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August 30, 2015 [GMT]
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Sirisena Takes Over SLFP, Rajapaksa Group Reduced to A Rump
[Saturday 2015-08-29 19:00]

Seven months after he was made de jure Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main constituent of the opposition United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena became its de facto head on Friday. The group headed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was reduced to a rump when the SLFP Central Committee unanimously decided to give Sirisena full authority to decide on the nature of the party’s participation in the National Government; who all will take ministerial portfolios and who will be the Leader of the Opposition.



Karunanidhi condemns U.S. stand on Sri Lanka
[Saturday 2015-08-29 19:00]

The U.S. government’s decision to support the new Sri Lankan government’s plans for a local inquiry into alleged wartime atrocities has evoked strong criticism from DMK leader M. Karunanidhi and PMK founder S. Ramadoss. “The U.S. government’s move looks as if it wants to cover up the war crimes. I hope it will not happen. If Sri Lanka is allowed to conduct its own inquiry, the DMK will strongly condemn the U.S.,” Mr. Karunanidhi said in a statement.



Government seeks shift from focus on human rights
[Saturday 2015-08-29 19:00]

The Government has urged the international community to focus on other issues in Sri lanka and not just the human rights issue. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told the diplomatic community based in Sri Lanka that for far too long now, Sri Lanka’s relationship with the international community has been dictated by ‘human rights’.



Chamal to join National Unity Government
[Saturday 2015-08-29 19:00]

Former Speaker and UPFA MP-elect Chamal Rajapaksa is to join the National Unity Government. Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Rajapaksa said he would stand along with the position of the SLFP Party Chairman and President Maithripala Sirisena on forming a Unity Government. He said he was willing to give the necessary strength required to form a government to carry out the functions of the state uninterruptedly. "Politics is an ideology and a discipline. We have to abide by the Party leader's decision," he noted.



Front row seat for MR in Parliament
[Saturday 2015-08-29 19:00]

Secretary General of Parliament W.B.D. Dassanayake told Ceylon Today that since he had as yet not been informed of how many people's representatives will be included in a National Government, he was unable to make definite seat allocations in Parliament. That will be ironed out as soon as the composition of the National Government was confirmed, he said.



Smaller parties in UPFA plan new Alliance
[Saturday 2015-08-29 19:00]

Several political parties and organizations connected to the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have opened discussions to establish a new political alliance targeting the upcoming Local Government Elections. Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya and UPFA Colombo District Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila told Ceylon Today that discussions are underway regarding the Constitution of this alliance and its objectives. He said a powerful political figure is tipped to be the leader of this alliance.



Tamil Nadu groups to protest against US stand on Lanka
[Friday 2015-08-28 18:00]

Political groups based in Tamil Nadu have threatened to stage a protest next week against the US Government decision to back a domestic investigation on the war in Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu politician Thol Thirumavalavan said that he has organised a protest outside the US Embassy in Chennai on September 3 against the announcement by the US that it will sponsor a resolution in support of Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council.



Sri Lanka will be judged by actions and achievements, not by promises - U.S.
[Friday 2015-08-28 18:00]

Although the United States remains hopeful about the promises Sri Lanka's new government made, the island nation will be judged by its actions and achievements and not by the promises, the U.S. asserted Thursday.Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski, confirming that the U.S. will sponsor another resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in September, said the U.S. will continue to encourage Sri Lanka on reforms and change after September.



'In essence, TNA asks for a 'sharing of power' - Sumanthiran
[Friday 2015-08-28 18:00]

In essence, the TNA is asking for a sharing of power, says Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna district parliamentarian M.S Sumanthiran. He has made these comments in an interview with 'Divaina' newspaper. Devolved power can taken back by the central government. However, we are calling for system that enables a sharing of power that cannot be taken back by the central government, he added.



Initial approval to store paddy at MRIA warehouses: PMB
[Friday 2015-08-28 18:00]

The Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) said today it had received the initial approval from Sri Lanka Airlines and Aviation Company to store the Hambantota district’s Yala season paddy harvest at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) warehouses. PMB Chairman M.D. Dissanayake said they had undertaken to return the stores to the MRIA in good condition after completing their work.



