Tamil Nadu State Farmers Withering Under Worst Drought In Living Memory Due To Failure Of Two Monsoons.

By T.S. SUBRAMANIAN IT was after 8:30 p.m. that we reached the house of Aravindh in Kulimaathur village in Tiruvaiyaru taluk of Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. We knocked on the door; a young girl, obviously his sister, opened it. We enquired if it was Aravindh’s house when her father, S. Asaithambi, stepped onto the …

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CV Wigneswaran Wants Northern Provincial Council To Set Up An Independent War Crimes Accountability Mechanism

By P.K.Balachandran The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka Tamil-majority Northern Province C.V.Wigneswaran has suggested that the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) explore the legal possibility of instituting its own independent war crimes accountability mechanism in the absence of an international judicial mechanism recommended by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in September 2015. Wigneswaran said this …

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Five Suspects Arrested Over Plot To Assassinate TNA MP Sumanthiran Produced At Kilinochchi Court And Remanded Until Feb 13th

T By Dharisha Bastians Another suspect has been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) told a court in Kilinochchi yesterday. Vijayan from Mannar is the fifth suspect to be arrested in the case. The interrogation of four ex-LTTE cadres …

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Time Has Never Been Better For Mahinda rajapaksa’s Momentous Return To Power.

By Ranga Jayasuriya Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa will no longer be hiding behind his couriers of the joint opposition (JO). Last week, he emerged from the shadows of Abeyaramaya to boldly announce at a rally in Nugegoda that after coming to power, he would recover billions that have allegedly been looted by the incumbent government. His …

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Hunger Strike in Vavuniya Called Off Due to State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene’s Benign Intervention

By Dharisha Bastians Family members of disappeared persons, who began a hunger strike in Vavuniya earlier this week, called off their fast on Thursday after State Minister of Defence Ruwan ​Wijewardene intervened and promised that the issue would be discussed at a meeting in Colombo on 9 February. A hunger strike by families of the …

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Representatives of 65 Indian Companies Attending Jaffna International Trade Fair 2017 Evince Interest in Doing “Business” in North

By Meera Srinivasan The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) will explore the “virgin market” in Jaffna, located in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, for possible business collaborations and to help commercially rebuild the former war-zone, a representative of the trade body said. Representatives of about 65 Indian companies, ranging from textiles …

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Probe Into Lasantha Wickrematunge Murder Takes A Twist After Interrogation of Sarath Fonseka By CID

by Nirmala Kannangara The investigation into the murder of founding editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge has taken a stunning twist after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) interrogated Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, whose involvement in the high profile assassination has long been suspected. Field Marshal Fonseka, who is also the Minister for Regional Development, …

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“Mahinda Rajapaksa Put Sri Lanka’s Economy Into Intensive Care Unit” – Charges Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Directing a blistering volley at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe went on the offensive over the weekend, recalling the latter’s white elephant projects and introduction of the 18th Amendment. The PM warned that no one would be allowed to derail the country’s growth. Responding to Rajapaksa’s statements at the Nugegoda rally last …

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LTTE Cadres Released By Mahinda Rajapaksa Responsible For Plot to Assassinate Sumanthiran says Champika Ranawaka.

by Anuradha Hiripitiyage Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Champika Ranawaka has claimed that the four former LTTE cadres nabbed by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) for plotting to assassinate TNA MP, M.A. Sumanthiran had been among Tigers released during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime without any investigation. Addressing a ceremony held at the Wilfred Senanayake …

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Vasudeva Nanayakkara Tells Parliament It Was A Blessing For Him to be Under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “Thattama”(Buttocks)

By Don Manu During the course of the Parliamentary debate this Tuesday on the COPE report on the Central Bank bond issue, Ratnapura District MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara revealed one of his best kept secret kinks: he loves being smothered and considers it a great blessing – provided of course, the cushioned rear belongs to the …

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Crowd at Friday’s Nugegoda Rally Was Larger Than Crowd at First “Mahinda Sulanga” Rally in Nigegoda.

by C.A.Chandraprema The crowd at the Joint Opposition rally held last Friday in Nugegoda was much larger than the crowd that attended the first ‘Mahinda sulanga’ rally in Nugegoda in February 2015. Thereby the Joint Opposition broke its own record for organising what is by far the largest gathering ever held in Nugegoda. The fact …

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Sri Lanka’s Impressive Legal System Has Degraded Over Three Decades Into One Characterised by Pervasive Impunity

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene British poet and laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s mournful call that “the old order changeth yielding place to the new…‘ is an ageless reminder of the loss of once cherished values in these uncertain times. Deprivation of voices of reason The world now steps perilously into a future in which ancient demons …

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“Thomians Young and Thomians Old, Thomians Staunch And True, Rally Round The College Flag, the Blue the Black and Blue”

by Anura Gunasekera Recently, Divesh Alek Gunasekera, not quite six years of age, dressed in the regulation blue shorts and white shirt, walked in through the gates of S. Thomas’ , Mt. Lavinia, and thus became a Thomian. His maternal grandfather Chamlal, paternal grandfather Anura and father Isuru , preceded him on this same journey, …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa Accuses Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Govt of Corruption and Stealing State assets

