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September 2, 2014 [GMT]
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UK has provided 3.5 million pounds for Sri Lanka's demining program Top News
[Tuesday 2014-09-02 15:00]

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, visited a demining site in Muhamalai during a visit to the North on Monday, 1 September, 2014. The site is operated by the UK based demining agency, the Halo Trust.Commenting on the visit to the site, the British High Commissioner said the UK is a long-time supporter of demining in Sri Lanka. We have provided 3.5 million pounds from 2010-2014. The latest funding programme - which was announced by our Prime Minister David Cameron during CHOGM last year - is worth 1.6 million pounds (3.5 billion rupees). It began in July this year and will continue for 18 months.



Colombo steps up Sinhalicistion of public sector in North Top News
[Tuesday 2014-09-02 15:00]

While hundreds of Tamil nurses who have completed their studies in the Northern Province are without jobs, 84 Sinhalese from South have been provided appointments filling the vacancies in the hospitals in war-affected hospitals in Mannaar, Ki'linochchi, Vavuniyaa and Mullaiththeevu districts in the Northern Province and at the Point Pedro, Chaavakachcheari and Thellippazhai base hospitals that come under the health ministry of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), news sources in Jaffna said. Colombo is Sinhalicising the public sector in the North and East along with transformation of the SL military cantonments into Sinhala Military Zones in Jaffna and Trincomalee.



Government has hopes on the Prince
[Tuesday 2014-09-02 15:00]

The Government says it hopes the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, will take note of the concerns Sri Lanka had on the former High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, and carry out his duties in an unbiased manner. Government spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters in Kandy that the position of the Government on Pillay has been no secret. Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein took over from Pillay today and Rambukwella says the Government will look at the change in a positive manner. 'We have never looked at things negatively,' the Minister said.



TN films to be registered here
[Tuesday 2014-09-02 15:00]

The Ministry of Trade and Commerce said yesterday that plans were afoot to subject all cine films produced in Tamil Nadu, India to registration for copy right protection in Sri Lanka. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen yesterday confirmed that his Ministry was discussing the plan and would present a Cabinet paper for approval shortly. The proposal, if approved, will require an amendment to the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003. The move comes in the wake of many domains coming up with unauthorized screening of new Tamil films on the same day it is released and that the pirates are working from Sri Lanka.



Mahinda ditches human rights
[Tuesday 2014-09-02 15:00]

Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday declined to answer questions on the fallout of the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka, claiming that the human rights issues were now entirely handled by the Ministry of External Affairs. Minister Samarasinghe asked the media to contact External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris for information about the present situation of the UNHRC investigation. Asked to comment on the preparations being made for the next UNHRC session in his capacity as the Special Envoy of the Sri Lankan President on Human Rights, Samarasinghe said he no longer held that post.



SL Tamil found murdered in Trichy
[Tuesday 2014-09-02 11:00]

A Sri Lankan Tamil national was murdered by two unidentified men near his house in Karumandapam. The 56-year-old man was a visa agent and was trying to get valid stay permits for people in the locality.The victim, Selvendran has been residing in the city for long. However, he was found murdered near his house by police. Doctors at the government hospital declared him brought dead. Upon investigation, police found that two people had murdered the man as several injury marks were found on his body. It was found that the person had previous enmity with certain members from the locality, which could have led to the murder.



Modi, MR talks likely during UN meet
[Monday 2014-09-01 15:00]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are likely to hold talks in the US on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting. The 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 69) will convene at the UN Headquarters on Tuesday, 16 September 2014. The General Debate will open on Wednesday, 24 September 2014. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to address the General Debate on 25 September. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to address the General Debate and is likely to meet President Rajapaksa, the second time they will meet since Modi was appointed Prime Minister.



Prince arrives Pillay departs
[Monday 2014-09-01 14:00]

Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan will assume duties as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights today. He will be the first commissioner from the Muslim Arab world and the first from Asia."I am going to be the first High Commissioner from the Asian continent and from the Muslim and Arab world," Prince Zeid said after the 193-member body approved his appointment by consensus. "Needless to say this reflects the commitment of the international community towards this important dossier and its commitment to push it forward in this continent as well as in other regions of the world," he added.



Abe will bring a high level delegation
[Monday 2014-09-01 14:00]

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe will be accompanied by a high level delegation to Sri Lanka during his official visit from 7th to 8th September 2014, at the invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the External Affairs Ministry said today. President Rajapaksa paid an official visit to Japan in March 2013 to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Japan.



Resolving the National Question : TALK TO THE GOVT. INDIA TELLS TNA
[Monday 2014-09-01 14:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has confirmed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged it to engage the Government in resolving the national question. In an interview with , TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said his party had always been willing to talk to the Government which had walked out of the talks in 2012. He said India was keen that the TNA, as the primary interlocutor to this problem and the Sri Lankan Government engage in talks to resolve this longstanding problem.



