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Sunday August 05th, 2007

Karuna goes wild
Law enforcement authorities in Batticaloa and other parts of the Eastern Province are allegedly turning a ‘blind eye’ to the continuous complaints been made against the Karuna faction, also known as the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP).
Sources speaking to The Nation on condition of anonymity disclosed that Karuna cadres are running riot in many parts of the East. Karuna cadres are said to be taking ‘virtual’ control of everything. It is intimidating the public....

Hakeem tells Government
‘Take us on board’

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday deplored the government’s decision to have the development projects in the east supervised by the security forces and police.


Do you see what I see?

An army commando keeps watch over the mass public rally attended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday in Kurunegala wearing special Amber Glasses, which enhances vision in dark places (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)


Guns go silent for Madhu feast
The military and the LTTE have given assurances that they will adhere to a truce in the Madu area during the upcoming feast. The military has given...

Lifetime ban for A/L students carrying electronics
Commissioner Examinations Anura Edirisinghe yesterday warned of a ‘lifetime ban’ on students sitting ....




Lifetime ban for A/L students carrying electronics
Commissioner Examinations Anura Edirisinghe yesterday warned of a ‘lifetime ban’ on students sitting for the 2007 Advanced Level Examination if they are found carrying devices such as mobile phones and watches with calculators at the examination centre. The examination commences tomorrow.
“Steps have been taken to prevent even the examination crew – the supervisors and the invigilators-from using mobile phones when they are at the examination centre,” Edirisinghe added.
The Commissioner emphasized that apart from the student’s admission card, identity card, stationary items such as pens, pencils, colour pencils and instrumental sets, candidates sitting the examination would not be allowed to take other items inside the examination centre.
“This rule is clearly stated in the admission card. Besides, we have already informed the principals in schools to advice the students in this regard. Anyone found carrying such devices will face a lifetime ban from sitting the examination,” Edirisinghe warned.

NGO’s and INGO’s to be involved in development work
The Government has decided to allow NGOs and INGOs to get involved in the development of the East. However, their involvement in development work will be subject to military scrutiny.
It is learnt that all proposals related to development work will have to be submitted to the Government Agent, District Secretary and the military.
NGO staff and the oraganisation’s vehicles will also have to be registered with the military to ensure that there is no infiltration by the LTTE.
According to sources, the NGOs and the INGOs have welcomed the move because once being registered the NGO staff will be free to work without any hindrance or harassment.
Meanwhile, multi lateral organizations such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank have expressed their willingness to get involved in the development of the east.
However, the international community has insisted that the Karuna faction should be disarmed for a civilian administration to take over gradually.

Anura to meet Sonia
National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike will leave for India tomorrow evening to engage in a private audience with Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Bangalore.
Minister Bandaranaike is also scheduled to proceed to New Delhi where he will meet with political leaders at the Centre.
It is reported that Minister Bandaranaike will also have a one-to-one meeting with Congress Party Leader Sonia Gandhi.

Three suspected abortionist doctors granted bail
The three government registered doctors who were involved in carrying out illegal abortions at Kollupitiya were released on bail by the Colombo Fort Additional Magistrate Alexi Raja after they surrendered themselves to Courts through a lawyer.
The three suspected doctors, W. Ganeshan from Colombo 6, Don Lakshman Goonaratne from Werahera Road, Boralesgamuwa and Somapala Sooriyarachchi from Jayantha Mawatha, Battaramulla were released on a cash bail of Rs.100,000 and personal bail of Rs. 500,000 each.
According to a request made by the Police Women and Children’s Bureau to the Magistrate, the Court also issued notice on the nine workers to appear in courts on August 27. The nine workers were at the illegal abortion clinic at the time the police raided it on July 21.
The large scale illegal abortion centre functioning under the name “Marie Stopes Clinic” was operating in the guise of a birth control centre at R.A.De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 03, and had been operating for some 20 years.

SLMC to caution President against election in the East
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is to write to President Mahinda Rajapaksa cautioning him against holding an election in the Eastern Province, party high command member and former Parliamentarian M.L.A.M. Hisbullah told The Nation yesterday.
According to him, despite the ‘liberation’ of the Eastern Province from the LTTE by the security forces, there continues to be a strong presence of armed groups in the province, indicating that under such a circumstance a free and fair election cannot be held in the province.
“Taking this situation into consideration, the SLMC feels that an election held under such a situation will not be a success, so we are hoping to write to the President putting forward these facts and cautioning him against holding an election in this province at this moment,” Hisbullah said.
However, the SLMC which met on Thursday night in Colombo appointed a committee, headed by Hisbullah to look into the possibilities of how the party can contest the election, in the event the President decides...

Senkadagalapura Kandy Supplement




Politics is the name of the game
Hypothetically, Samaraweera would have to deliver more SLFPers to the opposition to force a general election upon the President. And in the event that does happen, would all these SLFPers be accommodated in the UNP-led lists in the elections that ensue?
Would that lead to even more dissent in the UNP, just as much as the Karu Jayasuriya led UNP faction has led to dissent in the SLFP? And would we have a farcical situation where the Jayasuriya-led UNPers are contesting on SLFP-led lists while the Samaraweera-led SLFPers are contesting on UNP-led lists?The People’s Wave- or Jana Rala - swept Colombo last week bringing in its wake some political quicksand. Even if it was no tsunami that destroyed the government, it brought into focus interesting political developments that are likely to envelop the country in the months ahead.
Firstly, the campaign was a success. That, even those in the government concede. This was despite a thinly veiled attempt by the powers that be, to indulge in some scare-mongering, saying there were security threats posed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It didn’t matter that the promised half a million people did not materialise; there was ample evidence that the government’s popularity is on the wane.

