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Sunday November 12th, 2006

Massive demo for Raviraj
Anti-war groups and civil society organisations are to hold a mass rally to protest against the assassination of TNA parliamentarian N. Raviraj tomorrow, before the body of the slain MP is to be air-lifted to Jaffna on Tuesday (14).
The remains of MP Raviraj will be taken to the Town Hall in procession where a mass rally is planned to be held against killings and abductions.
Meanwhile, the government yesterday turned down a request made by the Tamil National Alliance to allow the body of its assassinated member Nadarajah Raviraj to be taken to Jaffna through the now closed A9 road.
However Government’s Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government had instead offered to airlift the body to Jaffna for the last rites. Accordingly, the remains of MP Raviraj will be airlifted to Jaffna on Tuesday and the funeral is scheduled to take place at Chavakachcheri on Wednesday.
The request to allow the body of MP Raviraj to be taken to Jaffna through the A9 road was made to Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera by TNA parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan, when Minister Samaraweera visited the funeral house yesterday morning.
Afterwards TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah met with President ....

The ultimate victim

Her name is Praveena. She is 14 years- old and a student of Bishop’s College, Colombo. She is the daughter of TNA MP N. Raviraj, brutally slain in the capital on Friday and last saw her father before going to school that day. Soon all else will be lost in the din of politics and ideology, but a fatherless child must live on. Let us hope his killers take a good look at her face. And pray that the next time, saner counsel will prevail. - (Pic by: Ishara S. Kodikara)

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UNP reforms deadlock?
UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema said yesterday that the joint proposals of individuals and organisations who envisaged reforms to the party will come before the UNP convention on November 19.
Asked whether UNP National Organiser, S.B. Dissanayake’s proposals would come before the convention, he replied that “there is only one joint proposal that would include proposals by Dissanayake, John Amaratunga and others.”
Party General Secretary designate, Tissa Attanayake also confirmed that a set of joint proposals will come before the party convention. He said that the John Amaratunga report on the restructuring of the working committee was 90 percent similar to Dissanayake’s proposals on the constitution of the working committee.
According to Attanayake, the working committee will be expanded upto about 90 members and not 117 as proposed by Dissanayake.
He said that Dissanayake had proposed both president and secretary of the district organisation to be members of the working committee, making it a large outfit. Attanayake said that in his opinion, only one member from each district organisation should represent a district in the working committee.


SLIC deal: COPE questions PB & Charitha
Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundara who was questioned by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) over the privatisation of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) had said that he had given the green light to go ahead with the privatisation procedure of the Corporation, even before the cabinet had approved it.
He said further that it was the common practice to go ahead with the procedure before cabinet approval is granted when the approval was guaranteed by the minister. But he had been unable to cite an example when asked by the members of the committee.

Protest halts auction of rogue elephants
The Wildlife Conservation Department has temporarily halted plans to capture and auction two rogue elephants in the Galgamuwa-Maho area, upon protests by the environmental activists, The Nation learns.
The department was planning to anaesthetise and capture the two elephants, and auction them on the site on November 9 and 10, and sell them to the highest bidders.
The initial advertisement to call for bidders was published in a weekend newspaper dated July 30, 2006. with the reasons for capture and required criteria for bidding.

Lokuwella: The bodyguard who accompanied Raviraj
Last Friday the family of slain parliamentarian, Nadaraja Raviraj was not the only ones who lost a son, a beloved husband and a father. Police constable Lakshman Lokuwellage who was with the MP was also killed in the shooting.
Lokuwellamurage Lakshman Lokuwella started his day as usual accompanying MP Raviraj as he had done for the last four years; but the day did not last long for both of them.

RMV closed after experts bungle
A group of computer specialists had almost ruined the database of the Motor Traffic Department and had the department closed for several days in order to recover its systems, The Nation learns.
The department had averted a large scale damage to its computer system by deleting programming files by a team of specialists of the ICTA. Timely intervention prevented a loss amounting to millions of tax payers monies, a department source said.

To be summoned before disciplinary committee
Two leading accounting firms in soup over SLIC privatisation deal
Two of the leading chartered accounting firms in the country are to face a disciplinary committee appointed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sri Lanka (ICASL) over misconduct of its members during the privatisation of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.
This is the first time in the history of the institute that two of the country’s leading accounting firms will be investigated by a disciplinary committee.

