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Rajapaksa opposes government's plan to empower chief ministers
Published Date: 21/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned the government against antagonising the Sinhala majority by "appeasing" the country's Tamil community by mulling to grant more powers to provincial chief ministers in the proposed constitutional reform process. In the recent weeks, there has been a debate over a reported demand by the main Tamil Party -- Tamil National Alliance (TNA) -- to curb the powers of the provincial governors in order to empower the provincial chief ministers. Addressing public gatherings, Rajapaksa said even in India the provincial governor executes the presidential authority.
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Conditional approval for 10,000 prefab houses in North
Published Date: 20/12/2016 (Tuesday)
The Cabinet has granted conditional approval to French steel giant ArcelorMittal to build 10,000 prefabricated houses for the war-affected in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts, a senior official said. “It was decided that 10,000 houses could be erected in the two districts, provided that the people wanted them,” the official explained. Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan confirmed to the Sunday Times that the specified number of 10,000 dwellings had been sanctioned but this newspaper learns the approval is conditional. The Minister has been pushing for the project—initially numbered at 65,000 steel prefabricated houses from ArcelorMittal at an estimated US$ 1 billion—since mid-2015. However, progress has been slow due to strong resistance from civil society, housing experts and local and national politicians including all Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians. Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and the Jaffna District Coordinating Committee are also against the project.
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Will UNHRC live up to its commitments to Sri Lanka?
Published Date: 16/12/2016 (Friday)
The United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council, (UNHRC) has maintained inexplicable and depressing silence over the several incidents of massacres, racial pogroms, including extra-judicial killings and torture which were blatantly carried out by the security forces and political party hooligans in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1971, 1977, 1983, 1989 and from 2006 to May 2009.
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Re-appointing MR Chairman of SLFP Case put off for 20 Feb
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
The District Court of Colombo yesterday (14) decided to take up for hearing on 20 February 2017 the case seeking a Court order to re-appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). This plaint, filed in the District Court of Colombo, states that former General Secretary of the SLFP Anura Priyadharshana Yapa had violated the Party constitution and handed over the Chairmanship to President Maithripala Sirisena.
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Delimitation Committee Report delayed again
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
The publication of the report compiled by the National Delimitation Committee headed by Ashoka Peries has been delayed once again. The Report of the Committee set up to look into complaints arising from delimitation of new wards, was scheduled to be handed over to the Minister of Local Governments and Provincial Councils today. However speaking to NewsRadio Secretary to the Ministry of Local Governments and Provincial Council Kamal Padmasiri said the Committee has requested an extension to the deadline.
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No clear Govt reaction to Executive Presidency
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Prof. G.L. Peiris, in an interview with the Ceylon Today said, the government has not yet declared its official stance on the Executive Presidency The government must tell us what stand it has adopted on the Executive Presidency; whether it will abolish it as promised, or whether it has decided to retain it with limited powers, or whether it has changed its mind, Prof. Peiris said.
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Autonomy to North east under Federalism is our demand -Mavai Senathirajah
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
Q How do you analyse the current political situation of the North? Our people are worried today because both the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), as the two main parties, talk about a political solution within a unitary State. We, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), received a mandate from our people to secure power devolution under a Federal Constitution. That is fully-pledged power devolution between the centre and the provinces. That means autonomy should be given to the North and the East as they are the traditional areas of habitation of Tamils and Muslims. People gave a mandate to the TNA to achieve this. Our understanding now is that the UNP and the SLFP insist on retaining the unitary character. It would pave the way for the ‘division of people’ and the country. The UNP even adopted a resolution at the recent Working Committee to this effect. Yet, a Federal system can unite the three communities - the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. It is a method experienced in various countries.
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Sri Lanka wins ‘Award for Excellence in Human Development Reporting’ for national and regional reports
Published Date: 14/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka wins ‘Award for Excellence in Human Development Reporting’ for national and regional reports New York: Sri Lanka was among the four countries which won Awards for Excellence in Human Development Reporting at a ceremony held at the United Nations Headquarters on 6 December. The award recognises recent national and regional human development reports that have excelled in crafting and promoting human solutions to development challenges.
