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January 24, 2018 [GMT]
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Tamils protest outside Swiss court against case on LTTE supporters
[Tuesday 2018-01-09 18:00]

Over 150 Tamils protested outside a Swiss court today against a trial involving thirteen LTTE financiers.
The protesters held posters of the LTTE and its slain leader Vellupillai Prabakaran and made statements in support of a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka.
Thirteen financiers accused of funnelling more than CH15 million ($15.3 million) to the LTTE stood trial before the Swiss Federal Criminal Court today.

Over 150 Tamils protested outside a Swiss court today against a trial involving thirteen LTTE financiers. The protesters held posters of the LTTE and its slain leader Vellupillai Prabakaran and made statements in support of a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka. Thirteen financiers accused of funnelling more than CH15 million ($15.3 million) to the LTTE stood trial before the Swiss Federal Criminal Court today.


The accused are from Switzerland, Germany and Sri Lanka. Some are former members of the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), which represented the LTTE in Switzerland until 2009, and include its founder, his deputy and the person in charge of finances, Swiss Info reported. Between 1999 and 2009, they allegedly created a complex fundraising structure which involved coaxing members of the Tamil diaspora to obtain loans from banks. To raise higher amounts, the WTCC was accused of creating fictitious companies in the name of borrowers that issued fake salary certificates. The 13 on trial face charges of fraud, false documentation, money laundering and extortion. As the LTTE was never declared a terror organisation in Switzerland, they will not face charges of funding a terror group, unlike cases involving Islamic State or al-Qaeda.

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EPRLF MP Sivashakthi Anandan alleges:15 TNA MPs bribed by PM’s Office
[Tuesday 2018-01-23 17:00]

The Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Vanni District Parliamentarian, Sivashakthi Anandan, has alleged that except for him, fifteen Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs had been bribed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs to vote in favour of the 2018 Budget. The EPRLF MP Anandan, who quit the TNA a month ago, following the decision taken by his Party hierarchy, addressing a Local Government (LG) election rally in Vavuniya on 20 January, said, each TNA MP was bribed to the tune of Rs 20 million to vote in favour of the said budget.

Uva CM granted bail
[Tuesday 2018-01-23 17:00]

Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake who surrendered to the Badulla Police this morning, was granted bail by the Badulla Magistrate’s Court a short while ago. Magistrate Nayantha Samarathunga released the Chief Minister on two sureties of Rs. 200,000 each. Chief Minister Dassanayake is alleged to have forced a Principal of a Tamil Girls School to kneel in front of him for not following his orders.

American Center re-opened
[Tuesday 2018-01-23 17:00]

The American Center in Colombo, which remained closed, has been re-opened to the public, the US Embassy said today. “The US Embassy has returned to normal operations. The American Center in Colombo is open to the public,” it said. The Embassy yesterday said the American Center would remain closed until further notice.

SL - Singapore FTA signed
[Tuesday 2018-01-23 17:00]

The Sri Lankan Government today signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore at the Presidential Secretariat. In a statement, the President’s Media Division said the FTA will boost the trade between the two countries as this would facilitate duty free access to selected goods and services of each other. The signing of the FTA took place following the bilateral discussions between Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong and President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat.

Bond, PRECIFAC reports tabled in Parliament
[Tuesday 2018-01-23 17:00]

The reports of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into Central Bank Bond Issuance and the PCoI into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) were tabled in Parliament a short while ago.

Chinese envoy and four other envoys present credentials
[Tuesday 2018-01-23 17:00]

Five new Ambassadors including the new Ambassador of China presented their credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House in Colombo, today. Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China-Cheng Xueyuan, Ambassador of Korea-Lee Heon, Sudanese Ambassador Sirajuddin Hamid Yousif, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam- Pham Thi Bich Ngoc and Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar- Han Thu presented their credentials today. Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana and the Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando were present on this occasion.

NPC calls for resuming constitutional reform, transitional justice process
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

The National Peace Council has urged the coalition government to resume both constitutional reform and transitional justice processes after the conclusion of the local government elections. "The leadership provided by the President and the Prime minister will be crucial in giving proper direction to the future of the country and taking it out of the shallows in which it has been stuck for too long." the NPC said in a statement.

Singapore PM arrives in SL
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Sri Lanka a short while ago on a three-day official visit at the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena. Prime Minister Lee arrived with a delegation of 35 members. He was welcomed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake.

