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December 18, 2017 [GMT]
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SC dismisses petition against ITAK; says advocating federal form of govt. isn’t separatism
[Saturday 2017-08-12 15:00]

The Supreme Court (SC) declared this week that advocating for a federal form of government within the existing state could not be considered as advocating separatism and that the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) does not, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka as envisaged under Article 157A of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court (SC) declared this week that advocating for a federal form of government within the existing state could not be considered as advocating separatism and that the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) does not, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka as envisaged under Article 157A of the Constitution.

  

Dismissing the petition filed by H. K. Don Chandrasoma of Kelaniya who sought a Court order declaring that ITAK is a political party which has as one of its “aims” and “objects” the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka, the three-member SC bench said, “ITAK is advocating for a federalist form of government by devolving more powers to the provinces within the framework of a unitary state,” adding that “advocating for a federal form of government within the existing state could not be considered advocating separatism.” The bench comprised Chief Justice Prasanth Dep, Justice Uppal Abeyrathne and Justice Anil Goonertane.

In the landmark ruling, the SC said the labelling of states as unitary and federal sometimes may be misleading. “There could be unitary states with features or attributes of a federal state and vice versa. In a unitary state, if more powers are given to the units it could be considered a federal state. Similarly, in a federal state, if the Center is powerful and the power is concentrated in the Centre it could be considered a unitary state. Therefore, sharing of sovereignty, devolution of power and decentralisation will pave the way for a federal form of government within a unitary state,” the Court said. It cited the 13th Amendment to the Constitution as an instance where power was devolved to the provinces.

The case was filed on April 2016 and decided on 4 August, 2017.The Petitioner sought a declaration under and in terms of Article 157A (4) of the Constitution (as amended by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution) of Sri Lanka. He cited ITAK Secretary Mawai S. Senathirajah, Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya and the Attorney General as respondents.

  
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Wiggy request voters to elect honest politicians
[Monday 2017-12-18 18:00]

Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran requested the voters to elect the honest, uncorrupt and service oriented people to the local bodies at the forthcoming local government polls. He made the request at a press briefing held at the Jaffna Press Club yesterday. Wigneswaran said that the people expected local bodies to provide uncorrupt, honest and dedicated services. Therefore, the voters should elect the right people who would be of service without focusing on political gains.



LG polls to be held on Feb. 10
[Monday 2017-12-18 18:00]

Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya confirmed today that Local Government Elections will be held on February 10, 2018. Earlier this month the Election Commission Chairman said that an estimate of Rs. 4 billion will be allocated for the upcoming Local Government Election polls. Chairman of the Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said that of a total of 497 nomination lists received 23 had been rejected.



Malaysia to help SL to curb drugs and human smuggling
[Monday 2017-12-18 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena and the visiting Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak today agreed to expand existing close cooperation in many fields including trade and investment, agriculture and intelligence exchange to curb drugs and human smuggling. They also agreed to expand nano and bio technology, e-commerce, e-courts, international forums and military training during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat.



Nominations for 248 LG Bodies from today
[Monday 2017-12-18 18:00]

Nominations for 248 Local Government institutions will be accepted from today until noon on December 21, the Elections Commission said. Deposits to the 248 institutions could be paid until 12 noon on December 20. Nominations for 93 Local Government bodies were accepted from December 11 to 14 noon.



British MPs call on Sri Lanka to release list of surrendered Tamils
[Monday 2017-12-18 18:00]

British parliamentarians have called on Sri Lanka to release a list of all those who surrendered or were detained by the security forces during and after the armed conflict, in a message of support with families of the disappeared, as their protest passes 300 days. Noting that 300 days would have passed since the protests began, Paul Scully, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, said “it is a milestone which speaks to the immense bravery and courage of the families, who have continued their struggle despite the challenges of old-age, exposure to the elements and routine intimidation”. “But it is also one which reflects the government of Sri Lanka’s frankly shocking indifference to some of its most vulnerable and traumatised citizens.”



Sri Lanka hosts wedding ceremony for 50 Chinese couples
[Monday 2017-12-18 17:00]

Sri Lanka hosted 50 young Chinese couples as they entered into wedlock in a glittering wedding ceremony held at the Town-hall Grounds today, further boosting the tourist potential Sri Lanka in the eyes of the world and promoting it as an ideal destination for couples to enjoy that very special day in their lives. The colourful event that showcased our nation’s rich culture, the hospitality and friendship shown to another friendly country was an opportunity to grow Sri Lanka-China religious, trade and cultural ties going back thousands of years.



Malaysian Prime Minister to hold talks with Wigneswaran
[Sunday 2017-12-17 18:00]

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak will hold talks with Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran during his three day visit to Sri Lanka. The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said that a meeting with the Chief Minister of the Northern Province has been arranged.



TNA LEADER REFUTES MEDIA REPORTS
[Sunday 2017-12-17 18:00]

Refuting media reports to the effect that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) constituents are parting ways ahead of filing nominations for the upcoming local government elections, its leader R. Sampanthan told the Sunday Observer that they will resolve prevailing issues amicably and move forward. “These issues not unusual in a political alliance, especially during the filing of nominations, and that we will sort it out amicably,” TNA and Opposition leader R. Sampanthan said.



