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SRI LANKA: News Briefs

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TNA asks Government to release Tamil political prisoners before holding festival for Tamil Diaspora: Tamil National Alliance (TNA) asked the Government to release Tamil political prisoners before holding a festival for Tamil diaspora. Former TNA parliamentarian from Batticaloa District, P. Ariyanenthiran said that the Tamils cannot accept holding a festival for the Tamil diaspora before the Government takes measures to release the Tamil political prisoners in jail. In order to encourage diaspora members to engage and contribute to efforts in Sri Lanka, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has proposed to organize a diaspora festival in Colombo later this year. Colombo Page, June 29, 2015.

Army denies reports of closing 59 Army camps in Jaffna District since January 2015: Army on June 16 denied media reports which said that 59 Army camps in Jaffna District of Northern Province have been closed since January 2015 after the new Government was established. It gave an account on the factual position in its correct perspective. Colombo Page, June 18, 2015.

Hitherto hostile Tamil Diaspora to publicly renounce violence and separatism, says Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera on June 12 told the Parliament that the once anti-Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is likely to issue a statement renouncing violence and separatism. Samaraweera said "As a result of our discussions (in London last weekend), and our efforts, it is most likely that the Diaspora groups which were previously hostile to Sri Lanka, would issue a declaration renouncing violence and commit themselves to working towards a united, undivided Sri Lanka". Colombo Page, June 13, 2015.

Sri Lankan Cabinet approves 20th Amendment with a new electoral system of 237 Parliamentary seats: Sri Lankan Cabinet of Ministers during a special meeting convened on June 12 approved a new electoral system proposed for the 20th Amendment that increased the number of parliamentary seats to 237 from the current 225. Under the new system, 145 Parliamentarians will be elected under the First-Past-the Post (FPP) system, 55 under the District Proportional Representation (PR) system and 37 from the National List through the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. Colombo Page, June 13, 2015.

Controversial documentary on Sri Lanka screened in the Irish Parliament: The controversial documentary on Sri Lanka's war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists, 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka' has reportedly been screened in the Irish Parliament on June 10. According to foreign media reports, Member of Irish Parliament Paul Murphy has hosted the event with the attendance of Irish MPs, the film's director Callum Macrae, exiled Sri Lankan journalist Bashana Abeywardena and investigative reporter on Sri Lanka Phil Miller. Colombo Page, June 12, 2015.

No military administration in Northern Provincial capital, assures Sri Lanka Army: Emphasizing that the Sri Lanka Police continue to maintain security in Jaffna, the Sri Lanka Army affirmed on June 10 that there is no military administration whatsoever in the Northern Provincial capital, Jaffna. Security Forces (SFs) Commander in Jaffna Major General Nandana Udawatta said that the military is not involved in civilian administration and there was no security threat to the Jaffna peninsula after the Presidential Election held on January 8, 2015. Colombo Page, June 11, 2015.

New Tamil political alliance formed in Sri Lanka: A new Tamil political formation, Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), was formally launched on June 3 to highlight issues and problems of Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka. The TPA comprises Democratic People's Front (DPF) of Mano Ganesan, Up Country People's Front (UCPF) of V. S. Radhakrishnan, and the National Union of Workers (NUW) of Palany Thigambaram. The three leaders asserted that the Alliance was formed not meant for the polls but out of the realization that a "unified and cohesive force" would ensure the accomplishment of more concessions and rights for the Indian Tamils.

Meanwhile, the TPA has decided to support the government party, United National Party (UNP). TPA has also decided to contest the elections under the elephant symbol of the UNP. The Hindu, June 4, 2015; Colombo Page, June 5, 2015.

[Source: SATP]

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