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Sunday September 9th, 2007

Two top LTTE cadres slip through immigration net
Two top LTTE cadres, wanted by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), have slipped through the net of Immigration authorities and fled to Singapore. They have made their get-away with the assistance of one Thavarajah.
The duo had migrated abroad a few weeks ago. Following this development, S. Thavarajah, a former MP and the second most senior member of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) has left for England. Reports reveal that he is unlikely to return... (See inside)

Senasinghe’s fraulein absconding?
The German woman, who had accompanied Chaminda Senasinghe, is reported to have gone missing. The Bambalapitiya Police is on the look out for her to record a statement with regard to Thursday night’s brawl at the Bistro Latino club where Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka assaulted Senasinghe. Senasinghe is reported... (See inside)

 

The stinking truth

In Colombo city, everything stinks – not least the legislators. Yet, the Bloemandal garbage dump takes things to another level. Beneath this huge mountain of waste, a community continues to reside – respiratory disorders, foots sores and unbearable stench notwithstanding. This family scavenges for something valuable, to salvage some hope from our great pile of waste, that they still call home (Pic by Nissanka Wijerathne)

 


Crucial meeting between CWC and President tomorrow
A crucial meeting is scheduled to be held on Monday between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) ministers to iron out the existing...  (See inside)

High level Indo–Lanka defence committee – a bluff
The much hyped Sri Lanka–India high level committee on defence matters, which was reportedly set up last week during a visit undertaken ... (See inside)

 

 

NEWS

CEB opts to buy power at higher price
The crisis ridden Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is set to make yet another massive financial blunder through its attempt to procure renewable energy. By obtaining the renewable energy CEB will be forced to pay an extremely high price for a unit of electricity, derived from wind power, from Enercon, an Indian company.
The Nation reliably learns that the CEB and the Power and Energy ministry have agreed to pay Enercon, which deals in wind energy, US $ 13 cents for every unit of electricity produced from a 50 MW power plant. The power plant is likely to be set up in Kalpitiya, identified as the most viable area for wind power generation in the country.
However, sources pointed out that paying US $ 13 cents for a single unit of electricity generated from wind energy is very expensive. They said that this price is similar to that paid for every unit of electricity generated from oil based fire plants.
“The issue is that the money will be paid in US currency. Taking the present situation into consideration, which includes the high inflation and the present continuing trend in the country, we may even end up paying as much as US $ 20 cents (more than Rs. 20) per a single unit of renewable energy, which is quite hideous,” he emphasised.
This hefty price has also been approved by the Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee which comprises Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando... (See inside)

Discussions underway to re-open Uyilankulam...
Discussions are underway between the government, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the LTTE to re-open the Uyilankulam entry point in Mannar, which remains closed since early last week.
“ICRC is currently discussing the security situation with both parties to the conflict in order to obtain the security guarantee it needs to continue facilitating the smooth passage of civilians and goods between areas controlled by the government of Sri Lanka and those controlled by the LTTE,” the organisation said in a release.
The organisation withdrew its employees from the Uyilankulam point on September 3, citing security fears.
The ICRC in its release reminded the government and the LTTE of their obligation to comply with the international humanitarian law, in particular, to ensure the protection of the civilian population and the safe passage of civilians fleeing conflict areas... (See inside)

SLMM wants 60 monitors
Eight new monitors are scheduled to arrive in the country this week, totaling the number of international observers to 31 at the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).
The Mission’s spokesman Steinar Sveinsson told The Nation yesterday that the new monitors were expected within the next few days, four each from Norway and Iceland.
He also expressed the mission’s hope of augmenting this number further, similar to that enjoyed by the SLMM earlier when the SLMM consisted of monitors from European Union countries.
“We are looking at a target of around 60 international observers for the mission. The SLMM will put forward a request to this soon,” Sveinsson added.
With the eight new monitors, the number of Norwegian observers will increase to 21 and ten from Iceland.
Meanwhile, the Mission in its weekly report which ended on September 2, stated that the security forces had informed the monitors that some 50 LTTE cadres continued to be active in the Trincomalee district... (See inside)

