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Sri Lanka’s New Constitution – Return of the Divide and Rule
Published Date: 31/12/2016 (Saturday)
There are several foreseen dangers as influence is exerted from multiple quarters to change, rather dilute the present Constitution. No constitution is 100% perfect and no constitution can cater to the demands or even aspirations of all of its citizens. No constitution can or should be created based on the desires of a handful of people especially when their past records are questionable and not investigated. We are at a very critical juncture. We can no longer trust in the representatives we elect some of whom are rejected but hold key portfolios. There are important aspects for all citizens to now think of. Is it a coincidence that the players involved in the drafting of the new constitution all belong to a compartmentalized thinking and their thinking is funded by and supported by foreign parties.
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PM presents Draft Bill against Enforced Disappearance to Cabinet
Published Date: 31/12/2016 (Saturday)
A draft Bill to give effect to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) has been presented to Cabinet by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. However, the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Law and Order have proposed amendments that have been sent back to the Prime Minister’s office for consideration. The Ministries of Finance and of Justice had also made observations.
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Sri Lanka's influential ex-leader opposes land for Chinese investment
Published Date: 31/12/2016 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka's former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday criticised a government plan to grant 15,000 acres for Chinese investment in his constituency, saying it will deprive people of agricultural land. Rajapaksa, chided by the West and India for his close relations with China during his rule, is now agitating against President Maithripala Sirisena government's moves to attract investment as he seeks to rally support under a new party.
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Year 2017 for Sri Lanka ; Reading outside Astrology
Published Date: 31/12/2016 (Saturday)
Year 2017 dawns with all arrangements including a week for "reconciliation" put in place to celebrate two years of Maithripala Sirisena presidency and Wickramasinghe government, beginning from 09 January 2015. More precisely, it would be 02 years celebrated for ousting the Rajapaksas. UNP on its own was conceded as no strong contender to floor Rajapaksa. Wickramasinghe thus agreed on Sirisena as the Common Candidate to defeat Rajapaksa. Ousting Rajapaksa is all what the Colombo "civil society" owners too wanted. They still cry proud not about them winning but about them defeating Rajapaksa. Everything else is unimportant for them even now.
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Rajapaksa’s theory on India’s silence over successor regime’s tilt towards China
Published Date: 30/12/2016 (Friday)
Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said here on Thursday, that India is silent over the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government’s unmistakable tilt towards China probably because it has been promised control over Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai harbors and the Palaly airport in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern provinces to balance China’s control over Hambantota harbor. At a meeting with resident foreign correspondents, Rajapaksa wondered why India, which made such a fuss over the visit of an Chinese nuclear submarine and helped the US oust him from power, is silent over the present government’s pronounced tilt towards China.
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Federalism addresses minority rights: Prof. R. Sivachandran
Published Date: 30/12/2016 (Friday)
Prof. R. Sivachandran, a Central Committee member of Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), in an interview with the Dailymirror by email, advocates the Federal structure of government for the North and East. The ITAK is the dominant ally of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) at the moment. Expressing views at the time a constitution-making process is underway, he says powers cannot be devolved under a unity form of government as in today, fulfilling the aspirations of the Tamil people. Excerpts of the interview.
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CaFFE to sue Delimitation Committee
Published Date: 29/12/2016 (Thursday)
The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) is mulling legal action against members of the Appeals Committee on Demarcation of Boundaries and the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils for deliberately delaying the local council elections. "The Appeals Committee on Demarcation of...... Boundaries and the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils has united to deliberately delay the Local Council Elections . Hence, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) will take legal action against those who are involved in this conspiracy," CaFFE Executive Director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said.
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GL dismisses Sumanthiran comment as racist utterance
Published Date: 29/12/2016 (Thursday)
Former UPFA External Affairs Minister and Joint Opposition member Prof G.L.Pieris yesterday dismissed as a racist utterance, a statement made by TNA parliamentarian M. Sumanthiran that the accused in the Raviraj murder case had been freed because the jury were all Sinhalese. Prof. Pieris, addressing a news conference at the Dr. N.M.Perera Centre at Borella, accused Sumanthiran of sowing seeds of hatred instead of promoting reconciliation.
