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Sunday March 18th, 2007

Government strongly objects to special US envoy
The Sri Lankan government has raised strong objection to the US Congress members request to appoint a special US envoy to help bring about peace to conflict-ridden Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told The Nation while in New York that appointing a special US envoy for Sri Lanka is not necessary. “We don’t need such an envoy. We have already addressed the issues that the congressmen pointed out” he stated.
During his three-day state visit to the Capitol Hill, Minister Bogollagama had elaborated the Sri Lankan government’s position regarding the proposed US special envoy for Sri Lanka.


Deposed Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi leaving the Magistrate’s Court at Hulftsdorp yesterday in a police vehicle accompanied by CID officers after being produced and remanded till March 20. - (Pic by Nissanka Wijerathne)

Sripathi remanded
With the government continuing to take a hardline against dissident SLFP ministers, recently ousted Deputy Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi was remanded till March 20 by the CID yesterday after being produced before Colombo Additional Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya on charges of misappropriation of government property.
The former deputy minister is to be presented before the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday (20) to answer the charges about a jeep belonging to the Posts and Telecommunications Ministry.



Dayan new Geneva Ambassador
Well known political analyst Dayan Jayatilleka is tipped to be appointed as the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Geneva shortly, diplomatic sources said yesterday. Jayatilleka was a lecturer in political science at the Colombo University, a journalist and a maverick politician who was a member of the North-East Provincial Council. He was closely associated with the election campaign of President Mahinda Rajapksa during the last election.

Toll climbs amid military’s fresh offensive
The military launched a major three pronged attack from Omanthai, Welioya and the Mannar fronts against the LTTE on Friday, defence sources said.
Special infantry battalions supported the Special Forces in these offensives and the new 57 division initiated the attacks.
Three officers attached to the 12 CLI were killed in the offensive and 20 soldiers were injured. These operations were carried out after the special infantry training given by the army.

Conserve energy or face power cut, warns Minister
Power cuts will be inevitable for two hours per day at peak hours if the consumers do not curtail the use of electricity, Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne said.

Traders come hard on govt., want halt to extortion
The Hardware Traders Association in Pettah said they would resort to more protests if measures were not taken by the government to provide adequate security to its members, the association officials said.

IDP camps burst at seams with latest violence
The estimated number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Batticaloa region exceeded 97,500 last week with the renewed violence in that region, according to Government sources.

MR’s days are numbered-Ranil
Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that the country’s situation is worsening by the day in all aspects with the rising cost of living, high inflation, war and corruption and these doesn’t augur well for the President to continue for much long.

SLFP to discipline Mangala, Sripathi
The SLFP disciplinary committee will meet for the first time on Tuesday to consider disciplinary action against deposed ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, head of the SLFP disciplinary committee, Minister John Seneviratne said.

Prisoner swap won’t lead to talks, says LTTE
The proposed prisoner exchange between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is unlikely to open doors for direct talks, a top LTTE official yesterday said.
According to the official even if a prisoner swap took place, talks between both parties would have to be considered only with the implementation of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement.

SLMM concerned over IDP influx
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Spokesperson Thorfinnur Omarsson said yesterday that they are concerned about the increasing number of internally displaced persons in the Batticaloa District.




Tasting the green stuff
President Mahinda Rajapaksa tasted some hot stuff but not the political kind when he took a bite at a green chilli after inspecting the vegetable garden at the President’s House yesterday morning. - (Pic by Sudath Silva)

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledging his supporters after speaking at the UNP special convention at party headquarters Sirikotha yesterday.  - (Pic by Nissanka Wijeratne)


Buying time in a time of crisis
It was J.R. Jayewardene who began what was to become a fashionable trend of all party conferences to find a solution to the vexed national question. That all party conference was a non-starter from day one because the major opposition party-peeved at the stripping of Sirima Bandaranaike’s civic rights- opted for a strategy of non-cooperation.

Political Affairs
Media gets a bashing amidst political turmoil

The media and its role in the Sri Lankan society came into focus during the past week with regard to statements made by both the government and the opposition.


Experts predict major catastrophe
The proposed 300 MW combined-cycle power plant to be constructed at Kerawalapitiya has stirred the hornet’s nest with senior and experienced engineers and power and energy experts predicting a major catastrophe to the sector in particular and the country’s economy in general.

Flying high with workers’ money

The government-owned Mihin Lanka airlines flew its maiden flight on March 4, after facing many technical difficulties and causing much turbulence on the ground.


Meet the Nation
Vasudeva on the warpath

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) embroiled in scandals and corruption, at the ratepayers’ expense, has irked veteran trade unionist and CMC Opposition Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

On the inside looking out
Commissioner General of Prisons, Major General Vajira Wijegunawardene is facing many challenges these days from both within and outside his establishment.

“You cannot expect everything to be normal”
Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe while accepting there are shortcomings regarding human rights issues said that the government has taken all steps to investigate and correct such instances.


Dutch hit for six by Gibbs
BASSETERRE, St Kitts, (AFP) - Dutch captain Luuk van Troost wanted to make history against South Africa and he got his wish. However, his hapless, hopeless team will be remembered as having suffered the third heaviest World Cup defeat, having conceded the most sixes in an innings and having played their part in accommodating the fastest tournament half-century ever made.

Kiwis have ‘game in hand’ after beating England - Fleming
GROS ISLET, St Lucia, (AFP) - New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said his side now had a “game in hand” after beating England by six wickets in their opening match of the World Cup.
Both Test nations are overwhelming favourites to qualify from a Group C also featuring Canada and Kenya.
And, if that does happen, New Zealand will carry two points forward into the second phase, Super Eight stage.
That could yet prove important but the 33-year-old Fleming, a veteran of 271 one-day internationals and New Zealand’s most experienced captain, said he wouldn’t be getting carried away by Friday’s victory.

Dharmaloka to call the shots
The 19th ‘Battle of Kelaniya’ between Dharmaloka College and Gurukula College will take place at the P. Sara Stadium on March 22 and 23.
Fourth year coloursman Hashan Tharindu will lead the Dharmaloka side while third year coloursman Asanga Dinesh captains Gurukula.
Dharmaloka has the edge over Gurukula this year. Although they are unbeaten they have failed to record a single win this season.
Gurukula however has a two-win, two-loss record for the season.
Salitha Mahanama is Gurukula’s match-winning bowler having performed the hat-trick twice for the season against Ananda Sastralaya, Kotte and Zahira, Maradana.

Lanka in lucrative Twenty20 tourney?
If everything goes well Sri Lanka might find themselves travelling to the Caribbean again next year to take part in one of the richest cricket tournaments in the world – the Stanford Twenty20 International to be held in June 2008.
The prize money for the winning team is US$20 million of which...

Point Blank
Where will this all end?

The first week of the 2007 cricket World Cup has turned out to be so farcical that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should sit back and take stock of the situation and decide for themselves whether it is worthwhile including non-Test playing nations in a tournament of such magnitude as the World Cup.
Within the space of three days the minnows have suffered three of the biggest thumpings in one-day history that has certainly taken the gloss off the tournament and made it a mockery.


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