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Sunday September 16th, 2007

State banks to foot bill for soldiers houses
Three state banks have been asked by the Central Bank to allocate Rs. 6 billion for a housing project for service personnel, The Nation reliably learns.
The Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, and the National Savings Bank have each been informed by Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal to allocate Rs. 2 billion each for the project. (See inside)

CWC withdraws from collective agreement
The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) has immediately withdrawn from the collective agreement it signed with the plantation companies and the labour department.
The decision has already been conveyed to the employers federation and the labour department through a letter signed by CWC leader...(See inside)



The Examination Department yesterday, with the assistance of teachers, resumed the marking of Advance Level examination papers at Isipathana College in Colombo. The teachers union initially called on all teachers to refrain from taking part in the exam marking crippling the entire process. However the union had to reverse their decision following a Supreme Court order on Friday
(Pic by Nissanka Wijeratne)


Ranil also off to India
Hot on the heels of a supposedly ‘private’ visit undertaken by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to India, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe...(See inside)

Another tsunami on the way?
The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) has warned of more seismic activities...(See inside)




CID visits The Nation
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Friday questioned The Nation journalist Indika Sakalasooriya over his report on the controversial Aston Martin super luxury car which was published on September 9.
The CID officers including SSP Mahesh Perera had recorded a statement from Sakalasooriya after questioning him for around two hours at the Rivira Media Corporation... (See inside)

Mervyn goes to HRC
Minister Mervyn Silva has filed a petition at the Human Rights Commission (HRC), stating that the Bambalapitiya police had misrepresented facts to the magistrates’ court when they were filing a B-report to the court on the Malaka Silva case against Chaminda Senasinghe.
He had stated in his petition to the HRC that Malaka Silva had not mentioned that he used a pistol against Senasinghe as police had reported to court. The police report to the court was in contradiction with the statement made by Malaka Silva, the Labour Minister is reported to have said...(See inside)

Politics rules diplomatic world
Only five out of 20 new diplomatic positions to be made in the near future will be career diplomats. All the others are political appointees and friends of the current administration, The Nation learns.
The Presidential Secretariat has approved a list of 20 persons to be appointed ambassadors to Sri Lankan missions abroad. The majority of them are political and family friends of the Administration. The Nation also learns that further cuts are possible in this list to accommodate more political appointees...(See inside)

Douglas mounts pressure on Govt. over Karuna
Social Services Minister and Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Douglas Devananda , is to mount pressure on the government to take stringent action against Karuna cadres whom he holds responsible for the killing of his cadres.
The minister will take up the issues regarding the assassinations of his cadres, allegedly by the Karuna cadres at the Security Council meeting scheduled for tomorrow, September 17.
The Minister yesterday confirmed to The Nation that it was Karuna’s men who were after his cadres who were not armed...(See inside)

Bishops wants Madhu declared ‘Peace Zone’
Two leading Catholic bishops have appealed to the government to make the Madhu shrine area a ‘peace zone’ and let the thousands of fleeing refugees move in for shelter.
Both Rt. Rev. Malcolm Ranjith, attached to Rome, and Mannar bishop Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph have visited the refugee camps. They also held discussions with the LTTE’s political wing leader, S. P. Tamilselvam, last Thursday, whereby the bishops said the fleeing people must be given proper shelter.
Speaking to The Nation, the Mannar bishop said the LTTE has given an assurance that it will not attack the Madhu church provided there was a similar assurance...(See inside)

Govt says yes, ICRC says no
Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe yesterday assured that the government was ever ready to provide the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with a security guarantee from their end, however, the LTTE continued to remain the main obstacle which had led to the temporary closing of the Uilankulam entry/exit point.
Samarasinghe told The Nation that the government was willing to give a guarantee to the ICRC that there would not be any hindrance from the government side when the ICRC resumed operations at the Uilankulam...(See inside)

Europe may see more outbreaks of chikungunya virus: experts
STOCKHOLM (AFP) - European nations could face further outbreaks of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus following recent cases detected in Italy, health experts gathered here said Friday.
“Similar conditions that resulted in the establishment of local transmission in Ravenna (northern Italy) apply as well in other areas of Europe where the mosquito is present, for example the southern parts of France, the coastal areas of Spain,” said Denis Coulombier, head of the preparedness...(See inside)





Judiciary stands tall amidst political scum
The week that was, was an eventful one generating many headlines: a probable tsunami, the sinking of several terrorist ships, the ‘detention’ of a top terrorist financier in Thailand and a crippling strike by teachers that warranted intervention by the highest court in the land.
The most disturbing headlines came from a different quarter though: an assault, allegedly committed by the son of Minister Mervyn Silva. The assault itself, is now the subject of a judicial inquiry so, we must not prejudge the issue but, it is the Minister’s conduct thereafter, and the matter of politicians’ social responsibility, that we wish to dwell upon.
It has not been unusual for recent governments to have its share of maverick politicians- the modern equivalent of ‘Andarey’ of yore. The Ranasinghe Premadasa regime had Arthur Jayasena Ranasinghe, better known as ‘AJ’, who became infamous by saying he would consider a soup made with Premadasa’s slippers, a delicacy. However, regardless of his culinary perversions and blind loyalty to his namesake, Ranasinghe was never known to threaten or intimidate his fellow citizens...(See inside)

