Sunday September 30th, 2007
|Bush will veto
An optimistic Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama
believes that US President George W. Bush, will veto Senator
Patrick Leahy’s resolution, which if passed, will block military
and other aid to the country.
“We are not worried about this resolution. The Sri Lankan
government strongly believes that the US authorities will
continue their military assistance to our country,” Minister
Bogollagama told The Nation in New York, while attending the
62nd sessions of the General Assembly of the...(See
Prohibited list of military items named
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared several high
security zones around key defence and economic installations,
The Nation’s day out with children
A group of differently-abled
children quench their thirst with soft drinks at yesterday’s
celebrations held to mark the World’ Children’s Day at Sathutu
Pic by Nissanka Wijerathne
|Mervyn’s twin rocks Puttalam
It is safe to say that not many members of the public had any
idea who on earth K.A. Baiz was, until last week. With so many
defections and new parties from among the minority political
groups, who could keep up?
However, last week, Sri Lanka Muslim Congres (SLMC) National
Organiser and Deputy Minister of Livestock Development in the
Rajapaksa Administration, Baiz, sprang into the limelight and
notoriety, when he flaunted his pistol before large crowds in
Puttalam and threatened to shoot a fellow Muslim minister, if he
were to set foot in the district again...(See
Plum DPL postings for political appointees raise
A group of
political appointees are soon to be attached to some of the most
vital Sri Lankan Missions abroad, causing ripples within the
foreign service, The Nation learns.
The question has arisen as to whether these appointments
are unconstitutional, since the 17th amendment
stipulates that all such appointments to the public
service must be made through the Public Services
Commission. Instead, the new appointments are to be made
by the Cabinet of Ministers, and ratified by the
Rice crisis looms
A rice shortage is looming, following a decision taken by rice
importers to immediately cease further imports as a result of
the new price hike slapped on the product by the government.
Rice importers are finding it difficult to foot the high tax and
duty, which has seen a drastic increase in the recent months.
The Essential Food Commodity Importers and Traders Association
Media Secretary, Hemaka Fernando, told The Nation that, with the
new price hike, superior quality samba rice, which used to cost
CAA to take action over illegal rise in flour prices
The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) is planning to take legal
Prima Ceylon Ltd for illegally increasing the price of flour by
Rs. 13 without the Authority’s prior approval. Incidentally,
this is the fourth time the company has increased its prices
without consulting the CAA.
The Secretary of the CAA, R.M.K. Rathnayake, is reported to have
noted the Authority cannot take action against the increase of
the price of bread and other bakery items, but it can take legal
action against the flour company for increasing the price
without prior approval.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the All Ceylon Bakery...(See
Imminent threat of data loss in Inland Revenue
The Inland Revenue Department,
much in the news in recent times, with the VAT scandal, is now
in for another scandal with the imminent threat of data loss and
fraud, because of its obsolete computer system.
The computer network of the Department consisting of only a few
computers, has become obsolete, because of the failure of key
officials to upgrade the system, despite the Asian Development
Bank (ADB) offering financial support to do so.
The ADB, in 1995, had given a project loan...(See
Military solution not the answer India, US, tell
The United States and the Indian governments have demanded from
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, not to pursue a military solution
to the country’s over two decade long ethnic conflict.
During meetings held between Rajapaksa, and India’s External
Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and US Under- Secretary for
Political Affairs Nicholas Burns in New York last week, the two
countries had campaigned for a political solution to Lanka’s
They were of the opinions that, the Sri Lankan ethnic
conflict should be resolved by power...(See
Rain brings fresh problems to Moratuwa
The District Secretary of Moratuwa, V K Somapala yesterday
claimed that the government was running out of money to support
tsunami rehabilitation projects.
He told the Nation that as a result of this problem, the
District Secretariat was jammed with many tsunami related
projects, which cannot be completed due to lack of funds.
The statement came after the temporary shelters of the 35
tsunami affected families in Moratuwa burned down due to an
electrical short circuit...(See
Resolving Lanka’s ethnic issue still a distant
Buoyant Ranil poised to strike in
The fine art of doublespeak came into vogue last week as both the
government and the opposition grappled with contentious issues, possibly
with the same objective-that of securing power for themselves in the
The government’s posturing was enacted in far away New York where
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was attending the 62nd General Assembly of
the United Nations. Although the state media made much of the fact that
the President was one of the few heads of state speaking on the
inaugural day of the sessions, Rajapakse’s attention lay elsewhere: on
the many human rights groups keen to embarrass him on the world’s stage.
At his address to the United Nations itself, Rajapaksa was not in a
compromising mood. Speaking in Sinhala to a sparse audience, he declared
that terrorism anywhere...(See
Has the main opposition, the United National Party, woken up
to reality? This is the question being posed by many, in the
aftermath of the remarks that were made by Colombo District UNP
Leader Ravi Karunanayake last week. At a press briefing on
Tuesday, Karunanayake announced the UNP’s desire to stick to the
unitary nature of the Constitution when devolving power to the
strife ridden northern and eastern provinces of the country.
