Jeyaraj slams Ban Ki-moon
government Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday
launched a scathing attack against United Nation’s
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, declaring that he did not
give a ‘damn’ about whatever that ‘foreigner’ (Ki-moon)
had to say.
In yet another of his regular verbal harangues,
Fernandopulle, who is also the Chief Government Whip,
told The Nation, “I don’t give a damn about what this UN
boss has to tell me or Sri Lanka. He can say whatever he
wants, but I will still go by what I said and that is,
John Homes is a terrorist who takes bribes from the LTTE.”
Fernandopulle also said that he had a busy schedule, and
had better things to do than waste his time listening to
what the UN boss and the likes had to say.
Tigers fortifying for an imminent
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was seen
fortifying its outfit in Madhu during the temporary
ceasefire period, with the expectation of an apparent
onslaught by the security forces. When The Nation
visited Madhu last week, no LTTE cadres clad in uniform
were visible, as they were busily strengthening their
bunkers and digging large trenches to stop heavy
military machines from entering...
‘Old rugged cross’
Madhu – a
place caught between hope and conflict, faith and fear. An
unthinkable journey for some and yet an essential pilgrimage for
others. Thousands of the faithful, like this woman and her
child, braved war, hunger and unforgiving conditions to make the
long journey to LTTE-held Madhu last week, for the feast of Our
Lady of Madhu. Their prayers, uttered within the only no-war
zone in the region, are common to us all: Peace, hope and an end
to hunger. Pic by
Ishara S. Kodikara
President to market devolution package at
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is planning to market his devolution
package when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly
Ministerial sources told The Nation that he would make it an
opportunity to ask the international community....
Three Tamils in CID custody in
danger - AI
Amnesty International (AI) yesterday voiced concern over
the fate of the three Tamils currently held
incommunicado by the Criminal Investigations ....
Suspected killer a member of Karuna
Charan alias Sivakanthan Vivekananthan, who is wanted for the
murder of two Red Cross workers, is a member of the breakaway
|Ministers unhappy over
salary hike for Ind. Commission heads
Controversy surrounds over the implementation of a
Cabinet decision taken last December to increase the
allowances paid to chairmen and members of Independent
Commissions, under the 17th Amendment to the
The Cabinet decided last December (2006), to increase
the allowances of the chairmen of these Commissions from
Rs. 25,000 per month to Rs. 65,000 and the members from
Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month.
Under the regulations of the 17th Amendment to the
Constitution, for the implementation of this Cabinet
decision, Parliamentary approval has to be obtained.
Although the recommendation has already been sent to
Parliament in January this year, for approval, it is yet
to be tabled in for approval.
The delay, according to informed sources, is due to an
issue raised by certain Ministers to the effect that the
salary recommended to chairmen is higher than that of
CBK here for her
Vims, not her fancies
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is unlikely to
join a UNP mass rally scheduled to be held in Nittambuwa
on August 24, political sources said.
The rally to be presided by Opposition leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe and former minister Mangala Samaraweera,
is expected to draw a large crowd.
Contrary to speculation that Kumaratunga too, would join
Wickremesinghe and Samaraweera on the same platform,
sources from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party-(M) said she
has not confirmed her participation to date.
Sources pointed out that the former head of State would
neither hold any posts nor participate in any outside
meetings but added, would give only her support and her
expertise for the growth of the party.
The Nation reliably learns she is in contact with some
of the senior and junior loyalists from the SLFP, and
would be canvassing their support for the SLFP(M), at
the appropriate time.
Sources said that even some of the senior Cabinet
ministers had, unofficially, extended their support to
the party, indicating that they would cross over at the
administration disrespects Kadirgamar
- Mrs. Kadirgamar
Sugandhi Kadirgamar, the wife of former Foreign Minister
Lakshman Kadirgamar has charged that the present foreign
ministry administration is disrespecting her late
Speaking to The Nation, Mrs. Kadirgamar pointed out, “He
was such a respected individual, but the only place they
were able to find to erect his statue was behind some
huge commercial billboards, next to a statue of some boy
scout at Colombo 7, close to the Public Library.”
