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March 26, 2017 [GMT]
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Wimal on hunger strike
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

NFF Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa has commenced a hunger strike this morning at the Magazine Prison, Prisons Spokesperson Thushara Upuldeniya said. It was reported that MP Weerawansa had rejected to have his breakfast. The National Freedom Front (NFF) said MP Weerawansa had commenced a hunger strike against the political revenge of the government. “He has taken this step as a personal decision. He has also informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya about his decision. At present, he is on a hunger strike at the prison cell. Perhaps, he would continue it,” the NFF said. Earlier, MP Weerawnsa was arrested and remanded for allegedly misusing 40 state vehicles belonging to the state engineering corporation causing a loss of Rs. 90 million.

Maj. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake appointed Army Chief of staff
[Wednesday 2017-03-22 18:00]

Major General Mahesh Senanayake has been appointed as the Army Chief of staff by President Maithripala Sirisena today, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said.

Wrong to give Lanka more time on accountability: Wigneswaran
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

It was not right to give Sri Lanka more time to address the issue of accountability over the alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran said today. The Sri Lankan government has sought two more years from the UN Human Rights Council to deliver on the accountability mechanism. Wigneswaran said "the UN must see first what good the government has done so far". "Without doing that and granting time for some political reason does not see correct to me," the Tamil leader said.

President Sirisena to undertake official visit to Russia
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena will undertake an official visit to Russia from 22-24 March on the invitation of President Vladimir Putin. The visit will be the first official visit to Russia by a Sri Lankan leader since 1974, when Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Moscow. The visit takes place as both countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.

Gotabaya 'led death squad': Court
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

Former Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse's brother Gotabaya directed a top-secret death squad which targeted journalists and dissidents, a court was told Monday. Criminal Investigations Department (CID) told the Mount Lavinia magistrate's court that Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who was Sri Lanka's defence secretary during his brother's rule, directed a secret unit which is accused of assassinating a newspaper editor in January 2009.

Army intelligence member arrested for Noyahr abduction
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

A 34-year-old member of the Army Intelligence Unit was arrested last night in connection with the abduction and assault of senior journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008 at his residents in Dehiwela, Police said. They said the suspect was a resident of Vegovwa area in Minuwangoda and he was arrested at 09.35p.m. He is to be produce before the Mount Lavinia Magistrates Courts today.

Sri Lanka will not join International Criminal Court
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

The Government today asserted that Sri Lanka will not join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament Sri Lanka will also not agree to a hybrid court in the transitional justice system.

Two more ‘Ava’ gangsters arrested in Kotahena
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 17:00]

Two more members of the North-based criminal gang 'Ava' which are known to be involved in criminal activities in the Jaffna Peninsula have been arrested at Kotahena by a team of Jaffna Division police personnel, Police said. They said a hand grenade and three swords in the possession of the criminals had also been seized. Police said the suspects were produced in the Jaffna Magistrate's Court today. A few days ago the Police also arrested a leading member of the 'Ava' gang in Dehiwela. Six suspects have been arrested and remanded in connection with various crimes alleged to have been committed by them.

Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka – True or False?
[Tuesday 2017-03-21 10:00]

[At the moment, Sri Lanka is embattled with allegations of human rights violations and facing a tough time at the 34th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Pillay was contacted by Ceylon Today after 'years of attempts' to get her views on the progress seen in the island since the war came to an end in 2009.
She also said the goals of reconciliation and nation- building cannot be served without justice and accountability, and reparation for victims.

Rapporteur calls for transparent justice system in Sri Lanka
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers says the administration of justice in Sri Lanka deserves to be more transparent, decentralized and democratic. A report by Mónica Pinto, the former Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her visit to Sri Lanka last year, has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Lasantha Killing: SF says special unit set up to attack journalists
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

The CID told court today that according to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s statement on Lasantha Wickramatunga’s killing, a special unit had operated under the former head of the Intelligence Services, Kapila Henda Witharana to attack the Media. The CID informed court that it had recorded a statement from the former army commander. In his statement, the Field Marshal said he was unaware about the security situation in the Colombo division because it was handled by Major General Ajith Perera.

Sampanthan alleges over 150,000 Tamils killed, 50 % population fled the country
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan has alleged that over 150,000 Tamils had been killed during the nearly three decades long conflict. Veteran politician Sampanthan was addressing a counter terrorism conference in New Delhi on March 15. Claiming that about 50 per cent of the Tamil population had fled the country due to the conflict, Sampanthan said that fresh violence would result in more Tamils fleeing the country.

SL will sign several agreements with China: President Top News
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

At his meeting with visiting Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan, President Maithripala Sirisena said Sri Lanka would enter into a number of agreements with China in a manner that would not be detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the country. The Chinese Defence Minister is on two-day official visit to Sri Lanka. He called on the President this morning.

Sumanthiran calls for amending Constitution to bring in foreign judges
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

Jaffna District TNA MP and party spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran has urged the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government to introduce the required constitutional amendment to faciliate the participation of foreign judges in the proposed hybrid judicial mechanism to address Accountability issues in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1. MP Sumanthiran was responding to a media query at Veerasingham hall, Jaffna on Saturday.

Arrest of Indian fishermen to continue despite alleged shooting
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

The Government says Indian fishermen will continue to be arrested if they poach in Sri Lankan waters despite the recent shooting incident. Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said today that while Indian fishermen have been released their boats have not. He said the Government is also looking at resolving the Indo-Lanka fishing dispute in a diplomatic manner and talks will be held as scheduled next month. The Minister also said that while investigations are ongoing, there is no proof the Navy was involved in the killing of an Indian fisherman at sea recently.

