JANUARY 2017

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- Suresh Jaura
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MORE SMOKE & MIRRORS

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SRI LANKA: News Briefs

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Land powers reside with central government and not with PCs, rules Supreme Court: Supreme Court in a ruling on September 26 stated that the land powers in Sri Lanka were vested with the Central Government and not with the Provincial Councils (PCs). Despite the three-judge bench delivering independent decisions on the case, the bench agreed that according to the 13th Amendment the land powers were vested with the Central Government. A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, Justice Eva Wanasundera and Justice Sri Pavan gave the ruling when an appeal filed by the Minister of Plantation Industries was taken up. Colombo Page, September 27, 2013.

TNA sweeps elections for NPC: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) swept the elections held for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on September 21. The TNA secured a landslide victory, winning in all five Districts in the Province, with a clear majority in 28 of 36 seats. These included 14 seats in Jaffna District; four seats each in Mullaitivu and Vavuniya; and three each in Mannar and Kilinochchi. The TNA also secured two bonus seats on the basis of its percentage of votes in each District. The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) secured seven seats and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) won one seat out of the total of 38 seats in the NPC.

The UPFA secured a convincing victory in two others Councils - North Western Provincial Council and Central Provincial Council - elections for which were held on the same day, September 21. It obtained 34 of 52 seats in the North Western Provincial Council, and 36 of 58 seats in the Central Provincial Council. Colombo Page, September 22, 2013.

Sri Lanka won't allow anti-India acts from its soil, says President Mahinda Rajapaksa: President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an interview said that he will not allow any country to act against the interests of India from Sri Lankan soil. Rajapaksa made the comment after ascertaining New Delhi's concern about China's presence in Sri Lanka. When asked about the deteriorating ties between the two countries due to coalition pressures on New Delhi from partners in Tamil Nadu, he conveyed his worries about "the message of separatism" still emanating from Tamil Nadu. Daily Mirror, September 17, 2013.

110 rehabilitated LTTE cadres released: 110 rehabilitated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres were released on September 9. 75 cadres who were rehabilitated at the Welikanda rehabilitation camp and 35 former cadres rehabilitated at the Puththotam camp in Vavuniya District were among those who were released after completion of their programmes. Secretary to the Ministry of Prison and rehabilitation G.S. Vithanage said, "11, 651 former carders have been released thus far with only 339 former carders currently still under rehabilitation." Daily Mirror, September 10, 2013.

TNA manifesto for upcoming NPC election calls for power devolution in a merged North and East under a Federal structure: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in a manifesto released for the upcoming Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election has called for power devolution in a merged North and East under a federal structure. In its election manifesto, the TNA has called for devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty over land, law and order, socio-economic development including health and education, resources and fiscal powers. Colombo Page, September 5, 2013.

Much remains to be done to ensure national reconciliation, says Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa: Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa delivering the Keynote Address as Guest of Honour at the third annual Defence Seminar 2013 in Colombo on September 3 said "Despite the success of the Welfare camps, despite the speed of resettlement, and despite the far-reaching nature of the rehabilitation and reintegration programme, it is not easy to ensure speedy reconciliation". He further said that speedy national reconciliation is not easy since for a very long period of time, most of the people in the North and parts of the East of the country lived under the total dominance of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Colombo Page, September 4, 2013

 [Source: SATP]

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