Sunday February 17th, 2008
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has submitted a cabinet
memorandum to secure national interest in recommending tender
The President had submitted this memorandum for approval on
In his memorandum, President Rajapaksa had stated, “Having
conducted a review of the implementation progress of several
PB to replace Mervyn?
is likely to be prorogued on Friday, February 22.
Informed sources told The Nation that Parliament would take up
several important financial bills on Wednesday and was likely to
go in for a long recess afterwards.
US, Sri Lanka in
The United States and Sri Lankan Governments are on a
diplomatic collision course over former UNP MP Ali Zaheer
Moulana being posted to a high ranking diplomatic position at
the Sri Lankan Embassy in...
SLFP rebel leader Mangala
Samaraweera appears to be seeking divine intervention for his
future political survival, as his long trusted friend and sole
colleague, Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi, made his final journey on
Wednesday at Borella Kanatte
(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara )
Mahinda promises ailing
Anura a bag of goodies
Mahinda Rajapaksa visited ailing former Minister Anura
Bandaranaike on Saturday afternoon and spent nearly
one-and-a-half hours at Bandaranaike’s bedside, chatting with
him and going down memory lane. Rajapaksa offered Bandaranaike
medical treatment at any destination of his choice and asked him
to clear the rest with his sisters, Chandrika...
The daily losses at the crisis-ridden Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB)
has catapulted to a whopping nearly Rs. 100 million a day from
an initial Rs. 45 million, The Nation learns.
The drastic increase comes following a Treasury decision to
withdraw subsidies given...
|Vasu, Liyanage trade charges
over CMC crisis
Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Opposition Leader Vasudeva
Nanayakkara yesterday held Municipal Commissioner Jayantha
Liyanage responsible for the unabated corruption prevalent at
Speaking to The Nation, Nanayakkara alleged that the
Commissioner was acting in an arbitrary manner, which had
affected the people who were attempting to clean up the mess in
“Even the council members have no say in the way in which the
CMC is functioning at present,” he charged.
He further pointed out that the main reason for the present
situation to arise was the inefficiency of the current Mayor, U.
JVP denies allegation of arms
deal link with LTTE
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday denied the
allegations levelled against the party, accusing it of having
had an arms deal with the LTTE during the 1988-’89 period,
across the Hambantota coastal area.
JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa told The Nation that
the accusation was cooked up by retired Major General Wasantha
Perera in favour of the court case filed against Weerawansa.
“He is trying to influence the procedure of the court with such
stories, which are in favour of him. Anyway, we do not believe
that anyone will believe those tales as the JVP has contributed
immensely to bring the LTTE...
Dilan to take PSC to court
Justice Minister Dilan Perera
is contemplating legal action against the Public Services
Commission (PSC) for preventing the recruitment of casual
workers to the country’s prisons.
The Minister, who has been prevented from recruiting casual
workers to help guard prisons, has requested the Prisons
Commissioner to forward him the PSC’s objection to the
recruitment of casual workers.
The Minister told The Nation that the letter from the
Commissioner was essential to take legal action.
The Minister’s proposed legal action is a sequel to the PSC’s
refusal to grant permission to recruit 1,000 officers to the
Prisons Department immediately.
SLMC cries foul in Valaichchenai
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has alleged that the
Valaichchenai Police is not taking any steps to maintain law and
order in the area and is openly ignoring election violations
committed by supporters of a government minister in the area.
SLMC Organiser, M.L.A.M. Hisbullah told The Nation that the
Valaichchenai Police had refused to take action against the
culprits who assaulted SLMC provincial council candidate
Mohammad Naushad on February 11. The 25 culprits in question are
alleged to be supporters of Disaster Relief Services Minister
Moves to clamp down on ‘brand
new’ vehicle racket
In an attempt to prevent sub standard vehicles being imported to
the country, a new set of standards regarding brand new imported
vehicles are to be introduced in the near future, Import Export
Controller Neil Hapuhinna told The Nation.
The reason behind the introduction of the new standards, titled
‘Sri Lankan Standard,’ is to prevent sub standard vehicles being
imported in the guise of brand new vehicles.
“We have found that in recent times some importers are
importing vehicles that are nearly 20 years old,
claiming that they are brand new.
Protest now or be damned, warn energy
Outright ignorance from the general public will lead to an
outrageous electricity tariff hike in the coming months, energy
experts have warned.
The warning comes subsequent to a notice published by the Ceylon
Electricity Board (CEB) on February 2 on the proposed
electricity tariff hike, running to anything between 30 to 80
The more than quarter page-sized newspaper notice gave a six
paragraph excuse outlining why the board would be compelled to
increase electricity tariffs in the coming weeks.
|Eliminating LTTE: MR’s
ticket to power
Last Saturday saw the death of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) rebel
Sripathi Sooriyarachchi under tragic circumstances in what may turn out
to be a critical event in opposition politics in the foreseeable future.
Sooriyarachchi, no matter what the allegations levelled against him
were, was a dynamic politician. He had the audacity to challenge the
powers that be, when he could have taken the path of least resistance
and nodded his assent to the establishment. For whatever reason, he
chose not to do that.
