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Differing from the EC in its ‘sunny’ reliance on government assurances
Published Date: 15/01/2017 (Sunday)
The European Commission’s proposal this week to the European Union (EU) regarding the restoration of GSP (General System of Preference) Plus to Sri Lanka’s export market did not carry with it, any element of particular surprise. This was a step long predicted. Checking displays of untoward jubilation And as a rider, it must be said that the deprivation of the trade benefit to the country under the Rajapaksa Presidency was not due to an overriding zeal on the part of the EU to ensure good governance at the time. It was simply because the Rajapaksas flouted every convention, every rule and every practice in existence relating to the Rule of Law, to trespass beyond all propriety in regard to illegal acts.
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GSP Plus: Govt. rushing through rights plan
Published Date: 15/01/2017 (Sunday)
The Government wants to rush a five-year National Human Rights Action Plan (NHAP) next week as part of its initiatives to get the European Union to restore the GSP Plus tariff preferences to Sri Lanka. The 300-page report, which meets most of the conditions laid down by the EU, will come up for discussion at the weekly ministerial meeting on Tuesday. It was discussed by ministers last Tuesday but some ministers urged that immediate changes be made. On the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena, these changes were finalised at a conference chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday.
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Sri Lanka’s re-embrace of China leaves India out in the Cold
Published Date: 14/01/2017 (Saturday)
Beijing lost much of its influence over Sri Lanka following a regime change in early 2015 that saw pro-Beijing President Mahinda Rajapaksa ousted. The new government promised a ‘balanced approach’ to dealing with the major powers-Washington, the global superpower, Beijing, the aspiring superpower and India, the regional hegemon. However, within two years Colombo has renewed its special relationship with Beijing by agreeing in late 2016 to buy military transport airplanes from China and give 80 per cent of the Hambantota deep seaport on a 99-year lease to China for US$1.1 billion, not to mention the offer to renew the Chinese-funded Colombo Port Project suspended in the wake of the ‘regime change’.
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Where is democracy in Sri Lanka heading to?
Published Date: 14/01/2017 (Saturday)
It is now time that we discuss some key factors relating to democracy, given that the name of our country is the ‘Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.’ But, unfortunately, ours is still far from being a true democratic state. Democracy, which refers to the idea that people should rule themselves, was first established in Greece in the 5th century B.C. Henceforth, many countries, using different methods, have experimented to govern their societies and it is today recognised as the best form of governance.
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Sri Lankan Muslim body challenges North Chief Minister’s claim on resettlement
Published Date: 13/01/2017 (Friday)
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has challenged the claim of C.V.Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of the Tamil-majority Northern Province, that the charge of step-motherly treatment of Muslims in the matter of re-settlement is baseless. In a letter to the Chief Minister dated December 27, 2016, the President of the MCSL, N.M.Ameen, said that the CM’s contention that out of the 4307 families which had obtained lands between 2013 and 2016, 73.02 percent were Muslim, 25.66 percent were Tamil, and 1.32 percent was Sinhalese, was misleading.
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Winning the West
Published Date: 13/01/2017 (Friday)
The European Commission (EC) has proposed the restitution of the lost GSP + facility to Sri Lanka. This was the lead story of this newspaper on its yesterday's edition. After going through the formal process of keeping this restitution open allegedly for four months for any objections, it's therefore more than likely that GSP + will be restituted either in April or March.
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Court of Appeal petitioned for retrial of Raviraj murder case under anti-terror act
Published Date: 13/01/2017 (Friday)
The Sri Lankan Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya on Wednesday petitioned the Court of Appeal for a retrial of the Nadarjah Raviraj assassination case by a judge and not a jury, and under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), not ordinary law. The Colombo High Court had acquitted the five persons accused of killing Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian N.Raviraj on the basis of the view of an all-Sinhalese jury. The judge had ordered trial by jury under ordinary law, ignoring the fact that one of the charges against the accused was under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) which does not allow trial by jury, M.A.Sumanthiran, counsel for Raviraj’s family told Express.
