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August 21, 2014 [GMT]
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Sri Lankan Tamil leaders to raise 13A amendment during India visit
[Thursday 2014-08-21 16:00]

Leaders of Sri Lanka's main Tamil party are to push their case for full implementation of the contentious thirteenth amendment to the Constitution during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation leaves for India today for their first meeting with the new Indian government. The delegation is expected to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday and hopes to meet Modi on Saturday. Senior TNA parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran said the party will urge India to ensure Sri Lanka fully implements the 13Amendment as the Sri Lankan government had earlier given that assurance to India.



Granting US$1 Mn unconstitutional: Ex-CJ
[Thursday 2014-08-21 16:00]

Former Chief justice Sarath N. Silva said today it was illegal and unconstitutional to grant one million US dollars to Palestine without following the proper procedure to do so. Mr. Silva said spending of one million US dollars by the Finance Ministry Secretary and the President as the Finance Minister had violated Section 148 of the Constitution. 'This amount of money had been spent outside budgetary allocations. If the government was spending any money beyond the budgetary allocations or appropriation Bill, they need to submit a special supplementary Bill in parliament. But in this instance the Finance ministry has not followed that procedure,' Mr. Silva said.



UN likely to intervene in Tamil asylum-seeker case
[Thursday 2014-08-21 16:00]

The United Nations may become involved in the case of the Tamil asylum seekers who were detained on an Australian customs boat, with a court hearing to take place in Canberra in October. A brief high court directions hearing in Melbourne on Thursday resulted in Justice Kenneth Hayne setting a date of 14 October and 15 October for the full court case. The legal team representing the asylum seekers indicated that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Australian Human Rights Commission were looking to intervene in the case.



Sri Lankan President cancels Pakistan visit amid unrest in Islamabad
[Thursday 2014-08-21 16:00]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has cancelled his visit to Pakistan that was scheduled for later this week due to the political unrest in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad, Pakistani Foreign Office has said. During the Sri Lankan President's visit to Islamabad which was scheduled for August 22, the President was to meet the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.



India will not endorse any foreign intervention in Sri Lankan affairs - BJP leader
[Thursday 2014-08-21 16:00]

India's foreign policy is very clear and will not agree to any foreign power interfering in Sri Lanka's internal matters, a senior leader of India's governing Bharatha Janatha Party (BJP) Dr. Subramanian Swamy said. Speaking at the last day sessions of Sri Lanka's three-day defense meet, Defense Seminar 2014, at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo on the topic 'India - Sri Lanka Relations' , Dr. Swamy said India's 'national interests' are the most prioritized and India will not favor one particular ethnic group.



SL owes China Exim Bank US$ 2.6 B
[Thursday 2014-08-21 16:00]

The government has borrowed a total of US$ 2.6 billion (US$ 2,665 million) from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China during the period 2009-2013 for various development projects in the country.This was revealed by Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Sarath Amunugama in Parliament yesterday. These funds were mainly utilized for the Hambantota Port, Katunayake Expressway, Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, Railway projects, Northern Province electricity and road development projects, Southern Expressway, electricity projects in the Uva and Eastern Provinces.



Sri Lanka visa ban won't stop UN inquiry - Navi Pillay
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

The United Nations has insisted its investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka will go ahead despite being told it will be denied visas. Earlier, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the UN team would be refused entry because only Sri Lankan authorities could investigate the allegations. The UN decided earlier this year to investigate alleged crimes committed by government forces and Tamil rebels. Sri Lanka has refused to co-operate with the Human Rights Council inquiry. But UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay said her team would be able to use technology, like internet phone service Skype and satellite imagery, to carry out its investigation.



Lanka says won't allow terrorist acts against India
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

Sri Lanka today assured India that its soil would not be used for terror attacks against its neighbour even as Colombo has stepped up deportation of Pakistani nationals amid reports that they were involved in subversive acts directed at India. Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G L Peiris said that Colombo had assured New Delhi that its soil will not be used for anti-India activities. "We have constantly assured India that under no circumstances will Sri Lankan soil be used for any acts against India," Peiris said at a meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.



Army Major General warns of extremist elements 'Threat to national security and government' Top News
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

Visible and invisible, anti-nationalist, extremist, separatist elements and hardliners both in the country and overseas are using hybrid, asymmetric strategies thus posing a challenge and a threat to national security and the government, Major General of the Sri Lanka Army, G.V.D.U.A. Perera saidd. He made this statement at the 2014 Defence Seminar on National Security, when he explained the need for maintaining a highly motivated security force with physical, conceptual and moral components. Globally, regionally and locally, these extremist elements also affect the vulnerable and neutral populace in the said areas, he noted.