By Dharisha Bastians Borrowing several battle-cries from the opposition campaign that ousted his administration two years ago, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed a massive political rally in Nugegoda yesterday, accusing the national unity Government of corruption and vowing to recover stolen state assets when he regains political power. The Government was guilty of treason, Rajapaksa …

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Plot to Assassinate Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian Uncovered

By Meera Srinivasan Sri Lankan authorities have uncovered a plot to assassinate Tamil legislator M.A. Sumanthiran, The Hindu has learnt. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s office sent a message to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian from Jaffna district about a “serious security threat” to his life that Mr. Sumanthiran needed to be aware …

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CV Wigneswaran Wants Govt to Remove Ban on All Proscribed Tamil Diaspora Organizations With Suspected LTTE Links

By P.K.Balachandran The chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has appealed to the government to de-proscribe all the Tamil Diaspora organisations and stringently scrutinize only select individuals. Wigneswaran was speaking at a function in Jaffna on Thursday to inaugurate a consular section of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry there. “Let me suggest …

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Sri Lanka Could Re-negotiate UNHRC Resolution With Donald Trump and Theresa May Suggests Dayan Jayatilleka

By P.K.Balachandran The views of US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May on matters of national security offer a “window of opportunity” to the Sri Lankan government to re-negotiate the September 2015 UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on it, says Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka, former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN in Geneva …

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War Affected Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Women in East Evolve Into Community Counsellors.

By Meera Srinivasan When Thangamanikkam Saradadevi, Vellathambi Junaida and Jayadeepa Padmasri sat on a panel listening to hundreds of people in Batticaloa speak of their missing relatives, of land occupied by the military and of their waning patience, they could instantly relate to them. This was not merely because the three women were trained as …

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President Sirisena Claims Credit for Kicking Out Arjuna Mahendran and Appointing Indrajit Coomaraswamy as Central Bank Governor.

By Dharisha Bastians Delivering a thinly veiled indictment against the UNP for failing to act on the alleged treasury bond scam, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday took full credit for sacking former Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran in the interest of the country. “It was I who kicked out Arjuna Mahendran. It was I …

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Opposition Leader Sampanthan Accuses Govt and Opposition of Being “Hand in Glove When It Comes To Corruption”.

When it comes to corruption, the country’s two main political parties are hand in glove, Opposition Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan told Parliament on Tuesday, as he issued a fiery warning that corruption could pave the way for dictatorship and the termination of democracy. Speaking at the adjournment debate on the COPE report on the alleged Central …

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Finance Minister and Prime Minister Flay Auditor- General In Parliament

The Auditor General took centre stage in Parliament yesterday as both the Government and the Opposition stepped up to define the parameters of his powers after the contentious official released a decade’s worth of bond transaction details made by the Central Bank to COPE. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke returned to the House on the offensive, …

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Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream at Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s Office

By C.A.Chandraprema In January last year, the Prime Minister appointed an 11 member body styled the ‘Consultation Task Force on Transitional Justice and Reconciliation’ comprising of the following individuals. Manouri Muttetuwegama – Chairperson , Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – Secretary, Shantha Abhimanasingham PC, Visaka Dharmadasa, Dr. Farzana Haniffa, K. W. Janaranjana, Prof. Sitralega Maunaguru, Mirak Raheem, Prof. …

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Ravi Karunanayake Wants Legal Action Taken Against Auditor-General For Alleged Misconduct On Releasing Treasury Bond Scam Report

By Saman Indrajith Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told parliament yesterday that legal action should be taken against the Auditor General and his officials for not complying with the ministry’s request to provide a sensitive report pertaining to the treasury bond scandal and providing the same to another parties. The minister said the Auditor General had …

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Finance Minister Karunanayake Accuses Central Bank Officials of Feeding Information on Treasury Bond Scam to Opposition

By the Daily FT News Desk The parliamentary opposition was unified in its scathing criticism of the Government when the report of the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) on the controversial Central Bank treasury bond transaction was taken up for debate yesterday. The auction allowed a company linked to the son-in-law of former Central Bank …

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Assets of Perpetual Treasuries Grew By 1853% in 2 years While Other Primary Dealers Growth was 31% only

by Saman Indrajith The Perpetual Treasuries Limited had recorded an excessive profit of more than Rs 13 billion during the 21 months from January 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. He was moving an adjournment motion in Parliament yesterday on the COPE report on the …

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Appeal Filed Against Colombo High Court Order by Slain Tamil MP Raviraj’s wife Sasikala Fixed for support on March 3 by Court of Appeal

By S.S. Selvanayagam The Court of Appeal yesterday (24) fixed for support on 3 March the appeal filed by Appellant Sasikala Raviraj, the wife of slain TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj, against the order of the Colombo High Court in her husband’s murder case. The bench comprised Justices Deepali Wijesundera and Lalith Jayasuriya.

