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July 28, 2014 [GMT]
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Fire in hotel after President exits
[Monday 2014-07-28 16:00]

A fire had broken out at the Eden Hotel in Beruwala yesterday (27), soon after President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was attending a wedding took his leave. Police Media spokesman, SSP Ajith Rohana said the fire had occurred soon after the President left the hotel after signing as one of the witnesses at the wedding. "The fire occurred in a bathroom in the third floor of the building. The President attended a function held in the ground floor," he explained. Police have sought the assistance of the Government Analyst to conduct further investigations in order to find out the cause of the fire. No one had been injured.



Anura Dissanayake injured in accident
[Monday 2014-07-28 16:00]

anatha Vimukthi Peramua (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake was admitted to the Ratnapura Hospital a short while ago after he suffered minor injuries following an accident at Kiriella, police said.Police said Mr. Dissanayake's vehicle had collided with a tipper coming in the opposite direction when the driver had attempted to overtake the vehicle in front on the Ratnapura-Panadura Main Road. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti and the Ratnapura Hospital sources confirmed that Mr. Dissanayake's health condition was stable and that his injuries were of a minor nature. He was later transferred to the Colombo National Hospital. The driver was also injured and admitted to the hospital.

Daily mirror



157 asylum seekers likely Indian economic migrants: Australia Top News
[Monday 2014-07-28 16:00]

The 157 asylum-seekers held for weeks on the high seas on an Australian customs vessel were likely economic migrants from India, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said Monday."The indications are... that there are a very large number of people on this ship that had been resident in India for a very long time," Morrison told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He said the boat had come from the "safe" nation of India, and had not stopped anywhere else on the way.



Sri Lanka's reconstructed Northern Railway Line to Jaffna will be opened in September
[Monday 2014-07-28 16:00]

The reconstructed Colombo - Jaffna, Northern Railway Line up to Jaffna will be completed by September, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said. The Minister said the Yal Devi train service to Jaffna, which was suspended for nearly 30 years, due to LTTE terrorist activities will resume operations on 15 September. The Northern Railway Line from Vavuniya to Kankasanthurai in the northernmost tip of the island was completely destroyed by the Tamil Tiger terrorists during their reign. The rebels uprooted the rail tracks to build reinforced underground bunkers.



SL may lose its China card
[Monday 2014-07-28 16:00]

Sri Lanka may no longer have a 'China card' to play with India as the latter is moving closer to China, political and security experts predict, urging the Sri Lankan Government to be doubly cautious when taking actions that can be seen as a threat to India's security. Commenting on the Sri Lankan Government's decision to build an Aircraft Maintenance Centre in Trincomalee, to solely maintain and repair its Chinese aircraft, former diplomat and political analyst Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka said, "Even if the protestations of the Government of Sri Lanka, as expressed by G.L. Peiris in Parliament, were entirely true, it would be imprudent for the government to run the risk of antagonizing India. The issue is not setting up the facility but the location and the perception that our neighbour, India, might have over this."



Lanka to draw fire in 2013 US report
[Monday 2014-07-28 16:00]

Sri Lanka is expected to draw fire over its failure to ensure full religious freedom last year, in the annual Religious Freedom report by the US to be made public Monday. US Secretary of State John Kerry will release the 2013 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State tomorrow, the State Department said. Secretary Kerry will introduce the report while Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski will give remarks and take questions from the media later.References will most likely be made in the report on the actions of the Bodu Bala Sena and other Buddhist extremist groups which posed a threat to religious freedom in the country last year.

(Colombo Gazette)



Solheim Ready To Testify
[Sunday 2014-07-27 17:00]

Former Norwegian peace envoy, Erik Solheim, says he is ready to testify before the Government Commission of Inquiry tasked to investigate the war. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Solheim said that he has nothing to hide and is willing to share whatever he knows with the Government Commission. Earlier, Solhiem had offered to testify before the UN led investigation which has already commenced investigations into the war. Now that the domestic Commission on Mission Persons has been asked to investigate the war, Solheim says he will come forward and share information if required. 'he information I may be able to provide is for sure also available to the domestic probe and the President-appointed international experts. I have nothing to hide,' he declared.



Al-Qaeda is not operating in Sri Lanka
[Sunday 2014-07-27 17:00]

The Ministry of Defence says Al Qaeda does not have a base in Sri Lanka nor does any other terrorist organization. Defence Ministry spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that on several occasions there had been allegations that foreign terrorist groups were using Sri Lanka as a base for training. He said that the Sri Lankan authorities have not given any space for such groups to operate inside Sri Lanka.'Terrorism is terrorism no matter what form it is in. Like the way we defeated the LTTE if Muslim or Islamic groups attempt to engage in terrorism from inside Sri Lanka we will not leave room for such activities,' he said.



TNA Will Consider If Invited
[Sunday 2014-07-27 17:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it will consider meeting with the three international experts appointed to the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons during their expected visit to Sri Lanka, if the Government makes arrangements for such a meeting. General Secretary, TNA, Mavai Senathirajah told The Sunday Leader that the TNA has doubts about the whole procedure of the Missing Persons Commission but would yet consider meeting the international experts if an invitation is put forward to the TNA.



