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September 20, 2017 [GMT]
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Prez to meet Zeid on Friday Talks crucial for SL
[Tuesday 2017-09-19 18:00]

The coming Friday (22) will be extremely crucial for Sri Lanka with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein expected to have a one-on-one meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena here in New York. According to reliable sources, the meeting is going to be a closed door affair between the President and the High Commissioner. Diplomats are of the view that the outcome of this meeting is going to be crucial for Sri Lanka with High Commissioner Hussein recently expressing his frustration at the delayed reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.



TNA cracking up due to 20A
[Tuesday 2017-09-19 18:00]

Cracks have appeared in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) over the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution with Eelam People's Revolutionary Left Front (EPRLF) leader Suresh Premachandran declaring that the party is opposed to the Amendment. However, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and MP M.A. Sumanthiran had earlier stated that they will support the Amendment. "The TNA leadership does not discuss matters within the coalition. The decisions are taken by leader Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. They never discuss these matters with other constituent party leaders," Premachandran said.



No US visa for me, says SF
[Tuesday 2017-09-19 18:00]

Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Saratha Fonseka said on Monday that despite his name was included in the delegation travelling to the United States with President Maithripala Sirisena to participate at the UN Sessions in New York, he was not granted visa for the tour. Speaking to the media at Kelaniya, Field Marshal Fonseka said he requested to protect the good name of the Army by punishing the wrongdoers and he was also a victim of war allegations as some have engaged in misdeeds under the guise of war.



20A requires referendum: SC
[Tuesday 2017-09-19 18:00]

The Supreme Court had ruled that some clauses of the 20th Amendment were inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore, it requires a referendum after gaining two-thirds majority in Parliament, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament today. The 20th Amendment also includes provision to hold elections for all Provincial Councils on the same day.



Debate on Enforced Disappearances put on hold - Gayantha
[Tuesday 2017-09-19 18:00]

The government has decided not to take up the debate on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances on September 21, Parliamentary Affairs and Lands Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said on Monday. He also said this decision was taken during the UNP Parliamentary group meeting which met Monday evening with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the chair. It has also been decided not to take up the debate on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution as well.



Cases of those arrested under PTA will be heard soon: Swaminathan
[Tuesday 2017-09-19 18:00]

The Attorney General’s Department will take steps to expedite the cases of those arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Prison Reforms, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Minister D. M. Swaminathan yesterday said. The Minister addressing the National Prisoners Day celebrations held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute explained that the Attorney General had assured him that steps are being taken to deal with 73 cases filed under the PTA.



20th Amendment in the balance
[Monday 2017-09-18 19:00]

The parliamentary debate on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed indefinitely, senior ministers have confirmed. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the debate on the constitutional amendment is to be postponed until President Maithripala Sirisena returns from New York. «The 20th Amendment will not be debated on Wednesday as planned. We will wait until the president returns from New York on 24 September to decide on the way forward,” he told Daily FT.



Sri Lanka likely not to sign UN nuclear weapons ban treaty
[Monday 2017-09-18 19:00]

Sri Lanka is unlikely to sign the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty which is scheduled to come up for signatures at the General Assembly meeting in New York on Sept 20, Sri Lankan government sources confirmed on Sunday. Sources said the item was listed as a topic of discussion during President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to the US from Sept 17 to Sept 23. But, apparently due to last minute pressure from the US, any thought of signing the treaty has been dismissed, the sources added.



SF says troops have nothing to worry if not committed a crime
[Monday 2017-09-18 19:00]

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka says soldiers involved in the war against the LTTE have nothing to worry if they have not committed a crime. He told reporters that establishing an Office of Missing Persons is not just for the people in the North and East but will also be open to those in the South.



President Sirisena arrives at New York to attend UN General Assembly Top News
[Monday 2017-09-18 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena arrived at the John F Kennedy Airport in New York today to attend the 72nd United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA) Sessions. The President was warmly welcomed by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Rohan Perera, and embassy staff in New York. The President is due to address the UN General Assembly at 5.00 p.m., New York time, on September 19.



Monks from Myanmar refused visa at Katunayake Airport
[Monday 2017-09-18 19:00]

A group of monks from Myanmar have been refused a visa at the Katunayake Airport by immigration officers. Sources said that seven monks had been refused entry at the airport. The Government had earlier decided to suspend issuing visas for tourists from Myanmar following fears that Rohingya Muslims may attempt to enter Sri Lanka to seek refuge. Sources said that a discussion was held today between officials of the Immigration Department and the Foreign Ministry where the decision not to grant visas to Myanmar nationals was discussed.