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TN leaders knew Prabhakaran would kill them to rule Eelam: Menon
Published Date: 14/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Leaders of Tamil Nadu, across the political divide, privately but effectively supported the Indian government’s policy of opposing efforts by the US and Norway to rescue Velupillai Prabhakaran so that his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) lived to fight another day, says Shivshankar Menon, India’s former National Security Adviser (NSA) in his book; “Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy”.
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Government Will Not Probe Intel Chief
Published Date: 13/12/2016 (Tuesday)
The government will not investigate allegations raised against the head of intelligence Sisira Mendis despite calls to do so by a UN committee. State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene told The Sunday Leader that he does not see any need to investigate Mendis as the allegations against him are baseless. However Ruwan Wijewardene said the government will look into the concerns raised by the UN committee. The UN Committee against torture last week issued the government a deadline to investigate the allegations on Sisira Mendis.
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Mahinda, Ranil, Sampanthan discuss constitutional reforms
Published Date: 13/12/2016 (Tuesday)
A special meeting attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Opposition leader R.Sampanthan and Joint Opposition members was held at the Prime Minister’s Office at Parliament yesterday to discuss the proposed constitutional reforms. Former President Rajapaksa and Joint Opposition members said that the government should first reveal what its proposals.
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PREPARING THE GROUND FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
Published Date: 13/12/2016 (Tuesday)
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.” For its part, the UNP has taken the position that it would support a system where the office of executive president would continue with special powers that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution had conferred.
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Phantoms of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka’s reign of terror
Published Date: 11/12/2016 (Sunday)
Mahinda Rajapaksa sits at a desk in his party office beneath a photo of himself. He’s not especially tall but solid in the chest and arms; like an old rugby prop, his head seems to rest on his shoulders without much need for a neck. He’s never seen in public without his brown scarf, supposedly signifying the sweaty rags of Sri Lanka’s hard-toiling farmers. On his fingers this man of the people wears three chunky gold rings and on his wrist a bracelet of jade balls. Everyone here still calls him Mr President.
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BUDDHIST NATIONALISM AND RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN ŚRI LANKĀ
Published Date: 11/12/2016 (Sunday)
While this Sangha. . . has democracy, it has neither [a] special country nor nation nor caste. To such a society which has no country, nation, or caste, every human being is the same. . . . Those who fight against the Tamils are not Buddhists. —Naravila Dhammaratana[1]
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Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: Mission Impossible?
Published Date: 11/12/2016 (Sunday)
During the past few years much has been spoken and written about the need for reconciliation between the different communities in Sri Lanka. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapakse to hear what was needed to be done to bring about reconciliation among the tattered communities in the country. This Commission’s recommendations did not receive the earnest consideration they deserved. Instead that regime continued to indulge in activities that made the possibility of a reconciliation become more remote.
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Gazette Issued in 1818 by British Governor Brownrigg Branding 19 “Wellassa” Patriots Including Keppetipola as “Traitors” Cancelled by President Sirisena
Published Date: 10/12/2016 (Saturday)
In a politically significant act which could help him garner the support of Sinhalese nationalists, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena, on Thursday cleared the names of 19 Sinhalese chiefs who were officially branded as ‘traitors’ by the British rulers of the island 198 years ago. The President’s media division said that Sirisena cancelled a gazette issued by the then British Governor, Lt.Gen.Robert Brownrigg on January 10, 1818, listing the 19 leaders, including Keppetipola Disawe as traitors.
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Sri Lanka decides to achieve sustainable development goals by 2030
Published Date: 10/12/2016 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka's Cabinet of Ministers has taken the decision to appoint a Ministerial Sub-Committee to define and to achieve success in reaching the sustainable development goals of Sri Lanka by 2030. This decision was based on a memorandum submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena to the Cabinet.
