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Sunday September 23rd, 2007

Rs. 48 bn. loss for CEB next year
Losses surpass defence budget
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has projected a loss of a staggering Rs. 48 billion from power generation for the year 2008, surpassing even the country’s annual defence expenditure, Board of Investment (BOI) Chief, Dhammika Perera told The Nation yesterday.
Climbing world oil prices and the fact that Sri Lanka is dependent upon fuel oils to produce electricity has resulted in the heavy projected losses for the CEB in the next four years, Perera added.
The CEB is also slated to lose Rs. 57 billion in 2009 and the figure will rise to Rs. 70 billion in 2010. In 2011, the CEB’s projected...(See inside)

Special Advisory Council for North
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who will establish two Provincial Councils for the North and East shortly, is likely to appoint an Advisory Council to run the affairs of the Northern Provincial Council. The President will establish the two provincial councils by gazette notification under 154A of the Constitution which states: Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, a Provincial Council shall be established for every Province specified in the English Schedule with effect from such date or dates...(See inside)

 

Well set for public life

Basil Rajapaksa, the latest Rajapaksa brother to take oaths as a member of parliament last week, looked well set to step into public life when he was captured entering the BMICH for a workshop last morning on the Eastern Resurgence programme organised by the Nation Building Ministry, which is expected to come under his purview soon
Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara

 


Sri Lanka in a last ditch attempt to save the country from being sanctioned by US
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington DC, along with top officials from the Foreign Ministry in Colombo, have commenced lobbying against an attempt by Senator Patrick Leahy to influence the US administration to impose sanctions and a ban on military assistance to Sri Lanka.
Embassy officials in Washington DC and Foreign Ministry top...(See inside)

Lankan Ambassador to France recalled
The Sri Lankan Ambassador to France, Chitrangani Wagiswara, has been recalled by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, The Nation reliably learns. So far, the Minister...(See inside)

 

 

NEWS

President to hold high level meetings in New York
President Rajapaksa, who is due to arrive in New York today to take part in the 62nd United Nations General Assembly, is scheduled to hold several high level meetings with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, US President George Bush, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Norway’s International Development Minister Eric Solheim during his stay.
The President is expected to discuss how his government is trying to solve the country’s ethnic conflict—which has lasted more than two decades—during these high level meetings. Rajapaksa will also touch upon the efforts made by the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) in finding a lasting solution to the conflict...(See inside)

Legal review of COPE report passed to Bribery Commission tomorrow
The legal section of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) is to hand over its review of the COPE report to the Chairman of the Commission tomorrow.
According to Director General of the Bribery Commission, P. Ranasinghe, its legal section is currently in the process of reviewing the malpractices of public enterprises that the parliamentary COPE report has found guilty.
“We cannot straight away say that all the institutions which the COPE report had highlighted as institutions that have malpractices are 100% corrupt, as there is always the legal side which we have to look into...(See inside)

No entry for Muslim mom
Fresh controversy has arisen with regard to the ‘dress-code’ in a girls’ school in Colombo, after a Muslim mother was refused entry to her daughters’ school because she was wearing the traditional head scarf.
The incident had occurred at Rathnaweli Balika Maha Vidyalaya in Borella recently, when the mother had attempted to enter the school to meet the principal. However at the gate, she had been stopped by the security officer, who had demanded...(See inside)

JVP warns general strike likely if no worker bonanza in budget
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday warned of a general strike by the working masses of both private and public sectors, in the event the government fails to accommodate the workers’ demand of a Rs. 3000 minimum salary hike in the forthcoming budget.
The JVP is demanding that the government accommodates a minimum salary increase of Rs. 3000 per month for public servants and private sector employees when it presents its third budget in November later this year.
JVP Trade Union Front Leader and Parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha told The Nation, in addition to the minimum pay hike, the workers were also demanding that the government grant them the full cost of living...(See inside)

Two key ministers say no to UN jaunt
Two important ministers who had been asked to join President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s entourage to the UN have opted to stay back, citing various reasons for declining the trip.
According to informed sources, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and Douglas Devananda will not join the President’s delegation as scheduled.
Source revealed that Minister Fernandopulle is indisposed and would therefore remain in the country. While Minister Devananda is also likely to be participating in another conference in Malaysia...(See inside)

Karuna group well protected by authorities – SLMM
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) has warned of growing insecurity in the Eastern Province owing to the atrocities of the Karuna faction—also known as the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP)—which included killing, abductions, and the extortion of money from local businesses in the province.
The SLMM, however, noted that despite the growing insecurity in these areas, “The TMVP/Karuna group was well protected by the authorities and thus even the police are reluctant to pursue them in certain areas.”...(See inside)

CMC officials hand billions to henchmen – Vasu
The opposition leader of Colombo Municipal Council (CMC),Vasudeva Nanayakkara, yesterday alleged that around Rs. 2.5 billion is misappropriated annually by the Council administrator, with the majority of the misappropriated money being handed down to the ‘henchmen’ who are working closely with top officials at the CMC.
Nanayakkara, citing examples of certain fraudulent dealings in the council, pointed out that instead of purchasing asbestos sheets at Rs. 746.23 from one company, the CMC had instead purchased these asbestos...(See inside)

 

 


 



POLITICS

Can Basil rescue Mahinda’s sinking ship?
Politics in Sri Lanka maybe moving at a pace faster than what we saw at the Twenty-20 cricket World Cup in South Africa, but last week saw a development that may well have repercussions in the political arena for years to come: the nomination of presidential advisor and sibling Basil Rohana Rajapaksa to Parliament.
The appointment of Rajapaksa comes at a time when President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been targeted by the opposition, mostly the United National Party (UNP), for attempting to convert the country into a ‘sahodara samaagama’ the Brothers’ Society - which has been a main slogan of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Family politics is nothing new to this country, or for that matter to South Asian democracies such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh which...(See inside)

