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India’s $318-million aid for Sri Lankan railways
Published Date: 28/07/2016 (Thursday)
The Sri Lankan Cabinet approved a $318-million line of credit from the Indian government for the procurement of rolling stock and upgrading two important railway lines in the country -- Anuradhapura to Omanthai and Anuradhapura to Maho. With this, the total amount of assistance from India for the development of the sector in Sri Lanka has gone up to $1,284 million.
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Indonesia: Stop Imminent Executions Death Penalty for Drug Crimes Violates International Law
Published Date: 27/07/2016 (Wednesday)
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo of Indonesia should urgently commute the death sentences of at least 14 people who face imminent execution for drug trafficking, Human Rights Watch said today. The Indonesian government has not announced a date for the executions, but has warned that “the time is approaching.” Jakarta-based diplomats have reported that the attorney general’s office informed them that the executions will take place on July 29, 2016.
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SRI LANKA: 1983: Betrayal of the Absolute Right to Justice
Published Date: 27/07/2016 (Wednesday)
It has been 33 years since Black July, 1983. These 33 years have been part of our lifetime. We have witnessed not only the horrendously criminal acts of July 1983, but also what happened by way of justice after those serious crimes. I would like to illustrate my point in terms of one single event: the Welikada prison massacre. This was without a doubt an act that falls within the definition of crimes against humanity. What concerns me here are the procedures of the so-called inquiries which were held into this crime. Various inquiries were announced and undertaken, and some reports were published. What becomes quite prominently clear is that, during all these inquiries, some of the senior members of the Attorney General’s Department played a blatant role in sabotaging justice. The state, rather than using the occasion to get the message across that it did not condone such acts and that it stood for the defense of the absolute right to justice, in fact proved the very opposite.
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Strengthening the struggle for freedom and justice
Published Date: 26/07/2016 (Tuesday)
Many feminist writers suggest that in the recent literature on democratic states, while family change has received considerable attention, the issue of gender equality has not given a prime position. However in country like ours problem is very significant as females have become not only workers but also professionals and administrators in large numbers, in the last few decades. However the policy developments associated with the new work/welfare relationship are still at a law level. Nevertheless, from a feminist perspective, it is argued that the changes amount to a modification of the masculinist model of work and welfare and its generalization to women.
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Kilinochchi: The forgotten city of today!
Published Date: 26/07/2016 (Tuesday)
I still remember travelling in an armed car on route to Kilinochchi and then taking an Air Force chopper that hugged a railway track to avoid sniper attacks way back in 2007-2009. At that time Kilinochchi was making headline news daily, given that the nerve centre of the rebels was located in this area. Post 2009, many development initiatives were started in Kilinochchi given that the youngest work force in Sri Lanka was said to be in this area.
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Buddhism deserves its due place in Constitution
Published Date: 25/07/2016 (Monday)
The right status and respect deserved for Buddhism should remain intact in the constitution, Colombo's Archbishop Rt. Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said today. He expressed this view while participating at a religious ceremony held under the patronage of Chief incumbent Ven. Daranagama Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thera at the Sri Sambodhi Viharaya in Colombo.
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Sri Lanka may shut 31 IDP camps in Jaffna
Published Date: 24/07/2016 (Sunday)
The Sri Lanka government is planning to close down all 31 camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Jaffna district of the Northern Province and complete resettlement of 971 families by August 15. It was reported that 204 houses are being built in Palaly and Kankesanthurai with the help of the Sri Lanka Army. D.M. Swaminathan, Resettlement Minister, asserts that there is no time frame to close down the camps, but “we are doing all what we can”.
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Special monitoring to oversee construction of houses in NE: Ministry
Published Date: 24/07/2016 (Sunday)
the construction of 65,000 houses in the North and East by steel company ArcelorMittal, a press release from the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement said this week. The communiqué was compiled in response to concerns raised earlier this month by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a note from Minister of Rehabilitation and Resettlement D.M. Swaminathan’s press secretary said.
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Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the anniversary of Black July
Published Date: 23/07/2016 (Saturday)
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the anniversary of Black July: “On this 33rd anniversary, we join Canadians of Tamil descent and members of the Tamil community around the world in commemoration of the events of Black July in 1983.
