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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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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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