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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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A truly pro-poor leader, says Sirisena
Published Date: 07/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Political leaders across Sri Lanka’s ethnic divide on Tuesday condoled the passing of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. While she had had a tumultuous equation with the island throughout her political career over the Tamil question, the fishermen’s conflict and the demand to retrieve Katchatheevu, Sri Lankan leaders saw her as a formidable actor in the region.
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She was a beacon of hope for lankan Tamils
Published Date: 07/12/2016 (Wednesday)
The late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s involvement in the Sri Lankan Tamil issue began almost immediately after she joined the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and became its propaganda secretary within a year in 1983.
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Ranil apologizes for burning of Jaffna library
Published Date: 07/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today apologised for the burning of Jaffna Library in 1981 and urged the Joint Opposition to apologize for what happened during that time as well. “The public library in Jaffna was burnt during a United National Party (UNP) Government in 1981. We know it was wrong and tender an apology for it,” he said.
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We will only accept a political solution on the basis of sovereignty, says TNA leader Sampanthan
Published Date: 07/12/2016 (Wednesday)
The solution should be found based on the sovereignty of the Tamil people, said TNA leader R Sampanthan at the commemoration of the death of the former Mayor of Colombo organised by the All Ceylon Hindu Congress. We are never going to accept meaningless solutions, and at the same are not going kick away just solutions, he said.
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Radical Buddhists introduces new Sri Lanka Flag
Published Date: 06/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Boda Bala Sena the radical Budhists group encouraged supporters to carry distorted Sri Lankan flags when they marched towards Batticaloa. The flags did not have the two green and orange colour stripes that represent the minorities in Sri Lanka. The police had a tough task in preventing a large number of people lead by Buddhist clergies to enter Batticaloa on a court order.
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TNA leader condoles death of TN CM Jayalaitha
Published Date: 06/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Opposition Leader and the Leader of the Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan today expressed his condolences at the death of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalitha Jayaram. In a condolences message, Mr.Sampanthan said the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had a special concern for the resolution of the issues pertaining to the rights of the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka and her concern resulted in the passing of several resolutions at the Tamil Nadu State Assembly and frequent interactions with the Central Government in New Delhi on Sri Lanka.
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No Chance Of Another Armed Struggle – Dharmalingam Siddharthan
Published Date: 06/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Dharmalingam Siddharthan believes that permitting the Tamils in the North or East to commemorate their dead will not lead to another armed struggle or be viewed as encouraging separatism. In an interview with The Sunday Leader he said one man’s terrorist is another man’s liberation fighter. He believes the relatives of the dead should at least have the right to mourn the death of their loved ones. According to Siddharthan, many of the issues facing the Tamils in the North are still not resolved and the government mechanism in this regard is extremely slow. He lamented that the crime rate in the North is rising and he also feels there is a breakdown of family values and traditions among the people. He said while the military was not directly involved in aiding certain gangs, some individuals encourage and support these youth gangs. Following are excerpts of the interview;
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“No threat to security in the North”
Published Date: 06/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi has assured that there is no shortfall in security in the Northern and Eastern provinces. The Secretary made this statement during an event in Galle. The Defence Secretary said there are several reports on the internet which claim that national security is under threat but those reports are completely untrue. Hettiarachichi said he visits the Northern Province every two weeks and communicates with officers stationed there. Hettiarachchi added, “there are still 971 displaced persons lodged in camps with their families. The President and the Prime Minister was alerted and houses will be built for them. The military are directly engaged in building houses for displaced Tamil families. This is the picture of the situation in the North.”
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Is it time Sri Lanka sheds its religious identity?
Published Date: 05/12/2016 (Monday)
Sri Lanka is on the cusp of history, in several months it will be presenting to the people its third constitution in the space of four decades. Abolition of the Executive Presidency, devolution of power to the provinces, independence of the judiciary and the ensuring of good governance and human rights have been central in the discussions. With interest slowly growing amongst the people, one topic which has been conspicuously absent has been that of religion and its role in the future constitution.
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