Anti-Corruption Front Complains to President Sirisena About Arjuna Mahendran Continuing to Influence Decisions of Monetary Board and Central Bank

By Dharisha Bastians Local corruption watchdog the Anti-Corruption Front yesterday wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena, urging him to ban former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran from attending meetings at the Ministry of Finance and continuing to influence the decisions of the Monetary Board. Former Governor Mahendran, who was deprived of a service extension after an …

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Return of Rajapaksas to Power Seems Possible Again as Resentment Rises Against Ruling Regime

By SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda “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 …

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Amparai District Muslim Farmers Plead with Indifferent “Good Governace”Govt to Return 2878 Acres of Agricultural Land Seized During War

By P K Balachandran Muslim farmers in Amparai district in Eastern Sri Lanka are pleading with the government to return 2878 acres of agricultural land which ought to have been given back to them when the 30-year war ended in 2009. The non-return of these lands has affected 1406 families, who find that the end …

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President Sirisena Instructs Attorney-General to Appoint Special Presidential Commisson to Probe Central Bank Treasury Bond Fraud Allegations

President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Attorney General to take immediate steps to appoint a Special Presidential Commission to inquire into the allegations of malpractices in the bond issue of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and take required legal action, President’s Media Division said in a release yesterday. It said: A gazette notification to …

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Tamil daily “Virakesari” Calls for Wordwide “Tamil Spring”Protest in Support of the Sri Lankan Tamil Cause As in the case of “Jallikkattu”.

By P.K Balachandran 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 …

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Buddhist Monk Thiniyawala Palitha Thera Perceived as UNP Lackey Files Petition in Court Challenging COPE Report on Treasury Bond Scam to Obstruct Scheduled Parliament Debate

A Buddhist monk appointed by the Finance Ministry to the Lanka Hospitals’ (Apollo) Board of Directors has filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition challenging the report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) on the bond issue — just days before Parliament debates the matter. The petitioner, Ven Thiniyawala Palitha Thera, is claiming that the …

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Mahinda Tells Maithripala’s Chief Minister Emissaries That SLFP Quitting UNP Led Govt Is Necessary For Electoral Agreement

by Shamindra Ferdinando Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa has indicated that there couldn’t be a consensus between his grouping and the SLFP under the present circumstances. Former President Rajapaksa has declared that his grouping wouldn’t accept any arrangement at the expense of the party against the backdrop of the SLFPers in government …

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Wimal Weerawansa Became A Multi-Millionaire After Joining The Cabinet of Mahinda Rajapaksa

By Nirmala Kannangara The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) is to file further ‘B’ reports in courts against the renegade Marxist Weerasangilige Wimal Weerawansa for his alleged involvement into many other large scale scandalous corruptions that has cost the country millions of rupees during the Rajapaksa regime. Weerawansa who is now in remand prison for …

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CID to Interrogate Ex- Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Over the Assassination of “Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga

By Hemantha Randunu CID would soon interrogate former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on the murder of former Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, Police headquarters sources said yesterday. The former defence secretary would be questioned on the matters transpired during the interrogation of former Army Commander and Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who had …

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Seven Lessons to Be Learnt From The Youth Upsurge Against The Ban on “Jallikkattu” Sport.

By Col R.Hariharan The nine-day long youth upsurge against the ban on Jallikattu – a traditional form of bull running during the Pongal celebrations – is expected to peter out after the ruling AIADMK’s stop-gap chief minister O Panneerselvam managed to defuse the situation, at least partially, with the cooperation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi …

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SLFP Decisions on Constitutional Reform are a Betrayal of Mandate Received by President Sirisena on Jan 8th 2015

(Excerpts From the “Sunday Times”Political Column) 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 …

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Justice Minister Rajapakshe’s Rejection Of CTF Report And Unwarranted “Ethnicised”Comments Smack of Racism

By Ayesha Zuhair Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Minister in charge of Justice, Wijedasa Rajapakshe has declared that he has “no confidence” in the government appointed Consultation Task Force (CTF) on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by thevery government in which he is a Minister. (Daily Mirror, 07 January 2017). Rajapakshe’s decision to express his lack of confidence in …

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President Sirisena Expresses Concern But Project to Build Tyre Factory in Horana Rolls On.

By Namini Wijedasa Controversial businessman Nandana Lokuwithana has begun clearing the land in Horana where he proposes to set up a tyre factory, even before the lease agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) is signed. Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena has sent a note via the Prime Minister’s office to the Cabinet Committee on Economic …

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Govt Must Be Sincere About National Human Rights Action Plan(NHRAP)and Not Use It For International Consumption Only

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene 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 …

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Animals Trapped by Moragahakanda Reservoir Waters Being Rescued and Relocated by Wildlife Officials and Volunteers

By Malaka Rodrigo Operations to rescue and relocate small wild creatures trapped by the waters of the Moragahakanda reservoir are continuing. Filling of water at the reservoir began on January 11. Department of Wildlife Conservation officers with support from volunteers began rescuing wildlife species that had been trapped by the rising waters. “Giant squirrels, squirrels, …

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Around 800 Families Living Near Beira Lake to be Relocated for Clearing 152 Acres in Colombo for Mixed Development Projects

By Damith Wickremasekara Initial preparations for the development of 152 acres around the Beira Lake with mixed development projects and hotels, will get off the ground next month, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said. Mr. Rupasinghe said the project will begin by clearing the waterways by blocking illegal water outlets and sewerage …

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Is Sri Lanka Ready to Cope with Surging Economic Nationalism and Trade Protectionism of USA and European Union?

