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May 23, 2017 [GMT]
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Amendments to Counter Terrorism Act
[Wednesday 2017-01-11 17:00]

The government has come up with several Amendments to the proposed ‘Counter Terrorism Act’ (CTA) that will replace the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ (PTA).
These revisions come in the wake of serious concerns expressed at the original draft of CTA that it has retained the repressive powers of the PTA.
The proposed Amendments have been discussed at length at the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security which met at the Parliamentary Complex on Monday.

The government has come up with several Amendments to the proposed ‘Counter Terrorism Act’ (CTA) that will replace the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ (PTA). These revisions come in the wake of serious concerns expressed at the original draft of CTA that it has retained the repressive powers of the PTA. The proposed Amendments have been discussed at length at the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security which met at the Parliamentary Complex on Monday.

  

A Committee member told the Daily News yesterday that heated arguments erupted during the Committee meeting when the piece of legislation was taken up. He said the meeting ended with indecision on certain provisions of the CTA including that of giving access to a lawyer before the recording of first statement of a suspect. However, the member said the draft CTA along with the proposed Amendments was to be presented for Cabinet approval yesterday. He said the Oversight Committee would take up the Bill again during the next Parliamentary sittings week after the Cabinet decides on what amendments to be accommodated.

The member said there was contention during the Committee meeting on the part of the TNA and the JVP that the access to a lawyer must be provided for the suspect immediately after the arrest and if not the Police could extract statements forcefully from the suspect.

  
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New Foreign, Finance and Ports Ministers in cabinet reshuffle Top News
[Monday 2017-05-22 19:00]

A new Foreign Minister, Finance Minister and Ports Minister took oaths today in the cabinet reshuffle before President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Nine cabinet Ministers and a State Minister took oaths before President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera took oaths as the new Finance Minister and Media Minister while former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake took oaths as the new Foreign Minister.



KP exposes how MGR and Indira Gandhi supported LTTE
[Monday 2017-05-22 19:00]

Former prominent Liberation Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) leader Kumaran Pathmanathan, who was the chief international financier and helped smuggle weapons for the terror outfit, spoke to WION in an exclusive interview. KP, as he was known, took over leadership of the LTTE following the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran and was wanted in India in connection with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. Ironically, as KP revealed, it was Rajiv Gandhi’s mother Indira Gandhi who asked RAW to aid LTTE. In his heydays, KP was a reclusive, overseas financier for the LTTE based in Thailand and avoided capture by constantly changing addresses and aliases.



Field Marshal says no withdrawal of security forces from North
[Monday 2017-05-22 19:00]

Former war winning army commander and current Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that the government would not dance to the tune of every Tom, Dick and Harry; it would not withdraw the security forces stationed in the north. Fonseka said: "We will not give in to pressure from Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran." Addressing the media at the Kiribathgoda hospital, Fonseka said that Wigneswaran was making a vain attempt to urge the government to withdraw forces from the North.



Vasu admitted to hospital but condition not serious
[Monday 2017-05-22 19:00]

Opposition Parliamentarian Vasudewa Nanayakkara was admitted to hospital today after suffering a heart ailment. However the Colombo National hospital said that the Parliamentarian was out of danger.



Australia working with India and Sri Lanka to resettle refugees
[Monday 2017-05-22 19:00]

As part of broader measures to prevent human smuggling on the high seas, Australia is working with India and Sri Lanka to rehabilitate refuges interested in going back to the island nation, Australian Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said on Friday. “There are about 100,000 Sri Lankan people who fled to Tamil Nadu in the past...There are a certain number of them who want to go back. We have an obligation to assist India and Sri Lanka in that resettlement,” he said in an interaction with a select group of journalists.



Def Secy to Germany as envoy?
[Monday 2017-05-22 18:00]

Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, is likely to be appointed as Sri Lanka's envoy to Germany, a top Government source told Ceylon Today. He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already sent Hettiarachchi's credentials to the German Government for approval. The Defence Secretary confirmed that he was already aware of the development.



European Parliament to debate Lankan issues
[Sunday 2017-05-21 18:00]

Political and civil society groups, among them Tamil diaspora organisations, have pressured the European Parliament to debate the restoration of the GSP Plus tariff preferences to Sri Lanka. It will take place during the plenary sessions of the EU Parliament in Brussels on May 31. It will follow what is being billed as a “Commission Statement” where the European Commissioner for Trade will make a statement on Sri Lanka. He will take questions from members on issues raised by them.



Vidya trial-at-bar delayed; no decision yet on whether it should be held in Colombo or Jaffna
[Sunday 2017-05-21 18:00]

The trial into the rape and murder of 18-year old schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vidya has been delayed because there is no decision yet on where it should be held. The three judges to the trial-at-bar to try the ten accused of the murder of the schoolgirl in 2015 at Punguduthivu in Kayts have been named, but the decision to hear the case in Colombo was put on hold following another proposal that it is more appropriate to hear the case in Jaffna.



