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RTI Act implementation to commence next week
Published Date: 08/10/2016 (Saturday)
The process of implementing the new Right to Information Act would commence next week with the establishment an office in Battaramulla the government announced on Wednesday. Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka told a press conference at the Information Department that Piyatissa Ranasinghe had been appointed to head the new office.
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New land laws before end of year
Published Date: 08/10/2016 (Saturday)
A new legislation titled \"Lands (Special Provisions) Bill\" would be presented to Parliament before the end of the year to do away with or relax various restrictions on land use and ownership, Lands Minister John Amaratunga said. He said the Bill would grant outright ownership of lands to those who possess Swarna Bhoomi and Jaya Bhoomi deeds. He said disputes among the members in the same family had risen due to various restrictions in the law on land ownership and transfer. He said the new legislation would solve those issues.
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Sri Lanka: Hair Dresser severely tortured for failing to give a haircut to HQI, Hatton
Published Date: 08/10/2016 (Saturday)
Kadireshan Ravishankar, 34 was severely tortured by the HQI and other officers of the Hatton police station merely for failing to provide a haircut immediately on his order a couple of days ago. The case exposes the dangers of not allowing lawyers from representing their clients at police station, an amendment Minister of Justice is championing and had gazetted in the criminal procedure code. The minister wants to prevent lawyers from representing clients at police stations till investigations are over and suspect’s statement is recorded. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, The Asian Human Rights Commission and several other organizations and individuals have opposed the move as it would lead to increase of torture and ill treatment and other abuses of human rights at police stations. However, the minister in a statement to the media has justified the move stating that those who object to this amendment fail to appreciate the difficulties faced by the police engaged in criminal investigations. Obviously, the Minister is attempting to underplay the widespread use of torture and ill treatment.
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Sri Lanka: Tamils in the North-East protest at last
Published Date: 07/10/2016 (Friday)
On the 24th September 2016, there was a massive protest in Jaffna, in the Tamil North, where some 15,000 Tamils took part in the biggest protest since the end of the armed conflict 7 years ago. The protest called ‘Ezhuka Thamizh’ (Let Tamils rise), saw thousands of Tamils from all eight provinces in the North and East come to Jaffna. It was a long overdue protest. To deal with this most important event, there must be an understanding of the ground situation in the Tamil North and East.
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Pakistan Faces International Isolation After Kashmir Incident
Published Date: 07/10/2016 (Friday)
The fall-out from the latest crisis with India damages Pakistan’s already weak international position and risks shifting the balance of domestic politics in favour of the military. While all-out war with India is unlikely, there has been a noticeable hardening of tone in Pakistan. Photo by Getty Images. Pakistan has placed its forces on high alert after being denounced by India as a ‘terrorist state’ complicit in an attack on a military base at Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir. The accusations have been strongly denied by Pakistan and fuelled a war of words, raising bilateral tensions to levels not seen since the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008.
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India offers Sri Lanka assistance to build a major roadway network linking north and east to south
Published Date: 06/10/2016 (Thursday)
India has offered Sri Lanka technical assistance to build a planned roadway network connecting the North and East to the South. During discussions with Indian Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi Wednesday evening, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has drawn attention to development plans for building a major road network from Jaffna to Mannar, Mannar to Colombo via Kurunegala and Mannar to Trincomalee via Vavuniya.
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War between India and Pakistan not an option: Sri Lankan PM
Published Date: 06/10/2016 (Thursday)
Drawing lessons from the 30-year long war in the island nation, the visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday categorically ruled out war as an option between the two nuclear-powered countries and lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s restrained approach on the matter. "I don't think war is an option for anyone," the Sri Lankan Prime Minister said when asked if the situation between the two countries can escalate militarily.
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Journalist threatened inside police station in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 06/10/2016 (Thursday)
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Free Media Movement (FMM) in condemning the inaction of the police while a TV journalist was threatened inside a police station in Sri Lanka on September 27. The IFJ demands that the authorities immediately investigate the incident. Ranjith Karunaweera, a journalist with Hiru TV in Mahiyanganaya of Badulla District in Uva Province of central Sri Lanka, was threatened over a news story by a group of people when he arrived at the Hasalaka police station to give his statement in a case filed against him.
