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May 29, 2017 [GMT]
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Punish perpetrators of war crimes, atrocities - NGO pack
[Thursday 2017-04-20 16:00]

The Collective of Civil Society Organizations has urged the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration to inquire into war crimes allegations in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by the government.  Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), Maradana on Tuesday (April 18), Akalanka Hettiarachchi (Aluth Parapura) emphasized that all those who had perpetrated crimes during the war and post-conflict should be dealt forthwith.

The Collective of Civil Society Organizations has urged the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration to inquire into war crimes allegations in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by the government. Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), Maradana on Tuesday (April 18), Akalanka Hettiarachchi (Aluth Parapura) emphasized that all those who had perpetrated crimes during the war and post-conflict should be dealt forthwith.


The military brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009. Sri Lanka co-sponsored Geneva Resolution in Oct 2015. Last month, Sri Lanka co-sponsored another resolution reiterating her commitment to the 2015 resolution. On the basis of Sri Lanka’s commitment, Geneva granted time till March 2019 to fully implement the 2015 resolution. Hettiarachchi accused National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa and Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya leader Udaya Gammampila of shielding those in uniform allegedly responsible for atrocities. The NGO activist warned of dire consequences unless the country addressed accountability issues.

Referring to international media reports pertaining to allegations directed at Sri Lankan troops deployed in the Caribbean island Haiti, Hettiarachchi emphasized that it was the responsibility of the government to protect Sri Lanka’s image by probing those who had been accused of human rights violations here or during overseas deployment under UN command. Hettiarachchi alleged that some members of the Sri Lankan contingent had been also accused of child abuse during Haiti deployment. Hettiarachchi dismissed nationalist groups’ assertions excesses hadn’t been committed during the conflict therefore there was no basis for both local and international calls for investigations.

The activist pointed out that media personality Prageeth Ekneligoda had been missing since January 2010. Commenting on a spate of high profile investigations undertaken by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) since the change of government in January 2015, Hettiarachchi underscored that scores of Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) personnel had been arrested, remanded and released on bail. The Aluth Parapura spokesperson said that the civil society had been demanding proper investigation into war crimes accusations. Hettiarachchi expressed concern over the failure on the part of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government to address accountability issues, swiftly and decisively.

The NGO insisted that those who had been accused of excesses couldn’t be given impunity on the basis of military victory over the LTTE.

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Weather calamity: Death toll rises to 151
[Sunday 2017-05-28 18:00]

The number of deaths reported in floods and landslides was increased to 151 while 112 people had gone missing, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said on Sunday. In its latest situation report, the DMC said the adverse weather condition had left 52 people injured. In total, 442,299 people of 114,124 families had been affected by the weather calamity. The South-West monsoon unleashed torrential rains, which ravaged fourteen districts in the western and southern parts of the country on Friday and Thursday. The disaster is described as one of the worst-ever calamities since the 2003 floods.

Chinese President sends condolences to SL
[Sunday 2017-05-28 18:00]

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday sent a message of condolences to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena over the devastating floods and landslides in the country in which 154 people were killed by Sunday evening, China Daily reported a short while ago.

Second Indian ship carrying relief reaches Colombo Top News
[Sunday 2017-05-28 18:00]

The second Indian ship, INS Shardul, arrived at the Colombo Port this morning with relief to assists the ongoing disaster relief efforts for the communities affected by the extreme weather in Sri Lanka. The ship is carrying additional relief material requested by Sri Lankan authorities, apart from more inflatable boats. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed condolences at the loss of lives and said that India stands with her Sri Lankan brothers and sisters in their hour of need.

Stands ready to provide assistance: Australia
[Sunday 2017-05-28 18:00]

Australia today expressed deepest condolences of its government to the people of Sri Lanka who lost their lives and are injured in the adverse weather condition which ravaged southern and western parts of the country. In a message to Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva, Aussie Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said that the government of Australia stands ready to provide assistance to Sri Lanka should it be required.

USAID slashes aid to Lanka by 92 percent
[Sunday 2017-05-28 18:00]

Sri Lanka will receive only US$ 3.38 million for its programmes here from the USAID in the 2018 budget — a drop of 92 percent when compared with the 2016 account summary published in the latest Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ) for the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programmes. The CBJ is the annual presentation to Congress that justifies the US foreign operations budget request. The latest one shows that the allocation for Sri Lanka for 2018 is only US$ 3.38 million. The same document, in its 2016 account summary, has a figure of US$ 42.5 million for Sri Lanka.

Flexible working hours from July 1
[Sunday 2017-05-28 18:00]

Plans to introduce flexible working hours for Battaramulla division public servants will begin from July 1, an official said. Under the scheme, public sector employees in Battaramulla will be able to start work between 7.30 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. and finish between 3.00 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. after completing a shift of eight hours, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said. He said Cabinet approval had been given for this plan which was intended mainly to ease traffic congestion and it would be tried out initially for three months.

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.

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