LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has sustained minor injuries
in an attack carried...
President scoffs at
Hot on the heels of a major Budget victory, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has ruled...
JVP, Basil in hush-hush pre-Budget
closed door meeting in Parliament at 2 p.m. on Friday between
the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna...
Canadian visa embargo on Tamil MPs
The Canadian High Commission in Colombo has issued a visa
embargo on several Tamil parliamentarians, including Tamil...
SLMC suspends Baiz, Nijamudeen
The SLMC High Command,
which met under the leadership of Rauff Hakeem yesterday,...
|Truant TNA MP loses Parliament seat
The Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), more
commonly known as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has decided
to take disciplinary action against Jaffna District MP M.K.
Eelaventhan for not following proper procedure and failing to
inform Parliament and the party that he would be out of the
country for more than four months.
ITAK General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah told The Nation that
they have learnt that Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara and the
Parliament Secretary General are reported to have informed
Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake that Eelaventhan’s
seat is vacant.
“According to Parliamentary regulations, if a MP fails to inform
Parliament beforehand and is absent for more than three months,
he automatically loses his seat,” Senathirajah said.
He added that a letter seeking an explanation about the ITAK
MP’s actions has already been sent. “We too were unaware that he
had left the country for such a long period,” the ITAK General
JVP’s double game draws flak from all
Despite continuous rhetoric against the government,
the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) on Friday acted in a style
which analysts claimed as a bid to ‘save’ the government. The
JVP’s decision to abstain from the crucial third reading of the
2008 Budget has drawn immense flak from almost all political
parties and the general public.
The country’s main opposition, United National Party (UNP)
lashed out at the JVP yesterday accusing them of playing a
double game by pretending to be against the government in front
of the public, while in reality, actually safeguarding them.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said, “We are very
puzzled at their decision. The JVP openly showed their
discontentment regarding the Budget and even called it a
prostitute, and also an anti-people Budget. But on
Friday, they supported the government by taking a
decision to abstain from voting. They simply...
Lankan Tamils, Muslims, worst affected
One year after the
Sri Lankan Government promulgated tough anti-terror laws, the
country’s human rights situation has hit a new low, resulting in
serious violations against ethnic Tamil and Muslim minorities,
Minority Rights Group International said in a new report.
“The anti-terrorism laws fed into the deteriorating human rights
situation in Sri Lanka has resulted in hundreds of killings,
abductions and disappearances, mostly of ethnic Tamils and some
Muslims,” says MRG Director Mark Lattimer.
“The last two years have seen the government more vigorously
pursue its ‘war on terror,’ which has resulted in thousands of
civilian deaths and mass displacement of minorities,” he adds.
Since the tough counter-terrorism laws were promulgated in
December 2006, large numbers of ethnic Tamils have been arrested
and detained on suspicion of links with the Tamil Tigers.
Checkpoints have sprung up across the country and the
military often conducts large-scale search operations,
where Tamils face harassment and risk being arrested. On
December 1, following two suicide...
Bogollagama’s blunders continue
Controversial Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama has
made another blunder by wasting millions of public funds to
establish a Consular Office in Shanghai and by appointing the
relative of the Bandaranaikes, who is also an inexperienced
junior officer, Majintha Jayasingha as the new consular general.
The Sri Lankan Shanghai Consular Office is scheduled to open on
December 20 by Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama, who is
expected to kick off his five-day Chinese state visit tomorrow.
The Minister’s action has received strong objections from senior
Foreign Ministry officials.
According to Foreign Ministry officials, the former Sri Lankan
Ambassador in Beijing, Nihal Rodrigo, strongly made
recommendations to the Foreign Secretary against the
establishment of a consulate office in Shanghai because it would
be an utter waste of public funds.
Rodrigo was the former Foreign Ministry secretary and
was the most senior and most experienced serving career
ambassador in the Foreign Service at that time.
IGP intimidates Bribery Commission
In what is alleged to be an act of indirect
intimidation against the independent investigations carried out
by the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC),
the Officer-In-Charge of the Commission’s Asset Investigation
Unit, P.A. Premashantha, has been transferred with immediate
effect by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Victor Perera.
CIABOC Director General Piyasena Ranasinghe said that it was
normal practice to usually consult the Commission before
transferring any of the officers from the commission. However,
in this case, for unknown reasons, the IGP appears to have made
an ad hoc decision to transfer this officer. The officer
was conducting investigations into assets belonging...
Scribes flee Sri Lanka as death threats
Around 25 Tamil journalists have fled Sri Lanka over the past
three years, the Free Media Movement (FMM) claimed yesterday.