Expenses incurred on CBK’s house tabled in court
When the case regarding expenditure incurred for renovations and refurbishment of the building to be occupied by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was taken up before the Supreme Court on Thursday. The counsel for the petitioners stated that they were not in possession of certain documents filed by the Secretary to the President.
The Court in reply stated that there were no secret documents and all documents relevant to the case are open for perusal by both parties. The documents filed by the President’s secretary on the expenditures incurred for renovations follow:


Inevitable: an adequate explanation for tragedy?
How does one read the killing of some 40 plus civilians in a multi-barrel attack that hit a school housing internally displaced people? Does one refer to the fact that the LTTE consistently uses civilian as human shields and that, according to a Reuter report, the LTTE had in fact fired from the area towards a Sri Lanka Army position not long before the Army retaliated and caused the tragedy?
We could use the word ‘inevitable’ in a context where the LTTE has forced 14,000 civilians to offer cover for its heavy weapons which they periodically use to attack the armed forces. We could say that if the LTTE was truly concerned about the welfare of the people they claim to represent, they would have evacuated them to a safer area a long time ago. We could, like the Americans, British and others whose hearts bleed over humanitarian issues, use the word ‘collateral’. We could even ask the rhetorical question: What do you expect us to do, tell the LTTE, “please get the civilians out of the way, we want to disarm you?”
We can say that whereas there is an element of miscalculation here, similar tragedies have been perpetrated on innocent villages deliberately by the LTTE with the full knowledge and at the command of the LTTE leadership.




Get it straight or lose the initiative
President Lyndon Johnson famously said, “If I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost the country”, referring to the trusted news anchor who reported from Vietnam that in his opinion, “the war is going to end in a stalemate.” Because of Cronkite’s reporting, favourable American public opinion on the war in Vietnam took a nosedive. That was the power of the media in deciding the fate of the American intervention in Vietnam. Though it has been over 30 years since America’s military might was defeated in the rice fields of Vietnam, neither the Americans nor the rest of the world seem to have learned the value of public opinion when orchestrating a war. The Sri Lankan government and its security forces do not seem to understand the importance of gaining the confidence of the public, both locally and internationally either. In the case of Sri Lanka, the individuals who have been entrusted with this task seem to be doing more harm than good.

UNP in major face off
It was an eventful week for UNpers, especially those who are envisaging reforms for the party structure and those who are against it.
Manoeuvering and manipulations took foremost place during the first few days of the week, in the run up to the crucial Working Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday (08).
There had been efforts by the Ranil Wickremesinghe camp of the UNP to defuse the build-up against the leadership by the party reformists. The thinking of the Wickremesinghe camp is that a sharp division in the party on those lines would not augur well for the party.

Proposed amendments to the UNP constitution
A. By amending the title thereof by repealing the existing title and substituting the words “Party Working Committee and Party Political Affairs Committee” in its place.
B. By repealing Article 7.1 of the Constitution and substituting the following article in its place.

The importance of being Ranil Wickremesinghe
If the events of the week past are any kind of yardstick, it only demonstrated the importance of being Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The beleaguered leader of the Opposition and the United National Party (UNP) has again survived a political assassination, an attempt orchestrated once more by disgruntled UNPers or, the ‘enemy within’.


Violent cult: Bring it to book
By A special Correspondent
The first Tamil politician to be killed was Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duriappah more than a quarter century ago on July 27, 1975. He was killed by the New Tamil Tigers headed by Velupillai Pirapaharan.
Ever since, a range of Tamil politicos were killed mainly by Tamils. In 1978 TULF candidate Kanagaratnam was shot in Colombo by Tamil militants while Jaffna district UNP candidate A. Thiagarajah was shot in Mavedi, Vaddukodi three years later.

Politics behind Raviraj killing
There is a reason the killing of Nadarajah Raviraj left the country reeling. Everyone knew him. He was the face of the TNA on most television debates, much like the one he participated in minutes before he was brutally killed in Colombo on Friday. Just a few years ago, Raviraj was also Jaffna Mayor and an elected member of parliament on two occasions.
His death sounds a knell for democratic expression and he goes the way of so many others who have dared to express an opinion that does not sit well someone. Hours after his assassination, a group claiming to be his killers posted a notice on a website saying that all other TNA MPs should ‘live peacefully with their families’ instead of maintaining links with the LTTE.

