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National Peace Council welcomes SL decision to accede to the Ottawa Treaty

The National Peace Council has welcomed the government's decision to accept the challenge of governance in the future according to international standards by acceding to the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture that allows for greater international scrutiny of a country’s detention facilities and the Ottawa Treaty to ban landmines. Previous Sri Lankan governments had resisted acceding to these international instruments on the grounds of national security even while agreeing to their content in principle the NPC has said in a statement.

The mine ban treaty bans anti-personnel landmines, requires destruction of stockpiles and the clearance of mined areas, and assistance to victims who have suffered landmine injuries while the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture permits visits by independent international and national bodies to places of detention in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This too is a forward-looking commitment as it seeks to ensure that present practices do not permit torture and the violation of human rights they said.

However, the NCP also noted the government’s slowness in implementing promises made in regard to human rights and justice issues that arose in the course of the war and postwar period. “This has led to doubts about the government’s intentions in regard to the implementation of those commitments,” the release said.

 

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Opposition Leader Sampanthan hospitalized

Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan was admitted to a private hospital in Colombo following a sudden illness yesterday (23).

His condition is said to be not critical and is recovering at the hospital.

The Opposition Leader had developed a sudden illness and uneasiness while being involved in election-related activities

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Presidential Commission to look into Rajapaksa Corruptions!

President Maithripala Sirisena is to appoint a commision to look into the massive frauds and corruptions carried out in the Mihin Lanka and Sri Lankan Airlines during the Rajapaksa regime.

The President expressed his confidence that through appointing the commission a series of frauds committed during the time could be revealed.

According to sources, the President had made this announcement during a meeting held yesterday (22) with the electoral organizers of the Sri Lanka Freedom party.

The meeting led by the President was attended by senior officers of the SLFP headquarters, President's district organising officers and lawyers.

No forgiveness for thieves!

While stating that the report into the Bond scam is due at the end of this month the President vowed to take action against those involved despite their status.

“People trusted in me to act as a clean politician,” he said adding that he made great attempts to halt corrupt practices. “I will take strict decisions after the local government polls” he further stressed.

Attempts to erase the Bandaranaike name

He also mentioned that it is ironic that those who attempted to erase the Bandaranaike name are now using the pictures of S.W.R.D and Sirimavo Bandaranaike in the campaign of G.L Peiris’s political party.

He pointed out that remembrance of the party founders was halted in 2011 by these individuals he further added. “They even removed the pictures of them in the party headquarters” he noted adding that therefore it is ironic they are now using the Bandaranaike name in the campaign.

 

 

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Believe in Magic at Lake House

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Shalila denied permission to go abroad

The Colombo Fort Magistrate has rejected a request made by Litro Gas former Chairman Shalila Moonasinghe, to travel abroad. According to sources, he had made the request to travel to Canada for a medical purpose.

The CID filed a B report in the Colombo Fort Magistrate's Court regarding four suspects including Litro Gas former Chairman Shalila Moonasinghe in connection with the alleged transferring of USD 1.1 million from Far Eastern International Bank of Taiwan to their personal account in Sri Lanka.

While turning down the request made by Shalila Munasinghe, Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne had observed that the suspect's request cannot be considered at this juncture.

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Sri Lanka to launch biggest tourism project next year

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said construction of the Dedduwa tourism zone, Sri Lanka's biggest tourism project, will begin in March next year to lure more tourists to the island country, state media reported Thursday.

The prime minister said the Dedduwa project, which is located in the Galle District in southern Sri Lanka, will focus heavily on conservation of the natural eco-system.

Wickremesinghe added that new laws will be formulated to protect the environment in the area during construction.

"We have a plan to convert this 1,800-acre area into the best tourism destination in South Asia," he said.

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"Lunuganga, an area that will be a key part of the Dedduwa project, is well-known because of the legendary architect Geoffery Bawa. The project will be very much in line with Bawa's concepts and will further enhance the natural beauty of the area," he added.

Wickremesinghe explained the government will carry out this significant tourism development project in collaboration with the private sector.

The Galle district in southern Sri Lanka, the prime minister said, is located between two international airports Katunayake and Mattala.

"Although many concentrate on the coastal area of Galle in terms of tourism, its interior areas are blessed with natural beauty and have immense potential. That is why we have already made plans to start tourism projects in Akurala and Koggala. With all these projects, Galle, I am certain, will become a major tourism hub in the region."

