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October 20, 2014 [GMT]
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Has Canada seen the last of the boat people?
[Sunday 2014-10-19 20:00]

He came aboard in Bangkok with no idea where the ship was headed (the rumour was Australia) and was seasick for most of the journey. Only when he saw the red helicopters hovering overhead off Vancouver Island was MV Ocean Lady’s final destination clear. “All I knew about Canada,” he now says, laughing, “was that it was a country, and that my uncle lived there.”

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Top FAO official, hundreds of others turned away at Omanthai
[Sunday 2014-10-19 20:00]

A top United Nations official was turned away at the Omanthai checkpoint this week as the Defence Ministry started strictly enforcing a requirement that prior approval is needed for foreign passport holders to travel to the north. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country Representative, Beth Crawford, was on her way to Kilinochchi on Wednesday when she was turned back. Northern Province Agriculture Minister P. Iyngaranesan said he was also invited for the event for which the FAO Country Representative was invited to mark World Food Day, but he was told that Ms. Crawford had not been given permission to proceed beyond Omanthai.



Indian court backs Sri Lankan refugee
[Sunday 2014-10-19 20:00]

The Madras High Court Bench has imposed a cost of Indian Rs 10,000 on the Director of Social Welfare for not disbursing the emoluments due to a Sri Lankan refugee who retired last year after 32 years of government service, The Hindu newspaper reported today. Allowing a writ petition filed by the refugee, Justice T. Raja ordered that the Director should pay the cost, from his personal funds and not from that of the government, to the petitioner within six weeks besides disbursing the emoluments with 12 per cent interest.



UK concerned over travel restrictions
[Sunday 2014-10-19 19:00]

The British Government has raised concerns over the travel restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Defence on foreigners visiting the North. The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin said the UK had welcomed the lifting of restrictions on travel to the North in 2011, which sent a positive signal for post-conflict reconciliation.



Pope’s visit in the balance: Cardinal writes to President
[Sunday 2014-10-19 19:00]

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, has sought President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s early advice whether the visit of Pope Francis should go ahead or be cancelled in the light of the upcoming presidential election. The three-day visit is scheduled to begin on January 13 next year. The request has gone in the form of a letter sent to President Rajapaksa this week. The Cardinal told the Sunday Times, “I wrote a confidential letter. I cannot tell you anything more. I am awaiting a response.”



TNA To Take Blockade To Court
[Sunday 2014-10-19 19:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to go to the Supreme Court to lift the restrictions on foreigners travelling to the Tamil-majority Northern Province. Mavai Senathirajah, president of the Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which rules the Northern Province, said that his party is consulting legal experts on taking the matter to the Supreme Court.



Defence Ministry seeks details of your lost property in north
[Sunday 2014-10-19 19:00]

The Ministry of Defence and Urban Development is inviting complaints from people who have lost their property or land in the Northern Province due to terrorism after 1980. The ministry said those who had lost property or land should send in details about themselves and their property to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, 15/5, Baladaksha Mawatha, Colombo 03. Complainants should give their names, address, telephone numbers, email address and other personal information together with details of the property or the land lost and photo copies of supporting documents if any.



Ex CJ makes public apology
[Saturday 2014-10-18 20:00]

Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who made a public confession that a certain mistake he made while holding his post caused turmoil in the country today, tendered an apology to the nation yesterday. “Mr. Silva who was speaking at a public seminar organized by the JVP in Colombo last evening said he did not do anything to prevent the present government from going for a snap presidential election when he delivered a judgment with regard to a candidate who was running for national election 2005.



Will abolish Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka when separatism called off - President
[Saturday 2014-10-18 20:00]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today reiterated that he is prepared to abolish the Executive Presidential System on the day the separatists give up their call for a separate state in Sri Lanka. The President said that if the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil Diaspora in Europe and all other elements that support a separate state within the country are ready to give up separatist ideas, the government will abolish the Executive Presidency within 24 hours.



EU decision on LTTE has no bearing on India: Indian Express
[Saturday 2014-10-18 20:00]

The European Union court, which struck down the sanctions imposed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the EU in 2006, had its own reasons to do so. Significantly, the court has not lifted the freezing of the assets owned by the banned organisation. The EU had proscribed the LTTE after countries like the US and Canada had declared it a terrorist organisation,The Indian Express said in its Editorial.



EU action strengthen LTTE-Sajin
[Saturday 2014-10-18 20:00]

External Affairs Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardane said yesterday the EU decision to lift the ban on the LTTE was a shot in the arm for the LTTE and the diaspora. He told a media conference held at the Balapitiya SLFP head office that with this decision all EU members would regard the LTTE as a legitimate organization. Mr. Gunawardane remained mum when journalists asked him about his alleged assault on former Sri Lankan High Commissioner Chris Nonis and on reports that he was not allowed to the Vatican during the recent visit by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.



