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UNP, UPFA red allies agree on amending Constitution

Communist Party General Secretary and Senior Minister Dew Gunasekera yesterday said that the UNP, too, was willing to either do away with executive presidency or dilute presidential powers through a constitutional amendment, though it had earlier pledged to scrap the presidency in the event of winning the next presidential election.

Asked whether the Socialist Alliance (SA) comprising the CP, LSSP and DLF represented in Parliament intended to initiate a dialogue with the UNP in this regard, Minister Gunasekera told The Island that UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had assured him of the UNP’s support to move a constitutional amendment in Parliament.

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NATIONAL PEACE COUNCIL TIGER LINKS BARED

  • Prominent NPC activists in TID custody
  • Close contacts with LTTE faction trying to revive Eelam

Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen Mahesan, prominent activists of the National Peace Council (NPC), were taken into custody in Kilinochchi by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID), Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasekera yesterday said.

“They were taken into custody for questioning under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, because of their alleged connections with hardcore LTTE cadre Kajipan Ponnai Selvanayagan, who is also known as Gopi, according to military sources. Gopi had fired shots at an IP injuring him on March 13. Both Ruki Fernando and Fr.Praveen Mahesan had been with Gopi and his close contacts,” he said.

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KATCHATHEEVU LANKA'S - END OF MATTER

The Central Indian government has informed the Madras High Court yesterday that Indian fishermen have no rights to Sri Lanka's Katchatheevu islet in the Palk Straits. The Centre told the court the sovereignty of Sri Lanka over the uninhabited islet is a settled matter under the 1974 Indian Supreme Court directive, according to an Express News Service report.

"The issue of maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka and consequently that of the sovereignty over the Katchatheevu Island is a settled issue," the counter (written answer in court) stated, when a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was heard by a two-judge bench.

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SL can blunt UK’s war crimes resolution by doing the right thing

Japan while declining to reveal what its stand would be on an alleged war crimes resolution against Sri Lanka, that Britain has warned it would present at the next annual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), said that it would take a position at the right moment.

Japan’s Representative for Peace-Building, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi when asked at a press conference in Colombo on Friday what Japan’s response would be to the British threat, replied that they at this stage did not know what the draft resolution would be. Japan was discussing the issue with many governments.

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With Lanka not meeting even half-way, PM Commonwealth visit hangs in balance

Prominent Commonwealth countries pressured India Friday to ensure Prime Minister Manmohan Singh participates in the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka this month but Colombo's reluctance to address New Delhi's concerns about Tamils in that country may have constrained the UPA government.

Colombo's stance, it is learnt, was discussed at the Congress Core Group meeting Wednesday. The sticking points include key demands made by India, including implementation of the 13th amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution for equal rights to Tamil citizens.

With the Tamil Nadu Assembly passing a resolution for boycotting the summit and even Congress MPs from the state urging the PM not to attend, the Congress leadership is in a dilemma as this could snowball into a major issue in Tamil Nadu with general elections round the corner.

While no decision on the PM's visit has been taken yet, sources said it would have made the job easier for the UPA government had Sri Lanka shown any inclination to meet India's demands even half-way.

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