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Sunday February 03rd, 2008

A powerful bomb ripped through a bus bound for Anuradhapura as soon as it passed the Kurunegala Junction in Dambulla, killing 20 people and wounding 70 in the early hours of yesterday morning en route... (See Inside)

Heads to roll
A cabinet reshuffle is in the offing and it is likely that several heads will role paving the way for new faces.
It is learnt... (See Inside)

SLMC to boycott Batti polls?
Incessant violence in the east is likely to prompt Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to... (See Inside)


                   When will it end?              

Security forces and Police personnel inspecting the Anuradhapura-bound bus that was ripped apart by a parcel bomb yesterday, killing and injuring scores of innocent civilians in Dambulla
 (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)


CBK plays ‘concerned sister’
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has virtually taken over the affairs of Visumpaya, where... (See Inside)

Shady insurance deal blamed on national security
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) appears to have sealed a questionable insurance deal with the Sri Lanka... (See Inside)




Armed TMVP gets Police protection for its candidates
A request by the armed Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal’s (TMVP) for Police protection for nearly 80 of their civilian candidates vying at next month’s local government elections has been acceded.
“The TMVP wrote a letter to DIG Eastern Range Vasantha Nanayakkara urging him to provide Police protection to our civilian candidates,” party’s Spokesman Azad Moulana told The Nation.
According to Moulana, a total of 134 TMVP candidates will be contesting the March 10 local government elections in Batticaloa.
“Around 40% of our candidates are our cadres, so they don’t require protection as they ‘can look after themselves,’” Moulana... (See Inside)

UNP in ‘contempt’ of Jeyaraj
The UNP is to frame a Contempt of Court charge in the Supreme Court against Highways Minister Jeyeraj Fernandopulle over his condemnation of the court’s decision to remove roadblocks.
Plans are afoot to drag the vociferous minister to court and thereafter, take him to task, opposition members said.
According to the sources, the minister’s utterances condemning the Supreme Court order to remove roadblocks, would be the main tool to pin the minister.
Following the Supreme Court order that roadblocks and subsequent searches were violation of fundamental rights of citizens, the minister condemned the court order. (See Inside)

HRW raps MR for undermining Lankan HR Commission
The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW), has severely criticised President Mahinda Rajapaksa for undermining the independence of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, and failing to hold members of the security forces and non-state armed groups accountable for the rampant abuses in the country.
In its World Report 2008, Human Rights Watch stated that Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa directly appointed Human Rights Commission members, contrary to the constitution and his action had led to undermine independence of the Human Rights Commission and other constitutional bodies, since 2006.
HRW surveyed the human rights situation in more than 75 countries, identified many human rights challenges in need of attention,... (See Inside)

British, Indian High Commissions in Sri Lanka, to stop issuing visas
The Visa Section of the British High Commission in Sri Lanka will be closed, and the High Commission will stop issuing visas from April 1.
Instead, any Sri Lankans wishing to travel to the United Kingdom will have to obtain visas from the Mission in Chennai, India.
“The Colombo office will continue to issue visa application forms but the completed forms will have to be sent to the Chennai office for approval,” High Commission sources said.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has also announced an increase in their immigration fees.
The British Government expects to fund its programmes to improve border security in 2008. The fees for highly Skilled... (See Inside)

Govt. appoints key officials
The government last week appointed several important personnel to head Sri Lanka’s overseas missions.
Accordingly, former Foreign Ministry Secretary Siri Palihakkara has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Prasad Kariyawasam, who held this position, will return as a senior Foreign Service official at the Ministry.
Criminal lawyer, Daya Perera has been appointed to the High Commission in Ottawa, Canada while Kavinda Walgampaya, a SLFP lawyer, would proceed to Canberra, Australia.
Meanwhile, Nihal Jayasuriya, who is due to retire shortly, is tipped to be appointed as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London. (See Inside)

Sunil not removed from party’s Central Committee - JVP
Speculation is rife that Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Sunil Handunnetti has been removed from the party’s Central Committee.
The move reportedly comes amidst much controversy surrounding the Parliamentarian, who is allegedly under house arrest.
JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told The Nation that the speculation was baseless.
“We have not removed Sunil Handunnetti from the Central Committee. If we had removed him, we would have notified the Elections... (See Inside)




Celebrating a Diamond Jubilee dripping blood!
Tomorrow, Sri Lanka commemorates its diamond jubilee of independence from Britain, although there is very little to justify celebration. Anniversaries such as these, are usually marked with clichés to the effect that the nation is at a crossroads but nevertheless provide an opportunistic moment to reflect on the past and plan for the future.
The 60th anniversary celebrations are understandably low key. For all intents and purposes, the country is at war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and security concerns apart, recent terrorist attacks in the south have put paid to any chances of rejoicing in style.
That the world at large disapproves of what is transpiring in Sri Lanka is also self evident. The country has attracted many censures from the international community, the latest... (See Inside)