FMM Convener Sunanda Deshapriya told The Nation that the
journalists had fled the country as their lives were in danger.
The Nation learns that one of the most recent reporters to flee
the country was Thinakkural Defence Correspondent K. P. Mohan,
who was subjected to severe harassment by security forces on
This was apart from an unidentified gang throwing acid on his
It is learnt that Mohan left the country with his family in mid
November this year.
Budget battle ends, survival race
The curtain finally fell last week on the political drama that was
the Budget debate, but not before a few acts of defiance and deviousness
that will have a significant impact on events in the months to come.
The final score of the third reading of the Budget will note that it was
quite comfortably passed by a majority of 47 votes, in contrast to the
relatively close call at the second reading just a few weeks ago, when
it was approved by a majority of 16 votes.
But the vote on Friday had its surprises and some of them emerged even
before the quorum bells sounded in Parliament. First, Sri Lanka Muslim
Congress (SLMC) Leader Minister Rauff Hakeem, resigned and crossed over
to the opposition along with three colleagues, although two other SLMC
parliamentarians opted to remain in government ranks.
Then, hours before the final vote, National Heritage Minister and heir
to the Bandaranaike dynasty, Anura Bandaranaike, crossed over to the
opposition. If that set the tone for the political theatre that was
being enacted, then it turned into a tragi-comedy when the Janatha
Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), decided to abstain from voting—thus ensuring an
easy passage for the Budget.
Those in the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration will publicly proclaim a
great victory citing the 47 vote majority, but in reality they
will also know that their numbers...
Picking up the pieces after the
government managed to win the third reading of the Budget quite
convincingly, courtesy the JVP’s indirect support.
The JVP abstained, giving the government a considerable margin
and dashing the hopes of the opposition, obsessed with defeating
The JVP’s behaviour was peculiar, when compared with its earlier
stance, when it voted against the Budget. The JVP wanted to
ensure it did not defeat the government, in the process of
opposing the Budget. The reason: It did not want to pave the way
for the UNP to regain power.
However, the flashpoint in the run up to the Budget was the SLMC
crossover drama, creating a politically tense situation,
propelling the UNP machinery to work hard to defeat the
The JVP, carefully monitoring political developments, virtually,
misled the entire country, with the impression that it would do
a repeat performance of November 19. The party even announced
that there was no change in its decision, as far as the Budget
Did the opposition consider the benefits the JVP would reap by
defeating the government? As UNP national organiser S.B.
Dissanayake pointed out a few days back, the JVP created a
sensation within the country and built up an anti-climax, to
give the government a new lease of life.
Despite Dissanayake’s warning about the JVP, the UNP declined to
heed his advice, as there...
Why the SLMC quit the Rajapaksa
latest decision by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to quit
the government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has caused
much controversy. The timing of the SLMC’s move has led to much
speculation that the party decision was tied up with the
Budget’s third reading vote on December 14.
While this may be true to some extent, it would be a mistake to
regard the SLMC move from that perspective alone. The political
compulsions that caused the SLMC to act as it did are much more
complex and problematic.
Unless the Rajapaksa regime extricates itself from its
majoritarian mindset and addresses minority concerns reasonably,
such tensions and convulsions seem inevitable.
Before delving into the motivating factors behind the SLMC’s
current decision a brief re run outlining the reasons that
compelled the party to join the government is necessary.
Examining the past history of the SLMC is also required to
understand the present.
Advent of the SLMC
The advent of the SLMC was a watershed in the politics of
this country. The SLMC’s charismatic Leader M.H.M. Ashraff,
Prabhakaran injured slightly in Air
Velupillai Prabakharan, the elusive Chief of the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), sustained minor injuries in aerial
bombardment by the Sri Lankan Air Force in the last week of
Although the injuries are not of a serious nature, the LTTE
Supremo is being treated at an underground medical facility in a
secret location by the Thileepan Medical Unit, it is learnt.
The LTTE is keeping the entire incident under wraps because of
the demoralising effect it may have on cadres and supporters of
the movement. In addition, the Sri Lankan security forces may
receive a morale booster by knowledge of the incident.
Currently the Sri Lankan authorities seem blissfully unaware of
the fact that one of the bombs dropped by the Sri Lankan Air
Force has inflicted slight injuries on their most prized enemy
According to informed Tamil sources, the incident took place
around noon on Wednesday, November 28.