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UK Human Rights Priority Country update report: January to June 2016
Published Date: 21/07/2016 (Thursday)
There was an improvement in the overall human rights situation in Sri Lanka in 2015, although some concerns remain. Reversing the downward trend of recent years, the government of Sri Lanka took positive steps to improve freedom of expression (including the media) and freedom of movement, reduce inter-community tensions, and restore the independence of institutions such as the Human Rights Commission. The government also signalled its willingness to address long-standing allegations of past human rights abuses and violations, co-sponsoring a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in October committing it to reconciliation, accountability and the protection of human rights.
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EU links aid to reconciliation in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 21/07/2016 (Thursday)
The European Union (EU), one of leading trading partners of Sri Lanka, has urged Sri Lanka to include reconciliation and good governance under its €210-million development programme. At present, the programme, which spans over six years ending with 2020, focuses on rural development. It envisages the coverage of backward areas of Uva and Central Provinces along with Northern and Eastern Provinces.
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Tamil people’s proposals rejected – Sampanthan
Published Date: 21/07/2016 (Thursday)
The Tamil people's proposals were not included in Sri Lanka's Constitution when it was being framed in the past, Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance Rajavarothayam Sampanthan said. Speaking at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka – German Technical Training Institute in Kilinochchi on Monday (18), Sampanthan said that Tamil leaders had made certain proposals to be included in the Constitutions, when they were being framed in 1972 and 1978, but those proposals had all been rejected.
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Tamil-Sinhalese students clash leads to closure of Jaffna University
Published Date: 18/07/2016 (Monday)
The violent clash between Tamil and Sinhalese students of Jaffna University last Saturday has led an indefinite closure of the university. Four Sinhalese students were injured, one of them seriously, when students belonging to the two communities attacked each other following a sharp difference of opinion over allowing Kandyan dancing in a function to welcome new entrants to the Science Faculty. As per the time-honored tradition, the Tamils in the Science Faculty wanted to welcome freshers with traditional nadaswaram and thavil(drums). But the Sinhalese students insisted that Kandayan dancing, which is performed in welcoming ceremonies among the Sinhalese in South Sri Lanka, be included.
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Broken promises: Kepapulavu displaced to restart fast unto death next week
Published Date: 15/07/2016 (Friday)
The people of Kepapulavu decided this week (11) to restart their fast unto death on 19 July, as they have lost all confidence in Government authorities, and the false promises given to them by the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Vigneswaran in March, this year. The people called off their previous fast unto death on 24 March, upon the Chief Minister’s promise to look into the matter and provide them with a solution within three months. Three-and-a-half months since then, villagers are still awaiting the new Government to release their lands, under the occupation of the military since the end of the war in 2009.
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UNWTO says Lanka on “right track” for sustainable tourism but Passikudah fisherman disagree
Published Date: 15/07/2016 (Friday)
Responding to an off-the-cuff question by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga at a recent conference in Passikudah, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Secretary Taleb Rifai said that Sri Lanka was absolutely on the right path to achieve peace, reconciliation and sustainable development through its tourism industry. However members of the 500-strong Vinayaka Fisheries Co-operative Society – most of whom have been displaced from their traditional fishing waters for the development of resorts on the stretch of Passikudah Bay – say that the industry has done little to uplift their lives.
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JAPAN CONSORTIUM FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN CULTURAL HERITAGE
Published Date: 13/07/2016 (Wednesday)
Background and Development of the Survey The JCIC-Heritage collects and shares information on international cooperation for cultural heritage every year in two or so countries in Asia, with the aim of promoting Japan’s engagement in international cooperation for cultural heritage. Sri Lanka was chosen in FY2012, and a local survey was implemented from 2 to 12 March, 2013 as an international cooperation survey. The assistance project described in this report was implemented based on the result of this survey.
