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Sunday September 30th, 2007

Bush will veto Leahy’s resolution-FM
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 inside)

Prohibited list of military items named
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared several high security zones around key defence and economic installations, including...(See inside)


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 Uyana, Colombo
Pic by Nissanka Wijerathne


MR ‘slow tracks’ APRC to buy budget votes
In an obvious move to buy more time owing to the impending budget, President Mahinda...(See inside)

UNP’s federal shift irks Mangala
Former Minister Mangala Samaraweera was visibly...(See inside)




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 inside)

Plum DPL postings for political appointees raise questions
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 ministers themselves...(See inside)

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 between...(See inside)

CAA to take action over illegal rise in flour prices
The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) is planning to take legal action against
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 inside)

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 inside)

Military solution not the answer India, US, tell Rajapaksa
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 ethnic problem.
They were of the opinions that, the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict should be resolved by power...(See inside)

Rain brings fresh problems to Moratuwa tsunami victims
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 inside)





Resolving Lanka’s ethnic issue still a distant dream
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 immediate future.
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 inside)

Buoyant Ranil poised to strike in November
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 inside)


TNA exerts pressure on Prisons Chief
Major 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 inside)

Childhood Lost
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 inside)

Sea Tiger Chief Soosai ‘surfaces’ after accident at sea
The 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 monk.
To many members of the Tamil community, it is the day on which Rasiah Parthiban alias Thileepan died in 1987 at Nallur after a 14-day fast...(See inside)



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 inside)

Collingwood out to avenge 5-0 whitewash
England 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 reverse that...(See inside)

Point Blank
Evenly contested series
England 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 inside)


His brother’s keeper
Q: How do you like being a Member of Parliament in your brother’s government?
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 place?
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, the same?
Q: Will you quit your earlier post as Advisor to the President?
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 inside)




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