Govt in quandary as people support the UNP
The main question today is whether the UNP and its latest ally, the SLFP(M), can take on the government at the next budget as expected.
This question is being asked not only in UNP circles, but by the masses who have rallied around the UNP, hoping to create a major mid -term upset by forcing the government to dissolve Parliament.
The UNP’s Getembe Convention called upon the government to announce fresh elections, since people were undergoing tremendous hardships under the present regime. The cost of living is skyrocketing. There is hardly any rule of law prevalent in the country. People are being subjected to undue pressure by politicos and their cronies, on the roads and elsewhere: these are some of the pressing issues that the government has failed to solve, the public has charged...(See inside)


Nedumaran hungers to cross Palk Straits
Pazhaniappan Nedumaran, the 74-year-old leader of India’s ‘Thamizhar Desiya Iyakkam’ (Tamil National Movement) has commenced a fast unto death campaign in the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai.
Nedumaran’s fast is an act of protest against the alleged conduct of both the State Government of Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi and the Central Government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Nedumaran charges the Central Government of not responding to his request to grant permission to send food, essential items and medicine through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the suffering civilians of Jaffna. He accuses...(See inside)

Mixed reactions after tsunami warning
While hell broke loose on late Wednesday evening in the coastal areas of the country following a tsunami warning by the government, by Thursday morning the south had returned to normalcy, despite yet another tsunami warning being given early Thursday morning.
The Thursday morning warning was issued following the second earthquake which rocked Sumatra. However, by mid morning, this too was lifted. By noon the south was back to its normal routine. However, there was a sharp drop of almost 80% in vehicular traffic on the Galle Road.
A disturbing sentiment expressed by some of the people in vulnerable areas was that they regretted a tsunami not hitting Sri Lanka even in a small...(See inside)



India beat Pakistan in bowl-out
DURBAN (AFP) - India defeated Pakistan in a bowl-out after the arch-rivals played a heart-stopping tie during the Twenty20 world championships here on Friday.
With Pakistan needing one run to overtake India’s 141-9, Misbah-ul Haq was run out off the last ball of the innings to leave his team on 141-7.
In the bowl-out, Pakistan’s Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi failed to hit the stumps at the other end.
Indian bowlers Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Robin Uthappa hit the wicket each time to give their team a 3-0 win.
Both Pakistan and India qualified for the Super Eights round after ousting Scotland from the race.
A sell-out crowd at the Kingsmead watched a slug fest between the two teams that swung from one corner to the other before the match ended with the scores level.
Pakistan appeared on course to victory when they restricted India to 141-9 after captain Shoaib Malik had won the toss and elected to field in overcast conditions.
But India hit back to reduce Pakistan to 103-6 in the 18th over, leaving the batting side needing a challenging 39 to win off the remaining 14 balls in the low-scoring match...(See inside)

Point Blank
England tour marks 25th anniversary
In a matter of nine days we will have the England team in our midst pitting their wits against Sri Lanka in the one-day form of the game. This series of five matches comes hotly on the heels of the on-going inaugural World Cup Twenty20 tournament in South Africa.
On this occasion England’s tour to Sri Lanka has been split into two with the first half comprising one-day limited over games in the month of October and the second, a series of three Test matches to be played in December.
Whatever forms of the game a tour to Sri Lanka by England is looked forward with great anticipation.
Cricket ties between the two countries dates back to 1882 when an MCC team led by Hon. Ivo Bligh stopped over to play a 2-day match at Galle Face. Since then England (or MCC) had several tours to this country culminating in the first ever Test match played between Sri Lanka and England in February 1982. In fact England’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka will mark 25 years of official cricket played between...(See inside)


Highways boss Fernandopulle rides high
Highways Minister and Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle is a daredevil – not fearing anything or anyone. If he had the nerve to reject President Rajapaksa’s own proposal to have the ‘District’ as the unit of devolution, he also had the audacity to tell his former boss and President Chandrika Kumaratunga, she would be stripped of her post as the patron of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), if she ever joined hands with the National Congress. Fernandopulle always the limelight with bold statements in recent times, also says that the former Head of State has no moral right to talk of democracy within the SLFP, when she, herself, could not practice democracy in her party as Head of State and leader of the SLFP.
Following are excerpts;

Q: The Opposition seems to be gathering momentum, threatening to overthrow the government. How does the Government view this threat?
Similar threats have emerged from the Opposition even previously. But nothing tangible has happened. They challenged the Government several times but nothing happened. In fact, they are clueless about their challenges. They said they would bring a “No Confidence” motion against the Government. We told them to bring the motion before November but, they now want to bring it in January. They said in April, they would take over the government but later, they changed it to June. You see, they have been saying this for the past two years but, nothing ...(See inside)







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