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November 1, 2014 [GMT]
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Bishop of Mannar slams Govt. Describes travel restrictions to the North as 'Strange'
[Friday 2014-10-31 16:00]

The imposition of travel restrictions to the North, for foreigners and members of the Tamil Diaspora, creates a dangerous situation for the country when the international community is antagonized in this manner, Bishop of Mannar,Dr. Rayappu Joseph said. Explaining that this move was symptomatic of the government's ill will towards the Tamil people, he added, if the government has any suspicions concerning certain persons they can take action against those particular persons by not allowing them entry or access, but there was no reason for such draconian measures.



Sniffer dogs join search for Sri Lanka mudslide victims Top News
[Friday 2014-10-31 16:00]

Sniffer dogs were brought in Friday to join the search for bodies at a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, two days after a major mudslide buried alive scores of people. After the operation was suspended on Thursday afternoon because of fresh rains, searching resumed at daybreak with a team of sniffer dogs joining hundreds of troops already at the site of the tragedy in the picturesque Koslanda region, around 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of Colombo. Although officials have estimated that around 100 people lost their lives on the Meeriyabedda plantation, only a handful of bodies has been dug out from the mud that wiped out scores of homes.



Washington is to rush aid to Koslanda
[Friday 2014-10-31 16:00]

The US State Department says it is currently working with USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to respond quickly to offer assistance to Koslanda.State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the United States has received an official request for assistance from the Government of Sri Lanka. “The ambassador – our ambassador on the ground has exercised her authority to declare a disaster and request assistance from Washington. The Department of State is currently working with USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to respond quickly,” she said at a press briefing in Washington.



UN Committee accused of being biased
[Friday 2014-10-31 16:00]

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee has been accused of being biased by the Government. Cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Committee had failed to note murders carried out by the LTTE in its review of Sri Lanka. Responding to a question raised at the post cabinet press briefing today, Rambukwella questioned as to why the UN Human Rights Committee did not note the killing of nearly 700 policemen by the LTTE during the war. In its observations, the UN Human Rights Committee had raised concerns over the lack of progress into the investigations in the murder of five students in Trincomalee in 2006.



Budget: JHU to abstain from voting
[Friday 2014-10-31 16:00]

The Jathika Hela Urumaya today decided to abstain from voting at the second reading of the 2015 Budget which will be held tomorrow as the talks with the SLFP on the Constitutional Amendments submitted by the JHU were not yet completed.



Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces tax cuts, increased benefits for families:
[Friday 2014-10-31 13:00]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced new measures to help make life more affordable for Canadian families. He was joined by Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance, Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), and Stella Ambler, Member of Parliament for Mississauga South.



The ambulance drone that could save your life: Flying defibrillator can reach speeds of 60mph
[Friday 2014-10-31 13:00]

A Dutch student has revealed a prototype 'ambulance drone', a flying defibrillator able to reach heart attack victims within precious life-saving minutes. Developed by engineering graduate Alec Momont, it can fly at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour). Painted in emergency services yellow and driven by six propellers, the drone can carry a four kilogramme load - in this case a defibrillator.



TNA says will agree for conditional talks
[Thursday 2014-10-30 20:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it is ready for conditional talks with President Mahinda Rajapksa to reach a political solution to the Tamil issue.TNA leader R. Sampanthan told Parliament today that his party is ready to negotiate with the President based on three statements the President had made following the end of the war. The three statements include one made following a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when the latter had visited Sri Lanka.



192 people still missing Top News
[Thursday 2014-10-30 20:00]

MC Assistant Director Pradeep Kodippili said according to the latest information 192 people were believed to be missing in yesterday’s landslide at Meeriyabedda estate and rescue operations were underway. He said the Army and Police personnel were engaged in rescue operations while five teams from the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) were also deployed in the rescue mission. Rescue operations were halted last evening because of heavy rains. He said 817 displaced people were being sheltered in two camps at Ampitikanda and Koslanda.



UN Committee raises several concerns
[Thursday 2014-10-30 19:00]

The UN Human Rights Committee, while taking note of some positive developments in Sri Lanka, also raised several concerns and proposed recommendations in its concluding observations made today on the fifth periodic report of Sri Lanka. The Committee considered the fifth periodic report submitted by Sri Lanka at its meetings held on 7 and 8 October and today made available its concluding observations.



