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August 24, 2017 [GMT]
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No foreign judges in transitional justice mechanisms: Mangala
[Friday 2017-03-17 17:00]

Speaking at the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday, Minister Samaraweera noted that the recommendations made by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) need not be adopted in full.
“The CTF had a wide variety of consultations, and it came up with its own recommendations. And as the government that will implement it, we also have the right to select what we need and forget what we do not need,” the minister said, while adding that, as a sovereign nation, Sri Lanka can make the final decision on the hybrid court.

Speaking at the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday, Minister Samaraweera noted that the recommendations made by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) need not be adopted in full. “The CTF had a wide variety of consultations, and it came up with its own recommendations. And as the government that will implement it, we also have the right to select what we need and forget what we do not need,” the minister said, while adding that, as a sovereign nation, Sri Lanka can make the final decision on the hybrid court.


He noted that the participation of foreign judges would not be possible under the current Constitution, and that the government would need to make amendments to include these judges in the transitional justice processes. The Minister did say that various members of the international and Sri Lankan communities see foreign participation as a means of guaranteeing impartiality in the process, but that there are other ways to go about making sure justice is done.

“We are saying there are many other ways we can guarantee independence and credibility, and we are looking at our options,” he said. Responding to those who think the reconciliation is taking too long, Minister Samaraweera pointed to Argentina and South Africa as countries that have taken up to four or five years to implement similar mechanisms. “The process may take too long, and especially for those who have suffered. For those who have lost their loved ones I know every minute could seem like an eternity, so we appreciate their concerns,”Minister Samaraweera said.

“But from the point of view of the government, I would not say that we have taken that long. In fact the Bill for the Office of Missing Persons is now the law of the land,” he said. He added that the government is working to finalise the details of the Truth Seeking Commission.

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Government says 84 PTA related cases still before court
[Wednesday 2017-08-23 18:00]

The Government says 84 cases related to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) are still before court. The President’s media division said that the Attorney-General’s Department is examining police investigation reports pertaining to another 12 suspects also arrested under the PTA for further legal action.

Statement from Mavai too over Vidya murder
[Wednesday 2017-08-23 18:00]

Kayts Magistrate’s Court yesterday ordered to obtain statements from six persons including Parliamentarian Mavai Senathrajah in connection with the murder of Pungudutivu female school girl Vidya and submit them to the court. The lawsuit filed on Senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe for his alleged involvement for aiding Mahalingam Sashikumar alias Swiss Kumar in connection with the gang rape and murder of Vidya to escape was taken up for hearing yesterday.

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe sacked Top News
[Wednesday 2017-08-23 18:00]

Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has been removed from his Ministerial Portfolios. This follows President Maithripala Sirisena approving a United National Party (UNP) request for the President to remove Rajapakshe from his Cabinet post. Accordingly, a letter conveying the President's decision has now been delivered to Minister Rajapakshe.

20th Amendment presented to house
[Wednesday 2017-08-23 18:00]

The government presented the 20 th amendment to the Constitution to parliament today. The bill provides for powers of provincial counsil to be vested with parliament.

PC polls cannot be put off without people endorsing 20-A at referendum – Polls Monitors
[Wednesday 2017-08-23 18:00]

Polls monitoring groups yesterday said provincial council polls couldn’t be put off unless the proposed 20th Amendment was approved by people at a referendum following its passage with a two-thirds majority in parliament. Executive Director of PAFFREL (People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections) Rohana Hettiarachchi, speaking on behalf a grouping of civil society organisations, known as the March 12 Movement said that they would move the Supreme Court against government moves to put off PC polls.

Army Chief urges private sector not to employ deserters
[Wednesday 2017-08-23 18:00]

Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake yesterday urged private sector institutions not to provide employment to deserters under any circumstances. Lt. Gen. Senanayake told The Island that legal action could be taken against those who had employed deserters. The warning was given in the wake of the arrest of over 700 deserters, including one officer over the weekend.

McKinnon named Canada’s new envoy to Sri Lanka, Maldives
[Tuesday 2017-08-22 17:00]

David McKinnon has been named Canada’s new High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to the Maldives. McKinnon replaces Shelley Whiting.

Vice Admiral Sinniah assumes duties as Navy Commander
[Tuesday 2017-08-22 17:00]

Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah assumed duties today as the 21st Commander of the Navy. President Maithripala Sirisena, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces had earlier appointed Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah as the new Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and promoted him to the 3-star rank of Vice Admiral with effect from 22nd August 2017. In a symbolic gesture of handing over command, the outgoing Commander of the Navy Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne presented him the Admiral’s Sword at a function held at the Naval Headquarters today.

Three Tamil Political Prisoners enter 2nd day of fasting
[Tuesday 2017-08-22 17:00]

Three Tamil Political Prisoners (TPP) continued their fasting for the second day protesting against the moves to transfer their case to Courts in other districts. Rasathurai Thiruvarul, 40, of Jaffna, Mathiyarasan Sulaksan, 30, from Karanavai, and Ganeshan Tharsan, 26, of Nawalappiddy are the Tamil political prisoners who had gone into fasting. The case against them had been conducted with only their confessions as evidence. One of the cases filed with the confessions of the above TPPs were rejected by the Magistrate who heard the case.