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Govt. losing battle to quell extremist groups, warns JVP
Published Date: 09/12/2016 (Friday)
The JVP yesterday slammed the Government for failing to protect the religious rights of Sri Lankans and accused it of providing validation for extremist organisations that are still working to whip up ethnic disharmony in the country while calling for an investigation into how these organisations are funded. JVP MP Vijitha Herath yesterday made an impassioned speech in Parliament calling on the Government to probe alleged links between the former Government headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and organisations such as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).
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On Sri Lankan issues, late CM pursued a strong line Her Assembly sought international probe into the alleged war crimes by the island nation
Published Date: 09/12/2016 (Friday)
Former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who received tributes from a wide spectrum of political leaders of Sri Lanka, had always pursued a strong line on matters concerning the neighbouring country, though she did oscillate on the issue of Eelam war and Tamil refugees. In the initial years, after the Black July of 1983 when anti-Tamil riots broke out across Sri Lanka, the AIADMK leader had supported the cause of Tamil extremists, especially the LTTE. It was the period when the Central government was also supportive of the rebels. In the run-up to the dismissal of the DMK ministry in January 1991, she had turned her ire against the LTTE and urged the Centre to remove the DMK regime on the ground that the LTTE was carrying out “illegal and clandestine activities” with the “connivance and encouragement” of the State government.
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NPC's resolution against Buddhist temples not valid:Lanka govt
Published Date: 09/12/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lankan government today said that a recent resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council prohibiting the construction of Buddhist temples in the Tamil-dominated North will have no legal standing. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told Parliament that there were no constitutional provisions for provincial councils to introduce such resolutions and that the government would in no way accept such a resolution.
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Sri Lanka president cancels colonial-era order amid falling popularity
Published Date: 08/12/2016 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday rescinded a colonial-era British order naming 19 nationals as "traitors" for leading a rebellion nearly 200 years ago, his office said, as he strives to shore up his fading popularity. Sirisena hailed the ethnic Sinhalese men whole led the insurrection against the island's British rulers as national heroes, a move some critics were swift to denounce as a political gimmick to bolster his support among the Sinhalese majority.
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Sri Lanka's ruling UNP to retain executive presidency
Published Date: 08/12/2016 (Thursday)
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) announced it will support a new constitution that will retain the current executive presidential system, but with a greater evolution of power in a unitary state. The policy-making Executive Committee of the UNP in a major policy decision declared its support to keep the presidency while changing the electoral system in favour of a hybrid of first-past-the-post and proportional representation.
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Lanka legislator alleges death threat over constitution reform
Published Date: 08/12/2016 (Thursday)
It was reported that Jayampathy Wickremaratna, a leading legislator of Sri Lanka's ruling party today alleged that he had received death threats due to his involvement in the country's constitutional reform process. Jayampathy Wickremaratna of the ruling UNP said he had received death threats on the phone over his association in the current process of constitutional reform.
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Torture Is ‘Common Practice’ in Sri Lanka, U.N. Panel Finds
Published Date: 08/12/2016 (Thursday)
President Maithripala Sirisena swept to a surprising election victory about two years ago promising political changes and human rights protections in Sri Lanka. On Wednesday, a United Nations committee questioned the government’s commitment to fulfilling those promises, pointing to the continued use of torture by the police and a failure to rapidly investigate and prosecute atrocities committed by security forces and Tamil Tiger rebels at the end of the country’s 26-year civil war in 2009.
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U.N. urges Sri Lanka to probe ongoing torture, war crimes
Published Date: 07/12/2016 (Wednesday)
A U.N. rights watchdog called on Sri Lanka on Wednesday to investigate "routine torture" of detainees by security forces and rebuked its government for failing to prosecute war crimes committed during the country's 26-year civil war. The Sri Lankan military finally vanquished the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelan guerrillas in 2009. The United Nations and rights activists have accused the military of killing thousands of civilians, mostly Tamils, during the final weeks of the war and have demanded reforms and redress.
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