India in touch with Lanka on court order
[Thursday 2014-10-30 19:00]

The Indian External Affairs Ministry says it is in touch with the Sri Lankan Government over death sentence issued by a Sri Lankan court on five Indians today. “India – Sri Lanka in constant touch in aftermath of judgement against 5 Indian fishermen by lower court in Sri Lanka,” Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.The Colombo High Court today issued the death sentence on eight people, including five Indians after they were found guilty for heroin smuggling.



More burdens heaped on travellers
[Thursday 2014-10-30 19:00]

The Defence and Urban Development Ministry yesterday (29) issued further instructions to foreign passport holders, who wish to travel to the North, adding to the process of obtaining permission.Those include multiple entries, details of drivers and such like. The restrictions apply to those who wish to travel to the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts, Mannar District (only areas north of Vidattaltivu) and the Vavuniya District (only areas north of Omanthai).



SLFP – JHU talks in deadlock
[Thursday 2014-10-30 19:00]

Ongoing high profile talks between the SLFP and the JHU to resolve a simmering dispute over the latter’s constitutional and political reform proposals primarily meant to dilute presidential powers have failed to produce the desired results. Proposals dealt with far reaching political reforms and a range of other contentious issues, including police and land powers contained in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Interestingly, except the JVP, other political parties while demanding the abolition of the executive presidency/pruning of presidential powers remain committed to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.



300 believed trapped in Badulla landslide Top News
[Wednesday 2014-10-29 20:00]

More than three hundred people are believed to be trapped in this morning’s land slide at Haldummulla in Badulla while eight bodies have been recovered, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. The land slide had also destroyed 120 estate line rooms and three government quarters. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said an area of about two kilometres had been affected in the landslide. DMC Assistant Director Udayakumara said that the rescue operations are underway with the help of the army and the police. Meanwhile, Military Spokesman RuwanWanigasuriya said 500 soldiers have been deployed in the rescue mission.



Polls chief office not fully independent
[Wednesday 2014-10-29 20:00]

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma says the Office of the Commissioner of Elections is not fully independent.Addressing the media in Colombo today, Sharma also said that the Commonwealth will monitor the next national elections in Sri Lanka. “Commonwealth election observers in Sri Lanka have drawn attention to the fact that the Office of the Commissioner of Elections is not fully independent. The Commonwealth is preparing a compendium of practice from across the full membership concerning the appointment and independence of Electoral Commissions, and will share this with Sri Lanka.” he said.



No Chinese military presence here
[Wednesday 2014-10-29 20:00]

The Ministry of Defence yesterday denied there is Chinese military presence in Sri Lanka as claimed by India.Responding to concerns raised by India, Military Spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, told Ceylon Today, there are no Chinese military personnel in Sri Lanka and if anyone claims that Sri Lanka is harbouring Chinese military personnel, it is a misleading statement.



Ease travel restrictions on expat Tamils – Vijayakala
[Wednesday 2014-10-29 20:00]

Jaffna District Parliamentarian, Vijayakala Maheswaran, has urged the government to lift the travel restrictions imposed on expatriate Tamils, when travelling to Jaffna. Maheswaran was speaking during debate on Budget 2015 in Parliament on Monday (27). She was also part of the Lankan Parliamentary delegation to Geneva led by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa a week ago.



UN to publish its Lanka review outcome
[Wednesday 2014-10-29 20:00]

The UN Human Rights Committee is to publish a report tomorrow on its concluding observations regarding a review on Sri Lanka and a few other countries. The UN Human Rights Committee will also be holding a news conference to discuss the outcome of its 112th session and members will respond to questions on their concluding observations, follow-up to past recommendations to States, and their adopted General Comment on liberty and security of person.



Hundreds feared dead in massive landslide in Sri Lanka Top News
[Wednesday 2014-10-29 11:00]

Hundreds of people are feared dead in Sri Lanka after a massive landslide early Wednesday morning buried a row of line houses in Haldumulla, Badulla in the island's upcountry.Rescue workers have found two dead bodies while clearing the buried area and many more are trapped under the earth and feared dead.The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said the rescue missions are underway with the aid of the police and army.



One arrested for collecting signatures on blank UN war crimes complaint forms
[Tuesday 2014-10-28 19:00]

Acting on information received from the public, the police have arrested a person tasked by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to collect signatures on blank ‘UN war crimes complaints forms’ in the Vanni region. A senior security official said that the suspect had undergone compulsory LTTE combat training for about a month during the war. Responding to a query, the official alleged that the suspect had been seen in the Mulankavil area, arrested over the weekend and brought to Colombo for further questioning.


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