Fonseka should ‘shut up’ says former Sri Lankan president
[Monday 2017-09-18 19:00]

Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said the former commander of the army should “shut up”, after stating he would testify against a military colleague accused of war crimes. In an interview to Ceylon Today, Mr Rajapaksa rebuked former army commander Sarath Fonseka’s comments. “Everybody was shocked by Fonseka’s statement,” he said. “An Army Commander should not behave like this.” When asked what the former army commander should do next, Mr Rajapaksa responded, “he should shut up.”



Sri Lanka not likely to sign nuclear weapons ban treaty at UN
[Sunday 2017-09-17 18:00]

Sri Lanka, in an unprecedented move in the country’s diplomatic history, is not signing a major international treaty which it has already voted on. Along with 121 other countries, Sri Lanka voted last July to approve a landmark UN treaty that bans the possession, development, testing, and use of nuclear weapons worldwide.



Probe Into Commodities Imported From North Korea
[Sunday 2017-09-17 18:00]

The Foreign Ministry has launched an investigation into Sri Lanka importing commodities from North Korea. State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake told The Sunday Leader that Sri Lanka was found to be among the top countries importing commodities from North Korea. Meanwhile the Foreign Ministry is to issue a gazette on the sanctions imposed by the UN on North Korea. An official of the legal division of the Foreign Ministry said that the gazette will help local businessman to be aware of the sanctions.



India to assist in constructing Northern Expressway
[Sunday 2017-09-17 18:00]

India has agreed to assist in building the Northern Expressway, government sources said yesterday. Earlier this month India’s Petronet LNG obtained permission to establish a Liquid Gas Import Terminal here. The government handed over the Letter of Intent to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj when she was in Colombo to attend the Second Indian Ocean Conference as well as meet with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.



Pararajasingham murder: Pillayan and six others plead not guilty
[Sunday 2017-09-17 18:00]

Former Eastern Province Chief Minister Pillayan and six others pleaded “not guilty” in the Batticaloa High Court, to charges of their involvement in the murder of former Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham. The charges were filed 11 years after the incident. High Court Judge M. Ellencheliyan fixed the next hearing for November 6 and 7, and directed the accused to appear in court on the days. Mr Pararajasingham was shot dead on December 25, 2005, while attending a church service in Batticaloa, with his wife. Charges filed against the accused are under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Penal Code.



Upcoming elections under the Electorate System
[Sunday 2017-09-17 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena said the upcoming provincial councils elections would be held under the Electorate System and this system would apply to the general elections as well. President said this when he met the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members of the North-Central Provincial Council at the President’s House yesterday. He said he had proposed the ward system instead of the preferential voting system so as to introduce a new political culture as promised in his manifesto for the 2015 presidential election. The President said the preferential voting system made politicians think only of themselves and not about the people or the country. He said the new system would encourage politicians to work for the country.



President leaves for New York
[Sunday 2017-09-17 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena left for New York this morning to attend the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). This is the third time that President Maithripala Sirisena is addressing the UN General Assembly. The President was accompanied by First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena. The 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) convened at UN Headquarters on September 12. The President is due to address the General Assembly on September 19. He is also scheduled to hold bilateral discussions with several world leaders participating in the sessions.



NPC Head echoes UN Human rights High Commissioner’s warning to Lanka
[Saturday 2017-09-16 19:00]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has expressed his concern over the slow pace of reforms in Sri Lanka and said the absence of action, on accountability meant exercising universal jurisdiction was even more necessary. This means that Sri Lankans can become subject to international law even in foreign countries. This statement needs to be seen in the context of the war crimes cases registered against former army commander General Jagath Jayasuriya in five South American countries, National Peace Council Executive Director Jehan Perera said in a statement issued yesterday



No intention of entering politics: Chathurika
[Saturday 2017-09-16 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena's daughter Chaturika, said at today's launch of the book authored by her and titled, "Janadhipathi Thaththa", that she had no intention of entering party politics but would use politics for community service, women empowerment and social justice. “So many people, including my friends keep asking me when I enter politics. I am reminded of what Aristotle said that man is either a political animal or an outcast. Though I agree with him, I have no desire to indulge in politics but to engage in social welfare,” she said at the ceremony held at the BMICH at the launch of the book which describes her father's political journey.


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