Buddhist extremism a worry
[Monday 2014-09-01 14:00]

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon yesterday expressed concern that Buddhist communities in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are "being swept up by a rising tide of extremist sentiment against other groups". "This betrays the peaceful teachings of the founder, Lord Buddha," he said in his speech at the opening of the UN Alliance of Civilisations forum in Bali. His remarks are some of the toughest to date from a global leader on rising Buddhist nationalism, which in both countries has been led by extremist monks and seen violence targeting Muslims and Christians.



India for friendly relations with Lanka
[Monday 2014-09-01 14:00]

India needs to maintain a friendly relationship with Sri Lanka, Indian Union Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said today. The Indian media quoted Naidu as saying India would establish a friendly relationship with all its neighbours including China. 'Even as the government is sensitive to the issues of Tamils in Sri Lanka, India needs to maintain friendly relationship with Sri Lanka as well as the island nation would incline towards other neighbours,' he said.



Presidential polls on Jan. 3
[Sunday 2014-08-31 13:00]

Presidential elections will be held on 3 January 2015, according to sources. The Government is now in consultation with legal experts as to whether a ruling is required by the Supreme Court, or whether there is a need to amend the Constitution, sources added. Nevertheless, the date of election has been fixed after consulting legal experts, they claimed. A Gazette notification on the proclamation calling a presidential poll, is to be issued on 20 November. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will complete his fourth year in office in his second term on 19 November. According to the Constitution, a President may call for elections after holding office for a minimum of four years.



Constitutional Amendment must for MR to seek 3rd term-Ex CJ
[Sunday 2014-08-31 13:00]

President Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot contest a third term in office, said former Chief Justice (CJ) Sarath N. Silva in an interview with Ceylon Today. He said it was because Rajapaksa was elected twice to office before the 18th Amendment (18A), which removes such maximum terms, came into being. "Therefore, he is not eligible to contest for a third term," Silva said. He further said Rajapaksa was elected to office to serve his second term as President prior to the institution of the 18A, which removed those terms. Under those circumstances he's not eligible to seek election for a third term, the former CJ said.



Is LTTE trying to regroup in Australia?
[Sunday 2014-08-31 13:00]

Is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ran out of steam in 2009 following the killing of its founder Velupillai Prabhakaran by Sri Lankan armed forces, trying to regroup itself in Australia? The arrest of four human traffickers while trying to transport six Sri Lankans to the land of Kangaroos through the Prakasam coast earlier this week has led to a suspicion among sleuths that the LTTE may be trying to revive itself after lying low for five years. These sleuths, including Intelligence Bureau, CBI and Tamil Nadu police, came from Chennai in the wake of the busting of the human trafficking racket.



COI Probe On War To Begin Soon
[Sunday 2014-08-31 13:00]

The probe on the war by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) is to begin soon and will be conducted parallel to the hearings being conducted on missing persons, the Chairman of the Commission said. Commission Chairman, Maxwell Paranagama said that, the Commission is making preparations to commence inquiries using the new mandate it had been given. He said the inquiries will not be conducted separately but will go hand in hand with the current investigations being conducted by the Commission on missing people.



TNA For Conditional Talks
[Sunday 2014-08-31 12:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has stipulated conditions to resume talks with the government on the Tamil national issue. General Secretary, TNA, Mavai Senathirajah, told The Sunday Leader that, the TNA is ready to join the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the national issue if the government responds to proposals the TNA had submitted way back in 2011. He added the TNA has always been ready to resume negotiations with the government and that it was the government that had withdrawn from the talks in 2012.



Voting time to be re-scheduled
[Sunday 2014-08-31 12:00]

The Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya, is considering the possibility of re-scheduling the commencement of voting time from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. This will encourage more female government officers to take part in election duties. The majority have indicated that 7 a.m. deadline caused inconvenience to them to arrive at venues to take over duties of female officers refuse to be a part of elections duties because of the timing, Deshapriya said at a meeting held yesterday. Deshapriya said if voting starts at 8 a.m. it will encourage female participation. The Commissioner has already presented this proposal to party leaders.



Shyam Selvadurai finalist in 2014 Toronto Book Awards
[Saturday 2014-08-30 19:00]

Sri Lankan-born Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai was named among five finalists by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Public Library for the 2014 Toronto Book Awards, which honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards. Selvadurai was named for his novel The Hungry Ghosts, published by Doubleday Canada. Each finalist will receive $1,000 and the winning author receives $10,000. The winning author will named on October 16 at the Toronto Reference Library's Bram & Bluma Appel Salon. The city invited members of the public to celebrate the evening awards celebration hosted by CBC Radio's Gill Deacon.



UN makes note of tensions in Lanka
[Saturday 2014-08-30 19:00]

A UN official today noted that incidents in some countries, including Sri Lanka, clearly demonstrate that societies are grappling with identity based tensions. The UN official highlighted the important role played by the initiative known as the Alliance of Civilizations in building bridges to peace, especially amid the current instability in many parts of the world, as he kicked off a global forum in Bali, Indonesia. 'The Alliance is here for you to serve as a soft power tool for conflict prevention, reconciliation, and to advance sustainable development,' said the High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.


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