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EU links aid to reconciliation in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 21/07/2016 (Thursday)
The European Union (EU), one of leading trading partners of Sri Lanka, has urged Sri Lanka to include reconciliation and good governance under its €210-million development programme. At present, the programme, which spans over six years ending with 2020, focuses on rural development. It envisages the coverage of backward areas of Uva and Central Provinces along with Northern and Eastern Provinces.
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Tamil people’s proposals rejected – Sampanthan
Published Date: 21/07/2016 (Thursday)
The Tamil people's proposals were not included in Sri Lanka's Constitution when it was being framed in the past, Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance Rajavarothayam Sampanthan said. Speaking at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka – German Technical Training Institute in Kilinochchi on Monday (18), Sampanthan said that Tamil leaders had made certain proposals to be included in the Constitutions, when they were being framed in 1972 and 1978, but those proposals had all been rejected.
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Tamil-Sinhalese students clash leads to closure of Jaffna University
Published Date: 18/07/2016 (Monday)
The violent clash between Tamil and Sinhalese students of Jaffna University last Saturday has led an indefinite closure of the university. Four Sinhalese students were injured, one of them seriously, when students belonging to the two communities attacked each other following a sharp difference of opinion over allowing Kandyan dancing in a function to welcome new entrants to the Science Faculty. As per the time-honored tradition, the Tamils in the Science Faculty wanted to welcome freshers with traditional nadaswaram and thavil(drums). But the Sinhalese students insisted that Kandayan dancing, which is performed in welcoming ceremonies among the Sinhalese in South Sri Lanka, be included.
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Broken promises: Kepapulavu displaced to restart fast unto death next week
Published Date: 15/07/2016 (Friday)
The people of Kepapulavu decided this week (11) to restart their fast unto death on 19 July, as they have lost all confidence in Government authorities, and the false promises given to them by the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Vigneswaran in March, this year. The people called off their previous fast unto death on 24 March, upon the Chief Minister’s promise to look into the matter and provide them with a solution within three months. Three-and-a-half months since then, villagers are still awaiting the new Government to release their lands, under the occupation of the military since the end of the war in 2009.
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UNWTO says Lanka on “right track” for sustainable tourism but Passikudah fisherman disagree
Published Date: 15/07/2016 (Friday)
Responding to an off-the-cuff question by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga at a recent conference in Passikudah, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Secretary Taleb Rifai said that Sri Lanka was absolutely on the right path to achieve peace, reconciliation and sustainable development through its tourism industry. However members of the 500-strong Vinayaka Fisheries Co-operative Society – most of whom have been displaced from their traditional fishing waters for the development of resorts on the stretch of Passikudah Bay – say that the industry has done little to uplift their lives.
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Published Date: 13/07/2016 (Wednesday)
Background and Development of the Survey The JCIC-Heritage collects and shares information on international cooperation for cultural heritage every year in two or so countries in Asia, with the aim of promoting Japan’s engagement in international cooperation for cultural heritage. Sri Lanka was chosen in FY2012, and a local survey was implemented from 2 to 12 March, 2013 as an international cooperation survey. The assistance project described in this report was implemented based on the result of this survey.
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Formation of an Organization for Nation Development with Civil-Military Coordination
Published Date: 12/07/2016 (Tuesday)
The knowledge and resources of the Tri Forces of Sri Lanka can be easily obtained in nation building, and they are ready to take responsibilities in nation building mechanism. Therefore, the proposal made by H.E. the President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Defense, to establish an organization in this regard with civil-military coordination, for obtaining the contribution of tri forces with their resources, training and strength in national development and peace process, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
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Catholics and fishermen against land expropriation for tourism development
Published Date: 12/07/2016 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Parallel to that, a four-day international conference (11-14 July) is currently underway in Pasikudah, Batticaloa District (Eastern Province) under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. However, land expropriations for tourist development in Sri Lanka "do not create any kind of development, peace and reconciliation among Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese and Tamil,” say critics who spoke to AsiaNews.
