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Sunday January 27th, 2008

Karuna attacked in UK prison
LTTE renegade commander Karuna Amman, who was sentenced to nine months in a British prison after being charged with having entered the country on false travel documents, has been allegedly tortured in the prison, The Nation learns.  (See Inside)

Mahinda axes APRC ‘body’
President Mahinda Rajapaksa virtually transformed the All Party Representative Committee’s (APRC) crucial recommendations on how to implement the much... (See Inside)

Rajapaksa averts GL-Boggles clash
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assigned the task of handling the GSP+ issue... (See Inside)


           Buying votes the legal way        

The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) now led by Pillaiyan appears to be busily preparing for the March 10th election. A TMVP cadre is seen distributing propaganda material to a driver attached to a NGO in Batticaloa. Members of the TMVP continue to openly carry arms despite it now being a recognized political party in the country
(Pic by Nissanka Wijeratne)



“I am no one’s rubber seal” – Anandasangaree
With speculation rife of an ongoing tug-o-war between several senior politicians for the top slot in the proposed Northern Interim Council, seasoned politician V. Anandasangaree, tipped to be appointed to.... (See Inside)

MR positive over power devolution
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the cabinet of ministers on January 23, emphasised the need... (See Inside)




Felix suspects Sinhala hand in DM killing
Minister of Fisheries Felix Perera told the cabinet on January 23 (Wednesday) that there is more to the assassination of Minister D. M. Dassanayake than meets the eye.
He expressed his concern over the matter when DIG Nimal Lewke was asked by the cabinet to make a presentation on VIP security.
Minister Perera said that he gave a four-hour statement to the CID on the matter.
He said that there are many issues to be sorted out.
Minister Perera was of the view that there should be proper investigations to determine why the police post set up near the location of the claymore bomb, was shifted at 6 a.m. the same day.
“This is not a cut and dry case,” he said.
“Several ministers passed by the same location before D. M. Dassanayake. There.... (See Inside)

Govt.-TMVP alliance shocks UNP
The United National Party (UNP) said yesterday it was ‘simply astonished’ over the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered between the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) to jointly contest the Batticaloa Municipal Council election in March.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told The Nation that the government has legalized an armed group by entering into an electoral pact with the TMVP.
“We are surprised at the government’s action to enter in to an MoU with TMVP, when every one is aware of the fact that the TMVP, with Pillaiyan, is responsible for the violence taking place in the east. The government has legalized this illegal armed group by signing an MoU with them. In a way, the government has given them authority and approval to carry on their violence,” he said.
Attanayake also said that the government should... (See Inside)

Air Force bombs Sea Tiger Base
Air Force fighter jets bombed an LTTE Sea Tiger Head Quarters located at Pudukkudiyiruppu yesterday afternoon.
According to the Media Centre for National Security, the attack was carried out some 800m south of Kivelikulam in Pudukkudiyiruppu at around 1:05 p.m.
The attack was launched following information received that a meeting of Sea Tigers...  (See Inside)

Police cordon for Colombo
Nearly 800 additional Police personnel have been deployed in Colombo alone, in addition to the 2000 currently on duty in the city.
Colombo DIG Nimal Mediwake told The Nation that the security in the Colombo city area and suburbs has been tightened to ensure public security.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said, “We have adopted new security strategies to comply with the current security situation. We have already strengthened the security at important places including the World Trade Centre, ports and the Central Bank, which are commercial centres within the heart of the city that are possible high targets of the LTTE,” he said.
The Police has also introduced a new programme identified as a ‘collective effort,’... (See Inside)

Legal Aid wants Jamis released from court proceedings
Chairman of the Legal Aid Commission S. S. Wijeratne has written a letter to Attorney General C. R. de Silva requesting the release of P. P. Jamis from court proceedings and asking that necessary action be taken to release other persons in Angoda Mental Hospital who are also there on Court Orders.
Jamis who spent 50 years of his life at Angoda Mental Hospital, was allowed personal bail of Rs. 50,000 on January 11, 2008 by Kurunegala Magistrate Lalith Ekanayake, who ordered him to appear in court on February 14.
He was taken into custody by Gokeralla Police in August 1958, in connection with causing injuries to his father P. P. Amaris with a knife.
When produced before Kurunegala Magistrate on January 11, Jamis told the Magistrate that he was taken in to custody in connection with murder of his father.
According to Legal Aid Commission lawyers, there is no record regarding a murder against Jamis. According to Jamis’... (See Inside)