Mrs. Kadirgamar stated that her wish was to see the
statue erected in the gardens of Lakshman Kadirgamar
Institute at Horton Place by demolishing the side wall,
so that it would be visible to the public. However,
authorities had not acceded to her plea and instead had
chosen a place which was not at all suitable to have
such a statue, especially as it was surrounded by
several huge billboards.
takes on Gayantha on false allegations
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) is to pursue legal action
against United National Party (UNP) Spokesman and
Parliamentarian Gayantha Karunatileka for allegedly
making baseless accusations to the effect that the JHU
had sold its TV and Radio Licences to a businessman for
Rs. 110 million.
JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told The Nation
that the allegations levelled against his party was
utterly baseless and completely false. “They are making
unsubstantial accusations simply to tarnish the party’s
image. We will be taking legal action against
Karunatileka for making such degrading statements
against our party,” he said.
“First, the UNP tried to insult our monks by accusing us
of selling a vehicle permit. Now everyone knows what has
happened to that story. And now they are making up
another story through Gayantha Karunatileka.
Budget on November 7
Budget for the year 2007 has been scheduled to be
presented to Parliament on November 7.
Government sources said that arrangements were being
made to formulate the 2008 Budget, to achieve the
targets in line with Mahinda Chinthana: Vision for Sri
Lanka - a 10 Year Development Framework 2006-2016.
The recent news reports about the much maligned
Mercedes Benz belonging to Ven. Ellawela Medhananda
Thero have fuelled controversy not only about the
games that politicians play but also about the
concept of justice and fair play in this country.
Does the rule of law operate in Sri Lanka anymore?
Maybe it does, but then, does that apply to everyone
or is it implemented selectively for the benefit of
some and to the detriment of others?
The issue about the vehicle permit being sold was
brought to light by United National Party (UNP)
leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who has that terrible
knack of opening his mouth and putting both his feet
Wickremesinghe’s allegations were well-meant and
should have been an eye-opener to all. Instead the
UNP leader’s sentiments were given a twist by the
spin doctors of the government. And, lo and behold,
days later, Wickremesinghe was charged with some
grand conspiracy to destroy the Buddha Sasana by
denigrating the Buddhist clergy!
Credence and some publicity were also given to the
fact the Wickremesinghe was not a Buddhist by birth.
MR takes stock as JVP imposes conditions
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, faced with domestic problems in politics, is now
in the process of testing the waters to ascertain whether he could carry out the
rest of his term without the help of the JVP.
With the exit of the CWC two weeks ago, Rajapaksa inevitably fell into the lap
of the JVP for his political survival and to maintain balance in Parliament.
Although the CWC is back in the fold, there are residual problems to be
addressed and the wounds have not been fully healed for the President to be able
to bank on the CWC.
The President, as a matter of practice, is taking stock of the situation and
last week met with the entire Politburo of the SLMC over dinner.
The President was one hour late, and as he entered the sitting room where SLMC
Leader Rauf Hakeem and others were seated he quipped, “I thought that you all
had left in a huff.” He was referring to his delay
and taking a swipe...
Parliament’s famous mock session
It would be interesting to reflect on what later came to be
known as a mock session of Parliament. Here, two MPs were
charged before the Supreme Court for Breach of Privilege of
Parliament. The case is reported in 57 National Law Review on
Parliament, at the time, met in that majestic building by the
side of the Beira Lake, facing the Indian Ocean. Parliament was
also then known as the House of Representatives, comprising of
just 101 members.
It was April 6, 1955, and Parliament was in session. Then
Minister of Home Affairs, A. Ratnayaka rose to reply at the
conclusion of the debate on a Supplementary Estimate. MP for
Moratuwa, Somaweera Chandrasiri, also rose to speak and insisted
on his right to do so.
