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February 21, 2018 [GMT]
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India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise in Pune
[Wednesday 2017-10-11 18:00]

Mitra Shakti 2017, a joint exercise between India and Sri Lanka for military co-operation and interoperability, will be conducted at the Aundh Military Camp in Pune between October 13 and 25.
The training exercise is considered an important effort in India’s response to China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

Mitra Shakti 2017, a joint exercise between India and Sri Lanka for military co-operation and interoperability, will be conducted at the Aundh Military Camp in Pune between October 13 and 25. The training exercise is considered an important effort in India’s response to China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

  

Army officials said the aim of the joint training is to exchange the best of military practices of the two countries and build a strong military-to-military relation between the two armies. The exercise, the fifth in the series, also aims at developing joint strategies by sharing the expertise of conducting operations, especially in the counter-insurgency and counter terrorism (CI and CT) environment, said an official.

The exercise will be conducted over two weeks, and the training module will include weapons training, basic military tactics and complex battle strategies. The series — Mitra Shakti — had started in 2012, mainly as a response to China’s efforts to increase its influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. The armies of India and Sri Lanka also serve together in the United Nations Peacekeeping missions. Senior military observers of both countries will be attending the Final Tactical Exercise scheduled to be held at the Aundh Military Station on October 25.

The fourth chapter of the exercise was held at the Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, in 2016, when the main focus was to enhance inter-operability in CI and CT operations under the UN mandate. The Indian contingent was represented by a platoon from the Rajputana Rifles Regiment and the Sri Lankan Army was represented by a platoon from the Sinha Regiment. The earlier joint military exercise was conducted in 2015, in Pune

  
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Sampanthan warns MR of lotus bud blooming into Eelam
[Tuesday 2018-02-20 19:00]

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan today warned former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the lotus bud of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) will bloom into Eelam if he continues to spread false propaganda. Speaking in Parliament during the debate on the political situation in the country, Sampanthan said that there was no dispute that the SLPP led by Rajapaksa won the just concluded Local Government elections.



Lanka’s case up for review in Geneva on March 16
[Tuesday 2018-02-20 19:00]

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which meets next Monday for its 37th session will discuss Universal Periodical Review (UPR) outcomes for Sri Lanka on March 16. On that day UPR outcomes for Benin, Pakistan, Zambia, Japan and Ukraine will also be taken up. Meanwhile the UNHRC Secretary General’s country report/ oral briefing on Sri Lanka, detailing the progress the country has made on promoting human rights and the progress made on implementing a resolution to increase accountability, will take place on March 21. This will be followed up by a general debate.



Provincial Council delimitation report handed over
[Tuesday 2018-02-20 19:00]

Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Faiszer Musthapha had received the delimitation commission report on elections to be held to the provincial council under the Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) representation system, Kamal Pathmasiri, Secretary to the Ministry said yesterday.



EPDP stakes claim to Delft PS
[Tuesday 2018-02-20 19:00]

EPDP leader Douglas Devananda yesterday said that running of the Delft Pradeshiya Sabha should be handed over to his party as it had secured the highest number of seats at the recent local government elections. The EPDP won six seats, TNA four and two independent candidates were also elected. However, the TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian Mavai Senathiraja has invited the two independent members to support his party to run the council.



President continues to keep PM without removing him: MR
[Tuesday 2018-02-20 19:00]

Former President and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa today said it was none other than President Maithripala Sirisena who keeps Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his post without ousting him. The former president said this in response to a question asked by a journalist when he was leaving Parliament. When asked his opinion about President Sirisena seeking Attorney General’s opinion on the legality of removing the Premier, Mr. Rajapaksa said “Why seek AG’s consultations? Shouldn’t forget that the President is the Executive,”



UPFA will be in Government till President gets SC opinion: Thilanga
[Tuesday 2018-02-20 19:00]

The UPFA will continue to be in the National Government till the President receives Supreme Court’s opinion, Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala told Parliament yesterday. He made this statement taking part in the special adjournment debate on the political situation in the country. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had requested Sumathipala to explain to the House over the newspaper reports quoting him (Sumathipala) which stated UPFA decided to quit the National Government.



War crimes allegations: Govt, TNA face new challenge
[Monday 2018-02-19 18:00]

Having eaten into the Tamil National alliance (TNA) vote bank in the Jaffna peninsula at the recently concluded local government polls, the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) has launched a fresh campaign to pressure the international community to set up an international war crimes tribunal against Sri Lanka or refer the matter to the UN Security Council.



TNA won’t be party to current horse-trading
[Monday 2018-02-19 18:00]

The prevailing political situation where MPs were bought to secure enough seats to form a government after the February 10 election was disgusting, says TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran. He told The Island yesterday that The TNA didn’t want to be a part of any negotiation to form a government. "We are aware of a lot of discussions going on and that it’s not clear for us what will happen. Therefore we will wait and see who has the ability to form a new government and decide what to do."



