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Security tightened in Batticaloa to prevent communal clashes
Published Date: 05/12/2016 (Monday)
Security in and around Batticaloa town was tightened last night with the deployment of additional police and Special Task forces personnel to prevent a possible clash between two communities. Earlier in the day, a tense situation arose when police stopped a group led Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagoda-atte Gnanasara Thera from proceeding to Batticaloa town.
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THE DANGER: Will Lanka go off Trump America’s radar?
Published Date: 05/12/2016 (Monday)
Sirisena sends a ‘Dear Donald ‘letter to Trump to dump war crimes probe To the victor, the spoils. Not only the scalp but the professed allegiance, too, of the fallen, however insincere it may sound; even as Hillary Clinton demonstrated – moments after it became clear she had lost key swing states – when she called upon the people to rally around Trump and to hail him as the man America had decided upon to lead the nation for the next four years as her president
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The Rise and ‘Fall’ of Karuna
Published Date: 05/12/2016 (Monday)
Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, once a terrifying warmonger who led the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) of the Eastern Province and later enjoyed an 'exotic' and powerful life with the Rajapaksas, has been remanded till 7 December 2016. Karuna was arrested on the charge of misusing a Rs 80 million worth State vehicle. He is one among many who have been arrested by the current government for misusing State assets. Many are bewildered over Karuna's arrest and the reason for his arrest, which is considered a minor matter because this is a man who had committed cold-blooded murders while he was a LTTE militant, irrespective of caste, creed or race.
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US Vice President discusses future US-Sri Lanka relations with President Sirisena
Published Date: 02/12/2016 (Friday)
It was reported, US Vice President-elect Mike Pence telephoned President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday and discussed future US-Sri Lanka relations. Pence and President Maithripala Sirisena had reportedly discussed further strengthening US-Sri Lanka relations under President Donald Trump.
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Voices from the margins of the north
Published Date: 02/12/2016 (Friday)
Interviews with some of Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable war-affected persons in the north show that a meaningful post war reconciliation process to them includes action towards human development, based on a comprehensive and consistent post conflict development policy that is focused on knowledge and understanding of grass root scenarios. There is no consistent and meaningful livelihood-focused training undertaken as part of a concrete State policy to deal with the human crisis created by 30 years of conflict that fragmented the lives of thousands.
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TNA will not support unitary system of governance: M A Sumanthiran
Published Date: 02/12/2016 (Friday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today reiterated calls for meaningful devolution of powers to the provinces in the Parliament yesterday. TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said that the TNA will not support a unitary system of governance.
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New Police structure and Emergency Laws Constitutional Assembly: Report of the Police, Law and Order Subcommittee
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
Police powers were among the most contentious topics in the whole devolution debate and the provisions of the 13th Amendment in this connection were never implemented by any government over the past three decades, because it would have rendered the country ungovernable. Now however, the Police Law and Order Subcommittee proposes to actually carry out what no previous government even contemplated. This Subcommittee of the Constitutional Assembly has proposed that the Police Ordinance be replaced with a completely new Police Act and that changes be made to the emergency laws – which would take the provincial police and law and order powers even beyond what was envisaged in the 13th Amendment
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IGP asked to act against anyone obstructing reconciliation
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
President Maithripala Sirisena has advised the Inspector General of Police to litigate against anybody who impedes the National Reconciliation Process disregarding their political affiliations or socio-ethnic-political status, National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganeshan said in Galle yesterday. Minister Ganeshan said so while participating at the launch of ‘Sanhinda’ Trilingual Magazine by the ‘Sanhinda Trilingual Unit’ of St. Aloysius College, Galle.
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Sri Lanka Leader Asks Trump's Help to Drop War Crime Charges
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka's leader is seeking the support of President-elect Donald Trump to free Sri Lankan troops from war crime allegations from the country's decades-long civil war. President Maithripala Sirisena said he has already sent a message to Trump, seeking his support.