However, the Speaker, Sir Albert Peiris, ordered Mr. Chandrasiri
to resume his seat, since the Estimate had by then been fully
CBK—Will she or won’t she?
Chandrika Bandaranayke Kumaranatunga (CBK) seems to have nine
political lives. In November 2005 everyone thought they had seen
the last of CBK when Mahinda Rajapaksa became president with the
aid of her own right-hand man Mangala Samaraweera.
After several instances of public embarrassment, getting kicked
out of UNESCO, and the court ordering her to vacate the official
residence she had secured as head of cabinet ministers, CBK left
the island stating that she had being wronged.
But she is back. A few weeks after writing a well-publicized
letter in which she gave her blessing to the alliance between
the UNP and the SLFP Mahajana wing, CBK returned to Sri Lanka
claiming she had no intention of engaging in active politics.
Asif offered 100 million by ICL
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif has been offered a whopping sum of 100
million rupees to play in the Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that the ICL has offered
Asif Rs 100 million for a three-year contract, and the pacer is carefully
assessing the various aspects of the offer before taking a final decision next
It was reported earlier that both Asif and Shoaib Akhtar had refused the ICL
offers last month, the Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, sources said that the PCB was getting concerned about the
congregation of several Pakistan players in London, and are wary of their
intentions to join the ICL.
They said Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq
Ahmed and Shahid Afridi are all in England these days where a former Test
captain and wicketkeeper are intensely lobbying for the ICL.
The count down has begun to undermine Sri Lanka’s famed spinner Muttiah
Muralitharan as he stands on the portals of cricket history to become the
leading wicket-taker in Test cricket.
As everyone knows Muralitharan is only nine wickets shy of breaking another
famed spinner Australian Shane Warne’s world record of 708 Test wickets and
rewrite his name in the record books as the most prolific wicket-taker in Test
With that historic moment looming large when Sri Lanka tour Australia for two
Tests in November, Muralitharan’s critics have started to sharpen their knives
once again to deprive the spinner of his rightful place in cricket history.
One of his most vociferous critics has been Bishen Bedi, the former Indian
left-arm spinner and captain who has time and again
“Government does not know what diplomacy
Q: How does the UNP view the Holmes controversy?
A: This is another classic example of very amateurish
diplomacy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government. Well,
Holmes asked for the disarming of Karuna group, as I recall,
amongst other issues he raised. It is surprising that the
government has forgotten that in 2006 April in Geneva, the
government gave us a solid undertaking to disarm the Karuna
group to the international community. Now it appears that the
government has changed its mind on this issue.
That is why we have repeatedly said that the government says one
thing abroad and another thing here. When they go abroad, they
bend in two and accept everything without a murmur. However,
here they disclaim it. We have been repeatedly saying that the
government has been unable to handle the international
community. That is why our aid programme is cut and that is why
we have to depend on commercial borrowing at seven percent
which, in my view, is a real burden on the masses.
“Govt. has to say things to avoid
Q: Can you explain what really happened in relation to Dr.
Holmes? Why did the government react so angrily?
A: I am not keen to continue the controversy any further,
especially since Sir John Holmes has faxed a letter to me
yesterday putting in context what he said – about how he saw the
visit and how he appreciated the meeting with the President and
how he is looking forward to working with us and assisting us.
So I think enough has been said about what he did and what we
said – I think the Prime Minister made a statement in parliament
on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka. I don’t think anything
said after that should be taken into consideration above that.
That was the Sri Lankan Premier where he made the government’s
position clear. And now Sir Holmes’ letter to me is a very
positive one in my opinion and really looks towards the future.
So I think we should also move on from this now and find ways in
which to obtain the assistance of our international partners to
help the people in conflict areas. I have forwarded this letter
to the President’s Secretary and Mr. Basil Rajapaksa and several
other key people.