In an outright embarrassing move, the Sri Lankan
Government has decided to shift the forthcoming SAARC Summit to
Colombo from the historic city of Kandy, mainly owing to
security concerns and lack of infrastructure...
SLMC cries foul over
MR’s election tactics
Nearly 8,000 Police personnel have been deployed for tomorrow’s
local government polls in Batticaloa.
Batticaloa Elections DIG H.M.D Nawarathne told The Nation that
Moves to oust Attanayake
Trouble is brewing within the main opposition United National
Party (UNP) following attempts by several individuals to oust
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake.
According to informed party sources, Party...
From the mouths of babes...
JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe appears to be intently
listening to a little girl, probably a future leader, at
yesterday’s JVP-led ceremony held to mark International Women’s
Day at the Town Hall. The little girl capturing his attention is
Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake’s daughter
(Pic by Nissanka Wijerathne)
Iranian President here
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected in Sri Lanka
It is, however, likely to be marred by controversy with senior
Foreign Ministry officials anxious over Ahmadinejad’s
Top medical consultants
to leave country
World-renowned Neuro Surgeon Sunil Perera and five other
well-known specialists are likely to leave Sri Lanka owing to
alleged harassment they have to endure...
Mahinda defends Lanka
Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister ...
|Sampath Bank employees
report suspicious transaction
Sampath Bank Employees’ Association in a letter signed by its
President Sujith Abeyratne has recently brought to the notice of
the Central Bank, an outward remittance amounting to US$ 7
million made by the Bank’s Foreign Currency Banking Unit, as a
In the letter addressed to the Central Bank’s Financial
Intelligence Unit Director, the Association has pointed out that
the remittance has been hurriedly done by overdrawing a foreign
currency account, which has been opened only a few days earlier,
even without an initial deposit.
They allege that the account has been opened against
photocopies of essential documents, without even
verifying these documents against the originals,
contrary to the normal banking practice, and the funds
have been sent to a Swiss bank account.
‘Sick’ principals to be
Several principals in the North Western Province are to be
transferred as punishment for participating in the teachers’
sick leave strike on March 4, in protest against the
government’s failure to settle their salary anomalies.
“North Western Province Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe has
ordered the provincial education director to transfer the
principals of the schools where the strike was 100% successful,”
Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union General Secretary Mahinda
Jayasinghe told The Nation.
“This particularly applies to several principals in the
Kurunegala District who were political appointees. Keeping them
was perceived as being useless since they failed to make at
least one teacher report to work on Tuesday,” Jayasinghe added.
‘Best Traffic OIC’ abruptly
transferred to Matale
The winner of last year’s ‘Best Traffic OIC’ Award, Kandy
Traffic OIC Inspector Ananda Dharmapala, has been transferred to
Matale Police Station, without any valid reason.
“With effect from January 15, I was transferred to Kegalle
Police along with my Deputy, SI Herath. Then from January 20, I
was transferred to Matale Police,” Dharmapala explained.
He suspected malicious intent behind his transfer out of Kandy,
where he was involved in further strengthening the city traffic
“I was not even transferred to the Traffic Division. Now I’m
with the Special Crimes Investigation Bureau (SCIB). When I was
first transferred to Kegalle they informed me that it was by
mistake and then the transfer to Matale was given,” the
Dharmapala won the coveted award as a result...
Ranil offers help to implement
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has offered to help the
government to implement the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) fully within Sri Lanka.
According to informed sources the ICCPR had not been fully
implemented in Sri Lanka and the opposition UNP had offered to
help the government in effecting necessary Constitutional
The opposition UNP is of the view that the implementation of the
ICCPR needs a Constitutional amendment and it is prepared to
help the government to achieve this in a bid to save the GSP+.
It has been reported that the European Union (EU) had insisted
that Sri Lanka conforms to 25 protocols it has signed if the EU
were to extend the GSP+, which lapses...
Abductors wanted to silence me
Former Deputy Minister and Member of Parliament Jayasundara
Wijekoon, who appeared after being abducted on March 4, from his
Buttala residence, said that the motive of his abduction was to
politically silence him.
