Thursday, October 29, 2009

S.Lanka orders probe into journalist death threats

Sri Lanka's president ordered police to probe death threats against journalists of a newspaper whose founding editor was murdered earlier this year, a spokesman said Thursday.

President Mahinda Rajapakse asked the police to carry out a "very thorough investigation" into the death threats against two senior members of the Sunday Leader newspaper, a spokesman for the president's office said.

The investigation was ordered as the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said it was greatly concerned by last week's death threats against Sunday Leader chief editor Frederica Jansz and her news editor Munza Mushtaq.

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President on official visit to Nepal

President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for Nepal today (29) for a two - day official visit.

President Rajapaksa had to cut short his three-day visit to Nepal in March this year, after gunmen fired at the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan.
President Rajapaksa will hold bilateral discussions with Nepali President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar and other political leaders.

The President is also scheduled to visit Lumbini where Prince Siddharta was born.
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The Washington Times says US should keep its nose out of Colombo's business

Warning America is taking the wrong side in undermining Sri Lanka

(By Walter Jayawardhana)

The Washington Times sternly told the US State Department in an editorial that America should support the Sri Lankan government or keep its nose out of Colombo's business commenting about the possible war crimes report on the island nation submitted to the Congress last week.

Alleging the US is taking the wrong side in the anti-terror fight and it is undermining the island nation the strongly worded editorial in no uncertain words said, "Sri Lanka is joining Israel as a country facing a war crimes investigation for effectively fighting back against terrorism. America should support the Sri Lankan government or keep its nose out of Colombo's business."

The editorial attacked the report as a list of allegations rather than a fully document indictment: "The Rapp report is not comprehensive, more a list of allegations than a fully documented indictment. Most of the offenses listed are either directly attributable to the Tamil Tigers, such as forcibly recruiting children to fight for them, or the consequence of terrorist activities, such as Sri Lanka shelling hospitals being used by the Tigers as command posts."
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US welcomes IDP resettlement

The United States had welcomed the Government's acceleration of the voluntary return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their villages.

We are encouraged by the Government’s announcement that it intends in the next few weeks to facilitate the voluntary return of over 40,000…. and we understand that thousands have already been released, said a statement from the US Embassy.

The United States is supporting the voluntary returns process by providing $6.6 million to international de-mining organizations for humanitarian de-mining assistance, $4 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist returnees as they arrive to their homes, and contributions to the World Food Program for the provision of six months’ dry rations to returning families, it added.
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Robust peacekeeping should not be taken for peace enforcement - Kohona

Robust peacekeeping should not be taken for peace enforcement. Civilian protection mandates, where applicable, should be carried out without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the host country to protect its own civilians, stressed Dr. Palitha Kohona Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations during a UN General Assembly on the issue of United Nations’ efforts to keep pace with peacekeeping demands.

Sri Lanka pledged its support to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Sri Lankan Navy, which had “hands on” experience in defeating terrorism at sea, would lend support to United Nations peacekeepers on matters of maritime security, he further stated.

Dr. Kohona said that peacekeeping was a clear example of United Nations successful multilateralism. The consensus of the parties, especially the elected Governments, impartiality, and neutrality remained indispensable ground rules, even in the context of today’s multidimensional and robust peacekeeping. The amount of political support that missions could harness from the stakeholders would largely depend on how those principles were put into practice, and could determine the effectiveness, legitimacy, and credibility of peacekeeping, he further said.

Dr. Palitha Kohona stated that clear and achievable mandates were paramount when planning and designing peacekeeping missions, and setting practical benchmarks on achievements helped to monitor and readjust the responses required on the ground. Missions required exit strategies, contingency plans, and human and material resources to support them. Additionally, the importance of the Secretariat’s consultations with Member States and its reporting mechanisms could not be overemphasized, he said.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Russian Foreign Minister calls on Sri Lanka President

Oct 26, Colombo: The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey V. Lavrov met Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa this evening at the President's House in Colombo.

Following the meeting the Russian Foreign Minister with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Minister Rohitha Bogollagama signed a bilateral agreement between the two countries on cooperation to suppress illicit traffic in, and abuse of, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The Russian Foreign Minister is expected to meet with the Sri Lanka - Russia Business Council and deliver an address at the BMICH this evening.

Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Russia Mr. Udayanga Weeratunga was also present at the meeting.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

An Eastern and North Central Provincial Road Project

The Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils has taken steps to implement the Eastern and North Central Provincial road Project in North Central and Eastern Province with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank under the supervision and co-ordination Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils.

The total cost of this Project is US$ 78 Million and it is scheduled to be commenced from December, 2009 for a period of 4 years.

The project will comprise following activities:

1. Rehabilitation of about 370 Km of Province and Trincomalee and Batticaloa District in Eastern Province

2. Province Consultancy Services to support project implementation

3. Capacity Building of two Provincial Road Agencies in the two Provinces

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President shocked to see war crimes of US troops in War Remnants Museum of Vietnam

President Mahinda Rajapakse visited the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam before he left the country today, and was shocked by the images displayed in the museum as he witnessed the atrocities committed by the American troops during the Vietnam War.

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