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Ads for prefabricated houses but opposition continues
Published Date: 28/12/2016 (Wednesday)
The Resettlement Ministry has called for applications from the public via newspaper advertisements for its ArcelorMittal prefabricated houses, amidst continued grassroots opposition to the project. The Kilinochchi District Coordination Committee (DCC) passed a unanimous resolution yesterday stating that no prefabricated houses should be given to the people of the district. Earlier, the Jaffna DCC had approved a similar resolution. More than 100 people also attended a protest this week at which petitions were given to the Kilinochchi Government Agent to be conveyed to the President and Prime Minister.
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US threat on UN, a further waning of US influence: Kohona
Published Date: 28/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Former chief of the UN treaty section and a former permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Palitha Kohona said that the US threatening the UN with financial sanctions would only result in the further waning of US influence in the UN and globally. “To threaten the UN with financial sanctions would only result in the further waning of US influence in the UN and globally. All countries, especially countries like the US, must continue to work together to make the world a better place,” he told IPS.
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General Amnesty for Army Deserters
Published Date: 28/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka Army declared a General Amnesty period with a view to release its deserters from the service with effect from 2nd April under the directives of the President Maithripala Sirisena. Adjutant General of Army, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe officially announced the avenues and the process at a media briefing held at the MoD Media Centre today morning (25th Mar). Acting Director, Ministry of Defence Media Centre, Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera and the Director Personnel (Administration) Brig. NA Dharmaratne were also present.
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Tamil politicians squabble over damaged Gandhi statue in Mullaitivu
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Two leading Tamil politicians of North Sri Lanka, both belonging to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), are squabbling over a controversial statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Mullaitivu town which was found destroyed on Monday. TNA Member of Parliament Dr.Sivamohan had installed the statue recently, with the money given to him by the government for carrying out social and development works in Wanni electoral district, his constituency.
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Sri Lanka asked to enter mines ban treaty
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
It will take 15 more years to de-mine Sri Lanka's war-battered North and East regions, a group campaigning to ban anti-personal mines in the country said today while criticising the government for not acceding to the Ottawa Convention. "The de-mining work has slowed down over the years. At its current pace it will take around 15 years to complete the de-mining in the remaining 44 square kilometers," Vidya Abhayagunawardena, the national co-ordinator of Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) said.
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If It’s Back To H’tota For China And Trinco For US, Is It Neo-Cold War For Sri Lanka?
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
The Cold War dictum that “there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, but only permanent national interests” seems to be working overtime in the case of Sri Lanka just now. No one disputes that the Government is keen on giving away a piece of sovereign real-estate to China even as a respectable Opposition veteran has claimed that the eastern Trincomalee naval base may go the US way. Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, the celebrated captain of the World Cup winning national cricket team, seems to have bowled a googly at his own Government, by declaring that the Government was pushing for ‘better terms’ for the Hambantota property from China. But the same cannot be said of LSSP leader and former Minister Tissa Vitharana’s charge that the US was keen on seeking a naval base in Trinco.
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We will not approve Constitution that will harm unitary status: President
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
President Maithripala Sirisena has told the Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) that the recommendations made by the constitutional sub-committee on Periphery and the Centre Relations were merely proposals, members of the group said on Thursday (22). Coordinator, Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF), a newly formed organization of Sri Lankan expatriates, Nuwan Ballantudawa, told a media briefing on Thursday that President had assured that the recommendations of the subcommittee on periphery and the centre will not be implemented or discussed in Parliament.
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Trial by jury not suitable for politically sensitive cases, says leading Tamil lawyer
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Trial by jury is not suitable for politically sensitive cases in which the defendants are Security Forces personnel and the victims seeking justice are from a minority community, says the leading Sri Lankan Tamil lawyer and Member of Parliament, M.A.Sumanthiran. “Given the consistent pattern of the juries acquitting the accused in cases where these are Security Forces personnel and the victims are Tamils, it is better to go for a Trial-at-Bar in which the judge gives the verdict,” Sumanthiran told Express on Sunday.
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Raviraj murder accused cleared, Sumanthiran faults all-Sinhala jury
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
A Sri Lankan court Saturday acquitted five men, including three navy intelligence officers, charged with assassinating an opposition Tamil legislator whose party immediately raised concerns about judicial integrity. Nadaraja Raviraj, who represented the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), was shot dead in 2006 along with his bodyguard as they drove out of his home in Colombo, two and a half years before the end of the country’s Tamil separatist war.
