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May 28, 2017 [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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Government urged to prosecute alleged war criminals
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena should start prosecuting alleged war criminals not promoting them, said the International Truth and Justice Project on the release of the first of its dossiers on alleged perpetrators. The ITJP’s document implicates the former Chief of Army Staff, Jagath Dias, in attacks on civilians and hospitals in the final phase of the civil war in 2008-9.



New Constitution wording raises the heat
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

TNA leader R. Sampanthan has demanded that the transliteration of Sinhala word, ‘akeeya’ be incorporated into the proposed draft constitution (English version) in place of word, ‘unitary’. MP Sampanthan reacted angrily to Minister Nimal Siripalala de Silva’s response that such a position wasn’t realistic. Political sources told The Island that Minister de Silva had explained the pivotal importance of taking forward the constitutional making process without fighting over words. The issue came up at an all-party meeting to discuss constitutional reforms on Thursday.



Indian Navy joins flood relief operations in Sri Lanka Top News
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

India has sent navy ships with rescue and relief material to Sri Lanka, where torrential rains and landslides have resulted in several deaths and massive devastation over the last two days. INS Kirch operating in South Bay of Bengal, has been diverted to Colombo in Sri Lanka to render immediate assistance in flood relief operations. According to reports, the ship will enter Colombo anytime soon. Additionally, INS Jalashwan shall sail out from Visakhapatnam today with HADR (Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief) stores which include victualling, clothing, medicines and water.



US to send emergency assistance
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

US Ambassador in Sri Lanka Atul Keshap today said the people of his country would send emergency assistance worth Rs.15 million for immediate relief to those affected by the floods and landslides in Sri Lanka. In a tweet, the Ambassador said the relief goods would be provided via the offices of the USAID and the US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). He also said thoughts and prayers of the US Embassy team are with the loved ones of those who lost lives and with all affected by floods and landslides.



Airman, who fell off helicopter during rescue ops, dies
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

A 37-year- old SLAF airman, YMS Yaparathna, who had fallen off a helicopter while conducting a rescue operation at the Neluwa area in Galle yesterday morning, passed away due to the abdominal injuries he sustained in the fall at around 8.30pm yesterday, hospital sources confirmed. The airman and two individuals, who were being rescued, who were injured when they fell from a Mi17 helicopter in Neluwa, Galle yesterday morning, were admitted to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital.



Over 800 troops, 28 Navy teams, six helicopters in rescue missions
[Saturday 2017-05-27 19:00]

The Sri Lankan Army has deployed more than 800 troops to aid the victims in flood and landslide affected areas, Military Spokesman Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne said. The troupes are currently operating in Morawaka, Deyiyandara, Palindanuwara, Padukka, Brigadier Seneviratne also said. “A special team has been deployed to rescue the people in the landslide affacted areas in Bulathsinhala,” he also said. Six armoured vehicles were also deployed to the affected areas.



Rains and floods: Death toll exceeds 55 Top News
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

The death toll from floods and landslides caused by the torrential rain had exceeded more than 55 by noon today. Kalutara District Secretariat Field Officer told Daily Mirror that 38 deaths were reported from the Kalutara District alone. In its situation report, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said a total of 7,856 individuals (2,811 families) were affected in the Sabaragamuwa, Western and Southern Provinces due to the torrential rains.



Parliament closed, MPs rush to flood-affected areas
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

Party leaders today decided to end Parliament sessions at 2 p.m. to allow the MPs to supervise rescue operations and distribution of relief among flood and landslide victims. The decision to end sessions early was made as MPs from the Opposition and the Government benches urged for swift action to help victims of landslides and floods. Leader of the Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Dinesh Gunawardane said immediate action had to be taken to provide assistance to the victims of what seemed to be the worst floods since 2003.



Brig. remanded over Rathupaswela killings
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardene was arrested yesterday for allegedly ordering troops in 2013 to open fire on a group of people protesting against the contamination of their wells at Rathupaswela. The infantryman was produced before Gampaha Chief Magistrate D.A. Ruwanpathirana and remanded til May 31. In March 2017, three soldiers were arrested for shooting civilians. Three persons succumbed to their injuries. Police said that the CID had taken the Brigadier into custody. Army headquarters sources said that Gunawardene, Deputy Director, Infantry, had been taken into custody when he reported to CID as requested to make a statement.