He had been released on Friday night at Arawwala, Maharagama by
his abductors. He had then lodged a complaint at the Maharagama
Police following his release. Later he was admitted to the
Kalubowila Hospital and was discharged yesterday morning.
Wijekoon told The Nation that he was abducted by three armed
persons who wore black.
Recalling his abduction, the former minister said that on March
4 some person, pretending to be his brother, had knocked on the
door. Wijekoon had opened the door without any suspicions. The
abductors had then entered into his house forcefully.
President finds flaws in CMC
Western Province Chief Minister
Reginald Cooray has appointed yet another commission to probe
allegations against the officials of the Colombo Municipal
Council (CMC) arising from the report submitted by the
Chandradasa Nanayakkkara Commission.
Cooray had appointed a second commission without making a
mandatory ruling on the first report as to whether he was
accepting it or not.
According to government sources, if the report is accepted,
Cooray has no option but to dissolve the council.
The Chandradasa Nanayakkara Commission, which probed the
allegations against the CMC, had found that nine out of the 11
allegations levelled against it had been proved beyond
A gamble MR can’t afford to
A tale of two wars
Tomorrow will see local government elections in Batticaloa, in what
has become a controversial move by the government to re-assert its
authority in the Eastern Province. The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime claims
it is a watershed in the struggle against separatism and terrorism-and
its detractors say it is a sham poll designed to hoodwink both the
people of the Eastern Province and the international community.
The President, it will be recalled, rode to power in late 2005 on a
nationalist platform. His allies were the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)
and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), who were more vocal than his own Sri
Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in their cry for a unitary state, as opposed
to the united Sri Lanka proposed by the United National Party (UNP).
Rajapaksa won due to a curious combination of reasons: the JVP and JHU
sold the story that the UNP would hand a separate state to Velupillai
Prabhakaran on a platter: Ranil Wickremasinghe was a poor campaigner,
his united Sri Lanka concept was not marketed properly: and last but not
the least, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil...
Sri Lankan politics has been in turmoil for some time now,
especially, after Mahinda Rajapaksa ascended the highest
pedestal of his political career, the Presidency.
This is because the Rajapaksa regime decided to pursue a
military strategy instead of a political solution to deal with
Earlier too, personalities who ascended the Presidency, tried
the military option, but, later, realised that the country’s
economy couldn’t sustain such an option, because crushing LTTE
terrorism could be a long drawn exercise.
All out war
Nevertheless, the Rajapaksa regime decided to take on the
LTTE, in a bid to crush terrorist activities that plagued the
country for nearly two-and-a-half decades. The first leg of the
anti LTTE campaign was successfully completed, after government
troops captured the east, including the Thoppigala jungles, from
where the LTTE operated in the east for a long period.
The UNP too, cleared the east, and held local government
elections under President D.B. Wijetunge, but the UNP’s
Muslim militancy rears its head in the
In a worrisome development, amid violence and threats
in the east, there are confirmed reports that say Muslim
extremists are abandoning their previously quiet lifestyle for
Several attempts by a few Muslim leaders in the east to conceal
this fact has failed as the extremists, mostly youth, who have
been ignored by society, are insistent on carrying arms and
fighting for their lost rights.
It is known that the creation of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC)
itself was in order to prevent Muslim youth from embracing arms.
This is a clear indication that the Muslim youth have been
longing to embrace militancy, similar to Tamil militancy, with a
view to protecting their interests.
The majority of Sri Lanka’s 1.3 million Muslims live in the east
and a section of the community has been overtly exerting
pressure on Muslim politicians and leaders to deal...
Cabinet fiddles while headless IRS burns
The central nervous system of the country’s economy, the Inland
Revenue Department (IRD), is in crisis, for want of a
Commissioner General (CG).
With the retirement of former CG A.A. Wijepala, last Friday, the
Dept. is now headless, and its activities at a standstill, in
“According to the Inland Revenue Act, the Dept. cannot function
under an acting CG. There has to be a permanent CG, at all
times,” IRD, Staff Officers’ Association President M.P.S.
The senior assessor further pointed out that, although the CG
has the authority to delegate powers to officers under him, it
does not warrant the delay in appointing a permanent CG.
