Dayan Jayatilleke approved as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Russia

Sri Lanka’s parliament's High Post Committee has approved Dayan Jayatilleke to be appointed as the government’s ambassador to Russia, despite opposition from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Mr Jayatilleke previously acted as Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva between June 2007 and October 2009. It was during that time that Sri Lanka launched a massive military offensive, killing tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. Mr Jayatilleke led the Sri Lankan government delegation that lobbied against calls for an international investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity.

NPC member Ravikaran arrested by Mullaitivu police

Northern Provincial Council member, T. Ravikaran, has been arrested by Mullaitivu police this evening. Police said he was arrested in connection with vandalism of government property, referring to a protest by Tamil fishermen outside the district’s office of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. During the protest on August 2nd, protestors demanded that officials come out and listen to their demands. When none came out, protestors broke a police barricade and entered the building.

Sampanthan remains Leader of the Opposition - Speaker

TNA leader R. Sampanthan will remain the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker announced on Friday, reports Colombo Page. The announcement comes following a consultation with the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), currently officially a constituent of the Sri Lankan government, on whether it wanted to take up the Opposition post. Eight UPFA MPs who identify as part of the self-styled ‘Joint Opposition’, a collective of Pro-Rajapaksa parliamentarians, had written to the Speaker requesting the Leader of the Opposition post be given to UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardene, claiming he had the...

Sri Lankan police record 59 statements during investigation of Vijayakala Maheswaran’s speech

Sri Lanka’s Organised Crime Prevention Division (OCPD) announced that it had taken 59 statements from various individuals with regards to a speech made by United National Party parliamentarian Vijayakala Maheswaran. Ms Maheswaran was forced to resign her ministerial post after she faced a backlash from Sinhala politicians including from within her own party, for reportedly calling for a resurgence of the LTTE to tackle the rising gang violence in the North-East. The OCPD announced that 59 statements had been recorded by the Sri Lankan police, including from 14 government officials and 30...

Sri Lanka PM says returning refugees from Tamil Nadu will be provided for

Sri Lanka’s prime minister has said that his government will provide all the necessary facilities to resettle Tamil refugees returning from Tamil Nadu, reports DD News. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Wednesday that the Ministry of Resettlement is working on providing permanent land, housing, livelihood assistance and other facilities to the returning families. According to the Prime Minister, 9509 refugees have returned to Sri Lanka since 2010 with the support of the UN refugee agency.

Sri Lankan court bans journalists from photographing Mannar mass grave

A Sri Lankan court announced its decision to impose a ban on all journalists taking photographs at the mass grave site in Mannar. The court reportedly said that the ban on journalists is to prevent disruption of the excavation work. The mass grave is currently being excavated with more than 80 bodies having been discovered there already, including that of young children. An archaeologist at the site said some of the skeletons found had “deep and unusual” lacerations on their bones.

Supreme Court to hear appeals for Vithya rape and murder convicts in December

Appeals filed by seven convicts in the rape and murder case of Punguduthivu student, Vithya Sivalogananthan, will be taken up for consideration by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on December 13. Two defendants were released by a tribunal for the case and the remaining seven handed death sentences. The tribunal consisted of three High Court judges from Jaffna, Trincomalee and Vavuniya. The seven convicts on death row have appealed to the Supreme Court to repeal the sentences, claiming the decision to be illegal, and to acquit them of all allegations, Ada Derana reports.

Draft constitutional proposal handed over to Steering Committee

A Panel of Experts appointed by Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Assembly has handed over a draft constitutional proposal to the Assembly’s Steering Committee, Colombo Page reports. The draft proposal will be studied by leaders of political parties represented in parliament and discussed with the Sri Lankan prime minister, who serves as the chair of the Steering Committee.

Indian state companies signed on to developing Sri Lanka railways, including restoring lines in the North

Two Indian state-owned companies signed agreements to develop railways facilities in Sri Lanka, including restoring four lines in the Northern Province, an Indian government press release said on Thursday. One state company, or ‘Public Sector Undertaking’, IRCON International Limited signed agreements with the Sri Lankan government for: (i) Rehabilitation of Colombo-Matara Coastal Railway line on 06.03.2009; (ii) Restoration of Medawachchiya–Madhu Road Railway line in Northern province of Sri Lanka on 17.08.2010; (iii) Restoration of Madhu Road–Talai Mannar Pier Railway line in Northern...

Destroyed Thileepan memorial barrier restored

Jaffna's Municipal Council has restored the barrier which used to surround the memorial built for the Lt Col. Thileepan in Nallur, Jaffna. The Sri Lankan army previously destroyed the barrier, which was built to protect the monument from damage. Following this locals reported that the site was poorly maintained and frequently used with little care by traders at Nallur temple festivals. TNPF member within the Council, V Parthipan was instrumental in advocating for the barrier to be replaced before this year's Nallur festival on August 16.