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71 killed in landslides and floods in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 22/05/2016 (Sunday)
Foreign aid began arriving in Sri Lanka Saturday, bringing help to half a million people forced out of their homes by rains and landslides that have killed at least 71 in a week of extreme weather wreaking havoc in South Asia. As the heaviest rains in a quarter of a century battered Sri Lanka, Cyclone Roanu barrelled into the Bangladesh coastline leaving six people dead and forcing the evacuation of 500,000 there.
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Japan grants Rs2.2bn to establish research facility for Jaffna University
Published Date: 20/05/2016 (Friday)
The Government of Japan grants 1,667 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 2.2 billion) to the Government of Sri Lanka for the Establishment of a Research and Training Complex at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jaffna in Kilinochchi District of the Northern Province. The objective of this project is to provide effective and efficient research and education activities on dry zone agriculture in the northern region at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jaffna.
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Mr Gary Anandasangaree MP Requests All Party Support for Tamil Heritage Month Motion in Canadian Parliament
Published Date: 20/05/2016 (Friday)
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Rouge Park, introduced a motion in the Canadian House of Commons, calling on the Canadian Parliament to officially declare the month of January as Tamil Heritage Month. This will provide Canadians from coast to coast to coast the opportunity to celebrate the rich Tamil heritage, culture, language, and history. To date, the Toronto District School Board, many GTA municipalities, such as the City of Toronto, and the Province of Ontario have all declared January as “Tamil Heritage Month”.
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Ethnic and religious minorities in Sri Lanka still feel marginalised: American lawmaker
Published Date: 20/05/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lanka\'s ethnic and religious minorities including Tamils still feel marginalised, seven years after the end of the civil war with the LTTE, a senior American lawmaker has said as he appealed to the Lankan government to take \"concrete\" steps to address their concerns. \"The leaders of the new government have made many ambitious promises to advance toward the goal of a stable and prosperous future for all. Now is the time to turn those promises into concrete action,\" Congressman Danny K Davis said on the House floor on Thursday.
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Indian Assembly Elections 2016
Published Date: 19/05/2016 (Thursday)
The Bharatiya Janta Party created history for itself by breaking new grounds and opening new frontiers in the North East by catapulting to power in Assam – the biggest north-eastern state. It also opened its long awaited account in Kerala in addition to winning some seats in West Bengal. In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee broke records by not only trouncing the Left Front-Congress combine but by winning for the second consecutive time. She is the only leader in West Bengal, other than the two CPM stalwarts Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, to win for the second consecutive term. She has now earned the credit of overthrowing 34 years of unhindered Left Front rule in West Bengal.
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Basil Rajapaksa arrested and released
Published Date: 17/05/2016 (Tuesday)
Basil Rajapaksa, brother of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa was arrested on 12th May by the police Financial Crimes Investigation Division over a land deal allegedly involving money laundering, his lawyer and police said. Several members of the Rajapaksa family are facing police investigations for alleged financial crimes.
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Tamil youth rounded up in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 15/05/2016 (Sunday)
The Sri Lankan government has unleashed a major crackdown against Tamil youth in the country’s war-ravaged north and east. Since March, more than 23 Tamils have been detained under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Most of those arrested were allegedly former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe falsely claim they have established a “democratic environment” in the country’s north and east. In fact, the military occupation is deepening in these areas. Residents face ongoing repression and dire poverty.
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The English voice of Tamil writers
Published Date: 10/05/2016 (Tuesday)
Lakshmi Holmstrom entered not only the literary texts she selected for translation, but the cultural establishments that produced them A powerful translatorial voice has fallen silent. Once in a long while, we encounter a writer who really changed the literary landscape he or she inhabited. While U.R. Ananthamurthy, Ismat Chughtai, Sarah Joseph, Nirmal Verma and Indira Goswami might be cited, I think we can safely say that one who makes such writers available to a population which cannot read them in their original languages is equally a force of Literature, of Nature even.
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Structural Reforms are required to key institutions: UN Rapporteurs
Published Date: 10/05/2016 (Tuesday)
The United Nations Special Rapporteurs Monica Pinto and Juan E. Mendez have expressed their concerns over the existing legal system in the island and emphasized the need of bringing structural reforms to the key institutions such as the Attorney General's Department, Armed Forces, Police and the Judiciary. The two UN Special Rapporteurs held a press conference in Colombo last Saturday (7) on their Sri Lankan assignment and briefed on the measures to be taken into consideration by the Sri Lanka Government towards stabilizing its legal system and improving the human rights situation in the island.