Police search for gunmen who shot at them in Pallai
[Sunday 2017-05-21 18:00]

An operation was launched yesterday to apprehend those responsible for firing at a Police vehicle in Pallai, a senior police officer said. Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) Eastern Province and Acting SDIG Northern Province (NP), Sumith Edirisinghe said officers investigating Friday’s shooting at police officers in Pallai, Kilinochchi, have uncovered several vital clues, which they hope will lead to the speedy arrest of those responsible.



Royal Canadian Naval Ship HMCS Winnipeg arrives at Sri Lanka's Colombo Port
[Sunday 2017-05-21 18:00]

Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, welcomed a Royal Canadian navy ship arrived at the Port of Colombo on Sunday. The Canadian Naval Ship, HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338) arrived at the Port of Colombo for a training and goodwill visit today (20). HMCS Winnipeg, a Halifax class frigate, is on a six-month deployment from March to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region on Royal Canadian Navy's Poseidon Cutlass 17 deployment.



All ministers invited for reshuffle
[Sunday 2017-05-21 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena has invited all ministers of the Cabinet, Deputies and State Ministers to be present at the Presidential Secretariat at 8.30 a.m. tomorrow (Monday). The move came as confirmation that the long awaited Cabinet reshuffle will take place tomorrow morning. Contrary to earlier reports that the upcoming reshuffle was to lead to a few changes, Government sources said yesterday that it would now be extensive.



Constitution making would not be delayed: PM
[Sunday 2017-05-21 18:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that he had informed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other world leaders that the constitution-making process would not be delayed. He said this at the opening of the new District Secretariat Office in Mannar and underscored the fact that Mr. Modi and other world leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had hoped Sri Lanka would resolve the national question through a constitutional process.



Sri Lanka’s anti-terror bill falls far too short, raises concerns: Human Rights Watch
[Saturday 2017-05-20 18:00]

The global human rights organisation, Huma Rights Watch (HRW) says Sri Lanka’s latest counterterrorism bill falls far short of the Government’s pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council to end abusive detention without charge. While the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA), which is drafted to replace the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) improves upon the PTA, it would still permit many of the abuses occurring under current law, and raises a number of new concerns, the Human Rights Watch said in a statement Thursday.



Jaffna district MP Raviraj Murder Appeal against HC order acquitting Navy officers
[Saturday 2017-05-20 18:00]

The Court of Appeal yesterday (19) fixed to be taken up on 30 June the appeal filed by the widow of assassinated Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Nadarajah Raviraj against the order by the Colombo High Court in Raviraj’s murder case. The Bench comprised Justices Deepali Wijesundera and Lalith Jayasuriya.



CB to study debt levels among North and East Tamils
[Saturday 2017-05-20 18:00]

The Central Bank (CB) will study the growing indebtedness in Tamil-majority north and east, its Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said according to The Hindu newspaper. “We are concerned about the rise in household debt,” the Governor said, referring to a prevalent post-war challenge facing families that are rebuilding their lives. Following the study and its analysis, the apex institution will take necessary steps, Dr. Coomaraswamy told Colombo-based foreign correspondents.



Join hands to boost development in Northern Province – PM tells local politicians in Jaffna
[Saturday 2017-05-20 18:00]

In an effort to boost the development drive in the North, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called upon all local politicians and civil society activists to join the efforts of the Government to bring in investment to the Northern Province.



Gunawansa thera visits military men at Welikada
[Saturday 2017-05-20 18:00]

Ven. Elle Gunawansa yesterday visited military officers and men held at Welikada prison in connection with several cases including the killing of founding editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunga, attacks on Associate Editor of The Nation Keith Noyahr and Editor of Rivira Upali Tennakoon and disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda.



BE READY FOR ANY EMERGENCY CALL – PRESIDENT
[Saturday 2017-05-20 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena, addressing the 8th National War Heroes Commemoration Day ceremony at the Parliament Grounds War Memorial yesterday, stressed that the members of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces should be poised to meet any domestic or external emergency. He also asserted that the Government was totally committed to fortifying the Armed Forces, irrespective of mounting pressures..from certain quarters to scale down operations simply because the armed conflict with the LTTE is over and done with.



Mullivaikkal war dead commemorated
[Friday 2017-05-19 18:00]

The Mullivaikkal Memorial Day was marked yesterday (18) in many parts of the Northern and Eastern Provinces. A special event was organized by the Northern Provincial Council in Mullivaikkal East where a large number of war affected people, who had lost their loved ones during last phase of the separatist war, participated.



Gunman fires at Police in Kilinochchi
[Friday 2017-05-19 18:00]

Several Police officers attached to the Kilinochchi Police, escaped unhurt when their vehicle was shot at by an unidentified gunman, while driving along the road bordering a forest area in Kilinochchi early this morning, the Police said. They said the suspect had escaped after shooting at the officers. The Army and Police officers have launched a search operation in the area to track down the suspect, they said. The incident occurred at about 12.30 am in the Arasakeni Kachcharu area in Palai, Kilinochchi.


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