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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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SL will fudge HR issues due to weak political will: UK Forum
Published Date: 01/05/2016 (Sunday)
Participants at a London seminar on ‘Sri Lanka and the challenges facing it’, claimed that the President Maithripala Sirisena government lacked the political will to implement some of the worthwhile and progressive recommendations to emerge from Commissions inquiring into Human Rights (HR) issues arising from the ethnic conflict. It was also claimed that, though the new government co-sponsored the US initiated Resolution passed by the UNHR Council last September, the government was likely to make only symbolic gestures to be seen to be meeting its obligations to satisfy the Council.
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Number of Guantanamo detainees continues to drop as they are transferred to countries.
Published Date: 30/04/2016 (Saturday)
Over the past month, 11 prisoners have been released from Guantánamo Bay, bringing the prisoner population down to 80. On 3 April, 2 Libyan prisoners were transferred to Senegal on humanitarian grounds. Libya is one of several countries to which prisoners cannot be currently repatriated. The two men, Omar Khalifa Mohammed Abu Bakr, 43, and Salem Abdul Salem Ghereby, 55, were captured in Pakistan in late 2001 and sold to the US military who took them to Guantánamo. Both men are alleged to have been members of anti-Gaddafi militant groups in Libya, a regime overthrown by the US and its allies in 2011. One of the men is crippled and is missing a leg. The government of Senegal said that it accepted the men, who have been held without charge or trial for over 14 years, on humanitarian grounds
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The return of the white van
Published Date: 28/04/2016 (Thursday)
The Tamil Guardian today reported two “white van abductions”; incidents in which unidentified persons driving a “Dolphin” van snatched individuals off the streets. This follows three similar incidents in recent weeks: former LTTE commander, Kanathippillai Sivamoorthy (also known as Nagulan), was reportedly abducted in Jaffna on 26th April; former LTTE commander, Ram, was reported as abducted in the Eastern province on 24th April; and a Tamil man was reportedly abducted by a white van from his home in Jaffna on 10th April. The three previously reported abductees all turned up in detention having been remanded by Sri Lanka’s Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). It remains to be seen whether the two latest abductees have also been arrested in such an unorthodox manner.
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FURTHER DISREGARD OF TAMIL POLITY WILL FURTHER JUSTIFY FEDERALISM--Jehan Perera
Published Date: 27/04/2016 (Wednesday)
Further disregard of Tamil Polity will further justify federalism”, says Dr. Jehan Perera, Executive Director, National Peace Council (NPC) of Sri Lanka. In the recent NPC statement, he said, “The Northern Provincial Council led by its Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran has passed a resolution for the government to take up in the constitutional reform process. The main feature of the resolution is to merge the Northern and Eastern provinces into a single federal unit.
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Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in Transitional Justice
Published Date: 23/04/2016 (Saturday)
On a recent visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera made a revealing series of comments in response to a question at a forum organized by the United States Institute of Peace. When asked about the government’s timeline to introduce what the government calls “reconciliation mechanisms”, his response reflected his view that controversial Transitional Justice (TJ) mechanisms must be initiated quickly, without much delay. Citing Margaret Thatcher, he claimed that the most controversial aspects of a government’s agenda must be implemented within “a year or two” of its assumption of office.
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Sri Lankan prime minister criticized for being anti-people
Published Date: 22/04/2016 (Friday)
Fishermen and environmental activists including Christian priests and nuns protest against the Sri Lankan government's decision to go ahead with the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City Project. Priests and environmentalists have criticized Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe for reneging on his promise to scrap a controversial Chinese-funded port city project.
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Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka
Published Date: 22/04/2016 (Friday)
According to the latest ‘Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka’ survey conducted by Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lankans have a low level of confidence in the Government’s commitment towards eradicating corruption in the country. While 40.8% are of the opinion that the Government is not committed towards eradicating corruption in the country, 34.5% say that the Government is committed. The decrease in the level of confidence is seen when compared to October 2015 data, where 49.6% of Sri Lankans were of the opinion that the Government is committed towards eradicating corruption in the country.
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Sri Lanka moves up in 2016 World Press Freedom Index
Published Date: 22/04/2016 (Friday)
Sri Lanka has ranked at 141st place in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the Reporters Without Borders - Reporters sans frontieres (RSF) which was published on 20 April 2016 The country was ranked at 165th place in the index in 2015. The index report published on RSF website said Sri Lanka had freed itself of the reign of terror imposed by the Rajapaksa family and its allies by electing Maithripala Sirisena as President.
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Defence Ministry server update confuses foreign passengers travelling north
Published Date: 21/04/2016 (Thursday)
A server update of Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence (MoD) website has confused foreign passengers as it required the foreign passport holders to obtain MoD approval prior to their visit to north. The MoD web link which still exists said that the Foreign Passport holders traveling to the following areas in the North are required to inform the MOD & UD and obtain prior approval.
