AG slams IIGEP chief
Attorney General C. R. de Silva in a hard hitting letter
to the Chairman of the International Independent Group
of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), Justice P.N Bhagwati has
accused the group of over stepping their mandate to
monitor the progress of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI)
appointed by the President.
The AG has particularly taken offence at the two public
statements issued by the IIGEP, which have been very
critical of the progress made by the CoI and the role of
the AG’s department in the whole exercise.
The IIGEP was established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa
launch islandwide political campaign on July 26
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government will launch the
development of the Sun Rise region encompassing 43 AGA
divisions in the East on July 26.
July 26 marks the anniversary of the commencement of the
Mavil Aru Operation.
Highly placed government sources said that President
Rajapaksa would also launch a countrywide political
campaign to coincide with the Sun Rise region
He said that there would be 43 major development
programmes launched on that day.
Please forgive me
Former Minister Mangala
Samaraweera begged the country for forgiveness for having backed
the wrong candidate at the 2005 presidential poll at the
inauguration of the SLFP Mahajana Wing at Attanagalla on Friday.
Samaraweera dropped a bombshell in Parliament when he joined the
opposition to protest the extremist policies of the Rajapaksa
administration. Samaraweera was at one time one of Rajapaksa’s
closest allies and is largely credited with having brought the
President into power.
(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)
JB new Ambassador to Thailand
Professor of Sinhala at the University of Colombo, eminent
linguist and historian J.B Dissanayake has been named the
ambassador designate to Thailand by President Mahinda Rajapaksa
The Nation learns.
Professor Dissanayake, a product of Ananda College Colombo,
graduated from the University of Peradeniya in 1961. He later
went on a Fulbright scholarship to the University of California,
Berkley to read for a Masters in linguistics and obtained a PhD
from the University of Colombo.
President Chandrika Kumaratunge bestowed the honourary title of
Deshamanya to Professor Dissanayake for his scholarly services
to the nation. The author of numerous books on linguistics,
culture and history Professor Dissanayake was awarded...
CBK back on June 29?
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to
return to the Island on June 29, according to informed
She traveled to London to attend her daughter
Yashodara’s wedding that took place according to Sinhala
Reports also said among other invitees were several
heads of state, who were in power during President
Kumaratunga`s regime and relatives of Yashodara`s
husband Dr. Roger Walker.
Kuwaiti Ambassador hosts President
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was hosted to dinner last
week by Kuwaiti Ambassador for Sri Lanka where he was
seen with most of the Arab ambassadors.
Informed sources said President Rajapaksa contravening
protocol arrived at around 8.30 pm and spent more than
three hours chatting with all the ambassadors of Arab
countries including Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia.
It is said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has
discussed with the ambassadors present regarding an oil
exploration project in Mannar and the current political
situation in the country.
It appeared that the ambassadors were pleased to be
associated with the President.
Jeyaraj drops bombshell, rejects District Councils
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) firebrand and Trade
Minister Jeyeraj Fernandopulle, in a startling
revelation yesterday said that the District Council
proposal put forward by the SLFP was inadequate to meet
the aspirations of the Tamils.
Addressing a large gathering in Colombo at the annual
general meeting of the Muslim Media Forum the minister
raised concerns about offering the district as a unit of
devolution when the Tamils have been historically
clamouring for a separate state.
He pointed out that offering a small district to a
minority group that has been demanding for a separate
state was not in any manner going to solve the ethnic
Instead he suggested that the Indian model of federalism
should be introduced with wide ranging powers to the
discuss HR abuse
The fast deteriorating law and order situation in Sri
Lanka and the prolonging violation of human rights are
expected to take the centre stage at the forthcoming
meeting of the Co-chairs, to be held in Norway on
Tuesday June 26.
A spokesman for the Co-chairs told The Nation peace
initiatives this time has gone third in the list of
priority while human rights violations and especially
the declining law and order situation in Sri Lanka has
come on top of the list for discussion by the members of
Norway will host a meeting of the Sri Lanka Co-chairs,
which will bring together representatives from the EU,
Japan, the US and Norway.
The US will be represented by Assistant Secretary of
State Richard Boucher. Special Representative Yasushi
Akashi will represent Japan. Director-General Andreas
Michaelis will represent the EU Presidency ...
SL endorses Indian candidate for
C’wealth top slot
Sri Lanka has endorsed Kamalesh Sharma, the Indian
candidate for the Commonwealth Secretary General post.
The new Commonwealth secretary general, who will succeed
the present incumbent Don McKinnon of New Zealand, will
be elected at the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting in Kampala in November.
Sharma is currently India’s High Commissioner in the
United Kingdom and has also served as India’s Permanent
Representative at the United Nations in Geneva. Foreign
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama officially informed his
Bogollagama continues globetrotting marathon
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is due to take wing
to Japan and Nepal today.
The trip comes in the wake of his recent visit to South
Korea and Singapore earlier this month. During the four
day visit Bogollagama is expected to meet the Japanase
Prime Minister and several other Cabinet Ministers.
