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March 23, 2017 [GMT]
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Lasantha Killing: SF says special unit set up to attack journalists
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

The CID told court today that according to Field Marshal Sarath  Fonseka’s statement on Lasantha Wickramatunga’s killing, a special unit had operated under the former head of the Intelligence Services, Kapila Henda Witharana to attack the Media. The CID informed court that it had recorded a statement from the former army commander. In his statement, the Field Marshal said he was unaware about the security situation in the Colombo division because it was handled by Major General Ajith Perera.

The CID told court today that according to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s statement on Lasantha Wickramatunga’s killing, a special unit had operated under the former head of the Intelligence Services, Kapila Henda Witharana to attack the Media. The CID informed court that it had recorded a statement from the former army commander. In his statement, the Field Marshal said he was unaware about the security situation in the Colombo division because it was handled by Major General Ajith Perera.

  
  
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Lanka’s resolution to be taken up for further consideration on March 23
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) does not anticipate there being any amendments to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka. The resolution, which has already been tabled, will be taken up for further consideration on March 23. Tomorrow, the UNHRC will consider the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the promotion of reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka. This will be the first complete evaluation of the country’s progress in improving its human rights record since Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited the country in February 2016.



JVP asks govt not to renew one sided agreement with US
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

Renewal of Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) between the US and Sri Lanka would be detrimental to the national security interests of the country and other nations in the region as well, the JVP said in parliament yesterday. Making a special statement JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the purpose of the ACSA was to provide assistance by the US and Sri Lanka to each other in military operations. "It is a two-way agreement. But we are not a country which would take our armies around the world. Finally, the ACSA would serve only for the benefit of the US. This agreement will compel us to forego our obligations to others in the region."



Former MP Sarath Weerasekera never sought meeting with UNHRC Chief
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

Former Parliamentarian Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekera or any of his representatives has not sought any meeting with the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner’s Office, informed sources from Geneva confirmed.



President leaves for Russia
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena left for Russia this morning on an official invitation made by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Media Division said. They said this official invitation which received for Sri Lankan Head of State to visit Russia after 44 years and today’s visit would be the first official visit to Russia by a Sri Lankan leader since 1974, when Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Moscow. During the visit, President Sirisena is scheduled to sign several bilateral agreements in the areas of economics, trade, tourism, science and technology sector, cultural and education cooperation, which brings many developmental benefits to Sri Lanka, the media Division said.



Wimal on hunger strike
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

NFF Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa has commenced a hunger strike this morning at the Magazine Prison, Prisons Spokesperson Thushara Upuldeniya said. It was reported that MP Weerawansa had rejected to have his breakfast. The National Freedom Front (NFF) said MP Weerawansa had commenced a hunger strike against the political revenge of the government. “He has taken this step as a personal decision. He has also informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya about his decision. At present, he is on a hunger strike at the prison cell. Perhaps, he would continue it,” the NFF said. Earlier, MP Weerawnsa was arrested and remanded for allegedly misusing 40 state vehicles belonging to the state engineering corporation causing a loss of Rs. 90 million.



Maj. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake appointed Army Chief of staff
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

Major General Mahesh Senanayake has been appointed as the Army Chief of staff by President Maithripala Sirisena today, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said.



Wrong to give Lanka more time on accountability: Wigneswaran
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

It was not right to give Sri Lanka more time to address the issue of accountability over the alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran said today. The Sri Lankan government has sought two more years from the UN Human Rights Council to deliver on the accountability mechanism. Wigneswaran said "the UN must see first what good the government has done so far". "Without doing that and granting time for some political reason does not see correct to me," the Tamil leader said.



President Sirisena to undertake official visit to Russia
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena will undertake an official visit to Russia from 22-24 March on the invitation of President Vladimir Putin. The visit will be the first official visit to Russia by a Sri Lankan leader since 1974, when Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Moscow. The visit takes place as both countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.



