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February 13, 2016 [GMT]
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UN Special Rapporteur on truth and justice asks Lanka not to be hasty
[Friday 2016-02-12 19:00]

Pablo de Greiff, the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, has said that Sri Lanka should not be hasty in trying to meet its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in regard to issues of transitional justice. “There is no country that can accomplish all this is a short period of time. Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious process that should not be prepared, let alone implemented, in haste,” de Greiff said in the report on his visit to Lanka between January 26 and February 1, which was released on Wednesday.



Mangala launches website for public consultation on designing reconciliation mechanisms Top News
[Friday 2016-02-12 19:00]

Foreign Affairs minister Mangala Samarweera today officially launched the website for public consultation for the design of reconciliation mechanisms at the District Secretariat office in Jaffna.In keeping up with the resolution passed at the Human Rights Council last year, the government assured earlier that truth seeking mechanism including a accountability model would be setupped following the public consultation. The website can be accessed in three languages at http://www.scrm.gov.lk



SLFP MPs, ministers must be here or there: MR Top News
[Friday 2016-02-12 19:00]

Ex-president and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa said today he hoped the SLFP MPs and ministers, who had joined the government, would soon make up their mind as to which side they belonged. “The people voted for the SLFP to be either in the Government or in the Opposition,” he said at the opening of his public relations office at Nelum Mawatha in Jayanthipura, Battaramulla. Mr. Rajapaksa said there was no real opposition in Parliament though there was an Opposition Leader and a Chief Organiser and the duties of and opposition was being performed by the UPFA MPs of the joint opposition. “They too are not given enough time to express their opinion in Parliament,” he said. Mr. Rajapaksa said his new office would act as a platform to people and trade unions to raise their voices and discuss issues.



TNA moves Bill to ban bottom trawling
[Friday 2016-02-12 19:00]

A bill seeking a total ban on the destructive fishing method known as “bottom trawling” was moved by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M.A.Sumanthiran, in the Sri Lankan parliament on Wednesday. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that the bill will be to sent to Lanka’s nine Provincial Councils for their comment. Sumanthiran told Express on Thursday, that since fishing is a Central Subject as per the 13 th. Amendment of the Lankan constitution, there is no requirement that the consent of every Provincial Council be obtained for the bill, and therefore, the circulation of the bill among the Provincial Councils is not a major hurdle.



US to promote investigative journalism in Sri Lanka
[Friday 2016-02-12 19:00]

The US has decided to give a grant of USD 500,000 to organisations in Sri Lanka that will promote investigative journalism and build the capacity of journalists in the country. The objective of such a massive grant, the State Department said, is to increase the capacity of Sri Lankan media and strengthened investigative journalism. The grant would not be given to journalists directly but to the organisations which can work with them to help meet this objective. As such, the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has sought proposals from organisations for activities that focus on building the capacity of journalists to provide quality, impartial reporting across a variety of media platforms with a special emphasis on investigative journalism.



No final decision on purchasing aircraft: SLAF
[Friday 2016-02-12 19:00]

The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) today said that it had not taken a final decision to purchase aircraft from India, Pakistan or any other country. SLAF Spokesman Group Captain Chandima Alwis said they were still carrying out feasibility studies to make a decision on purchasing multirole fighter aircraft to replace its MiG and Kfir fleet. “We are looking at options but we have not pushed to purchase Indian Tejas or ChinaPakistani JF17 fighter jets as claimed previously. These aircraft are regional aircraft which we have looked at among other aircraft including aircraft from European countries,” he said.



Sri Lanka: Investigate, Not Promote, Ex-Army Chief
[Thursday 2016-02-11 18:00]

The Sri Lankan government’s appointment to parliament of the former army chief whose forces were implicated in widespread abuses contradicts pledges to investigate alleged war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 9, 2016, the United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to parliament as a national list member for a seat vacated by the death of an incumbent.



Yoshitha Rajapaksa re-remanded by Kaduwela Magistrate Top News
[Thursday 2016-02-11 18:00]

Yoshitha Rajapaksa, son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was re-remanded by the Kaduwela Magistrate today. Rajapaksa, former Sri Lanka cricket board secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and three others were remanded when they were produced in court today. The owners and top management of the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) including Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Nishantha Ranatunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s spokesman Rohan Weliwita were arrested on January 30 by the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) over alleged financial irregularities. The CSN management was being investigated for financial irregularities alleged to have been committed at CSN.



Sri Lanka Navy assists Coast Guard to arrest 12 Indian fishermen
[Thursday 2016-02-11 18:00]

Sri Lanka Navy said it has assisted the Coast Guard on Wednesday to arrest twelve Indian fishermen for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and poaching in island's waters. The fishermen were arrested along with two fishing trawlers while they were fishing in the Sri Lankan waters northwest of Thalaimannar on 10th February 2016. The arrested fishermen were brought to Thalaimannar and handed over to the officials of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Thalaimannar) for onward action.



