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Sunday August 20th, 2006

Sensitive military news to be restricted
Patriot Bill in House soon

The government is to present a Patriot Bill to Parliament shortly that would among other things restrict the media from publishing sensitive military information pertaining to troop movements, locations and arms purchases.
The bill shaped in the lines of the US Patriot Act had been initially drafted by a leading criminal lawyer in the country. The lawyer had submitted the initial draft to President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently. It would be further vetted before presented top parliament, government sources said.
After handing over the initial draft the lawyer had told the President although the media should be restricted from publishing sensitive military information that would affect national security, the press should not be gagged from publishing information on corruption in weapons purchases.

A bevy of girls holding multi coloured balloons at the opening ceremony of the 10th South Asian Games at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday. - Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara

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Troops engage Tigers at Kilali-Muhamalai forward defence lines
Sporadic fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsular escalated by yesterday, with reports claiming that LTTE cadres had infiltrated and attacked government troops from positions behind forward defence lines in Kilali and Muhamalai.
According to military officials, the heavy attack on government troops had commenced on Friday evening and continued throughout the morning and afternoon yesterday. The military lost 28 soldiers in Friday’s fighting, with army officials reporting heavy casualties from yesterday morning as well.
To stem the infiltration, Sri Lanka Air Force jets have been bombing the Tiger positions behind government FDLs, causing widespread damage to property and assets in the area. An Uthayan newspaper storeroom in Jaffna has been burnt badly in the exchange of fire, causing losses amounting to Rs. 2 million in news print and other property.


Replacements won’t be easy: SLMM chief
Countries being considered to fill the vacancies in the Nordic truce monitoring bodies after the EU members pull out set for September 1, will not be willing to come to Sri Lanka in the present situation, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission Head, Ulf Henricsson told The Nation.
“I think with the respect or rather the lack of respect the parties have shown towards the truce monitors, I think the country that was thought to be possible is not interested,” Mr. Henricsson said in an interview. He refused to elaborate on which country had been considered as a replacement. “It cannot be an EU nation, it can’t be one which has put the LTTE on the terrorist list. Then the country should also be approved by the government,” he said, explaining that the options were limited.

A fist fight followed the disruption of the peace rally at the Vihara Maha Devi park on Thursday by monks of the Jathika Sangha Sammelanaya. - AFP

Tamil Nadu protests
Amid escalating tensions between government forces and the LTTE in the north and east, there were widespread protests in Tamil Nadu about the situation in Sri Lanka.

Government urged to pay compensation
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is to recommend the government to pay compensation to the families of the 17 employees of the French NGO Action Contre la Faim (ACF) massacred in Muttur on August 5.
Chairman of the Commission Justice S. Ramanadan told The Nation that a full investigation has been conducted into the matter at the district level and national level but the perpetrators had not yet been identified. “Although the investigation was concluded, the identity of the perpetrators was not discovered. Some people say it was the Army and others say the LTTE. On the other hand, some others say it was a paramilitary group,” said the chairman.

Hakeem wants artillery fire stopped
‘War hinders aid for Muttur victims’
Unnecessary hostility towards international organisations had apparently inhibited their movement in the conflict ridden Muttur, charged SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem.
He said that the aid was not moving properly and a vast number of civilians were affected because the government had failed to give them security reassurances to enable them to resettle.

LIOC, CPC seek fuel price hike
Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) are likely to increase fuel prices shortly despite the the last price hike took only on August 1.
Managing Director of LIOC, Mr. K. Ramakrishnan told The Nation, “We have no choice but to increase prices of both diesel and petrol by seven rupees each. Since the last increase was made on July 31 we are just waiting for the right moment.”

CAA to take action against Prima
The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) is to take action under the Consumer Protection Act against the Prima Company’s decision to raise prices of wheat flour without obtaining the approval of the CAA.
CAA Chairman Sarath Wijesinge said the action taken by the Prima Company is a clear violation of the Consumer Act. “Flour is a consumer item declared as an essential item by the Trade Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ministry under section 18 of the Consumer Act,” he said.
The Prima Company raised flour prices on the second week of August by Rs.4 per kilo and the price of bread was raised by Rs.2.