Malaysian PM arrives Top News
[Sunday 2017-12-17 18:00]

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrived in Sri Lanka this morning for three-day official visit. A proposed bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and Sri Lanka will be a key agenda during Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s visit, the Malaysian Star reported. The Malaysian Prime Minister will discuss the matter with Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena in a bilateral meeting tomorrow.



President says will request Putin to withdraw tea ban
[Sunday 2017-12-17 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena said today that he would make an official request from Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw the temporary ban on Sri Lanka tea imports. The Russian Federation on Thursday announced that tea imports from Sri Lanka had been banned due to the detection of a single specimen of the agricultural pest, the beetle Trogoderma Granarium in the packaging material of a consignment of tea shipped from Sri Lanka.



Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang to bid farewell
[Sunday 2017-12-17 18:00]

The Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang is to bid farewell as his term in Sri Lanka has come to an end. Yi Xianliang is to leave on Monday after serving nearly three years as Ambassador in Sri Lanka. Xianliang, seen as one of the most influential Chinese envoys to Sri Lanka, arrived in the country on February 24, 2015 and commenced work as the 20th Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka.



Speculation on Maithri-Mahinda patch-up
[Sunday 2017-12-17 18:00]

Two Sunday Sinhala newspapers commanding large circulations available on the news stands yesterday ran speculative stories about a possible patch-up between President Maithripala Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa at the conclusion of the local government election. The Sunday Divaina ran a front page banner headline on a "Maithri – Mahinda caretaker government" while the Sunday Lankadeepa reported that "it is reliably understood from a source close to the government that before the local government elections due by early February next year, President Sirisena is to take a series of ‘Disruptive Change’ decisons."



Sri Lanka urged to repeal Prevention of Terror Act
[Saturday 2017-12-16 17:00]

Reiterating a long-pending demand from human rights activists and some politicians in Sri Lanka, visiting UN experts on Friday urged the government to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Following a 10-day visit to the island, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention pointed to “significant challenges” to Sri Lankans enjoying the right to personal liberty, resulting in “arbitrary detention across the country”.



EU welcomes Sri Lanka as 163rd State Party to mine ban convention
[Saturday 2017-12-16 17:00]

The European Union (EU) says it is pleased to welcome Sri Lanka as the 163rd State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. On 13 December 2017, Sri Lanka deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention of the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (commonly known as the Ottawa Convention).



Plea of remanded Navy officer’s daughter to meet UN members turned down
[Saturday 2017-12-16 17:00]

Former Navy Spokesperson Commander D.K.P Dassanayake’s daughter told the media yesterday that her request to meet and lodge a complaint about her father’s detention by the Sri Lankan law enforcement authority, to the visiting three-member UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, had been turned down, claiming it was not a case about the ‘LTTE’.



SL plays down Russian tea ban; says insect detection an isolated incident
[Saturday 2017-12-16 17:00]

The Sri Lanka Tea Board said today that the detection of an insect which led to the temporary ban of Ceylon Tea imports into Russia may have been an isolated incident, and that Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake would visit Russia to clear the situation.



Chinese envoy says OBOR will take Sino-Lanka ties to new level
[Saturday 2017-12-16 17:00]

Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang yesterday (15) said that he is confident that after the China-Sri Lanka relations have entered a new fast track under the guidance of the Belt and Road initiative, it will mutually benefit both countries.



US sends letter to govt regarding Russian
[Saturday 2017-12-16 17:00]

The US government has sent a letter to the Sri Lanka government through diplomatic channels regarding the escape of Russian national Farin Manokin. He had been arrested by the CID under the charges of money laundering to the tune of several million US dollars from the country. The Russian national arrested by the CID on charges of money laundering had been released on bail by the High Court and ordered to report to the CID once a week as a bail condition.



Man, 45, accused of killing wife, 46, in Scarborough
[Friday 2017-12-15 18:00]

Toronto Police say the victim was found by emergency crews responding to a medical call in a townhouse complex at 50 Empringham Dr., near Morningside and McLevin Aves., around 1:40 p.m. on Tuesday. “Police and paramedics located a woman with severe trauma,” Det.-Sgt. Mike Patterson said in a statement released Thursday. “She was rushed to hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced (dead).” The woman — the city’s 60th murder victim of the year — has now been identified as 46-year-old Jayanthy Seevaratnam.



UN experts calls for end to arbitrary detention
[Friday 2017-12-15 18:00]

The three-member UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention which was in Sri Lanka from December 4, today urged the government to introduce urgent reforms to the 'outdated' legal framework to end arbitrary detention in the country. The delegation comprised Working Group Members José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Leigh Toomey and Elina Steinerte. They called for urgent reforms to address problems including the excessive use of remand, a lack of effective alternatives to detention, an outdated legal framework and reliance on confessions often extracted under torture or duress.


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