Moves to scuttle APRC with
Steps are underway to send the All Party
Representative Committee (APRC) to Northern...
Ministers bask in luxury while masses
A large number of ministers appear to be celebrating the season
in grand style, with many...
East turns into a hell hole as Pillaiyan
TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) Deputy
Leader Pillaiyan and his cadres are running riot in the Eastern
Barmy Army in full swing
The Barmy Army seems to be in
full swing at the Galle International Cricket Stadium during the
third and final Test match between Sri Lanka and England, the
first cricket match to be played in the scenic stadium after the
2004 tsunami completely destroyed its grounds
(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)
Hill on the decline
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s move to get rid of
SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill is riddled with controversy
Army overruns Uylankulam
Security Forces overran the Uylankulam, LTTE entry-exit point in
Mannar last morning following a fierce battle with the LTTE,...(See
|Thousands of refugees to get
The Select Committee for Granting Citizenship to
Refugees has decided to grant Sri Lankan citizenship to nearly
28,000 Sri Lankan Tamils who are currently in welfare centres in
Tamil Nadu, India.
Committee Chairman, JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekaran speaking to
The Nation said that most of the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil
Nadu are willing to return to their motherland but they are
unable to return as they have no way of proving their identity
upon their arrival in Sri Lanka.
Chandrasekaran further said that most of the refugees fled to
India owing to the ethnic conflict and at the time of fleeing,
they had not taken any of their legal papers or any other
documents necessary to prove their identity upon their return to
Teachers to go hungry?
The All Sri Lanka Graduate Teachers’ Union will
launch a hunger strike on December 31 if their grievances are
not addressed by the authorities, before the end of this year.
Union’s Secretary E.M.J.S. de Seram told The Nation that
successive governments from 1994 have failed to present a
solution for their problems.
“We have been demanding the prevailing governments from 1994 to
eradicate the anomalies in the salary scale of graduate
teachers. We have listened to many empty promises, but if no
constructive action is taken, we will take union action. The
saddest part is that even the Ceylon Teachers’ Union has tried
to stab us in the back,” de Seram said.
He opined that, in the previous years, several unions
have tried to prevent the graduate teachers from
receiving the salary...
directs evaluation of A-12 upgrading bids
The Supreme Court has directed the Road Development Authority
(RDA) and the cabinet of ministers to evaluate the bid submitted
by Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd. and China Dalian International
Cooperation (Group) Holding Ltd., with the other qualified bids
for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the A-12 Road.
The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices
Nimal E. Dissanayake and A.M. Somawansa.
The Court gave this direction after considering the submissions
of Sanjeewa Jayawardana, instructed by Sudath Perera Associates
on behalf of the petitioner companies.
In its fundamental right application, petitioner companies
stated that although they owned more than 70% of the major
equipment to satisfy the minimum qualification criteria, the
respondents had rejected the bid submitted by the two companies.
“Govt. pushing us towards an
Colombo District Parliamentarian Mano Ganesan, in a
hard-hitting letter addressed to the members of the
international community, warned that the President Mahinda
Rajapaksa-led government was pushing him and others towards an
alternative state by restricting state protections and
privileges only to partners of the government and people of a
Ganesan in his letter, sent out on Friday to high commissioners,
ambassadors, representatives and members of the international
community and United Nations in Sri Lanka, claimed that his
security was withdrawn under the instructions of the Defence
“We may not be part of the government but we are definitely part
of the state. This government does not understand and recognise...
ACHSU to go to court over new
The All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) has decided to
initiate legal action against the newly-issued circular by the
Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry.
The Ministry recently imposed a new set of regulations against
all trade unions and its supporters who take part in strikes and
other trade union action in hospitals around the country.
Accordingly, the Ministry has ordered all hospital authorities
to cut the daily pay of any hospital worker who takes part in
trade union action on any particular day.
The new circular issued by Ministry Secretary H.A.P.
Kahandaliyanage also emphasises that those who participate in
strikes would not be paid their daily wages.