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Justice Wigi: Time up for the Judgement Day !
Published Date: 05/10/2016 (Wednesday)
First and foremost, let me welcome your forthcoming visit to London to inter-twine a relationship between the London Borough of Kingston and the Northern Provincial Council (NCP)to exchange knowledge and experiences between the two Councils. I am one of those who overwhelmingly supported your election as Chief Minister of NCP that you won with landmark support from the people three years ago.
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Govt should facilitate better role : Lankan diaspora important for rebuilding democracy
Published Date: 03/10/2016 (Monday)
Lankan diaspora is a strategically important human resource that is useful in developing and promoting democratic systems of governance in Sri Lanka. Yet, how can they contribute? Mobilising the Lankan diaspora in the endeavour of developing viable mechanisms to sustain democratic practices and good governance does not appear to have been so successful. Also, the constructive role diasporic communities could play in this field does not appear to have been properly looked into. The Lankan diaspora comprises people who have migrated overseas due to economic, social or political reasons.
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Army Sticks To Its Guns On Palaly Land
Published Date: 03/10/2016 (Monday)
The military has refused to release parts of land in Palaly which is being used for security purposes, despite a demand by some Tamil political parties in the North. Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahesh Senanayake said that 4419 acres of land which belongs to the Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters, the Palaly airfield and the Military Cantonment will not be released for civilian use.
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Sri Lanka cleaning up its record on human rights abuses, says PM
Published Date: 03/10/2016 (Monday)
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka says the country is cleaning up its act when it comes to human rights abuses. Ranil Wickremesinghe is on a three-day visit to New Zealand. He and Prime Minister John Key had formal talks at Government House in Auckland today. Amnesty International had pressured Key to discuss human rights with Wickremesinghe during the talks, pointing out that Sir Lankan security forces have been implicated in tens of thousands of disappearances.
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International Day of Older Persons 1 October Secretary-General's Message for 2016
Published Date: 02/10/2016 (Sunday)
The International Day of Older Persons is our chance to take a stand against the destructive problem of ageism. While older persons are often said to enjoy particular respect, the reality is that too many societies limit them, denying access to jobs, loans and basic services. The marginalization and devaluing of older persons takes a heavy toll. It undermines their productivity and experience in the workforce, in volunteerism and through civil engagement while constraining their capacity for caregiving as well as financial and other support to families and communities. Ageism frequently intersects with other forms of discrimination based on gender, race, disability and other grounds, compounding and intensifying its effects.
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While Russia and US Point Fingers, Aid Groups Warn that 'Aleppo is Slowly Dying'
Published Date: 01/10/2016 (Saturday)
Over 300 civilians have been killed and at least 600 injured, including 44 children, in the past week alone. (Photo: Manu Brabo/AP) One week after the collapse of a tenuous ceasefire, tensions between the United States and the Russian-Syrian alliance appear to be at a boiling point, while the consequence of that political fall-out is "nothing short of a human catastrophe."
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Call out Sri Lanka’s empty promises
Published Date: 01/10/2016 (Saturday)
The Green Party is calling on John Key to have an open and honest discussion about human rights with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister at their meeting tomorrow. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be meeting with John Key at Government House in Auckland this Saturday for bilateral talks, the first meeting between the two leaders since the latter took office in January 2015.
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Ban Ki-moon’s “New Union” for Sri Lanka
Published Date: 01/10/2016 (Saturday)
You’ve heard of the “We Tamils” (who beat up High Commissioner Ansar). Now we have the “E-Tamils”–the “Eluga/Ezhuga Tamils” (or simply Eelam Tamils?). They shut down Jaffna, took over its streets, raucously demanding federalism, an international investigation and cleansing of the army and Sinhala Buddhist symbolism/presence from the North (thereby turning it into a mono-ethnic enclave). Meanwhile the smooth operators Suma-Sam-Sara-Suren canvass federalism and an internationalized ‘war crimes’ investigation in the corridors of Colombo and Western capitals.