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Good Governance Necessary To Achieve Government’s Economic Vision
Published Date: 09/05/2016 (Monday)
The re-opening of the EU fisheries market to Sri Lankan exporters came as a welcome success to the government at a time when it needs to show some tangible progress on the economic front to the people. The main criticism of the government amongst the general population is the absence of economic development and poverty alleviation in their lives. While a relatively small fraction of the population travels in luxury private cars, the general public continues to hang on to the footboards of overcrowded trains for their daily commutes to their workplaces and back with some of the train engines and carriages well past their fortieth year in service. Even those sections of the population who voted for the government at the last two national elections that saw the defeat of the old one are bemoaning the lack of economic progress in the present.
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Torture continues in Lanka due to weaknesses in law: UN
Published Date: 09/05/2016 (Monday)
Sri Lanka continues to use torture mechanisms even after the end of the civil war due to weaknesses in law, a top UN official said here today and described the condition of detention camps and prisons in the country as "deplorable". "Torture continues in the system due to weaknesses in law," said Juan E Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
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Sri Lanka to receive US$ 3 billion loan for infrastructure development
Published Date: 09/05/2016 (Monday)
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has promised a loan of US$ 3 billion for infrastructure development. In addition the ADB will grant a separate aid for the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector. The loan facility given under a concessionary interest rate will be given to Sri Lanka through the next three years. The loan agreement was reached during the 49th ADB Finance Ministers’ summit in Frankfurt, Germany last week. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake represented the country.
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Constitutional developments in Pakistan, Sri Lanka & India have similarities: Experts
Published Date: 08/05/2016 (Sunday)
Addressing the conference organised by PILDAT on 6 May entitled, “Lessons for Constitutional Development in South Asia” Conference, three constitutional experts, one each from India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, said that the constitutions and constitutional developments in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India offer similarities as well as opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences. Acting Sri Lankan High Commissioner Wijayanthi Edirisinghe, Vice Chancellor, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, India Professor Dr Ishwara Padil Bhat and Senior Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan and Federal Minister Shahid Hamid spoke at the conference.
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EU links human rights to trade: 58 conditions for GSP Plus
Published Date: 08/05/2016 (Sunday)
In its haste to regain the GSP Plus facility, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has agreed with the European Union (EU) to implement a sprawling list of 58 conditions linking human rights, national security and other domestic concerns with trade, a document obtained by the Sunday Times shows. Among the 58 conditions imposed are to revoke the Prevention of Terrorism Act, to expedite cases of remaining detainees, to introduce a new Human Rights Action Plan, review the status of the Tamil diaspora organisations and individuals on the terrorist list, to devolve power under the new Constitution, return all private lands to owners in the North, adopt a policy of National Reconciliation and on National Resettlement, finalise the re-settlement of all displaced persons, and to ratify the Convention on Enforced Disappearances with accompanying legislation as well as issue certificates of absence.
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Sri Lanka Campaign-UK publishes its report Path to Peace.
Published Date: 07/05/2016 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka Campaign has recently published its report entitled “Sri Lanka’s path to peace”. The report is based on the testimony of nearly 300 war survivors and activists working in the north and east of Sri Lanka, and outlines their views on what would be needed to convert the current absence of war in the region into a lasting and sustainable peace. The report argues that structural violence continues to be a part of the daily lives of many in the north and east of Sri Lanka, and that if Sri Lanka’s peace is to be made permanent this must be addressed through a comprehensive reform of Sri Lanka’s security forces, by placing war survivors in positions of authority within any new processes that are established, and by the Sri Lankan government adopting a new attitude towards dealing with the past in which defensiveness is replaced by openness.
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Freedom from Torture documents continuing torture in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 07/05/2016 (Saturday)
Freedom from Torture, the UK-based human rights organisation, is calling for urgent action by the Government of Sri Lanka to end ongoing torture. The charity publishes new information as the joint visit to Sri Lanka by UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture, Professor Juan Méndez, and on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mónica Pinto, comes to an end on Saturday. The Sri Lankan Government has made encouraging commitments to delivering truth, justice and reconciliation. However, while torture is still being practised any efforts towards long-term stability are undermined. The number of referrals Freedom from Torture has received for people tortured since the January 2015 presidential election is deeply worrying.