Three Sri Lankan Air Force planes believed to be Israeli
built K-fir jet bombers had commenced aerial bombardment on
suburban areas of Kilinochchi town.
|Warne highest paid in first IPL list
between rival Twenty20 leagues is really hotting up. And the men
who are benefiting the most are the cricketers, for whom it’s raining money.
According to the figures released by BCCI, the players involved in the Indian
Premier League (IPL) will be earning upwards of million dollars as per current
indication. The inaugural event will be held in April-May 2008.
Topping the list of 34 players who have been paid an initial signing amount is
recently retired Australian spin legend Shane Warne, who will be netting
$400,000 (Rs 1.6 cr approx) for the 2008 season.
This is just the start for Warne, for he will also be part of the player auction
to take place in January-February when franchisees will bid for the stars. So,
the stock of Warne and others could rise further in the coming days, informed a
BCCI official at the end of the finance committee...
Why do superstars lie?
superstars be honest to themselves? Why do they want to hide behind a veil and
take the sporting public who have supported and admired them for years for a
Sri Lanka’s master blaster Sanath Jayasuriya in an interview with our midweek
paper ‘The Bottom Line’ when asked ‘Did anybody force you to make this
(retirement) decision or was it a personal choice?’ replied: “No, nobody forced
me; this was my personal decision. I thought I should concentrate more on my
Why should a senior cricketer like Jayasuriya say that, when it was common
knowledge to many that he was first approached by the selectors and given an
ultimatum that they would not continue with him in Test cricket because of his
poor batting record.
Jayasuriya we understand was asked what his position was to the ultimatum and he
had told the selectors to give him one more Test to announce his retirement to
which the selectors had obliged. The Kandy Test against England was his swansong
and he signed off in style with a typical robust knock of 78 off 106 balls, the
highlight of which was taking 24 runs (6 fours) off an over from James Anderson.
At least now the selection committee headed by former Sri Lanka fast bowler
Ashantha de Mel had realised and got it into their heads to tell Jayasuriya that
it was time for him to go. When the former selection chairman Lalith Kaluperuma
retired Jayasuriya, almost for the same reasons, 14 months ago there was a big
hue and cry made by Jayasuriya that he was not ready to quit and that his hand
was forced by the then selectors.
have a hunch President will prorogue Parliament”
After the Budget drama finally ended on Friday, Sri Lanka
Muslim Congress Chief Rauff Hakeem sat down for a ‘no holds
barred’ interview with The Nation. Hakeem, who has always been
an uncomfortable ally of the Rajapaksa administration, since the
party joined government ranks earlier in the year, firmly
believes that the SLMC bowed to the wishes of the Muslim
community, when they sat in the opposition last week
Following are excerpts:
Q: What’s your reading of the Budget vote yesterday?
A: In a sense, this was expected by the skeptics who felt
that the JVP would not sacrifice the large number of
parliamentary seats they were able to gain by riding piggy back
on the SLFP and the PA coalition. As a matter of fact, they tend
to give the impression that their every move is for the nation’s
common good but ultimately, what we need to read from their
attitude is that their idealism, when it comes to Marxism, has a
threshold, beyond which, what motivates them is their
nationalist tendencies. I have no misgivings about my decision,
since I left for the sole purpose of highlighting the grievances
of my community, and I find that the policy platform and the
trajectory of this government is never going to produce the
resolution of the problems faced by my constituency. I made a
very clear departure, telling the SLFP that they ought to return
to their pre-2000 political platform. More towards the centre
than to the right, the way they are now. Because right now, they
are competing for space with the JVP and the JHU and by...
“Government did not win because we
The JVP’s decision to abstain from voting on Friday at the
third reading of the Budget created an upheaval in both
political circles and among the general public. The Nation met
JVP Media Secretary Wimal Weerawansa in the aftermath of the
Budget vote to delve into the reasons behind the JVP’s change of
heart at the last minute and its plans to create a new,
Q: The JVP stated that this Budget neither recognises nor
gives solutions to the people’s problems. Then why did you
abstain from voting and indirectly allow the Budget to pass?
A: The government did not win because we abstained from
voting. That argument is correct only if our vote would have
changed the outcome of the Budget vote. The government won by 47
votes. Even if we voted against the Budget, the opposition would
have lost by 10 votes. So we did not help the government to win
the Budget vote.
The reasons why we abstained are twofold. One was to show our
opposition to the corrupt economic policies of the government.
The other was to stop the UNP and other foreign forces that were
conspiring to create anarchy and instability by defeating the
Budget and helping the LTTE indirectly.
We needed to show our indignation to both sides. Therefore we
thought the only...