He is due to hold bilateral discussions with his
counterpart in Japan H E.Taro Aso. During his stay in
Japan the Foreign Minister will address the Sri Lanka
Business Forum organized by the Sri Lanka Embassy in
Japan and the Sri Lanka Business Council of Japan.
The Minister will deliver a lecture at the Japan
Institute of International Affairs and meet the network
of Japanese NGO’S working on reconstruction and
development of Sri Lanka.
“Divulge names of missing persons” challenges Mano
Colombo District MP and convenor Civil Monitoring
Committee (CMC) Mano Ganesan has called on the
government to immediately publish the names of those
missing persons that the government claims had sought
He further charged that if the government also claimed
that 90 percent of the abductees have been released, the
government should forthwith publish those names in the
He also called on the government to produce before the
public the passport numbers of those who have migrated,
as claimed by the government.
“It is rubbish. The government is only trying to
hoodwink the public. I challenge the government to
produce the names and other details of abductees the
government claims had either sought asylum or been
released,” he said.
Disciplinary action against Sripathi
The SLFP will commence its disciplinary inquiry against
former minister Sripathi Sooriarachchi shortly.
SLFP sources said that Sooriarachchi would be given a
fair hearing and the inquiry would be conducted
according to the party constitution and principles of
However sources said that no dates have been fixed for
the inquiry against Mangala Samaraweera but added there
would be one definitely against him too.
phenomenal rise leaves Govt. in awe
Two weeks ago we said
through these columns that politics is the art of
the possible. In politics they say anything is fair,
whether it be here or elsewhere in the world.
It has now been proven beyond doubt that politics is
the art of the possible. There are no permanent
friends or enemies. Yesterday’s enemy could become a
close political ally today and vice-versa – this is
the political reality world over, where political
opportunism has taken precedence over everything
There is no such thing as ‘clean’ politics and
politics is all about ‘opportunity’ – best used at
the appropriate time to further your cause. In
today’s political context, we see changes taking
place at a rapid rate and what is perceived as wrong
one day could be interpreted in another form the
next. That is what is happening today.
Former Minister Mangala Samaraweera, a one time
sworn political enemy of UNP Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe, has started singing praises about
Wickremesinghe’s efforts to introduce...
Bhagwati’s allegations are unfounded” – AG
have been insulted’
Q: The international Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP)
made two public statements saying it had no faith in the
Attorney General’s Department when assisting the Presidential
Commission of Inquiry. What is your response?
A: Justice Bhagwati issued two statements on behalf of the IIGEP
appointed by the President to observe the investigations and
inquiries conducted by the Commission of Inquiry. He has
misunderstood the role of the Attorney General and his officers.
He has made unfounded and unwarranted allegations against the AG
and his officers. I did, in writing, express my objections on
behalf of the government of Sri Lanka to the contents of the
first and second public statements.
Vakarai accelerated resettlement
despite Govt efforts
Since the recapture of Vakarai from the clutches of the LTTE on
January 19, this year, the government has been concentrating on
an accelerated resettlement programme,
The ongoing resettlement in Vakarai is certain to give the Tamil
refugees a chance at a durable solution for the first time.
The government’s plan to rebuild Vakarai is, undoubtedly,
attractive. Plans are afoot to transform Vakarai into an urban
The government has already spent a sum of Rs. 16 million to
provide electricity in the area for the first time. Schools
would soon be provided with computers that would enable Vakarai
students to access the rest of the world.
A decision has been taken to reconstruct the A15 – the highway
between Batticaloa and Trincomalee. The setting up of new fish
markets, cool rooms, store houses, supermarkets, tap water
facilities, circuit bungalows, private and state banks and
better fishing facilities are some of the plans the Nation
Building Ministry intends to implement shortly.
‘walks’ the talk in parliament
have coloured Sri Lankan politics ever since Independence.
Adding another scene to the continuing drama, last week
Parliament saw the dramatic crossover of two government
parliamentarians to the opposition.
When Parliament sat on Tuesday (19), to debate the issue of
supplementary estimates of six new ministries, in a not so
unexpected turn of events, the SLFP rebel duo Mangala
Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi stood up from the
government back benches and crossed over to the opposition,
amidst cheers from the UNP and JVP members.
Rebels cross sides
While the supplementary debate was brewing hotly in the House,
former Ports and Civil Aviation Minister Samaraweera intervened.
He said, as a politician who appreciated the middle path of
politics, he could not tolerate SLFP’s path of extremism. With
these words, Samaraweera crossed the well and took up an
opposition front bench seat.
Govt faces HR battle
interlude between peace and war saw many unpredictable events.
One such was the breakaway of LTTE’s No. 2 and military
commander Vinyagamoorthy Muralitheran alias Col. Karuna from the
monolithic organisation, after nearly 25 years. That Karuna was
going to join hands with the very security forces he once fought
against, to fight the LTTE and drive it away from the east, was
Similarly, that commissioned military officers would be bought
over by the LTTE to kill their own men for 30 pieces of silver,
playing the role of Judas, was also unthinkable. But, the
interim between peace and war did spring surprises.