Another SLR Head attacked
Senior producer of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Lal Hemantha Mawalage sustained injuries after two unidentified men attacked him at Athurugiriya on Friday night.
The incident had occurred when he was returning to his home in Athurugiriya on Friday around 11 p.m.
Soon after the incident, he was rushed to the National Hospital in Colombo. He has sustained severe cuts on both hands after the men had slashed his hand with a sharp object.
Speaking to The Nation Mawalage claimed that this attack was probably a result of the Rupavahini – Mervyn Silva saga, because he made some statements voicing protest against the minister’s actions.
Explaining the incident, he said that the two men who came on a motor bike wearing helmets had blocked his van which was heading towards his house near St. Pio church at Sethsirigama. They had dragged him out of the driving seat and had tried to cut his face first. When the victim... (See Inside)




A mountain of labour produced an APRC mouse!
After much hype and more hyperbole, the proposals of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) were unveiled last week, as they were handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ostensibly for implementation ‘with immediate effect.’
The process itself involved 63 sittings over a year and a half and fourteen political parties at its conclusion - there being more at the inception with some of them opting out at various stages. But did a mountain of labour produce a mouse? Judging from the proposals that have been published, it certainly appears so.
The Committee report is unabashed about it too. It candidly acknowledges that a ‘consensus document’ is in the process of ‘being finalised,’ expressing hope that it would be ready in the ‘very near future.’ It does, almost in the same breath, qualify that, by saying that implementing this consensus document would ‘of course take time, once a favourable climate is established.’... (See Inside)

APRC proposes Mahinda disposes
The Indo-Lanka Peace Accord (I-LPA), that necessitated the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, was introduced as a solution to the country’s national question.
Two months later, UNP MP for Radgamuwa, Asoka Somaratne, resigned from Parliament on October 31, 1987. On a matter of principle, UNP stalwart Gamini Jayasuriya followed suit.
Today, Somaratne, in his new role as General Secretary of the United National Alternative Front (UNAF), has sent his proposals to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) to resolve the conflict.
“We are of the view that, right now, the best option available is to implement the 13th Amendment, but with due changes,” stated Somaratne in his proposals to the APRC created by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who himself opposed the Accord.
President Rajapaksa now wants to implement a separate council in the East, for which, a proposal for polls was made on Wednesday, in the report submitted by APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana. As part of the APRC’s interim proposals, an interim... (See Inside)


Sri Lanka’s unemployment quandary
Former Education Minister Karunasena Kodithuwakku speaking to The Nation stated that graduate unemployment in Sri Lanka was mainly due to lack of expansion in the economy.
“Official economic statistics indicate a growth of seven to eight percent. But these statistics are exaggerated. Even if the best graduates are produced, the local economy cannot absorb them as no new industries have come up. The input for national defence is high. There has been no tangible growth,” Kodithuwakku stated.
As globalisation is the current trend, and the labour market is no longer confined to national boundaries, he opined that at least the professional levels of labour skills that the country produces, should meet the demands of the global labour market.
“Unfortunately, most of our graduates who are passing out do not meet the requirement of the global labour standards, particularly in terms of being fluent in international languages such as English. These are the challenges we have to overcome. The educational administrators, planners and policy makers must prepare the youth of this country to meet the challenges of the global labour market from the time... (See Inside)

Mattakkuliya is ‘nobody’s child!’
Mattakkuliya is a city where members of all three main ethnic groups live in harmony irrespective of their cast, creed or religion. Even though these residents live in harmony they are faced with many problems, which have risen due to the neglect of government authorities.
The Nation visited the area to look into the problems faced by the residents of Mattakkuliya which have remained unaddressed by the relevant officials for many long years.
Dilemmas faced by the residents
Residents of the area claim that most of their problems stem from the negligence of the authorities who have turned a blind eye towards the growing issues. They add that if the government agencies, including the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), took action against the problems that grew in the last few years, their lives could have been less stressful.
Although Mattakkuliya is a part of Colombo, it lacks basic facilities that we consider essential. According to Father Mark Fernando of St’ Mary’s Church, the Mattakkuliya region does not even have a post office, “we used to have a post office but due to threats by various groups they had to... (See Inside)