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TNA’s diplomacy
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
An important meeting between President Maithripala Sirisena and Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarians, led by Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, took place in Parliament last Thursday (24). The TNA played a tremendous role in ousting the Rajapaksa regime and establishing the National Unity Government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in January 2015. Later, with the guidance of R. Sampanthan, the TNA as the main Opposition in Parliament played a responsible role to deal with Tamil political issues as well as voicing on national issues.
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‘…they are most probably dead…’
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
Expectantly she comes to meet them, her plastic bag of documents clasped tightly under her arm. Her face weary, and tear-stained, but, ready to tell her story one more time. White journalists, local activists, big people from big international human rights organisations, government commissions, the police, army camp officials……it’s all a blur now.
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Phantoms of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka’s reign of terror
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
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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Trouble once again in paradise
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
The fluid political situation in Sri Lanka, and the erosion of popular support for the Sirisen a - W i c k r e m e s i n g h e combine, have together created in the minds of the minority Tamils, doubts about the regime’s ability to draft a Tamil-friendly constitution and face the political storm that will certainly follow. Sensing a drift towards abandonment of the constitution- making exercise and its substitution by a few amendments to the existing constitution along with electoral reforms, the MPs of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the largest Tamil party in Parliament with 16 MPs, met President Maithripala Sirisena recently to air their concerns. Sirisena assured the MPs that he is keen on a new constitution as promised to the Tamils in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election, which he won thanks in part to the overwhelming support of the Tamils.
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Constitution, devolution and minorities
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
A national debate on the proposed new constitution commenced with the recent session of the Constitutional Council and drafting of proposals by different Committees. To set the tone, President Maithripala Sirisena referred to the conceptual positions with regard to the proposed constitution in his recent interview with The Hindu. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader R Sampanthan made statements in Parliament and Northern Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran also made few comments in the Provincial Council and outside. Talking to Meera Sirinivasan of The Hindu, President Sirisena did not hesitate to give his honest opinion. “People of the south are scared of the word federal. People of the north are scared of the word unitary. What we should do is not fight over these two words. We should come up with a formula that is acceptable to all,” he said.
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Karuna Amman arrested
Published Date: 30/11/2016 (Wednesday)
Former Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan and former LTTE eastern leader alias Karuna Amman was arrested today after he appeared before the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID). Amman was asked to appear before the FCID to record a statement on the alleged misuse of a Government vehicle.
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Proposed Constitution - a pretext to divide the country
Published Date: 29/11/2016 (Tuesday)
Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa stated that Tamils are one step away from claiming self determination in the Northern Province. He expressed these sentiments during an interview with Ceylon Today. Excerpts: ?: The government had criticized your earlier comments on the proposed Constitution by stating that you were unacquainted on the subject, thus you are merely trying to create bogies over the matter. However six parliamentary subcommittees have presented their reports to the steering committee of the Constitutional Assembly by now. What do you have to say about the facts presented in the reports?
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Opposition Leader issues glowing tribute to Fidel Castro
Published Date: 29/11/2016 (Tuesday)
TNA and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, paying a tribute to the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro has said, in a statement: "My heartfelt sympathies go to the people of Cuba on the demise of their great leader Commander Fidel Castro. The former Cuban leader who stood by his principles and convictions and led the people of Cuba for more than 50 years. He championed the revolutionary movement in 1959 and stood as one of the towering figures of the people of Cuba.
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Sri Lanka: De Facto State of Emergency? -Basil Fernando
Published Date: 26/11/2016 (Saturday)
When the high level delegation of Sri Lanka met the UN Committee against Torture (CAT Committee) last week on the 5th Periodic Review, one of the Committee members raised an important issue. The Member asked whether the dysfunctionality of the justice system in Sri Lanka has virtually created a situation of a de facto emergency. It is worth taking a little time to grasp the meaning of a de facto emergency. Normally, an emergency would mean the de jure state of emergency, or in other words a legally declared emergency. This is when creating safeguards on people’s rights are being suspended for a specific period due to an extraordinary situation facing a nation. The relevant Article in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), is Article 4 which states the following:
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Sri Lanka's ex-leader slams India over China ties
Published Date: 25/11/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lanka's former president Mahinda Rajapaksa launched an attack on India on Tuesday, ahead of his visit to China, a country that strongly backed the island politically and financially during his decade in power. The former leader told a group of local newspaper editors that India had been "furious" when Chinese submarines docked at the Colombo harbour in 2014, towards the end of his presidency.