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Sri Lanka In Two Minds On Constitutional Reform, Civil Society Organises Truth Commissions
Published Date: 13/01/2017 (Friday)
There seems to be a rethinking on the part of the government regarding the nature and extent of constitutional reform. The SLFP is of the stance that the Constitution should be amended without going in for a referendum. SLFP media spokesman Minister Dilan Perera said “We have spoken with the President and taken a clear decision on this. Electoral reforms must take place and a new system introduced and we believe in maximum devolution of power within a unitary state. We have also made it clear that we will not support the merger of provinces or to lessen the power of the governors to make it a nominal position.”
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Constitutional proposals can be debated in February – Mangala
Published Date: 13/01/2017 (Friday)
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has vowed to pursue yahapalana government’s post-war political objectives in spite of difficulties. The minister dealt with reconciliation process in Sri Lanka in his address at the Chatham House, London on Wednesday. The topic on which I speak today – ‘The Reconciliation Process in Sri Lanka’, in fact holds special significance for us Sri Lankans this week. This is because, the Cabinet of Ministers recently declared this week, from January 8th to the 14th, as the ‘National Integration and Reconciliation Week’.
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Commission Proposes Enhanced Market Access for Sri Lanka as Reform Incentive
Published Date: 12/01/2017 (Thursday)
Removal of customs duties would be accompanied by rigorous monitoring and conditional on continued commitment to sustainable development, human rights and good governance. The Commission today proposed that a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products should be removed by the European Union in exchange for the country's commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance. These one-way trade preferences would consist of the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines, covering a wide array of products including textiles and fisheries.
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Country did not suffer without GSP+: MR
Published Date: 12/01/2017 (Thursday)
Saying that it was good to regain the GSP+ facility, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that the country had not been adversely affected by losing the facility. “It is good to regain the GSP+ facility. It is good if they think the country will benefit from it. We did not suffer any loss even without it,” he said.
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Sri Lankans win human rights, democracy, GSP+: PM
Published Date: 12/01/2017 (Thursday)
The people of Sri Lanka has won human rights, democracy as a result of the actions of the current administration and the European Union is restoring GSP+ free trade access to the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "This is not just a victory for the government," Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "This is a victory for all Sri Lankans." Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said with the restoration of GSP+ the access of Sri Lankan exports including apparel to the EU will be expanded creating more jobs
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WPB, place for CTFRM report, says Champika
Published Date: 12/01/2017 (Thursday)
The JHU yesterday rejected the recommendations of the government appointed Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanism (CTFRM). Its report should be relegated to the waste paper basket, he said. JHU leader and Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, addressing the media, at the party headquarters in Battaramulla, said the recommendations at issue were inimical to ethnic harmony and the national interest.
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Big changes to counterterrorism framework
Published Date: 12/01/2017 (Thursday)
The Government has brought major revisions to the framework of a proposed counterterrorism law that will replace the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), to bring the draft in line with international best practice and Sri Lanka’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Daily FT learns. A revised draft was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday. The initial draft of the proposed Counter-Terrorism Act (CTA) framework was presented to Cabinet in September last year and a subsequent “leak” of the document created some public debate about the Government’s proposed counterterrorism framework to replace the PTA.
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Reconciliation hampered due to school segregation -CBK
Published Date: 11/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike says children being segregated in schools, is a hindrance to reconciliation in the country. Former President Bandaranaike made these comments during the introduction of a project titled “National unity and Reconciliation through Higher Education” today. Issuing a statement, the office for National Unity and Reconciliation said issues related to reconciliation and social harmony still prevails in the country adding that although the youth are at present segregated, they are capable enough to play a vital role as a catalyst for positive change.
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CBK calls for talks on foreign judges et al on judicial mechanism
Published Date: 11/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has called for extensive discussions on far reaching recommendations, including the participation of foreign judges and other personnel in proposed war crimes probe, made by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation (CTFRM). The outfit also called for abolition of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), demilitarization of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, bifurcation of the Attorney General’s Department to pave the way for Office of Public Prosecutor among other proposals.
