|Unions request President to
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s Joint Union
Alliance has sent a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
making an appeal to him to save the institution from near
In the letter addressed to the President, the union had
requested the President not to extend the leasing period of the
Lubricant Refinery, which is under Caltex Lanka Ltd.
According to Common Service Union Secretary D.J. Rajakaruna, if
the CPC is given back the refinery once the lease period ends,
it would enable the corporation to improve its gross revenue.
“We also have requested the government not to extend the lease
period to Caltex, which is scheduled to end this year. Instead,
the government should re-possess the refinery, which
would enable CPC...
Heerimutugoda resigns following
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has demanded the immediate
resignation of Land Reform Commission Chairman Lakshman
A highly-placed official attached to the Land and Land
Development Ministry, who spoke to The Nation on grounds of
anonymity, said that Heerimutugoda had tendered his resignation
last Tuesday following the Presidential order.
Meanwhile, State Timber Corporation Chairman S.A. Premaratne too
has resigned from his position last week.
Chandana Haputhanthri has been appointed as the new chairman of
Over 200 LTTE bunkers in north
While the military has destroyed a considerable number of LTTE
bunkers in the north to date, there are nearly 200 LTTE bunkers
in all in the northern districts at present.
Speaking to The Nation, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya
Nanayakkara said that the LTTE has bunkers situated every 10
metres or so in the north and that it changes bunker positions
from time to time.
“So far no bunker has been captured by the security forces,
although the forces have destroyed many of them. At the moment
we are in the LTTE Forward Defence Line (FDL), which we captured
in 2006. Since then the military has not gone any further. The
LTTE has the ability to reconstruct the bunkers even when the
forces destroy them,” Brigadier Nanayakkara...
Fast-track Rs. 500 mn. fraud
The All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) wants the
Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or
Corruption (CIABOC) to fast-track the investigation into
the alleged Rs. 500 million fraud by high-ranking
officials of the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry.
ACHSU Deputy Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe told The Nation that
it has already been three months since the day when union
members were questioned but Health and Nutrition Minister Nimal
Siripala de Silva, Ministry Secretary Dr. H.A.P. Kahandaliyanage
and other concerned officials are yet to be questioned by the
Meanwhile, the CIABOC Investigation Director Neville Guruge told
The Nation that they had to go through the complaints
since they were serious issues. He said the commission
would not be able to settle...
Sri Lankan Army team on secret
mission in India
PUNE: A high-level
team of officers from the Sri Lanka Military Intelligence Corps
(MIC) and Army were brought stealthily into Pune five days ago
for advanced intelligence training at Indian Army’s various
high-security institutions here.
The initial phase of the training at the National Defence
Academy (NDA) got over on Friday. The team is expected to be
briefed on advanced electronic warfare, command, control,
communications and computer intelligence at the Military
Intelligence Training School and Depot (MITSD), the only
institution of the Indian Army which imparts training in all
aspects of intelligence.
The secret visit comes as a precursor to the setting up of an
intelligence training school in Sri Lanka, which has been
battling the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels for
The visit assumes added significance in the backdrop of
recent statements by Chief...
Weerawila Airport project hits environmental snag
The construction of the Weerawila International Airport suffered
yet another setback when the Technical Evaluation Committee
(TEC) appointed by the Central Environment Authority (CEA)
requested the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to conduct further
research and include additional information to the Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
“The TEC met on February 7 to evaluate the EIA, especially the
public comments, and the members thought that the EIA was
grossly inadequate. Therefore they asked the CAA to conduct
further research,” CEA Chairman Udaya Gammanpila said.
He added that the CEA would reconsider the matter...
Loosening the claws of the Tiger!
There was a sense of déjà vu when Sri Lanka celebrated its diamond
jubilee of independence last week: the threat of attacks from the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was looming large. It was so ten
years ago when the country celebrated its golden jubilee of independence
as well, with the Tiger terrorists having bombed the Dalada Maligawa a
few days earlier.
The Tigers and the government may still be at war but with several
regime changes in Colombo, a ceasefire and a decade later the odds are
stacked differently. This is no war of attrition where the LTTE is
content to stage an attack and then lie low; Eelam War IV is embarking
on a relentless course.
The days before and after the celebrations were marred by a string of
attacks - bus bombs at Dambulla and Weli Oya and the bomb attack at the
Fort Railway station, all ‘soft’ targets of relatively unprotected
constitutional process stifled, ICES Rama removed!
Sri Lanka celebrated its diamond jubilee of independence last
week the separatist LTTE unleashed a cycle of violence in which
at least fifty people were killed and an equal number maimed.
The ruthless LTTE also killed seven school children in their
terror campaign perpetrated against the civilian population in
the South, aimed at diverting the government’s attention from
the Northern war theatre.
Violence coupled with terrorism knew no boundaries as to where
they should strike and when, it has no discrimination whatsoever
but the senseless killer machines - ruthless terrorists take a
toll every day regardless of whom they are attacking.
Whether it happens in the South or in the North, there should be
a strong public outcry against targeting civilians who, at most
of the time, have no connection or nothing to do with the on
going war in the North.
