Untitled Document
March 26, 2017 [GMT]
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TNA asks armed forces to vacate land
[Tuesday 2017-03-07 17:00]

Leader of the Opposition R Sampanthan has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to remove more camps in the North, especially where the LTTE had constructed runways. Full text of Sampanthan’s letter to the President: "I wish to draw your kind attention to two instances of occupation of private lands by the Armed Forces in the Northern Province, which lands I submit should be released to the Civilians entitled to same at the earliest. 1. Land in Valikamam North in Jaffna District, 2. Land in Kepapulavu in Mullaitivu District. These lands are occupied by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. The Civilian population entitled to those lands are now staging demonstrations in front of the Lands for the release of same.


US navy establishes presence in Hambantota beating China to it
[Tuesday 2017-03-07 17:00]

The US Pacific Fleet symbolically moved into the strategically located Hambantota port in South Sri Lanka on Monday, beating China in the race to establish great power presence in the port and the region. The US embassy here announced on Monday, that the Pacific Fleet’s transport ship USNS Fall River will be on a Pacific Partnership goodwill mission to Hambantota and its environs from March 6 to 18. Military and civil personnel from Japan, Australia and Sri Lanka will be holding joint exercises through the 12-day mission.


Sri Lankan court rules LTTE suspect's confession to TID on shooting down Antonov plane in 2000 legitimate
[Tuesday 2017-03-07 17:00]

A Sri Lankan court has ordered to further detain two cadres of the defeated Tamil Tiger terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for bombing of a military aircraft 17 years ago. The Gampaha District High Court Judge Khema Swarnadhipathy ordered to detain the suspected former cadres of the Missile Brigade of the Tiger organization till the 21st of March. Judge Swarnadhipathy delivering the verdict of the long trial held at the Anuradhapura Special High Court to determine the admissibility of the confession made by one of the suspects to the Terrorist Investigation Division ruled that the confession were legitimate and admissible.


75 percent of Sri Lanka airport runway renovation of completed
[Tuesday 2017-03-07 17:00]

Sri Lanka's Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva says around 75 percent of the renovation of the runway at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has been completed and the construction will come to an end in a month. Under the current renovation project, the runway of the airport will be widened up to 75 meters from 60 meters and the airport will be developed to operate largest aircraft such as A-380 Airbus aircraft. The Colombo International Airport has been closed for a period of eight hours from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm from 06th January to 05th of April to allow the resurfacing of the runway, which is being reconstructed after a lapse of 30 years.


Draft resolution to call for continued reporting to UNHRC
[Monday 2017-03-06 18:00]

The draft resolution on Sri Lanka, which is to be discussed on Tuesday, is to call for continued reporting to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), human rights groups said. A member of a leading human rights group who has seen a copy of the draft resolution, told the Colombo Gazette the text reaffirms the commitments in the previous resolution, welcomes the Government’s engagement with the Office of the High Commissioner and Special Procedures while also recognising that further significant progress is still needed, and puts in place a process for continued reporting to the HRC.


India urged to pass resolution seeking probe on Sri Lanka Army
[Monday 2017-03-06 18:00]

A large number of people participated in a protest staged in Tamil Nadu on Sunday demanding that the Indian Government pass a resolution seeking to try the Sri Lankan Army in the International Criminal Court for war crimes against Sri Lankan Tamils, The Hindu newspaper reported. Volunteers of Eezha Tamizhar Vazhuvurimai Kootamaippu and several social organisations supporting the Sri Lankan Tamils participated.


North, East get 1,785 micro enterprises
[Monday 2017-03-06 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena has, in his capacity as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation with the concurrence of the Cabinet of Ministers, initiated action to establish 1,785 micro-enterprises in the Northern and Eastern Provinces under the Enterprise Based Village Development Project last week.


US Navy in H’tota port based exercise
[Monday 2017-03-06 18:00]

Pacific Partnership 2017 will get underway at the Chinese built Hambantota Port tomor-row (March 7) with the participation of US Navy ship Fall River and over 100 US, Japanese and Australian marines. The joint exercise initiated after Dec. 2004 tsunami, this year involves Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka (host nations), the US, Japan, Australia and Canada.There hasn’t ever been such an exercise at the Hambantota Port built during the previous SLFP-led administration. Navy headquarters said that 60 air borne US marines and navy personnel would take part in the exercise.


