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June 26, 2017 [GMT]
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President must contest next presidential election in 2020 - SLFP
[Monday 2017-01-09 18:00]

The Central Committee of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at a meeting held recently has decided that the party leader, President Maithripala Sirisena should contest the next presidential election in 2020, Minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama said.
The Minister in response to a media inquiry by BBC Sandeshaya said there is 27 percent minority votes in Sri Lanka and the his as well as the party's belief is that President Sirisena is the only candidate who can win a majority of those votes.

The Central Committee of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at a meeting held recently has decided that the party leader, President Maithripala Sirisena should contest the next presidential election in 2020, Minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. The Minister in response to a media inquiry by BBC Sandeshaya said there is 27 percent minority votes in Sri Lanka and the his as well as the party's belief is that President Sirisena is the only candidate who can win a majority of those votes.


However, the President who chaired the SLFP Central Committee meeting has not expressed any views on the party's decision, the Minister said. President Sirisena, when he was sworn in as President on 9 January 2015, pledged that he would not run for office for a second term. However, the political environment now has changed, Minister Amunugama says. The SLFP Central Committee has also decided to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution transferring land and police powers to provincial councils. According to Minister Amunugama, party's stance is that instead of drafting a new constitution, the government should revise the current constitution and there is no need to call for a referendum.

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TNA agrees ‘unitary state’ will be clearly defined
[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

The SLFP, UNP and the TNA have had discussions on the advisability of clearly defining the meaning of the word Ekeeya in defining the quintessential indivisible nature of the word 'State' wherever it is used in the draft of the new Constitution. The Sinhala word Ekeeya means unitary in English. Discussions are underway to include the same word in the Tamil version too, a senior Government official said yesterday. "That means the exact corresponding word in Tamil for the word Ekeeya may probably be used in the Tamil version of the Constitution too," he said.

WB US$ 100M loan facility in jeopardy
[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

The World Bank (WB) has warned the government that the US$ 100 million loan facility in the pipeline for release in September will be suspended unless the Audit Bill is tabled without further delay in Parliament and approved by it. Well-informed sources told this paper that this had come up at talks between officials of the World Bank, Finance Ministry and officials of the Auditor General's Department on 16 June.

Former ISI chief pledges support to Rajapaksa
[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa left to Pakistan last Monday afternoon to participate, as the guest speaker, at an event held at the Pakistan National Defence University. Speaking at an event organized by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Global Village Space (GVS) Rajapaksa said terrorism is against the spirit of humanity and no country can prosper if people are compelled to live their lives under fear.

Army Commander Crisantha de Silva new Chief of Defence Staff
[Sunday 2017-06-25 19:00]

Lt. Gen. Crisantha de Silva, to be promoted to General will be the new Chief of Defence Staff. He is expected to be appointed from Tuesday (June 27).His extended term as Commander of the Army was set to expire on August 22 this year. However, the retirement of Air Marshal (to be promoted Air Chief Marshal) Kolitha Gunatilleke left the post of CDS vacant. The former CDS is now being tipped for a diplomatic appointment.

Rice shock: 40 percent drop in production, huge imports soon
[Sunday 2017-06-25 18:00]

Rice production in Sri Lanka is expected to drop by 40 percent compared to last year, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned in a joint report. The report estimates that 686,000 MT of rice will be required to be imported as a result of the recent drought followed by heavy rain in rice-producing areas. Other crops, such as chillies and onion which rely mainly on rainwater, were also heavily damaged by the dry weather, the report said.

Illegal fishing by Indian fishermen skyrocket, 48 arrested within a week
[Sunday 2017-06-25 18:00]

A total of 48 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy and the Coast Guard since June 18 for illegally fishing in Sri Lankan waters, the Navy said. Navy Spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chandima Walakuluge said eight Indian trawlers were taken into the custody along with the fishermen.

Government urged to establish Office on Missing Persons
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Amnesty International called on the Sri Lankan authorities to immediately implement the much delayed Office on Missing Persons. “The people of Sri Lanka cannot wait any longer. Tens of thousands of families, from all communities, have waited far too long already. The Office on Missing Persons must be established as soon as possible,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

Batticaloa District of Sri Lanka formally declared landmines Free
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Sri Lanka's landmine affected Batticaloa District of Eastern Province has formally been declared 'mine-free' eight years after the three-decade long war ended in the North and East. The formal declaration to mark 'The First Mine-Affected District of Sri Lanka Reaching a Level of Residual Risk' was signed and handed over by stakeholders during a ceremony held at Batticaloa District Secretariat premises on Wednesday (21st June), states army media.

