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  • Hejaaz Hizbullah’s bail application: AG consents for bail
    The Attorney General's Department today informed the Court of Appeal that the prosecution will consent to release Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah on bail if the defence makes an application for bail at Puttalam High Court on the 28th of January. Deputy Solicitor General Sudharshana de Silva appearing for the Attorney General submitted to the court that trial against Hisbullah at Puttalam High Court due on January 28. He said the prosecution would consent to the bail application if the petitioner makes an application for bail at the end of the day proceedings. Meanwhile, President's Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for Hejaaz Hizbullah informed the court that in the interest of his client, he would agree to a settlement. "There are a lot of facts and legal positions in my favour and I wanted to argue this matter. But in the interest of...
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  • හිජාස්ගේ ඇප සළකා බැලිම ගැන නීතීපතිගෙන් ප්‍රකාශයක්
    රක්ෂිත බන්ධනාගාර ගත කර සිටින නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතාට එරෙහිව  පුත්තලම මහාධිකරණයේ විභාග වන නඩුවේ සාක්ෂි අවසන් වීමෙන් පසු ඔහුගේ ඇප සම්බන්ධ සලකා බැලීම සිදුකළ හැකි යැයි නීතිපතිවරයා අභියාචනාධිකරණයේදී  අද (20) ප්‍රකාශ කළේය . තමන් ඇප මත මුදා හරින ලෙසට ඉල්ලා නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අභියාචනාධිකරණයට ගොනුකර තිබූ පෙත්සමක්...
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  • 16-hour water cut in Colombo
    A 16-hour water cut would be imposed in several areas in Colombo on Saturday (8) from 8.00 am to 12 midnight, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) said. The water supply will be interrupted in Colombo, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Kotte and Kaduwela Municipal Councils due to a power interruption at the Ambatale Water Treatment Plant. Accordingly, the water supply in Maharagama, Boralesgamuwa and Kolonnawa Urban Councils, Kotikawaththa Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha areas and Rathmalana would also be suspended. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)   https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/16-hour-water-cut-in-Colombo/108-228435
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  • කොළඹ ප්‍රදේශ කිහිපයකට 8 වැනිදා ජල කප්පාදුවක්

    (යොහාන් භාසුර) කොළඹ ඇතුළු අවට ප්‍රදේශ කිහිපයකට අනිද්දා (8 වැනිදා)  පෙරවරු 8 සිට පැය 16 ක කාලයක් ජල සැපයුම අත්හිටුවන බව සම්පාදන හා ජලාපවාහන මණඩලය පවසයි. කොළඹ, දෙහිවල - ගල්කිස්ස, කෝට්ටේ, කඩුවෙල මහ නගර සභා සීමා, මහරගම,  බොරලැස්ගමුව සහ කොලොන්නාව නගර සභා සීමා සහ කොටිකාවත්ත - මුල්ලේරියාව ප්‍රාදේශීය සභා සීමාව යන ප්‍රදේශවලට...
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  • එක රටක් එක නීතියක් ගැසට්ටුවට කතෝලික රදගුරු සමුළුවෙන් නිවේදනයක්
    එක රටක්, එක නීතියක් සඳහා වූ ජනාධිපති කාර්ය සාධක බලකාය’ පත්කිරීමට අදාළ ගැසට් නිවේදනය අවලංගු කළ යුතු යැයි ශ්‍රී ලංකා කතෝලික රදගුරු සමුළුව නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කරමින් පවසයි. එම ජනාධිපති කාර්ය සාධක බලකායේ මුල් පුටුවට පත්කළ අයගේ අතීත වාර්තා කිසිවක් අවධානයට ලක්නොකිරීම නිසා තුවාලවලට අපහාසයක් කර තිබෙන බව ද එම නිවේදනයේ සඳහන් වේ. ශ්‍රී...
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  • REGARDING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE FOR ONE COUNTRY, ONE LAW
    Ref: ACJU/NGS/2021/239 29th of October 2021 We are shocked and dismayed by the establishment of the ‘Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law’ under the leadership of a controversial individual. This topic has been in public discussion in the recent past. We, the citizens of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, have been living for many centuries as one country and one Nation, with our individual, cultural, religious laws and identities under the protection of one Sri Lankan constitution. We express our disappointment on the appointment of a controversial individual for a responsible position, who is known for inciting disharmony within different religious and ethnic communities, especially hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslim community, in spite of the presence of many legal and religious leaders who are...
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  • Sri Lanka 'One Country - One Law' | Inside Story
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aPxn5Wfk-4     Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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  • Appointing PTF headed by Gnanasara Thera: CPA urges Govt. to revoke gazette
    The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) yesterday urged the government to immediately rescind the relevant Gazette notification to appoint a Presidential Task Force (PTF) mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept, chaired by Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera. Issuing a statement the CPA stated that it was deeply shocked and disturbed by the appointment of the latest PTF mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept, including the drafting of a law to give effect to it, headed by Gnanasara Thero. The CPA stated appointment of the Task Force at a time of unprecedented economic hardships and unraveling of government policies raises a plethora of questions including the compounding of a culture of governance by task forces, the promotion of divisive Buddhist clergy linked to incitement of violence and attacks...
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  • Suspect tells Magistrate he was tortured to implicate Hejaaz Hizbullah
    The Coordinator of Save the Pearls organization Mohamed Sulthan has informed the Fort Magistrate's Court that he was tortured in order to implicate Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah. Making a statement in person and through his lawyer,  Sulthan informed the Court of the torture and named three officers of the Terrorist Investigations Department as his torturers. He was arrested for allegedly teaching extremism at a Madrasa school. He made these revelations on the first day he was produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage after the completion of 18 months detention period. On his production, suspect Sultan informed the Magistrate through his Counsel that he had been severely assaulted and tortured  by TID officers following his arrest 18 months ago. On being asked by Court if he knew the names of the officers,...
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  • ‘‘තමන් වැරැදිකාරයන් නොවෙයි නම් පරීක්ෂණවලට ඉඩ දෙන්න‘‘
    (පුෂ්පකුමාර මල්ලවආරච්චි) තමන් මේ කුමන්ත්‍රණය පිටිපස්සේ හිටියේ නැත්නම් වැරදිකාරයන් නෙවෙයි නම් පරීක්ෂණ කරන්න ඉඩ දෙන්න ඕනෑ. බය වෙන්න ඕන නැහැ. ජනාධිපති කොමිසම් වාර්තාව පැහැදිලිව කියා තියෙන දේවල් තෝර තෝර ඉන්නේ ඇයි. මේ අයට මොකක් හරි හංගන්න තියෙනවා. රහසක් තියෙනවා  යැයි මැල්කම් කාදිනල් රංජිත් අගරදගුරු තුමෝ පවසති. පාස්කුදා ප්‍රහාරය...
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Facebook staff to learn Sinhala insults after Sri Lanka riots

