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After the Assembly debate - what now?
Published Date: 10/11/2017 (Friday)
The marathon opening session of the Constitutional Assembly was extraordinarily important and successful, most certainly NOT in the political sense, but in the pedagogical and psychological senses. It was an airing, an outpouring, of opinions covering 60 years of our post-Independence history. These cathartic benefits apart, the political exercise is quite badly damaged, almost certainly deadlocked, because the real dynamics of politics are about to crash into and carve through the Constitutional process.
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Dissident website 'blocked' in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 10/11/2017 (Friday)
Access to a dissident website that often publishes articles critical of Sri Lanka's government has been blocked in the country, the portal's administrators said Thursday, as activists expressed alarm over deteriorating press freedom on the island. The popular London-based Lanka E News became inaccessible in the country on Thursday, a day after publishing an expose alleging graft within the office of President Maithripala Sirisena in the procurement of state vehicles.
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Tamil Political and Human Rights Organisations demand accountability for international crimes committed by Sri Lankan Armed Forces attending 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference in Vancouver
Published Date: 10/11/2017 (Friday)
The press release issued by the Coalition of Tamil political and human rights organisations on 8 November 2017 calls on the Government of Canada to refuse entry to Senior officials of Sri Lankan armend forces coming to Canda to attend the pcoming UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministrial Conference. The press release states: A coalition of organizations will be in Ottawa today at 1:30 p.m. to highlight Sri Lanka’s litany of violations of international law and to demand swift action from the Government of Canada during the upcoming UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference to be held in
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An Ineffective and Fragmented Political Opposition of Tamil Leaders
Published Date: 10/11/2017 (Friday)
In Sri Lanka’s last Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2015, the majority of Tamils and Muslims voted for the ‘good governance’ promised by the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLFP led by Maithripala Sirisena who wisely broke free from the hold of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The International Community greeted the victories of these leaders with much relief resulting in the ouster of a hostile and dictatorial Rajapaksa.
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Republic of Korea agrees to grant a US$ 500 mn concessionary loan to Sri Lanka for economic development
Published Date: 10/11/2017 (Friday)
The Government of Korea has agreed to grant a concessionary loan of a sum equivalent to US$ 500 million to Sri Lanka for development purposes with a view to further strengthening the friendship and the economic cooperation between the two countries. The loan is scheduled to be given within the period from 2017 to 2019 from the Economic Development Corporation Fund of the Export and Import Bank of Korea.
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China’s growing presence ratchets tensions in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 10/11/2017 (Friday)
Holding a key position along strategic maritime routes, Sri Lanka has drawn a high level of economic investment. China and India, long-time competitors for influence in the Indian Ocean, have brought their geopolitical competition to the ports of Sri Lanka – and raised social unrest risks locally in the process.
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Cabinet approval to set up special High Court
Published Date: 09/11/2017 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal to establish a special High Court to expedite cases pertaining to crimes involving public property, money laundering, funding of terrorism, misuse of state resources and organized crime. The statement issued on Cabinet decisions reached yesterday (7) states that expediting the hearing of cases on financial fraud, corruption, larcenous acts regarding government assets and incomes and similar crimes has become practically difficult due to cases continuing to
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How constitution-drafter Jayampathy tries to override SLFP
Published Date: 09/11/2017 (Thursday)
The curtain falls today on the Constitutional Assembly debate on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee. So what happens now? It doesn’t look good. The curious coincidence that the curtain falls roughly on the centenary of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia should remind us, especially those Constitution makers of a left background, that what is happening on the street is quite as or even more important than what happens in the chambers. ‘The Street’ is as important or at certain points
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Wartime abductions: Govt. urged to prosecute or release Navy men
Published Date: 09/11/2017 (Thursday)
Retired Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera has urged the government to either prosecute or release SLN officers and men remanded in connection with a series of alleged war time abductions, mostly in Colombo and its suburbs. Weerasekera emphasised that those who had served the armed forces and undertaken missions at the risk of their lives were being unfairly treated.
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Country heading towards anarchy: JO
Published Date: 09/11/2017 (Thursday)
The Joint Opposition today said the country was heading towards anarchy because of the inefficient management skills of the Government. Addressing the weekly news briefing of the JO, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman G.L. Peiris said a Petti Kade (Kiosk) had a better management than the Government.
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Even new amendments to LG Polls Law are flawed – EC member Prof.Hoole
Published Date: 08/11/2017 (Wednesday)
Election Commission’s Member Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, shares his thoughts on the Commission and the upcoming local authorities’ elections • They will make us violate some law somewhere • Those who voted for the PC Elections Act do not know what they voted for • Our laws are full of mistakes • We are always in violation of something • It came to a matter of choosing which laws we would violate
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US announces grant to promote religious freedom in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 08/11/2017 (Wednesday)
The US announced a grant of nearly USD 5,00,000 for organisations which can come up with ideas and projects to promote religious freedom in India and Sri Lanka. The Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in its notice, said it seeks to "reduce religiously-motivated violence and discrimination in India" through its USD 493,827 programme.
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Reconciliation mechanisms are for all Sri Lankans’
Published Date: 08/11/2017 (Wednesday)
I am visiting this country on an official mission of the Government of Japan, but my message below is my personal one as an expert reflecting my tentative observations as of today and does not necessarily reflect the views and positions of the Government of Japan. It is critical to recognize that the ongoing efforts for the reconciliation mechanisms are for the entire people of Sri Lanka and are intended to benefit all of them in an equal manner. There may be some misunderstanding that the mechanisms will benefit only a part of the people of
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Repeal executive presidency: Welgama
Published Date: 08/11/2017 (Wednesday)
A Presidency similar to the one in India should be introduced repealing the existing Executive Presidency, which vests extreme powers with the President, Joint Opposition MP Kumara Welgama said in Parliament today. Speaking during the debate on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee, he said from the very begining he held the opinion that the Executive Presidency should be changed.