Suspect in Keith Noyahr abduction once nominated for diplomatic post
[Monday 2017-03-06 18:00]

Major Prabath Bulathwatte from military intelligence, who was arrested last month by the CID for his alleged role in the abduction and torture of senior journalist Keith Noyahr, was once nominated for a high-profile diplomatic post by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former Chief of National Intelligence Kapila Hendawitharana, the Daily FT learns.


SL-US War Assistance pact
[Monday 2017-03-06 18:00]

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday warned of a clandestine move by the government to sign an agreement with the US relating to war assistance facilities. General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva said, such a pact was signed in secrecy some 10 years ago, without the knowledge of the Cabinet or the country, and moves are currently underway to revive that agreement. He said that the agreement will not benefit the country's economy and security, but will deliver a powerful blow to its independence and autonomy.


Tamil Diaspora wants Lanka referred to UNGA
[Sunday 2017-03-05 17:00]

The Tamil Diaspora gathered in Geneva began exerting pressure on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) not to grant Sri Lanka the 24-month extension to implement the 'derailed' October 2015 HRC resolution, but to instead refer Sri Lanka to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The Tamil Diaspora is planning specific measures to be taken at the ongoing UNHRC sessions to urge the UNGA to also refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as North Korea was. "It's crystal clear that SL is set on slipping away from pressure exerted by the International community until their next General Election" the Diaspora has told the UNHRC.


Move To Dilute “Foreign Judges” Clause In Resolution
[Sunday 2017-03-05 17:00]

The government may seek support to dilute a controversial clause in a resolution which was passed in 2015, when a follow-up resolution on Sri Lanka is presented to the UN Human Rights Council during the ongoing session in Geneva. Government sources said that discussions will be held to get the support of UN Human Rights Council members to bring down the pressure to implement the clause in Resolution 30/1 which calls for the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism when investigating the war.


Fisheries Minister orders investigation into unusual sea turtle deaths on southern coast
[Sunday 2017-03-05 17:00]

Sri Lanka's Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera has ordered an investigation to ascertain the cause for the death of a large number of dead sea turtles found along the southern coast. During the past few days, a number of dead sea turtles have been found from the southern coastline from Tangalle to Hambantota. Since the dead turtles showed no external wounds in their bodies and the cause of death still remains unrecognized the Fisheries Ministry says it is unlikely that such a large number of turtles could die due to a natural cause.


PRESIDENT CALLS FOR SEPARATE MECHANISM TO DEVELOP NORTH
[Sunday 2017-03-05 17:00]

President Maitripala Sirisena yesterday stressed the necessity to have a separate program to develop the Northern province and to meet other social needs of the people. Inaugurating the program, ‘Tell the President’ in Jaffna yesterday, President Sirisena said he will personally attend the meetings in Jaffna for at least four or five months consecutively to discuss development issues. Only by adopting such a mechanism can we expedite the development of the North, he said.


Indian survey ship to take up Sri Lanka mission
[Sunday 2017-03-05 17:00]

INS Darshak, a hydrographic survey ship of the Indian Eastern Naval Command, sailed out of Visakhapatnam for a two-month long deployment for undertaking joint hydrographic surveys along with the Sri Lankan Navy, The Hindu newspaper reported.The pioneer surveys will be conducted with Sri Lankan Naval personnel embarked on board INS Darshak. During the course of survey, training of Sri Lankan personnel will also be undertaken on advanced hydrographic practices. The ship will visit Colombo and Galle harbours and undertake several joint exercises with the Sri Lankan Navy.


24 Indian fishermen arrested in SL waters
[Sunday 2017-03-05 17:00]

Twenty-four Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Naval personnel on Sunday for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in Sri Lankan waters. “Fifteen fishermen, who were fishing between Katchathivu and Talaimannar, were arrested and taken to Talaimannar,” Assistant Director of Fisheries in Rameshwaram, Kulanjinathan said. Nine others fishing near Neduntheevu were arrested and taken to Kangasanthurai, he said. The four boats of the fishermen, hailing from this town and Jagadapagttinam village, were seized, he added.


Sri Lanka gets two-year extension in first draft of UNHRC resolution
[Saturday 2017-03-04 18:00]

Sri Lanka has obtained a two year extension to tackle post-war reconciliation and allegations of war crimes, according to a first draft of the UN resolution that is likely be adopted at the Human Rights Council at its 34th Session currently underway in Geneva. According to the “zero draft” of the resolution in circulation late yesterday, Sri Lanka’s next major report on progress made on implementing the 2015 resolution by the High Commissioner for Human Rights will be at the Council’s 40th Session in March 2019.