By Mano Ratwatte On Jan 20th President Trump warned the world about global free-trade in his inaugural speech. He said “Buy American Hire American and America First” . Trump fired quite a few shots across the bow at the nations he felt are not giving him a fair deal. TPP is dead and NAFTA will …

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CV Wigneswaran’s Canada “Visit” Exposes Deep Divisions Within TNA and the Northern Provincial Council.

By Manekshaw The Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran returned to Colombo on Monday (16) after a hectic one week’s tour in Canada. Before heading to the airport, Wigneswaran addressed a public meeting attended by nearly 600 Lankan Tamil expatriates at the Scarborough University Pan Am stadium. Wigneswaran, in the last lap of his tour in …

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Sri Lankan Tamil Ministers in Govt Divided Over Housing for War Displaced Issue:DM Swaminathan Pushes for Steel but Vijayakala Maheswaran Wants Brick

By P.K.Balachandran The Sri Lankan government continues to be divided on a proposal by Lakshmi Mittal’s company ArcelorMittal to build 65,000 prefabricated houses made of steel and PVC in the Northern and Eastern Provinces for the war-displaced families. While Rehabilitation Minister D.M.Swaminathan, who mooted the project, is certain that it is on, the Minister for …

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Panneerselvam Will Inaugurate “Jallikkattu”Event at Alanganallur on Jan 22nd at 10 am.

Even as protestors at the Marina refused to budge till a permanent solution is found to the jallikattu issue, TN CM O Panneerselvam on Saturday announced that an ordinance has been passed for conduct of the sport. The bull taming sport is set to take place in Alanganallur and other places in the state on …

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Jallikkattu Ordinance Provides Temporary Relief to Tamil Nadu But Fight for a Permanent Solution Continues.

By Ragamalika Karthikeyan The ordinance for the conduct of jallikattu is here, and the supporters of the bull taming sport have got a temporary relief. But even as the fight for a permanent solution continues, one question on everyone’s mind is whether this ordinance will withstand the scrutiny of the courts. This question is especially …

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Indian President Pranab Mukherjee Gives Assent to Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao Promulgating Ordinance Making Jallikkattu Legal in the State.

It’s a temporary win, but nonetheless a big win for the people’s movement at Marina, Alanganallur and many other parts of Tamil Nadu. TN Governor Vidyasagar Rao has promulgated an ordinance making jallikattu legal in the state. The Governor’s assent comes after the ordinance draft was approved by the Home Ministry and Law Ministry. Through …

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“We Will Make America Great Again”- Text of 45th US President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address

Read President Donald Trump’s inaugural address as prepared for delivery: Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you. We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of …

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What is Donald Trump Likely to Achieve in Power? -The Economist

MUCH of the time, argues David Runciman, a British academic, politics matters little to most people. Then, suddenly, it matters all too much. Donald Trump’s term as America’s 45th president, which is due to begin with the inauguration on January 20th, stands to be one of those moments. It is extraordinary how little American voters …

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Donald John Trump Sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America

By Julie Pace Pledging to empower America’s ‘‘forgotten men and women,’’ Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight …

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President Sirisena Wants Emergency to be Declared With Simple Majority by Parliament Instead of Two -Thirds Majority.

By Shamindra Ferdinando President Maithripala Sirisena has directed that proposed National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NHRAP) shouldn’t in any way be an obstacle to imposition of Emergency Regulations. President Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces had instructed that a controversial clause pertaining to the declaration …

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Ratifying and Implementing 27 International Conventions by Sri Lankan Govt is Sole Criteria for Restoration of GSP Plus says European Union.

The European Union has said that the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions signed by successive Sri Lankan governments were the only criteria on which the incumbent Government application to regain the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) would be assessed. These conventions relate to international human rights, labour rights, environmental standards and good …

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2nd “Ezhuga Thamizh”(Arise Tamil)Rally To Be Held in Batticaloa by Tamil Peoples Council Postponed From Jan 21st to Jan 28th

By Dharisha Bastians The second ‘Eluga Tamil’ rally expected to be held in Batticaloa tomorrow has been postponed after Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran was undecided about attendance and provincial education authorities decreed that Saturday 21 January would be a school day, organisers said. Organisers announced that the rally had been tentatively postponed for …

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“Sri Lanka Hopes to Offer Trincomalee Harbour to India” Reveals Lankan Cabinet Minister Sarath Fonseka in New Delhi

By Kallol Bhattacherjee 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 …

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Sri Lankan Tamils Demonstrate in Support of Restoration of “Jallikkattu” in Tamil Nadu

By P.K.Balachandran Though there is no Jallikattu tradition in Sri Lankan Tamil villages, the Tamils of the island nation have enthusiastically joined the Jallikattu restoration movement now going on in Tamil Nadu by organizing demonstrations in support of it. On Wednesday, a demonstration was held by Junior Rotarians opposite the Nallur Kandswamy temple in Jaffna. …

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Appeal Filed by Slain Tamil MP’s wife Sasikala Raviraj Dismissed by Appeal Court as Petitioner or Her Lawyers were not Present.

