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Recalling those old and very same failures of justice
Published Date: 30/01/2017 (Monday)
British poet and laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s mournful call that “the old order changeth yielding place to the new…‘ is an ageless reminder of the loss of once cherished values in these uncertain times. Deprivation of voices of reason The world now steps perilously into a future in which ancient demons of racial profiling, ultra-nationalism and rampant sexism are encouraged by a boastful and self-obsessed leader of the United States, whose penchant for pummeling state policy and abusing opponents (including the media) through the unruly medium of twitter has overstepped the bounds of propriety.
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Govt. to ‘buy time’ at UNHRC in March: FM
Published Date: 30/01/2017 (Monday)
The Government will go for a “technical rollover resolution” or, a procedural extension that will allow it more time to implement its undertakings– when Sri Lanka is taken up at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) next month. This was revealed by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera while taking questions at Chatham House earlier this month. “Yes, March is soon approaching,” he said. “As I said, we are rather happy, not sure what the word is, with the progress we have made so far. But, of course, we hope, maybe, to go for a technical rollover, because we need a little more time, especially…
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Corruption continues: President must reverse the trend
Published Date: 29/01/2017 (Sunday)
The many challenges for President Maithripala Sirisena, now in the early days of his third year in office, seem unprecedented if not too burdensome.Since assuming the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) leadership in 2015, his highest priority has been to reunify the party. That turned out to be a futile exercise. Thus, he urged SLFP Ministers who were summoned on January 3 to be told of his plans for 2017 to publicly “expose” the “misdeeds” of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his family. He began to offer plum jobs to incompetent Rajapaksa loyalists saying they should be separated from the former President before “dealing a hard blow at him.” He offered diplomatic postings to those who were close to Rajapaksa. The reality that every such appointment angered hundreds of his own supporters, and his countrymen, to say the least, was lost on him.
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4,000 differently-abled cry for relief
Published Date: 29/01/2017 (Sunday)
Recent reports from the Eastern Province reveal that there are over 4, 000 persons who were disabled during the three-decade-long war living below the poverty line with hardly any access to basic facilities. Yet the Eastern Provincial Council which is in charge of fulfilling the needs of the affected people claims that the government had failed to allocate financial assistance.
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Four ex-LTTE cadres held for plotting to assassinate Tamil MP Sumanthiran
Published Date: 29/01/2017 (Sunday)
The Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) of the Sri Lankan police has so far arrested four former cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for allegedly plotting to assassinate the moderate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M.A.Sumanthiran, in Marudankeni in Jaffna district on January 13. The arrests, which were made on January 14, came to public notice only on January 28, as both the government and Sumanthiran had chosen to keep the episode under wraps.
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New Constitution would bring a federal solution - NFF
Published Date: 29/01/2017 (Sunday)
President Maithripala Sirisena is likely faking the fact that he maintains an anti-UNP policy, the National Freedom Front (NFF) charged on Sunday. NFF Deputy Leader Jayantha Samaraweera expressed this view while speaking to reporters at a press conference held in Colombo.
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Indian companies keen to rebuild Sri Lanka’s former war zone
Published Date: 29/01/2017 (Sunday)
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) will explore the “virgin market” in Jaffna, located in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, for possible business collaborations and to help commercially rebuild the former war-zone, a representative of the trade body said. Representatives of about 65 Indian companies, ranging from textiles to engineering, are participating in the Jaffna International Trade Fair 2017 that commenced on January 27.
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Demarcation report gazette in 5 days
Published Date: 28/01/2017 (Saturday)
The Ministry of Local Governments and Provincial Councils says it has completed the preliminary process to release the Gazette notification pertaining to the final Demarcation report. The National Delimitation Commission submitted the final report to Minister of Local Governments and Provincial Councils Faizer Mustapha on the 17th of this month.
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Ven. Rathana Thera can\'t work with President: JHU
Published Date: 28/01/2017 (Saturday)
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said today that Ven. Aturaliye Rathana Thera cannot work with President Maithripala Sirisena if he opted to function independently in Parliament. JHU co-chairman Ven. Hadigalle Wimalasara Thera said if Ven. Rathana Thera criticized the government and functioned independently in Parliament he could not work with the President as he was the head of the government who is responsible for all matters.