Muslim power threat to Sinhalese in East – JHU
The Jathika Hela Urumaya yesterday expressed fear that the entire Eastern Province will be taken over by the Muslims soon, resulting in the Sinhalese being thrown out of the province.
The party’s spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe charged that Muslims in large numbers were being resettled in the province, following the liberation of the East from the LTTE.
“The large numbers prove a threat to the Sinhalese who live in the province,” Warnasinghe told The Nation.
He charged the National Unity Alliance Leader Ferial Ashraff and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress as the culprits behind this clandestine move by internal and local Muslim extremists to throw out the Sinhalese.
“Earlier the Sinhalese had a problem when they had to flee their houses because of the harassment meted out to them by the Tigers. Now they face a similar threat from the Muslims,” Warnasinghe charged... (See inside)

Impartial probe into Karuna’s child abductions
The Sri Lanka government has conveyed to the United Nations Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, that it would adopt necessary measures to cause an independent and credible investigation into allegations made against some elements of the security forces, in connection with the abduction and recruitment of children by the Karuna faction.

The assurance was made just days after Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe appointed a committee to inquire into the alleged abduction and recruitments of children to be used in the armed conflict.
“The government is fully committed to the rehabilitation and reintegration of child combatants, who escaped from captivity of the armed groups, back into the society. The programme is being done through the provision of a protective environment as well as family reunification and vocational training,” the sources said.
The Committee to Inquire into Allegations of Abductions and Recruitment of Children for Use in Armed Conflict comprises senior officials including Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamlath, Child Development Ministry Secretary Indrani Sugathadasa, Disaster Management Ministry Additional Secretary G.K.D. Amarawardane, Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando and AG’s Department Deputy Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda.
The other members include representative of the Foreign Ministry Secretary, representatives of the three armed forces and police, nominated by the Defence Secretary, the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) Secretary General and the Child Protection... (See inside)

Deputy health Minister, union lock horns over...
Deputy Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, Suresh Vadivel has refuted allegations made by the All Ceylon Health Service Union, that he owned eight vehicles and was trying to purchase a new vehicle for Rs. 10.2 million. Vadivel however, said that he would be privileged if the government was to give him a new vehicle to replace the one he now has as it had broken down.
Speaking to The Nation he said, “This accusation... (See inside)

 

 


 



POLITICS

It is the economy that matters
When a then little known man named Bill Clinton launched his campaign against the incumbent President of the United States, George Bush (Snr.), his campaign strategist James Carville hung a sign in Clinton’s office in Little Rock, Arkansas to constantly remind his candidate what the campaign was all about. That sign simply said, “It’s the economy, you stupid!”
That Clinton trounced Bush at the election that followed notwithstanding the latter’s success in the Gulf War, is now history. But, if there are any strategists left in President Mahinda Rajapakse’s team of advisors at this point in time, they might as well take serious note of Carville’s advice.
In fact, after a long and self imposed slumber, the country’s major opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) also appears to have realised that it is after all the economy that matters. They should know: many believe the short-lived United National Front (UNF) regime collapsed in 2004 partly because its economic benefits were designed to give only long term yields and there was no short term redress for the masses.
Traditionally since independence, UNP governments have been better managers of the economy than Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led coalitions. Thus, while the government of Sirima Bandaranaike in the early seventies is best remembered for the economic hardships it imposed on the country, the J.R. Jayewardene regime that followed is credited with liberalising the economy and paving the way for sustainable reform.
Chandrika Kumaratunge who followed seventeen years of UNP rule was ideologically more of a socialist than a capitalist. But realising that offering to discard the popular open economic policies would be political suicide, she ran with the slogan ‘An open economy with a human face’, a reference to tackling the corruption... (See inside)