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HIGH-POWERED MINISTERIAL GROUP TO DIFFUSE RELIGIOUS TENSIONS
Published Date: 25/11/2016 (Friday)
Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga, Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M.Swaminathan and Muslim Religious Affairs Minister Abdul Haleem are to join hands to make necessary interventions. Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told the Daily News the four ministers would offer leadership to ‘meaningful and constructive dialogue’ towards ending communal and religious mistrust.The ministerial group, the minister said, would soon facilitate a meeting with the various religious groups to iron out their differences.
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Deal firmly with extremists, PM tells police
Published Date: 25/11/2016 (Friday)
“The Good Governance Government has worked to establish national unity since President Maithripala Sirisena was elected the President. We all have a right to take pride over our race and religion whether we be Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher or Malay,” he said. “Above all this, we should take pride about our Sri Lankan identity. If we don’t respect our Sri Lankan identity and try to hurl abuse at other communities and religions, we would be branded as extremists bent on breaking and disrupting national unity. The duty of preventing such people from acting for personal gain or a long term objective wittingly or unwittingly lies with the police,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said. The Prime Minister expressed these sentiments presiding over the passing out parade of a batch of apprentice policemen who had completed training at the Kalutara Police Training College on November 20.
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Rapp says Govt. delays could be attempt to avoid justice for alleged war crimes
Published Date: 25/11/2016 (Friday)
Delaying the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms, including a special court to prosecute alleged war crimes, could be viewed as an attempt by the Government of Sri Lanka to “avoid” delivering on truth and justice for thousands of victims of the country’s civil war, a former top official in the US Government’s Office of Criminal Justice said. Former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Stephen J. Rapp said at the sidelines of the Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court now underway in The Hague, Netherlands, that there was no reason the Government of Sri Lanka could not begin setting up the office of the prosecutor and putting frameworks in place, even if the court would not get off the ground immediately.
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Land, police powers to be devolved Bill of Rights in keeping with South African model
Published Date: 23/11/2016 (Wednesday)
The government said yesterday that the Parliamentary Sub Committee on Devolution had proposed that land and police powers be devolved to the provinces in keeping with the provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Senior Constitutional lawyer Jayampathi Wickremeratne MP, told a news conference in Colombo, that proposals made by the six parliamentary sub committees appointed to submit proposals on various subjects including the national question, human rights and public administration to be included in the proposed new Constitution had been submitted to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had in turn presented it to Parliament.
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Life lessons from Medical knight of Lankan origin
Published Date: 23/11/2016 (Wednesday)
Since beginning of November, there are renewed calls to shut down or nationalize South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM). On November 15, SAITM responded by having their fourth Convocation to recognize its MBBS graduates from their first and second batches at the BMICH. This also marked the passing out of graduates from the faculties, ICT & Media, and Management & Finance. This momentous occasion for SAITM was graced by the distinguished Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran - Professor Emeritus in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, St. George’s University, London.
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Sri Lankan Official Dodges UN Questions Over Alleged Torture
Published Date: 18/11/2016 (Friday)
A United Nations committee that monitors acts of torture in member countries grilled an intelligence chief Wednesday over the alleged abuse of detainees during Sri Lanka's bloody civil war, only to have the nation's attorney general step in to deflect the questions. The mere presence of Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis at the Committee Against Torture's two-day hearing on Sri Lanka was already a surprise to both panel members and many non-governmental groups that have raised concerns about his war-time activities. .
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