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February 23, 2018 [GMT]
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Hartal in North and East on Friday
[Wednesday 2017-10-11 18:00]

As a mark of political protest against a decision by the Attorney General’s department to transfer three Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) cases from Vavuniya High Court to Anuradhapura, political parties and civil society organizations have planned to stage a hartal on Thursday, October 13, in the North and East.
Speaking to the Daily News, Tamil National Alliance MP M. A. Sumanthiran said he was aware of the situation and has requested the AG’s department to provide security to the witnesses of the three cases so that it can continue to be heard at the Vavuniya High Court.

As a mark of political protest against a decision by the Attorney General’s department to transfer three Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) cases from Vavuniya High Court to Anuradhapura, political parties and civil society organizations have planned to stage a hartal on Thursday, October 13, in the North and East. Speaking to the Daily News, Tamil National Alliance MP M. A. Sumanthiran said he was aware of the situation and has requested the AG’s department to provide security to the witnesses of the three cases so that it can continue to be heard at the Vavuniya High Court.

  

“The suspects said that the lawyers appearing for them practice at Vavuniya High Court and if the case is to be transferred to Anuradhapura, they are uncomfortable with the language of the proceedings since it would be conducted in Sinhala,” he said. “The AG’s department has however cited that the reason for the transfer is because the witnesses do not feel safe. For this we’ve asked the AG to provide the necessary security so the case can still be heard at Vavuniya High Court.”

“We have supported their decision for the case to be heard at Vavuniya but the matter rests with the AG,” he said. “We are not asking for their release only for their case to be heard at Vavuniya.” It has been reported that the three prisoners in the Anuradhapura prison, who had gone on hunger strike have been admitted to the Anuradhapura hospital due to ill health. The decision to hold a hartal was reached upon after a discussion between political parties and civil society representatives in the North and East.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Civil Society Forum in a statement has questioned the grounds on which the transfers have been made. “The transfers of these cases give the impression that these Courts in North and East are treated as second class. Is the AG concerned about PTA cases being heard in the North and East,” they queried.

  
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Govt. bound to implement UNHRC resolution: TNA
[Thursday 2018-02-22 18:00]

Opposition Leader and TNA MP R. Sampanthan today said that the government was bound to implement the UNHRC resolution both in spirit and letter and called on the international community to ensure it was fully implemented. Highlighting the delays that have occurred in implementing the resolution he said that the International community must take necessary steps to ensure that the government is held accountable for the commitments made to the international community and to the people in Sri Lanka on implementing Cosponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council.



Priyankara Fernando arrives in Sri Lanka
[Thursday 2018-02-22 18:00]

Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, Brigadier Priyankara Fernando arrived in Sri Lanka a short while ago. He was recalled for special consultations on the video published on social media capturing him making a ‘throat slitting’ gesture in response to a Tamil group of protesters outside the Sri Lankan High Commission premises in London. Brigadier Priyankara Fernando was immediately recalled from his service following the release of the video but was reinstated soon after, with the intervention of President Maithripala Sirisena.



TNA MPs accused bribery, complains MP Saravanapavan
[Thursday 2018-02-22 18:00]

Raising a privilege issue TNA MP E. Saravanapavan said MP Nadesan Sivashakthi had made a statement that during the Local Government election, the TNA Members of Parliament had accepted a bribe of Rs. 20 million each from the Government in order to support the Budget 2018. “This was highlighted in all Tamil newspapers, the electronic media and the social media and all other parties had made use of this during their election campaigns.”



Posting New Year greetings with LTTE emblem: Suspects further remanded
[Thursday 2018-02-22 18:00]

Two youths arrested on the charge of posting New Year greetings with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) emblem and a picture of former LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on Facebook, were yesterday ordered to be further remanded until March 7 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court.



EU urges Sri Lankan government to honor commitments to OMP and transnational justice
[Thursday 2018-02-22 18:00]

The European Union (EU) says the Sri Lankan Government must honor their commitments on the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and Transitional Justice. In a tweet, on the occasion of protests by the families of missing persons reaching the one year mark, the office of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives said Sri Lankans ill not be able to reconcile without knowing about the fate of the missing and disappeared.



Diyatalawa explosion: Not terrorism: Army
[Thursday 2018-02-22 18:00]

Military Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu today categorically dismissed today’s explosion in a private bus in Diyatalawa as an act of terrorism. "If it was an act of terrorism, the damage and explosion would have been much bigger," he added. Brigadier Atapattu said a Military inquiry and Police Inquiry were in progress and details pertaining to the explosion could be known after the conclusion of those inquiries.



17 passengers including 12 military personnel injured in bus explosion Top News
[Wednesday 2018-02-21 19:00]

Seventeen passengers including twelve military personnel and a woman were injured in an explosion inside a bus in Diyatalawa this morning, Army Media Spokesperson Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said. He said seven soldiers and five airmen were among the military personnel who were injured. The rest of the injured were identified as civilians.



Hand grenade caused Diyathalawa bus explosion
[Wednesday 2018-02-21 19:00]

The Army Commander has informed that a hand grenade is the likely cause of an explosion and fire inside a bus at Kahagolla in Diyathalawa this morning, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament a short while ago. Law and Order Minister Sagala Rathnayaka told MPs that the grenade may have been inside the bag of one of the passengers and investigations into the incident are ongoing. Nineteen passengers inside the bus were injured due to the explosion this morning. According to the Army, 12 of the injured are military personnel. The military has insisted that the incident is not being treated as an act of terrorism.



Parliament informed National Government continues
[Wednesday 2018-02-21 19:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera told Parliament today that the National Government was still valid and continues. PM Wickremesinghe stated that the agreement on the National Government was still valid and there was no need to amend it. Meanwhile. UPFA General Secretary stated that the UPFA had not withdrawn from the National Government.



UN blocks deployment of Sri Lankan military officer to Lebanon
[Wednesday 2018-02-21 19:00]

The United Nations (UN) has blocked the deployment of a Sri Lankan military officer to Lebanon for peacekeeping operations. UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that following questions raised, the deployment of Rathnappuli Wasantha Kumara Hewage has been suspended, Innercity Press reported.



Diyathalawa explosion not terror related - Military
[Wednesday 2018-02-21 19:00]

Military Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu has clarified that the explosion this morning did not take place inside the private bus plying from Jaffna to Bandarawela, but on another bus to which the passengers got into along the way.



25% women reps not possible in 10 LG bodies
[Wednesday 2018-02-21 19:00]

Elections Commission Mahinda Desapriya said the 25 per cent woman representation could not be maintained in at least ten local government bodies because of a lacuna in the Local Authorities’ Elections Act. Though the Act stipulates that each of the councils should be made up of 25 per cent woman representatives, the parties that contested the polls in these ten local bodies appear to have found it difficult to nominate women candidates.



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."


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