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November 26, 2014 [GMT]
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Zeid again seeks Sri Lanka’s support
[Wednesday 2014-11-26 17:00]

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has urged the Sri Lankan Governmenmt to engage productively with his office on the investigation on Sri Lanka.In response to a letter sent to his office by the External Affairs Ministry, Zeid’s office has sought Sri Lanka’s engagement on substantive issues under investigation. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also reiterated that the call for submissions in relation to the investigation has ended and the submissions email address has ceased to exist.



Security tightened in Jaffna
[Wednesday 2014-11-26 17:00]

The security in the Northern Province, especially in the Jaffna Peninsula, has been tightened to prevent any unlawful gathering and to engage in any form of observing the LTTE Remembrance Day, which falls today 27 Nov. The increased presence of the security forces is very noticeable mainly around the Jaffna University, where the posters have come up on the walls of the institution with regard to the LTTE Remembrance Day, which was known as 'Tamil Eelam Maveerar Day' when the LTTE was active in the North. The Security Forces had been put on alert from last Sunday and the vehicles and pedestrians moving through the streets around the Jaffna University have been checked.



UN rapporteur accuses BBS in report
[Wednesday 2014-11-26 17:00]

The UN special rapporteur on minority issues, Ms Rita Izsák, has accused the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) of igniting tensions and contributing to more than 350 violent attacks against Muslims and over 150 attacks against Christians in the past two years. In a report to the 7th session of the Forum on Minorities Issues in Geneva which meets for two days beginning today, Izsák said that the BBS along with other groups, are promoting extremist views, proclaiming the racial superiority of Sinhala Buddhists and spreading fear among the population by, for example, alleging that statues of Buddha are being bulldozed by religious minorities or that evangelical Christians are forcibly converting vulnerable people.



Defense Ministry to acquire Lanka Cement factory premises in Kankasanthurai
[Wednesday 2014-11-26 17:00]

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defense has taken steps to acquire the Lanka Cement PLC property at Kankasanthurai, the company informed the Colombo Stock Exchange. The property includes 104 acres of land and existing buildings, Lanka Cement Chairman and Managing Director N.S.M. Samsudeen said in a disclosure.In consequence to the acquisition Lanka Cement has requested for compensation from the Ministry of Defense for the land and buildings.



'We had to fool State Intelligence to cross over' – Rajitha
[Wednesday 2014-11-26 17:00]

The seven MPs, who crossed over from the government had done so evading the watchful eyes of the State Intelligence Services, Former Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Addressing a protest rally held yesterday (25), he added the seven MPs including common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, had managed to evade the hawk-like stranglehold exerted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)and the National Intelligence Bureau.



I won’t join the Govt: Tissa
[Wednesday 2014-11-26 17:00]

United National Party (UNP) General Secretary Tissa Attanayake in an emotionally charged speech said today he would not join the Government and that his conscience could not be bought over.“I won’t crossover to the government and my conscience cannot be bought over,” he said, making reference to several media reports that he was on the verge of joining the government.Mr. Attanayake said the UNP has to make every effort to ensure the victory of the common opposition candidate.



Maithripala still expecting crossovers
[Tuesday 2014-11-25 17:00]

While the Government says no one else will crossover to the opposition from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena says more will join him. Speaking to the media after he visited the Bandaranaike Memorial Monument in Horagolla today, Sirisena said that some people had asked him why more Government Ministers and Parliamentarians did not join the opposition as expected in Parliament yesterday. He said that his response was that more can be expected over the next few weeks.



Mervyn threatened outside court
[Tuesday 2014-11-25 17:00]

Minister Mervyn Silva is reported to have been threatened by an unidentified person who arrived in a jeep, outside the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court this morning. The incident had happened while he was addressing the media on the postponement of his son Malaka’s case till 1.00 this afternoon. Meanwhile the minister told the media that he would not cross over to the opposition.



UNP will not allow war crimes charges against Sri Lankan leaders - MP Harsha de Silva
[Tuesday 2014-11-25 17:00]

Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) asserted today that it will not allow anyone to take any Sri Lankan leader to the international court on war crime charges.UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva told Parliament today that his party is fully committed to protect the security forces who freed the country from terrorism and the political leaders."I am telling to the world. We (UNP and myself), will not allow anybody to take President Rajapaksa or any other leader to International court about War Crimes, We will not allow the President whether he won or lose to be tried before war crime tribunals," Dr. de Silva stressed.



Elections chief will not invite the UN
[Tuesday 2014-11-25 17:00]

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says he will not be inviting UN election monitors to Sri Lanka for the Presidential election next year.Speaking to reporters today, the Elections Commissioner said that usually election monitors from Asia, the EU and the Commonwealth are invited for a major election. Local election monitors had recently said that Asian monitors had already been invited for the election in January while Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma had last month said during a visit to Sri Lanka that Commonwealth monitors had also been invited.