It specifies that the probation period of hospital
workers who go on strike will be extended, and indicate
that participation in trade...
CPC workers to strike against
latest Indian oil...
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) employees have
threatened to cripple fuel distribution around the country next
month to protest against government moves to sell more than 100
filling stations and section of the Kolonnawa oil installation
to India’s Bharat Petroleum.
CPC Joint Trade Union Convenor, Ananda Lakshman, told The Nation
that the employees will go on a massive strike in early January
against the sell-out.
“More than 6000 workers of the CPC will protest against the
moves. We are demanding the government to scrap any plans of
selling 107 filling stations and section of the Kolonnawa oil
cross games only to help themselves
What do the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Janatha
Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) have in common? Nothing at all, one might say.
But events last week proved that they both hate and fear Ranil
Wickremesinghe’s possible advent to power with equal intensity.
When Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the fifth Executive President of
Sri Lanka on November 17, 2005, Rajapaksa himself is reported to have
acknowledged that it was the boycott of the poll in the Northern and
Eastern provinces, engineered by the LTTE that helped him to a victory
with a wafer thin majority.
Two years later on December 14, 2007, it was the JVP who played a game
of political double cross to perfection, preventing Rajapaksa’s
parliamentary majority from evaporating, by abstaining at the vote on
the third reading of the Budget, where many dissident government
members, were waiting to crossover and one-Anura...
Govt. faces new challenges after
is always a Dissanayake that opens his mouth at the eleventh
hour and deprives Ranil Wickremesinghe of victory, or so the
Green Leader feels.
On the eve of the presidential polls, Navin Dissanayake made a
famous statement giving credit for the Karuna defection during
the UNF administration. To add salt to the LTTE Leader
Velupillai Prabhakaran’s wounds, days before the polls,
Government Negotiator Minister Milinda Moragoda apportioned
credit to his government for the Karuna defection.
Some UNPers felt these statements angered the LTTE which blocked
Tamils from voting and deprived Wickremesinghe of the
Wickremesinghe mistakenly believed the LTTE would lift the ban
on Tamils in uncleared areas and that they would vote for him at
the November 17, 2005 presidential polls.
To truth is the LTTE had wanted to prevent Wickremesinghe
winning and perhaps usher in a hawkish President in Mahinda
Rajapaksa. That the LTTE calculation backfired is a separate
subject for discussion.
Rhetoric and reality – Part II
True to form, LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is harshly
critical of the Indian role in Sri Lankan Tamil affairs. He is,
however, extremely economical with the truth while criticising
Apart from being unwilling or unable to understand India’s
compulsions, the Tiger Supremo also omits the negative
contribution of the LTTE towards this sad state of affairs.
As stated before in the previous instalment of this article,
there is no denying that Indian involvement in Sri Lanka was
motivated by its own enlightened self-interest. Though the
nature of its role in Sri Lanka has changed over the years, the
elementary compulsion of enlightened self-interest still
Indian policy towards Sri Lanka then was based on the
twin principles of safeguarding the unity and integrity of Sri
Lanka on the one hand and ensuring the rights of the Tamils on
the other. Nowadays, it still emphasises the unity and
territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. There is, however, a sharp
change in the other. India is for a just solution acceptable to
all sections of the people and not merely the Tamils.
Panjandrums, Paparazzi and Prabhakaran
The talk of the town last week was about Tiger Chief
Velupillai Prabhakaran getting whacked by the Air Force in some
Escaped death by a hair’s breadth.
Only minor injuries. Disappointing to many.
Tiger – two legs, like the cat with four legs, has nine lives
Nationally and internationally it was sensational news.
In newspaper jargon, it was one hell of a scoop
All kudos to The Nation for breaking it.
Many people, excited by posters on the walls, went in search of
the paper. But The Nation was sold out, they were told.
Some were intrigued about how the scribe in Toronto got all this
info. But many had come to accept it anyway.
Two questions lingered.
How come the other papers missed it?
Why did the government not announce it?