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Sri Lanka stuck in 'gigantic debt trap': govt
Published Date: 28/01/2017 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka Thursday said it was stuck in a "gigantic debt trap" and that paying off foreign loans would hit a record $2.41 billion this year, up from $1.82 billion last year. The Finance Ministry said the cash-strapped country's debt servicing cost this year was estimated at about half of its foreign currency reserves, while repayments were expected to worsen to $4.0 billion in two years.
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Kos kola kolam* of thoththa baba govt.
Published Date: 27/01/2017 (Friday)
Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne addressing the media on Wednesday, tore into a high-up in the Agricultural Department for suggesting that the public eat croton and kos kola (jak leaves) as food substitutes; he said if he had been the Minister of Agriculture he would have got that official to consume kos kola without recommending it to others. We believe that before shoving kos kola down anyone else’s throat, the government ministers, Senaratne included, should partake of it in sufficient quantities if they think they can ‘fool all the people all the time’.
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Plea for retrial of Tamil MP’s assassination case under anti-terror law to be heard on March 3
Published Date: 27/01/2017 (Friday)
A plea by the wife of the assassinated Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, Nadarajah Raviraj, that the case should be sent for retrial under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and not under ordinary law, would be heard by the Court of Appeal on March 3. M.A.Sumanthiran ,counsel for Mrs.Raviraj, told Express on Wednesday, that if his plea is accepted by the Court of Appeal, the case will be sent back to the Colombo High Court for retrial under PTA .And if that happens, there would be a trial by a judge and not by a jury as was the case earlier.
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Govt. paying Rs. 1.9 billion consultancy fees to foreign firm: GL
Published Date: 26/01/2017 (Thursday)
The Government is paying Rs 1.9 billion as consultancy fees to a foreign firm contracted to operate the State machinery in this country, alleged former Minister Prof G L Peiris, addressing a press conference organized by the Joint Opposition Economic Research Committee at the Sri Vajirashrama in Punchi Borella. Prof. Peiris said the government had an attitudinal problem of treating everything local as anathema. The government's policy was to seek foreign solutions to our local problems.
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Sampanthan says successive governments defend corruption
Published Date: 26/01/2017 (Thursday)
Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan told Parliament on 24th January that successive governments in power defended corruption, adding that the present government is no exception. The Opposition Leader opined that this phenomenon is only endemic to Sri Lanka.
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Prominent Int'l Lawyer Calls his Colleagues to Sign TGTE’s challenge at the UN Against Sri Lanka’s 6th Amendment
Published Date: 26/01/2017 (Thursday)
Prominent International Human Rights lawyer, Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois in the United States of America,signed the Petition today demonstrating his legal representation and solidarity to the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) initiative of challenging the 6thAmendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. The petition challenges the 6th Amendment,which criminalizes peaceful advocacy for an independent state in Sri Lanka,as a violation of the Tamil people’s freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.
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PM assures security forces chiefs over Geneva resolution
Published Date: 25/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Placed on the table as they took their seats at the conference room of ‘Temple Trees’ was the English text of the US backed resolution on Sri Lanka together with a translated Sinhala text. Army officers of two-star rank or Majors General and above were there. So were the equivalent counterparts, Rear Admirals of the Sri Lanka Navy and Air Vice Marshals of the Sri Lanka Air Force. From the Police there were those above the rank of Deputy Inspectors General. Even before the resolution was adopted without a vote at the 30th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday, the Government has initiated a dialogue to reach out to the armed forces and the Police.
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Why did no one see the bull hit?
Published Date: 25/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Many from the north want to know why a sport Jallikattu became such a big issue and why is the Court ban seen as an assault on Tamil culture. As a person who grew up in Punjab and went to TN as a police officer, let me decode the issue for The Tribune’s readers The predominance of black shirts and black flags indicated the large presence of groups which propagate a stronger sense of Tamil nationalism.
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Sri Lanka: Refusing to disappear: Tens of thousands missing, families demand answers
Published Date: 24/01/2017 (Tuesday)
As any family member searching for a missing loved one can tell you, enforced disappearance is a crime without end. Until parents, wives, siblings, and children know the truth about the fate of a missing family member, they can find it almost impossible to seek justice and reparation for crimes they have suffered, and cannot properly mourn their loss. Enforced Disappearance has touched every community, and within Sri Lanka there has been virtually no accountability for these grievous crimes. With a backlog of between 60,000 and 100,000 alleged enforced disappearances since the late 1980s, there is no shortage of examples of frustrated justice. And yet, family members of the disappeared continue to demand accountability.