JVP says it won’t join Sirisena, but wants Mahinda defeated
[Tuesday 2014-11-25 17:00]

The JVP yesterday ruled out the possibility of joining Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign while pledging to go all out against President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Addressing a media conference at the party head office in Pelawatte, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the hindsight did not allow his party to repose its faith in any candidate."We supported former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at the 1994 presidential election on her promise to scrap the executive presidency, but she did not keep her promise despite enjoying two terms," MP Dissanayake said, adding that President Rajapaksa, too, had gone back on his promise to them after the 2005 presidential poll.



Russian naval ship arrives at Sri Lanka's Colombo port on goodwill mission Top News
[Tuesday 2014-11-25 17:00]

Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, ceremonially welcomed the Russian naval ship " Yaroslav Mudriy " arrived at the Port of Colombo Monday. The Russian naval ship arrived at the Port of Colombo on 24 November 2014 on a goodwill visit, Sri Lanka Navy said. RFNS Yaroslav Mudriy is a destroyer commanded by Captain 3rd Rank Vladmir A Cherokov. The 126.6 meters long ship has a displacement of 4,480 tons and a crew of 210 naval personnel.



MR faces war crimes charges if he loses poll - GTF
[Monday 2014-11-24 18:00]

The day that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is beaten in the elections and loses the privileges of a Head of State, he will taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for committing war crimes, Global Tamil Forum (GTF) Director of Strategic Initiatives, Suren Surendran said. Joining a programme on Aljazeera, moderated by journalist Jane Dutto, about the current political situation of Sri Lanka, he said, Rajapaksa will have to face the same fate as Charles Taylor and Slobodan Milošević who were brought before the ICC for committing war crimes and genocide.



Attanayake denies crossover claims
[Monday 2014-11-24 17:00]

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake has denied reports that he is going to join the Government ahead of the next Presidential elections. In a short statement, the UNP MP said that claims to the effect that he was going to crossover is false and that he will continue with the UNP. Earlier today UNP MPs Palitha Range Bandara and Palitha Thewarapperuma also denied claims they were going to join the Government. However UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara had told the Colombo Gazette last week that he was going to join the Government.



Police unit under Polls Chief?
[Monday 2014-11-24 17:00]

Amidst indication that violence will surge in the run up to the presidential poll, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday decided to seek the establishment of a police unit directly answerable to him in containing such activities. Mr. Deshapriya told the Daily Mirror he was planning to make such a request from Police Chief N.K. Ialngakoon. “I have decided to engage with the IGP to discuss this matter. But, I have not taken a final decision on the matter,” he said.



Maithripala invited us for talks: BBS
[Monday 2014-11-24 17:00]

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Organisation said today common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena had invited the BBS for a discussion on the forthcoming presidential election. BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said he had several requests for discussion from the parties in the common opposition. “We have not taken any final decision to meet him,” he said.



NCP minister sacked
[Monday 2014-11-24 17:00]

North-Central Province Co-operative, Trade, Industrial, Rural Development and Tourism Minister Peshala Jayaratne was today removed from his ministerial portfolios by Chief Minister Ranjith Samarakoon. The Chief Minister took over the portfolios previously held Mr. Jayaratne. It was reported that Mr. Jayaratne had been sacked because of his close relationship with former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. When asked about it, Mr. Jayaratne said he was not aware of the incident and that there were no opportunities for the well-educated within this government.



Political parties urged not to exploit papal visit
[Monday 2014-11-24 17:00]

The Catholic Church has again strongly opposed attempts by the SLFP-led ruling coalition and the Opposition alliance to use the forthcoming papal visit to the advantage of their respective presidential election campaigns. The Church has intervened in the wake of several Catholic politicians launching poster and billboard campaigns.



LTTE Heroes’ Week Events Banned
[Sunday 2014-11-23 18:00]

The police and the military said it would not allow events glorifying the LTTE to be held this week to mark the LTTE heroes week. Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya also denied allegations that surveillance centres were being set up to prevent the university students and other activists from staging activities glorifying terrorism. “The LTTE is a terrorist organisation proscribed in Sri Lanka, in the name of heroes or otherwise we will not allow anyone to glorify terrorism, we will prevent it. However the alleged report that we have established surveillance centres and that we have intensified military activities in Jaffna simply to curtail the celebrations is baseless.



MASS CROSSOVERS TOMORROW
[Sunday 2014-11-23 17:00]

Mass scale crossovers are expected from both the government to the Opposition and vice versa on Monday, coinciding with the vote on the Third Reading of the 2015 Budget. A large number of Ministers and Members of Parliament will be crossing over, from the government, to the Opposition following Friday's announcement that former SLFP General Secretary and Health Minister, Maithipala Sirisena would be the Opposition's common presidential candidate, authoritative political sources told Ceylon Today.


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