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Sunday October 21st, 2007

SL can’t crush Tigers, says terror expert
There is no way the Sri Lankan government will be able to crush the LTTE and giving wide political autonomy to the Tamil people is the only answer, a leading European counter-terrorism expert told the Reuters news agency yesterday, prompting a swift rebuttal from government quarters. (See inside)

Foreign currency surplus to bring $ to Rs. 110?
The foreign currency surplus is likely to bring the dollar to Rs. 110 , highly placed government sources predicted yesterday. He said that it would stabilise the country’s money market which was falling apart due to inflation...(See inside)

Party leaders’ meeting on Moragoda issue tomorrow
Speaker L.J.M. Lokubandara has summoned a party leaders’ meeting tomorrow, to discuss the no-faith motion against Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda. (See inside)


Pakistan in turmoil

A man rides his donkey cart beside burning carts set on fire by supporters of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto during a protest in Karachi. Pakistan probed a list of possible suspects given by former premier Bhutto after a suicide assassination bid that bloodied her return from exile (AFP)

US renews travel warnings to North, East
The United States has again updated its travel warning to Sri Lanka, following Monday’s surprise LTTE attack in Yala targeting an army detachment.
The most recent travel advisory has alerted American citizens traveling to or living in Sri Lanka, about the continuing danger of terrorist actions against military, government, and economic targets in certain areas of the country.
The United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs in its most latest advisory issued on Friday specifically...(See inside)

Queries on the MAS deal
MAS Holdings has paid Rs. 1.2 billion for the Thulhiriya Fabric Park which was ceremoniously opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday.
However, the gazette notification stated that the park’s assets included land and fixed assets and the government has valued the park at Rs. 2.3 billion.
However, business...(See inside)




Fishy rural electrification project
The Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has rapped top officials of the power and energy ministry over a controversial decision taken by a tender committee on a Swedish funded rural electrification project, which disqualified the lowest bidder, and instead recommended that the deal be awarded to either the second or the third highest bidder. (See inside)

Heavy fighting in North
Heavy fighting took place in Mannar North and Vavuniya yesterday, with the military claiming that 16 LTTE cadres had been killed during the attacks. (See inside)

Hotels hit by Yala attack
Sri Lanka’s already dwindling tourist arrivals received a further blow last week, following Monday’s surprise LTTE attack on an army detachment in Yala, with leading hotels in the area reporting drastic cancellations from both local and foreign tourists alike, due to security concerns. The incident was timely, from the LTTE’s point of view, when considering the fact that the Park’s peak tourist period was just two weeks away.
Leading star class hotels around the National Park reported that cancellations in the attack’s aftermath, exceeded 25%, from both foreign as well as local visitors.
A spokesman for Yala Village Hotel said “25% of the reservations were cancelled on the 16th and another 21% of bookings were cancelled...(See inside)

Storm brewing over controversial estate agreement
Plantation trade unions are sharply divided over the recently signed collective agreement with the Employers’ Federation, seeking a wage hike for the plantation workers.
The Employers’ Federation signed the collective agreement with the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union (LJEWU) on October 10.
According to the agreement, the plantation management companies managing the estates agreed to increase the daily wage of the workers by an additional Rs. 30.
However, the agreement clipped the wings of all the trade unions by including a clause preventing the unions from asking for any more...(See inside)

JVP, UNP,SLFPM, in show of solidarity against Moragoda
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has decided to support the no confidence motion against Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda which was submitted to Parliament by the SLFP – Mahajana Wing and the United National Party (UNP).
The JVP arrived at this decision on Friday during its weekly political bureau meeting.
Citing reasons for their decision to go against the Minister, the JVP noted that Moragoda has been identified in the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) report for misusing public money during the period 2001-2004, under the UNP government...(See inside)

Foreign Ministry deprives expat Lankans of voting
Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake castigated the foreign ministry and the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for their sluggish attitudes towards enfranchising Sri Lankan migrants, in violation of their voting rights.
Speaking at a workshop on voting rights of Sri Lankan expatriates, organised by the Migrant Services Centre last week, Dissanayake said, “I made my submissions on voting rights for expatriates, to the PSC in 2003. It wasn’t taken seriously. I have tried my best to get information from the Foreign Ministry on how many have got citizenship in other countries. They are not concerned about this and so, thousands of migrant Lankans are losing...(See inside)

BIA ATC one-eyed
A specialist from Rome has been brought down along with the necessary mechanical parts to restore the damaged radar at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), sources told The Nation.
“We have got down the necessary spare parts from a manufacturer in Rome. A specialist on the subject arrived in the country on Friday,” sources said.
Meanwhile, air traffic controllers, with the remaining secondary antenna, are using an alternative method called Procedure Control to guide...(See inside)





Lessons learned from the Silvas’ follies
This country must surely owe a debt to Malaka Silva and his more famous father, Mervyn Silva.
Obviously it is not for going about their business, threatening all and sundry and causing commotion and controversy wherever they choose to make their appearances. Instead, it would be for awakening a sense of fair play and civic consciousness among a large section of the general public.
The Silvas, Mervyn and Malaka, were by no means the first to flex their political muscles. There were other ministers and ministerial offspring who threw their weight about, but thankfully, the offspring quietly disappeared from the landscape, perhaps because saner counsel prevailed on them.
The politicians themselves though are still around, such as the likes of D.M. Dassanayake and Susantha Punchinilame for instance. They could give Mervyn Silva a good run for his money in the art of political gung-ho. This has been a political culture that has evolved over the last twenty five years or so, as politics in general became ...(See inside)

