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July 1, 2016 [GMT]
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More needs to be done, West tells Sri Lanka
[Friday 2016-07-01 18:00]

Western nations have reminded Sri Lanka that much more remains to be achieved in the areas of reconciliation and accountability. In their response to an oral update made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the subsequent speech of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, the countries urged Sri Lanka to see to it that the commitments made in the resolution adopted by the HRC unanimously in October last were carried out. They were appreciative of the work accomplished by Sri Lanka and none of them sounded harsh.



Norway calls on Sri Lanka to include international jurists in judicial mechanism
[Friday 2016-07-01 18:00]

While acknowledging Sri Lanka's progress that has taken place in implementing the resolution since its adoption in October last year, Norway called on the government of Sri Lanka to adhere to the resolution and include international judges and lawyers in the recommended judicial mechanism to investigate the allegations of war crimes. "We acknowledge the progress that has taken place in implementing the resolution since its adoption in October last year," Norway said in its statement to the 32nd session of the United Nations Human Right Council in Geneva on Wednesday.



Gammanpila released on bail Top News
[Friday 2016-07-01 18:00]

UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila, who was arrested on charges of using a fraudulent power-of-attorney to sell shares of an Australian company, was released on bail by Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne today. He was released on a cash bail of Rs. 25,000 with three sureties of Rs.500,000 each. A travel ban was imposed on him by the Magistrate.



Navy to look into Yoshitha after financial probe is over
[Friday 2016-07-01 18:00]

Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa was under investigation for financial crimes and therefore other allegations allegedly done as a Naval Officer would be investigated by the Sri Lanka Navy, after the conclusion of the civil case on financial crimes, Navy Spokesman Captain Alevi Akram said. Captain Akram responding to a question raised by a journalist as to why the Sri Lanka Navy treats Lt. Rajapaksa and Lt. Commander K.C Welagedara differently, he said there was no discrimination whatsoever and added that Sri Lanka Navy was awaiting the ruling from President Maithripala Sirisena as the Commander in Chief on the appeal made to him by Lt. Commander Welagedara against his punishment.



Japanese Grant Aid for Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project
[Friday 2016-07-01 18:00]

The Japanese Government granted 1,830 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 2.4 billion) to the Government of Sri Lanka for the implementation of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement project. This project aims to contribute to the improvement of the maritime safety capability of Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) by enabling SLCG to procure two petrol vessels to ensure safety navigation of vessels, anti-piracy, transnational crime countermeasures and prevention of destruction of marine environment and resources.



Constitution won’t permit foreign judges in war crimes court
[Friday 2016-07-01 18:00]

Attorney-at-law Chrishmal Warnasuriya yesterday emphasized that foreign judges couldn’t be included in proposed war crimes court under any circumstances. Warnasuriya said that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s recent declaration that foreign judges were needed in the proposed hybrid court due to lack of credibility in the domestic justice system wasn’t acceptable.



Heavy military presence in Sri Lanka’s North and East: UN
[Thursday 2016-06-30 18:00]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has found “heavy” military presence in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Describing as “slow” the progress in identification and release of land still held by the military in the two provinces, Mr. Hussein told the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday that “these point to a deeper challenge for the [Sri Lanka] government in asserting full control over the military and intelligence establishment”.



EU calls for international participation in accountability process
[Thursday 2016-06-30 18:00]

The European Union (EU) today called on the Sri Lankan Government to ensure international participation in the accountability process related to the war.The EU made the statement at the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today.Roderick Van Schreven, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands said that Sri Lanka is still at the beginning of a long process.



The UK wants to see Sri Lanka fully implementing Resolution 30/1, stands ready to help
[Thursday 2016-06-30 18:00]

The United Kingdom said Wednesday it remains committed to the full implementation of resolution 30/1 and stand ready to help the Sri Lankan Government to this end. Making a statement at today's session at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UK said Sri Lanka's co-sponsorship of the 2015 UNHRC resolution and ownership of its content, was a landmark moment."We welcome the Sri Lankan Government's continuing determination to address the legacy of conflict through the implementation of resolution 30/1. A comprehensive approach to dealing with the past, restoring confidence in state institutions, and developing a just political settlement for all its people is essential."



Russia says hands off Sri Lanka; US and others want more progress
[Thursday 2016-06-30 18:00]

Russia today told the international community to keep its hands off Sri Lanka as the Government looks to address the accountability issue on the war. The Russian delegation at the UN Human Rights Council said that Sri Lanka should be allowed to address its domestic affairs without outside interference. However several other countries, including the US, Britain, Norway, Ghana and Macedonia said that Sri Lanka must show more progress on its commitments. The statements were made after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein presented an oral update on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today.