Katchatheevu Church Feast Sinhala mass for the first time 13,000 to land on island
[Monday 2018-02-19 18:00]

Some 5,000 Indian pilgrims along with 8,000 locals are due to land on the Katchatheevu Island on Friday (23) to celebrate the annual St. Anthony's Feast, a senior naval official said yesterday. The pilgrims, mainly from South India will be escorted to the Island from the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) after a head count, Naval Spokesman Cmdr. Dinesh Bandara said. For the first time at this traditional event a high mass will also be conducted in the Sinhala language along with Tamil, he said. The Sinhala mass will be conducted by the Bishop of Galle, Rev. Raymond Wickramasinghe.



'Only A No-Confidence Motion Can Make Me leave PM's Position': Ranil Conveys His Position To Sirisena
[Monday 2018-02-19 18:00]

The political crisis in Sri Lanka took a new turn last night when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed President Maithripala Sirisea that he would only leave the position if the opposition managed to defeat him in a no-confidence motion. The message had been conveyed at a meeting held at the President's in the presence of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim.



President Gives Another Assurance To Continue With RW As PM: Karu Becomes 'Man Of The Match' After Last Night's Talks
[Monday 2018-02-19 18:00]

Although the political situation is still tumultuous in the country, President Maithripala Sirisena has confirmed that he is willing to continue with Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of his government. At a discussion at the President's residence in Colombo last night, President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe have agreed to complete reforms in the government within a period of three months. However, President Sirisena gave similar assurances to the UNP a few times over the past week, he had no qualms about going back on his works whenever he had a meeting with the UPFA group.



President asks SLFPers to remain in Govt.
[Monday 2018-02-19 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) not to quit the unity government. He is reported to have made this request when he met the ministers representing the SLFP led by him today.



TNA MP Sumanthiran warns UNHRC members of Govt. backsliding
[Sunday 2018-02-18 18:00]

Ahead of the annual session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in March, the TNA is engaged in a vigorous campaign with representatives of member countries, to pressure the Government into implementing the UN Resolution within a year, which it co-sponsored. Speculating that the Government may derail implementation of its Geneva commitments, in the wake of the electoral setback it suffered at the recently concluded local government polls, Parliamentarian Sumanthiran said the international community should ensure the full implementation of the Resolution co-sponsored by the Government.



Sampanthan tells President: Fulfil the 2015 mandate
[Sunday 2018-02-18 18:00]

Amidst the prevailing political instability in Colombo, Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan met President Maithripala Sirsena on Friday evening and urged him to fulfil the peoples’ mandate he received at the last Presidential election on January 8, 2015. “The Opposition Leader was of the view that the unity government should continue until its term ended in 2020. However, he also reminded the President of the mandate he received at the last presidential election and pointed out that the mandate should be fulfilled during his term as President even if a new government took office,” a spokesperson from the Opposition Leader’s office said.



Counter-terror draft to be amended again ahead of UNHRC session
[Sunday 2018-02-18 18:00]

For many months now, the Government has been making amendments to a draft of a counter terrorism law to replace the (Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The final draft was placed for approval before the Cabinet of Ministers last Wednesday by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, PC. The Government wants to ensure its early passage since the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is expected to begin its sessions on February 26 and continue till March 23.



Diplomatic community concerned over MR returning
[Sunday 2018-02-18 18:00]

The diplomatic community is concerned over the possibility of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa returning to power in the near future. Western diplomats are believed to have raised their concerns with the Government and among the diplomatic community. The concerns arise from steps taken by President Maithripala Sirisena to have talks with the joint opposition to form a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Government.



JO-SLFP POW-WOW CONTINUES : PRESIDENT TO TAKE FINAL DECISION
[Sunday 2018-02-18 18:00]

The SLFP faction in the Government said that it is up to the President to take a final decision whether to form a SLFP-led Government or not and added that discussions between the SLFP and the Joint Opposition (JO) are still continuing. The JO and the SLFP hope to complete their ongoing discussions within the next two days and reach a finality to form a Government, JO Leader Dinesh Gunawardena told the Sunday Observer yesterday.



Sagala likely to retain Southern Development
[Sunday 2018-02-18 18:00]

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka who offered to quit his portfolio is likely to remain Minister of Southern Development following the cabinet reshuffle expected in the next few days, well informed sources said yesterday.



FORMER CRIMES OIC, SENIOR DIG TO TURN STATE WITNESSES
[Saturday 2018-02-17 18:00]

Former Mt. Lavinia Police Crimes OIC, SI Tissa Sugathapala and retired Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara arrested by the CID over the killing of veteran journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge have agreed to testify as state witnesses, the CID said. Kalubowila JMO Dr. Sunil Kumara who issued Lasantha’s autopsy report stated that the cause of death was due to cranio cerebral injuries following a discharge of a firearm.



Top Diplomats From US, UK, India And China Spoke To Me About Current Political Situation In SL:" PM Says
[Saturday 2018-02-17 18:00]

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said four top diplomats held talks with him on the current political situation in the country. Speaking to media at Temple Trees, The Prime Minister said the new Ambassador of China, the Ambassador of the Unite States, the High Commissioner of India and the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom held talks with him. However, the Prime Minister did not disclose the exact topics discussed at the meetings.


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