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February 6, 2016 [GMT]
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Zeid says he will listen to all communities in Sri Lanka Top News
[Saturday 2016-02-06 18:00]

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says he will be having talks with representatives of all communities in Sri Lanka and will listen to what they have to say. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein arrived in Sri Lanka today and was met by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the airport and later he had talks with the Minister at the Foreign Ministry. “I am delighted to be in Sri Lanka. I have been looking forward to coming,” Zeid told reporters in a brief statement as he began meetings in Colombo.



Sushma assures Sirisena India’s support for his policies Top News
[Saturday 2016-02-06 17:00]

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has told President Maithripala Sirisena the Government of India supports Sri Lanka’s policies on reconciliation and development, the President’s office said today. She says India admires the speech recently delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament, stating that he would take the country towards development while bringing about the peace and reconciliation among every community. “The Indian government will give its fullest support to implement those policies mentioned in that statement”, she said.



Wigneswaran visits Buddhist Temple to back reconciliation Top News
[Saturday 2016-02-06 17:00]

Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran visited the Naga Vihara Temple in Jaffna today to show support to the decision taken by the Government to sing the National anthem in Tamil at the Independence day event at Galle Face yesterday. Speaking to reporters at the Temple, Wigneswaran said that if the Sinhalese people take one step forward and move towards the Tamils then the Tamils will take ten steps forward towards the Sinhalese community. “We are very happy that the National anthem was sung in Tamil yesterday,” Wigneswaran said. The Northern Province Chief Minister said that while singing the National anthem was a small gesture it went a long way.



Chinese Foreign Minister Arrives In Sri Lanka On Short Transit Visit Top News
[Saturday 2016-02-06 17:00]

Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi arrived in Sri Lanka on a short transit visit this morning. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva met with the visiting Chinese dignitary. They held discussions pertaining to the Prime Minister's visit to China later this year, and agreed on several steps to be taken before the visit, Dr. de Silva said on his Facebook Page. The Chinese Foreign Minister is returning to his country after a four-nation tour of Africa.



Open Fight to wrest SLFP leadership
[Saturday 2016-02-06 17:00]

The tussle for the SLFP leadership between President Maithripala Sirisena and SLFP Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa has now reached a new high and taken on a new dimension after the imprisonment of the second son of the former President Navy Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa over alleged financial irregularities at the CSN. Political observers contend that in the wake of Yoshitha Rajapaksa being remanded the former SLFP Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has begun attending all possible SLFP functions where he makes public statements about forming a new political party while condemning the current SLFP leadership.



Ex-Tigers sing Sinhala National Anthem
[Saturday 2016-02-06 17:00]

In a strange and welcome change of the times the National Anthem was sung in Sinhala at Independence Day celebrations staged by rehabilitated LTTE cadres at Kilinochchi, Paranthan. These former LTTE cadres who are currently serving in the Civil Defence Force had sung the National Anthem in Sinhala, while Tamils at the 68th Independence Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green sung the Anthem in Tamil. The ceremony in Kilinochchi, Paranthan had been held under the auspices of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Commanding Officer Colonel Rathnapriya Bandu.



Sushma Swaraj, Ranil Wickremesinghe hold talks on investment, SEZ Top News
[Friday 2016-02-05 18:00]

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who sought Indian investment and offered partnership in setting up a Special Economic Zone besides briefing her on latest political developments in the country. Swaraj, who arrived Colombo on Friday on her second visit to the country within a year, held talks with Wickremesinghe at the Prime Minister’s Office ‘Temple Trees’, and the two leaders had a “fruitful exchange of views”.



Govt. needs to keep hardcore LTTEers under microscope: Gota
[Friday 2016-02-05 18:00]

The former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa urged the Government to strengthen the mechanism to monitor the hardcore LTTEers before releasing the remaining hardcore LTTE operatives in jails. He said without strengthening surveillances with the assistance of the military intelligence agencies, releasing hardcore LTTE cadres will pose a grave threat to the country’s peace and security. According to Rajapaksa, there were over 5,000 LTTE cadres, who had been arrested over the years by the military from different parts of the island, before the end of the war in May 2009.



Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Governor on the way out?
[Friday 2016-02-05 18:00]

The Northern Province, where Tamils constitute a predominant section of the population, may soon get a new Governor. The incumbent, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, has conveyed to the government about his willingness to leave the post. Enquiries made in Colombo and Jaffna reveal that the government is expected to make an announcement shortly in this regard. Asked about his possible exit, the Governor, who has held the post for a year, told The Hindu that at the time of his appointment, the understanding was that he would be there for six months.



Sri Lanka’s main opposition welcomes anthem in Tamil
[Friday 2016-02-05 17:00]

Sri Lanka’s main opposition Tamil National Alliance welcomed the national anthem being sung at national day celebrations as a “giant step” towards reconciliation in a country emerging from decades of Ethnic war. TNA legislator and spokesman M. A. Sumanthiran said he hoped that same spirit will be maintained in resolving the long-standing demands of the Tamils to have a greater degree of autonomy in the regions where they are concentrated.