Democratic government cannot keep mum at a time a minor extremist group has taken people hostage - Sri Lanka FM
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake says that a people's government cannot keep mum at a time when a minor extremist group has challenged democracy by taking people hostage in this country.The Minister points out that any person or group irrespective of their status should be brought to book if they are covering up in existing democratic rights and are engaged in illegal activities. Foreign Minister Karunanayake also said that police should be more efficient to take action against such persons and groups as they are trying to embarrass the government by creating instability in the society.

New Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesperson appointed
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Superintendent of Police (SP) and Attorney-at-Law Ruwan Gunasekara has been appointed as the new Police Media Spokesman. He succeeds Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Priyatha Jayakody, who has stepped down due to health reasons. SP Gunasekara also served as the Police Media spokesman on a previous occasion.

Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force officers train on Indian Navy Dornier craft
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Two Dornier Aircraft belonging to the Indian Navy have arrived in Sri Lanka, on 19th June to provide training to a group of Sri Lanka Navy and Air Force personnel. The training exercise was carried out in the West and Southwest Coast of the Sri Lankan Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from 19th to 22nd June. Seven Air Observer officers from the Sri Lanka Navy and Air Navigators from Sri Lanka Air Force took part in the training exercise on the Dornier Aircraft.

LG election by September?
[Saturday 2017-06-24 16:00]

Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha has assured to hold the local government (LG) elections by September this year, Joint Opposition Convener and MP Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday. A group of JO MPs, LG members and provincial councilors led by MP Ranatunga met Minister Musthapha at his Ministry in Colombo yesterday. The JO group along with supporters staged a protest outside the Ministry prior to the meeting with the Minister. MP Ranatunga said the Minister seemed interested in holding the election but it was the government which is postponing the election.

Tamil group calls for international judges in Sri Lanka’s transitional justice system
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

A leading Tamil diaspora group has demanded the participation of international judges in Sri Lanka’s transitional justice processes in the wake of a UN report that was critical of country’s judicial system. Monica Pinto, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers was on a mission to Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7, 2016. Her report was tabled by the current Rapporteur, Diego Garcia-Sayan at the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council last week.

Sri Lanka's food production hit by extreme drought followed by floods - UN
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

A severe drought followed by heavy rainfalls in Sri Lanka has hit large swaths of cropping areas, threatening the food security of some 900,000 people, according to a report published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka visits Eastern Province
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap visited the Eastern Province this week to commemorate a milestone in U.S.-supported demining efforts and to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at a school to construct facilities to help communities displaced by natural disasters. During the visit, Ambassador Keshap also met leaders and activists working on post-conflict reconciliation and accountability issues.

Sarath Weerasekara hands over petition to UNHRC Chief
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara yesterday handed over a petition to UNHRC President Joaquin Alexander Maza Martelli requesting that action be taken against Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein and Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto for forcing Sri Lanka towards Constitutional Reform, basing their reports on false information and bias.

Malinga investigated over 'monkey' remark
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Fast bowler Lasith Malinga is being investigated by Sri Lanka's cricket board after comparing the country's sports minister to a monkey, the BBC reported. Sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara told Sri Lanka's players they were too fat after they failed to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals. Malinga, 33, responded by saying he did not care for criticism "from those who are simply warming chairs". "What does a monkey know about a parrot's nesting hollow?" he added. "This is like a monkey getting into a parrot's nest and talking about it." Jayasekara said Malinga's comments were a breach of his contract with the country's cricket board.

Sri Lanka Navy arrests 17 Indian fishermen for poaching in island waters
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Sri Lanka Navy on Thursday has arrested 17 fishermen from India's Tamil Nadu state for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters. The Navy Media Unit said Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Coast Guard patrol craft arrested 17 Indian fishermen in two steel hull bottom trawlers in the northern territorial waters off Nagar Kovil Thursday evening.

Opposition Leader, Foreign Minister discuss taking country forward
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Leader of Sri Lanka's Opposition, and the Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake wednesday (June 21) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the conclusion of the one hour discussion, the Opposition Leader told the media that several important matters which would help the country in its march forward were discussed during the meeting.

Rajiv Gandhi's killer seeks mercy killing, petitions Tamil Nadu government
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Robert Pious, convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has petitioned the Tamil Nadu government seeking mercy killing. In a three-page petition, Pious has asked the government to euthanize him instead of letting him spend the rest of his life in prison. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi "In 2014, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa had attempted to get us released but now I understand that the government would want me to spend the rest of my life in prison.

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