CBNsat subscribers want beams to resume soon
A collective of CBNsat subscribers have requested the relevant authorities to solve the problem surrounding the satellite television transmission by next Wednesday as the consumers of CBNsat is facing grave inconvenience as it has been shut down for more than two months.In a statement they further said that sealing of CBNsat was against the government’s initiative to develop the country as the regional center of the Asian IT dissemination networks, under the Mahinda Chinthanaya.

Govt. requests help from India
The government of Sri Lanka has requested assistance from India to manage the looming humanitarian crisis in the Jaffna peninsula due to the shortage of food and water supply after the closure of the A9 road with the escalation of fighting between the government troops and the Tigers.
Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government is extremely mindful about the situation in Jaffna and is engaged in every possible means to provide the necessary essential goods to the isolated peninsula.



The truth behind moves to gag the press
The media reports on the ongoing conflict in the North and East have caused anxiety in government quarters owing to certain imbalances which had given extra mileage to the LTTE.
President Rajapaksa who met editors and media heads on Wednesday (16), said that though certain newspapers had restrained themselves in giving enhanced coverage to the LTTE activities, one or two TV channels and anti-government newspapers are hell bent on hero worshiping the LTTE.

Troops link up breached defences in Muhamalai
Deep in the jungle, some 30 kilometres from the Mullaitivu town, under the thick forest cover is a sprawling complex of buildings at a place called Vallipunam in Puthukkudiyiruppu.
According to intelligence reports, Vellupillai Prabhakaran is learnt to visit this place for relaxation and to take his mind off vexing problems. There are three entry points to this building and a fourth from underground.

Kethesh and Kadir killings: The analogy
Before the dust could settle on the first year remembrance of Lakshman Kadirgamar (LK), the Tigers at dusk targeted and wiped out Kethesh Loganathan (KL) the Peace Secretariat Deputy Chief.
Kadir and Kethesh, as they were fondly called, were gunned down on the same day (August 12) at their respective residences at the hands of the LTTE within the space of a year. The analogy does not end there.

We should no longer fool ourselves that this is not war
If a rose by any other name smells as sweet, then a skunk, even if it were called a perfumed pet poodle, must smell as much. The point is, a war, even if it is called a ‘ceasefire’ must be as deadly, disastrous and despicable.


“We got together for peace”
Deputy Minister for constitutional affairs Dilan Perera strongly believes it was the JVP that was behind the attack on those who staged the anti-war rally in Colombo last week. He said though the groups that got together in the rally had political and other differences, they had done so for the sake of peace.

Crisis simmering in the UNP; Mahinda under JVP fist: SB
UNP national organiser S.B. Dissanayake is frank in his opinion and openly says there is a crisis within the party. He cites delays in implementing vital reforms as the cause for this crisis and says there is a section within the party who does not want any change done. While assuring that he would not leave the party, Dissanayake told The Nation that he feels it is difficult for the UNP to march to victory unless reforms are implemented.

“This government is waging a war”
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna District MP, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has overtly accused the government of engaging in a genocidal war against the Tamils living in the North-East. He says the attacks against the Tamils are premeditated, deliberate and vicious.

“There is no military solution to this conflict”
Retired major general of the Swedish Army, Ulf Henricsson vacates his position as Head of the Nordic truce monitors next week. On September 1, Henricsson’s country, Sweden, joins fellow EU member countries, Denmark and Finland in a pull out from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, leaving the truce observing group at exactly 50 percent its original strength. Outgoing Head of Mission, Henricsson spoke to The Nation last week on his near miss at the Mavil Aru sluice gate when the military launched an artillery barrage in the area, the prospects for the SLMM’s continuing in Sri Lanka and the frustration of the monitors at the deteriorating security situation.


Their deaths warrant our tears too
Lebanese Prime Minister, Fuad Siniora in an impassioned speech recently, asked world leaders if they were ‘children of a lesser god’ to be pounded by the Israelis day after day, while the powers that be and the world at large maintained a stoic silence.

