Sunday November 18th, 2007
President rules out
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ruled out the possibility of
dissolving Parliament in the face of threats posed by the
opposition to defeat him at tomorrow’s crucial budget voting...
MR woos Rajapakshe
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday met with dissident MP
Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who crossed the floor on Wednesday,...
Mission in Eritrea to
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on
Wednesday moved the Cabinet to approve a Sri Lanka mission in
Eritrea, as a precaution against the LTTE claiming Unilateral...
Who will have the last laugh?
Despite locking horns in the
political arena, especially with the impending budget vote,
neither President Mahinda Rajapaksa nor Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe showed any animosity towards each other when they
met yesterday, at the funeral house of Elina Jayewardene, wife
of former President J.R Jayewardene. A beaming President
Rajapaksa is seen chatting away with Wickremesinghe, watched by
Ravi Jayewardene (Pic by Chandana Perera)
Randima bags top Health
Nation journalist Randima Attygalle was awarded “Excellence in
Health Journalism 2007” presented by the Sri Lanka Medical
Association at a ceremony held on Friday,...
Et tu Dilan?
Justice Minister Dilan Perera who defended COPE Chairman
Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe at last week’s SLFP Central Committee...
|Former First Lady passes away
Eleina Bandara Rupasinghe Jayewardene, wife of Sri
Lanka’s first Executive President, J.R. Jayewardene, passed away
yesterday at the age of 93, after a brief illness.
Eleina Bandara Rupasinghe, the only child of Gilbert Leonard
Rupasinghe, planter, businessman and a notary public and Nancy
Margaret Sooriyabandara, was born on December 15, 1913.
She leaves behind her son, Ravindra Wimal Jayewardene and three
grandsons, Pradeep, Rukshan and Amrik.
Her remains will be laid to rest today at 6:00p.m. at...
Karuna is one of the worst human
rights abusers- HRW
New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday reiterated
their request demanding that British authorities open a criminal
investigation into Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, known as
Colonel Karuna Amman, a former Tamil Tiger leader in immigration
In a statement issued late Friday, HRW noted that British law
permits the prosecution of individuals for serious violations of
international law, including torture and war crimes, committed
abroad. For example, in 2005, UK courts convicted a former
Afghan warlord, Faryadi Sarwar Zardad, for acts of torture and
hostage-taking in Afghanistan.
“The British government has shown that it can
successfully prosecute those who have committed serious
abuses abroad,” said Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human
Rights Watch, in his statement. “Karuna is...
JVP scoffs at President’s offer
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday scoffed
and rejected President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation for talks
declaring that the party has had enough with negotiations, and
was only waiting for some meaningful action by the government.
JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe addressing a media briefing
yesterday morning, described a letter sent by President
Rajapaksa as being, ‘irresponsible and foolish’, and blamed the
government for not fully comprehending the JVP demands, by only
calling for talks as usual.
“The president has only been reading what the media has
been reporting. He has called us for talks on the four
demands we supposedly put forward. We did make demands,
but they were not conditions given to support the
budget. It is also foolish and very irresponsible...
Pre-budget wheeler dealing
Felix meets Mangala
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera on
Wednesday met with SLFP (M) Convenor Mangala Samaraweera
and attempted to persuade the latter to meet with
President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In response, Samaraweera
told Perera that it was pointless to meet with President
Rajapaksa since the two of them were obviously of two
diametrically opposing mindsets.
Refusing to give up with that, Perera then urged
Samaraweera to meet with Basil Rajapaksa at least.
Samaraweera agreed, saying that if Basil were to talk to
him in parliament one day, they could hold the
UNP’s budget dinner
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will host all UNP...
LTTE can’t continue their
violent struggle for long – US
United States (US) has again urged both the Sri Lankan
Government and the LTTE to resume peace negotiations and
emphasised that the LTTE would not find it easy to continue
their violent struggle if the present trend continued.
