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January 17, 2018 [GMT]
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North Koreans Refused Entry To Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

The government last week refused to approve visas for four North Koreans to attend a seminar in Katunayake, organisers of the seminar said. The seminar held on Friday was organised by the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association.
President of the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association Duminda Welpola told The Sunday Leader the North Koreans were among foreign delegates invited for the seminar.
He said that the organisers were informed by the officials that the visas cannot be approved as it could hurt Sri Lanka’s relations with South Korea.

The government last week refused to approve visas for four North Koreans to attend a seminar in Katunayake, organisers of the seminar said. The seminar held on Friday was organised by the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association. President of the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association Duminda Welpola told The Sunday Leader the North Koreans were among foreign delegates invited for the seminar. He said that the organisers were informed by the officials that the visas cannot be approved as it could hurt Sri Lanka’s relations with South Korea.

  

The seminar was held with the participation of delegates from the Self Reliance Societies of Japan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Mongolia. Organisers of the seminar are linked to the joint opposition and The Sunday Leader learns the joint opposition had contacted the Foreign Ministry and sought approval for the visas but the visas were never approved. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se was in Sri Lanka last week at the same time the delegates for the seminar were in the country. Relations between North Korea and South Korea are at its lowest after North Korea test fired nuclear missiles over the past few months. A report submitted to the UN Security Council (UNSC) recently questioned links established between Sri Lanka and North Korea, led by Kim Jong-un.

The report by a Panel of Experts appointed by the UN has found that a North Korean diplomat had talks with the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry in November 2015. The Panel established that a representative from Angola, a diplomat from Korea named Kim Hyok Chan, and another Angola-based diplomat Jon Chol Young, travelled together to Sri Lanka three times (between 2014 and 2016) to discuss shipbuilding projects. Described as boat-building experts, they reportedly met with the State Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka on November 5, 2015 to discuss building naval patrol vessels at a Sri Lankan shipyard prior to sale to its Navy.

The Panel said in the report tabled by the Security Council on February 27, it has yet to receive a reply from Sri Lanka. However, when contacted, the Foreign Ministry said that there was no reason to refuse entry to anyone and even if it was rejected it has nothing to do with the Foreign Ministry.

  
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2004 Kollupitiya suicide-bomb: suspect gets 2yr imprisonment
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

One of the suspects of the Kollupitiya police station suicide bomb case in 2004, was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 15 years, by High Court Judge Vikum Kaluarachchi today. The suspect, Selvakumari Sathyaleela, was in remand custody for 14 years prior to the sentence which was delivered today. On July 07, 2004, five policemen were killed when a suspected LTTE woman suicide bomber blew herself up inside the Kollupitiya police station.



TNA office attacked in Mannar
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

Manthai police in Mannar have received a complaint that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) office and the house of a candidate in the adjacent area were attacked last Sunday. The candidate has complained that banners, posters and buntings kept in the party office were all destroyed and stones and bottles were thrown at his house. When the inmates of the house came out the attackers lit firecrackers before fleeing in a vehicle. The TNA has claimed the attackers are EPRLF supporters. The EPRLF has denied the allegation. The TNA has also complained to the Elections Commission about the incident.



Missing women & PTA detainees Sasitharan urges families to register
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

Northern Province Minister of Women's Affairs Ananthy Sasitharan urged all families of missing women and females detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to register with her Ministry to take further action to hasten the legal process. "Two years ago, when I visited Welikada Prison to meet the detainees, I was able to meet nine women who had been arrested under the Act. But later, I was unable to maintain contact with them or their families to assist them.



‘Unity Government essential for constitution-making process’
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

The unity government should continue if the constitution-making process is to carry on, MP M. A. Sumanthiran said. Addressing the media after a Thai Pongal ceremony which was held at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, yesterday, Sumanthiran said his party views that the government should move forward, despite the many issues that have risen recently.



Impressed with Kite Festival Minister promises new fishing harbour for VVT
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Amaraweera, who was impressed with the Kite Festival in Velvettiturai (VVT) – which took place on Thai Pongal Day – has pledged to build a new fishing harbour for VVT. He has also promised to extend the beachfront of VVT for residents in the area to engage in beach sports.



What happened to me happened to Maithri as well: MR
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

Former President and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said same fate had befallen on both him and President Maithripala Sirisena, because both of their tenures of presidency had been reduced by at least one year. Addressing a Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) rally held in Kaduwela, he said he made a mistake by calling for presidential election two years prior to his tenure was expired.



Sri Lanka Supreme Court rules President's term is five years
[Monday 2018-01-15 19:00]

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has delivered its ruling on the President's term in office to the President, the President's Media Division said. Having considered the President Maithripala Sirisena's request for the opinion of the Supreme Court regarding his tenure, the Supreme Court has announced that the term of office is five years, the PMD said in a statement.



Government claims money from MiG deal stored in Hong Kong
[Monday 2018-01-15 19:00]

The Government claims money allegedly obtained fraudulently by the former regime through the MiG aircraft deal is stored at a bank in Hong Kong. Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the former Government purchased a MiG aircraft from Ukraine for USD 7.2 million yet the official documents show the aircraft had been purchased for USD 14.7 million.



