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August 17, 2017 [GMT]
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Members of CMAG Fail to take Decisive Action on Sri Lanka: - A Missed Opportunity
[Friday 2013-04-26 22:00]

TORONTO, ON – The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) is disappointed that decisive action on Sri Lanka was not taken during the 39th meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) held today in London, England. CMAG was established in 1995 as a mechanism charged with the crucial responsibility of addressing violations of Commonwealth values including democracy, rule of law and freedom. Yet, despite calls from international human rights organizations, lawyers associations and civil society members, CMAG missed an opportunity to uphold the confidence of the very people it represents.

No discussion on Sri Lanka at Commonwealth ministerial meeting
[Friday 2013-04-26 21:00]

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) concluded its 39th meeting in London Friday with no discussion on Sri Lanka. Secretary to the Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs Karunathilaka Amunugama said Thursday that any matter pertaining to Sri Lanka was not included in the agenda of the meeting. Various international groups critical of Sri Lanka's human rights record had attempted to include Sri Lanka in the CMAG's agenda for discussion asking the Group to consider shifting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo in November this year. However, the CMAG meeting, chaired by Bangladesh Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Dipu Moni, reviewed developments in relation to the country currently on its formal agenda, Fiji.

Harper hints he'd be open to moving Commonwealth summit from Sri Lanka
[Friday 2013-04-26 20:00]

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hinting he'd like to see this year's Commonwealth summit moved out of Sri Lanka in protest of the country's human rights record. Harper has made it clear for more than a year that, without major reforms, he personally will not be attending next fall's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo.

G.L discusses CHOGM with Sharma
[Friday 2013-04-26 17:00]

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris had discussions at Marlborough House in London with Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, about the arrangements under way for the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November this year, the External Affairs Ministry said today. Minister Peiris also briefed the Secretary General regarding the government's plans for three other major events on the sidelines of the Summit ̶ the Business Forum in Colombo, the Youth Forum in Hambantota and the People's Forum in Dambulla. The meeting came ahead of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London today.

Former Australian Prime Minister leads CHOGM boycott of SL
[Friday 2013-04-26 17:00]

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser is among dozens of prominent Australians calling on the federal government to consider boycotting a major Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka this year. Mr Fraser has added his name to a petition calling on Australia to join with Canada in avoiding the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the Sri Lankan city of Hambantota in November. Organised by the Australian Tamil Congress, the petition calls on the government to insist on a new host country unless there is significant progress on Sri Lanka's human rights record.

Mano Ganeshan supporters against ThondamanTop News
[Friday 2013-04-26 17:00]

A protest was held today (26) at Gas Paha Junction, Colombo against the attack on Plantation Trade Union Federation (PTUF) leader Mano Ganeshan at protest in Kotagala. The member of the PTUF organized the protest. Members of the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) are suspected have led the attack on the protest, which was against the leader of CWC ArumugamThondaman. The protest was organized on April 21st to express the opposition of the PTUF to the agreement signed between the employers, the CWC and UNP affiliated trade unions, regarding the salary increment for estate workers. They were demanding a daily wage of Rs 520 for estate workers, whereas Thondaman has agreed to a daily wage of Rs 450. Opposition members including Mano Ganeshan, Wickramabahu Karunaratne, Sirithunga Jayasuriya participated in the event.

Sajith blames Foreign Ministry for international setbacks
[Friday 2013-04-26 17:00]

UNP parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa yesterday alleged that Sri Lanka was facing a massive onslaught on the diplomatic front, over accountability issues, due to the External Affairs Ministry’s failure to defend the country. Former UNP Deputy Leader Premadasa said that External Affairs Minister Prof G. L. Peiris, Deputy Minister Neomal Perera and Foreign Secretary Karunathilake Amunugama should take the full responsibility for mismanaging foreign policy. In fact, their failure had led to war crimes allegations being levelled against the country at various international and local for a, MP Premadasa said. "We are being humiliated and treated like a pariah state." The Hambantota District MP said the failure of the External Affairs Ministry had resulted in the country being isolated internationally, with some countries and civil society organizations, calling for shifting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2013) scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in November.

India and Lanka discuss IMBL issues
[Friday 2013-04-26 17:00]

India and Sri Lanka had another round of discussions at sea on issues relating to the Indo-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Line including the fishing issue and smuggling of narcotics, the Navy media unit said today. The Navy said that the 22nd International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) meeting between Sri Lanka and India was held onboard the Indian Naval Ship Gharial at the Indo-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Line off Kankasanthurai. The Sri Lankan delegation consisted of Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Coast Guard officials and was headed by Commander Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Shirantha Udawatte. The Indian delegation consisted of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard officials and was headed by Naval Officer in Command at Tamil Nadu, Commodore AK Mahadevan.