By S.S. Selvanayagam and Dharisha Bastians The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the appeal filed by the wife of slain MP Nadarajah Raviraj against the ruling of the Colombo High Court in her husband’s murder case. The bench comprised Justices Deepali Wijesundera and Lalith Jayasuriya. The judges dismissed the appeal because the aggrieved party Sasikala …

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Sri Lankan Cabinet Amends National Human Rights Action Plan to Continue with De-criminalization of Homosexuality.

By P.K.Balachandran The Sri Lankan cabinet has decided not to de-criminalize homosexuality, cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said here on Wednesday. But asked if there is a possibility of homosexuals being arrested under the existing law which criminalizes homosexuality, Senaratne said there is little likelihood of arrests as people indulge in homosexuality indoors, …

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Govt Unclear Whether it wants a new Constitution, Modest Reform or Renovation of the Existing One.

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA Not only is the government increasingly divided, I am too. It was almost the end of 2016 and at the society wedding of the year attended by the incumbent President, the Prime Minister and two former Presidents (of wildly unequal popularity even in an elite setting), that a very senior retired …

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Heightened Interest in Sri Lanka by US Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) is Cause for Concern

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya Responding to my column of January 07, 2017 titled ‘US role in Sri Lanka’s institutional reform process – Assistance or Espionage?’ the Secretary General of Parliament wrote a Letter to the Editor regarding the agreement signed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Washington DC in September. It said “The said agreement does not …

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Lanka Coal Chairman Maithri Gunaratne Who Exposed Sordid Swiss Coal Tender Deal Removed from Post by Power Minister Siyambalapitiya.

by Shamindra Ferdinando Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has removed attorney-at-law Maithri Gunaratne from the post of Chairman Lanka Coal Company (LCC) a week after the UNPer exposed sordid coal deals perpetrated at Sri Lanka’s expense. Former Southern Provincial Council member confirmed his removal and the disbanding of the board of directors Secretary …

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MG Ramachandran Born in Kandy Was Sri Lanka’s Gift to India Says Indian Consul-General at MGR Birth Centenary Event in Jaffna.

By P.K.Balachandran The 100th birth anniversary of M.G.Ramachandran, who dominated the Tamil film world as well as Tamil Nadu politics like a colossus till his death in December 1987, was observed in the North Sri Lankan Tamil town of Jaffna on Tuesday with the Indian Consul General, A.Natarajan, as the Chief Guest. The solemn function …

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Alleged Ex-LTTE Leader Suresh Manikkavasagam to be Deported From Canada to Sri Lanka

Canada will finally deport a former Tamil Tiger who raised funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Manickavasagam Suresh was sent by the LTTE to Canada in 1990 to serve as the coordinator of the World Tamil Movement to raise funds from the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Canada’s federal court has upheld his …

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“Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka”(EMSL)Organization Formed on Dec 30th 2016 by Group of Persons Who Quit Islam as a Religion.

A group of individuals, who chose to leave the religion they were born to – Islam, owing to different reasons, joined as a group to form ‘Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka’ (EMSL), two days prior to bidding farewell to the year 2016. Coming out to the public for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history as …

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Deafening Silence of USA and India Over Maithri-Ranil Govt’s Hambantota Deal With the “Robber Barons” of China.

By Sumanasiri Liyanage Why have the US and India not raised yet an issue over the decision of the Sirisena- Wickremesinghe government to lease out Hambantota Port to a Chinese company for 99 years has surprised many. The Sri Lankan government has also decided to grant China 15,000 acres in the vicinity of Hambantota Port. …

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“President Sirisena Must Honour Mandate to Abolish the Executive Presidency” – MA.Sumanthiran M.P.

By Kelum Bandara Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP for the Jaffna District M.A. Sumanthiran, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, shares his views on the Constitution making and the way forward. He says his party remains optimistic about a positive outcome. Excerpts: Q How optimistic are you of the Constitution making process? Well, this …

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Mano Ganesan Seeks Cabinet Approval to Recruit,Train and Appoint 3000 “Bi-lingual Assistants” in State Institutions

By Sandun Jayawardana The sole authority for language policy implementation is the Ministry of National Coexistence, Dialogue and Official Languages. The Department of Official Languages (DOL), the Official Languages Commission (OLC) and National Institute of Language Education and Training (NILET) fall within its purview. Mano Ganesan is proud of being the first subject minister proficient …

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Lack of Bi-lingual Proficiency Among Govt Officials Hampers the Implementation of Tamil as an Official Language.

By Sandun Jayawardana On December 28, Aingkaran Kugathasan accompanied a friend to the Jaffna police station to lodge a complaint. It was around10.40 a.m. and there was a long queue. But even after one hour, the line did not move. “When we inquired, we were told there was only one policeman conversant in Tamil and …

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Is a Reformed Executive President Better Than An Executive Prime Minister?

By Ranga Jayasuriya Few institutions in this country are as vilified as the executive presidency. The SLFP has been campaigning to abolish it since the very first day it was introduced under the 1978 Constitution. However, after they were elected to power, SLFP leaders did anything but abolishing the executive presidency. Chandrika Kumaratunga won a …

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Wilpattu Settlements Environmental Crisis Has Changed Into an Ethnic Issue Between Sinhalese and Muslims.