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Sri Lanka foreign reserves at USD5.3 billion by end June: Central Bank
Published Date: 08/07/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lanka’s official reserves were 5.27 billion US dollars at the end of June, down from 5.64 billion US dollars end of May, latest Central Bank data showed. Foreign currency reserves were 4.25 billion dollars, and reserves in Gold were 0.94 billion dollars
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USTPAC Welcomes High Commissioner Zeid's Call for Sustained International Engagement on Sri Lanka
Published Date: 30/06/2016 (Thursday)
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member states responded yesterday in Geneva to High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein's midterm report on the government of Sri Lanka's implementation of Resolution 30/1. USTPAC welcomes High Commissioner Zeid's report and statements from member states and other countries for more concerted government action.
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TGTE’s alternatives to pressuring Colombo from Geneva
Published Date: 30/06/2016 (Thursday)
As Sri Lanka keeps buying time and hoodwinking the international community, the frustrated Tamils are looking for alternatives. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam,{TGTE} one of the largest and democratically elected outfits of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is engaging experts to deal with the Sri Lankan Government. One of the most well attended side events was organized by the TGTE at the UN-HRC in Geneva on 22 June, themed: "Is Sri Lanka living up to its commitment to the UNHRC?".
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Monitoring Accountability Panel (MAP) Presentation at UN Human Rights Council
Published Date: 27/06/2016 (Monday)
On 22 June 2016, during the 32nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, legal experts from the Monitoring Accountability Panel (“MAP”) gave their assessment of the Sri Lankan Government’s transitional justice programme to date. The panel discussion was chaired by eminent jurist, Geoffrey Robertson QC, and included a detailed assessment by US lawyer, Ms Heather Ryan.
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Recapturing the democratic space
Published Date: 27/06/2016 (Monday)
Last week, a very senior foreign official, who had previously served as his country’s top most diplomat in Lanka, during the height of the war, told in Jaffna that according to him the present moment in Lanka constitutes the best opportunity to find a political solution. Every diplomat who visits Lanka suggests the same. Even the main Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance, characterized it as such and expressed hope during the election campaign last year that by the end of this year a political solution would have signed! Ranil signed a peace agreement with Prabhakaran a decade ago. Then SLFP President allowed the PM Ranil to make such an agreement. Hence it was a moment all bourgeois liberals got together to find a solution by negotiation with Tamil nationality. TNA too supported the action of Ranil. We lost that opportunity because of the activities of chauvinists led by Mahinda and Weerawansa.
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The Chairman of the Presidential Commission to investigate into complaints regarding Missing Persons, Maxwell Paranagama has requested to extend the term of office of the Commission for a period of one year. Chairman Paranagama said that if the mandate of the commission was extended, accurate information regarding missing persons could be sought.
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
The Chairman of the Presidential Commission to investigate into complaints regarding Missing Persons, Maxwell Paranagama has requested to extend the term of office of the Commission for a period of one year. Chairman Paranagama said that if the mandate of the commission was extended, accurate information regarding missing persons could be sought. The current mandate of the Paranagama Commission is due to end on the 15th of July 2016. According to Maxwell Paranagama, the commission had investigated complaints regarding missing persons during the period so far.
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Governmental Apathy, Continued Surveillance Inhibit Rehabilitation of LTTE Cadre
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
Former cadre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had surrendered to the Sri Lankan army and undergone a year’s ‘rehabilitation’ in special camps, are manifestly eager to get back to normal life, forgetting their past. But lack of active interest on the part of the political leadership; the bureaucracy’s apathy; and above all, the Security Forces’ continued lack of faith in them; are preventing their return to normalcy. State actions ensure that eminently forgettable memories of the conflict are kept alive even though the war ended seven years ago.
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Children of a Lesser God: Trafficking Soars in India
Published Date: 24/06/2016 (Friday)
Children from rural areas and disempowered homes are ideal targets for trafficking in India and elsewhere. Sunita Pal, a frail 17-year-old, lies in a tiny bed in the women’s ward of New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Her face and head swathed in bandages, with only a bruised eye and swollen lips visible, the girl recounts her ordeal to a TV channel propped up by a pillow. She talks of her employers beating her with a stick every day, depriving her of food and threatening to kill her if she dared report her misery to anybody.