‘MAHINDA-MANMOHAN affair’ has UNP out of step
The Indian bureaucracy is perturbed over press leaks from their side that India was prepared to give military assistance to Sri Lanka (SL).
It appears that the Indian government wanted to give whatever assistance possible to the SL government to face the LTTE threat but, keep it under wraps.
However, analysts see this approach differently, because SL, on earlier occasions, turned to China and Pakistan to procure arms.
Analysts are of the view that the Indians, in wanting to assert its power in the South Asian region, were trying to persuade SL to buy military hardware from India, without going to other countries in the region.
The Indian government is of the view that the SL armed forces are much more disciplined and conscious of the rights of the civilians now, in comparison to the initial offensives carried out by the forces in Mavil Aaru and other places in the east.
However, it is learnt that the Indians were not too happy with the discussions they had with...(See inside)


Beware: Monsters on the road
Traffic violations are not uncommon occurrences anywhere in the world. Yet, in Sri Lanka, private buses not only violate traffic laws but tend to hijack traffic signs meant for them and put on display for notice of the public
The Priority Give-Way sign, or the bright red triangle, displayed on the front of the buses for notice of the public gives out a conspicuously menacing message: give me priority and move out of my way.
Should the public and other motorists dutifully move out of the way of these speeding long distance travelling fiends, or should we take a step back and examine what right these owners and drivers have to display such a sign?..(See inside)

Ceylon Electricity Board drifting to the dark side
The Ceylon Electricity Board which currently has accumulated a colossal loss of over Rs 90 billion, is well on the way to add to that mind blowing figure, thanks to some drastic decisions taken by the Ministry of Power and Energy and a few officials. This has seen one of the key power projects envisioned by the energy sector, the Kerawalapitiya duel fuel combined cycle power plant, poised to make a massive loss even before it is built.
It has now been reliably learned that Ministry of Power and Energy had recommended to the cabinet of ministers to go ahead with the worst offer from among four offers made, to build the Kerawalapitiya power...(See inside)



Electric Argentina win bronze final
PARIS, - A thrilling bronze final contest saw Argentina complete an IRB Rugby World Cup double over France, following their opening day victory with a 34-10 win at Parc des Princes.
It was Argentina’s biggest Test win against the French.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Argentina scored a contender for try of the tournament. Ignacio Corleto skimmed through the French defence on the left, offloading to Manuel Contepomi who spread it right. Two huge passes later it reached wing Federico Martin Aramburu who dived over in the corner. Felipe Contepomi couldn’t cap the score with two points, skewing the conversion wide.
With France under the cosh at 22-3, the entrance of second row Sébastien Chabal saw Argentina go down to 14 men. Juan Manuel Leguizamón clattered Chabal with a bodycheck that was both late and deemed dangerous by the referee.
It mattered not for Los Pumas. After Argentina turned over a France attack, Corleto took a pass from Horacio Agulla to hare near the length of the pitch to score in the corner and put the match out of the hosts’ reach. With Felipe Contepomi missing from the touchline, Argentina led 27-3.
France restored some pride with 12 minutes...(See inside)

Point Blank
Atapattu issue a good eye-opener for officialdom
The six-month ordeal which former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu underwent at the hands of the selection committee headed by former Sri Lanka fast bowler Ashantha de Mel ended with him being recalled to the national team for the Test tour of Australia.
Even that was made an eventuality because Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge stepped into the scene to douse the fire that was building up between De Mel and Atapattu who were trading words at each other in the media.
From the statements made by both individuals to the media it was quite clear that relationship between them were strained. However as chairman of selectors De Mel held a responsible position and he should not have used that to gain revenge on Atapattu for whatever the reason was between them. Apparently Atapttu was made to feel that De Mel was after his blood during the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, when he was present as the selector on tour, where Atapattu did not get a single game. Further humiliation on the senior cricketer followed when he was ignored for the one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. Unable to contain the treatment meted...(See inside)


Govt. sans credibility puts Nation in ‘bondage
UNP front-liner and vociferous critic of the government, Lakshman Seneviratne has lashed out at the government’s decision to secure the US$ 500 million foreign Bond. He says that the government’s desperate attempt over this was because its credibility was at stake. He told The Nation that the government was not prepared to go before legitimate lending agencies such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) because of its poor track record. “The government’s track record is so poor that they are not even able to go for a loan through proper channels,” he said. He further charged that the government’s constant ‘attacks’ on UN officials and other foreign dignitaries, have tarnished the image of the country. “It is now beyond redemption. There is a limit to everything. But this government goes on without any sense of diplomacy,” he said.
Following are excerpts:
Q: Why is the UNP jittery over the government’s US$ 500 million foreign Bond?
I am surprised that only the UNP is getting worked up over this. In fact, the entire country should get upset. When there are other institutions like the WB, the ADB, to grant loan facilities at .05% interest rate, I don’t understand why the government should obtain a loan at 7.5%. When we get...(See inside)




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