Terminally ill at 60
Sri Lanka celebrates its diamond jubilee of independence on Monday with pomp and pageantry. It is an appropriate time for a retrospective look at where we stand today as a nation, after 60 years of independence.
Sri Lanka was under colonial yoke for over 500 years, beginning with the Portuguese invasion of the Maritime Provinces in 1505.
After the non violent struggle for independence led by people of the calibre of F.R. Senanayake, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, D.S. Senanayake, Ponnambalam Arunachalam, E.W. Perera and S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Sri Lanka gained independence on February 4, 1948.
Since then, civil liberties enjoyed by the people have gradually eroded and have been on a sharp decline from the 70s, giving rise to an ethnic conflict during the latter... (See Inside)


Alienated from the state
Sixty is a magic number in the Hindu astrological calendar. Each year has a distinctive name. The names for these years number 60. All years come and go in a cycle of 60.
Therefore, people born in a particular year will find themselves celebrating their 60th birthday in the year with the same name. The 60th birthday itself is regarded as a milestone and observed ceremoniously by many.
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean gained independence from British rule as Ceylon in 1948. It was renamed Sri Lanka or the ‘Resplendent Isle’ in 1972. We also became a republic. Even as the country is poised to complete 60 years of independence on February 4, it would be worthwhile to reflect on where we are today on the eve of Independence Day
Singaporean success
There would be, no doubt, many people examining... (See Inside)

Massacre of the innocent
Horror. Massacre. Tragedy. What words should one use to describe the Dambulla bomb blast – the latest in a series that has left this nation bloodied and battered?
The incident occurred at 7:05 am, when a Kandy-Anuradhapua bus exploded in Dambulla, just past the Kurunegala junction, leaving 18 dead and around 70 injured. Two more passengers had succumbed to their injuries in Matale.
By noon, 16 female bodies and two male bodies were lying in the Dambulla Hospital mortuary, of which 12 had been identified by relatives.
The ill-fated bus left Kandy at 5:15 am, with around 90 passengers at the time – three of them children – and by the time it got to Dambulla, there were almost 100 people on board. It was then that tragedy struck, which stopped the bus in its tracks, turning it into a deathbed. (See Inside)



Jayasuriya injured as Lanka slump to defeat
Sri Lanka cricket coach Trevor Bayliss predicted his team’s embarrassment at a crushing seven wicket loss to Tasmania in Hobart would fire them up for their opening tri-series game against India in Brisbane.
Playing their second and final warm-up match before the tri-series, also involving Australia, Sri Lanka set Tasmania a modest target which the home side achieved with a whopping 13.5 overs to spare.
Sparked by paceman Brendan Drew (5-36 off 10 overs) domestic one-day competition leader Tasmania restricted Sri Lanka to 183 for 9 off 47.4 overs after veteran opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya was unable to resume his innings.
Jayasuriya retired hurt after injuring his chin whilst facing Tigers paceman Tim MacDonald in the eighth over.
Jayasuriya, who was on eight at the time, required six stitches in the wound but a precautionary x-ray cleared him of a fracture... (See Inside)

Point Blank
Sporting successes few and far...
Sri Lanka tomorrow celebrates its 60th year of Independence and what have we to boast about our achievements on the field of sports but the feats of three individuals and the Sri Lanka cricket team of 1996.
We produced our first World Champion when the late Muhammad Junaid Muhammad Lafir won the World Amateur Billiards Championship in Bombay in 1973 in our 25th year of Independence. The second child in a family of four, Lafir displayed his unique talent for the green baize at the age of 12 using a broomstick for a cue, marbles for balls and his home dining table for a billiard table.
The country’s first year of Independence saw Lafir win the first of many titles when he pocketed the All-Ceylon Snooker Championship in 1948 with consummate ease. He was to go and win it for a record 18 times and the All-Ceylon Billiards title on 17 occasions, still a world record for any sport. (See Inside)


13th Amendment an unforeseen development-Tissa
Science and Technology Minister and All Party Representative Committee (APRC) Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana is at the center of controversy. The controversy is over the outcome of the APRC discussions. Having deliberated for nearly one and half years, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has compelled the APRC to discuss the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, introduced some 20 years ago and which he (the President) himself, had vehemently rejected. The APRC Chairman whose credibility is at stake over this issue, claims if not for the question regarding the 13th Amendment, the outcome of the APRC would have been much more acceptable and attractive. He hinted that the question of 13th Amendment was thrust upon the APRC. He says he would have preferred if this question of the 13th Amendment implementation had not come up till a final decision was taken by the APRC. (See Inside)

“ Dr. Rama was wrongfully terminated”– Bradman
After widespread media reports about the internal problems at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, including the sudden termination of its Executive Director, Dr. Rama Mani, The Nation spoke to respected civil servant and former Secretary to Prime Minister Bradman Weerakoon, for his insights into the conflict raging within the once highly respected NGO. Weerakoon himself has been on the board of ICES since 2005. He also served on the Research Institute’s Board of Management, and was its acting Executive Director after Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy vacated the position to serve as UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
Following are excerpts:
Q: What is your role at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies?
I am now a Director of the Board of ICES. I have been a Director of the Board for the last two years – 2006 and 2007, and at one point I also had the very tricky task of care-taking during the time that Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy went away. That was about April 2006 until the beginning of 2007 when Dr .Rama...  (See Inside)




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