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General Amnesty for Army Deserters
Published Date: 28/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka Army declared a General Amnesty period with a view to release its deserters from the service with effect from 2nd April under the directives of the President Maithripala Sirisena. Adjutant General of Army, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe officially announced the avenues and the process at a media briefing held at the MoD Media Centre today morning (25th Mar). Acting Director, Ministry of Defence Media Centre, Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera and the Director Personnel (Administration) Brig. NA Dharmaratne were also present.
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Tamil politicians squabble over damaged Gandhi statue in Mullaitivu
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Two leading Tamil politicians of North Sri Lanka, both belonging to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), are squabbling over a controversial statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Mullaitivu town which was found destroyed on Monday. TNA Member of Parliament Dr.Sivamohan had installed the statue recently, with the money given to him by the government for carrying out social and development works in Wanni electoral district, his constituency.
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Sri Lanka asked to enter mines ban treaty
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
It will take 15 more years to de-mine Sri Lanka's war-battered North and East regions, a group campaigning to ban anti-personal mines in the country said today while criticising the government for not acceding to the Ottawa Convention. "The de-mining work has slowed down over the years. At its current pace it will take around 15 years to complete the de-mining in the remaining 44 square kilometers," Vidya Abhayagunawardena, the national co-ordinator of Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) said.
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If It’s Back To H’tota For China And Trinco For US, Is It Neo-Cold War For Sri Lanka?
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
The Cold War dictum that “there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, but only permanent national interests” seems to be working overtime in the case of Sri Lanka just now. No one disputes that the Government is keen on giving away a piece of sovereign real-estate to China even as a respectable Opposition veteran has claimed that the eastern Trincomalee naval base may go the US way. Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, the celebrated captain of the World Cup winning national cricket team, seems to have bowled a googly at his own Government, by declaring that the Government was pushing for ‘better terms’ for the Hambantota property from China. But the same cannot be said of LSSP leader and former Minister Tissa Vitharana’s charge that the US was keen on seeking a naval base in Trinco.
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We will not approve Constitution that will harm unitary status: President
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
President Maithripala Sirisena has told the Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) that the recommendations made by the constitutional sub-committee on Periphery and the Centre Relations were merely proposals, members of the group said on Thursday (22). Coordinator, Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF), a newly formed organization of Sri Lankan expatriates, Nuwan Ballantudawa, told a media briefing on Thursday that President had assured that the recommendations of the subcommittee on periphery and the centre will not be implemented or discussed in Parliament.
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Trial by jury not suitable for politically sensitive cases, says leading Tamil lawyer
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
Trial by jury is not suitable for politically sensitive cases in which the defendants are Security Forces personnel and the victims seeking justice are from a minority community, says the leading Sri Lankan Tamil lawyer and Member of Parliament, M.A.Sumanthiran. “Given the consistent pattern of the juries acquitting the accused in cases where these are Security Forces personnel and the victims are Tamils, it is better to go for a Trial-at-Bar in which the judge gives the verdict,” Sumanthiran told Express on Sunday.
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Raviraj murder accused cleared, Sumanthiran faults all-Sinhala jury
Published Date: 27/12/2016 (Tuesday)
A Sri Lankan court Saturday acquitted five men, including three navy intelligence officers, charged with assassinating an opposition Tamil legislator whose party immediately raised concerns about judicial integrity. Nadaraja Raviraj, who represented the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), was shot dead in 2006 along with his bodyguard as they drove out of his home in Colombo, two and a half years before the end of the country’s Tamil separatist war.
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India-Sri Lanka ties: Relations improved in 2016, but China's influence a cause for concern
Published Date: 26/12/2016 (Monday)
Sri Lanka's ties with India improved in 2016 with high-level exchanges and signing of agreements to give momentum to their relationship, even as issues over a proposed economic and technology pact, poaching by fishermen in each other's water and China's influence in the island nation remained a cause for concern. Historically, bilateral ties have been fraught with controversies. In the 1980s, the Tamil question dominated relations and more recently differences have sometimes erupted over poaching by fishermen and Sri Lanka’s increasing dependence on China for investment.