Sri Lanka Navy busts Indo-Lanka drug smuggling racket
[Friday 2013-04-26 15:00]

Sri Lanka Navy said today that it busted a drug smuggling racket across the border between India and Sri Lanka bringing a cannabis consignment into Sri Lanka and arrested four Indians and two Sri Lankans. Sri Lanka Naval Ship 'Udara', attached to the Northern Naval Command, while on routine patrol has spotted a suspicious Indian dhow moving in the seas north-east of the Katchatheevu Island on Thursday (April 25). Upon investigation the Sri Lankan Navy personnel had found 4 bags of approximately 100 kilograms of cannabis (Kerala Ganja) hidden inside, the Navy said. The Navy had arrested the four Indians in the GPS-fitted dhow and upon questioning the Indians have revealed their plan to arrive at a pre-determined location to meet the two Sri Lankans.

Devananda tells Northerners: don't believe false propaganda
[Friday 2013-04-26 15:00]

EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda last Sunday urged Northern Province residents not to get carried away by false propaganda disseminated by some self-centered Opposition politicians. An EPDP spokesman quoted the Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development minister as having said the government had started mega development projects just after the war ended in 2009 and was still continuing with the construction projects for the welfare of war affected people. Devananda, declaring open a drinking water project in Mudalikovil South, Vaddukkodai, Jaffna, the latest project to be completed, at a cost of Rs. 9.5 million, said that all the roads and other public properties destroyed during the war would be restored, developed and handed back to the public soon.

New Amnesty International report to criticize SL govt
[Friday 2013-04-26 09:00]

Amnesty International is to present a new report on Sri Lanka next week. The report titled 'Assault on Dissent' is said to criticize the government heavily. The report criticizes the government for harassing its opponents by threatening, imprisoning and assaulting them, internet sources report. It said that journalists, the judiciary, human rights activists and opposition politicians are among those who have been targeted.

[Thursday 2013-04-25 21:00]

Melbourne, Thursday - The Tamil Refugee Council has called on the Australian Government to end its policy of engagement with Sri Lanka and the deportation of asylum seekers after another torture victim revealed the horror of his recent trip to his homeland. "Kumar", a 35-year-old Australian resident, told the ABC 7.30 report, and Fairfax Media, he was beaten, raped and bashed and burned with hot metal rods over four days earlier this month by Sri Lankan intelligence police.

Canadian Tamil Congress Calls for Change of Venue for Upcoming CHOGM
[Thursday 2013-04-25 21:00]

TORONTO, ON - The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) urges members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to change the venue of the Commonwealth Head of Government meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka in November 2013, when they convene on April 26th, 2013.
The human rights situation in Sri Lanka has come under intense scrutiny these past few months. Only a month ago, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, expressing concern at the continuing violations of human rights including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, reprisals against human rights defenders and threats to judicial independence and the rule of law. The attack on the main Tamil newspaper "Uthayan" two weeks ago exemplifies the deeply concerning situation faced by journalists.

Commonwealth urged to reassess Sri Lanka's suitability to host CHOGM and assume chair
[Thursday 2013-04-25 18:00]

International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) in a panel discussion to launch its new report on Sri Lanka has raised the issue whether Sri Lanka is a suitable venue to hold the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November 2013. At the panel discussion held to launch the report "A Crisis of Legitimacy: The Impeachment of Chief Justice Bandaranayake and the Erosion of the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka", a panelist has raised the issue of Sri Lanka's suitability to hold the CHOGM and assume the Chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years. Although it is up to the Commonwealth to decide whether or not the CHOGM goes ahead in Colombo, the IBAHRI has noted that the Commonwealth is committed by its Charter to the observance of the rule of law, good governance, independence of the judiciary, and the upholding of human rights.

Retrieve lands in Tamil areas: PMK
[Thursday 2013-04-25 18:00]

PMK founder-leader Dr S Ramadoss on Wednesday urged the United Nations and the Union government to immediately intervene in retrieving 7,000 sqkm of Tamil areas and prevent heavy militarisation of the Tamil provinces in Sri Lanka. In a statement here, Ramadoss said the Lankan government had acquired 6,400 acres in north and eastern Valikamam for setting up the Jaffna Zonal Army Headquarters in continuation of the extensive militarisation of the North and Eastern provinces. Stating that this area in Jaffna district was taken over by Sri Lankan army in the early 1990s, he said the government had now come out with this move at a time when there was expectation that the vast expanse of land would be restored to Tamils.