Maria Sharapova won the third Grand Slam title of her career with a straight-sets win over Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic at the Australian Open.
The Russian, 20, won 7-5, 6-3 to add the Australian crown to victories at Wimbledon in 2004 and the 2006 US Open.
After the pair shared early breaks of serve, Sharapova moved ahead again in game 11 and served out the first set. And two breaks in the second set were enough to give Sharapova a convincing victory in one hour 31 minutes.
On a baking hot Australia Day, with temperatures touching 34 Celsius, people in the crowd were fanning themselves and the players looked for shade wherever they could find it.
Sharapova went into the final as the lower ranked player having missed large parts of last season with a serious shoulder injury. But from the start of the tournament in Melbourne it was clear that her health problems were behind her as she swept through a draw that included Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic.
Ivanovic, who had beaten Sharapova on her way to a first Grand Slam final at last year’s French Open, had enjoyed a breakthrough win over Venus Williams in the last eight. (See Inside)

Point Blank
A reminder to SLC
It is over a month since Nisal Senaratne passed away following a brief illness. In the field of cricket Senaratne was a stalwart in his own way having played the game at school and representative level and more so having served the game for over a decade.
Senaratne as we all know held the post of secretary of the then Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) for as many as six years in two-year spells on three occasions. He was also a vice-president of BCCSL and manager on many tours including the 1987 World Cup and the 1981 tour of England when Sri Lanka were granted full membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and served the Cricket Board in various other capacities too numerous to mention from the time of Robert Senanayake in the late sixties till Gamini Dissanayake in the late eighties.
It is indeed sad to note that people such as Senaratne who had served the game for long years have simply gone unnoticed. Others who have served in this category for long years include, apart from Senanayake and Dissanayake, – Neil Perera, Abu Fuard, Nuski Mohamed, S. Skandakumar, Ranjith Fernando, WAN Silva, Anuruddha Polonowita, Leo Wijesinghe, Anura Tennekoon, M. Rajasingham and SS (Chandra) Perera.
All these individuals have served Sri Lanka Cricket (as it is now named) for a period of well over a decade in HONORARY capacities holding high office in various positions. They have carried the Cricket Board virtually on their shoulders at a time when the controlling...  (See Inside)


For the first time since 1994, the Batticaloa citizens will be going to the polls amidst fear, uncertainty and violence.
The air is heavy with speculation, accusations and unconfirmed reports of crimes. Confusion seems to be the order of the day. Despite confusion, the innocent civilians are pushed to participate in an election they don’t want.
Though the majority is not prepared to face an election, it appears that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to hold elections is going to bring a change – for better or for worse.
The voter would have no choice but to opt for the party that yields more power, strength and state support – the Tamil Makkal Vidudalai Puligal (TMVP) led by Karuna Amman, who is to serve a jail term of 24 months for breaching British immigration laws.
The local poll is expected to be definitely influenced by recent happenings and the polarization is likely to reap benefits for the ruling party.
The government’s attempt to join hands with the TMVP, branded as a carbon copy of LTTE, has sent a clear message to all in Batticaloa – to vote for TMVP.
The people are well aware that the government is trying to hoodwink them by waving polling cards at them. But the reality would be non-participation of the majority of the legitimate voters from the Batticaloa district, thus resulting in ballot stuffing and impersonation.
The main opposition has opted to stay away without contesting the election citing various allegations. The principal among which is, the armed culture still practiced by the TMVP.
The intelligentsia reminds the nation that such an election would be a travesty of democracy and must be staved off. But the government has so far not heeded these sermons by the civil society.
True, sporadic violence in Batticaloa continues. Relief camps continue to house thousands of displaced people from the district. The government conveniently, for the first time, has used amendment (30) of 2007 of the Constitution to authorise displaced people to cast their votes from wherever they are. (See Inside)




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