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Sri Lanka in danger of falling back into Rajapaksa tyranny
Published Date: 24/12/2016 (Saturday)
Despite the progress made over a few minor matters, since the silent revolution on January 8, 2015, which established the coalition government, no good governance has been established thus far and Sri Lanka is dangerously getting closer to relapsing into a “Rajapaksa dictatorship”, a renowned economist warned this week. According to Institute of Policy Studies Chairman Prof. Razeen Sally, Sri Lanka is currently just drifting without making much progress in any of the crucial fronts, which will soon make the whole landscape unstable, risking the country relapsing into “a Rajapaksa-like scenario” that existed in the past.
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Pentagon sends advanced surveillance team to train Sri Lanka’s military
Published Date: 23/12/2016 (Friday)
Early this month, a group of US naval officers flew out of the Mattala Rajapakse International Airport at Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka after a week-long training exercise with Sri Lankan naval and air force personnel. No public information was released about the visit until the US embassy in Colombo issued a statement on December 13, two days after the US naval officers departed.
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Politicos give priority to political agendas, not reconciliation: Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya
Published Date: 23/12/2016 (Friday)
Politicians give priority to their political agendas and not to the reconciliation process, Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya said at a discussion at the National Library and Documentation. The theme of the discussion organised by the National Fraternity Collective and National Shura Council was 'Say NO to Communalism - YES to National Unity'.
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UN shows concern over Lanka’s proposed counter-terrorism laws
Published Date: 23/12/2016 (Friday)
The United Nations has expressed several concerns to the Government about its proposed new counter-terrorism legislation including over a clause that allows admission of confessions made without lawyers present, said Una McCauley, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka. “There are a number of concerns that we had flagged up including the admission of confessions that were not made with lawyers present, the 72-hour initial holding period where international legal standards say 48 hours, the process of arrest and the levels of authority around when arrests can and should be made, as well as text around what is considered a terrorist act or an associated terrorist act,” Ms. McCauley said in an interview with the Sunday Times. “So, ensuring that there’s tighter language around that.”
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News websites distort truth and give wrong impression about Sri Lanka – President
Published Date: 22/12/2016 (Thursday)
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that "irresponsible stories" published by news websites and social media have given a wrong impression to Sri Lankan expatriates as well as to the international community. He said the government is not trying to divide the country or remove army camps from the North. Claims by these websites that the government is planning to neutralize or weaken the army are also totally baseless.
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India in quandary over new govt’s relationship with China - Gotabhaya
Published Date: 22/12/2016 (Thursday)
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday told The Island that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was certainly in a quandary over the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration’s partnership with China. India had strongly opposed to the previous government’s relationship with China and thrown its weight behind the Opposition at the last presidential polls in January 2015, Rajapaksa said. The former Defence Secretary said India couldn’t be happy that the government was going ahead with all Chinese projects launched during the previous administration.
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New Constitution: You Will Lose A Referendum Only Because Of Corruption
Published Date: 22/12/2016 (Thursday)
I am told that when we talk about the new Constitution, various persons are getting worried about a referendum. Now, we have very clearly said and I want to repeat what my Leader has said in this House and in the Constitutional Assembly. He said, “We want a new Constitution that all the people of this country approve of, that definitely must include or should include the majority people of this country. A Constitution will not stay as a Constitution of the country if the majority of the people do not accept it.” So, we are not trying to do something that the majority people of this country do not want.
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Change of govt. predicted by Mahinda: Govt. MPs seek to allay China’s concern about ‘instability’ in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 21/12/2016 (Wednesday)
State Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Palitha Ranga Bandara, MP, has claimed that China is in dilemma over the political situation in Sri Lanka, especially in the wake of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent claim in Beijing that there could be a change of government in Colombo soon. State Minister Bandara said that Chinese authorities, investors as well as civil society representatives had inquired about statements on the stability of the UNP-SLFP coalition administration attributed to various persons including former President Rajapaksa.
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Rajapaksa opposes government's plan to empower chief ministers
Published Date: 21/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned the government against antagonising the Sinhala majority by "appeasing" the country's Tamil community by mulling to grant more powers to provincial chief ministers in the proposed constitutional reform process. In the recent weeks, there has been a debate over a reported demand by the main Tamil Party -- Tamil National Alliance (TNA) -- to curb the powers of the provincial governors in order to empower the provincial chief ministers. Addressing public gatherings, Rajapaksa said even in India the provincial governor executes the presidential authority.