India and China allocated oil exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mannar basin
Cabinet in the dark over deal
In a blatant violation of domestic petroleum laws, the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval to allocate two oil exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mannar basin on a direct nomination basis to the Governments of India and the Peoples‘ Republic of China.


South Asian Games
Sri Lanka’s weight lifter Chinthana wins SA Games gold medal with ease
Chinthana lifts big
Sri Lanka’s most celebrated weight lifter, Chinthana Vithanage, said that he would focus all his energies to win an Olympic gold after bagging the gold medal in the 62 Kg event at the South Asian Games weightlifting championships which was worked off at the Colombo University Gymnasium yesterday.
“All my training and effort are aimed at winning an Olympic gold meddle. It is not easy, I know, but I’m giving it all I have,” Vidanage told The Nation after medal winning feat.
Vithagange lacked competition from the rest of the competitors. “The performances of others don’t concern me much. I’m going there to give my best and I try to do it every time,” the champion said.
The weight lifting event looked to be dominated by the host nation in the absence of the Indians.
Being the youngest amongst the four competitors Vithanage lifted 156kgs but couldn’t hold his nerve to break the 160kg record which was set in 1999 by an Indian.

India-Sri Lanka one-dayer abandoned
COLOMBO, Aug 19, 2006 (AFP) - Heavy rain washed out the first limited-overs international between India and Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese sports club here on Saturday.
A sharp thundershower around 10.30 am (0500 GMT) waterlogged the outfield and forced the game to be called off an hour later. The remaining two matches will be played on Sunday and Tuesday at the same venue, weather permitting.
India were due to resume at Friday’s score of 11-0 in 3.4 overs with captain Rahul Dravid on nine and Sachin Tendulkar, returning to international cricket after five months, on two.

Hopes dashed
Sri Lanka’s top female badminton player, Thilini Jayasekara, has a story of woe to recount regarding the upcoming South Asian Games (SAG). The national champion’s hopes of bringing glory to the nation and herself in the individual event were dashed by an inexplicable decision of the sport’s administration.
Jayasekara was shocked when she was excluded from the individual event “I was shocked and I’m very disappointed. I can’t comprehend the logic behind the decision of not allowing me to participate in the individual event. I feel that I’m at the top of my game, it is only weeks ago that I beat Chandrika De Silva to become the national champion” Jayasekara told The Nation. She added, “My world ranking is 196 while Chandrika who’s playing in the event is placed 307th in the world. So I’m in a state of despair”.

Unprofessional Proteas
South Africa is sure to hate India’s decision to stay back in Sri Lanka and play in the ODI series for the prime reason that Rahul Dravid’s men showed how professional cricketers set about a task at hand. India has shown in no uncertain terms how to have tunnel vision on sport when a troubled world outside the playing field threatens to break concentration.
At the time of writing Sri Lanka’s cricket authorities were heart broken after South Africa deflated somewhat the spectator interest for the Tri-nation ODI tournament by pulling out their team sighting security fears. South Africa forgot that it is a member of the ICC family and as a result let down one of its cricket brothers-Sri Lanka- who was banking on the Proteas to make the line-up of teams in the ODI series. Jayantha Dharmadasa, Chairman Interim Committee that governs Sri Lanka Cricket, when asked whether the cricket relations between Sri Lanka and South Africa had been soured after the latter pulled out of the ODI series said, “For the moment yes”.

When the lambs were slaughtered
My second successive World Cup was the one in England in 1999. I gave live updates over the air waves of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to our listeners. The Group Match played between India and Sri Lanka is still etched in my mind. It is a memorable one.
Early morning, my good friend Nihal Withana, (my cricket captain at Nalanda in 1956) an engineer by profession, and I reached Taunton Somerset on a pleasant chi1ly morning. It was a lovely drive all the way.
It was a vital group match for both Sri Lanka and India.

A soccer tale from AFGHANISTAN
What can you expect from a team that was banned by their own government for a period of thirty years? If it is you and I, first thing that we would do is to curse the regime. But the Afghan soccer players don’t seem to be demoralized with all the negate factors they had to under go. Now it is the time for them to make a new beginning in soccer.


Designed by Mangala Madanayake



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