15th December 2015

Wigneswaran against proposed “Grama Rajya”

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

The Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran today expressed opposition to the Government’s plan to introduce “Grama Rajya” as the unit of devolution of power, the New Indian Express reported. Presenting the Northern Provincial Council’s budget for 2016, Wigneswaran said that as per a circular sent by the Central Government, under the proposed “Grama Rajya” scheme of devolution, the Center’s village and provincial level development programs will be implemented by committees which come directly under it. This is tantamount to sidelining the Provincial Administration and the Provincial Council, Wigneswaran pointed out. Although the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government has a pleasant visage as compared to the regime it replaced, it is continuing the discredited policy of chipping away even the limited powers devolved to the provinces […]

NO Political package to Tamils – US

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

The United States says the success in rebuilding Sri Lanka and reconciling the people will be an example to the rest of the world. Visiting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Designate) Thomas Shannon, speaking in Trincomalee today, said that during his visit it was exciting to witness first-hand the important work that communities, civil society organizations, and local authorities across this island are undertaking to improve the living standards of Sri Lankans. “I am impressed by the progress your country has made, both economically and socially. And the United States is so proud to work with you and help support that progress. For nearly 60 years, U.S. development assistance has invested in the people of Sri Lanka, in their communities, and in the relationship between our two nations,” […]

Withdraw Penal Code -TNA

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has called for the withdrawal of the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, placed on the Order Paper, citing that its provisions were identical to those of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), it is learnt. The government has decided to criminalize hate speech through the proposed legislation. The Bill seeks to introduce a new provision (Section 291C) to the Penal Code, No. 11 of 1887. A further Bill seeking to amend the Criminal Procedure Code Act, No. 15 of 1979 was also placed on the Order Paper. However, the TNA led by Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan said the proposed Section 291C was identical to Section 2(1)(h) of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979 (PTA). “The previous […]

Don’t amend Penal Code: BBS

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) today objected to the amending of the Criminal Justice Procedure Code and the Penal Code. BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said it would be bad for the country and the people if that were to happen. “These Acts if amended can be used as weapons to suppress people, politicians and national organisations in the country,” he said. “These two amendments have been published in the Gazette notification on November 6. We have the right to stand against the move to amend the acts and we will not allow them to be passed in Parliament.” The government seeks to amendment the first schedule of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 291 C of the Penal Code to make […]

Mangala of giving evasive answer on ”SECRET CAMPS”

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran claims that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is not providing the answer to his allegation that secret detention camps did exist in the North and East where hundreds of Tamils were detained. “The Foreign Minister has told the media that the government will take tough action if it can be proved that secret detention camps exist in the country, but this is not the answer to the question raised by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and me,” the former militant turned politician told The Island. “I have revealed the existence of at least two secret detention camps at Varani and Trincomalee but Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Law and Order Minister at that time, John Amaratunga denied their […]

Swaminathan: 8,000 acres of private lands still under military

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

By Saman Indrajith Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminanthan yesterday told Parliament that about 8,000 acres of private lands were still under the control of the security forces and they would be gradually released for resettlement. Participating in the committee stage debate on the budget proposals under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, Minister Swaminathan said that the government was in the process of releasing land to ensure the resettlement of IDPs and returnees where they had lived previously.  He said that 1,000 acres of land from Jaffna, 500 acres from Kilinochchi and 1,000 acres from Sampoor, Trincomalee and other small parcels of lands had been released by the state […]

Referendum To Determine New Constitution

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

by Easwaran Rutnam A referendum will be held to decide on the final proposals to the new Constitution, Minister for National Dialogue Mano Ganesan said. The Minister, who is part of a steering committee tasked with drafting a new constitution, told The Sunday Leader that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had proposed that the public be allowed to decide on the way forward. A Cabinet sub-committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was recently formed to draft the new Constitution. The committee comprises Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Lakshman Kiriella, Rauff Hakeem, Susil Premajayantha, Rishad Bathiyutheen, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, D.M. Swaminathan, Mano Ganesan, and Malik Samarawickrama. Ganesan said that the Cabinet sub-committee, or steering committee, had decided to form three technical committees to make […]

First US-Lanka Partnership Dialogue in Feb

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

The first meeting of the US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue will take place in February 2016 in Washington, a top US official visiting Sri Lanka said today. US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Designate) Thomas Shannon, speaking to reporters after Meeting with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, said that the annual meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss all aspects of the relationship and ways in which the United States may be able to engage directly with the people of Sri Lanka and the Government. “These efforts will be wide ranging, to the benefit of both countries. Our cooperation benefits communities where returnees are facing hardship. We will assist reconciliation and broader transitional efforts at the household level, community level, and national levels. We will […]

Another High-Level US Visit to Sri Lanka This Week

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

In light of another visit by senior U.S. government officials, Colombo should clarify a few transitional justice issues. Another high-level U.S. visit to Sri Lanka occurs this week. Since the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in January, there seems to be no limit to the number of times that senior State Department officials visit the island nation. Counselor Thomas Shannon will be in Sri Lanka from December 14-16. He’ll spend a couple days in Bangladesh prior to his arrival. Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian affairs will join him, as will Manpreet Singh Anand, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia. A brief State Department media note mentions the following about the Sri Lanka portion of the trip: In Sri Lanka, […]

Is North turning ‘Kool’?

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

The Northern peninsula which blew hot due to mounting tension within the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) following  verbal clashes between the Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran and TNA MP, M.A. Sumanthiran, interested parties have stepped in to ease the situation. According to sources close to the party, a group of TNA well wishers have made the initiative to act as mediators between the two camps in a bid to prevent party from cracking. Sumanthiran had recently called for Wigneswaran‘s expulsion from the party due to his failure to back the TNA on several key issues including its call for a domestic inquiry for alleged war crimes, monitored by the international community. Sources said that the move to commence talks was initiated, due to the […]

‘Former top minister got commissions from school uniform programme’

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

A powerful minister in the previous regime had received commissions from the school uniforms programme too. The Good Governance government has cried halt to the era of ministers earning commissions, Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. He was addressing the gathering at a felicitation ceremony organised in his honour by the Beruwala Good Governance Forum for receiving an International Award for Tobacco Control from the World Health Organisation. He said the government would continue the free school uniform programme without a break. The previous regime had to decide on two options namely whether the school uniform supply was to be handed over to local businessmen or to import it from China. Since the programme faced a delay, it was decided to import […]

US blocks visa for Field Marshal Fonseka

15th December 2015 // 0 Comments

The US Embassy has yet not given approval to the visa application submitted by Democratic Party Leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka two weeks ago, sources close to Field Marshal Fonseka said today Sources said the US State Department has blocked Field Marshal Fonseka’s visa application for the past two weeks in connection with war crimes charges against Sri Lanka during the time he was the army commander. “Most probably this must be why the US embassy has refused him a visa to visit the US. There are no other issues,” they said. “He has not visited the US during the past five years and his green card has also expired.” Sources also said Field Marshal Fonseka had applied for a visa to visit his daughters […]