Resolve Tamil issue for better trade-India
[Sunday 2014-07-27 17:00]

India has told Sri Lanka that it needs to resolve the Tamil issue for making progress in bilateral trade and commerce, a senior BJP leader has said. "We have told them (Sri Lanka) that you should resolve the Tamil issue if you want trade and commerce between Colombo and New Delhi (to progress)," Seshadri Chari, National Convener of Foreign Policy Cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party, told PTI. He made the remarks after addressing a Singapore forum on "Prime Minister Modi's Government: Imperatives & Challenges".



Govt. busted millions in lobbying
[Sunday 2014-07-27 17:00]

The Government has gone after several US based lobbying firms squandering over USD 100 million in order to defend its status in the global arena, especially the US. It is said that the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa currently pays four US lobbying firms to defend the country and four are under contract or active accounts in the US. The latest additions with the Foreign Agents Registration Act contracts in the US are the Madison Group and Beltway Government Strategies.



Sri Lanka will play an important role in building process of proposed Maritime Silk Route, China says
[Sunday 2014-07-27 17:00]

Sri Lanka stands to gain from the proposed Maritime Silk Route policy of the Chinese government as the island's location puts it in a prime position to act as a hub for South Asia and link to Africa and the Middle East, the Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao has said. "We are confident to say that Sri Lanka will see a lot of development opportunities and will play a very important role during the cultivation and building process of the new Maritime Silk Road," the Chinese Ambassador has said. In an exclusive interview with China's official news agency Xinhua, the Chinese Ambassador has said that engagements are already proceeding and a special delegation from the Chinese government is visiting Sri Lanka to explore the role the Sri Lankan government can play in the process of building the Maritime Silk Road.



Ex-CJ invited to be Common Candidate
[Saturday 2014-07-26 19:00]

Former Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, has been invited by the Opposition to be its Common Candidate at the upcoming presidential elections. This decision was taken last Thursday (24) at a meeting, presided over by Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, held at the New Town Hall to discuss the abolition of the executive presidency. Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe along with other leaders and members in the Opposition were present.



Coalition party may split from Sri Lanka's ruling alliance over nominations to Uva PC election
[Saturday 2014-07-26 18:00]

Sri Lanka's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is likely to experience a rift over the nominations to the Uva Provincial Council elections, party sources say. According to the sources, a dispute has arisen between the ruling alliance and the coalition party National Freedom Front (NFF) led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa due to the nomination of a former Provincial Councilor, who had defected from the NFF and joined the UPFA recently.



Miliband recalls 'Black July' in Lanka
[Saturday 2014-07-26 18:00]

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, in a statement released on Friday, recalled the violence which occurred in 1983 affecting thousands of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.'This month, in remembrance of Black July, we commemorate the lives of Tamil men, women and children that were lost and those who were displaced and exiled as a result of the regrettable violence. We may never know exactly how many lives were lost, but it is clear that the memories of the violence that ensued still live on. And it is important that we never forget,' he said.



Abbott defends treatment of Lankans
[Saturday 2014-07-26 18:00]

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Saturday said his government's treatment of a boatload of 157 asylum-seekers who have been kept at sea for weeks would underline its resolve to stop people-smuggling, the AFP news agency reported. Abbott, who came to power in September promising to 'stop the boats' bringing asylum-seekers from countries such as Iran and Afghanistan, said Canberra would not dodge its international and legal obligations. 'What we do is always in accordance with our international obligations, it's always in accordance with our legal obligations, it's always in accordance with safety at sea,' he told reporters in the capital.



Army denies placing ganja in the van
[Saturday 2014-07-26 18:00]

The army has denied claims that a soldier had planted the ganja found in a van transporting a group of journalists to Colombo from Jaffna last night. Military spokesman, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the van was checked by the police and not the army at the Omanthai checkpoint. He said that while soldiers man the checkpoint it's the police who search vehicles and it was at this point that ganja was found. The military spokesman also denied claims that the van was stopped as it was taking a group of journalists to Colombo for a workshop.



Facebook clarifies disabling of Champika's FB
[Saturday 2014-07-26 18:00]

The Facebook administration has informed Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka that his facebook account had been disabled due to the incompatibility of the account name with the name appearing in his Parliamentary identity card. The Facebook account and fan page Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was disabled without notice by the Facebook Administration recently. In response to his inquiry the Facebook authorities had indicated that the incompatibility of the facebook account name Patali Champika Ranawaka with the name appearing in the Parliamentary identity card as Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka, has resulted the deactivation.



Income increased by only 0.5 per cent - Harsha
[Friday 2014-07-25 16:00]

Ever since Mahinda Rajapaksa took over the government in 2006, the real income of a household has only increased by 0.5%, said UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, in Parliament yesterday.He made this observation when Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Sarath Amunugama revealed the average income of households since 2006. The deputy minister, who quoted statistics from the Department of Statistics said, the mean nominal income of a household (of four people) in 2006/07 was Rs 26,286, in 2009/10 it was Rs 36,451 and in 2012/13 it was Rs 45,878.



Momentum building up in Sri Lanka for abolition of executive presidency Top News
[Friday 2014-07-25 16:00]

In a rarely seen unity, leaders of Sri Lanka's opposition political parties and civil organizations convened Thursday to build the momentum to call for abolishing of the Executive Presidency. Leaders of Sri Lanka's major opposition parties, led by the popular Buddhist leader and convener of the National Movement For Social Justice, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero, gathered at the New Town Hall in Colombo Thursday to launch a 'Road Map' to abolish the Executive Presidential System and reactivate the 17th amendment.


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