By Rathindra Kuruwita “Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. The real service to the State is to detect it in embryo.” – Isaac Asimov The issue of establishing new settlements on forest areas adjoining Wilpattu National Park has moved beyond from being an environmental issue to a tribal shoving match, by tribes …

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Board of Investment Dupes Country,President and Prime Minister About Non-Existent Volkswagen Assembly Plant Deal

by Nirmala Kannangara After the Volkswagen Company in Germany claimed that they have not invested in an vehicle assembly plant in Sri Lanka nor have any intention to do so even in future, it had now come to limelight as to how the Board of Investments (BOI) not only duped the President and Prime Minister …

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Rajapaksa Regime’s Ex -Nigeria Envoy “ASP”Liyanage of “Speaking Notes Fame”, Designated as Ambassador to Qatar by “Yahapalanaya” Govt

A businessman who was once handpicked by the former administration to head Sri Lanka’s embassy in Nigeria, has been officially named ambassador-designate to Qatar. Panagoda Don Prince Solomon Anura Liyanage, more commonly known as ASP Liyanage, was nominated by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Qatari Government is yet to be notified. He is the latest in …

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“Dangal”Based on Life of Haryana Wrestler Mahavir Phogat Adjudged the Best Film at 62nd “Filmfare “Awards

Aamir Khan bagged the best actor honour, while his movie “Dangal” was adjudged as the best film at the 62nd Jio Filmfare Awards. The best director award went to Nitesh Tiwari for “Dangal”, which is based on the life of Haryana wrestler Mahavir Phogat and his daughters. The awards, held on Saturday, was hosted by …

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MCDonalds in India Introduces “Dosa Burger” Combining French Style Brioche With Ingredients of Potato Masala Dosa.

Unmentionable things have been stuffed into the dosa over the years, so why the outrage over its McAvatar? McD made a mash of milagu mayo Packed a pickled potato patty Dosa’s done and dusted It’s McBreakfast’s Taste of India Challenge. All across the South, the Dosa Masters have raised their ladles in silence.On January the …

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97,000 Applicants in North for Pre-fabricated Steel Houses but Tamil National Alliance Protests Against Project

by Dilisha Abeysundara The people in the North have been suffering for the past thirty years with war right at their doorstep and their sole wish has been to live in peace under their own roof on their land. Sadly, even after a decade since the end of the war, the authorities have failed to …

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2017 Admissions to Royal College Grade 1 Classes Suspended by Education Ministry Due to Allegations of “Right Royal”Fraud.

by Roshani Nathaniel The Ministry of Education has decided to suspend grade one admissions to Royal College Colombo for the new academic year in response to complaints received by the Education Ministry in November, 2016 with regard to alleged irregularities that took place during the selection process of students for grade one. The grade one …

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Mahinda Loyalist Lokuwithana to be Given 100 Acres on 99 Year Lease at Annual Rent of Rs 100 Per Acre to Build Tyre Factory in Horana

By Namini Wijedasa The Government, through the Ministry of Development Strategies, is drawing up a sweetheart deal for controversial Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuwithana to build a tyre factory in Horana. Among other things, it will grant him a 99-year lease on 100 acres of land for an annual rent of just 100 rupees an …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Glue That Holds the Coalition Governing Sri Lanka Together

By Dr. Ram Manikkalingam The National Unity Government with Maithripala Sirisena as President and Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister has lasted for two years. How much longer will it last, given the policy, political and personal dilemmas that bedevil it? The coalition that governs Sri Lanka came together to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa. And it has …

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Digital Specialty Chemicals Ltd CEO Ravi Gukathasan Donates $2 Million to Toronto Uiversity Scarborough Campus for Tamil Studies

By Berton Woodward One of University of Toronto Scarborough Campus’s earliest Tamil alumni has given UTSC a historic donation of $2 million to support Tamil studies. The gift from Ravi Gukathasan (U of T PhD, 1986; UTSC BSc, 1982), who is CEO of Digital Specialty Chemicals Ltd. in Scarborough, is the largest single cash gift …

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Setting Up Criminal Justice Commissions to Probe Corruption Charges Against Political Rivals May Be Maithripala’s ” Secret Weapon” to Clear the Way for 2020 Polls .

By Don Manu Perhaps triggered by Mahinda Rajapaksa throwing down the gauntlet two weeks ago and threatening to topple the government this year, the Sirisena faithful drew ranks last week and proceeded to lay the groundwork for The Empire to strike back with a vengeance. The first was a line of defense. It was to …

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Several Ministers Raise Issues About Some Provisions in Proposed 300 Page National Human Rights Action Plan.