Enjoining order on Anura, Susil dismissed
[Friday 2015-08-28 18:00]

The enjoining orders which prevented Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Susil Premajayantha from functioning as general secretaries of the SLFP and UPFA were today withdrawn by the plaintiffs Duminda Dissanayake and Prof. Vishwa Warnapala. Colombo District Court Judge Harsha Sethunga dismissed the two cases with costs after the plaintiffs informed him that the defendants cited in the petition had not obstructed them from carrying out their duties as general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA.



Killers fled to Italy – CID
[Friday 2015-08-28 18:00]

Two suspects connected to the killing of national rugger player Mohammed Thajudeen . have secretly fled to Italy, top Criminal Investigation Department (CID) sources told Ceylon Today. It has been learnt that a close associate of a politician of the previous government had assisted the two suspects in their flight to Italy, the source added.



Zeid expected in Sri Lanka before Geneva session
[Thursday 2015-08-27 17:00]

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, is expected to visit Sri Lanka ahead of the September session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).Government sources said that Al Hussein was expected in Sri Lanka before September 14 but the dates have not been finalized. The 30th session of the UNHRC will be held from 14 September – 2 October 2015. Sources said that Al Hussein is expected to present to the Government the report based on the investigations conducted by his office on the war in Sri Lanka.



Resolution in 2009 was not fully implemented
[Thursday 2015-08-27 17:00]

The resolution in support of Sri Lanka presented to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2009 was not fully implemented, former Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said today. Samarasinghe, who was the Minister in charge of human rights at the time, said that if the resolution was fully implemented then the 2012 and 2013 resolutions against Sri Lanka may have faced difficulties in being adopted.



Cabinet swearing-in further delayed?
[Thursday 2015-08-27 17:00]

SLFP acting General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake today said the swearing-in of the Cabinet would not likely to happen on September 2, as scheduled earlier. Addressing a news conference, he said a National Government should be formed through parliament and not through political parties. He said the SLFP’s 64th convention would be held on September 2 in Polonnaruwa and said they had invited all party officials including President Maithripala Sirisena who is the party Chairman, to attend the event.



ADB to strengthen its support to help Sri Lanka become a competitive economy
[Thursday 2015-08-27 17:00]

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said for the next five years it will strengthen its support for Sri Lanka's human capital development to help the island nation become a competitive economy. The ADB will more than triple the lending for education to $1 billion for the next 5 years. This is in line with the government priority for human capital development to ensure equity of the social market economy vision, and the plan to gradually increase education expenditure to six percent of gross domestic product, the ADB said in an update on its Country Partnership Strategy.



Travel ban on Gota lifted
[Thursday 2015-08-27 17:00]

The Galle Magistrate’s Court today lifted the foreign travel ban imposed on former Defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and four others following the investigations into the floating armoury of Avant-Garde at Galle Harbour. The Galle Magistrate had earlier issued an order on a request by police preventing former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former Navy Commander Admiral Somathilaka Dissanayake and two others from leaving the country.



Maithri, Ranil and CBK meet
[Thursday 2015-08-27 17:00]

A special discussion was held between President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga last night. It is learnt that among the topics that were discussed were the matters of swearing-in of the Cabinet, allocating of ministerial portfolios and the quantity of ministries, and the political problems that have cropped up following the election.



US to submit resolution backing Sri Lanka
[Wednesday 2015-08-26 17:00]

The United States today said that it will be submitting a resolution in support of Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva even as the Council looks to discuss a highly critical report on alleged war crimes committed in the country. US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia, Nisha Biswal told reporters today that the matter had already been discussed with the international community as there is a need to give the new Sri Lankan government time to address the human rights concerns.



Ramaphosa did not have talks in Lanka
[Wednesday 2015-08-26 17:00]

The South African President’s office has denied reports that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had talks in Sri Lanka while on his way to Japan over the weekend. A statement by the President’s office said that Deputy President Ramaphosa did not visit Sri Lanka over the weekend as alleged in the media reports but merely refuelled in Colombo en route to Japan.


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