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June 23, 2017 [GMT]
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Clad in saffron robe, Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Murugan appears in Vellore court
[Friday 2017-04-21 18:00]

Clad in a saffron robe, Sriharan (alias) Murugan, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, appeared in the judicial magistrate court - I in Vellorefor trial in a case registered against him for keeping a cellphone and a SIM card in his cell.
Murugan, sporting long beard, was brought to the court around 11.30am amidst tight security. Deputy superintendent of police S Arockiam and his team escorted him to the court. After hearing, he was taken to the prison by 12.30pm.

Clad in a saffron robe, Sriharan (alias) Murugan, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, appeared in the judicial magistrate court - I in Vellorefor trial in a case registered against him for keeping a cellphone and a SIM card in his cell. Murugan, sporting long beard, was brought to the court around 11.30am amidst tight security. Deputy superintendent of police S Arockiam and his team escorted him to the court. After hearing, he was taken to the prison by 12.30pm.

  

The prison officials seized two cellphones, three SIM cards and a charger from his cell on March 25. Following this, the prison authorities filed a case against Murugan. The Bagayam police registered a case under sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his/her duty) of the IPC read with 48 (1) of the Tamil Nadu Prisoners Act and commenced the investigation. After conducting an inquiry, the police filed the chargesheet in the JM Court - I.

The next hearing has been posted on May 4. Except a few words with the judge, he remained silent in the court. "Before the seizure of the cellphone, he was allowed to meet his wife Nalini, who is lodged in the Special Prison for Women, once in two weeks. But not now," said a prison official. Murugan's mother, who came from Sri Lanka on Tuesday to meet him, was denied permission as the prison authorities had cancelled his privileges, including interviews, as per the prison manual for keeping cellphone in his cell.

  
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Tamil group calls for international judges in Sri Lanka’s transitional justice system
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

A leading Tamil diaspora group has demanded the participation of international judges in Sri Lanka’s transitional justice processes in the wake of a UN report that was critical of country’s judicial system. Monica Pinto, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers was on a mission to Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7, 2016. Her report was tabled by the current Rapporteur, Diego Garcia-Sayan at the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council last week.



Sri Lanka's food production hit by extreme drought followed by floods - UN
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

A severe drought followed by heavy rainfalls in Sri Lanka has hit large swaths of cropping areas, threatening the food security of some 900,000 people, according to a report published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).



U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka visits Eastern Province
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap visited the Eastern Province this week to commemorate a milestone in U.S.-supported demining efforts and to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at a school to construct facilities to help communities displaced by natural disasters. During the visit, Ambassador Keshap also met leaders and activists working on post-conflict reconciliation and accountability issues.



Sarath Weerasekara hands over petition to UNHRC Chief
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara yesterday handed over a petition to UNHRC President Joaquin Alexander Maza Martelli requesting that action be taken against Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein and Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto for forcing Sri Lanka towards Constitutional Reform, basing their reports on false information and bias.



Malinga investigated over 'monkey' remark
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Fast bowler Lasith Malinga is being investigated by Sri Lanka's cricket board after comparing the country's sports minister to a monkey, the BBC reported. Sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara told Sri Lanka's players they were too fat after they failed to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals. Malinga, 33, responded by saying he did not care for criticism "from those who are simply warming chairs". "What does a monkey know about a parrot's nesting hollow?" he added. "This is like a monkey getting into a parrot's nest and talking about it." Jayasekara said Malinga's comments were a breach of his contract with the country's cricket board.



Sri Lanka Navy arrests 17 Indian fishermen for poaching in island waters
[Friday 2017-06-23 18:00]

Sri Lanka Navy on Thursday has arrested 17 fishermen from India's Tamil Nadu state for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters. The Navy Media Unit said Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Coast Guard patrol craft arrested 17 Indian fishermen in two steel hull bottom trawlers in the northern territorial waters off Nagar Kovil Thursday evening.



Opposition Leader, Foreign Minister discuss taking country forward
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Leader of Sri Lanka's Opposition, and the Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake wednesday (June 21) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the conclusion of the one hour discussion, the Opposition Leader told the media that several important matters which would help the country in its march forward were discussed during the meeting.



Rajiv Gandhi's killer seeks mercy killing, petitions Tamil Nadu government
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Robert Pious, convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has petitioned the Tamil Nadu government seeking mercy killing. In a three-page petition, Pious has asked the government to euthanize him instead of letting him spend the rest of his life in prison. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi "In 2014, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa had attempted to get us released but now I understand that the government would want me to spend the rest of my life in prison.