Lurking at the back of many minds was the perishing thought:
‘‘Is it true?”
“Too good to be true,” said some.
Vishwagupta will first briefly relate developments in sequence.
Tiger mouthpiece TamilNet had reported in...
Cook and rain thwart Sri Lanka
Alastair Cook and the unpredictable Galle weather provided England
with a lifeline to escape with a draw in the third and final cricket Test
against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.
The first Test played here after the 2004 tsunami had enough drama on the fifth
and final day to keep the spectators on edge anticipating a Sri Lankan victory.
But Cook, making full use of a dropped catch behind the wicket as early as the
second over of the morning at 54, thwarted Sri Lankan hopes of winning the
series 2-0 and lifting themselves from fifth place to second in the ICC Test
rankings. Sri Lanka eventually had to settle for a 1-0 win in the three-Test
series (2 drawn) and be content with third place behind Australia and South
Africa. Sri Lanka’s margin of victory in the series did not truly reflect the
strength of the two sides.
Cook, who scored England’s solitary century...
A laudable move
Cricket’s (SLC) plan to commence a five-team provincial tournament is a laudable
move in the context that it would make the domestic cricket more competitive and
bridge the wide gap that exists between playing for the national team and
It has been the crying need over the years for a domestic competition of some
standard to replace the existing club competition which had served as a basis
for selection for many years, but presently has become ineffective in providing
a proper guideline for national selection. As a result, players picked to play
in the national team have found it hard to establish themselves in it and
eventually ended up on the sidelines. Very few have managed to fight back and
regain their places, the rest have simply disappeared, either confining
themselves to domestic cricket or have been lost to the game.
Gayan Wijekoon, Piyal Wijetunga, Roshan Jurangpathy, Jayantha Silva, Indika de
Saram, Lanka de Silva, Chamara Dunusinghe, Indika Gallage, Dinuk Hettiarachchi,
Shantha Kalavitigoda, Tharanga Lakshitha, Thilan Thushara, Naveed Nawaz,
Sanjeeva Weerasinghe, Gamini Wickremasinghe and Kapila Wijegunawardene are some
of the cricketers...
“People will be forced to make more
Affairs Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera is perhaps the only southern
minister who has strived to implement the official language
policy. His dedication to find a solution to the ethnic conflict
has propelled the introduction of a bilingual system to the
public service. His proposal was accepted by the cabinet in June
The determined minister has vowed to correct what has gone wrong
in the past, especially with regard to the language policy.
Today, under his direction, some 7,000 Sinhalese are learning
Tamil and more Tamils are beginning to learn Sinhala. “With
this, I hope the government will simply implement the 13th
Amendment fully. Then we do not need to find any other
solutions,” the Minister told The Nation in an interview
Following are excerpts:
Q: Now that the 2008 Budget has been passed, what is the
government’s next priority?
A: In my view, it goes without saying – a political solution
to the ethnic conflict. I feel it is the best time to offer a
“The JVP is carrying two dead bodies”
failing to defeat the 2008 Budget, the UNP has been quick to
point its fingers at the JVP and call its actions “treacherous”.
The UNP national organiser S. B Dissanayake has been amongst the
most vocal. The Nation met Dissanayake to talk about the future
plans of the UNP, his continuous criticism on the JVP and why
Mangala and Sripathi were a “let down”
Q: The UNP had high hopes of defeating the Budget and
toppling the government. But that didn’t happen. What are the
future plans of the UNP?
A: The UNP has decided that people deserve an election and
in order to do that the present government needs to be toppled.
But the party as a whole did not come to the conclusion that “We
should defeat the Budget and then remove the government from
being in power.” But I am not denying that some people have
thoughts that we couldn’t defeat the government even if we
intended to do so.
Several options are available for the UNP to achieve the
aforesaid objective. One is to educate the people about the
misdeeds of the government and organise protests like “Janarala”.
By doing that, we can influence the parties that support the
government and the MPs in the government to listen to the
people. The UNP...