Earlier, the UNP notwithstanding the ideas expressed by various
other political entities such as the JVP and the JHU, advocated
federalism as a solution for the country’s ethnic conflict.
Surprisingly, however, the UNP has now thought it fit to go
along with the thinking of what appears to be that
of the majority, following the military successes...(See
TNA exerts pressure on Prisons
General Vajira Wijegunawardena is the first military officer to
be appointed as Commissioner General of Prisons. After the
discovery of a tunnel under the Kalutara prison dug by LTTE
detainees, the Commissioner received a lot of media attention.
While many used adjectives like “quick thinking”, “experienced”,
and “intuitive” to describe his decision to transfer the
prisoners to Welikada, commenting that this had prevented a
probable prison break, reports have appeared that say the LTTE
has placed a contract out for his assassination...(See
The bone fide of the Government has been seriously questioned,
after it opted to turn a blind eye to the continuous pattern of
abductions, recruitment and use of children by the ‘Karuna’
group in the east.
The United Nations Security Council that focused its attention
on the LTTE, for using child soldiers in combat, has now pointed
fingers at the ‘Karuna’ group as well.
Concern has been expressed by the Council of the fact that the
‘Karuna’ faction had abducted children from areas considered to
be Government controlled - raising questions about the
complicity with certain elements...(See
Sea Tiger Chief Soosai ‘surfaces’ after
accident at sea
significance of the date September 26 has become another example
of differences in perception illustrating the ethnic divide in
Sri Lanka. To most members of the Sinhala community, it is the
day on which Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike died in
1959 after being shot in Colombo the previous day by a Buddhist
To many members of the Tamil community, it is the day on which
Rasiah Parthiban alias Thileepan died in 1987 at Nallur after a
|Tie-breaker ODI series
Sri Lanka is to exploit the absence of Andrew Flintoff and capitalise
on it fully when they take on England in a five-match one-day international
series starting at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium tomorrow.
Flintoff was forced to pull out of the Sri Lanka series and return home
following a troublesome left ankle. The England all-rounder also missed out the
last one-day series played between the two countries in 2006 where England lost
at home 5-0.
“Andrew is a top class all-rounder. To have him in the side gives England more
balance in their attack because he is a batting all-rounder who bowls really
well,” Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene told ‘The Nation’.
“With him England’s combination is much better...(See
Collingwood out to avenge
one-day captain Paul Collingwood believes he has the team to beat Sri Lanka and
avenge their 5-0 thrashing at home last year.
“The squad we have got is exciting. A young bunch of guys who are excited about
coming to a country that’s difficult to play cricket in. That’s a massive
challenge for us,” Collingwood said.
“If we can come over here and do very well it will be very satisfying. Not many
England sides have come over here and won a series. We are determined to do
that,” Collingwood said.
“It was very disappointing to lose 5-0 at home. We’ve
got an opportunity now to come out here and hopefully
Evenly contested series
is with us initially for five one-day internationals and any tour here by a team
from Old Blighty arouses great interest among the cricketing fraternity in the
country. They are due to return again in December for three Test matches.
One should not forget that England along with other cricket nations like
Australia, India and Pakistan were responsible for providing Sri Lanka with
international competition during the pre-Test era by coming here to play
unofficial test matches. These contests enabled Sri Lanka’s cricketers to pit
their wits against the established Test nations and later helped them in their
application for full membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Thus it was no surprise that after Sri Lanka became...(See
His brother’s keeper
Q: How do you like being a Member of Parliament in your
A: You see, since 1936, the Rajapaksas have been
representatives within the Sri Lankan Parliament. First, it was
D.M. Rajapaksa. Then, it was my father, D.A. Rajapakse. Then,
there were Lakshman, George, Mahinda, Chamal, Nirupama and so
on. And now, it is me. That means the Rajapaksas have been in
Parliament for almost 71 years. So, I take it as a honour but,
certainly, not as a privilege. I feel that, under the leadership
of the President, the Prime Minister, the leader of the House
and especially, the chief government whip Jeyeraj Fernandopulle,
I will be able to make a more constructive contribution to Sri
Lanka and to the government.
Q: Prior to engaging in local politics, you were a US
citizen. How do you intend applying some of the experiences you
gained in the US, in Sri Lanka, to make the island a better
A: My dream is to make Sri Lanka a land of opportunity. This
is the biggest lesson I learnt in the US. The US is widely known
as the land of opportunity. So, why not we make Sri Lanka too,
Q: Will you quit your earlier post as Advisor to the
A: No. The President might ask me to remain as his advisor.
Even during President Chandrika’s tenure, there were Lakshman
Kadirgamar and Anura Bandaranaike holding similar posts, while
functioning as MPs. So, I would like to assist the President in
the same way, as I did before...(See