Govt. more focussed on opposition than on looming economic crisis
The main concern of the people today is the escalating cost of living. They are unable to meet ends and keep the home fires burning owing to the ever soaring prices of goods in the market.
To add insult to injury the government keeps on increasing the fuel prices every now and then to cushion the adverse economic effects faced by the state. This increases the prices of essential items beyond the reach of the ordinary people.
There is no immediate remedy for the economic ills of the state unless the government takes some pragmatic steps to cut down unnecessary state expenditure and regulate affairs of the state coffers. The coffers are more or less empty making it difficult for the government to run its day to day affairs and give subsidies to the poor.
It appears that the euphoria over Thoppigala will not last long because the majority of the people are in dire straits, economically.


The Bench, Bar & You
BASL Presidency Election

Q:What do you expect to do through the BASL?
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka was constituted as the only body for lawyers in this country. One can say it is a trade union. In the past, the Bar Association never made trade union demands, but it fought to establish the Rule of Law, maintain law and order and the independence of judiciary and ensure natural justice. The Rule of Law is of such importance, the BASL time and against fought to maintain law and order of the country.
If the Rule of Law breaks down the entire judicial system will be affected. In the past, various groups with different political agendas have been responsible for such a situation. When such things happen, the public try to see how lawyers respond to such a situation. It is our obligation not only to express our opinion but also to fight for Justice. We have to initiate public interest litigation in the proper forums, to protect the violation of personal liberties and fundamental rights. At the moment, this has been left to a few NGOs. The legal profession is maintaining a deafening silence.
Q:What is the lawyer’s role in such a situation?
Natural Justice comes to play when lawyers take up matters on behalf of their clients before different forums.

Pork barrel economics of Bandula G.

Bandula Gunawardene was a well known tuition master and a film producer, before entering active politics. He contested as an MEP (Mahajana Eksath Peramuna) member in the 1989 elections, receiving over 50,000 votes.
He quickly became the main spokesman in a weak Opposition. He made a name for himself on economic matters with his puerile interpretations of the economy, in the early 90s. However, in 1994, the MEP lost both its seats in Parliament. In 2000 he was elected to Parliament as a member of the Peoples’ Alliance. In 2001, along with S.B. Dissanayake, he crossed over to the UNP.



Point Blank
Throwing a spanner in the works
Sri Lankans are very good at throwing a spanner in the works when everything is going on smoothly and sports is no exception.
For no apparent reason Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge decided to make certain changes to the Jayantha Dharmadasa led cricket interim committee saying it was ‘for the betterment of cricket’. He called for the resignation of two of its members and then replaced them with four others retaining only the top three positions - the chairman, secretary and treasurer.
Mind you these changes the Sports Minister decided soon after Sri Lanka had put on a superb performance at the 2007 cricket World Cup by finishing runner-up to the eventual champions Australia.
In fact there were moves to replace the present committee before the World Cup but the intervention of the President stopped the Sports Minister from going ahead with his plans. Instead he decided to make some changes.
One can understand if changes are made if the committee has been found to be at fault and not delivered the goods. But when the committee is doing a thoroughly efficient job of administering cricket on proper lines there are interested parties who are keen to disrupt that progress.
The new change the Sports Minister has made to the present interim administration is looked upon suspiciously by many as one such move. There has already been some dissension among the group with one of the newly appointed members coming up with some outrageous plans to put a stop to all infrastructure development that is currently taking place.

Galle Stadium moving towards hosting Test
Work on one of the world’s most picturesque cricket grounds the Galle International Stadium is going ahead as scheduled to host the third Test between Sri Lanka and England starting on December 18.
There was much consternation among cricket fans especially from England when Galle which was originally scheduled to host the first Test of the three-match series was changed to the third Test.
There was fear that Galle may not host a Test match at all because of the delays the stadium underwent during its rebuilding process following the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami which entirely destroyed it.
However with the construction part of the pavilion, dressing rooms, media centre, VIP enclosures etc being handed to Sierra Construction Ltd., a leading construction company in the country last week, work on the stadium has increased at a hectic pace.
“It is a very challenging task but I am confident we can complete it by the deadline of November 15 set by Sri Lanka Cricket. We did Dambulla Stadium in 155 days,” said Priyantha Perera, a director of the construction company.


All democratic forces should not carry arms -Hasan Ali
Following are excerpts of the interview with Ali:
Q: The east is experiencing a new phase with the entire region coming under the control of the government. What does this mean to the Muslim minority?
The Muslim community is totally confused. We only hear through the grapevine that the government has plans to develop the east. But we still don’t know what type of development has been planned by the government. So far the government has not consulted us. We don’t welcome the colonization of the Southern Sinhalese in the Eastern Province and having a separate flag for this province. We are unable to provide any sensible answers to our supporters and other Muslims who want details about the plans of the government. They keep applying pressure on us. If the government has plans to develop the east, we welcome it. But what is our role as a responsible political party? Why weren’t we consulted?
Q: The Muslim community has been the worst affected as a result of the ongoing war between the LTTE and the government forces. Do you think capturing lands through the forces would reduce the burden of this community?
Not at all. The Muslims have not experienced the liberation of the region at all. This is because there are para-military forces operating in these areas. For the moment land (east) has changed hands. A Muslim family lives in Ampara. They are Muslim converts. And one of the relations of this family also became a Muslim and started living with this family about five months ago.



  Kandy Supplement


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