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February 20, 2017 [GMT]
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Sumanthiran lobbying in Geneva
[Monday 2017-02-20 16:00]

Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran, who is currently in Geneva, urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) officials not to allow Sri Lanka to make any change in the original resolution co-sponsored with the UNHRC by the country in 2015. Sumanthiran met the UNHRC officials in Geneva on Saturday (18) morning where he briefed extensively on the failures in implementing the key aspects of the UNHRC resolution of 2015 by the Lankan Government. Sumanthiran speaking at the UNHRC Commissioner's office said that the Lankan Government has not fulfilled its commitment on appointing foreign judges to investigate into the alleged war crime.



Amorous ex-Major deported from US
[Monday 2017-02-20 16:00]

A retired Major who was sent to Hawaii by the Disaster Management Ministry for a special training had been deported to Sri Lanka on Saturday night by the US authorities for allegedly sexually harassing a girl. Disaster Management Ministry Secretary S S Miyanawala told the Daily News yesterday that the work of the above officer has been temporarily suspended and an institutional level disciplinary inquiry would be held over the incident.



Sri Lanka Tamil party to support government despite failure to resolve Tamil people's issues
[Monday 2017-02-20 16:00]

Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance says as a political party, it will continue to support the government although it has not yet provided the solutions to issues of the people in the North despite the promise to do so. Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council C.V.K. Sivagnanam said the government should pay more attention to the issues faced by those in the North.



Pillayan re-remanded for 31st time
[Monday 2017-02-20 16:00]

The former Eastern Province chief minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan was today further remanded till March 6 for the 31st time by Batticaloa Magistrate M. Ganesharaja. The CID arrested him in 2015 in connection with the assassination of former MP Joseph Pararajasingham.



US House of Representatives to strengthen US-Lanka ties
[Monday 2017-02-20 16:00]

A bipartisan delegation from the US House of Representatives arrives in Colombo today for three days of meetings as part of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP). The US Embassy in Colombo said the HDP delegation is pleased to continue the important partnership begun with the signing of a Collaboration Agreement between the US House of Representatives and the Parliament of Sri Lanka on September 14, 2016 in Washington D.C. The visit serves to underscore the strong bipartisan support for Sri Lanka in the US Congress.



Wimal further remanded
[Monday 2017-02-20 16:00]

Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa was further remanded till March 6 by Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne today. Meanwhile, the second suspect the former DGM of the National Engineering Corporation (NEC) was released on a cash bail of Rs. 50, 000 with two sureties of 1 million each. The Magistrate also imposed a travel ban on the suspect. Both suspects were arrested by the FCID on charges of misusing 40 state vehicles belonging to the NEC and causing a financial loss of Rs. 90 million to the state during 2011-2014.



Attack on Noyahr: Three army men remanded, shocking details emerge
[Sunday 2017-02-19 18:00]

Criminal Investigation Detectives yesterday arrested an Army officer and two Sergeants over the May 2008 attack on journalist Keith Noyahr. The arrests came after the trio were summoned to CID headquarters on Friday and interrogated. The trio are Major Prabath Bulathwatte, Sergeant Duminda Weeraratne and Sergeant Hemachandra Perera. The formal arrests were made yesterday after interrogation overnight. Two more soldiers from the Army’s Military Intelligence are now being interrogated.



Nine killed in Katukurunda boat tragedy
[Sunday 2017-02-19 18:00]

At least nine bodies had been recovered following a boat tragedy in the seas off Katukurunda today, the Police said. They said around 20 boats had left Beruwala coast to attend a festival in Kalutara this morning and one of the boat had capsized. Police said another eight persons were receiving treatment at the Nagoda Hospital. The bodies were taken to the Hospital. The Navy and the Police are continuing search for other victims.



Two more soldiers arrested over assault on Keith Noyahr
[Sunday 2017-02-19 17:00]

Two more soldiers were arrested by the CID this morning in connection with the abduction and assault on journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008. Police said the suspects would be produced before Mt. Lavinia Magistrate today. Earlier, CID arrested three Army personnel including a Major over the incident. They were remanded until February 23.



Jaishankar in Colombo, to meet Maithripala, Ranil tomorrow
[Sunday 2017-02-19 17:00]

Indian Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar arrived in Colombo today for bilateral consultations on his third visit to the island in the last 11 months. As a part of New Delhi’s Neighbourhood First Policy, he will also visit China and Bangladesh later this week.



