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Sunday February 24th, 2008

Heroes avert carnage
A vigilant passenger averted a bloodbath yesterday morning in Mount Lavinia, after he tipped off the bus driver and conductor about a suspicious parcel in a bus from Moratuwa bound for Pettah, which... (See Inside)

Chamal seeks to cancel South Port tender
Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa on Thursday sought cabinet approval to cancel the controversial Colombo... (See Inside)

Fearing Kosovo drama in SL
Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) has made the President... (See Inside)



Near carnage was averted at a bus halt in the crowded Mount Lavinia junction after a powerful bomb tore through a private bus at around 11 a.m. Pictured is the bus ablaze, just minutes after the explosion
(Pic by Prageeth Ranasinghe)



Eyebrows raised over govt-sponsored jaunt
Scepticism reigns over the government’s decision to sponsor eight Sri Lankan Tamils, now domiciled in Europe, on a week long visit to the island, The Nation learns. (See Inside)

Northern Interim Council in limbo?
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been mum on the initial offer he made to Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Leader V. Anandasangaree last month when he proposed... (See Inside)




Forty trade unions demand Rs. 10,000 as New...
The Trade Union Confederation comprising of 40 trade unions in the country has warned President Mahinda Rajapaksa that they would be compelled to take vigorous action against the government and the Treasury if it fails to increase their New Year allowance to Rs. 10,000.
The confederation’s General Secretary Saman Rathnapriya said the trade unions had sent a letter requesting the President to increase their New Year allowance from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 10,000.
“We cannot celebrate our New Year due to the skyrocketing cost of living; this is why we requested the President to increase... (See Inside)

Batti gets ‘TMVP policemen’
The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) has discovered a new method to protect its election candidates – by dressing up its cadres in Police uniforms in the Batticaloa district.
Highly-placed sources told The Nation yesterday that the cadres have been spotted in Batticaloa adorned in Police uniforms, giving ‘protection’ to TMVP candidates, mainly its civilian candidates who are contesting the March 10 local government election.
“They are out in numbers, openly travelling on foot and in vehicles with the candidates, (See Inside)

“My life is in further turmoil” – Ganesan
Western People’s Front Leader, Parliamentarian Mano Ganesan yesterday lashed out at the government and law enforcement authorities, charging that they were putting his life in further turmoil in an obvious act of vengeance owing to his campaign against the government over its human right violations.
Ganesan, who is also the convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission, also complained about the alleged injustice meted out to him when he met with the visiting Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) delegation... (See Inside)

Penalised Tamil student admitted to Visakha
A Tamil student, Nethmi Lavanya Yogendra, who was allegedly penalised on ethnic grounds when she was to be admitted to Visakha Vidyalaya, has been admitted to the school, a statement issued by the Education Ministry revealed.
Nethmi was placed second in the Colombo District at the Grade 5 scholarship examination held in August 2007, after securing 190 marks. Accordingly, she was directed to Visakha Vidyalaya.
The Education Ministry statement however claimed that though she was directed to Visakha Vidyalaya based on her scholarship marks; her admittance was delayed due to her name being written differently in the relevant documents. (See Inside)

Right of Reply
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has sent us the following statement with regard to our last week’s story titled ‘US, Sri Lanka in diplomatic row,’ which appeared on the front page.
“The article entitled ‘US, Sri Lanka in diplomatic row,’ which appeared in The Nation on February 17 has no basis in fact,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We wish to note that Ali Zahir Moulana, Minister (Economic) and his family members have already received their new diplomatic passports from the Immigration and Emigration Department on... (See Inside)

LTTE says ‘impossible’ to get Prabha
Rubbishing frequent claims by the Sri Lankan Government that the elusive LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has been injured in a military raid, his key aide has said the people would soon realise the ‘futility’ of the Army’s claims of success against the rebels.
“False propaganda saying our Leader Prabhakaran is injured is being carried. Nobody can approach our Leader,” LTTE Political Head B. Nadesan told the Tamil daily Thinakkural in an interview.
While the Sri Lankan security forces are claiming success in their clashes against the LTTE, Nadesan said the “people of Sri Lanka will realise the futility of such a claim in... (See Inside)




CC moves from sublime to ridiculous!
For some time now, the Constitutional Council (CC) has been in the news and for all the wrong reasons too. Recently, those concerned about the Council were aghast at a story that was doing the rounds: maverick minister Mervyn Silva, it was rumoured, was to be appointed to the Council.
Had this come to pass, it would have been a step from the sublime to the ridiculous for the Constitutional Council. But the story, however unfounded or mischievous it was, was an indication of the government’s intentions with regard to the CC.
The issue was raised in Parliament this week. The opposition had two bones to pick with the government: rumour had it that Silva, already under investigation for allegedly assaulting a media organisation employee was to be the President’s nominee to the CC. At the same time, the appointment... (See Inside)

