Sunday November 25th, 2007
Rohitha in hot water
The government’s confusion over the position taken by Foreign
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama agreeing...
FM to deny granting consent
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is expected to deny
granting his consent to support...
TRO mocks ban
The controversial, Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation
(TRO), which was banned last week in Sri Lanka, has vowed to
The latest barbed wire
reinforcements in front of Police Field Force Headquarters on
Havelock Road might be aimed at protecting the premises, but
they pose a serious threat to pedestrians given the large space
they occupy along the pavement
(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)
Another jumbo delegation for Japan
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s delegation to Japan next month has
already topped the 200 mark, and looks set...
Opposition no better than present regime
Controversial COPE Chairman Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has said he
|Fishy wind power deal reaches new
The cabinet of ministers appears to have been misled
by parties with vested interests over a controversial wind power
deal that has been awarded to an Indian energy company which
will come up in Puttalam.
The Nation reliably learns that the cabinet has granted approval
for the controversial 50 MW wind power plant project to Enercon
India Power Development Limited, despite a 10-member project
committee comprising the CEB, BOI, CEA and the National Planning
Department rejecting the Indian company. However, the 10-member
committee’s recommendation had been sidelined and the
authorities had instead claimed that they...
SLMC moves for use of PA systems
Cabinet considered a cabinet paper
submitted by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) seeking
amendment to the legislation governing religious rights.
The SLMC presented the cabinet paper two weeks ago and the
Cabinet which met last week, gave their consent for the
amendment last week.
The SLMC’s action is a sequel to a Supreme Court order to ban
the use of loud speakers from 10 pm to 6 am.
According to an SLMC official, the amendment would enable all
religious bodies to exercise their rights in the correct manner.
CPU bemoans lack of press freedom in SL
The Commonwealth Press Union (CPU),
in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has highlighted the
growing insecurity faced by journalists in the country.
The letter has also raised serious questions over the future
security of the independent newspapers in Colombo, while urging
the government to investigate the arson attack at the Leader
Publications print site on November 21 as a matter of extreme
The letter further states, “The intimidation, at
gunpoint, of the employees and the subsequent
firebombing of the printing presses by masked gunmen,
are unacceptable within a democracy. As it is well
documented that the Leader has been...
Hospital staff to fall sick over
The All Ceylon Health Service Union will go on two
days sick leave from Tuesday, demanding that authorities heed
their demands immediately.
All Ceylon Health Service Union Deputy Secretary Gamini
Kumarasinghe speaking to The Nation said that they are demanding
overtime allowance, holiday allowances and an immediate stop to
the fingerprinting machine which marks their in and out hours
“All employees except doctors and nurses have to use the
fingerprint machine to sign in and off to get paid overtime, but
the employees are refusing to use the machine,” he said
He further pointed out that the higher officials of the
Health and Nutrition Ministry have forced the hospital
President leaves for Iran tonight
President Mahinda Rajapaksa will take wing to Tehran
late tonight, for a high-level four-day state visit during which
he will hold talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, defying what diplomatic sources say were heavy
‘representations’ from the US to defer the visit.
The relatively miniature Presidential delegation, which will
include Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila and Foreign
Secretary Palitha Kohona, leaves the Ugandan Capital of Kampala
at midnight tonight, where Rajapaksa was attending the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Four media personnel
are also scheduled to leave for Tehran with President
British Tamil Forum plans major birthday
celebrations in London
The British Tamil Forum, an active LTTE front organisation in
the United Kingdom, is planning to hold a mass scale
commemoration ceremony in London mid this week to celebrate the
birthday of LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.
The British Tamil Forum has already reserved the ExCel
Conference Hall at Royal Victoria Dock in London for November
According to reports reaching The Nation, the main objectives of
the event will be to celebrate the birthday of Prabhakaran,
commemorate LTTE suicide cadres who died in terrorist attacks,
propagate and promote the separatist agenda of the LTTE , and
raise funds for the terrorist outfit.
The commemoration of any LTTE programmes, ...(See
|Defeating Budget: a vain boast
weeks of speculation, second guessing and sordid drama, the government
ensured the passage of the second reading of the Budget last week,
avoiding a potential political nightmare that could have had serious
The final majority the government achieved was quite comfortable, but a
few questions remain in the aftermath of the vote, while both President
Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government as well as the opposition take
collective stock of the political fallout.
That the ruling coalition-now sans its major ally, the Janatha Vimukthi
Peramuna (JVP), was pressing the panic buttons before the vote, was
obvious. This was only confirmed by the cross-over of Ratnapura District
Parliamentarian and second accused in the Nalanda Ellawala murder,
Ratnatilleke was a staunch Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalist in the UNP, as
well as being a vitriolic critic of President Rajapaksa in Parliament.
He has now been rewarded...
Government, UNP lock horns
The government managed to overcome the obstacles laid by the
opposition with ease at the second reading of the third Budget
of the Rajapaksa administration.
Though it appears to be a comfortable victory for the
government, an in-depth analysis will show that the government
is dangling from a straw.