Rajapaksas offered huge bribes to stifle criminal investigations by FCID – Chandrika
[Sunday 2017-02-19 17:00]

Some members of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s family facing criminal allegations, have been accused of offering huge bribes to the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID). Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who now heads the Office For National Unity and Reconciliation, said at a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents Association in Colombo last week, that some officers of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) had complained of attempts by agents of the Rajapaksa family of having attempted to bribe them with big sums of money, but they had refused the offers.



Heart surgery for Defence Sec
[Sunday 2017-02-19 17:00]

Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiaratchchi has successfully undergone heart surgery in a Singapore Hospital. Acting in his place as Secretary now is Puttalam’s Former District Secretary Kingsley Fernando, who is now attached to the Presidential Secretariat.



Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami wins trust vote
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Edappadi Palaniswami, who was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Thursday, won the trust vote in the Assembly where 122 MLAs voted for him, while 11 voted for O Panneerselvam. Majority needed was 68. This will pave way for him to continue on with the position. Palaniswami was administered the oath of office by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao after he submitted a letter on February 14 claiming he was elected as the Leader of the AIADMK Legislature party in a meeting of its MLAs that day.



BJP weighing up ‘political split’ in Rajapaksa camp?
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Even as Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa angles for a political comeback, New Delhi appears to be weighing up possible political shifts in the island, including a split in the Rajapaksa camp, the Hindu reported. On February 10, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, known to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s point man on Sri Lanka, met President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, a week before Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s scheduled official visit.



Indian Foreign Secretary Jaishankar to meet Sri Lankan leaders on Monday
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar will be meeting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other Sri Lankan leaders during a brief visit to the island on Monday. Officials described Jaishankar’s visit as a routine one to keep himself abreast of the latest developments in the island nation, besides keeping track of the progress of existing Indian development projects, and to explore possibilities of future engagement in the development and commercial sectors. Jaishankar will also explore possibilities for the Indian private sector investment.



Army Major, two soldiers arrested over assault on Keith Noyahr
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

An Army Major and two soldiers were arrested today over the abduction and assault on former journalist Keith Noyahr. Noyahr was abducted in May 2008 and was severely assaulted before being set free. The former Associate Editor of The Nation newspaper fled the country with his family following the incident fearing for his life. The police media unit said that the Army Major and two soldiers were arrested by a special investigations team of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).



Army hits out at allegations made by CBK on abuse
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

The Army has rejected claims made by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga that Tamil women face widespread sexual exploitation by the army. Kumaratunga, the chairman of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, said women who were widowed during the 37-year conflict were among the victims of abuse by officials who frequently demand sexual favours just to carry out routine paperwork.



Modi confirms participation at UN Vesak Day in Sri Lanka
[Saturday 2017-02-18 18:00]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confirmed his participation in UN Vesak Day celebrations to be conducted in Sri Lanka in May this year, a minister said on Friday, according to the Xinhua news agency. The UN Vesak Day will be observed in Sri Lanka to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha who founded the Buddhism religion. Sri Lanka is predominately a Buddhist country with more than 70 percent of the population following the region.



Sri Lanka still unsafe for Tamil asylum seekers to return
[Saturday 2017-02-18 11:00]

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at a press conference in Canberra together with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urged asylum seekers who had fled the country to return. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe emphasized in his statement, "Come back; all is forgiven; it is quite safe in Sri Lanka; we are just starting the missing persons office.” The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) would like to categorically state that Sri Lanka has not reached a point where every Tamil asylum seeker can just return without worrying about the consequences; indeed Sri Lanka is far from it.



SL must have foreign judges in war crime probe: HRW
[Friday 2017-02-17 17:00]

Sri Lanka must employ international judges and prosecutors to ensure accountability during trials of those responsible for alleged war crimes against mostly Tamils, Human Rights Watch Australia's director Elaine Pearson has told SBS News on Friday. Ms. Pearson's call, which echoes a recommendation in the 2015 UN Human Rights Council report of the OHCHR investigation of Sri Lanka, comes as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Australia this week. On Wednesday, he beckoned asylum seekers who fled to Australia to return, assuring they would be "quite safe".


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