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Mahinda Rajapakse visits Kathirgamam Murugan Temple
Published Date: 23/02/2015 (Monday)
Defeated Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is said to be harnessing supernatural as well as temporal forces in a determined bid to come back to power through the June parliamentary elections. Today, he made a ceremonial offering of a gold plated trisulam (a trident associated with Lord Siva) at the ancient Murugan temple in Kataragama (Kadirgamam) in South Lanka. Murugan or Skanda is the Lankan God of War.
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Northern Provincial Council Member Writes to Head of UNCHR on Accountability and Political Solution in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 23/02/2015 (Monday)
The Tamil people are highly disappointed and dismayed by your announcement on February 16, to delay the OHCR Investigation on Sri Lanka – OISL Report until September 2015. The Tamil people had been anxiously waiting with high hopes for the release of the Report, but this unexpected delay has caused serious concerns to the victimized Tamil population, and we strongly believe justice delayed is justice denied.
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UN deferral must be used to make Sri Lanka war crimes report stronger
Published Date: 22/02/2015 (Sunday)
This month, the UN Human Rights Council announced it would defer publication of a major report that investigates allegations of serious human rights violations and related crimes during the last years of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose office had been entrusted with the task, had asked the council to delay the report’s release, originally scheduled for March, until September, based on a request by Sri Lanka\'s new government.
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India, Sri Lanka ink civil nuclear pact, agree to expand defence ties
Published Date: 16/02/2015 (Monday)
Taking the ties to a new level, India and Sri Lanka today inked a civil nuclear pact besides deciding to expand defence and security cooperation. This was announced after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during which both the leaders expressed commitment to find a solution to the emotive fishermen issue by adopting a constructive and humanitarian approach.
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India seals nuclear energy pact with Sri Lanka, hopes to push back Chinese influence
Published Date: 16/02/2015 (Monday)
India sealed a nuclear energy agreement with Sri Lanka on Monday, its first breakthrough with the new government of the tiny Indian Ocean island where China has been building ports and highways in a diplomatic push in recent years. Under the deal, India will help Sri Lanka build its nuclear energy infrastructure, including training of personnel, the Indian foreign ministry said.
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North resettlement expedited
Published Date: 15/02/2015 (Sunday)
North resettlement process to be expedited, Minister of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M. Swaminathan stated. He made these remarks yesterday (24) evening while talking to the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Vigneswaran.
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Sri Lanka: New Government Makes U-Turn To China
Published Date: 09/02/2015 (Monday)
When President Mahinda Rajapakse was toppled by a “peoples’ power” anti-corruption vote on January 8 there were messages from Western leaders and op-eds in newspapers in London, New York, Toronto and Oslo welcoming the success of another “regime change” campaign to overthrow a leader who was hostile to the West and cuddling with the Chinese.
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Statement on the Status of Tamil as a Classical Language
Published Date: 08/02/2015 (Sunday)
Professor Maraimalai has asked me to write regarding the position of Tamil as a classical language, and I am delighted to respond to his request. I have been a Professor of Tamil at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1975 and am currently holder of the Tamil Chair at that institution.
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Book Review: The Seasons o f Trouble
Published Date: 08/02/2015 (Sunday)
Two books that are reportage from the Sri Lankan civil war—the fighting ended in May 2009—were published this year. Samanth Subramanian’s This Divided Island, published four months ago, took a macro view of the war’s end and its aftermath; in his own words, “picked at a loose tile and found a stash of corpses buried underneath”. It meditated on the tug-of-war over memory between the state and the individual, and took both the Sri Lankan army as well as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to task. An engrossing micro view of the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, which touches as well as unsettles the heart
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BREAD AND CIRCUSES
Published Date: 07/02/2015 (Saturday)
Rome with bread and circus-shows, Distracted citizens from their woes. Our rulers employ the ploys of Rome, To beguile the hoi-polloi at home With cricket, rugger, racing-cars, Lavish pageants and Bollywood stars. Highways, freeways, their priority need, To travel fast at breakneck speed,
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MOHAN PEIRIS SAYS HE NEVER LEFT
Published Date: 06/02/2015 (Friday)
Mr. Mohan Peiris claims that he never left, never resigned but was displaced. However when this matter was discussed in the National Executive Council, it was clear that Parliament never resolved to evict Ms Shirani Bandaranayke and never send such a resolution to the President’s office. Dinesh Gunawardena alleged that, “The Government’s action had undermined the authority of Parliament, as it overturned a decision taken by the Legislature. Only Parliament can remove the CJ and not the President. There is procedure laid down for this to be pursued, and it must be followed”. That is exactly the point. It was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has violated this procedure by taking steps to remove Ms Shirani Bandaranayke without a removal notice from the parliament.
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Modi’s Dangerous Silence
Published Date: 06/02/2015 (Friday)
What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities? Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens. Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money. Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right.
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End of an era
Published Date: 05/02/2015 (Thursday)
There are an enormous number of lessons to be learnt from the presidential election held on January 8. I shall touch on a few that I think significant. The first is that in my opinion no previous such election had the historical significance that this one did. It needs very little reflection to realize that had Mahinda Rajapaksa won, this country would have been under a dictatorship for many generations to come. MR’s intention, it is alleged, was to hand the reigns over to his eldest son at the end of his third term.
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Tamil refugees look to return to Sri Lanka after regime change India, Sri Lanka have much to hash out before mass repatriation can begin
Published Date: 05/02/2015 (Thursday)
Subbiah Rajendran's eyes lit up as he spoke about the prospect of returning to his native Kilinochchi in Sri Lanka, which he left at the height of the civil war. For the past 25 years, this 53-year old has been leading a refugee's life in India. “We are hopeful of a better life after decades of suffering,” said Rajendran, who along with hundreds of others lives in Gummidipoondi refugee camp near Chennai, India.