Two human footprints emerge on Maskeliya rock
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Two human footprints were found on a rock at the “New Fogmore” Group in Guardmore, Maskeliya in close proximity to Sri Pada by estate workers five days ago. They said they came across a right footprint and once they cleaned the moss gathered on the boulder, the left became visible adjacent to it. The right footprint is very clearly visible, while the toes of the left were invisible.

Uva Chief Minister resigns under pressure
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Chief Minister of the Uva Province Chamara Sampath Dassanayake, who accused of having forced a female principal to kneel before him, said yesterday that would step down as the Uva Province Minister of Education with immediate effect. Dassanayake is alleged to have treated the principal of a Tamil medium school Badulla in this manner because she refused to comply with his request that a student be admitted to her school.

Govt. will continue till 2020 – PM
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that regardless of the challenges, the unity government will continue until 2020. While noting that persons involved in corruption and malpractices in the past were trying to change the Good Governance government, the Premier said that they will never be able to realise their goal. “The Wanni Hathpaththuwa Development plan will also be launched this year,” the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister was speaking at a UNP election rally at Nikaweratiya town yesterday.

Underworld characters in this Govt: Mano Ganesan
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan said today there were those involved in underworld criminal activities and drug trafficking in this government. He said those elements would not be allowed to scuttle the forward march of this government. “We are ready to give tuition to all the parties including the United National Party (UNP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) on reconciliation. We can then stake a claim to this government. If somebody calls this a UNP or SLFP government, it will be a foolish remark. We all played a role in installing this government,” he said.

[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The Sri Lankan mission in Canada is closely monitoring a claimed session by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, a body of ‘elected’ members whose ideology upholds separatism in the country, official sources told the Sunday Observer. A release posted on the website of the TGTE stated, “Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam’s (TGTE) 8th Sitting of its 2nd Parliament will be held from January 19th to 21st in Toronto, Canada.” The sources did not confirm if the Foreign Ministry has lodged an official protest to the Canadian counterpart against the TGTE meeting.

Forcing a Principal to kneel: President directs IGP to probe
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena had directed IGP Pujith Jayasundera to hold an inquiry into incident in which Uva Province Chief Minister was accused of forcing a lady Principal to kneel in front of him, officials said. The President had instructed the IGP to take necessary legal action into the incident based on investigations. Meanwhile, the Police said the Badulla Police had commenced an investigation into the incident after the Principal had lodged a complaint.

[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The US government officially shutdown yesterday for the first time in five years after the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running. The shutdown began at 12:01 am (local time) after a few Republicans joined Democrats in blocking the crucial measure would have provided short-term funding for the Pentagon and other federal agencies, the foreign media reported. Responding to the situation in the US, the US Embassy in Colombo said in a tweet message, “At this time, scheduled passport and visa services at the U.S. Embassy will continue during the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits. The American Center is closed until further notice.”

President vows to bring economy under his control
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said the management of the country’s economy, which had been under the United National Party (UNP) for the last three years, would be taken over by him from this year. Addressing a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) election rally in Kegalle, the President said he appointed the National Economic Council (NEC) three months ago to provide relief to the people by managing the economy through this council. The President said he would take over the responsibility of strengthening the country’s economy while protecting all local industries, products and investments. He appealed to local industrialists and investors to join in this endeavour and not to abandon their motherland.

Uva CM steps down as Education Minister
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake said he would step down from the Post of Provincial Education Minister with immediate effect. The Chief Minister said he decided to step down from the post until the investigation into the allegations levelled against him was completed. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) launched an investigation into the incident where the Chief Minister allegedly forced a school principal to kneel before him.

Kataragama protestors tear gassed
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The Police a short while ago fired tear gas to disperse protesting people following yesterday's shooting incident in Kataragama. It was reported that more than 60 individuals had been arrested over violence.

If Ranil removed from Premiership UNPers threaten to impeach Prez
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

United National Party Parliamentarian Chaminda Wijesiri said that if any attempt is made to remove Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from office, the Party would definitely bring a motion in Parliament to impeach President Maithripala Sirisena. He made these comments in relation to rumours that subsequent to the Local Government (LG) polls, the Prime Minister would be changed and that a new Government would be formed.

EC says no power to unseat elected candidates
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday he could do nothing about unseating a field officers or any other candidate if he had been found to have illegally contested the Local Government election and was elected. Mr. Deshapriya said unseating of an elected candidate could only be done through a court procedure and added that elections commissions had no provision to do so.

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