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June 27, 2017 [GMT]
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Raviraj verdict: wife calls for retrial without jury
[Wednesday 2017-01-11 18:00]

Shashikala Raviraj, the widow of MP Nadarajah Raviraj yesterday filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal requesting it to set aside the Colombo High Court order by jury, which acquitted all the six accused indicated of the murder of Raviraj, on Nov. 10, 2006. The petition said that the accused were indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and hence the trial could not be heard and decided by a Jury. The appellant had asked for a re-trial, without a Jury. Six accused were indicted in the Colombo High Court on June 20, 2016.

Shashikala Raviraj, the widow of MP Nadarajah Raviraj yesterday filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal requesting it to set aside the Colombo High Court order by jury, which acquitted all the six accused indicated of the murder of Raviraj, on Nov. 10, 2006. The petition said that the accused were indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and hence the trial could not be heard and decided by a Jury. The appellant had asked for a re-trial, without a Jury. Six accused were indicted in the Colombo High Court on June 20, 2016.


The accused were P. Sami Suresh, Prasad Chaminda, Gamini Seneviratne, Pradeep Chaminda, S. Virekandan and Royster Thursain. The defence asked for a Jury, which spoke Sinhala. The defence objected to the appointment of a Jury & the appellant had said three of the accused had absconded. The accused were acquitted on Dec. 24, 2016, after a marathon hearing which went on till 1.30 a.m.

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Ministers on confrontation with Chief Minister Wiggy
[Tuesday 2017-06-27 18:00]

The two Northern Province Council Ministers have categorically stated that they will not submit themselves to any ‘ad hoc’ investigative committee appointed illegally by the Chief Minister. They have questioned the chief minister’s legal authority to appoint any such committee and whether such authority was available in the 13th amendment to the Sri Lanka Constitution, or in the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No 2 of 1988?

Zeid notes Sarath’s petition based on May’s statement
[Tuesday 2017-06-27 18:00]

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein took note of a petition submitted to the President of the UN Human Rights Council by Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara based on a statement made by Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May. In a speech delivered at the Law Society in London Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that international human rights law is now an easy target.

No more retirees for DPL jobs
[Tuesday 2017-06-27 18:00]

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake assured the Mahanayake Thera of Malwatte most Venerable Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala that only educated, energetic persons would be recruited to the diplomatic service. Pensioners would not be considered for the diplomatic service, Minister Ravi Karunanayake told the Mahanayake Thera. The Foreign Minister said so when he paid a courtesy call on the Malwatte prelate yesterday (26) morning.

Arundika tells FCID about meeting Udayanga
[Tuesday 2017-06-27 18:00]

Deputy Minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs Arundika Fernando was at the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) this morning to give a statement regarding his meeting with former Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga in Japan. Last year, the Colombo Fort Magistrate issued an arrest warrant through Interpol on Udayanga Weeratunga, in connection with the investigation into a huge financial loss to the Government when purchasing Ukraine-built MiG-27 aircraft in 2006. Deputy Minister Fernando admitted that he had met Udayanga Weeratunga in Japan.

Lankan arrested with more than 2Kgs of gold jewelry
[Tuesday 2017-06-27 18:00]

35-year-old Sri Lankan man was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) last night while he was attempting to smuggle more than two kilograms of gold jewelry into the country, BIA Deputy Customs Director Parakrama Basnayake. He said the suspect was arrested around 11.35p.m at the Green Channel after he arrived at BIA from Bangkok Channel. The gold jewelry was found hidden inside his luggage. “The gold jewelry was found with Pearls and diamonds embedded in them. He was a businessman from Bandaragama area,” he said. Mr. Basnayake said this suspect was previously arrested for similar offence

Captain Tissa Wimalasena further remanded
[Tuesday 2017-06-27 17:00]

Two suspects including Captain Tissa Wimalasena, the driver and security officer of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa were today ordered to be further remanded till July 11 by Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court for allegedly operating an illegal rock quarry in a government owned plot of land in the Koratota area causing a loss of Rs.29 million to the government. Two suspects Tissa Wimalasena and Lal Priyantha Peiris, a former member of Puttalam Pradeshiya Sabha had been arrested by FCID under the provisions of Public Property Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Sri Lankan boatpeople sent home
[Monday 2017-06-26 18:00]

The return of Sri Lankans from Christmas Island to ¬Colombo today on a government charter jet has fuelled speculation that Australian Border Force has inter¬cepted a suspected asylum vessel in the past week. A plane chartered by the ¬Department of Immigration and Border Protection was due to take about 20 people — some of them guards and interpreters — from the Australian territory early this morning. Christmas Island residents yesterday linked the scheduled flight to an unusual spectacle last Thursday when two of the navy’s rigid inflatable vessels were seen towing a small boat close to the horizon. The last known intercept of an asylum vessel on its way to Australia was in March.

Three Ambassadors recalled
[Monday 2017-06-26 18:00]

Three Sri Lankan Ambassadors have been recalled due to incompetence, Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The minister was replying to a question by a journalist at a press conference at Sirikotha yesterday. However, the minister declined to disclose their names. “We want to take best out of our diplomatic missions. We cannot allow incompetent persons to hold those positions and enjoy their time at the expense of public money,” he said.

US envoy and Christian group discuss attacks on churches
[Monday 2017-06-26 18:00]

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the National Christian Evangelical Alliance (NCEASL) had talks on recent attacks on churches in the country. US Ambassador Atul Keshap tweeted today saying he had talks with the National Christian Evangelical Alliance on the need for non-discriminatory treatment and freedom of belief for all in Sri Lanka. In 20155 the NCEASL recorded 24 incidents of forced church closures and demands for closures by local authorities and law enforcement officers. 2016 saw 25 incidents reported, and another 09 have been reported in 2017 to date.

Parliament: Oil, gas in Mannar Basin can meet SL energy needs for 60 yrs
[Monday 2017-06-26 18:00]

The Mannar basin contains about five billion barrels of oil and nine trillion cubic feet of natural gas, Parliament was informed on Friday. The amount of fuel and natural gas there is sufficient to meet the country’s energy needs for 60 years to come, says the latest report of the Public Accounts Committee presented to Parliament by its Chairman Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna on Friday.

France to strengthen Lankan navy’s anti-piracy operations
[Monday 2017-06-26 18:00]

France says it would assist Sri Lanka to strengthen operations against piracy and narcotics smuggling. The French Ambassador Jean-Marin Schuh speaking on board the amphibious attack ship LHD Mistral - the helicopter carrier of the French Navy, which arrived at the Colombo Port as part of its Jeanne d’ Arc mission last week, said that his country was willing to support the Sri Lankan Navy.

JO alleges govt bid to thwart MR’s Pakistan visit
[Monday 2017-06-26 18:00]

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his recently concluded visit to Islamabad has pointed out how those who had come to the rescue of the LTTE on the verge of collapse on the Vanni east front in 2009 were today seeking tough measures against terrorism. The former President was referring to Western leaders resorting to unprecedented security measures in the wake of a spate of high profile attacks.

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.

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