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August 21, 2014 [GMT]
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Sri Lanka visa ban won't stop UN inquiry - Navi Pillay
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

The United Nations has insisted its investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka will go ahead despite being told it will be denied visas. Earlier, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the UN team would be refused entry because only Sri Lankan authorities could investigate the allegations. The UN decided earlier this year to investigate alleged crimes committed by government forces and Tamil rebels. Sri Lanka has refused to co-operate with the Human Rights Council inquiry. But UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay said her team would be able to use technology, like internet phone service Skype and satellite imagery, to carry out its investigation.



Lanka says won't allow terrorist acts against India
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

Sri Lanka today assured India that its soil would not be used for terror attacks against its neighbour even as Colombo has stepped up deportation of Pakistani nationals amid reports that they were involved in subversive acts directed at India. Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G L Peiris said that Colombo had assured New Delhi that its soil will not be used for anti-India activities. "We have constantly assured India that under no circumstances will Sri Lankan soil be used for any acts against India," Peiris said at a meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.



Army Major General warns of extremist elements 'Threat to national security and government' Top News
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

Visible and invisible, anti-nationalist, extremist, separatist elements and hardliners both in the country and overseas are using hybrid, asymmetric strategies thus posing a challenge and a threat to national security and the government, Major General of the Sri Lanka Army, G.V.D.U.A. Perera saidd. He made this statement at the 2014 Defence Seminar on National Security, when he explained the need for maintaining a highly motivated security force with physical, conceptual and moral components. Globally, regionally and locally, these extremist elements also affect the vulnerable and neutral populace in the said areas, he noted.



TNA to visit India tomorrow
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

The Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R. Sampanthan will leave for India tomorrow (21). The (TNA) Spokesperson and Jaffna District Parliamentarian, Suresh K. Premachandran told Ceylon Today, that as the TNA is making its first visit to New Delhi after BJP Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several key issues were likely to be taken up during the meetings with the Indian Government leaders."The TNA is also expected to meet the Indian Premier Narendra Modi in New Delhi and the Indian External Affairs Ministern Sushma Suwaraj.



Ban tells Lanka to help UN-led probe
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 15:00]

UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon has urged Sri Lanka to assist the investigation on the war led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Ban ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the Secretary General fully supports the High Commissioner for Human Rights and commends the leadership she's demonstrated to assist Sri Lanka in advancing accountability and reconciliation.



India is happy with Lanka-China ties
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 15:00]

The BJP led Indian Government has no concerns over the strong ties between China and Sri Lanka, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said today. Responding to a question posed by the Chinese delegation attending the Defence seminar in Colombo, Swamy said that India had concerns over one particular country and some extremists from that country using Sri Lanka to infiltrate Tamil Nadu. He said that the issue had been raised with the Sri Lankan Government and the Sri Lankan authorities had addressed the concerns. However he said the new Indian Government has no issues with Sri Lanka having strong ties with China and will back China working with Sri Lanka on the economic front.



Sri Lanka to refuse entry to UN investigators: President Top News
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Sri Lanka will not grant visas to UN investigators probing war crimes allegedly committed during the island's decades-long separatist conflict, President Mahinda Rajapakse said on Tuesday. "We will not allow them into the country," said Rajapakse, who is under international pressure to cooperate with the UN-mandated investigation. Sri Lanka has refused to accept the authority of the UN Human Rights Council which voted in March to probe allegations that the military killed 40,000 civilians in the final months of the separatist war, which ended in 2009.



Sri Lankan President appoints two more to the advisory panel of missing persons commission
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed two more members to the panel of international experts advising the Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka.The two appointees are Indian human rights activist Avdash Kaushal and a Pakistani law expert Ahmer B. Soofi.President Rajapaksa announced the appointment of the two experts in a message to the micro blog site Twitter.



Modi will meet TNA leader if Lankan Govt. approves
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will meet the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan if the Sri Lankan Government approves such meeting, said BJP leader, Dr. Subramanian Swamy yesterday. He added, "Normally we do not encourage meetings with parties which are hostile to the government of a country. The current Prime Minister does not give appointments freely". Sampanthan, in the meantime has been pressing for a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, since the latter took office this year.



Missing Persons Commission flustered West refuses to divulge info on refugees
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

persons, to divulge the names of refugees and political asylum seekers who have been reported as missing and disappeared.Chairman of the Commission, Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama said there were many thousands abroad in refugee camps. There is a possibility that persons who escaped from local refugee camps had fled abroad secretly, he observed.He added that the foreign ministries of the respective countries have refused to comply with the requests for details including names, citing legal complexities and also because there could be threats to the lives of the refugees and their relatives.