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Sri Lanka : Why Investigations Into Mass Graves Failed So Far
Published Date: 21/04/2016 (Thursday)
The existence of a mass grave may come to the notice of the public by many different ways; a statement by a witness made during a court hearing - as in the case of Chemmani Mass Graves: discoveries of some scattered remains of bones by workers when digging a site for constructions purposes, as in the case of the Matale mass grave; or by surfacing of some remains of human bodies as a result of heavy rains or due to any other accidental reasons
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President Sirisena calls on media to ensure correct information to be disseminated for the benefit of the people
Published Date: 20/04/2016 (Wednesday)
At a meeting with the officers of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commision and the heads of all electronic media institutions, at the Presidential Secretariat said all electronic media should take steps to ensure that correct information is disseminated for the benefit of the people. President Sirisena noted at this meeting that he had been informed of fraud and corruption taking place in the TRC. He noted that appropriate steps would be taken, in line with the government’s programme, to eradicate fraud and corruption from state institutions.
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Tamil Refugees to returns from India
Published Date: 20/04/2016 (Wednesday)
V. Shrivananasorthi, Secretary to the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms announced that 20 Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu Refugee camps in India will be returning to Sri Lanka on 26 April by flight. These refugees who fled the country from Trincomalee, Jaffna, killinochchi and Vavuniya will be received at the Katunayake International airport and taken to their respective places.
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Stakeholders unite to implement SDGs
Published Date: 20/04/2016 (Wednesday)
The Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) yesterday signed the areas of cooperation for the first national summit on ‘Foresight and Innovation for Sustainable Human Development 2016’ at the UN Compound in Colombo. The 2030 Agenda is based on 17 SDGs and 169 targets, with special focus on six selected SDGs which are fundamentally targeted to improve the living standards of the people in Sri Lanka through a more holistic development approach.
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UK Parliamentary Briefing on Case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Published Date: 20/04/2016 (Wednesday)
A well-attended and informative meeting was held at the Houses of Parliament on 19 April to provide information and an update on the case of best-selling author and Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has been held without charge or trial since November 2001, when he was kidnapped from his native Mauritania by the CIA. From there, he was taken to Jordan and tortured before being taken to Bagram, Afghanistan, where he faced further abuse before he was taken to Guantánamo in November 2002. For several years, his whereabouts were unknown to his family; he had simply “disappeared”.
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Tamil Merchant in Ancient Mesopotamia
Published Date: 20/04/2016 (Wednesday)
Recent analyses of ancient Mesopotamian mitochondrial genomes have suggested a genetic link between the Indian subcontinent and Mesopotamian civilization. There is no consensus on the origin of the ancient Mesopotamians. They may be descendants of migrants, who founded regional Mesopotamian groups like that of Terqa or they may be merchants who were involved in trans Mesopotamia trade. To identify the Indian source population showing linkage to the ancient Mesopotamians, we screened a total of 15,751 mitochondrial DNAs (11,432 from the literature and 4,319 from this study) representing all major populations of India. Our results although suggest that south India (Tamil Nadu) and northeast India served as the source of the ancient Mesopotamian mtDNA gene pool, mtDNA of these ancient Mesopotamians probably contributed by Tamil merchants who were involved in the Indo-Roman trade.
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Going ahead with Mittal’s housing scheme will hamper ethnic reconciliation, TNA warns president Sirisena
Published Date: 19/04/2016 (Tuesday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has raised its objections about the Sri Lankan government’s decision to build 65,000 houses for the war affected displaced Tamils using the Indian-owned, Luxembourg-based company ArcelorMittal, headed by the Indian steel magnate, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal. It has raised its concerns with the President Maithiripala Sirisena, saying it will hamper ethnic reconciliation because the houses are unsuited to the local climate and culture.
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New IGP nominated
Published Date: 18/04/2016 (Monday)
Senior DIG Pujith Jayasundara has been nominated as the next Inspector General of Police(IGP) by a majority of the Constitutional Council members.
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Column: Colombo port, China and India
Published Date: 18/04/2016 (Monday)
Resolution of the impasse between Sri Lanka and China on the construction of a Chinese-funded port city at Colombo is not only indicative of the pragmatic policy posture of the Sri Lankan government, but also an important first step towards the materialisation of the maritime silk route initiative (MSRI) proposed by China. The new port city in Colombo, envisaging $1.4 billion investment by China on the Sri Lankan coast, had run into problems after the current Sri Lankan government headed by president Maithripala Sirisena assumed office little more than a year ago and held back the project.
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