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First Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan Elected in London
Published Date: 07/05/2016 (Saturday)
Sadiq Khan - a Labour Party leader, a former human rights lawyer and a son of a bus driver from Pakistan - was declared the winner of the London Mayoral election held on Thursday, 5 April. He will be the first Muslim to lead Britain’s capital and making him one of the most prominent Muslim politicians in the West. The victory also said to have made a British political history. In a Europe struggling with a rise in Islamophobia, riven by debates about the flood of Syrian migrants and on edge over religious, ethnic and cultural disputes, Sadiq Khan victory is a major victory for democracy.
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China as a Development Actor in Southeast Asia
Published Date: 06/05/2016 (Friday)
The recently published Institute of Development Studies’ (IDS) Evidence Report (No.187), identifies and explains the central factors driving China’s policies towards Southeast Asia. It examines China’s foreign relations through the perspective of foreign policy. In this context, as the title indicates, the report gathers together and evaluates the evidence on China’s role as a development actor in this neighbouring region. The study aims to contribute to evidence-based policy deliberation, formulation and implementation.
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U.S. Debate Erupts in California Over Curriculum on India’s History
Published Date: 06/05/2016 (Friday)
Vidhima Shetty, a high school freshman in San Ramon, Calif. She said that using the term South Asian was akin to asking her to change her name. Victors are said to write history. But in California, history is being written by a committee that is at the center of a raging debate over how to tell the story of South Asia as it tries to update textbooks and revise curriculums for Grades 6 and 7.
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UN Special Rapporteurs to visit to Sri Lanka
Published Date: 05/05/2016 (Thursday)
The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mónica Pinto, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, have undertaken a joint visit to Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7,2016, at the invitation of the government. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the previous UN Special Rapporteur on torture visited Sri Lanka in 2010, this will be the first visit to Sri Lanka by a Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
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STF to provide security to VVIPs
Published Date: 05/05/2016 (Thursday)
As part of its policy to relieve the army from civilian and internal policing duties, the Sri Lankan government has taken the army off VVIP security duties and has given the task entirely to the police, especially the police commandos designated as the Special Task Force (STF). But the decision to replace the army ran into a political storm when, recently, the government withdrew the last 50 of the 102 army personnel who were guarding former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
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Sri Lankan Parliament brawl: MPs wounded
Published Date: 05/05/2016 (Thursday)
Nasty brawl broke out in the Sri Lankan parliament on Tuesday, 3rd May, following ex-Army Chief Sarath Fonseka claimed that the 2006 bomb blast targeting Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, was an “inside job”. Fonseka added that the attack was carried out to gain sympathy of the public. These assertions enraged MPs loyal to Mahinda and led to the physical violence. Following the scuffle between UNP’s Palitha Thewarapperuma and UPFA’s Prasanna Ranaweera , a unanimous vote called for the suspension of two of its members for a period of one week. The heated exchange of words soon turned into a violent exchange of blows. It was reported that this was the worst brawl the Sri Lankan parliament has seen in the past 12 years.
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May Day Rallies in Jaffna
Published Date: 02/05/2016 (Monday)
May Day rallies in Jaffna witnessed several divisions amongst Tamil political parities, said a veteran activist from Jaffna. Four May Day rallies were held in Jaffna -TNA, mainly ITAK held its meeting at the Maruthanamadam Ramanathan College premises, while the TNPF at Pointpedro, the New Democratic Marxist Leninist party at Puttur and the Ceylon Teachers Association and University Workers union was held at the Jaffna University.
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Former LTTE Batticaloa Intelligence chief arrested
Published Date: 02/05/2016 (Monday)
Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) in Batticaloa arrested the former LTTE member and chief of LTTE Intelligence unit. Krishnapillai Kalainesan, alias “Prabha. who has been rehabilitated at the Army Wellikanda Rehabilitation Centre. He was release in 2013 The Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi has refused to provide any details of arrest when journalists questioned him about the arrest.
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No LTTE to support – President CTC
Published Date: 01/05/2016 (Sunday)
President of the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) Raj Thavaratnasingham in an interview with Ceylon Today said he was pleased that the government has delisted CTC and a few other Tamil diaspora organizations. "As a result of the delisting of CTC, for the very first time we were able to raise funds to build houses for war widows in Sampur. We have built 18 houses and handed them over to deserving owners and another 23 houses are to be built in the second phase, for which funding has already been secured," he added. Excerpts:
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