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Sri Lanka: The Rajapaksas Rise Again
Published Date: 20/01/2017 (Friday)
“We’re not the same guys who used to tell you various things and then forget about it three days later… We want the world to know that we’re different—that we’re going to do what we say we’re doing.” –Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, to National Geographic (November 2016) Politics is shaped by leaders’ ability to deliver. It is all about doing and achieving, “doing what you say what you say you are going to do,” to paraphrase Dr. Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s current deputy minister of foreign affairs. It is not about good intentions; it is about getting results.
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Sri Lankan Court of Appeal dismisses Tamil leader Raviraj assassination case
Published Date: 20/01/2017 (Friday)
The Sri Lankan Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed the case relating to the assassination of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Nadarajah Raviraj on the grounds that the petitioner was not present in court. M.A. Sumanthiran, Counsel for the petitioner (Mrs. Raviraj and family), told Express that he was not present in court because the Colombo High Court, where the case was originally conducted, had not given him certified copies of all the documents relating the case.
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Police SIU failed to execute open warrant on Emil Kanthan, AG says
Published Date: 19/01/2017 (Thursday)
The Attorney General’s Department today informed the Colombo High Court that the Police Special Investigation Unit (SIU) had failed to execute the open warrant issued for the arrest of former North and Eastern Provinces LTTE Financial Head Emil Kanthan, in connection with a Rs. 200 million fraud that had allegedly taken place at the RADA in 2006. Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda PC appearing for the Attorney General informed Court that the SIU was unable to execute the open warrant issued against Emil Kanthan, the second accused in the case.
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Omanthai Camp not Moved – Army
Published Date: 19/01/2017 (Thursday)
There is no truth in reports that the Omanthai Army Camp has been removed, military Spokesman Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne said yesterday. He added that 18 acres of land near the camp were handed over to the Vavuniya District Secretary. "These areas include 10 acres to the west of the Omanthai checkpoint," he said.
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India, Sri Lanka in talks on port
Published Date: 19/01/2017 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka is in talks to offer the port of Trincomalee to India. Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue here, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Colombo’s Minister of Regional Development, said that the decision on offering the port to India will be taken soon. “Talks are at present going on between India and Sri Lanka and we hope to offer the Trincomalee port, which is one of the best deep sea ports in the world, to India,” said Mr. Fonseka speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue. Trincomalee has been on the table for sometime as Sri Lanka wants to maintain a neutral stand and provide equal access to its ports to both China and India.
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Peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka require consistent, discernible and sustained momentum
Published Date: 19/01/2017 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s moment of truth is fast approaching. The expectation is that significant initiatives will be taken this year towards addressing the two issues that are vitally important to the Tamil people – a political resolution and accountability for war-time violations. What is equally important is to maintain a consistent, discernible and sustained momentum towards reconciliation, bolstered by actions that make practical difference to the day to day life of the people and on this aspect, a lot to be desired in terms of commitment and drive.
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Diaspora behind conditions for GSP+ claims JO
Published Date: 19/01/2017 (Thursday)
The Joint Opposition yesterday slammed the Government for considering what it termed as conditions that would be harmful to the country to regain GSP+ and claimed diaspora communities were responsible for the European Union (EU) holding Sri Lanka to 27 international conventions. Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peremuna (SLPP) Chairman and JO Member Prof. G. L. Peiris charged that the EU was attempting to get involved in the internal matters of Sri Lanka and alleged it would be beneficial to the aspirations of Tamil diaspora groups.
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Resettlement in North
Published Date: 18/01/2017 (Wednesday)
Muslims of Sri Lanka claim step-motherly treatment while resettling them in various parts of the country as well as in the northern peninsula adding that little has been done to rectify the issue due to the lack of infrastructure and adequate funds while the matter is also allowed to prolong further. The Tamil speaking Northern Muslims as they are called, left their homes, lands and belongings and fled the area in October 1990 when LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran ordered them out in 24 hours saying the region is purely a Tamil homeland. The expulsion came after a festering dispute the LTTE had with this community
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Executive Presidency to go: Nalin Bandara
Published Date: 18/01/2017 (Wednesday)
The Executive Presidency would be terminated along with the introduction of the new constitution, UNP Kurunegala district MP Nalin Bandara said. He was speaking at a media briefing at Sirikota yesterday. Bandara said confirmation of the delimitation committee report is being delayed. “But effective measures would be taken to hold the Local Government polls soon,” he said.