The request was made by the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka Robert
Blake while addressing reporters in Colombo on Friday.
Blake said that the United States believed that a solution to
the conflict in Sri Lanka and added that the respect for the
rights of the Tamil people could only be found through peaceful
negotiations. He also emphasized that the U.S. strongly
supported a negotiated settlement and not a military based
Rajapakshe awaits Rajapaksa’s
Committee on Public
Enterprises (COPE) Chairman Wijayadasa Rajapakshe PC, who held
talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa last morning said, voting
for the budget depended on favourable answers given to him by
the President for his demands.
His demands are to prune the giant Cabinet to 30 and remove UNP
dissident Ministers in government, against whom COPE has
levelled corruption charges.
Shortly after his meeting with the President, Rajapakshe told
The Nation that he only agreed to the meeting because the
President pleaded for a meeting.
The week beginning tomorrow will be politically decisive in more ways
than one as President Mahinda Rajapaksa is embroiled in a bitter battle
to see the Budget through Parliament and ensure the survival of his
Last week, power brokers were working overtime, with many events crowded
into the last seven days: the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) issuing
four demands to the government, so it could support the Budget, three
provincial councillors from the United National Party (UNP) proclaiming
their support to the President, the respected ruling party MP,
Wijeyadasa Rajapakse announcing he would not vote for the Budget and
then, UNP MP Mahinda Ratnatilleke crossing over to the government, only
to find Minister Dilan Perera resign from the central committee of the
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), in protest.
Political horse deals rule the day
If the crossover of Wijayadasa Rajapakshe boosted the image
of the opposition, then Mahinda Ratnatilleke reversed that
euphoria to a certain extent by joining the government.
Though the magnitude and the importance was not the same as
Wijayadasa Rajapakshe crossing the floor; the crossover of
Mahinda Ratnatilleke coming out of the blue, has taken the
entire House and the UNP by surprise.
Some UNP politicians think that it was a master stroke by Basil
Rajapaksa who is fighting tooth and nail to keep the Rajapaksa
During the past few days, the political machinery in the country
was plunged into total chaos, owing to political horse deals
that had been hatched in high political echelons of Colombo.
In the run up to the vote on the second reading of the Budget,
both the government and the opposition UNP were making a valiant
effort to emerge above each other politically...
in the DOCK
Recently, news of doctors starting to kill patients
in Sri Lanka, has caught the spotlight. Contrary to the general
notion of doctors giving people a new lease of life, an incident
at the Negombo General Hospital, sent shockwaves around Sri
A Dr Sudarshana Jayasinghe was arrested for the alleged murder
of a female patient, Chamila Dissanayake (22) working at the
Katunayake Free Trade Zone, after sexually harassing her. Many
news items covered the incident. The Nation went in search of
more details of the tragedy that befell this young girl.
Chamila Dissanayake was suspected of being murdered on Monday,
while Dr Jayasinghe (32), a trainee provided with hostel
facilities at the Negombo Hospital, was arrested the following
morning, Tuesday, November 13, by the police, on a statement
made by an eyewitness, a cleaning maid, M. Beatrice. She had
seen the doctor forcibly dragging the patient towards a window
on the 6th floor of the Negombo Hospital, after which the
woman’s body was found on the ground. The victim had reportedly
been pushed from...
THE NUMBERS GAME IS ON!
Rajapaksa celebrates his birthday today (November 18). Two years
ago the people of this country gave him a magnificent birthday
present by making him victor in the presidential poll of
November 17. This time, Parliament is poised to present him
another birthday gift by way of majority support when the vote
is taken tomorrow (November 19).