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Military releases 454 acres to private owners
Published Date: 01/10/2016 (Saturday)
The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement yesterday announced the release of over 450 acres of military-controlled land to private owners, in the latest reconciliation efforts made by the Government. The Ministry of Defence has identified 454.2 acres of land in Thelipallai D.S. Division for release to private ownership as part of an initial phrase, Resettlement Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy said.
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Report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues
Published Date: 30/09/2016 (Friday)
The Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsak, submitted her report of her activities during 2015 to the Human Rights Council The report provides an update of her activities during 2015. It includes a thematic analysis on the topic of minorities and discrimination based on caste and analogous systems of inherited status.
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SAARC DROWNS ON CUSP OF HOSTILITIES
Published Date: 30/09/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lanka will not participate in the forthcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) scheduled for 9 to 10 November in Islamabad, Pakistan, as per the Treaty – 'if one country pulls out, there will be no Summit', Ceylon Today learns. Following India's withdrawal from the Summit stating Pakistan has not created a conducive ambiance for it, SAARC member countries namely Afghanistan,... ...Bangladesh and Bhutan have also sent official letters conveying to the Nepal Chair their 'inability' to participate stating that current regional environment is not conducive to the successful holding of the Summit.
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Political justice is not enough to rebuild Sri Lanka
Published Date: 29/09/2016 (Thursday)
For Sri Lanka, gender equity will be fundamental to a stable, peaceful and equitable future The civil war that raged for 26 years in Sri Lanka was always about more than political grievances. The politics were rooted in economic and social disenfranchisement of the Tamil minority by the Sinhala majority. A government policy adopted in the mid-1950s that declared Sinhala to be the country’s only official language may have been the spark that started the fire, but the impact over decades was a systemic marginalization in all sectors of politics and the economy that fueled Tamil grievances and a quest for a separate state.
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More Details Emerge On Basil’s Luxury Villa
Published Date: 29/09/2016 (Thursday)
More details have surfaced over a property in Malwana said to have been owned by a former Minister. The sub-contractor of the questionable construction at 111/3, Mahwatte, Gangabada Road, Mapitigama, Malwana alleged to be owned by former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa told theThe Sunday Leader how the Rajapaksa family was directly involved in supervision during the construction work of the two bed- roomed super luxury villa.
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Pledging Conference for the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund New York, 21st September 2016
Published Date: 29/09/2016 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka co-hosted a Pledging Conference to Refinance the Secretary General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).held on 21st September 2016 at the UN Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the 71st sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.Sri Lanka together with Kenya, Mexico, The Netherlands, Somalia, Sweden, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom co- hosted the event. The conference was able to generate pledges from thirty countries amounting to a sum of US Dollars 152 million to support UN peacebuilding efforts across the globe. Foreign Minister Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, chaired one segement of the conference and delivered closing remarks on behalf of the co hosts.
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Sri Lanka's Fleeing Tamils
Published Date: 28/09/2016 (Wednesday)
In early June of this year, a boat with a failed engine carrying five children, 22 women, and 13 men was found in the water by fishermen off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia. One of the women on board was pregnant and one of the children was an infant. Those on board were all ethnic Tamils who had recently fled from their native Sri Lanka and were now seeking asylum. At the same time, human rights observers documented evidence of increased persecution and horrific torture against Tamils by Sri Lankan authorities. Initially taken in by the fishermen, the group was later returned to sea by Indonesian authorities who claimed that the asylum seekers’ boat had been repaired, that those on board were in good health, and that they were to continue on to their desired destination of Australia. Human rights organizations immediately called foul, especially since the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and local non-governmental organizations had been denied access to the asylum-seekers.
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Sri Lanka police exhume journalist's body in murder he predicted
Published Date: 28/09/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lankan police on Tuesday exhumed the body of a senior journalist who had predicted just days before his murder in 2009 that he would be killed by the government, marking the latest development in a series of probes into former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's administration. Lasantha Wickrematunga, an outspoken editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper, often clashed with politicians. Rajapaksa's brother, then defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had sued it for defamation over stories criticizing the country's civil war and alleging procurement graft.
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Vacancies at the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM).
Published Date: 28/09/2016 (Wednesday)
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office has advertised vacancies for the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM).
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