The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils and the British Tamils Forum Host Annual Dinner 2015 in London

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils and the British Tamils Forum Host Annual Dinner 2015 in London Activists, journalists, religious leaders, politicians of all parties and prominent members of the British Tamil community arrived at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in London on the 29th of January 2015 for the annual dinner of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT). The event began with a minute silent to remember those killed in the conflict in Sri Lanka and a traditional Bharatanatyam dance performance and welcome speeches by Mr…

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SL’s new developments shifts Geneva focus – Hakeem

BY SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN One of the significant remarks made by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs of the US Department of State, Nisha Desai Biswal said though there may be a resolution and reports filed in Geneva to be tabled at the upcoming March session, there is still an opportunity for the government by its action taken domestically, to shift the focus from Geneva to what… happens in Colombo, said Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, Rauff Hakeem yesterday (3). Biswal briefed Minister…

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US May Seek Postponement of UNHRC Resolution Against Lanka

COLOMBO: Keeping in view the delicate political situation in Sri Lanka, the United States may ask the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to postpone the taking up of a resolution against that country at its March session, informed sources in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) told Express here on Wednesday. US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, had hinted at this during her interaction with TNA leaders on Tuesday, the sources said. The US is very happy with the exit of the hostile government of Mahinda Rajapaksa and sees a bright…

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Guns, war and a dove – Sri Lanka looks for a new life

As Sri Lanka looks beyond Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat in the presidential elections, the island nation’s history of a bloody war has been retold as a reminder of a past that exists today. In “The Seasons of Trouble”, Indian journalist Rohini Mohan tells the story of Mugil, once a member of separatist group LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), and her failed attempts to rebuild the lives of her family caught in the war. Then there is Sarva, a seaman, who ends up in a detention centre because he is suspected…

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Paris bound SriLankan flight diverted to Tehran

SriLankan Airline flight UL563 bound for Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris from Bandaranaike International airport Colombo was diverted to Tehran Khomeini International Airport, Iran for an urgent medical emergency of a passenger. The Sri Lankan airline said in a statement that the passenger concerned complained of a chest pain and on examination by a medical doctor on board, the pilots were recommended to initiate a diversion to the closest airport. Accordingly flight UL563 landed in Tehran Khomeini International Airport, Iran at 2.10am (local time) where the sick passenger was offloaded…

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U.S. says much remains to be done in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) — The United States said on Wednesday there is a lot of work to be done in Sri Lanka after a new government came to power last month. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, who just concluded a visit to Sri Lanka, also said her government looks forward to partnering with the Sri Lankan people to address the challenges and help Sri Lanka realize its true potential. Biswal, accompanied by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Atul…

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Wiggy pleased with Palihakkara

Wiggy pleased with Palihakkara BY SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN Chief Minister Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran said the replacement of the military Governors in the North and East with members of foreign and civil services (Foreign Secretary H. M. G. S. Palihakkara), combined with measures such as the removal of the travel restrictions to the North, signifies a symbolic step in the right direction in commencing the process to restore civilian administration and also hopefully in addressing the issue of demilitarisation. Long term political issues cannot be resolved overnight even if…

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No Letup On UN Probe

The swearing in of a new Government has not released the pressure on Sri Lanka for a UN led investigation over the war, with human rights groups insisting that it is the only way forward. The Government had last week dispatched Jayantha Dhanapala, Senior Advisor on Foreign Affairs to President Maithripala Sirisena, to meet the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in Geneva, and briefed him on the policies of the newly elected Government. However the meeting did not mean that the report on the investigations…

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Death row British-born Tamil heroin smuggler to be executed in Bali

Death row British-born heroin smuggler to be executed in Bali London-born Myuran Sukumaran, 34, who moved to Australia with his family, will be in the next group to face a firing squad A British-born heroin smuggler on death row in Bali is to be executed. London-born Myuran Sukumaran, 34 – who moved to Australia with his family – will be in the next group to face a firing squad. He and fellow Aussie Andrew Chan have lost their appeals for clemency. The pair, ring leaders of a gang trafficking heroin…

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EU ban suspended for six months

Fisheries State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi said yesterday the European Union’s ban on the export of fisheries products from Sri Lanka had been suspended for six months. “The Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited the European Commission and discussed the issues with regard to the lifting the ban on exports of fisheries products,” he said. This matter was discussed at the first cabinet meeting of the new government and the conditions laid down by the European Union are being gradually implemented. Agreements were signed last year during the tenure of former fisheries…

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Omanthai Check Point stays!