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Formation of an Organization for Nation Development with Civil-Military Coordination
Published Date: 12/07/2016 (Tuesday)
The knowledge and resources of the Tri Forces of Sri Lanka can be easily obtained in nation building, and they are ready to take responsibilities in nation building mechanism. Therefore, the proposal made by H.E. the President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Defense, to establish an organization in this regard with civil-military coordination, for obtaining the contribution of tri forces with their resources, training and strength in national development and peace process, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
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Catholics and fishermen against land expropriation for tourism development
Published Date: 12/07/2016 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Parallel to that, a four-day international conference (11-14 July) is currently underway in Pasikudah, Batticaloa District (Eastern Province) under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. However, land expropriations for tourist development in Sri Lanka "do not create any kind of development, peace and reconciliation among Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese and Tamil,” say critics who spoke to AsiaNews.
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Sri Lanka foreign reserves at USD5.3 billion by end June: Central Bank
Published Date: 08/07/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lanka’s official reserves were 5.27 billion US dollars at the end of June, down from 5.64 billion US dollars end of May, latest Central Bank data showed. Foreign currency reserves were 4.25 billion dollars, and reserves in Gold were 0.94 billion dollars
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USTPAC Welcomes High Commissioner Zeid's Call for Sustained International Engagement on Sri Lanka
Published Date: 30/06/2016 (Thursday)
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member states responded yesterday in Geneva to High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein's midterm report on the government of Sri Lanka's implementation of Resolution 30/1. USTPAC welcomes High Commissioner Zeid's report and statements from member states and other countries for more concerted government action.
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TGTE’s alternatives to pressuring Colombo from Geneva
Published Date: 30/06/2016 (Thursday)
As Sri Lanka keeps buying time and hoodwinking the international community, the frustrated Tamils are looking for alternatives. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam,{TGTE} one of the largest and democratically elected outfits of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is engaging experts to deal with the Sri Lankan Government. One of the most well attended side events was organized by the TGTE at the UN-HRC in Geneva on 22 June, themed: "Is Sri Lanka living up to its commitment to the UNHRC?".
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Monitoring Accountability Panel (MAP) Presentation at UN Human Rights Council
Published Date: 27/06/2016 (Monday)
On 22 June 2016, during the 32nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, legal experts from the Monitoring Accountability Panel (“MAP”) gave their assessment of the Sri Lankan Government’s transitional justice programme to date. The panel discussion was chaired by eminent jurist, Geoffrey Robertson QC, and included a detailed assessment by US lawyer, Ms Heather Ryan.
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Recapturing the democratic space
Published Date: 27/06/2016 (Monday)
Last week, a very senior foreign official, who had previously served as his country’s top most diplomat in Lanka, during the height of the war, told in Jaffna that according to him the present moment in Lanka constitutes the best opportunity to find a political solution. Every diplomat who visits Lanka suggests the same. Even the main Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance, characterized it as such and expressed hope during the election campaign last year that by the end of this year a political solution would have signed! Ranil signed a peace agreement with Prabhakaran a decade ago. Then SLFP President allowed the PM Ranil to make such an agreement. Hence it was a moment all bourgeois liberals got together to find a solution by negotiation with Tamil nationality. TNA too supported the action of Ranil. We lost that opportunity because of the activities of chauvinists led by Mahinda and Weerawansa.
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The Chairman of the Presidential Commission to investigate into complaints regarding Missing Persons, Maxwell Paranagama has requested to extend the term of office of the Commission for a period of one year. Chairman Paranagama said that if the mandate of the commission was extended, accurate information regarding missing persons could be sought.
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
The Chairman of the Presidential Commission to investigate into complaints regarding Missing Persons, Maxwell Paranagama has requested to extend the term of office of the Commission for a period of one year. Chairman Paranagama said that if the mandate of the commission was extended, accurate information regarding missing persons could be sought. The current mandate of the Paranagama Commission is due to end on the 15th of July 2016. According to Maxwell Paranagama, the commission had investigated complaints regarding missing persons during the period so far.
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Governmental Apathy, Continued Surveillance Inhibit Rehabilitation of LTTE Cadre
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
Former cadre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had surrendered to the Sri Lankan army and undergone a year’s ‘rehabilitation’ in special camps, are manifestly eager to get back to normal life, forgetting their past. But lack of active interest on the part of the political leadership; the bureaucracy’s apathy; and above all, the Security Forces’ continued lack of faith in them; are preventing their return to normalcy. State actions ensure that eminently forgettable memories of the conflict are kept alive even though the war ended seven years ago.
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