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Handing Over of Uurani Fisheries Boat Yard to the Fisher Community
Published Date: 18/01/2017 (Wednesday)
As an act to signify the National Integration and Reconciliation week declared by HE the President, on 14th January the Army handed over the Uurani fisheries boat yard to the fisher community of Uurani Thaiddi (East) and Nallinakkapuram. This is another initiative towards building reconciliation whilst addressing the issues of civilians in Jaffna by Sri Lanka Army. Focused attention on fulfilling the public requirements, which are instrumental in making His Excellency’s efforts to build reconciliation successful. Therefore, measures were taken to allocate a suitable sea area for the people who resettled in the lands at Kankasanthurei and Thaiddi that were released recently by the army,
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TNA will quit process if no devolution’
Published Date: 18/01/2017 (Wednesday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will not be a part of the ongoing Constitution-making process if more devolution is not considered, a senior party leader has said. “We have a mandate from the people for a federal Constitution with the merger of North and East to resolve the National question. Discussions are under way with the government on how best to come to an agreement. We cannot accept the 13th Amendment as a comprehensive power sharing mechanism,” said senior TNA member Dharmalingam Siddharthan.
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Changes cannot be made without referendum: TNA
Published Date: 18/01/2017 (Wednesday)
The TNA yesterday reiterated its position that it would not settle for any Constitutional Amendment that does not require a referendum, but for a new Constitution which ushers in fundamental changes including the abolition of executive Presidency. TNA Spokesman MP M.A. Sumanthiran, reminding that the mandate President Maithripala Sirisena received from the people was to make significant changes to the Constitution, pointed out those changes could not be made without a referendum.
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‘India must rethink opposition to Chinese investment in Lanka’
Published Date: 17/01/2017 (Tuesday)
India should rethink its opposition to Chinese investments in Sri Lanka and join the port development in the island nation instead of feeling “jealous”, China’s state media said on Monday. “It is understandable that the cooperation has left some Asian countries vigilant as media reports suggest that an 80 per cent share of the port, which sits on an important trade route, and land for an industrial zone will be leased to China for the next 99 years,” an article in Global Times referring to Sri Lanka’s decision to hand over the Hambatota Port to China.
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MCDonalds in India Introduces “Dosa Burger” Combining French Style Brioche With Ingredients of Potato Masala Dosa.
Published Date: 17/01/2017 (Tuesday)
Unmentionable things have been stuffed into the dosa over the years, so why the outrage over its McAvatar? McD made a mash of milagu mayo Packed a pickled potato patty Dosa’s done and dusted It’s McBreakfast’s Taste of India Challenge. All across the South, the Dosa Masters have raised their ladles in silence.On January the 13th, the alien hordes led by one well-known multinational company unleashed the challenge of the dosa burger.
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The 58 preconditions to obtain GSP+
Published Date: 17/01/2017 (Tuesday)
The government has been ecstatic at being granted GSP+ again by the European Commission. It hasn’t however revealed the conditions it has agreed to in order to get this trade concession. In this context, two documents are of interest to us. The first of these is the ‘Report on assessment of the application for GSP+ by Sri Lanka’ by the European Commission dated 11 January 2016 (Staff Working Document 474) which is available in the public domain and another document which was obviously a part of the application made by Sri Lanka to the European Commission to obtain GSP+, which is not available in the public domain. The two documents complement and authenticate one another.
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SRI LANKA: Six Police Officers Sentenced to Death
Published Date: 16/01/2017 (Monday)
Last week, in the High Court of Badulla five police officers and a security officer were sentenced to death for causing the murder of Sadun Malinga, a 17-year-old boy. The boy and four of his relatives had gone to the town for some business when the police suddenly arrested them, beat them in public, and thereafter arrested them and took them to the police station, where they proceeded to further tortured them. As a result, Sandun Malinga was seriously injured. The relatives present tried to get the attention of the police to get medical care for the boy, immediately. However, the police ignored all such requests.
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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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