Opposition Leader meets Swedish Ambassador
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

A meeting was held between the Leader of the Opposition R.Sampanthan and the Swedish Ambassador to India, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka Harold Sandberg today in the Opposition Leaders’ office in the parliament Complex. The Opposition Leader apprised the Ambassador on the current political situation in the country and he highlighted the challenges Tamil people face in the North and East.



Govt has released 5,000 acres of land to people in N/E: Kiriella
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

The Unity Government has released 5,000 acre of land in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to the people, said Leader of the House and Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella in Parliament yesterday. He added that everything was ready to release another extent of another 3,000 acres to the people in the N/E.



Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry complains to CID about fake twitter account of Minister
[Friday 2017-05-26 17:00]

Sri Lanka's new Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake lodged a complaint with the police to requesting a probe into a false Twitter account in his name after it posted a fake news about the death of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In a letter to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Karunanyake's secretary Sisira Wijesinghe said a twitter account "SriLankaMFA", which claimed to be Minister Karunanayake's official account, was a fake account and it had falsely claimed the passing away of the former Indian Prime minister.



Rathupaswala shooting: Army Brigadier arrested
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

Police said the CID today arrested Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardena who was alleged to have led an army contingent to Rathupaswala to quell a protest by residents pleading for safe drinking. Three people were shot dead and 33 protesters injured on August 1, 2013. Police said a 14-year-old student was among those killed in the shooting. Earlier, the CID had arrested three army personnel, a staff sergeant and two corporals in connection wit the shooting.They were later remanded. Police said the Brigadier was to produced in the Gampaha Magistrate's Court today.



Several teams out to arrest Ven. Gnanasara: Police
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

Several police teams were deployed to arrest Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary the Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera on charges of disturbing, obstructing and threatening police officers and committing acts bound to cause racial and religious disharmony among various communities. DIG Priyantha Jayakody in a statement said that following a request made by the Police, the Hulftsdorp No: 4 Magistrate issued a court order preventing the Thera from leaving the country. He said there were several com-plaints lodged against him and the Thera had not reported to the Police Organized Crime Division when summoned to do so.



Sri Lankan President and Australian PM agree to enhance bilateral cooperation Top News
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who is on a three-day state visit to Australia, met Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the National Parliament building in Canberra on Thursday and held bilateral discussions. The two leaders, after concluding a one-on-one round of talks, held bilateral discussions, in which ministers and officials from both sides participated.



Govt. to fill approximately 1,000 vacancies in North: Sagala Ratnayake
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

The Government will take immediate measures to fill approximately 1,000 vacancies in the North to address the unemployment issue in the area, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake informed Parliament yesterday. The minister was replying to an Adjournment Motion moved by Opposition Leader R Sampanthan on the unemployment of youth in the North and East. The minister told Parliament that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Jaffna over the weekend and had lengthy discussions on the matter of unemployment of youth.



New security measures at Colombo International Airport
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

New regulations have been introduced according to the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization to enhance the security at Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. That new regulations will be effective from the first of June, the Airport Security Services announced. According to new regulations, volume of liquid that passengers can carry in their hand luggage on board the plane will be limited. The liquids will also include volatile liquids and gels.



FCID seeks AG’s advice on Karuna Amman case
[Thursday 2017-05-25 18:00]

The FCID informed Courts today that they have sought Attorney General’s advice regarding future legal steps to be taken regarding former Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias Karuna Amman’s case on the allegation against misusing a Presidential Secretariat bullet proof armed vehicle worth Rs.90 million.



Three bench Trial-at-bar to hear Vidya murder
[Wednesday 2017-05-24 18:00]

Chief Justice Priyasath Dep has appointed a three member bench to hear the schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vidya murder case. The three member bench headed by High Court Judge Balendran Sashi Mahendran comprises Judges Annalingam Premashankar and Manickavasagar Chelian as its other members. The Chief Justice has also decided that the case should be heard in the Jaffna High Court. The Chief Justice has appointed the three Judge bench after the Attorney General published information in the Jaffna High Court and took steps under the Criminal Procedure Code and informed him in writing about it.



Plans to develop Jaffna into Strategic City: Ranawaka
[Wednesday 2017-05-24 18:00]

Jaffna will be developed into a strategic city under the government’s Cities of the Future Programme, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said on Monday. He said the government is setting the agenda for the management of future cities, and Jaffna will be developed into a strategic city conforming to the plans of envisioned future city management strategy. "The envisioned development will take place starting this year, "Minister Ranawaka said. He said plans are being finalised to take Jaffna forward as a strategic economic, technical, cultural, social and democratic centre.


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