Civilian lands in North will be returned by 2018 - FM
[Thursday 2016-06-30 18:00]

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, addressing the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva said all civilian lands in the North, will be returned by 2018.He also expressed confidence that UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon will visit Sri Lanka this year.He added that Sri Lanka was open to the world and the country was willing to engage with the international community, with courage and confidence.



Fonseka obtains UNP membership Top News
[Thursday 2016-06-30 18:00]

Field Marshal and Government Minister Sarath Fonseka obtained membership of the United National Party (UNP) today. He received his UNP membership from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at a ceremony held at party headquartersat Sirikotha this morning. Field Marshal Fonseka was also appointed as UNP Organizer for Kelaniya. Fonseka, who was leader of the Democratic Party (DP) has now dissolved his party and obtained UNP membership with other members of his party. The UNP entered into a collective agreement with the DP earlier this year.



Tell Kerry ‘Warn Sri Lanka’
[Wednesday 2016-06-29 16:00]

Twenty four US Congressmen have written US Secretary of State John F. Kerry telling him to make it clear to the Sri Lankan Government that additional US funding, trade and military-to-military incentives would depend on substantial and sustained implementation of the specifics in the joint US-SL resolution before the UNHRC. The letter from the Congressmen to Kerry adds that continued assistance in these areas would hinge on credible advances in the spheres of transitional justice, ending impunity with military and security sector reform, rule of law and addressing concerns of the Tamil people set forth in Resolution 30/1.



De-militarisation of the North-East to be complete next year
[Wednesday 2016-06-29 16:00]

De-militarisation of the North-East will be complete by next year, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said at a side event held at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He also called on the international community to give Sri Lanka a chance amidst civil society concerns of the Government’s slow progress and reneging on its commitment to the UN Human Rights Council resolution and accountability and reconciliation, the Tamil Guardian reported. “As we all know soon after the elections in 2015, a historic government consisted of a unity government that did a 180 degree turn in terms of human rights and engagement with the international community.



Sampur power plant more beneficial to Lanka than LNG plant: Indian official
[Wednesday 2016-06-29 16:00]

Indian authorities yesterday said that it would be more beneficial for Sri Lanka to go ahead with the proposed project to build a 500 megawatt coal powered plant in Sampur instead of trying to shelve it in favour of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, Secretary to the Ministry of Power in India P.K.Pujari said.Puri told a visiting group of Journalists from Sri Lanka that a coal powered plant will be more beneficial both in economic terms and considering the period of completion.



SRI LANKA FORMALLY APPLIES FOR GSP+
[Wednesday 2016-06-29 16:00]

Sri Lanka formally applied to regain the lucrative European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) trade concession last evening, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harsha de Silva said. Sri Lanka applied for the European Union trade concession for garment exports, six years after the country lost the discount over its failure to address human rights concerns. Addressing a press conference at the Information Department yesterday, the minister said the application will be forwarded by the Sri Lankan envoy in Brussels on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka.



No decision yet to form new party: Wimal
[Wednesday 2016-06-29 16:00]

The Joint Opposition has not yet taken any decision to form a new party and if such a new party is formed it will only be headed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader, Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa said.He made this observation addressing the media at the NFF Party Office yesterday. Responding to a question by a journalist whether the Joint Opposition has a plan to appoint Basil Rajapaksa as the National Organiser of the new party, MP Weerawansa said he will only be a member of the Party and there is no plan to appoint him as the National Organiser. He added that the formation of a new party will be done following the “Hopper Theory” aappa niyaya at the right time.



Former TID Head DIG Chandra Wakista questioned for three hours
[Wednesday 2016-06-29 16:00]

The Police Special Investigations Unit questioned the former Head of the Terrorist Investigations Unit (TIU), retired DIG Chandra Wakista for three hours today. He was questioned on the status of valuables, including gold, belonging to LTTE suspects arrested during his tenure with the previous government that are unaccounted for. He was also questioned on a transaction in which a rehabilitated LTTE suspect was given a confiscated van.



U.N. urges Sri Lanka to rein in military, prosecute war crimes
[Tuesday 2016-06-28 17:00]

Sri Lanka must rein in its military forces, prosecute war crimes committed during the long civil war with Tamil rebels and win the confidence of the Tamil minority, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Witnesses must be protected under an effective transitional justice mechanism that should include international judges, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in an annual report.



Govt. using Brexit as excuse to sign ECTA: GL
[Tuesday 2016-06-28 17:00]

The Government is attempting to expedite the signing of the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) with India in the wake of Britain leaving the European Union, would amount to a jump from the frying pan into the fire, the joint opposition charged today. Former UPFA MP G.L. Peiris told a news conference that any quantum leap to open the service sector to another country should be taken after an in-depth consideration of the foreign trade agreements. He said Sri Lanka should first rectify the shortcomings of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with India before expanding trade between the two countries.


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