EU asserts UN resolution on Sri Lanka must be implemented
[Tuesday 2017-08-22 17:00]

The European Union (EU) today asserted that Sri Lanka must fully implement the resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “There is no change in the EU support for the full implementation of the UNHRC resolution,” the EU office in Colombo said. The EU said that the critical element is that justice has the victims at its heart and facilitates national healing.

Two headed snake found in the Bangadeniya area Top News
[Tuesday 2017-08-22 17:00]

A two headed snake was found in the Bangadeniya area by an area resident. The two headed snake is approximately 6 inches long. The area resident said that measures will be taken to handover the snake to the Dehiwala Zoo.

India, Japan interested in developing Trincomalee Port - PM
[Tuesday 2017-08-22 17:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says India and Japan have evinced an interest in developing the Trincomalee Port. Speaking at a ceremony to declare open the new Municipal Council building in Eravur on Sunday, the PM said the government would, in keeping with its election pledges, develop the entire country including the East. "Ampara and Batticaloa would also benefit from the development and reconciliation programmes that had been initiated, which would lead to the creation of many employment opportunities."

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict begins fast-unto-death
[Monday 2017-08-21 18:00]

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict and LTTE member Murugan alias Sriharan from Sri Lanka began his fast-unto-death in the Vellore prison on Friday in a bid to attain Jeeva samadhi declaring that he would continue his fast till his plea for release is considered. “He had been on a minimum diet until Thursday and on Friday he stopped taking any food,” a senior jail official told the newspaper confirming that Murugan, is ‘trying to end his life or merge with the absolute in physical form by being in a meditative state’. When last heard, Vellore prison officials were trying to persuade him not to go ahead with the Jeeva samadhi plan.

Sinniah as Navy commander Nat security threat says NFF
[Monday 2017-08-21 18:00]

The appointment of Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah, who had earlier served the US Embassy in Colombo as a security specialist, as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy might be a national security threat, the politburo of the National Freedom Front (NFF) said in a statement yesterday. "We have no problem with his ethnicity at all and no one should have any qualms about a Muslim or Tamil becoming the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy. However, Sinniah retired from the Navy after the war and has worked as a security specialist at the US Embassy in Colombo and the US State Department paid his salary," the statement read.

Increased crime rate in Jaffna Cooray claims media sensationalizing events
[Monday 2017-08-21 18:00]

Governor of the Northern Province, Reginold Cooray, commenting on reports of increased crime in Jaffna, said it was the media that was magnifying the incidents in a bid to increase their viewers and readers. "Crimes are being taking place in the South as well, but the media attempts to portray an image that Jaffna is going back to the era of LTTE occupation, by attempting to sensationalize the crimes that take place in Jaffna," he remarked.

Sri Lanka arrests 27 Indians in North for visa violations
[Monday 2017-08-21 18:00]

Sri Lanka's Department of Immigration and Emigration says 27 Indian fishermen who had arrived in the island from India on tourist visas and engaged in employment in Jaffna, were arrested for violating their visa conditions. The 27 Indians, including five women, were arrested by the Intelligence and Investigation Unit of the Immigration and Emigration Department during a special raid on Sunday. Immigration officials said Intelligence and Investigation Unit was on the lookout for people overstaying their visas in the Northern Province.

Will not go: Wijedasa
[Monday 2017-08-21 18:00]

Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said the he did not have any intention of resigning from the Ministerial post just because some people made allegations against him on various issues. Speaking to journalists after meeting the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter the Most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera and Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter the Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera, he said that he had responded to all the allegations levelled against him

Twenty thousand Development Assistants to be recruited: PM
[Monday 2017-08-21 18:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said 20,000 new Development Assistants would be recruited to the National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry. The Prime Minister said the new recruits would be given training and knowledge on empowering small and medium scale entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs. He said applications have already been called for new recruitments.

Ex-LTTErs start hunger strike at A’pura Prison
[Sunday 2017-08-20 17:00]

Three ex-LTTE carders held in remand at the Anuradhapura Prison had commenced a hunger strike since this morning urging authorities to expedite their court case, officials said. “The three detainees had refused to take breakfast and urge the authorities expedite their court cases filed in the Vavuniya Court to be taken for hearing,” an official said. He said at least 20 LTTE members were held in remand at the Anuradhapura Prison. It was reported that the remaining LTTErs would also to join the hunger strike.

CBK secretly invited Norway Only two people in Colombo knew when I first met Prabhakaran – Solheim
[Sunday 2017-08-20 17:00]

Controversial Norwegian Peace Broker, Erik Solheim, in what appeared to be a 'long awaited explanation' on Norway's involvement in the Sri Lankan conflict, has said that they were invited to Sri Lanka in absolute secrecy by the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga. "At that time, only two people in Colombo knew – she and Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. It stayed like that for one-and-a-half years. Only later, it became public," Solheim said, while adding that even the then Prime Minister was unaware of his first meeting with the LTTE Leader.

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