Ranil Drops Mangala From UNHRC Resolution Implementation Monitoring Body
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday submitted a cabinet paper to establish a ministerial central coordination and monitoring mechanism to implement UN Human Rights Council recommendations. Interestingly, the man who has done all the hard work re UNHRC resolution over the last two and a half years, the former Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera has not been appointed to this vital committee.



OMP has no power to hold criminal inquiries or file legal action: PM
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) does not have any power to hold criminal inquiries or file legal action, as its role is limited to finding the truth on missing persons and issuing Certificates of Absence where necessary, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. The Prime Minister was moving the OMP (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) (Amendment) Bill for debate in Parliament yesterday. The OMP Act was passed in August last year amidst chaos in Parliament.



Govt. to renew military cooperation pact with US
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

The government would renew, for ten years, the Acquisition and Cross-Services Agreement (ACSA), signed between the United States and Sri Lanka in 2007, which had expired early this year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.



OMP Amendment Bill passed unanimously in House
[Thursday 2017-06-22 17:00]

The Office of Missing Persons (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) Amendment Bill was unanimously passed in Parliament today. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, presenting the Bill to the House, said it was being presented in line with an agreement the government had with the opposition to present it in Parliament prior to the establishment of the OMP. “This institution is paramount in order to put an end to the issue pertaining to the disappearance of persons as soon as possible,” he said.



ITAK drops no-faith motion against Wiggy
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Illankai Tamil ArasuKatchchi (ITAK) Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam said the Party has decided not to pursue the No-Confidence Motion against Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran following TNA Leader R. Sampanthan's intervention to bring about an amicable settlement to the dispute. Sivagnanam, who led his 21-member team in the 'No-Confidence' bid told Ceylon Today, "We have settled the issue after R. Sampanthan intervened in the matter and also because the Chief Minister abandoned his earlier demand that two ministers go on compulsory leave and table letters of assurance that they will not interfere in the financial and power abuse probe against them.



PM to head committee on UNHRC recommendations
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

A committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to be appointed to look at implementing the recommendations on Sri Lanka by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Cabinet has approved a proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to appoint a committee of Ministers chaired by him and a committee of Officials to assist the main committee in this regard. The government noted that Sri Lanka has gained two more years to implement the recommendations agreed in 2015, at the session held in March 2017.



Gnanasara Thera arrested, released
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera was arrested by the Police Organized Crimes Prevention Division a short while ago for allegedly obstructing the duty of a police officer in Welikada. The thera was arrested when he arrived at the division to give a statement this afternoon. He was released on bail after being produced in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.



Sri Lanka's new FM hails China's Belt and Road Initiative
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Sri Lanka's newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake on Tuesday commended China's Belt and Road Initiative, saying it would be advantageous for the island country. In an interview with the local Daily Mirror, Karunanayake said the Silk Road had been in existence for over 3,000 years and Sri Lanka was definitely going to be a part of this ambitious project. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is aimed at building an infrastructure and trade network that spans across the globe, linking Asia with Europe and Africa, along the ancient Silk Road trading routes.



No need for emergency evacuation of Sri Lankans: Qatar
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

The Qatari Embassy in Colombo has said on Tuesday that there were no plans of an emergency evacuation of 150,000 Sri Lankans in the Gulf state, foreign media reported. The embassy advised Sri Lankans not to be misled by reports on emergency evacuation plans for the 150,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar, which the embassy dubbed as their "second home." "Officials from Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry and the embassy in Doha confirmed that there is no need for such measures as the diplomatic rift left no adverse impacts on the normal life of citizens and the expatriates as well," the Qatari Embassy said.



Harbouring Ganasara Thera: Wijedasa rejects allegations
[Wednesday 2017-06-21 18:00]

Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapkshe yesterday denied allegations of harbouring Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galabodaatte Gananasara Thera. "I am extremely saddened by the false allegations which have been made by some Muslim extremists that I am harbouring the monk. I have nothing to do with him" the minister said in Parliament yesterday.



NPC cools down - No-faith motion against Wiggy to be withdrawn
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

Opposition and TNA leader R Sampanthan has written to Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran that the no-confidence motion against the latter will be withdrawn. The former has assured the latter that there will be no punitive action against two ministers. In his letter to the Chief Minister dispatched yesterday Samapanthan said that he had informed the Governor of the Northern Province that the no-confidence motion would be with drawn.



HRCSL: Foreign judges will enhance confidence in war crimes probe
[Tuesday 2017-06-20 18:00]

The government had agreed to the participation of foreign judges in a war crimes probe in accordance with Oct 1, 2015 Resolution moved at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Human Rights Commissioner Ambika Satkunanathan says.


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