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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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Reconciliation to be a compulsory subject at schools
Published Date: 22/01/2017 (Sunday)
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), has said that a proposal had been submitted to the Education Ministry to include reconciliation as a subject in the School curriculum. She was speaking at an event organised by the State Ministry for National Integration and Reconciliation to mark the National Integration and Reconciliation Week, at Ananda College, Colombo last Tuesday.
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A storm in that ‘human rights action plan’ teacup
Published Date: 22/01/2017 (Sunday)
An unseemly and wholly unnecessary uproar arose this week over a proposed clause in Sri Lanka’s National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP, 2017-2021), which had apparently mentioned the need for a two-thirds majority in Parliament to pass a State of Emergency. NHRAP limited to grand expectations Ministers loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena indulged in a frantic thumping of chests by insisting that the President had steadfastly ‘intervened’ to remove that clause from the NHRAP. Indeed unwitting observers might have been forgiven for mistaking the innocuous NHRAP for a document that had actual force in law. This was aggravated moreover by reports that the proposal had been ‘rescinded’ by the President.
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Sri Lankan Prime Minister holds discussions with world leaders on expanding bilateral ties, trade and investment
Published Date: 22/01/2017 (Sunday)
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is leading the Sri Lankan delegation to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland held discussions with several heads of states and business giants on expanding bilateral ties and boosting trade and investment. Meeting with the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Premier Wickremesinghe exchanged ideas with the Norwegian leader on the course of action that could be taken to further strengthen the existing bilateral relations between the two nations, while simultaneously conducting a review on the bilateral plans and programs currently in effect.
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Over one million people affected by severe drought in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 22/01/2017 (Sunday)
Over 1 million people have been affected by severe drought in Sri Lanka with authorities warning the numbers could rise in the coming weeks due to less rainfall. Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Center said that 18 districts have been affected by the drought and rescue teams were distributing drinking and clean water for the victims. According to statistics, 1,041,690 people and 251,310 families have been affected by the drought.
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International Commission of Jurists calls on Sri Lanka to implement recommendations of Consultation Task Force
Published Date: 21/01/2017 (Saturday)
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international non-governmental human rights organization has called on the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations made by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms. "The Sri Lankan government must deliver on the clear demand for justice from Sri Lankans nationwide by implementing the Consultation Task Force recommendations without further delay," the ICJ said in a statement.
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Indo-Lanka accord on Trinco port soon
Published Date: 21/01/2017 (Saturday)
India and Sri Lanka will soon be finalising an accord to take New Delhi’s help to develop Trincomalee Port in the East of the Island nation, a move seen as Colombo’s attempt at fine balancing India and China, The New Indian Express reported yesterday The New Indian Express report posted on Jan. 18: " China has pumped in money to develop the Hambantota port in the South and is now said to be investing in Colombo port causing much discomfort in India that sees the Indian Ocean Region as its area of influence.
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Sri Lankan minister urges promotion public-interest driven media
Published Date: 20/01/2017 (Friday)
Sri Lanka's Minister of Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms, Gayantha Karunathilaka has stressed that politically and commercially driven media have to be replaced by good ethical and public-interest driven media. According to a communication received here Thursday, Karunathilaka was addressing 32 journalists from 14 leading Indian and Pakistani media houses at a five-day dialogue in Colombo that was a capstone event of the East-West Centre's two-year "Improving Cross-Border Reporting" exchange and discussion program.
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Sri Lanka Navy re-invents itself as medium-scale regional force
Published Date: 20/01/2017 (Friday)
Since the 2010 conclusion of Sri Lanka's decades-long conflict with Tamil Tiger separatists in the country's northern regions, the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has been re-inventing itself to develop the operational agility required to tackle today's complex defence and security challenges. The 'Sri Lanka Navy's Maritime Strategy 2025', its roadmap for achieving this aim, was released in November 2016 at the navy's Galle Dialogue conference in Colombo.
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MS admits GSP plus depends on ratification and implementation of 27 int’l conventions GoSL given time till May to meet obligations
Published Date: 20/01/2017 (Friday)
Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday acknowledged that the restoration of Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) could take about four to five months, though the EU on January 11 announced its decision to restore the facility. Addressing the media at SLFP headquarters at T.B. Jayah Mawatha, Minister Samarasinghe explained the process leading to the restoration of the much sought after facility made available to the then Kumaratunga administration soon after tsunami. The EU abruptly withdrew the facility in the wake of the previous government’s triumph over terrorism.
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