In breaking away from the mainstream SLFP along with Mangala Samaraweera,
Opposition suffers another crash
untimely demise of parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi
created a void in the opposition ranks of the Sri Lankan
political landscape, removing from our midst a vociferous
No doubt, he was able to take on any powerful political figure
with ease, given his disposition towards the complex political
scene within the country.
Sooriyaarachchi was, essentially, a Chandrika Kumaratunga
loyalist nurtured and groomed under her leadership, when she
headed the SLFP and thereby, the UPFA.
During his stint in the UPFA, he was one of the main opponents
of the UNP and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, never failing to
shred the UNP policies to pieces, whenever he appeared on TV for
The ICES crisis
this column devotes itself to issues related to politics,
political violence, terrorism, ethnic conflict, war, peace
process, power sharing, etc. It departs from this practice this
week to focus on an institution that has been in the news for
the past few weeks – The International Centre for Ethnic Studies
(ICES) in Colombo.
At the outset I wish to emphasise that I am both biased and
unbiased on this subject. Having been associated with ICES in
the past, I have nothing but appreciative regard and
affectionate goodwill towards it.
I owe a lot to ICES and remain grateful and loyal. Therefore I
am firmly biased in favour of ICES as an institution. I am very
much concerned that ICES is currently enveloped in a tragic
However, I must assert that I am unbiased as far as the
personalities involved in the ICES crisis...
Upali Wijewardena: Memories
of the unforgettable tycoon
If Philip Upali Wijewardena was among the living he would
have reached the biblical life span of three score and 10 today
(February 17). Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared 25
years ago, just four days before his 45th birthday. This article
is written as tribute to the man in this eventful week of
Legally, Wijewardena is presumed dead though his body was never
found. He was travelling in his own Lear jet from Malaysia to
Sri Lanka when the plane disappeared. The disappearance
continues to linger in the collective memory of the nation as an
unresolved mystery. There are people who ask me even now, “I
say, what really happened to Upali? Don’t know, no?”
|Jayawardene calls for smarter
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene said
his team needed to play smarter cricket at international level
after this week’s 63-run loss to Australia.
Sri Lanka blew their chance to go top of the tri-series ladder
here Friday when several batsmen threw their wickets away as
they were dismissed for 173 in the 46th over, giving Australia a
Classy left-hander Kumar Sangakkara anchored the Sri Lankan
chase with 80 and was the last man to fall, but received no
support and could do little but watch as poor shots cost wickets
at the other end.
Jayawardene applauded his team’s aggressive play at the start at
the innings, but said that overall shot selections needed to
improve and smarter cricket needed to be played.
“We need to go hard, but the shot selection has to be a bit
better,” he said after the loss.
“In world cricket a lot of guys do go hard up front, with the
power plays and all that, but the guys have got to be a bit
“The way we lost wickets was not good. At crucial times, we keep
losing wickets and you can’t do that in a run chase.”
Sri Lanka hammered India by eight wickets on Tuesday to revive
their hopes in the series after earlier being thrashed by
Australia by 128 runs.
But veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya has shown only glimpses of
form, with 46 runs at 15.33, while Jayawardene, Chamara...
Focus on Junior World Cup
With the future of school cricket’s traditional matches
popularly known as ‘Big’ matches hanging in the balance for the
current year following an Education Ministry decision, the focus
on our schoolboys turns on the squad of 15 picked from 12
schools to represent the country in the seventh edition of the
ICC under 19 World Cup which begins in Malaysia today.
The competition which started with only eight countries in 1988,
has gained momentum by doubling the quantity from the second
edition ten years later and has proved to be the launching pad
for many international cricket stars such as Brian Lara,
Inzamam-ul-Haq, Sanath Jayasuriya, Michael Atherton, Yuvraj
Singh, Chris Cairns, Michael Clarke, Graeme Smith and many other
Despite the decline in our school cricket standards, Sri
Lanka has somehow continued to produce at least one
cricketer who has gone on to make it to the national
team, but that was until the 2002 World Cup.
Mirissa harbour submerged by ‘foreign
Mirissa, a beautiful fishing hamlet in the South which was
devastated by the 2004 tsunami has lately come under the
scrutiny of several foreigners, for a number of reasons.
One reason could be the rapid rebuilding process that took place
after the tsunami. Another could be that it was one of the few
tsunami affected areas in Sri Lanka that bounced back to normal
life and recovering its erstwhile glory within a short period of
Mirissa also continues to boast of having the second or third
largest fish production in Sri Lanka.
However, this little village today is embroiled in a huge
controversy over ‘foreign invasion’.
Villagers accuse especially a leading Belgian businessman who is
also the Honorary Consul for Belgium in Sri Lanka of attempting
to invade the Mirissa fishing harbour, a claim flatly denied by
the Honorary Consul himself.
The 63 year old Honorary Consul for Belgium in Sri Lanka, Pierre
Pringiers has been engaged in business in Sri Lanka for the past
27 years. But his latest move to enter the Mirissa fishing
harbour and convert it into either a yacht club or even a
leisure club has annoyed the fisher folks. And it is this that
has led to a conflict between the Belgian and the Mirissa...