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Three months after Sri Lanka was rocked by deadly anti-Muslim riots fuelled by online vitriol, Facebook is training its staff to identify inflammatory content in the country’s local languages.

The social network has been seeking penance in Sri Lanka after authorities blocked Facebook in March as incendiary posts by Buddhist hardliners fanned religious violence that left three people dead and reduced hundreds of mosques, homes and businesses to ashes.

Until the week-long ban, appeals to Facebook to act against the contagion of hate speech had been met with deafening silence, at a time when the California-based tech giant was reeling from unprecedented global scrutiny over fake news and user privacy.

“We did make mistakes and we were slow,” Facebook spokeswoman Amrit Ahuja told AFP in Colombo.

The dearth of staff fluent in Sinhala -- the language spoken by Sri Lanka’s largest ethnic group -- compounded the issue, with government officials and activists saying the oversight allowed extremist content to flourish undetected on the platform.

Ahuja said Facebook was committed to hiring more Sinhala speakers but declined to say how many were currently employed in Sri Lanka.

“This is the problem we are trying to address with Facebook. They need more Sinhala resources”, said the island’s telecommunications minister Harin Fernando.

Since the violence broke out in March, two high-level delegations from the company have visited Sri Lanka, where ethnic divisions linger after decades of war, to assure the government of its intent.

Ahuja said Facebook was working with civil society organisations to familiarise its staff with Sinhala slurs and racist epithets.

Complex local nuances have added to the challenge. The word for “brother” in Tamil -- also an official language in the country -- can be a derogatory term in Sinhala when a slight inflection is used.

Fernando said the decision to impose an island-wide blackout on Facebook -- used by one in three Sri Lankans -- was taken as a last resort to prevent an escalation of violence.

Buddhist monks freely shared images of masked men attacking mosques and urged others to do the same in the weeks before the riots erupted in Kandy.

Sinhala extremists used the social network to recruit rioters and organise their travel to the troubled area, from where violence later spread.

A meme in Sinhala, which remained online for weeks, urged death to all Muslims, including children.

A man who reported it to Facebook was told it did not violate “specific community standards”.

In addition to government warnings, Fernando told AFP that Facebook users lodged thousands of complaints over extremist content, but were met with silence.

“It was not something that I liked doing. But if we didn’t block Facebook, the violence would have spread out of control,” he said.

Eventually the army was given special powers to restore order under the first state of emergency declared in the 21-million-strong nation since the end of the civil war in 2009.

Ahuja said Facebook has since taken down “hate figures and organisations” in Sri Lanka including the Bodu Bala Sena, a radical Buddhist outfit that is blamed for attacks against Muslims in recent years.

Its spokesman Dilantha Withanage complained the group and its leader – Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara -- were being unfairly targeted.

“We can’t even post a photo of venerable Gnanasara on Facebook,” Withanage told AFP.

But videos of his sermons can still be seen on the social network. Other extremists have also slipped through the cracks, activists say, despite repeated requests to have their accounts removed.

Last year another extremist Buddhist group, Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa, urged followers via Facebook Live to storm a UN compound sheltering Rohingya Muslims. Police had to be called in to protect the refugees from the mob.

Several Facebook pages for the group have been blocked in Sri Lanka but the same content can be viewed under alternate names, activists say.

“Facebook is only now being held to account over things that since 2013 were evident...(to) us,” said Sanjana Hattotuwa, a researcher who has studied Islamophobia on Facebook in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Centre for Policy Alternatives said Facebook needed to offer more than “cookie cutter” pledges to clean up its act.

”The time for promises has passed. Action is what’s needed, and transparency and accountability,” said Hattotuwa.

Source: AFP

-Agencies

http://www.adaderana.lk/news/47953/facebook-staff-to-learn-sinhala-insults-after-sri-lanka-riots

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