Military push halted in favour of devolution package?
Having secured Silavathurai, a relatively small area held by the LTTE in the Mannar District, the government has expressed the desire to hold talks with the LTTE to arrive at a negotiated settlement.
However, the sentiments voiced by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella will not be sufficient to impress the LTTE, since he attached strings to his statement by proclaiming that such talks could only be possible if the LTTE renounces violence and terrorism as a means of achieving its objective.
What is important to observe is that the government is, at least temporarily, not keen to go ahead with its military campaign in the north owing to international pressure and the unfolding drama of human suffering. Though there is a lull in the north right now, people are still living in fear of the war which they have experienced over the years in Wanni and other surrounding areas.
On the other hand, it was reported that the LTTE too is well entrenched in the Wanni and any offensive to take over the area would create severe problems for the government forces.
International support
What the government would want to do is to share power with the Tamils to satisfy the international community with the concurrence of India, so that it could solicit the support of international and regional powers to exert pressure on the LTTE to accept the solution arrived at.
The underlying factor is that India would not want anything more than what it has already devolved to the provinces – a quasi federal system to be given to the LTTE for obvious... (See inside)

NEWS FEATURES

The Bench, Bar & You
Reply: Judging the religious belief - Ahmadiya viewpoint
Advocate, Supreme Court, Pakistan
Mr. Ghauz-ul-Ameen Attorney at Law, contributed an article that was published in
The Nation of May 27, 2007 on ‘The Bench, Bar & You.’ The article is titled, ‘South Africa decides on Qadinis – Supreme Court of South Africa upholds MJC decision.’ It needs to be stated that the ‘Qadianis’ is a pejorative description of Ahmadi Muslims.
He relies on the resolution of March 17, of all Ceylon Jamiyyatul Ulema, the decision of Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) of South Africa and the Supreme Court of South Africa upholding the MJC decision. It is interesting to note that Mr. Ghauzul Amin relies on the decision of the MJC and the MJC in turn relied on a Fatwa from Cairo. About MJC the court observed: “Where the MJC derives the authority to issue Fatwas and impose them on the local Muslim community remains unexplained.” (Supreme Court of South Africa, Cape of Good Hope, Provincial Division—Sheikh Abbas Jassiem Versus Sheikh Nazim Muhammad Case No.1434/86—page 115) and about the Cairo Fatwa the court observed: “it gave no indication of the depth of research... (See inside)

DUTUGEMUNU’S SON ON THE RAMPAGE AGAIN
Mervyn Silva claims to be the direct descendent of the hero King Dutugemunu, but both he and his son Malaka are making headlines these days for reasons far removed from heroism. Junior Silva who seems to be following in his father’s combative footsteps got into yet another brawl last Thursday when he allegedly assaulted a brother of a UNP politician at a night club in Colombo.
Chaminda Serasinghe, brother of UNP Western Provincial Councilor Sujeewa Serasinghe, was beaten up by Malaka Silva at a night club down Duplication Road. The victim claims that Malaka Silva, along with ten of his bodyguards, assaulted him when he visited a popular latino dance club, to have dinner with a German lady. The lady is believed to be the reason for the brawl, since she had once had an intimate relationship with Junior Silva.
Bambalapitiya Police said both parties had lodged complaints, accusing each other of assault. Inspector Abeyratne Dissanayake speaking to The Nation said that Malaka had claimed that Chaminda Serasinghe had hit him on his face while Serasinghe had also lodged a complaint saying that Malaka Silva along with ten other goons, believed to be from the Ministerial Security Division, had beaten him up.
Who hammered whom?
Both Silva and Serasinghe are currently receiving treatment at hospital. The latter speaking to The Nation claimed that he was brutally assaulted by Silva after the politico’s son realised that Serasinghe was with his ex-girlfriend. Serasinghe, who had returned to the island after living abroad for over two decades,.. (See inside)

 