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Conditional approval for 10,000 prefab houses in North
Published Date: 20/12/2016 (Tuesday)
The Cabinet has granted conditional approval to French steel giant ArcelorMittal to build 10,000 prefabricated houses for the war-affected in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts, a senior official said. “It was decided that 10,000 houses could be erected in the two districts, provided that the people wanted them,” the official explained. Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan confirmed to the Sunday Times that the specified number of 10,000 dwellings had been sanctioned but this newspaper learns the approval is conditional. The Minister has been pushing for the project—initially numbered at 65,000 steel prefabricated houses from ArcelorMittal at an estimated US$ 1 billion—since mid-2015. However, progress has been slow due to strong resistance from civil society, housing experts and local and national politicians including all Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians. Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and the Jaffna District Coordinating Committee are also against the project.
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Will UNHRC live up to its commitments to Sri Lanka?
Published Date: 16/12/2016 (Friday)
The United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council, (UNHRC) has maintained inexplicable and depressing silence over the several incidents of massacres, racial pogroms, including extra-judicial killings and torture which were blatantly carried out by the security forces and political party hooligans in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1971, 1977, 1983, 1989 and from 2006 to May 2009.
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Re-appointing MR Chairman of SLFP Case put off for 20 Feb
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
The District Court of Colombo yesterday (14) decided to take up for hearing on 20 February 2017 the case seeking a Court order to re-appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). This plaint, filed in the District Court of Colombo, states that former General Secretary of the SLFP Anura Priyadharshana Yapa had violated the Party constitution and handed over the Chairmanship to President Maithripala Sirisena.
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Delimitation Committee Report delayed again
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
The publication of the report compiled by the National Delimitation Committee headed by Ashoka Peries has been delayed once again. The Report of the Committee set up to look into complaints arising from delimitation of new wards, was scheduled to be handed over to the Minister of Local Governments and Provincial Councils today. However speaking to NewsRadio Secretary to the Ministry of Local Governments and Provincial Council Kamal Padmasiri said the Committee has requested an extension to the deadline.
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No clear Govt reaction to Executive Presidency
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Prof. G.L. Peiris, in an interview with the Ceylon Today said, the government has not yet declared its official stance on the Executive Presidency The government must tell us what stand it has adopted on the Executive Presidency; whether it will abolish it as promised, or whether it has decided to retain it with limited powers, or whether it has changed its mind, Prof. Peiris said.
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Autonomy to North east under Federalism is our demand -Mavai Senathirajah
Published Date: 15/12/2016 (Thursday)
Q How do you analyse the current political situation of the North? Our people are worried today because both the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), as the two main parties, talk about a political solution within a unitary State. We, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), received a mandate from our people to secure power devolution under a Federal Constitution. That is fully-pledged power devolution between the centre and the provinces. That means autonomy should be given to the North and the East as they are the traditional areas of habitation of Tamils and Muslims. People gave a mandate to the TNA to achieve this. Our understanding now is that the UNP and the SLFP insist on retaining the unitary character. It would pave the way for the ‘division of people’ and the country. The UNP even adopted a resolution at the recent Working Committee to this effect. Yet, a Federal system can unite the three communities - the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. It is a method experienced in various countries.
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Sri Lanka wins ‘Award for Excellence in Human Development Reporting’ for national and regional reports
Published Date: 14/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka wins ‘Award for Excellence in Human Development Reporting’ for national and regional reports New York: Sri Lanka was among the four countries which won Awards for Excellence in Human Development Reporting at a ceremony held at the United Nations Headquarters on 6 December. The award recognises recent national and regional human development reports that have excelled in crafting and promoting human solutions to development challenges.
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TN leaders knew Prabhakaran would kill them to rule Eelam: Menon
Published Date: 14/12/2016 (Wednesday)
Leaders of Tamil Nadu, across the political divide, privately but effectively supported the Indian government’s policy of opposing efforts by the US and Norway to rescue Velupillai Prabhakaran so that his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) lived to fight another day, says Shivshankar Menon, India’s former National Security Adviser (NSA) in his book; “Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy”.
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