Now, SF to go to Geneva
[Saturday 2014-10-18 20:00]

Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) and former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that depriving him of his right to exercise his franchise by the Elections Commissioner with a presidential election on the horizon demonstrated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scared of facing him in a presidential contest. Addressing a news conference at Kotte, the war winning general challenged President Rajapaksa to face him at the forthcoming presidential election.



Presidential Commission sittings in Mullaitivu next month
[Saturday 2014-10-18 20:00]

The Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons will conduct Public Sittings in the Mullaitivu District as follows:

November 2 and 3, 2014– Maritimepattu DS Office from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

November 4– Oddusudan DS Office from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

November 5– Oddusudan DS Office from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.



Grads create first-ever scholarship in Tamil studies..
[Friday 2014-10-17 21:00]

A York alumni couple has established the first-ever graduate award in Tamil studies in memory of a pioneer and leader of the Tamil community in Canada. Harini Sivalingam (LLB ’05) and husband Gary Anandasangaree (LLB ’05), lawyers and graduates of Osgoode Hall Law School, created the N. Sivalingam Award in Tamil Studies with an endowed gift. The gift was matched by York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies through the Graduate Support Matching Program. The Sivalingam award, the first of its kind in the country, is intended to encourage and promote research on Tamil language, history, culture, society or the Tamil diaspora – something Nagaratnam (Siva) Sivalingam, Harini’s father, spent his entire life advocating.



Indian Supreme Court grants bail to Jayalalithaa.
[Friday 2014-10-17 20:00]

AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case. A three-judge Bench granted bail to the three other accused Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi on their furnishing two solvent sureties to the satisfaction of the special judge, Bangalore. The Bench stayed the operation of the sentence imposed by the trial court on the four accused. The Bench, after hearing senior counsel Fali Nariman for Jayalalithaa, and senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi for the other accused, said that the four convicts should not delay the trial and must ensure that the papers for the appeals were kept ready in two months. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on December 18th to give further directions to the Karnataka High Court to dispose of the appeals within three months if the papers were made ready in two months.



Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary to visit New Delhi.
[Friday 2014-10-17 20:00]

Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will visit New Delhi early next week for high-level talks with India's National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, according to an Indian media report. Sources in New Delhi have confirmed the visit, but had declined to provide details of the meeting, Indian daily The Hindu reported. The agenda for the meeting is unclear, the report said. When contacted, Army spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya has said. That he is not aware of the Defense Secretary's visit to India. "It is perhaps a meeting at the NSA-level that India and Sri Lanka have been holding regularly," Wanigasooriya has said.



ECJ implies non-requirement of evidence in ‘terrorist’ classification: - Tamil legal activist
[Friday 2014-10-17 19:00]

What the European Court of Justice (ECJ) proves implicitly is that under European Law, you do not need evidence to classify a group as a ‘terrorist’ organisation, commented US-based Eezham Tamil legal activist, Mr Rajeev Sreetharan, who was one of the initiators of the LTTE vs EU case adjudged by the ECJ on Thursday. However, he added that the ECJ ruling, although tainted by questionable post 9/11 interpretations of international humanitarian law, in essence vindicates assumptions in deciding to challenge the EU ban of the LTTE in a court of law, rather than the halls of government. Rajeev was hopeful that the lifting of the ‘terrorism’ ban helps to begin reshape the European climate for Tamil politics.



Restrictions on travel to North aimed at rigging presidential election - UNP
[Friday 2014-10-17 18:00]

This week’s sudden directive that foreign nationals and organisations have to obtain Defence Ministry permission to visit the North clearly indicated that the government was preparing the ground to rig the next Presidential Election,the UNP charged yesterday. Vice Chairman of the UNP Lakshman Kiriella told The Island that the new regulation was aimed at preventing unbiased foreign monitors from observing the presidential election.



SL expresses concern over European Court of Justice annulling LTTE ban
[Friday 2014-10-17 18:00]

The External Affairs Ministry has, in a media statement, expressed the government’s concern over the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) yesterday (16), to annul the EU regulations proscribing the LTTE. Full text of the EAM statement: "The defendants of this case have been the Council and Commission of the European Union, together with two member states, the Netherlands and the UK.



Sarath Fonseka removed from electoral register
[Friday 2014-10-17 18:00]

The Attorney General's (AG) Department has requested the Commissioner of Elections to remove the name of Sarath Fonseka, the Leader of the Democratic Party, from the electoral register. The AG's Department has given this instruction responding to a query made by the Commissioner of Elections several months ago on whether to keep Fonseka's name in the register. However, the Commissioner told Ceylon Today that he has so far not received any notice of this from the AG's Department. The 2014 Electoral Register is currently being finalized and the Commissioner will approve the final version of the register on 31 October.


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