A successful failure
The main opposition UNP has issued an ultimatum to the government to finish the war by March or face stiff resistance from the masses.
These were the sentiments expressed by UNP Kurunegala Parliamentarian Johnston Fernando.
The UNP, just before the third reading of the Budget, declared that, by January, they would mobilise the people against the government, but later postponed it to March.
The postponement, according to UNPers themselves, is to afford leeway to the government to get its act together and finish its military campaign against the LTTE in the north, by March this year.
The reluctant Opposition
It is not a secret that the UNP, ever since it lost the... (See Inside)


Tigers fight fierce defensive war on north western front
Last Sunday (February 17) was a sad day for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), since it lost in battle another senior stalwart who had rendered yeoman service to the movement for more than two decades.
Lt. Col Thava, or Thavam as he was called, was not one widely known to the world like Tiger Police Commissar Suppiah Paramu Thamilselvan. But in his own quiet way, Thava was responsible for portraying the LTTE in a positive light and projecting the Tiger cause worldwide.
Apart from his combat duties Lt. Col Thava was functioning since 1990 as the chief cinematographer of the LTTE’s Nitharsanam television station.
In recent times he was also the deputy chief of the Tigers’ Film Division. In addition,... (See Inside)

Calm before the storm?
Precisely 15 days from today, the people of Batticaloa will, willingly or unwillingly, participate in the local polls conducted by the government after nearly 20 years.
While an election in any part of the world is viewed as an exercise to reflect on the democratic nature of that particular nation, one wonders how the hastily decided polls in Batticaloa would turn out to be.
Calm environment
Ever since Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake called for nominations, to date, there haven’t been any significant incidents making news, except... (See Inside)



Batting has let us down — Sanga
Sri Lanka’s vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara was frustrated at his team’s batting performance as they suffered their seventh successive defeat to world champions Australia on Friday.
The visitors’ gamble to bowl first -- expecting the match to be shortened by the weather -- looked to have paid off when they restricted Australia to just 184 for seven from their 50 overs.
Australia’s usual composure under pressure was lacking, and had the Sri Lankans been more accurate with their throws, they might have had half-a-dozen run-outs.
However, the Sri Lankan batsmen again failed to rise to the challenge and they were 77 for four when rain did stop play after 29.3 overs, leaving them well short of the required 102 under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The loss meant Sri Lanka, having won just one of their six games in the tri-series, will have to win their last two matches to have any chance of reaching the finals.
“We’ve made it quite difficult for ourselves over the whole tournament -- our bowlers have done a great job right throughout but our batting has never clicked and let us down badly,” said Sangakkara. (See Inside)

Point Blank
A feat worthy of national recognition
A fortnight ago we were bemoaning the fact that in 60 years of our country’s independence the only noteworthy sporting achievements we could boast of was winning the World Billiards Championship in 1973, the cricket World Cup in 1996 and champion woman sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe’s silver and bronze medals at the Olympic Games and IAAF World championships.
The dust had hardly settled on those comments that we find in our midst the Sri Lanka men’s carrom team emerging world champions at the fifth World Carrom Championships in France and our women finishing runner-up. In the history of carrom in Sri Lanka this is quite a significant achievement for the sport because the country has never gone to the extent to where our men’s and women’s teams had.
Unlike cricket, athletics and even billiards there was hardly any fanfare to greet our world champion slicers on their arrival at the BIA, but a rather low key welcome with a couple of officials from the Ministry of Sports to receive them.
One could easily understand why because carrom is not a glamour sport like cricket, rugby or athletics. It is not a game played by the affluent in society but largely by underprivileged children at community centres. Carrom was commonly known as a game played at funeral houses, but it has now grown into one where Sri Lanka has started to produce... (See Inside)


Disgraced Merv, continues tilting at windmills
History has never been kind to generals who have fallen from grace. One simple slip and all their hard work is undone, and what’s frightening is that this seems to happen when they feel they are on top of the game. The latest of this line of disgraced warriors is our very own warrior prince Dr Mervyn Silva.
The “descendent” of the warrior king Dutugemunu was feeling like a million bucks only few months back. He has accomplished so much in such a little time, a brief scan of his resume will show you that his enemies seem to jump behind bushes when he drives by and that he had become a minister with only 2000 odd votes not to mention his educational qualifications. How many of his critics can boast of a doctorate? Yeah you guessed right, none.
But little did he know that fate was slowly slipping the lead in to the gloves when he entered the SLRC complex to teach the news editor a lesson. But the unfortunate events that followed started a chain... (See Inside)




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