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.
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
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.
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
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.
|Fishy rural electrification
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.
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.
Hotels hit by Yala attack
Storm brewing over controversial
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
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
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
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
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
|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
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
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
‘MAHINDA-MANMOHAN affair’ has UNP out
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
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
Ceylon Electricity Board drifting to the
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
|Electric Argentina win
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
Atapattu issue a good eye-opener
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
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
Following are excerpts:
Q: Why is the UNP jittery over the government’s US$ 500 million
A: 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