The aftermath of the APRC debacle
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was unseated as MP for the
Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareilly in 1975, when courts
ruled in favour of an election petition filed by her chief
opponent, Raj Narain. In a controversial move, she declared
Emergency rule and jailed her political rivals in the
Censorship was imposed. But to the eternal shame of India’s
fourth estate, the media fell in line meekly. Only a few
honourable exceptions like press baron Ramnath Goenga and “Cho”
Ramaswamy – maverick Editor of Thuglak – displayed some
resistance to the clamping down of media censorship.
The Indian media’s servility during Emergency came in for severe
criticism later. One comment that aptly summed up the surrender
was, “The Indian media was only required to stoop, but instead
they chose to grovel.” This pithy comment was applicable to a
pathetic event in Sri Lanka on January 23.
When life freezes as threats loom
When the new year dawned on January 1, it did not bring
blessings for a joyous year. Instead, it marked an ominous
beginning to an already volatile situation. The bloodbath that
the country was drowned in that day has not yet subsided, and
the threat of an imminent suicide attack seems to be the most
important factor controlling civilian life.
One of the main causes of fear among the people today, is the
unpredictability and random nature of the attacks by suicide
What are the long term repercussions on the public as a whole,
of this pervasive condition of insecurity? Will it lead to a
total breakdown of social order? Can we ever recover from the
sense of continuing volatility in the society?
The Nation sought experts’ opinion…
Insecurity seems to be the most pervasive feeling in the mindset
of the Sri Lankan public in general at present. As the imminent
threat of a bomb attack has incapacitated a great number of
people, especially within the Colombo city, the routine life of
the citizens has been suspended.
|Lankans ponder Aussie dominance
were the second best side at last year’s World Cup but captain
Mahela Jayawardene has admitted that a continuing inability to
beat Australia is becoming a major concern.
On Friday, in the first one-day clash between the sides since
Australia won the World Cup final last April, the home side once
again proved too good, winning their tri-series match by 128
runs after bowling the Sri Lankans out for a paltry 125 in just
The Aussies have now won their last five one-day matches against
Sri Lanka, and seven of their last eight clashes.
Star wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara raised his game,
averaging 10 more with the bat against the world champions in
one-day cricket than his career average, and did so again with a
sparkling 42 on Friday.
But it was a solo effort. Sangakkara’s teammates couldn’t handle
relentless Australian pressure, losing their last eight wickets
for just 68 runs in a spectacular collapse.
ICC under pressure from advanced technology
Day by day cricket’s world governing body the International
Cricket Council (ICC) is coming under the microscope and put
under severe pressure by the incidents that are taking place on
the cricket field.
The latest incident to catch world focus is the 10 percent fine
slapped on Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma by ICC match referee
Jeff Crowe for showing dissent when he was ruled out caught
behind by South African umpire Rudi Koertzen when his bat had
not even touched the ball. Sharma’s offence in the Commonwealth
Bank Series match against Sri Lanka at Brisbane was that he
stood his ground without walking away when the umpire gave the
To slap a fine on the batsmen for a wrong decision given
by the umpire is simply just not cricket. Sharma could
have been stunned by the decision which made him pause
for more than the time the match referee thought he
should have and decided to rule it as dissent. Whichever
way one looks at it, the decision to fine him was a
harsh one - first to be ruled out caught when he had not
nicked the ball and secondly, to be fined...
583 mn. per day for war – Ravi KK
UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake has taken the UPFA government led
by President Mahinda Rajapakse, by its horns. He reveals that
the government spends Rs. 583 million every day on the war. This
works out to Rs.25 million every hour and Rs. 420,000 every
minute. He argues that there has not been a return for the
expenses that have been incurred to wage the present war. In an
interview with The Nation he lambasted the JVP and JHU which
promised to ‘check and balance’ the government, adding that
these two parties were today only singing the same chorus,
joining the UPFA.
“We are going through bad times. But the UNP will do what is
possible. We can’t do everything but can do something. Because
we can’t do everything we will not refuse to do something we can
do. What we can do we should do and what we should do, by the
grace of God we will do,” the Parliamentarian added.
Following are excerpts.
Q: What is your assessment of the present situation?
A: I would say it is pathetic. In the spheres...
“War + 13th Amendment = LTTE’s demise”
stalwart, Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne says that,
though the SLFP was opposed to the 13th Amendment at that time,
it had later changed its mind to embrace it. He says the SLFP
that found the 13th Amendment to be effective, contested the
provincial council (PC) elections and made use of the machinery
to provide infrastructure and social benefits to the respective
areas and the people within them.
“From about 1993, the SLFP has been wedded to the PCs and has
been promoting this system, in spite of certain monitory and
administrative shortcomings that the system has proved,” he told
The Nation in an interview. The Minister said that it was an
appropriate time to implement the 13th Amendment, while at the
same time to prosecute the war, thereby, crushing the LTTE. He
also said that though the expenditure to fight the war was too
big, there was no other option but to go ahead.
Following are excerpts;
Q: How do you assess the present situation?
A: The present situation is crucial because there is a war,
scheduled to be completed...