Striking the heart of a civilian centre
After shells and multi-barrels fired by the military fell on a school turned IDP camp in Kathiraweli on Wednesday, killing scores of civilians and injuring more than 100, Valachennai and Batticaloa look set to become refugee towns as floods of people from the rebel held area flee to safety. The attack has sparked an international outcry and left a bad taste in the mouths of many, the Kathiraweli camp being a large civilian centre, clearly demarcated in any administrative map of the area…

Colombo flooding can be prevented
With the opening up of the economy in 1977, several political leaders and corporate tycoons had dreams of making Colombo, the hub of South Asia’s financial services, shipping and aviation. Some of them even made proclamations to that effect.
But, what is heart-rending is that for several years if not decades, the city centre gets flooded and roads are made impassable with a heavy down-pour.
For the first time last week we had flooding that made the only road to the solitary airport impassable.


Sizzling sevens
Sri Lanka’s achievements in 15-a-side rugby have greatly influenced the country’s sevens rugby set-up. Players show added enthusiasm in attending training with a view of making the national seven-a-side rugby team that will take part in the forthcoming Asian Games in Doha Qatar. This is rather unusual in a set-up where the country’s recent accolades in rugby have come through the national team’s participation in the 15-a-side version of rugby.

Spreading the gospel of body building
Body building is one sport in Sri Lanka that has taken physical culturists to a new level of thinking. The advent of high protein supplements and modern training methods have given rise to a new breed of body builders who have thrown out the Greek God image and embraced the Frankenstein look. Most of them earn a living from body building by working in gymnasiums as instructors.

Batting is the key says Mahela
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene believes that batting, which failed his side in their quest to win the ICC Champions trophy in India, will be the key to his team winning the 2007 ICC World Cup in the Caribbean.
The cricket World Cup is due to be played from March 13 to April 28 and the Champions trophy was the showcase event leading up to it, not that it is any indication that the eventual winner of it will end up becoming World Cup champions.

Premier league cricket goes ‘live’
The Premier trophy league tournament which got underway on Friday will be given a tremendous boost when its matches go ‘live’ on television.
This has been made possible by Sirasa TV joining hands with Sri Lanka Cricket.
Outlining the objectives of this joint venture, Maharajah Organisation group director Mano Wickramanayake said that his company was the first to envisage professional cricket in the country and its chairman/managing director Rajah Mahendran was the vice-president of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board when the country obtained ICC Test status over two decades ago.

Emerging star
The Asian Games will begin on December 1 at Qatar and the local sports lovers are showing great interest in the prospects of some of the Sri Lankan athletes at this event. Apart from Sri Lanka’s usual medal hopes, the authorities have some sort of hope on a few other sports as well.

Duleep trophy final today
Sri Lanka ‘A’ up against strong North Zone
KOLKATA - In their maiden appearance in one of India’s prestigious domestic cricket tournaments, the Duleep trophy, Sri Lanka ‘A’ will meet North Zone in the five-day final starting at the famous Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.

Desperate try
Sri Lanka plans to impress the organizers of the IRB Sevens Series by doing well at the upcoming rugby sevens which is a discipline at the Asian Games which will be held in Doha Qatar from December 1-15.

Premier league cricket
De Saram and Maharoof shine
Bloomfield find themselves struggling to avoid defeat in their Premier trophy league match against Ragama CC after their plan to bat first on winning the toss backfired on them at Reid Avenue.
Bloomfield were one batsman short and was forced to declare at 139-9 when Sanath Jayasuriya could not make it to the venue on time after travelling to Dickwella to open a tsunami village.

Umpires on the mat?
Depending on the findings of the Association of Cricket Umpires Sri Lanka (ACUSL) and the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA), Sri Lanka Cricket’s Umpires committee will take drastic action against an umpire who had over stepped the line and prevented a leading Colombo school from recording victory in a first eleven cricket fixture played at Darley Road on November 3 and 4.


No owners in this country: Elle Thera
“Our people have become inactive. They have been brainwashed. People don’t know their rights and obligations. They should rally together if the government is wrong and speak up. Our people don’t do that. They only hold parasols for the leaders.”

Designed by Mangala Madanayake





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