Govt ministers at their weekly meeting discussed the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) 2017-2021. Its urgency has been underscored by European Union’s initial moves to restore to Sri Lanka the General System of Preferences (GSP plus). The NHRAP report runs into more than 300 pages and several ministers raised issue over what they perceived …

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Untoward Jubilation of Govt Ministers Over EU Announcement on GSP+ Must Be Abruptly Checked

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene The European Commission’s proposal this week to the European Union (EU) regarding the restoration of GSP (General System of Preference) Plus to Sri Lanka’s export market did not carry with it, any element of particular surprise. This was a step long predicted. Checking displays of untoward jubilation And as a rider, …

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Wimal Weerawansa “Released” Gpvt Vehicles for Personal use of Close relatives,Friends,Party Activists and “Ravana Balaya”

By Rasika Jayakody National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and UPFA Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa was arrested last week by the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID), for the abuse of state vehicles. Several politicians and state officials under the previous government were under investigation for the same charge over the past few months, leading to the …

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Unravelling of “Yahapalanaya” Can Lead to Opening of Door for the Re-creation of a Sordid Rajapaksa Past

by Anura Gunasekera The MP for Kurunegala, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has announced a wish, intent and threat, a three-in-one package for the New Year. Perhaps it is also a resolution; that is to topple the existing Sirisena/Wickramasinghe coalition and to establish a new government . Its composition and contours have not been defined but it is …

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Local Govt Polls with 79% seats for First Past the Post and 21% by Proportionate Representation Unfair to Minority and Small Parties.

By P.K.Balachandran Small political parties and parties of small minorities have got a raw deal in the local government reform process and may be reluctant to support any legislation in the regard, says Mano Ganeshan, leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) and a cabinet minister for National Languages and Dialogue. Ganeshan told Express on …

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Wijedasa Rajapakshe Opposes Ravi Karunanayake’s Proposal to Grant Foreigners Residential Visa for US $300,000 Investment

by Zacki Jabbar Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday that he was opposed to the proposal by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to grant foreigners resident visas for a minimum investment of US$ 300,000. Asked if the required legislation was in place, Rajapakshe replied that Karunanayake’s proposal had not been presented to the Cabinet of Ministers. …

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Thanks to Litigation By Vasudeva Nanayakkara ,Supreme Court will Decide Fate of China-Funded Hambantota Port Deal

By P.K.Balachandran A Sri Lankan Supreme Court case filed by Joint Opposition MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, challenging the way in which the government decided to give 80 percent stake in the Hambantata port to a Chinese company for 99 years, will decide the fate of the controversial and politically explosive deal with geopolitical implications. The case …

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Is the Western “Tie” a Snake in Disguise for National Leaders Like President Maithripala Sirisena?

By Gamini Akmeemana President Maithripala Sirisena has a penchant for getting worked up over things most of us take for granted. This time, it was a tie. Having spotted a Divisional Secretary wearing a tie at a Pirith ceremony in Polonnaruwa, he was moved to ask if a tie was necessary for the occasion (‘mama …

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Hambantota Protest Though the “Height of Hypocrisy”Has Struck a Nerve – The Economist

FOR generations, Priyantha Ananda’s family sold kalu dodol—a sticky sweet made of coconut milk and rice flour—on the old Tangalle road in Hambantota. The government moved his wayside shop in 2008 to build a sprawling commercial port, financed by Chinese loans. He was one of around 40 street vendors forced to relocate to another neighbourhood, …

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“Lasantha Wickrematunge was the most Outstanding Journalist of Our Times” -Gamini Weerakoon

By Gamini Weerakoon (Full Text of speech delivered by former Editor of “The Island” Gamini Weerakoon at the 8th Death Anniversary memorial event of Lasantha Wickrematunga – Founder Editor of “The Sunday Leader”- who ws assassinated on Jan 8th 2009) We hav egathered here today to commemorate the life and the journalistic career of Lasantha …

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Govt Must Attempt Course Correction in 2017 Or Continue on Self-Destructive Path to Face Defeat in 2020

By Dharisha Bastians Every year on 8 January, a quiet gathering takes place at a grave inside the Borella cemetery. Words are spoken softly about a life lived in glorious irreverence, a man remembered for his courage and capacity to inspire. Flower tributes are paid at his tombstone inside the tree-lined cemetery; memory sketches are …

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‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils

By P. Krishnaswamy After the Christmas and New Year festivities, the focus is now on the Pongal harvest festival, popularly known as Thai Pongal, celebrated in the first four days of the month of Thai in the Tamil-Hindu calendar. Traditionally, it is the festival of farmers who depend on Mother Earth, the sun, rain, other …

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Ex-President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa Answers Questions Posed to him on Twitter.

Former President turned Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa took to twitter yesterday to answer questions live posed to him by the twitteratzi. Following are some of the questions by them and his responses. Parthiban @itsparthiban: Do you think the National Unity Government will solve the national issue? Response: Good Morning… So far their acts or …

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Muslim Council of Sri Lanka Complains to US Envoy Atul Keshap About Issues Affecting Community Including Wilpattu

By P.K.Balachandran The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) met the US Ambassador Atul Keshap here on Wednesday and apprised him of the issues facing the Muslim community in the light of a recent resurgence of Sinhala-Buddhist extremism with the tacit support of a section of the government. Briefing Express on the meeting, MCSL member …

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EU Restores GSP Plus Concessions to Sri Lanka but Will Monitor Human Rights Issues

By P.K.Balachandran The European Commission decided on Wednesday to restore trade concessions under the General System of Preference Plus (GSP-Plus) to Sri Lanka but on the condition that Sri Lanka fulfills its obligations in regard to the maintenance of human rights. “Removal of customs duties would be accompanied by rigorous monitoring and conditional on continued …

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Ex-President Rajapaksa Attempts to Topple Govt by Exploiting Rising Hostility Against It.