Sri Lanka's tourism sector has continued to grow since a three-decade civil conflict ended in May 2009 between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.

China has been Sri Lanka's second largest market with 249,000 Chinese tourists arriving so far this year.

India has continued to be the leading market while Europe and Britain have also witnessed a growth in recent years.

Sri Lanka has become a famous tourist destination among Chinese travelers and the government hopes to attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists per year by 2020.

(Xinhua)

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14 Cases of Election law violations

The Police have received fourteen complaints of election law violations up to date. These complaints were received between December 9 to 22 countrywide, the Police said.

The complaints had been regarding various violations such as assaults, threats, looting of nomination papers, submitting fake nomination papers and damaging posters. Thirteen suspects have now been arrested in connection with these incidents.

The suspects were from Nikaweratiya, Kahawatta, Kobeigane, Mahawa and Ambanpola.

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UN condemns Australia's forced return of asylum seeker to Sri Lanka

The United Nations’ refugee agency has condemned Australia’s forced return of an asylum seeker to Sri Lanka without any assessment of his claim for protection, saying the man is at serious risk of persecution in his homeland, the Guardian reported today.

The UNHCR had sought assurances from the Australian government the man would not be removed from the country and would be allowed to apply for protection.

But on Wednesday, the man was forcibly removed, in handcuffs, from Villawood detention centre and flown back to Sri Lanka.

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The Australian government has maintained that the man was removed because he missed its October 1 deadline to apply for protection, and was deemed not to be seeking protection.

A spokeswoman for the UNHCR, Catherine Stubberfield, said the UN was aware of a number of asylum seekers who were unable to meet the government’s deadline of 1 October to submit their applications for asylum.

It was a worrying breach of Australia’s international legal obligations, Stubberfield said.

“In this context, the return of an asylum-seeker - whose claim for international protection was not considered on its merits - presents a serious risk of return to danger or persecution.”

Australia’s department of immigration declined to comment on the specific case of the man deported on Wednesday, but has commented on the return of Tamils generally, and its non-refoulement obligations.

“Australia does not remove people to Sri Lanka who engage Australia’s non-refoulement obligations,” a spokesperson said last week. “Australia takes its non-refoulement obligations seriously.”

 

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Decision to be taken against SLFP members supporting the SLPP

The responsibility in taking a decision against Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) parliamentarians supporting the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has been given to President Maithripala Sirisena and the Party Secretary Duminda Dissanayake.

Sources say the decision was made during the Party’s central committee meeting held yesterday at the Official Presidential residence.

 

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Special train service to function for the festive season

A special train service from Colombo Fort to Badulla will function from today to accommodate high passenger traffic during the New Year and Christmas season, Additional Railway General Manager Wijaya Samarasinghe said.

Accordingly the new Badulla train, scheduled to function on December 22,24, 26, 28, January 2,4 and 6 will begin from Colombo Fort at 7.30 a.m. and reach Badulla at 5.39 p.m.

Trains scheduled to begin from Badulla on 23,25,27, 29, January 3, 5, and 7 at 7.15 a.m. will reach Colombo Fort at 6.12 p.m.

This special train consists of an observation saloons, first class, second class and third class coaches.

Source : Daily News

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Police inaction on unlawful processions: DIGs asked to show cause

Senior DIG (Administration and Elections) C.D. Wickramaratne has asked the relevant DIGs to show cause as to why the law was not enforced to prevent seven political processions that were held illegally on Thursday.

 According to Police Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara, the senior officer had taken the decision following media reports regarding these incidents.

 Meanwhile, the Police has also decided to set up a separate Hotline at the Child and Women’s Bureau to hear the concerns and complaints of the female contestants at the Local Government election. The decision was made following a discussion at the Election commision.

Gunasekara said that the Police have been instructed to take strict action against those people responsible for organising unlawful processions.

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Two popular Newspapers and a Website under Basil's control

Several Businessman close to Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa is now said to preparing to purchase two popular newspapers and a website in the country.

According to sources, the purchases are being made in light of the upcoming local government elections. One media organization which is to be purchased was once managed with the support of the Rajapaksa’s and is currently suffering severe losses.

However, the move to purchase a weekend political newspaper once managed by a stalwart of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is noteworthy. Sources claim discussions have already commenced through a middleman in this regard.

The group have also moved to purchase a website managed by a UNP stalwart sources say.

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