While claiming that the Omanthai military checkpoint would be operate as usual, the military today said that the priority will be given for vehicles transporting vegetables and fruits and other fresh rations from and to the Northern region at the Omanthai security check point from yesterday. Army Spokesman Jayanath Jayaweera said that vehicles and people will be inspected at the checkpoint as usual. Earlier, there were reports that the Omanthai Checkpoint had been opened entirely giving access to all the vehicles and people to pass by without being inspected. “There…

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Alleged corrupt deals of 20 ministers of previous regime

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) led Voice Against Corruption (VAC) is to lodge complaints with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption against 20 ministers and officials of the previous regime on Thursday. Convener VAC Wasantha Samarasinghe told Daily Mirror that they will actually handover files which contains corrupt deals of 20 ministers and high officials of the previous regime on February 5 Mr. Samarasinghe said they have to go through every details on the information they have received on the allegations to determine their accuracy. Earlier VAC…

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Tamil leaders say Sri Lanka slow to release prisoners, land

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Ethnic Tamil leaders told a visiting U.S. diplomat on Tuesday that Sri Lanka’s new government is not moving fast enough to free prisoners detained without trial and return private land seized by the military during a decades-long civil war. Related Stories Sri Lankan leader calls for unity amid ethnic divide Associated Press Sri Lanka says it will return private land in civil war area Associated Press Sri Lankan Tamil party calls on new gov’t to share power Associated Press With change in Sri Lanka, US…

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From Constitutional Reforms To Political Refinement

Now that the new government has been in place for a few weeks, and also does not face the speculated political/constitutional challenges from the erstwhile President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s camp, the time has begun ticking for them to meet their self-set 100-day deadline for progressing on the promised constitutional reforms. The clock would stop on 23 April, again their own deadline for calling fresh parliamentary polls, a full year ahead of schedule. From the voter’s perspective, the 100-day reforms project is not about the letter of the promises, but the spirit…

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A Precarious Transition And National Government?

By S. I. Keethaponcalan – The last time Sri Lanka had a president and cabinet of ministers from two different parties was in the 2001 – 2004 period: the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP), respectively. PresidentChandrika Kumaratunga (SLFP) was re-elected in 1999 and in 2001 the coalition headed by Ranil Wickramesinge (UNP) won the general election. The expected cohabitation between the two failed because the president used her constitutional powers and prematurely dissolved parliament in 2004. The UNP government collapsed with the dissolution of parliament. Sri…

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LLRC is to be fully implemented?

The Government is considering the full implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa refused to fully implement the recommendations of the LLRC and that resulted in some countries accusing Sri Lanka of failing to address accountability issues on the war. In a statement issued today at the conclusion of a brief visit to Sri Lanka, Sharma said he had discussed options for practical Commonwealth support for vital domestic processes in Sri Lanka, and welcome the…

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Betrayal Against Tamils That Broke The Letter – 4th February Did Not Usher Freedom For Tamils

By Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah – The Sinister Acts of Betrayal Against Tamils That Broke The Letter, Spirit And Essence Of Ceylon Independence The main thrust of this article is to recollect and hone as independence day is here, just some of the many sinister acts of betrayal inflicted on the Tamil people during, in this context, the post independence era; the two salient points for discussion are: First Salient Point: The abolition of the safeguard for Tamil people – an essential clause, aimed to protect them, “against the tyranny of…

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Biswal will not be visiting Jaffna – TNA calls for a political solution

US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal will not be visiting Jaffna during her Sri Lankan visit which ends today, the US Embassy in Colombo said. An Embassy spokesperson told the Colombo Gazette that since Biswal’s visit to Sri Lanka was just over two days she will not have time to visit Jaffna. Earlier there were some reports indicating she will visit Jaffna apart from having meetings in Colombo with the Government and civil society. However the US Embassy denied those reports and said that her meetings had been confined to…

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Jaffna University stages protest against political influence

University stages protest against political influence By Pranavesh Sivakumar The Jaffna University Association yesterday condemned that if political interference does not come to a halt an adverse situation would surface in the university. This view was expressed by student, teachers and employee unions in the university. A protest was held by the unions urging the authorities to stop political influence within the university. Student Union President, Teachers Union President and Employees Union President addressed the gathering to explain crisis situation in the university. They said, “This protest was organized to…

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The White Flags Incident 2009

International Truth &  Justice Project, Sri Lanka Yasmin Sooka New evidence on the “white flag” surrenders by members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and their families at the end of the civil war requires an independent international investigation, says human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka, who has served as an expert adviser on Sri Lanka to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Read full report here  “An analysis of the available evidence points to an organised government plan at the highest level not to accept the surrender of the…

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