Wigneswaran calls for bigger role in India-assisted NP projects
[Monday 2018-01-15 19:00]

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has sought greater collaboration between the Government of India and his administration in development projects in the province. “We would like to be brought in as an active stakeholder, through the Government of Sri Lanka, in projects being carried out in the Northern Province. At present, they are mostly done unilaterally by the Colombo government,” he told The Hindu on Saturday.



Gazette notices by Finance Ministry on liquor to be reversed
[Monday 2018-01-15 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena today said that he has decided to reverse two gazette notices issued by the Finance Ministry on liquor. Speaking at an election rally in Agalawatte today, the President said that the gazette notice on business hours of liquor outlets and the one on allowing women to be employed at liquor outlets will be reversed. It was announced last week that the business hours of liquor licensed establishments have been revised.



Wrong to revoke Jaliya's diplomatic immunity: Gammanpila
[Monday 2018-01-15 19:00]

MP Udaya Gammanpila said today the diplomatic immunity of former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya has been revoked for duties he had performed during his term of office and that this was the first such instance in diplomatic history. He said the Foreign Affairs Ministry had, on October 27 last year, informed the Sri Lankan Embassy in the US that Mr. Wickramasuriya’s diplomatic immunity has been revoked despite a prior assurance given to him.



UN Committee on Rights of the Child meets on Jan 15
[Monday 2018-01-15 19:00]

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is meeting in Geneva from January 15 to February 2 to review children’s rights in eight countries including Sri Lanka, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said. The Committee, which is composed of 18 independent experts, monitors how States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) are complying with their obligations.



THAI PONGAL GREETINGS FROM US AMBASSADOR
[Sunday 2018-01-14 19:00]

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Atul Keshap conveyed his warmest Thai Pongal greetings to the Chief Minister of Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran. In a tweet message the Ambassadors said that the two ‘had a good discussion on Northern Province issues as well as the need for Sri Lanka to fulfil its Geneva commitments to ensure lasting national reconciliation and a brighter future for all its citizens.



President’s Thai Pongal message
[Sunday 2018-01-14 19:00]

I am extremely happy to convey my greetings to Hindus across the world celebrating Thai Pongal, the festival that expresses gratitude to nature. Since the dawn of civilization, the importance of agriculture was widely known to human beings. In a background of rural community migrating to urban areas abandoning agricultural farming to obtain material benefits from industrial and technological growth, the celebration of Thai Pongal depicts the ardent desire to protect and cherish ancient traditions to refill humanity with culture, kindness, peace and reconciliation with utmost devotion towards fellow human kind.



Sampanthan calls for new Constitution Highlights ‘undivided and indivisible SL’
[Sunday 2018-01-14 19:00]

Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan expressed hope that the proposed new Constitution would be framed sans any further delay this year. In a statement greeting and wishing all Tamils a peaceful and prosperous Thai Pongal which falls tomorrow (14), he pointed out that of the many expectations in the hearts of the people for the new year, of particular importance is the Tamil people's long-standing aspiration for a lasting political solution to the national question, which hitherto remains unattained.



Tamil nationalist songs in Jaffna Polls campaign CaFFE complains to Elections Commission
[Sunday 2018-01-14 19:00]

Campaign for Free and Fair Eelections (CaFFE) has complained to the Commissioner of Elections that several political parties in the Northern Province are playing songs echoing Tamil nationalism that were used during the LTTE period, in violation of election laws. On Friday United People's Freedom Front (UPFA) politician Angajan Ramanathan had aired such songs while opening his party office at the Jaffna Municipal Council, Executive Director/CaFFE Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon told Ceylon Today.



TGTE man booted out
[Sunday 2018-01-14 19:00]

A senior member of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) Suresnath Ratnabalam was deported along with his family. They left Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) during the early hours of yesterday morning, officials said. Ratnabalam and his family were placed on a Bangkok bound SriLankan Airlines flight after he was refused entry into the country as he is blacklisted.



Parliament fracas: PM to seek disciplinary action
[Sunday 2018-01-14 19:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would seek disciplinary action against UNP MPs who behaved unruly in Parliament last week, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said over the weekend. Responding to a question made by a journalist at a function held in Gampaha on Saturday (13), the State Minister said the issue was not scripted by the involved parties as speculated by some.



TGTE Member refused entry Ratnabalam on banned Tamil Diaspora list Strong moves to refute deportation order
[Saturday 2018-01-13 18:00]

A member of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) was refused entry into the country on Thursday (11), shortly after landing at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake, with his family, officials said yesterday (12). They said that 48-year-old Suresnath Ratnabalam had arrived on a scheduled Etihaad flight from Abu Dhabi along with his wife and two children at 3:45 p.m. and were stopped by Immigration officials at passport control as he had been blacklisted.



Two Jaffna Uni. student factions clash after consuming liquor
[Saturday 2018-01-13 18:00]

A clash is reported to have erupted between two groups of students of the Jaffna University's Management Faculty after consuming liquor inside the premises on Thursday resulting in four students being admitted to the Jaffna Base Hospital. According to reports the students had been behaving in an indecent manner after receiving the Mahapola Scholarship fees. The university authorities said they would take disciplinary action against the students involved in the fracas and for consuming liquor in the premises.


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