TNA backs call for special court with international participation
[Saturday 2017-03-04 18:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has welcomed the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution, and its recommendations. The TNA said that while the report acknowledges some areas of progress, such as discussions on constitutional reform, it is critical of the Government’s failure to deliver with respect to a number of critical issues.


Sri Lanka Dodges Questions on Women’s Rights at UN Committee
[Saturday 2017-03-04 18:00]

If there were any doubt where women’s issues rank in the Sri Lanka government’s list of priorities, it was laid to rest last week in Geneva. When the Sri Lanka delegation appeared before the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) on February 22, it should have been well-prepared for the occasion. It was the country’s eighth periodic review, and the questions that the committee would raise were no mystery – the CEDAW Committee and Sri Lankan civil society groups have had steady dialogue with the government over their concerns.


Shashikala Raviraj’s appeal: Notice re-issued on second accused
[Saturday 2017-03-04 18:00]

The Court of Appeal, yesterday, re-issued notice on the second accused in the Raviraj murder appeal. This appellant had not received notice. The Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar by a jury trial, acquitted all the six accused persons, indicted of the murder of former TNA Parliamentarian N. Raviraj. The wife of Raviraj Shashikala Raviraj appealed to the Court of appeal, seeking to set aside the High Court order. The appellant have requested the Court of Appeal to order a re-trial without a jury.


Not ready to govern the country on NGOs’ opinions: MS
[Saturday 2017-03-04 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena said today he was not ready to govern the country on the opinions of the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) which were operating on international relationships and file charge sheets against the security forces. The President said he would stand firmly for the protection and respect of the security forces during his tenure. He expressed these views during an inspection tour in the Palali camp.


Sampanthan writes to the President on land issue
[Saturday 2017-03-04 18:00]

Opposition and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan has written to President Maithripala Sirisena on the land issue in the North. In his letter, Sampanthan thanked the President for meeting him recently to discuss the issue. He says in Kepapulavu 54 lands have been handed over to the persons entitled to same on documents. However he says there are 30 other persons who were in possession of their lands earlier, but who still do not have permits.


Pro-LTTE group member accosts Mangala in Geneva
[Thursday 2017-03-02 17:00]

Moments after a speech on Tuesday (28) in which he blamed extremists on both sides of the ethnic divide for stalling Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera was briefly accosted by a member of a pro-LTTE group at the Palais des Nations, the building that houses the United Nations in Geneva.


Sri Lanka's Tamil party asks for UN pressure over alleged war crimes
[Thursday 2017-03-02 17:00]

Sri Lanka's main Tamil party has asked the United Nations to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes committed during the country's 26-year war against Tamil separatists. The government agreed in 2015 to act on the reports of human rights abuses but has done nothing since, M. A. Sumanthiran, a legislator and spokesman for Tamil National Alliance, said late on Tuesday.


Sri Lanka confirms it will seek two more years from UNHRC
[Thursday 2017-03-02 17:00]

Sri Lanka has confirmed it will seek two more years from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to fully implement Resolution 30/1. A new Resolution is to be submitted to the UNHRC during the ongoing 34th session in Geneva. Mano Tittawella, the Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms told the BBC, Sri Lanka is confident it will get the two years it is seeking from the UNHRC. The new Resolution is expected to be cosponsored by Sri Lanka, the UK and the US.


Priyasad Dep takes oath as new Chief Justice
[Thursday 2017-03-02 17:00]

Supreme Court Judge Priyasad Dep was sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice (CJ) of Sri Lanka before President Maithripala Sirisena this morning. He served as the Solicitor General between 2007 and 2011 and as the Acting CJ on a few occasions.


Mangala briefs Hussein on progress made on accountability
[Thursday 2017-03-02 17:00]

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and briefed him on the progress made so far on accountability over incidents related to the war. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, the Foreign Ministry said.


13 Indian fishermen arrested for poaching in SL waters
[Thursday 2017-03-02 17:00]

The Navy today arrested 13 Indian fishermen along with two fishing boats on charges of violating the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the seas off Delft Island. The arrested fishermen, nine hailed from Nagapattinam district and four fishermen from Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu were handed over to the Jaffna fisheries officials for onward legal action.

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