Government hopes to renew relations with China this year
[Friday 2016-02-05 17:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said that he hoped to renew and strengthen the relations between China and Sri Lanka this year. In a message sent to Xinhua, greeting the people of China for the Chinese New Year which falls on Feb. 8 this year, Wickremesinghe said that he was pleased to offer his greetings for a peaceful and prosperous New Year to the Chinese people on behalf of all Sri Lankans. “May we truly be able to renew and strengthen the warm and cordial relations between China and Sri Lanka this New Year, as always,” Wickremesinghe said.



Defence Council discusses Yoshitha
[Friday 2016-02-05 17:00]

At the National Defence Council, the president and the prime minister have sought information with regard to the arrest of Navy Lt. Yoshtha Rajapaksa, second son of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.Top defence officials have explaiend that the arrest was made after a year-long investigation, which confirmed, through the perusal of around 12,000 email messages that he had functioned as head of CSN television channel. The president and the prime minister have stressed that the accuracy of the allegations against politicians and their family members should be verified before arrest.



Black flag campaign in Vavuniya Top News
[Thursday 2016-02-04 19:00]

A group of Tamils in Vavuniya held a black flag campaign this morning saying the Tamils in the Northern Province were unable to celebrate the 68th Independence Day in freedom. The protest was launched by the Collective of the Families of Disappeared Persons and the citizens committee in the Vavuniya district.“Even though the war has come to an end, many Tamils are detained as political prisoners.



President makes pledge to protect National interests Top News
[Thursday 2016-02-04 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena today made a pledge to protect National interests when addressing concerns over the war and implementing the UN Resolution on Sri Lanka. The President made this pledge while addressing the nation at the 68th Independence Day anniversary event at Galle Face today. He said that the UN Resolution would not have been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council last September if efforts were taken to address key issues soon after the war ended in May 2009.



Unofficial ban on singing National anthem in Tamil lifted Top News
[Thursday 2016-02-04 18:00]

A Tamil-language version of Sri Lanka’s national anthem was performed at the country’s independence ceremony on Thursday, lifting an unofficial ban in another step toward post-civil war ethnic reconciliation. Schoolchildren sang the national anthem in Sinhalese, from the ethnic majority group, and the minority Tamil language at the ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of independence from Britain, the Associated Press reported.



Zeid to have talks with Wigneswaran and war affected
[Thursday 2016-02-04 18:00]

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will have talks with the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran during his visit to Sri Lanka.Formally announcing the visit to Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry today said that accepting an invitation extended by the Government in February 2015, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will undertake a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka. The Foreign Ministry said that the High Commissioner will arrive in Sri Lanka on the morning of Saturday 6 February and depart on the morning of 10 February.



MR laments foreign interference
[Thursday 2016-02-04 18:00]

Ex-President in his Independence Day message laments the increasing interference by foreign powers in the affairs of the country since the last presidential election. He vows to fight for the country’s interest even if all his family members are to be imprisoned. Rajapaksa says in his message: On Feb. 04, 2016, we celebrate 68 years of independence. Back in 1948 after having waited 450 years to be masters of our own destiny, Sri Lanka became independent under the government of D.S. Senanyake of which my father too was a member.



Chinese leaders congratulate Sri Lanka on anniversary of founding
[Thursday 2016-02-04 18:00]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday congratulated Sri Lanka on the 68th anniversary of the founding of country. In a message addressed to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Xi said that China-Sri Lanka relations, with a long history, have grown ever stronger and that both peoples have benefited from friendly cooperation between the two countries. Xi recalled that during President Sirisena's visit to China in March 2015, the two sides reached many agreements on the further development of bilateral relations in the new situation. Xi said that he attaches great importance to China-Sri Lanka ties and that he is willing to work with President Sirisena to further promote the strategic partnership between the two countries.



SF joins UNF Top News
[Wednesday 2016-02-03 19:00]

The Democratic Party (DP) led by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka on Wednesday joined the United National Front (UNF) after signing an MoU with the UNP- the leading party of the alliance. Though there were strong speculation that Field Marshal Fonseka was to be appointed to Parliament to fill the vacancy created by the demise of Minister M K. A. D. S. Gunawardene and would be given a Ministerial portfolio, both parties said no final decision had been taken on these matters.



BBS demand release of Gnansara Thera
[Wednesday 2016-02-03 19:00]

Members of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and other Buddhist organisations held a demonstration outside the Buddhist Affairs Ministry this evening obstructing the traffic demanding the release of BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, who is in remand custody. After the demonstration, the members marched towards the President’s House to handover a petition. Ven. Gnansara Thera was remanded on charges of contempt of court till February 9 by the Homagama Magistrate.


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