“Ideally, since the retirement date of an incumbent CG is
clearly set – upon reaching the 60th birthday – his successor
should be nominated at least a month prior to retirement,”...
|Joes annihilate Petes
In the 74th ‘Battle of the Saints’ St. Joseph’s cricketers
produced a superb team effort to beat their arch-rivals St.
Peter’s by an innings and 42 runs at the P. Sara Stadium
yesterday. The Josephians managed to break the hoodoo to take
the Rev. Maurice Legoc Trophy after 35 long years. St. Joseph’s
last won under Rohan Fernando in 1972. Before the stalemate St.
Peter’s registered their last win under Suraj Abeysekara in
Put in to bat first the Peterites were driven to the depths of
despair by Thisara Perera’s terrifying pace on the opening day
of the annual encounter. Perera took the scalps of five St.
Peter’s top and middle-order batsmen conceding only 39 runs.
Skipper Anuk Silva, who looked dangerous, was bowled and sent
back to the pavilion by Perera after having stroked 40 which was
the top score for the Peterites. Eventually they were bowled out
for a paltry 137 inside 46 overs. St. Joseph’s batting in their
first essay made things even worse as they frustrated the
Peterite bowlers who were hunting for wickets. Roshen Silva
stroked a brilliant 66 while Shameera Weerasinghe composed a
solid 55. Dimuth Karunaratne (48) and Hareen Silva (32) added
the extra topping to enable the Joes to be in a commanding
position with a total of 255 at end of the first day’s play.
Getting down to brass tacks
The time is right to get down to brass tacks and
review what sort of composition Sri Lanka would require for the
2011 World Cup. Instead of dilly-dallying with team selections
and wasting precious time the national selectors need to sit
down with the captain and decide the composition of players who
will be best suited to serve them for the future because there
are a few question marks hanging over the careers of a few
Whether these players will be available to represent
their country and play their best cricket at the World
Cup is a question the national selectors will have to
decide right now and take appropriate steps. We don’t
want a situation where senior cricketers decide to quit
the game closer to the World Cup which would be unfair
on the players replacing them. That is why it is
imperative that the national selectors have a one-to-one
chat with some of the senior players and get an idea of
what their future plans are rather than leave it...
“India helps us contain terrorism” –
Presidential sibling cum Advisor and
Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa, in an interview with The
Nation, defended the government’s stand on India, a matter which
has come to the fore, with the decision to implement the 13th
Amendment to the Constitution in full. Whereas, the government’s
former ally, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), has initiated
a diatribe against India, Rajapaksa believes that India has a
right to take an interest in Sri Lankan affairs. He also
defended the allegations against the government’s human rights
record, saying abductions are a universal phenomenon
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q: The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has labelled
Sri Lanka as one of the countries in the world, with the worst
record of forced disappearances. This is likely to come up in
international forums such as the EU and the UN Human Rights
Council. How does the government intend to face this situation?
A: I don’t think the government should respond to all these
things that appear on the internet. Most of these organisations
have not even visited this country. They don’t talk about
violations in their own countries. If you go to a website and
see how many people are lost in New York City on a day, I think
it is more than the population of Sri Lanka. Recently, a
Muslims have never clamoured for
regional power – Naushad
a few are chosen as power players to mould and make political
parties from behind the screen in politics. They may not be
popular in politics but certainly make others popular through
their skills and expertise. One such person who has been active
in the Sri Lankan politics is A. M. M. Naushad, son of former
Member of Parliament (MP) for Ninthavur M. I. M. Majeed and son
- in - law of also former MP for Ampara M. A. Abdul Majeed. He
is today the UNP’s convener for Eastern Province and Chairman of
the Eastern province Political Affairs Committee. He is also a
member of the UNP’s working committee.
Naushad who was one time a High Command member of Sri Lanka
Muslim Congress (SLMC) says if the TMVP was not armed today, the
UNP would have participated at tomorrow’s election in Batticaloa.
Accusing the TMVP’s alliance with the government, Naushad told
The Nation that the non participation of the UNP at tomorrow’s