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Despite end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, men report rape and torture under new government
Published Date: 08/11/2017 (Wednesday)
He was barely a teenager when Sri Lanka’s civil war ended, spared by youth from witnessing its horrors. But last year, the brutal conflict caught up with Witness #205. Raped, branded and beaten, he is one of more than 50 men who say they were abducted and tortured under Sri Lanka’s current government. The men’s previously unpublished accounts conjure images of the bloody civil war, which ended in 2009.
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India: Rape Victims Face Barriers to Justice Uneven Progress in 5 Years Since Delhi Gang Rape
Published Date: 08/11/2017 (Wednesday)
Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Legal and other reforms adopted since the gang rape and murder of a student, Jyoti Singh Pandey, in Delhi in December 2012 have not been fully realized. The 82-page report, “‘Everyone Blames Me’: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India,” finds that women and girls who survive rape and other sexual violence often suffer humiliation at police stations and hospitals. Police are frequently
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Federalism is not Separatism: the Supreme Court de-demonizes Federalism
Published Date: 07/11/2017 (Tuesday)
The Supreme Court determination in the Chandrasoma Vs Senathirajah case (SC Spl 03/2014 -Decided on 04/08/2017), this August, did not receive the public attention it deserved. The silence speaks volumes for a society that chooses to languish in ignorance by choice. The ongoing political debate on a new constitution does not seem to have absorbed the nutrition the judgment offers for a discourse on constitutional making. Yet for a national political psyche hegemonized by Unitarism for decades, the finding is unparalleled. The
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Parliament faulted for not taking up vital issue Lords Naseby’s call to revise Vanni death toll:
Published Date: 07/11/2017 (Tuesday)
Former Deputy Minister and retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera yesterday said that a recent statement made by Lord Naseby in the House of Lords pertaining to the Vanni war death toll could be the basis for Sri Lanka’s defence at the Geneva based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Addressing the media on behalf of Eliya, an organization backed by wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Weerasekera said Conservative Lord Naseby’s declaration
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Commander Takes a Look at Mali Bound Army Contingent-Owned Equipment Set to Sail
Published Date: 07/11/2017 (Tuesday)
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army Tuesday (7) afternoon went to the Colombo port in order to see for himself how the Army’s Mali-bound consignment of Contingent Owned Equipment (COE), was being loaded to the vessel, scheduled to set sail in a day or two. The shipment with 55 containers, inclusive of self-sustained equipment, combat vehicle equipment, de-mining and explosive ordnance devices and various other logistic
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Seoul mayor speaks at Citynet convention Park says the city has a duty to share expertise in sustainability
Published Date: 07/11/2017 (Tuesday)
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said Seoul has a duty to share with the world its experiences in sustainable development, speaking at the quadrennial convention of Citynet in Sri Lanka on Monday to some 300 representatives and experts from nearly 50 member cities. “Through economic development, Seoul has embraced so many different challenges in regard to traffic congestion, building houses, water purification and so on,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon
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Small group of monks misbehave: CBK
Published Date: 06/11/2017 (Monday)
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said at a recent function that a small group of extremist Buddhist monks, under the cover of their robes, were sowing discord, racism and religious fanaticism among the people. She expressed these views at an event held at the BMICH on Wednesday to award prizes to the winners of the All-Island School Art and Essay Competition organised by the Office of National Unity & Reconciliation (ONUR) and the Bakeer Markar Centre for National Unity (BMCNU).
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Sri Lanka should remain a unitary State: Muslim Lawyers Association
Published Date: 06/11/2017 (Monday)
The Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) stressed that Sri Lanka should remain a unitary State and there be no devolution of powers beyond the present devolution provided under the 13th Amendment. The views were expressed in setting out the MLA’s stance on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly. In an outline of its views on the interim report, the MLA also notes Sri Lanka should be a unitary State and the term stressed in all languages.
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Non-Constitutional Requirements for Successful Implementation of Federalism
Published Date: 06/11/2017 (Monday)
The objective of this article is to emphasize the point that successful federalism requires a holistic approach encompassing not only constitution making but also effecting a transformation in the wider political culture. As Sri Lankan audience is new to the writings on federalism, I have made an effort to expose the readers to the wider discussion on the potential of federalism to resolve ethnonationalist problems in the world today. This is most relevant as the nation is engaged in an exercise of drafting a new constitution and federalism has been proposed by a segment of both the civil and political socieity as an ultimate solution to the ethnonationalist crisis in Sri Lanka.
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Constitutional evangelism and the interim report marathon
Published Date: 06/11/2017 (Monday)
The Government is lying to us big time and blatantly in its evangelical attempt at unethically converting Sri Lanka to a non-unitary state through a new, non-unitary Constitution, while the otherwise loudly vociferous JO did not/has so far not challenged that foundational lie in the Constitutional assembly debate. Why? Throughout the marathon debate the Government told the country that, for the first time ever, the TNA has accepted a unitary state/unitary Sri Lanka. On Wednesday Nov 8th, the pugilistic but utterly inattentive JO simply must ask "When? Where? Who?" The claim is a bluff or worse, a blatant lie. NOT ONCE in the debate
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Federalism, separatism nowhere near new Constitution
Published Date: 06/11/2017 (Monday)
UNP General Secretary and Public Enterprise Development Minister, Kabir Hashim commenting on the ongoing process to introduce a new Constitution, said, for the first time in the country’s history, the two major political parties are working together as a National Unity Government, and if the majority community is being represented by these two parties and there is consensus among them means a broader cross section of society abides by it. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, the Minister said, this is the first time we have a very
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