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India-Sri Lanka ties: Relations improved in 2016, but China's influence a cause for concern
Published Date: 26/12/2016 (Monday)
Sri Lanka's ties with India improved in 2016 with high-level exchanges and signing of agreements to give momentum to their relationship, even as issues over a proposed economic and technology pact, poaching by fishermen in each other's water and China's influence in the island nation remained a cause for concern. Historically, bilateral ties have been fraught with controversies. In the 1980s, the Tamil question dominated relations and more recently differences have sometimes erupted over poaching by fishermen and Sri Lanka’s increasing dependence on China for investment.
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Sri Lanka in danger of falling back into Rajapaksa tyranny
Published Date: 24/12/2016 (Saturday)
Despite the progress made over a few minor matters, since the silent revolution on January 8, 2015, which established the coalition government, no good governance has been established thus far and Sri Lanka is dangerously getting closer to relapsing into a “Rajapaksa dictatorship”, a renowned economist warned this week. According to Institute of Policy Studies Chairman Prof. Razeen Sally, Sri Lanka is currently just drifting without making much progress in any of the crucial fronts, which will soon make the whole landscape unstable, risking the country relapsing into “a Rajapaksa-like scenario” that existed in the past.
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Pentagon sends advanced surveillance team to train Sri Lanka’s military
Published Date: 23/12/2016 (Friday)
Early this month, a group of US naval officers flew out of the Mattala Rajapakse International Airport at Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka after a week-long training exercise with Sri Lankan naval and air force personnel. No public information was released about the visit until the US embassy in Colombo issued a statement on December 13, two days after the US naval officers departed.
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Politicos give priority to political agendas, not reconciliation: Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya
Published Date: 23/12/2016 (Friday)
Politicians give priority to their political agendas and not to the reconciliation process, Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya said at a discussion at the National Library and Documentation. The theme of the discussion organised by the National Fraternity Collective and National Shura Council was 'Say NO to Communalism - YES to National Unity'.
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UN shows concern over Lanka’s proposed counter-terrorism laws
Published Date: 23/12/2016 (Friday)
The United Nations has expressed several concerns to the Government about its proposed new counter-terrorism legislation including over a clause that allows admission of confessions made without lawyers present, said Una McCauley, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka. “There are a number of concerns that we had flagged up including the admission of confessions that were not made with lawyers present, the 72-hour initial holding period where international legal standards say 48 hours, the process of arrest and the levels of authority around when arrests can and should be made, as well as text around what is considered a terrorist act or an associated terrorist act,” Ms. McCauley said in an interview with the Sunday Times. “So, ensuring that there’s tighter language around that.”
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News websites distort truth and give wrong impression about Sri Lanka – President
Published Date: 22/12/2016 (Thursday)
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that "irresponsible stories" published by news websites and social media have given a wrong impression to Sri Lankan expatriates as well as to the international community. He said the government is not trying to divide the country or remove army camps from the North. Claims by these websites that the government is planning to neutralize or weaken the army are also totally baseless.
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India in quandary over new govt’s relationship with China - Gotabhaya
Published Date: 22/12/2016 (Thursday)
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday told The Island that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was certainly in a quandary over the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration’s partnership with China. India had strongly opposed to the previous government’s relationship with China and thrown its weight behind the Opposition at the last presidential polls in January 2015, Rajapaksa said. The former Defence Secretary said India couldn’t be happy that the government was going ahead with all Chinese projects launched during the previous administration.
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New Constitution: You Will Lose A Referendum Only Because Of Corruption
Published Date: 22/12/2016 (Thursday)
I am told that when we talk about the new Constitution, various persons are getting worried about a referendum. Now, we have very clearly said and I want to repeat what my Leader has said in this House and in the Constitutional Assembly. He said, “We want a new Constitution that all the people of this country approve of, that definitely must include or should include the majority people of this country. A Constitution will not stay as a Constitution of the country if the majority of the people do not accept it.” So, we are not trying to do something that the majority people of this country do not want.
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