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Sri Lanka: Adopt Task Force’s Justice Proposals Consultations Highlight Broad Accountability Concerns
Published Date: 11/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka’s government should promptly implement recommendations on transitional justice proposed by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) in a report released on January 3, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The report reflects the first broad survey of Sri Lankan citizens on their aspirations for truth and justice, as called for by the October 2015 resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Key among the task force’s recommendations is the creation of a war crimes court comprised of both international and national judges and other officials, with no time limit on its jurisdiction. Support for this court included ethnic Sinhalese, whose population suffered thousands of enforced disappearances three decades ago for which there has been no accountability.
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Prez was appointed to abolish the Executive- Civil societies
Published Date: 10/01/2017 (Tuesday)
Civil societies say they disapprove the alleged decision taken by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to refrain from abolishing the Executive Presidency. Speaking to the BBC World Service, Convener of the National Movement for a Just Society Professor Sarath Wijesooriya said President Maithripala Sirisena was appointed as the Executive President to abolish the position. He said, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party was not part of the January 8th victory adding Maithripala Sirisena was the common candidate and was not affiliated to any party.
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Raviraj Killing: No Approval To Arrest Two Suspects
Published Date: 10/01/2017 (Tuesday)
The Attorney General (AG) has not given approval to arrest two key suspects who have fled to Switzerland, who are wanted in connection to the murder of Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj. The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) said it had requested approval from the AG to initiate proceedings to have the two suspects arrested and deported to Sri Lanka nearly two years ago.
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PCs AND Constitution making
Published Date: 10/01/2017 (Tuesday)
With Constitution making now on the cards and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena being on the same wave length on this score (other than going for a twenty first Amendment (21A) to remedy any shortcomings in the present Constitution if any),a new Constitution may not only have to once more address the question of power-sharing, where all the noises made are seemingly in regard to such, but it may also have to address the question of cost rationalization in relation to power-sharing.
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China to implement its projects in Sri Lanka ignoring negative forces
Published Date: 10/01/2017 (Tuesday)
In the midst of rioting against the Sino-Sri Lankan deal over the Hambantota port, China on Saturday categorically stated that it is committed to executing its projects in the island despite hostile propaganda by the local opposition parties. Speaking at the launch of the China-backed Southern Economic Development Zone in the southern port town of Hambantota, the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, said that “no negative force” can stop China’s development assistance to Sri Lanka, and no one can stop the “strong friendship” between the two countries.
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I have no confidence in the CTF: Wijeyadasa
Published Date: 10/01/2017 (Tuesday)
Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said today said he had no confidence in the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) appointed by the Prime Minister. He said the CTF, which recommended the inclusion of at least one international judge on every bench set up to hear allegations of war crimes and the violation of human rights that had taken place during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.
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Govt making Lanka a colony once again
Published Date: 09/01/2017 (Monday)
The government was turning the country into being a colony of foreign powers by offering vast areas of land to China, India and the USA, the Socialist Alliance charged yesterday. Addressing the media at Dr N.M. Perera Centre in Borella, Lanka Sama Samaja Party leader Prof. Tissa Vitharana said the government was planning to lease 15,000 acres of lands in Hambantota area to China, falsely claiming that it was being done in accordance with a plan prepared by the previous administration.
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PMK seeks global probe into war crimes in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 09/01/2017 (Monday)
Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK ) founder Dr. S. Ramadoss criticised the Sri Lankan government’s refusal to allow international investigation into alleged war crimes in the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009 and demanded for a resolution calling for an international investigation at the United Nations. In a statement, he said that India should push for an investigation by an international war crimes tribunal or an equivalent body. “With the Sri Lankan government refusing to agree to an international war crimes investigation, there will be no justice to Tamils who suffered under the Sri Lankan government armed forces. All those who committed war crimes on innocent Tamils will go scot-free. The Indian government has a responsibility to stop this from happening,” said Dr. Ramadoss.
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Lord Naseby Meets Jaffna Commander
Published Date: 09/01/2017 (Monday)
Lord Naseby, President of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sri Lanka in London (APPG-SL) reported to have had a meeting with Major General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander Security Force (Jaffna) on 04 January 2017 at the military head quarters in Jaffna.. At the meeting several issues including the present situation in Jaffna Peninsula and the role of Civil Military Coordinating Activities assisting to uplift the livelihood of Jaffna people were taken up.
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