TNA to visit India tomorrow
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 16:00]

The Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R. Sampanthan will leave for India tomorrow (21). The (TNA) Spokesperson and Jaffna District Parliamentarian, Suresh K. Premachandran told Ceylon Today, that as the TNA is making its first visit to New Delhi after BJP Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several key issues were likely to be taken up during the meetings with the Indian Government leaders."The TNA is also expected to meet the Indian Premier Narendra Modi in New Delhi and the Indian External Affairs Ministern Sushma Suwaraj.



Ban tells Lanka to help UN-led probe
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 15:00]

UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon has urged Sri Lanka to assist the investigation on the war led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Ban ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the Secretary General fully supports the High Commissioner for Human Rights and commends the leadership she's demonstrated to assist Sri Lanka in advancing accountability and reconciliation.



India is happy with Lanka-China ties
[Wednesday 2014-08-20 15:00]

The BJP led Indian Government has no concerns over the strong ties between China and Sri Lanka, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said today. Responding to a question posed by the Chinese delegation attending the Defence seminar in Colombo, Swamy said that India had concerns over one particular country and some extremists from that country using Sri Lanka to infiltrate Tamil Nadu. He said that the issue had been raised with the Sri Lankan Government and the Sri Lankan authorities had addressed the concerns. However he said the new Indian Government has no issues with Sri Lanka having strong ties with China and will back China working with Sri Lanka on the economic front.



Sri Lanka to refuse entry to UN investigators: President Top News
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Sri Lanka will not grant visas to UN investigators probing war crimes allegedly committed during the island's decades-long separatist conflict, President Mahinda Rajapakse said on Tuesday. "We will not allow them into the country," said Rajapakse, who is under international pressure to cooperate with the UN-mandated investigation. Sri Lanka has refused to accept the authority of the UN Human Rights Council which voted in March to probe allegations that the military killed 40,000 civilians in the final months of the separatist war, which ended in 2009.



Sri Lankan President appoints two more to the advisory panel of missing persons commission
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed two more members to the panel of international experts advising the Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka.The two appointees are Indian human rights activist Avdash Kaushal and a Pakistani law expert Ahmer B. Soofi.President Rajapaksa announced the appointment of the two experts in a message to the micro blog site Twitter.



Modi will meet TNA leader if Lankan Govt. approves
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will meet the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan if the Sri Lankan Government approves such meeting, said BJP leader, Dr. Subramanian Swamy yesterday. He added, "Normally we do not encourage meetings with parties which are hostile to the government of a country. The current Prime Minister does not give appointments freely". Sampanthan, in the meantime has been pressing for a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, since the latter took office this year.



Missing Persons Commission flustered West refuses to divulge info on refugees
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

persons, to divulge the names of refugees and political asylum seekers who have been reported as missing and disappeared.Chairman of the Commission, Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama said there were many thousands abroad in refugee camps. There is a possibility that persons who escaped from local refugee camps had fled abroad secretly, he observed.He added that the foreign ministries of the respective countries have refused to comply with the requests for details including names, citing legal complexities and also because there could be threats to the lives of the refugees and their relatives.



Jaffna Suicide Rate Increased After End Of War
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Daya Somasundaram, Professor of Psychiatry at Jaffna University said thatsuicide rate in Jaffna has gone up in the aftermath of the three decade long civil war in Sri Lanka.Statistics collected by Daya Somasundaram show that in 2005, at the beginning of Eelam War IV (August 2005 to May 2009), the suicide rate in Jaffna district was about 23 per 100,000 population. In 2006, when the war began to intensify, it came down to less than 20. As the war progressed in 2007 and 2008, the rate declined further. And in 2009, when the war was at its peak and Tamil society was under severe threat, the suicide rate went down to almost 15 per 100,000.



MODI 1ST PM IN 36 YRS TO ADDRESS SL PARLIAMENT
[Tuesday 2014-08-19 15:00]

Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister in 35 years to address the Sri Lankan Parliament. According to top Government officials attending the Defence Seminar 2014, organised by the Sri Lanka Army at Colombo, Modi is expected to address Sri Lankan Parliament in January 2015. Late Morarji Desai was the last Indian Prime Minister to address the Parliament of the island nation during his visit to Sri Lanka on February 6, 1979.



Government notes threat from NGOs
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

The Government says Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) which operate in non regulated environments has become a threat to financial management, inclusive development and law and order itself.Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundara said this while speaking at the Defence Seminar in Colombo today. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) had recently warned NGO's not to go beyond their mandate. An MOD letter sent to NGOs notes that some of them conduct press conferences, workshops, training for journalists, and dissemination of press releases which is beyond their mandate.



NPC, EPC members for wider probe
[Monday 2014-08-18 15:00]

A group of members of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) have written to the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, seeking a wider probe on Sri Lanka by her office which looks at incidents even before the war. In a letter signed by 33 members of the two councils, the investigative team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been requested to look into the pattern of all the atrocities against the Tamil people, and to determine if Genocide has taken place.


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