Major E.M. Dassanayake was attached to the 52 Division in
Vavuniya. It was there that the LTTE had allegedly cultivated
links with him. Major Dassanayake was later transferred to the
Overall Operations Command in Colombo from where his activities
were closely monitored.
The inquiry against Major Dassanayake, who was arrested by the
Terrorist Investigations Department more than six months ago, is
almost complete and would soon be forwarded to the Attorney
General’s Department for indictment.
The inquiry against Major Dassanayake, implicated in the
training for Pakistan cricketers
ABBOTTABAD, (AFP) - They
were scared at first, but Pakistan’s cricketers have
emerged from 15 gruelling days of army training in peak
condition, instructors say.
The 20-member squad has been confined to a spartan
military base in the northwestern city of Abbottabad in
a bid to improve fitness and discipline.
Shoaib Malik’s men will need to be in good shape for the
coming season, which starts next week with a trip to
Scotland to play one-day internationals against the
hosts and bitter rivals India.
Pakistan -- still reeling from the death of their coach
Bob Woolmer the day after their World Cup exit in March
-- are also due to host world number two South Africa
and number one side Australia.
Fitness has been Pakistan’s weakness in recent years,
with Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Abdul Razzaq’s
absence from the World Cup considered the main reason
for a humiliating first-round exit.
It prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to ask the
army for help. And it just so happens that the PCB’s
patron is none other than the country’s military ruler,
President General Pervez Musharraf.
“The players were initially frightened about the concept
but once they started enjoying exercises they did extra
work,” instructor Major Mohammad Arif told AFP after a
trekking session this week.
“They are now demanding similar camps in future,” he
Arif said the course, which ends Friday, would leave
them ready to face Australia.
integrity on trial
Sri Lanka is a nation where its citizens are quite prompt in coming to the
rescue of sportsmen and women who err. Countless are the number of occasions
when sports officials have earned the wrath of supporters, close associates and
some sections of the media for slapping bans on sports personalities who breach
the laws that govern sport. This time it’s rugby player Chamara Vithanage who
has come under the hammer of a disciplinary committee appointed by the Sri Lanka
Rugby Football Union (SLRFU). According to informed rugby sources the
disciplinary committee has probed an incident in which Vithanage is alleged to
have assaulted a rugby referee and found him guilty. The sources confirmed that
the committee had recommended that the player be banned for a period of three
All attention is now focused on the SLRFU to ratify the ban recommended by the
disciplinary committee. But then again this is Sri Lanka and anything can
happen. This is the time, before the verdict, when the unthinkable can happen.
This is when third parties with ulterior motives spring into action. For those
to whom justice and fair play don’t matter a thing this is yet another occasion
where they will go to any extent to ‘bail out’ the culprit. In the books of
those who respect the game’s laws Vithanage’s rugby career is as good as over.
Assaulting a referee is a crime that can make the offender, if an active player,
serve anything between three years to a life ban from the sport, in keeping with
International Rugby Board (IRB) laws. However, it was reported in an mid-week
paper that Vithanage had denied being involved in the incident.
Vithanage represents the most powerful rugby club in the country - Kandy Sports
For the Sri Lanka cricket team having to live with international coaches for a
short life span seems an endless task. Tom Moody, their fourth and last coach in
the past 12 years has quit and Sri Lanka will have a new coach from September.
But for the present Moody’s assistant Trevor Penney has taken over as stand-in
coach for the series against Bangladesh which opens with the first of three
Tests starting at the SSC grounds on Monday.
“Whether Tom is here or not we have to continue to do the hard work. Tom’s been
great for us for the last two years. He’s made a decision and we have to move
on. We know the brand of cricket that we’ve been playing and the commitment and
the hard work that we’ve done,” said Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene
looking ahead at his team’s future as they commence a series without Moody for
the first time.
“Trevor is here to continue Tom’s legacy and make sure we do the same stuff.
Everyone knows their roles, physically everyone is pretty fit. We will work with
the new coach and try and improve ourselves to the next level. That’s our
challenge and how we should look at improving ourselves,” Jayawardene told The
OF THE BLUES BEGINS
Mahinda is the best thing that happened to
Q: Why did you choose to cross
over, while still remaining a member of the UPFA?
A: Well, the rationale is that I have been a member of the SLFP
for 19-years. As a matter of fact, it was exactly 19-years-ago,
this week, I was appointed Organiser for Matara, by Mrs.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike, and I have always been in love, so to
speak, with my party, because, I sincerely and passionately
believed in the socio-democratic principles on which it was
founded. It was a centrist party, with a very liberal outlook.
It was against dictatorships of any kind, it was against any
form of racism. This was nurtured by various SLFP Leaders.
However, in the last 18 months, since the present leader took
over, I saw the basic values of our party erode. Most of the
decisions taken in the recent past, I see as a violation of our
founding principles, which I found disturbing. Finally, I
decided that it wouldn’t suffice, just to complain or talk about
it. Something constructive needs to be done, to reverse this
trend of the SLFP being led towards a very extremist position. I
realised that, I would have to, at least temporarily, distance
myself from the present ...