Jaffna Suicide Rate Increased After End Of War
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Daya Somasundaram, Professor of Psychiatry at Jaffna University said thatsuicide rate in Jaffna has gone up in the aftermath of the three decade long civil war in Sri Lanka.Statistics collected by Daya Somasundaram show that in 2005, at the beginning of Eelam War IV (August 2005 to May 2009), the suicide rate in Jaffna district was about 23 per 100,000 population. In 2006, when the war began to intensify, it came down to less than 20. As the war progressed in 2007 and 2008, the rate declined further. And in 2009, when the war was at its peak and Tamil society was under severe threat, the suicide rate went down to almost 15 per 100,000.



MODI 1ST PM IN 36 YRS TO ADDRESS SL PARLIAMENT
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister in 35 years to address the Sri Lankan Parliament. According to top Government officials attending the Defence Seminar 2014, organised by the Sri Lanka Army at Colombo, Modi is expected to address Sri Lankan Parliament in January 2015. Late Morarji Desai was the last Indian Prime Minister to address the Parliament of the island nation during his visit to Sri Lanka on February 6, 1979.



Government notes threat from NGOs
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

The Government says Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) which operate in non regulated environments has become a threat to financial management, inclusive development and law and order itself.Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundara said this while speaking at the Defence Seminar in Colombo today. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) had recently warned NGO's not to go beyond their mandate. An MOD letter sent to NGOs notes that some of them conduct press conferences, workshops, training for journalists, and dissemination of press releases which is beyond their mandate.



NPC, EPC members for wider probe
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

A group of members of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) have written to the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, seeking a wider probe on Sri Lanka by her office which looks at incidents even before the war. In a letter signed by 33 members of the two councils, the investigative team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been requested to look into the pattern of all the atrocities against the Tamil people, and to determine if Genocide has taken place.



Over 10,000 quack doctors in Sri Lanka, the doctor's union finds
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

There are over 10,000 quack doctors in Sri Lanka practicing western medicine without qualifications, the trade union of government doctors Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has found. An investigation conducted by a team of doctors of GMOA led by Dr. Haritha Aluthgama has identified 10,400 fake doctors who are currently operating in the country without proper qualifications or licenses swindling the unwary public. The investigation has found that 26.4 percent of private dispensary doctors are quacks. In the Gampaha town alone 35 percent of the doctors are unqualified to treat public, the national news agency Lankapuvath reported.



Kaushal Set to Urge Rajapaksa to Play Compromise Card
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

Indian human rights activist, Avdhash Kaushal, who has been invited by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to join a panel of experts which will advise the Presidential Commission on missing persons and war crimes, will urge Rajapaksa and the minority Tamils to go for a compromise. 'I will suggest to Rajapaksa that he should go for a compromise with the Tamils, because peace is very important not only for Sri Lanka but for the whole of South Asia. And the Tamils should give up the bullet for the ballot, and negotiate with the government. The experts' panel should render justice. We have to solve the problem,' Kaushal told Express over phone from Dehradun on Sunday.



SL electricity tariffs second highest in the world - expert
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

Sri Lanka's electricity tariffs were higher than those of Australia, Singapore, Canada, Germany, France, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Nepal, Prof. Sirimal Abeyratne of the Department of Economics, University of Colombo disclosed last week. Speaking at a discussion on Technology and Research Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka's latest book, Power and Power, at the National Library and Documentation Services Board, Prof. Abeyratne said apart from Italy, Sri Lanka had the highest electricity charges in the world.



NGO PLOT SAYS GL
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

Amid UN investigation team calling for submission of evidence on the alleged Human Rights violations in Sri Lanka before October 30, 2014, External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris charged that there were 'dubious methods' to collect evidence to be sent to Geneva. SEE DETAILED STORY ON PAGE A2 Prof. Peiris made the remark during his political addresses in Panadura and Moratuwa over the weekend.In one such rally, the Minister said, twenty hand-picked families from the North were brought to Colombo in circumstances, which indicated that some of those for whom transport arrangements had been made, were unaware of the reason why they were travelling to Colombo.



UN Committee Grills Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2014-08-17 18:00]

The UN Human Rights Committee which is scheduled to convene in October, has questioned the Sri Lankan Government on several issues including on the progress made by the Sri Lankan Army's Court of Inquiry in investigating allegations of civilian casualties during the war. The 112th session of the Human Rights Committee will be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from October 7 to 31 with Sri Lanka being discussed on October 7 and 8. The reports to be considered during the 112th session are those of Sri Lanka, Burundi, Haiti, Malta, Montenegro and Israel.



Presidential polls TNA undecided on fielding candidate
[Sunday 2014-08-17 18:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will decide whether it is to field a presidential candidate or not only after the announcement of a presidential election is made, TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran told Ceylon Today in an interview on Thursday (16). "Only then will we also decide on the other option whether to support a common candidate or not," he said. Sumanthiran, who has an insight into the main opposition UNP's thinking, said they would however field a candidate to challenge incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next Presidential Election, without supporting a common candidate.


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