By Pradeep Ramanayake In comments to the media on December 28, former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse declared that he would “topple” the government in 2017, accusing it of failing in its “management and development of the country.” Rajapakse added: “The biggest thing that they did was to stop all the development works that I …

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Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants Chinese Funded Projects in Hambantota Implemented Without Displacement of People and Harming Environment

By Meera Srinivasan Opposing the Sri Lankan government’s terms for a controversial Chinese-funded port and investment zone in the southern district of Hambantota, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday said the projects displaced people and harmed the environment. Days after his meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang, Mr. Rajapaksa said: “My request …

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President Sirisena’s Brother and Leading Rice Miller Dudley Promises Reduction of Rice Price After February 3rd Week.

The Chairman of leading rice mill owner Araliya Rice, Dudley Sirisena, yesterday promised to maintain the bulk rice price at Rs. 90 and reduce prices after the third week of February, offsetting fears of a shortage. President Maithripala Sirisena’s sibling, speaking on behalf of all mill owners in the country, gave a personal guarantee that …

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Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Seems to be Trapped in the Politics of Survival

By Meera Srinivasan Two years after Sri Lankans made an emphatic point by voting for change, which President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe personified at that time, the national unity government they brought to power seems trapped in the politics of survival. In the early hours of January 9, 2015, Sri Lanka witnessed …

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Attorney-General Petitions Court of Appeal for Re-trial of Raviraj Assassination Case by a Judge Without Jury and Under PTA.

By P.K.Balachandran The Sri Lankan Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya on Wednesday petitioned the Court of Appeal for a retrial of the Nadarjah Raviraj assassination case by a judge and not a jury, and under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), not ordinary law. The Colombo High Court had acquitted the five persons accused of killing …

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European Commission Recommends Restoration of GSP+ By European Union In Exchange for Lanka Implementing 27 International Conventions

The European Commission proposed that a significant part of the remaining import duties on Sri Lankan products should be removed by the European Union in exchange for the country’s commitment to ratify and effectively implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour conditions, protection of the environment and good governance. It added in a statement …

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Sri Lanka Regains GSP Plus Due to Govt Protecting Human Rights and Restoring Democracy Says Prime Minister Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says, in a media statment, that Sri Lanka has regained the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, known as GSP Plus. He says regaining the GSP Plus was possible due to the government’s commitment to the protection of human rights and the restoration of democracy. “This is a victory not only for the …

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Wimal Weerawansa Arrested and Remanded For Alleged Misuse of Govt Vehicles While Supporters Chant”Hail to the Leader who Saved the Nation”.

By Dharisha Bastians The well-frequented Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) in Fort was the scene of tension and demonstrations yesterday, as National Freedom Front Leader, and former Minister Wimal Weerawansa was arrested by the special police unit on charges of misusing Government vehicles and causing losses to the tune of Rs. 41 million to the …

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Assassinated MP Nadarajah Raviraj’s Wife Sasikala Files Appeal Seeking Colombo High Court Acquittal Order to be Set Aside by Court of Appeal

By S.S. Selvanayagam The wife of slain MP Nadarajah Raviraj filed a case in the Court of Appeal against the ruling of the Colombo High Court in her husband’s murder case. Appellant Sasikala Raviraj seeks the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court’s acquittal of the accused. She filed her appeal on the …

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Murdered TNA Parliamentarian Raviraj’s Family Still Waiting for Justice After Acquittal of Persons Charged

By Meera Srinivasan It was the Christmas weekend last year. Praviinaa Raviraj woke up and looked at the newspapers. ‘All accused released’, the front-page headlines screamed. Beneath was a photograph of her father Nadarajah Raviraj — a Tamil legislator killed in 2006 — alongside that of three naval intelligence officers, celebrating with their families, following …

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Premier Ranil Presents to Cabinet Draft Counter Terrorism Law With “Progressive Provisions” to Replace Draconian PTA.

By Dharisha Bastians ​* PM presents revised CTA policy to Cabinet. * Revisions make confessions to police inadmissible as evidence. * Suspects to be produced before magistrate within 48 hours. *Persons arrested under CTA to get same access to legal counsel guaranteed under general law. * Detainees can only be held four months in custody …

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Chandrika Kumaratunga Says Consultation Task Force Was Not Mandated to Provide Recommendations or Solutions

By Chathuri Dissanayake The political interests of opposing parties prevented the country from adopting a new Constitution, former president Chandrika Kumaratunga said, claiming that previous attempts were botched by the United National Party for political gain. “What Ranil Wickremesinghe rejected then is what he is trying to bring about now. He opposed the constitutional changes …

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SLFP will Field Maithripala Sirisena as Presidential Candidate in 2020 Declares S.B. Dissanayake

Despite President Maithripala Sirisena’s promise to never run for office again Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday said that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) would field Sirisena as the candidate for the Presidential Election in 2020. Speaking to the media, Dissanayake claimed that President Sirisena is yet to give his opinion about being the SLFP candidate …

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