SPORTS

Argentina gatecrash France
PARIS (AFP) - Argentina spectacularly gatecrashed France’s World Cup party on Friday when they kicked off the six-week marathon with a stunning 17-12 upset over the hosts in front of 80,000 people in the Stade de France.
The result delivered a major dent to France’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals from a Pool D which also includes Six Nations Triple Crown winners Ireland.
It was also a blow for the country’s sporting prestige which was so badly bruised by the loss of the 2012 Olympics to London.
“We are overcome with happiness, but we shouldn’t get above ourselves because it is only the first match,” said Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda.
The Pumas scored all of their points in the first half with Ignacio Corleto scoring a breakaway try and Felipe Contepomi, playing alongside brother Manuel, kicking the other points.
David Skrela kicked France’s meagre four-penalty response.
“When you begin a World Cup, and it is imperative to win the match and you lose, you can say only one thing that the sky has fallen in on your head,” said devastated France coach Bernard Laporte.
The defeat was a shattering let down for France which has invested millions in the tournament and has seen the 10 venues in the country bedecked in the French tricolour and submerged in World Cup hype... (See inside)

Point Blank
A charity banquet for a worthy cause
The late Gamini Dissanayake was not renowned only for what he did to raise the standard of Sri Lanka cricket, but unknown to many he also excelled in other diversified fields. One of which was to educate underprivileged students and prepare them to face the 21st century. The Gamini Dissanayake Institute of Technology and Vocational Studies which has been in existence since October 1995 teaches English and Computer Studies to underprivileged students selected on a scholarship basis. In the past 11 years the institute has performed valuable service so much so that all the students who have received Diploma certificates have found gainful employment.
Following the outstanding success they’ve had, the institute has been relocated from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya.
The Grand Charity Banquet that was held at the Waters Edge Grand Ballroom to honour Dissanayake’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s entry to world cricket turned out to be an outstanding success being attended by 700 people including the cream of past cricketers, administrators and corporate personnel. The presence of the Sri Lanka team led by Mahela Jayawardene to honour a person of Dissanayake’s caliber was appreciated by all and applauded. The purpose of the banquet was to raise much needed funds for the Institute and in that aspect one should say the organisers were successful considering the turn out that brought in substantial revenue running into some million rupees. It was money.. (See inside)

INTERVIEWS

Govt. point man against corruption
Justice Minister Dilan Perera seems to be walking a tight rope, following the war of words he had with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and others at last week’s parliamentary group meeting. Perera, an outspoken politician, says that he will not hesitate to highlight corruption and expose it without any fear or favour. This is not the first time Perera has come out against corruption and bribery. He was the only government minister to speak in support of a federal system, and even participated at the anti war front rally, for which he was called a Tiger. He told The Nation in an interview, that if he had not stood by his principles, he would have today been “on Cabinet and not non Cabinet” (minister).
Following are excerpts;
Q: You are now at the center of controversy, following the war of words you had with the President and others at the group meeting held last week. What prompted you to enter into an argument?
A:
Firstly, it would be wrong on my part to explain what happened at the group meeting or, even the Cabinet for that matter. Also, I can’t call it a war of words. Since the COPE report has become controversial only, all these problems have cropped up. I think this is one of the best reports that the COPE has ever produced and I will stand by it at any forum.... (See inside)

Joseph blames UNP dissidents for hardships of public
The strength provided by the UNP dissident MPs who joined the government has helped the present government to place untold hardships on the people. They have also helped the government to indulge in waste and corruption with impunity They have thus, by their actions, betrayed the mandate of the people on which they were elected as UNP members. So said Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera in an interview with The Nation.
Perera was commenting on the remarks made by the dissident UNP members at a press conference that it was to strengthen the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and create a stable government, that they had joined the government. They would thus stand by the government and thwart any attempts to topple it.
Q: The United National Party together with the Mangala Samaraweera wing of the SLFP are holding campaigns throughout the country vowing to topple the government. President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the recent annual convention of the SLFP said that the present government was a strong one with half the UNP members of Parliament joining it. The dissident UNP Members at a recent press conference too have pledged their continued support to solve the pressing problems faced by the people. Any comments?
A:
There is no doubt that the dissident UNP Members have given the government the desired majority in Parliament. It is because of this majority that the government has been encouraged to impose burdens on the people with impunity, in order to cover up the waste of public funds, corruption and other malpractices that are rampant due to the inefficient administration. The pledges given to the people at the last Presidential elections have not been fulfilled and the slogan `Mahinda Chintana’ has become... (See inside)



 
 

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