The past week has seen much excitement. The numbers game is
being played by political parties of all hues. The target from
the Opposition Leader’s point of view is to cobble together a
majority that would vote against and defeat the government in
the Budget voting. The goal from the Head of the Government’s
viewpoint is to prevent that situation by retaining the
numerical majority and demonstrating that on the floor of the
The name of the game is numbers! While the great game to
acquire the magic figure goes on, a number of other little
‘games’ are being played. Some get sudden ‘conscience’ attacks
and want to cross over. Swift medical attention is shown by the
powers that be. Portfolios, posts, perks and payments are
pledged. This happens on either side...
|Aussies dominate Lankans
Australia once again batted to go into a dominant position posting their
second total in excess of 500 in successive Test matches against Sri Lanka in
the second Test played at the Bellerive Oval here Saturday.
When bad light eventually ended play on a rather overcast day disrupted many
times by rain, Sri Lanka openers Marvan Atapattu and Michael Vandort had
survived 12 testing overs from Brett Lee and Michel Johnson to be 30 without
loss in reply to Australia’s first innings of 542-6 declared. They trail
Australia by 512 runs and require scoring 343 to avoid the follow-on.
day didn’t begin well for Sri Lanka who suffered a setback when one of their
front-line bowlers Farveez Maharoof was ruled out from bowling with an ankle
injury. It was later confirmed that he had a suspected hairline fracture.
Maharoof’s unexpected injury reduced the bowling options left to skipper Mahela
Jayawardene to just three – Malinga, Fernando and Muralitharan. The state of the
Australian innings demanded more firepower from Sri Lanka. The one they had put
out for the Test proved to be insufficient to dislodge the Australian batting
line up as they were able capture only three wickets on the first day. With
Maharoof’s loss the task of making early inroads into the Australian batting
became a difficult one as Hussey and Clarke built on Australia’s overnight total
of 329 carrying it to 410 before being separated.
‘Marv the Mouth’ fishing in troubled waters
The composition of the Sri Lanka team is gradually going through a changing
phase with all that’s happening around it.
Marvan Atapattu’s international cricket career seems to be in troubled waters
after his surprising outburst against the national selectors and his name once
again surfacing with the Indian rebel league – ICL. Atapattu confirmed that he
had been approached by ICL and the way things are going it won’t be a surprise
if he ends signing up with them. Atapattu faces a disciplinary inquiry when he
returns home from the Australian tour on his utterances against the national
Another long-serving servant of the game Chaminda Vaas found himself left out of
the on-going second Test against Australia at Hobart that deprived him of making
his 100th Test appearance for his country. Vaas was lucky to have played at
Brisbane ahead of Lasith Malinga, a move which was criticised by the media, but
would have been justified had the catches been taken.
With age (he is 33) Vaas has lost his pace and although he still makes the ball
swing and move off the seam he is unable to beat the bat as before. The writing
it seems is on the wall for this brilliant cricketer at least on the Test front.
Another cricketer who must be nearing the end of his Test career is Sanath
Jayasuriya (38) who was demoted from the opener’s berth to the middle-order at
Atapattu’s late inclusion for the tour of Australia on the instructions of the
‘Stand with him while he is right’
It is that time of the year, when the focus of the
country is aimed at the House for a particular reason: the
national budget debate. This year’s debate too presented many
debacles in terms of allocating funds to various nefarious acts
of the government, where the usual mudslinging across the well
continued, while the disinterested – and disappointed – general
public gazed upon the drama nonchalantly. Burdened by the
unbearable cost of living, and not receiving much relief in
terms of salary increments or price reductions, the public view
was affixed on a more favourable front: the war, perhaps to the
delight of those in governance.
Yet, mid last week presented a phenomenon that drew public
attention to the otherwise stalemate budget debate: crossovers.
Change of hearts and party colours are no strange occurrences in
Sri Lankan politics. From the earliest post-independent days,
parliamentarians crossed the well for various reasons.
However, when National List Sri Lanka Freedom Party
Parliamentarian and Committee on Public Enterprises Chairman
Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, whose damning report earned him much
praise from the public, crossed over to the opposition, it
presented a rather volatile situation for both government and