Enter Basil
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s political acumen as a shrewd politician was amply displayed last week with his latest appointment to Parliament through the national list.
He showed the opposition that he is equally smart when he appointed his younger brother and Senior Advisor on International Affairs, Basil Rajapaksa to Parliament to fill the void created by the demise of Non-Cabinet Minister Anwer Ismail.
The presence of Basil Rajapaksa in Parliament is singularly important for the President, given the political climate in the country. The President’s idea may be to keep all his Parliamentarians on their toes and to obtain their maximum input to Parliamentary debates and keep his side intact without allowing it to be eroded any further...(See inside)

NEWS FEATURES

Full-scale war imminent on the northern front
It’s ‘unofficially’ official now! Three things are certain.
There’s going to be a big war in the Northern Province against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
There will be no let up until the objective of vanquishing the Tigers is achieved. Even if it is not feasible, an ongoing relentless attempt will be made.
There won’t be any political solution until and unless the military goal of eradicating ‘terrorism’ (read LTTE) is fulfilled.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa emphasised the above three points unambiguously at Trincomalee last week. The occasion was the felicitation ceremony for the navy for reportedly destroying three ships, allegedly...(See inside)

The Bench, Bar & You
The much sought after Labour Tribunal Journal has arrived
The current issue of The Labour Tribunal Journal, the much sought after publication of the Labour Tribunal Presidents’ Association, is now available. This issue, which is volume one of part eight, contains many very well researched and erudite contributions from well known practitioners, both on the law as it exists and on proposals for law reform.
The opening is by a giant in the field of industrial relations, S.R. de Silva. Appropriately, on the 50th anniversary of the amendment to the Industrial Disputes Act in 1957, which paved the way for the establishment of labour tribunals to adjudicate labour disputes, de Silva examines the necessity in transforming the labour judiciary...(See inside)

NEWS MAKERS :
Basil R. on National List of percentages
Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa was sworn in as a National List MP of the government on Wednesday (19 amidst applause from government MPs and protests, including placards saying “10%” by UNP parliamentarians. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal looked on from the VIP’s gallery, like three ‘guardian angels.’
The general chaos boiled onto the next day, after Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi alleged that Basil Rajapaksa played a major role in the alleged secret deal between the government and the LTTE. Basil Rajapaksa refuted the allegations that he, together...(See inside)

 

SPORTS

Gibson - England’s new bowling consultant for Lanka tour
Durham all-rounder Ottis Gibson is to work with England as a bowling consultant during their one-day and Test series in Sri Lanka.
He will replace South African Allan Donald, who is unavailable because of long-standing TV commitments.
Gibson, who played two Tests and 15 one-dayers for West Indies in the 1990s, has enjoyed a memorable summer.
He has taken 78 Championship wickets, including all 10 in an innings against Hampshire in July.
The 38-year-old also claimed 3-24 in the Friends Provident Trophy final at Lord’s the following month as Durham beat Hampshire to win their first major trophy.
He has been offered a contract for next summer by the club, but is also keen to develop...(See inside)

Point Blank
The new threat to cricket
Any new product put out on the shelves will always be reviewed with a great deal of circumspection initially. After a period of time it will either become a hit with the public or a flop depending on what it has to offer.
That is how the new format of cricket introduced by the world governing body for the game the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be reviewed. Diversified opinions on the ICC’s new tournament the Twenty20 World Cup which is currently taking place in South Africa have been expressed by virtually all and sundry with critics, past captains, past players and officials all joining the bandwagon.
Whether the new format of instant cricket will come to stay only time will tell, but it is a new innovation of the game and from the way it has been projected to the public in South Africa and to millions of television viewers around...(See inside)

INTERVIEWS

Veteran battle scarred politician Devananda determined to use old system to find new solutions
Social Services and Social Welfare Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda whose experience in politics and the battlefield covers almost 3 decades, is determined to find a political solution to the ethnic crisis. Having fought from the thick jungles against the governments for 15 years, he later joined the mainstream of politics realising the futility of war. Today, he counts an additional 15 years of experience in politics and is keen to put forward a set of proposals that do not require either an amendment to the Constitution or two thirds in parliament to solve the prolonged ethnic strife in Sri Lanka. According to him, the proposals would be made public shortly. In order to make this a reality, he says that firstly, the 13th amendment should be fully implemented. “After this, things will automatically fall into place. This is a sure way to find salvation if the proposals are taken seriously,” he told The Nation in an interview.
Following are excerpts;
Q: How do you view the government’s plan to solve the ethnic crisis?
A:
The present government unlike the previous ones is determined to find a political solution. The measures taken so far to resolve the crisis are commendable. The President appointed the APRC and it is in the process of releasing its final report and we are all looking...(See inside)

JVP says government totally out of touch with the people
Q: There have been many mixed signals lately. What is the JVP’s actual opinion of this government?
A:
Our position about this government is this. This government was formed in 2004 with the support of the JVP as well. Then because of some of the things that the government did wrong, we had no option but to quit the government.
But then, in 2005, we supported President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s candidature at the presidential poll. Then we presented 20 demands to the government as conditions of our rejoining. But President Rajapaksa rejected those proposals and decided to go ahead with a group of UNPers in the government.
At that time also it was our position that if the government would proceed according to the mandates it had received in 2004 and 2005, we would remain in opposition and support the government from outside on an issue by issue basis...(See inside)



 
 

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