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CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Published Date: 04/02/2015 (Wednesday)
We, the undersigned conveners on behalf of civil society organizations and individuals who have focused on human rights protection through the dark and dangerous days of the Rajapaksa regime, welcome the victory of Mr. Maithripala Sirisena in the 08th January 2015 Presidential Election and the formation of a new government. We look forward to a positive and constructive association with the new government to ensure an end to the culture of impunity which defined the Rakapaksa regime’s record on human rights, and to a new era of robust human rights protection in Sri Lanka with due respect for the rule of law, accountability and the national and international obligations the Government of Sri Lanka is bound by.
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Opening up? Sri Lanka's new government confronts legacy of war
Published Date: 03/02/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka’s new government says it will address outstanding concerns relating to the civil war that ended in May 2009, including allegations of human rights abuses, missing persons and political prisoners. The new administration, which came to power last month, appears to be willing to tackle sensitive issues that were effectively taboo under the previous administration. But activists warn only swift, decisive, action can reverse the legacy of pre-existing draconian measures.
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Australian activists halt asylum seeker deportation
Published Date: 03/02/2015 (Tuesday)
A Tamil asylum seeker’s eviction to Sri Lanka was halted by activists in Melbourne on Monday amid fears that his return could endanger his life. Three airline passengers refused to sit down on the plane until the man in question, Puvaneethan, was allowed to disembark. They had been representing the activist group Refugee Action Collective.
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Rehabilitating Displaced Tamils
Published Date: 02/02/2015 (Monday)
How long may we stay in another man’s land?” sang Kashi Ananthan, well-known Sri Lankan Tamil poet, in a poem which began with the words, “The parrot and the woodpecker may return to their nests without hindrance, but we the Tamil refugees may not”. Seven years have passed since the end of the Fourth Eelam War. President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that normalcy has returned to the Tamil areas; demining has been completed; internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been rehabilitated; but the return of the refugees from Tamil Nadu proceeded at a snail’s pace. According to statistics made available by the UNHCR office in Chennai, from 2008 to December 2014, only 7,008 refugees belonging 2,256 families have returned to Sri Lanka.
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The Government removed barriers for CJ Shirani's come back - BASL says
Published Date: 28/01/2015 (Wednesday)
The 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake arrived in Hulftsdorp a short while ago and is currently in the Supreme Court complex. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President Upul Jayasuriya states that Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake who assumed duties today will retire tomorrow. The BASL has stated that the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has removed the barriers for CJ Shinari Bandaranaike to assume her duties once again for one day.
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My husband was arrested for investigating First Lady: ex-DIG’s wife
Published Date: 26/01/2015 (Monday)
Former DIG Vass Gunawardena’s wife, Shyamali Priyadarshani Perera, today alleged that her husband was arrested under “false charges” due to him spearheading an investigation into a conspiracy to sell 100kg of gold belonging to the treasury and its direct links to the former First lady. Speaking to reporters after filing a complaint with the Bribery Commission this morning, she said that her husband had received information through the army intelligence unit regarding an attempt to illegally sell 100 kilograms of gold, worth around Rs 500 million, belonging to the state treasury.
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Sri Lanka to probe hidden foreign assets after Rajapaksa defeat
Published Date: 22/01/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka's new government is to investigate "black money" transferred overseas by powerful figures in the administration of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, a cabinet spokesman said today. The move came a day after the government of President Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated Rajapaksa in an election on Jan. 8, said it would investigate all financial deals sealed by Rajapaksa and his brothers during his term.
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Being a New Sri Lanka “Insignificant” Individuals and a New Sri Lanka
Published Date: 21/01/2015 (Wednesday)
A New Sri Lanka? Maithripala Sirisena is the President of Sri Lanka. What was unthinkable two months ago is news today. There is hope today that we can emerge from the lawlessness, corruption, nepotism and racism that we are sunk in. That we can become the plural, vibrant, democratic country we ought to be. Of course Sri Lanka’s problems are still around. Today, Sri Lanka is not ruled by law – it is ruled by connections and political influence.
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Sri Lankan election won by the people, not by “RAW”
Published Date: 19/01/2015 (Monday)
Sri Lanka’s election was won by its people, the country’s new Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in a sharp response to a Reuters report that the R&AW station chief in Colombo had been “expelled” for helping the Opposition to victory in the island nation. “There is no substance in the report at all,” Mr. Samaraweera, who held talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, told The Hindu on Sunday evening, echoing the sentiments expressed by the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi. It is the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister’s first visit abroad.
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Sri Lanka reviews China projects
Published Date: 19/01/2015 (Monday)
On Friday, Sri Lanka's new government said it would review a $1.5 billion port deal with China Communication Construction Co Ltd over concerns about the Chinese company getting land on a freehold basis in a high-security zone. This port project had been of particular concern for India, the destination for the majority of the transshipment cargo through Colombo. India was furious with the last government after it allowed to a submarine to dock there twice.
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Sri Lanka scraps travel restrictions
Published Date: 18/01/2015 (Sunday)
Sri Lanka has lifted a ban on foreign travelers visiting the former war zone in the north of the country, its defence ministry said on Friday, as the new government promotes reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils after a 26-year war. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government imposed a travel ban on Oct. 15, weeks after the United Nations began a probe into alleged war crimes in the final phase of the civil war between the army and Tamil Tiger separatist rebels, which ended in 2009.
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