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India Tells Sri Lanka: You Can Take Your Port And Shove It
Published Date: 24/01/2017 (Tuesday)
Last Wednesday, January 18th, Sri Lanka's minister for regional development, Sarath Fonseka, told journalists at a conference in New Delhi that terms were being discussed to give Sri Lanka’s northeastern Trincomalee port to India. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reportedly vouched for the veracity of the remarks on the sidelines of Davos. But by Friday India was denying them, stating that they had no interest in taking on a fledgling port that wouldn't be profitable for a very long time. Sri Lanka, an island nation at a strategic location in the Indian Ocean, has gotten into the habit of offering its sea ports to larger economic powers who have the financial clout to properly develop them. The talk about Trincomalee port being developed by India was intended to be a geopolitical counterbalance to Sri Lanka recently handing over of 80% of its Hambantota port to China for 99 years -- a move which New Delhi wasn't particularly enamored with.
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Plea for Jallikattu type world-wide struggle to promote Sri Lankan Tamil cause
Published Date: 24/01/2017 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka’s largest selling Tamil daily Virakesari has, in an editorial on Monday, called for a Jallikattu type non-partisan, peaceful, world-wide mass struggle in support of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. Expressing amazement at the way Tamils in Tamil Nadu and abroad spontaneously rose in defense of a cultural right shunning political parties and film stars in the process, the paper said the “Tamil Spring” India saw kindles the hope that the Tamils across the world will unite to uphold the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils in a similar manner.
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USTPAC Calls for Autonomous NorthEast Region for Tamils Within Sri Lanka Genuine efforts on Confidence-Building Measures and Constitution-Making offer best chance for peace in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 23/01/2017 (Monday)
US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) calls on the Sri Lankan government to meaningfully implement UNHRC Resolution 30/1, move the transitional justice process forward, and solve the debilitating ethnic crisis through political reform. The new constitution that is being created provides an opportunity to resolve the decades old ethnic conflict in the island that must not be squandered as many such opportunities have been in the past. The constitution must recognize the right of Tamils to self-governance, including in areas of education, land, police, taxation and foreign direct investments. The recognition of the North and East of the island as historically the homeland of the Tamils must be preserved, as denoted in the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.
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CTF recommendations and hybrid court
Published Date: 23/01/2017 (Monday)
The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we have to have an independent Judiciary, judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing. – Caroline Kennedy In the wake of the Consultative Task Force calling for foreign Judges to hear war crime charges, State Minister of Finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene stated that President Maithripala Sirisena categorically ruled out the participation of foreign Judges to hear or inquire into war crime allegations. Addressing a press conference at the President's House, he reaffirmed the President's position that only logistical and IT assistance would be obtained to expedite the judicial process, when the judicial mechanism was set up to probe the alleged crimes.
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NIGHT AND FOG
Published Date: 23/01/2017 (Monday)
In “Silenced Shadows,” a collection of searing poetry just published, Sri Lankans mourn and challenge the enforced disappearance of tens of thousands of their citizens throughout the country. Amnesty International’s former global media chief, Richard Reoch, says of this trilingual collection: “Society, power and justice are laid out like corpses in a mortuary for examination.” When history began to turn against Hitler, he issued an infamous secret directive known by its codename: “Night and Fog”. It allowed the Nazis to abduct anyone by night, so that they effectively vanished without trace.
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UNP, SLFP poles apart on Constitutional reforms
Published Date: 23/01/2017 (Monday)
President Maithripala Sirisena has given the green light to Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) ministers to convey their January 3 decisions on constitutional reforms to different sections of society. This is notwithstanding an earlier move to convene an SLFP Central Committee (CC) meeting where these decisions were to be endorsed. The fact that the ministers are going ahead first making their position publicly known, a party source said, would only mean that Sirisena, the SLFP leader, had chosen to first have consultations. He will report the outcome thereafter to the CC, the source added.
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A NEW CONSTITUTION A MUST
Published Date: 22/01/2017 (Sunday)
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake says that the JVP doesn't reject the Constitutional Reforms, and went on to say "We need these reforms to maintain democracy, fundamental rights and rights of all communities." Excerpts of the interview:
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