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An Evening in Jaffna with Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, MP
Published Date: 23/06/2016 (Thursday)
It was a treat to hear Dr. Wickramaratne at the Jaffna Managers' Forum on 12 June, 2016. He was there with his LSSP cohorts (the majority group of the LSSP, he carefully stated several times) to explain where things are with the Constitution. Chairman Northern Provincial Council C. V. K. Sivagnanam in his welcome address gave the Tamil nationalist expectation – not asking for confederation or separation but for power sharing with the North-East through restoring the lost rights of the Tamils which they exercised through the Kingdom of Jaffna (the largest in the island when the Portuguese arrived, he said, quoting K.M. de Silva), the state as the unit of power sharing, and a minimal role for the governor as the representative of the centre.
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No response from govt. on ‘cluster bombs’ report
Published Date: 22/06/2016 (Wednesday)
The Sri Lankan government has not come out with any categorical response to the latest news report on the use of cluster bombs in the final stages of the civil war. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said he does not wish to comment on the report while the Director General (Government Information) Ranga Kalansooriya said the report is being studied.
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Global Watchdogs Criticise Lanka's Rights Record
Published Date: 21/06/2016 (Tuesday)
"While the governments' assurances on progress have been plentiful, its performance on the ground has been mixed and not befitting expectations outlined in your report and in the resolution as well as those of victims and people on the ground," the letter said. It also noted there have been mixed signals on the governments' commitments made through the October resolution, at the highest level of the government.
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Reclaiming Sinhalese settlement rights in Tamil dominated Jaffna
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
Supported by the Sri Lankan government machinery, Sinhala nationalist outfits and Buddhist monks from Colombo, a group of 57 Sinhalese families from South Lanka have settled in Navatkuli in the Tamil-majority North Lankan district of Jaffna in a determined bid to reclaim their rights there in the teeth of opposition from the Tamil political parties. It was in late 2009, following the end of Eelam War IV, that the then government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa took the decision to aggressively push for Sinhalese resettlement in the North to nullify the Tamil militants’ policy of fashioning a mono-ethnic Northern province as a prelude to the creation of an independent Tamil Eelam.
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The battle in Geneva
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
Against the backdrop of a statement made by former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa that there's no Tamil problem for a political solution, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a democratically elected political party called as the 'mirror of Tamil Tigers', and some others seeking a 'balanced' justice for all Sri Lankans killed either by the LTTE or the security forces, the government is in the process of 'narrowing' the 'outsized' United Nations Human Rights Resolution (UNHRR) passed on Sri Lanka.
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Sampur project uncertainty continues
Published Date: 19/06/2016 (Sunday)
The uncertainty over the Sampur thermal power project continues as the NTPC, India’s partner in the coal-fired 500-megawatt (MW) project, is awaiting advice from the Central government on the issue of change of fuel for the proposed plant. The issue has been raised by Sri Lanka, which apparently now favours liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the fuel.
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Mr R. Sampanthan’s Adjournment Motion in Parliament
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
The leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, has moved an important motion in Parliament (10 June 2016), on behalf of the Tamil people in the North and the East. Perhaps as he has moved the motion as the Leader of the Opposition, there is much substance and less rhetoric, both in the motion and the speech that he has delivered. I am not saying that the motion or the speech is completely devoid of ‘political rhetoric.’ But the issues that he has highlighted and the facts and information that he has supplied should draw the attention of not only the government, but also the general public at large who are concerned about the unity and reconciliation in the country. Reconciliation along with ‘justice and equality’ are the key notions that he has also highlighted.
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Katchatheevu needs a political settlement’
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
The Katchatheevu row requires only a political settlement, as there is nothing to be sorted out legally between India and Sri Lanka, according to a senior legal expert, Nirmala Chandrahasan. Ms. Chandrahasan, now a consultant to the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) of the Sri Lanka government, told a high-profile seminar on the India-Sri Lanka relationship here on Thursday that the Indian government did not consider Katchatheevu a “disputed territory” and it had recognised the islet as a part of Sri Lanka. As there was no legal dispute on this issue, the question of taking the matter to international courts did not arise.
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China to help developing northern Sri Lanka
Published Date: 18/06/2016 (Saturday)
Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang pledged to push forward ties with Sri Lanka by assisting development of the former war zone in the Tamil-dominated north, a Chinese Embassy official said on Friday. During a four-day visit to Northern Province, the ambassador met with Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Northern Governor Reginald Cooray, saying that China stood ready to offer assistance to Sri Lanka and the province.
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