decision that all benches will comprise local judges.
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The National Peace Council (NPC) presented the findings of its project, Post Conflict Healing: A Women’s Manifesto
Published Date: 05/01/2017 (Thursday)
The National Peace Council (NPC) presented the findings of its project, Post Conflict Healing: A Women’s Manifesto, at a national level meeting at SLIDA on December 15. The findings included policy briefing papers, a Women’s Manifesto and a video. The meeting was attended by Minister of National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages Mr. Mano Ganesan, Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms Mr. Mano Tittawella, Chairperson of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms Ms. Manouri Muttetuewgama, NPC Board Member and Founder and Chair of the Association of War Affected Women Ms. Visaka Dharmadasa, and Country Director (Sri Lanka) FOKUS Dr.Shyamala Gomez.
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President cancels visit to Jaffna due to “unscheduled meetings” in Colombo
Published Date: 05/01/2017 (Thursday)
President Maithripala Sirisena cancelled yesterday’s visit to Jaffna. A spokesman of the President told Express that “unscheduled meetings” in Colombo led to the cancellation. “But he will be visiting Jaffna on January 25 or any other suitable date before that,” the spokesman added. In Jaffna, he was to have inaugurated an island-wide mobile app facility to get in touch with the President and track the progress of requests through ministries and departments in the centre. He was also to release about 600 acres of private land presently held by the military.
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4th Constitution
Published Date: 04/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka's Second Republican Constitution of 1978 has been subjected to 20 amendments thus far in its short span of 38 years up to now. In contrast, according to Wikipedia, the 227-year-old US Constitution in the world's 'greatest' democracy has been subjected to 27 amendments thus far since its adoption in 1789, i.e. 13 years after the USA obtained its independence from the UK in 1776. Another six more amendments are in the pipeline, waiting ratification from the world's largest democracy's 50 States, to become law.
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Now, Mustapha refuses to accept delimitation report ... leaves media briefing in a huff
Published Date: 04/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Local government and Provincial Council Minister Faizer Mustapha has refused to accept the final report of the delimitation review committee. His action has fuelled speculation that the local government elections will be delayed further. Committee Chairman Ashoka Peiris tried to present the report to Minister Mustapha yesterday in Colombo in the presence of the media, but the latter declined to accept it. The delay in the submission of the report has led to the postponement of local government polls.
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Sirisena to push for amendments in Sino-Lankan pact on Hambantota port
Published Date: 04/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Given the billowing controversy over the Sino-Sri Lankan Framework Agreement (FA) on Hambantota port in south Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is all set to seek some significant amendments in it. He proposes to do so by appointing his own representative in the negotiating team. The Sunday Times reported that Sirisena met the Chinese Ambassador to sound him about this plan to appoint his own representative, Dr.Sarath Rajapatirana of the Institute of Policy Studies, to the negotiating team.
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The unitary Constitution needs to be preserved for posterity
Published Date: 03/01/2017 (Tuesday)
If a new Constitution will allow secessionist objectives to be realised the majority in this country will reject such a new Constitution or even an amendment to the present Constitution that would encourage the secession of their island nation. Many may be unaware that secessionist aims were born long before independence. Moving an amendment to the address of thanks to the Throne Speech in the first House of Representative on 26 November 1947, Mr. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam Q.C. said, “If Ceylon is fighting to secede from the British Empire why should not the Tamil people if they feel like it, secede from the rest of the country?” This was perhaps the first instance where the idea of a separate Tamil nation was articulated in this country. The LTTE under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran was able to rule over the Northern Province and certain parts of the Eastern Province for nearly three decades during a period in which the country had four executive presidents, J.R. Jayewardene, R. Premadasa, D.B.Wijetunga and Chandrika Kumaratunga.
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President assures Mahanayakes proposed new constitution will not be detrimental to the country
Published Date: 02/01/2017 (Monday)
President Maithripala Sirisena has informed the Mahanayakes of Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters that there will not be a single section in the proposed new constitution detrimental to the country’s interests. Meeting the Mahanayakes on Saturday (31), the President assured that the draft bill for the new Constitution would not be a document paving the way for the division of the country. Although some sections of society have expressed fear of the new constitution, there was nothing to worry as it would not be inimical to the unitary status of the country or the foremost status given to Buddhism.
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THE ILLEGALITY OF THE ONGOING CONSTITUTION-MAKING PROCESS IN SRI LANKA
Published Date: 02/01/2017 (Monday)
In this article I shall briefly explain why in my view the present constitution-making process in this country is illegal. My argument is based on three considerations: the difference between the amending procedure as set out in Chapter 12 of the constitution, and the present procedure; the nature of the power that Parliament wields when enacting legislation; the irreparable harm caused to the People if Parliament presumes to change the constitution without a mandate to bring such changes directly from the People.
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Pope Francis leads a mass on New Year's Day at Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican
Published Date: 01/01/2017 (Sunday)
Pope Francis in his New Year’s greetings Sunday declared 2017 will be good to the degree that people do good and reject hatred, as he prayed for those courageously dealing with terrorism gripping the world in “fear and bewilderment.” “The new year will be good in the measure in which each of us, with the help of God, tries to do good, day by day, that’s how peace is created,” Francis told a crowd of 50,000 pilgrims, tourists and Romans gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his noon blessing and New Year’s Day remarks.
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Why did PCs reject the Development Bill?
Published Date: 01/01/2017 (Sunday)
The controversial Development (Special Provisions) Bill has been rejected by all nine provincial councils where it had so far been presented, thus reflecting that they would veto the Bill which, according to the opposition parties, would give rise to ‘two all-powerful Super Ministers.’ The Bill, seemingly a programme by the UNP-led government to overhaul the national economy, aims at centralising all economic activities in every area including the provincial councils, with a common policy and plan. Though the Bill provides for the authorities to consult the Provincial Chief Ministers on the implementation of economic projects within the provinces, the provincial leaders seem to fear that their powers would ultimately be usurped and their views overruled by the proposed national economic policy and plan. Hence, this stands as the main reason, other than party politics, for the rejection of the Bill by the provincial councils.
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Gin-Nilwala diversion project: Rs. 4.1 billion paid to Chinese firm but no work
Published Date: 01/01/2017 (Sunday)
Payments amounting to more than Rs. 4.1 billion have been made to a Chinese contractor for the Gin-Nilwala Diversion Project, but no work has been carried out, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has told ministerial colleagues. In a note explaining the current situation over the project, he has said that a Committee of three senior officials had conveyed the copy of a report to the Department of National Budget in July last year. In terms of that, payments were made on December 30, 2014 Rs. 998,576,311, on January 6, 2015 Rs. 2,000,342,335 and January 7, 2015 Rs. 1,003,136,336. This had totalled Rs. 4,011,054,982.
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Sri Lanka's bleak political outlook in 2017
Published Date: 01/01/2017 (Sunday)
Sri Lanka's President and Prime Minister mark two years of their "unity" government in January with their uneasy coalition facing mounting challenges to its stability and cohesion. Our political correspondent examines the possible outcomes in 2017.
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MPs corrupt but call for closing down parliament unjustifiable – civil society
Published Date: 31/12/2016 (Saturday)
Parliamentary system couldn't be abolished though the vast majority of elected and appointed members were in politics for their personal benefit, the media was told on Thursday (Dec 29) at a press conference called by civil society grouping at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), Maradana. Addressing the media, Chameera Perera of Left Centre highlighted the mega duty free car vehicle permit scam perpetrated by members of political parties in parliament.
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