The main opposition UNP was optimistic along with the vociferous
members of the SLFP (M) that they could make the difference at
the third reading of the Budget.
A careful study will show that minority parties, such as the
SLMC and the CWC, could tilt the balance of power towards the
opposition at the third reading if the opposition could convince
them to vote against the government. In fact, Arumugam Thondaman
and Rauff Hakeem command the confidence of at least 12 members
in the House.
Balance of power
According to calculations, the opposition needs only eight
members to defeat the government at the third reading if the JVP
sticks to its guns.
The opposition at this instance has taken into consideration the
two TNA members who were absent for the second reading of the
Media freedom set alight
The country woke up Wednesday (21) morning to the news that
The Sunday Leader press had been set fire to by an unidentified
armed gang. It was reported that the fire, which started around
2 a.m., raged till dawn. We visited Leader Publications premises
the day after, to observe the aftermath.
About a dozen people were sifting through the rubble and moving
the debris out of the building. Piles of ash and semi burnt
rolls of newsprint were everywhere. The electrical wiring and
rubber and plastic components of the printing press had melted
for the heat. Several eyewitnesses told us of their night of
What will the LTTE Leader say on Great
recent times the most important event for the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been its annual ‘Maaveerar Naal’ or
Great Heroes’ Day (GHD) held each year on November 27.
Various observances are held in Sri Lanka and abroad to
commemorate the Tiger cadres who have died for the Tamil cause.
‘Puligalin Thaagam Thamil Eelath Thaayagam’ (Thirst of the
Tigers is for a Tamil Eelam homeland) is the motto of the LTTE.
An important feature of the GHD has been the ceremony where LTTE
Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran pays homage to the fallen cadres.
The centrepiece of this ceremony is his address to the Tamil
people in his capacity as the self-styled national leader of the
Tamil Eelam nation.
Since his speeches indicate the future course of the LTTE, this
address is keenly scrutinised by observers of the Lankan ethnic
conflict. “What will Prabhakaran say on GHD?”...
|Kumble throws first Test
(AFP) Anil Kumble led a disciplined spin attack to keep India’s hopes
alive in an evenly poised opening Test against Pakistan at the Ferozeshah Kotla
ground here on Saturday.
The new captain dismissed the top three batsmen to restrict Pakistan to 212-5 in
the second innings. The tourists are now 167 ahead with five wickets in hand
after conceding a 45-run lead.
Misbah-ul-Haq (29) and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal (21), the last pair of
specialist batsmen, were at the crease when bad light stopped play on the third
Pakistan will expect more from this duo to boost their
chances of setting a challenging fourth-innings total on
a wearing pitch. The pair have so far added....
Where Aussies rule
Not only is
Australia uncontested in world cricket, but also in other sports as well. At the
recently concluded ninth World Netball Championships held in Auckland, Australia
beat New Zealand 42-38 to win the world crown.
This took place while the Australian cricket team was locked in battle with Sri Lanka in the second Test at Hobart.
A recent survey done by an Australian newspaper ‘The Courier Mail’ revealed that
Aussies ruled the world in 30 sports.
Australia no doubt is a nation of top sportsmen and they have 30 world champions
to prove it. Why Australia is so prolific in producing world champions in the
face of competition from countries with much larger athlete pools from which to
draw is because of their addiction to sport.
For a nation of just 20 million people (same as Sri
Lanka) Australia is way above other sporting nations.
“We knew the JVP would protect us” –
Q: The finger has been pointed at the government about
the burning of the The Sunday Leader newspaper since it is
perceived largely as an anti government newspaper. How do you
A: I have no details about the incident yet. I only heard
about it when I spoke to some of our editors who informed me
about it. I have no detailed information from the police or
other sources. I have spoken to the Media Minister about it
though. This government remains committed to media freedom.
Since President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power the number of
newspapers and TV and radio stations in the country have
increased. There have been similar incidents like this one and
there were allegations against the government. We will
definitely investigate and if there is proof of arson, after
studying the matter we will take action. We assure the media
that this government will protect institutes and media
Q: Will the government take action to bring the culprits to
book as soon as possible, if only to clear its name? What action
has the government directed in this regard?
A: It will. I have already spoken to the Media...
“Budget has not changed, neither has our
Q: What was it about the Budget exactly that the JVP
voted against on Monday?
A: This Budget has no economic or political vision. Those
who drafted it have not diagnosed the problems faced by the
country. There are economists who have diagnosed the problems we
are having – regressive taxes, bad governance, corruption,
disparities between provinces, impaired institutions, market
imperfections and lack of economic safety nets for the poor.
These are the problems we are having. The JVP agrees with them.
These problems must be addressed completely and properly,
otherwise we are not going to achieve what we hope for Sri
Q: You speak of regressive taxes. Yet, when the four
controversial tax bills came up for vote the second time,
instead of voting against, the JVP simply walked out without
voting, effectively allowing the bills to pass. Why not take
A: Well, walking out is also a way of registering...