Gotabaya 'led death squad': Court
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

Former Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse's brother Gotabaya directed a top-secret death squad which targeted journalists and dissidents, a court was told Monday. Criminal Investigations Department (CID) told the Mount Lavinia magistrate's court that Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who was Sri Lanka's defence secretary during his brother's rule, directed a secret unit which is accused of assassinating a newspaper editor in January 2009.



Army intelligence member arrested for Noyahr abduction
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

A 34-year-old member of the Army Intelligence Unit was arrested last night in connection with the abduction and assault of senior journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008 at his residents in Dehiwela, Police said. They said the suspect was a resident of Vegovwa area in Minuwangoda and he was arrested at 09.35p.m. He is to be produce before the Mount Lavinia Magistrates Courts today.



Sri Lanka will not join International Criminal Court
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

The Government today asserted that Sri Lanka will not join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament Sri Lanka will also not agree to a hybrid court in the transitional justice system.



Two more ‘Ava’ gangsters arrested in Kotahena
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

Two more members of the North-based criminal gang 'Ava' which are known to be involved in criminal activities in the Jaffna Peninsula have been arrested at Kotahena by a team of Jaffna Division police personnel, Police said. They said a hand grenade and three swords in the possession of the criminals had also been seized. Police said the suspects were produced in the Jaffna Magistrate's Court today. A few days ago the Police also arrested a leading member of the 'Ava' gang in Dehiwela. Six suspects have been arrested and remanded in connection with various crimes alleged to have been committed by them.



Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka – True or False?
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 10:00]

[At the moment, Sri Lanka is embattled with allegations of human rights violations and facing a tough time at the 34th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Pillay was contacted by Ceylon Today after 'years of attempts' to get her views on the progress seen in the island since the war came to an end in 2009.
She also said the goals of reconciliation and nation- building cannot be served without justice and accountability, and reparation for victims.



Rapporteur calls for transparent justice system in Sri Lanka
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers says the administration of justice in Sri Lanka deserves to be more transparent, decentralized and democratic. A report by Mónica Pinto, the former Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her visit to Sri Lanka last year, has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).



Sampanthan alleges over 150,000 Tamils killed, 50 % population fled the country
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan has alleged that over 150,000 Tamils had been killed during the nearly three decades long conflict. Veteran politician Sampanthan was addressing a counter terrorism conference in New Delhi on March 15. Claiming that about 50 per cent of the Tamil population had fled the country due to the conflict, Sampanthan said that fresh violence would result in more Tamils fleeing the country.



SL will sign several agreements with China: President Top News
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

At his meeting with visiting Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan, President Maithripala Sirisena said Sri Lanka would enter into a number of agreements with China in a manner that would not be detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the country. The Chinese Defence Minister is on two-day official visit to Sri Lanka. He called on the President this morning.



Sumanthiran calls for amending Constitution to bring in foreign judges
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

Jaffna District TNA MP and party spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran has urged the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government to introduce the required constitutional amendment to faciliate the participation of foreign judges in the proposed hybrid judicial mechanism to address Accountability issues in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1. MP Sumanthiran was responding to a media query at Veerasingham hall, Jaffna on Saturday.



Arrest of Indian fishermen to continue despite alleged shooting
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

The Government says Indian fishermen will continue to be arrested if they poach in Sri Lankan waters despite the recent shooting incident. Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said today that while Indian fishermen have been released their boats have not. He said the Government is also looking at resolving the Indo-Lanka fishing dispute in a diplomatic manner and talks will be held as scheduled next month. The Minister also said that while investigations are ongoing, there is no proof the Navy was involved in the killing of an Indian fisherman at sea recently.



UK insists on credible war crimes probe
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

While the government says that there are variations to the manner in which allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE could be investigated, the United Kingdom yesterday emphasized the importance of independent and impartial institutions to ensure credibility of the process.



More Countries Support Resolution On Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

More countries extended support to the resolution on Sri Lanka submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week, strengthening Sri Lanka’s request for more time to address the issue on accountability over the war. Titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” the draft text of the resolution had, as its main sponsors, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.


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