New Attorney General takes oaths before President Top News
[Thursday 2016-02-11 18:00]

Jayantha Jayasuriya, President’s Counsel, took oaths as the new Attorney General, before President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence today.Attorney-at-Law, Jayasuriya was the Senior Additional Solicitor General and his name was recommended by the Constitutional Council. Secretary to the President, P B Abeykoon and the members of Jayasuriya’s family were present on this occasion.



Sri Lanka shows interest in Indian combat aircraft
[Thursday 2016-02-11 18:00]

Sri Lanka has reportedly shown interest in purchasing Light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas from India. Light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas is the multi-role light fighter that is in development with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and recently showcased its acrobatic skills successfully at Bahrain International Airshow 2016, a first such display outside India. Though the aircraft has been in development for some years now, India’s southern neighbour Sri Lanka is said to be interested in LCA Tejas, the International Business Times reported. Sources close to India Today have said Sri Lanka could be a possible export customer.



MR fears Hybrid Court still a possibility following Zeid visit
[Thursday 2016-02-11 18:00]

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the idea of a Hybrid Court to investigate Sri Lanka is still alive, especially following the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to Sri Lanka. Speaking to reporters at the Tangalle beach today, Rajapaksa said that if the military did not end the war then Zeid would not have visited Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa said that Zeid had made clear that if any soldier is accused of committing a crime during the war then he must be dealt with according to the Resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last year. “That means the entire military will have to face the consequences,” he said.



United Nations renews call for impartial war crimes investigations in Sri Lanka
[Wednesday 2016-02-10 18:00]

The United Nations will not force Sri Lanka to accept a role for international judges in investigating possible war crimes during the 26-year Tamil insurgency but any process must be impartial and independent, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday. Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, ending a four-day visit to Sri Lanka to assess the investigation, commended some efforts by President Maithripala Sirisena's government but said much still needed to be done. The United Nations says the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tiger rebels were both likely to have committed war crimes during the war, which ended with a military victory in 2009.



Ex-LTTEers refuse rehabilitation
[Wednesday 2016-02-10 18:00]

Fourteen ex-LTTE cadres, arrested on charges of criminal activities and later granted bail refused to undergo a period of rehabilitation when the case was taken up by the Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Artigala today. TID officers told the Magistrate that rehabilitation was a means of concluding the cases against the suspects. However Senior Counsel K. Ratnavel appearing for the suspects told the Magistrate that his clients were innocent and they did not wish to undergo rehabilitation. He said if the prosecution insisted on sending them for rehabilitation his clients would face trial instead and prove their innocence.



US govt proposes $31 million financial aid to Sri Lanka
[Wednesday 2016-02-10 18:00]

The US government has proposed a $31 million financial aid to Sri Lanka to encourage reconciliation efforts and support anti-corruption activities as the Island nation is undertaking major reforms after the historic political transition. "Following the historic political transition after Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2015, US assistance to Sri Lanka has entered a new era," said the budgetary proposals sent by US Secretary of State John Kerry to the Congress in which he proposed $31 million for Sri Lanka as part of New Silk Road and Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor initiatives.



I was threatened with death: Speaker
[Wednesday 2016-02-10 18:00]

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said some unidentified group had threatened him with death if the joint opposition was not recognised as a separate group in Parliament. He told Parliament that he was not scared of dying.



Gnanasara Thera re-remanded till Feb.16
[Wednesday 2016-02-10 18:00]

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera was further remanded till February 16 when he was produced in the Homagama magistrate’s court today. The Thera was earlier re-remanded until today on charges of threatening Sandhaya Eknaligoda.



Two deported Lankans arrested
[Wednesday 2016-02-10 18:00]

Two Sri Lankans deported from Australia were arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by the Crime Investigation Division (CID) this morning, Police said. The suspects, residents of Jaffna, were illegal migrants to Australia and were arrested on a tip off. The suspects are to be produced before the Negombo Magistrate today. The Katunayake CID will conduct the investigation.



Zeid warns of threat from extremists to Lanka’s recovery Top News
[Tuesday 2016-02-09 18:00]

Extreme nationalistic tendencies lay at the heart of Sri Lanka’s conflict, and they should not be allowed to undermine the country’s long term chances of recovery once again, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said today. Addressing the media in Colombo at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein noted that a year ago, large numbers of Sri Lankans voted for change, for reconciliation, for truth, for justice and it would be a great shame if a minority of extreme voices — on both sides — who are bent on disruption, were allowed to prevail by creating fear where there should be hope.



Zeid claims he only said UN can’t seek 'general amnesty' for PTA detainees Top News
[Tuesday 2016-02-09 18:00]

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Prince Zeid, has denied that he told the media in Jaffna that he will not ask the Sri Lankan government to release Tamil detainees.Zeid explained to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) here on Tuesday, that he had only said that the UN cannot ask a “general amnesty” for the detainees. But it can ask for a credible, fair and speedy judicial process to render justice to them. The UNHCHR said that the media had misunderstood him and erroneously quoted him as saying that the UN cannot intervene on the issue of the release of Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka, because any such intervention here will impact on the UN’s stance world-wide.


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