HRW asks Commonwealth forum to shift venue from Sri Lanka
[Thursday 2013-04-25 18:00]

An international human rights group has asked a key Commonwealth forum to shift the venue of its November Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from Sri Lanka, unless Colombo makes prompt, measurable and meaningful progress on human rights. 'The Commonwealth will rightly face international ridicule if it goes ahead with its summit in Sri Lanka,' said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), a grouping of Commonwealth leaders that addresses 'serious or persistent violations' of the Commonwealth's fundamental political values will tomorrow meet in London. 'The CMAG meeting should send a message to the Sri Lankan government that the scale and severity of its abuses violate the Commonwealth's core values and will not be rewarded,' Adams said.

Sri Lanka police media spokesman receives death threats
[Thursday 2013-04-25 18:00]

Sri Lanka police media spokesman and the senior superintendent of police (SSP) in charge of Ratnapura district, Prishantha Jayakody has complained that he has received death threats. An unidentified caller has called the senior officer's cell phone and threatened to kill him. SSP Jayakody has informed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) N. K. Ilangakoon and the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Sabaragamuwa Province Manoj Perera of the death threat, police media unit said. Investigations on the call had revealed that the caller had taken the call from a phone box in Galle. Reportedly, the SSP has taken steps to close down a long running Karaoke club in Ratnapura that has become a nuisance to the people in the area.

Parliament turns a mini battlefield
[Thursday 2013-04-25 18:00]

The candlelight protest conducted by the main Opposition, United National Party (UNP), against the revised electricity tariffs turned Parliament into a mini battlefield yesterday. The government members disrupted the candlelight protest of the opposition members by throwing water bottles at them, which led to exchanging of blows and fisticuffs. Soon after Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation, Dr. Sarath Amunu-gama, presented regulations, orders and bills for the debate, the UNP parliamentarians started to light candles they brought into the House, stood up from their chairs and walked towards the Well shouting slogans demanding the government do away with power tariff hikes around 4:23 p.m. Government member, Lohan Ratwatte, hurled water bottles at opposition members and the sittings were suspended for five minutes by the presiding member, C. Murugesu. The opposition MPs remained in the Chamber with the candles and continued to shout slogans.

Bangladesh mulls FTA with Sri Lanka
[Thursday 2013-04-25 17:00]

Bangladesh is tipped to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral trade between the two nations, according to visiting Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Ambassador, Mohammed Shahidul Haque. 'We are extremely optimistic over Sri Lanka's prospects. Bangladesh agrees in principle to start discussions and explore on all possibilities to strengthen trade with Sri Lanka; including a Free Trade Agreement. 'We believe that bilateral tariffs are very high. If an FTA with Sri Lanka is finalised, it will be Bangladesh' first ever FTA with any country. A Joint Working Group on Trade is now in order' Haque said. He made these comments during a meeting at the Industry and Commerce Ministry between a sixmember delegation from Bangladesh and Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and other senior officials.

Media role in conflict resolution vital - Keheliya
[Thursday 2013-04-25 17:00]

The humanitarian operation launched by the government to liberate the country from the clutches of terrorism was entirely a means of conflict resolution but not a war, Cabinet Spokesman and Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. The minister was addressing delegates of the SAARC Information Centre conference on the role of the media in conflict resolution and peace building. The event will continue until Saturday in Colombo with the participation of representatives of all seven SAARC members. 'The role of the media in terms of conflict resolution is highly vital in any nation. It was not an exception when it comes to the Sri Lankan context. In terms of the conflict, the Sri Lanka's conflict was the most ruthless conflict in not only SAARC countries but also in the world,' he said.

Sri Lanka needs understanding, goodwill - GL
[Thursday 2013-04-25 17:00]

It is of the greatest importance to ensure that Sri Lanka's own national interest and the wellbeing of its own people represent the pivot on which all policy formulation relating to the country hinges. But what is particularly distressing to note is that this consideration, strangely enough, is very much relegated to the background in order to yield pride of place to other factors which have very little to do with Sri Lanka's best interests, Minister of External Affairs Professor G. L. Peiris said in Bucharest, Romania, on Friday. The Minister was delivering an address at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest. His audience comprised members of the diplomatic corps, senior government officials, academics and representatives of media and civil society. Romania's Minister of Education Remus Pricopie and a number of Ambassadors from across the world were among those attending the event which was presided over by the Rector of the University.

Refugees saved by UAE find new home in US
[Thursday 2013-04-25 17:00]

DUBAI // Eleven Sri Lankan refugees have arrived in Los Angeles to begin their new lives after receiving care in the UAE for six months. 'We can now lead a life without fear and don't have to live as refugees any more,' said Sivabalan Niranjani, 35, of the harrowing journey that ended when she landed in Dubai. She arrived in the US with her husband and two children yesterday. Mrs Niranjani was seven months pregnant when she and 44 others set sail from India by boat last October to seek asylum in Australia. Five days later their boat broke down and they had to be rescued by the Singaporean ship Pinnacle Bliss, which was en route to Jebel Ali. When the group arrived in Dubai on October 23, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) notified the UAE of their presence.