UK insists on credible war crimes probe
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

While the government says that there are variations to the manner in which allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE could be investigated, the United Kingdom yesterday emphasized the importance of independent and impartial institutions to ensure credibility of the process.

More Countries Support Resolution On Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

More countries extended support to the resolution on Sri Lanka submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week, strengthening Sri Lanka’s request for more time to address the issue on accountability over the war. Titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” the draft text of the resolution had, as its main sponsors, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

Slamming the government’s decision to co-sponsor the upcoming resolution led by the US in Geneva, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka has labelled the move a diplomatic blunder by the government. It was wrong of the government to agree to co-sponsor the upcoming Geneva resolution to gain more time to implement the 2015 resolution,¨ he said adding that opinions of other political counterparts were not sought prior to the decision being made.

President, Prime Minister Hold Key Discussion
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had a key discussion on Friday covering a gourmet of issues. Sources at the President’s office said that the meeting was ‘routine’ but government members said that the possibility of making changes to the cabinet was likely to have been discussed. The economy and issues within the government had also been discussed at the meeting on Friday.

North Koreans Refused Entry To Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2017-03-19 17:00]

The government last week refused to approve visas for four North Koreans to attend a seminar in Katunayake, organisers of the seminar said. The seminar held on Friday was organised by the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association. President of the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association Duminda Welpola told The Sunday Leader the North Koreans were among foreign delegates invited for the seminar. He said that the organisers were informed by the officials that the visas cannot be approved as it could hurt Sri Lanka’s relations with South Korea.

Sri Lanka plans to cut Chinese stake in Hambantota port
[Sunday 2017-03-19 16:00]

The Sri Lankan government proposes to cut China’s stake in the Hambantota port from 80 percent to 60 percent, well-placed sources in Colombo have said, according to bdnews24.com. The watering down has been made upon the insistence of the Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, who has been campaigning against the Framework Agreement which gives the China Merchants Holding Company, 80 percent stake and a 99-year lease for an investment of US$ 1.1 billion. Ranatunga has also been campaigning for a fuller control over the security of the port. A cabinet paper on the revised draft agreement is expected to be presented next Tuesday for discussion and approval, the sources said on Saturday.

Mayor Tory to visit the Northern Province of Sri Lanka and sign an agreement with Jaffna:
[Sunday 2017-03-19 10:00]

In the midst of his 10-day business mission to India, Mayor John Tory is visiting Sri Lanka this weekend. The Mayor is being joined by Economic Development Committee Chair and Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson and newly elected Toronto City Councillor Neethan Shan. Councillor Shan is the first Tamil-Canadian to be elected as a Toronto City Councillor and the only City Councillor of South Asian origin on Toronto City Council.

Somali pirates release oil tanker and crew, officials say
[Friday 2017-03-17 17:00]

Somali pirates who seized a Comoros-flagged oil tanker earlier this week after five years without a major hijacking in the region have released the ship and its crew without conditions, officials said late Thursday. Security official Ahmed Mohamed told The Associated Press the pirates disembarked the ship, which was heading to Bossaso port, the region's commercial hub, with its eight Sri Lankan crew members aboard.

Sri Lanka Navy assists repatriation of another eight Indian fishermen
[Friday 2017-03-17 17:00]

The Sri Lanka Navy has assisted the repatriation of eight Indian fishermen released from Sri Lankan custody Thursday (16). The Indian fishermen were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship Abheek at the International Maritime Boundary Line North of Kankasanthurai. The Sri Lanka Coast Guard Craft CG 47 was deployed for the repatriation mission. With the eight Indian fishermen released Thursday, Sri Lanka has released all 85 Indian fishermen arrested and detained for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Sri Lanka Navy on Tuesday facilitated repatriation of 77 Indian and 12 Sri Lankan fishermen who were released from each other's custody.

Release of Ship Crew: SL Govt. expresses thanks to all those who helped
[Friday 2017-03-17 17:00]

The Sri Lankan Government today expressed its deep appreciation to the President of Puntland, the semi-autonomous region of Somalia, and his Chief of Staff Abdinasir Sofe, who cooperated and collaborated with the relevant officials of the Sri Lankan Government in securing the release of the vessel and crew. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that this task would not have been made possible without their unstinted and active effort.

No foreign judges in transitional justice mechanisms: Mangala
[Friday 2017-03-17 17:00]

Speaking at the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday, Minister Samaraweera noted that the recommendations made by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) need not be adopted in full. “The CTF had a wide variety of consultations, and it came up with its own recommendations. And as the government that will implement it, we also have the right to select what we need and forget what we do not need,” the minister said, while adding that, as a sovereign nation, Sri Lanka can make the final decision on the hybrid court.

Protest in Jaffna demanding international judges
[Friday 2017-03-17 17:00]

A protest was held in Jaffna this morning, demanding the involvement of international judges in Sri Lanka 's Justice and Accountability mechanism. A UNHRC resolution suggested Sri Lanka appoint a 'hybrid court' with international and local judges to prosecute alleged war crimes during the final phase of the war, but Sri Lanka has shown reluctance, wanting to rely instead on a credible domestic mechanism.

India to pursue fishermen issue with Sri Lanka through diplomatic channels
[Friday 2017-03-17 17:00]

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said India is taking up the issue of fishermen with the Sri Lankan government through diplomatic channels. Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, the External Affairs Minister said the Indian Government, through diplomatic channels, has consistently taken up issues relating to apprehension of fishermen with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that Indian fishermen are treated in a humane manner.

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