US officials in Jaffna
[Wednesday 2013-04-24 21:00]

A US delegation is in Jaffna for talks on the ground situation and to assess the latest developments. US Embassy staff are in Jaffna meeting with civil society as part of its normal bilateral engagement with the people of Sri Lanka, a US Embassy spokesman told the Colombo Gazette. The visit comes just days after the annual human rights report released by the US State Department had claimed that in the east and the north, military intelligence and other security personnel, sometimes allegedly working with paramilitaries, were responsible for the documented and undocumented detention of civilians suspected of LTTE connections. Detention reportedly was followed by interrogation that sometimes included mistreatment or torture. There were reports that detainees were released with a warning not to reveal information about their arrest or detention, under the threat of rearrest or death.

Electricity tariff revision rattles Sri Lanka government
[Wednesday 2013-04-24 21:00]

Sri Lankan government's decision to raise electricity tariffs to cover the losses incurred by the state-owned power monopoly has created a battle between the current and former power and energy ministers while the opposition parliamentarians protesting the rate hike had plunged the parliament into chaos. For a second day in a row parliament sittings were suspended and the Speaker was compelled to adjourn the House as the opposition United National Party (UNP) MPs interrupted the proceedings. Opposition lawmakers holding candles continued to protest for a second day today and the sessions, resumed today after Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa abruptly adjourning the parliament Tuesday, were suspended again for five minutes. The Speaker adjourned the parliament sessions until May 7th due to the protests by the UNP MPs.

Sinhala military assaults Trinco villagers for calling their village in Tamil
[Wednesday 2013-04-24 21:00]

Ilangkaith-thu'rai, meaning in this context 'the islet-port,' is an ancient Tamil coastal village at a scenic location in the Eechchilam-pattai division of Trincomalee district. The occupying Sinhala military has Sinhalicized the place-name as 'Lankaa-patana' and insists the local villagers to use the Sinhala name even in their speech. If any of the villagers mention their village name in Tamil, they are beaten up by the Sinhala military, news sources in Trincomalee said. Two years ago, the occupying military destroyed a Murukan temple located at the port entrance, appropriated 15 acres of land, and built a Buddhist temple named 'Samudra-giri Vihara,' at that spot. While the village roads are in dilapidated condition, a new, broad road now links the Buddhist temple, facilitating Sinhala visitors from the South who come in thousands nowadays.

All UK visa applications to be made on online
[Wednesday 2013-04-24 21:00]

The British High Commission in Colombo yesterday said that from Monday May 6, 2013, applicants and their dependents who are applying for a UK visa will need to make their applications online. From this date, manually completed application forms will no longer be accepted. Online applications and appointments will be mandated for all applications under the points based system, visitor and settlement routes. This means applicants will need to complete and submit the application form by visiting https://apply.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/iapply.portal. Applicants will then need to print off a hard copy of their application form and make an online appointment to attend their nearest visa application centre (VAC). They should bring the application form printout to their appointment at the VAC, along with the necessary supporting documentation. Applicants will need to give their biometrics (finger scans and digital photograph) at the VAC in line with the current practice.

Gota meets Daya Master in Jaffna
[Wednesday 2013-04-24 17:00]

Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has met former LTTE media head, V. Dayanithy alias Daya Master and 23 others in Jaffna over the Northern Provincial Council polls to be held later this year, informed sources said. The meeting was held on Monday at the 52 Division Headquarters in Varani, where the Defence Secretary had a detailed discussion over the Northern Provincial polls and also on the possibilities of spearheading the political and the development activities through a possible UPFA-led Provincial Council, sources said. The meeting had also focused on the candidatures for the Northern Provincial polls where Rajapaksa had outlined that by contesting alone, the UPFA could work out its own strategies towards the development activities in the North, sources added.

Govt. molly-coddling former terrorists: SF
[Wednesday 2013-04-24 17:00]

The Government has permitted separatists and terrorist leaders to contest the upcoming elections, DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka said today. He was referring to the news item that Daya Master will contest on the ruling UPFA ticket. 'Daya master was a known terrorist leader, who surrendered to the military during the final stages of the war,' Mr. Fonseka said and added that the Government was protecting culprits and terrorists by taking them to its side. It is safeguarding the terrorists and preventing them from facing criminal charges. 'The government is protecting criminals. A minister and a former chief minister, both former terrorists, are being molly-coddled by this government, which has now given the permission to Daya Master as well. Very soon even KP will also be allowed to contest elections or may be appointed to parliament through the national list,' he said.

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