Action Plan before UN
Sri Lanka has formulated a National Action Plan
on human rights to be presented to the Office of the UN High
Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday (25).
The OHCHR is scheduled to publish the Action...
JVP to introduce new Bill
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is planning to
introduce a new Bill to Parliament to counter irregularities
when recruiting personnel into government service.
US concerned over Lanka’s
‘anti US axis’
The United States has clearly indicated that it has
serious concerns over Sri Lankan Government’s growing ties and
diplomatic relations with anti-US axis, with countries like
China, Iran and Russia.
It is learnt that the US State Department has already...
wish our readers a Happy Easter!
Christians world over celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ
today. The picture shows children at the feet of Jesus’ statue
at All Saint’s Church, Borella
(Pic by Ishara S Kodikara)
AG’s Dept. official
posted to Washington
The government is likely to attach a
senior officer from the Attorney General’s Department to Sri
Lankan mission in Washington shortly, to be in charge of
Informed sources told The Nation that the officer will be of the
level of Minister Counsellor.
SLMC to go it alone
The majority of the Sri Lanka Muslim
Congress (SLMC) district organisers have expressed their
disapproval against the Congress joining the government to
contest the forthcoming provincial council election, The Nation
The SLMC leadership met with all the district...
|LTTE sinks Navy boat
The locally built Fast Attack Craft (FAC), P438 of the Navy was
damaged and sunk due to suspected sea mine explosion yesterday
at around 2:25 a.m., while it was patrolling the northeast
coastal waters of Nayaru, off Mullativu.
Navy Spokesman D.K.P Dassanayake confirmed that two locally
built FACs of the Navy had been patrolling the particular sea
area and one had been sunk due to an explosion.Commander Dassanayake suspected that the mine had been set
under water or the blast was caused due to some underwater
device fixed by the LTTE, since there was no presence of LTTE
boats in the vicinity at the time of the incident. It is
reported that the boat’s hull had been damaged due to the blast
and had sunk immediately.
According to Navy sources, six out of the total 16 crew
members who were on the craft have been rescued,
including the officer in charge.
GL meets Lord Malloch-Brown
Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Minister of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs, welcomed the initiatives taken by the Sri
Lankan Government to hold polls in the east, and said he looked
forward to a continuing engagement with Sri Lanka on the
political process and matters connected with the GSP+
Lord Malloch-Brown made this observation when he met Prof. G.L.
Peiris Export Development and International Trade Minister, at
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on Thursday,.
Prof. Peiris, met with Lord Malloch-Brown, for a wide-ranging
discussion about trade issues and political developments in Sri
Minister Peiris briefed Lord Malloch-Brown about the completion
of local government elections in the Eastern Province,
and the implications of this development, from the
standpoint of the revival...
Foreign Ministry takes on ICRC
The Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Ministry has
stated that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
is helping forces that wish to tarnish the country’s image
A press release issued by the Foreign Ministry referred to the
recent ICRC statement that condemned the government for
disclosing confidential information as “unfortunate.”
“It is extremely unfortunate that wittingly or unwittingly the
ICRC, through its statement, lends credence to those who seek to
give Sri Lanka a bad name in public and thereby sustain the
agendas of the detractors of Sri Lanka’s good name,” the Foreign
The Ministry added that it stands by the statement that
there has been a “marked improvement” in the human
rights situation in Sri Lanka...
Unions oppose moves to privatise
The Trade Union Alliance (TUA)
attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has alleged that
the government, in a subtle way, was trying to privatise the
board thus ending the monopoly hitherto enjoyed by the CEB.
Condemning the proposed Electricity Draft Bill, the TUA has said
that the regulation to transmit, generate and to distribute
electricity with the sanction/licence from the Public Utility
Commission (PUC) was a move to end the CEB monopoly.
TUA Convenor Ananda Nimalaratne told The Nation that they oppose
the proposed Bill as it would end the monopoly of the CEB and
would enable private competitors to enter the electricity
‘Trials and tribulations
within the UNP’
The General Secretary of the UNP has sent The Nation a
letter clarifying his position, while referring to two
articles published in The Nation of Sunday March 2 and
Sunday March 9.
In a bid to avoid any embarrassment to the General
Secretary, The Nation sought clarification from him,
before publishing his letter, as he has indicated that
The Nation should carry his letter in full. The
newspaper appends his letter, and the letter written by
the Editor of this newspaper,...
Journalist’s wife threatened
After the arrest of journalist J.S. Tissainayagam, it is now
learnt that his wife has received several threats. The sources
close to the family suspected that the threats emanated from
“A fundamental rights (FR) case has been filed at the Supreme
Court against the arrests of Tissainayagam and three other
journalists. Three other journalists, who were arrested with him
were released, but Tissainayagam is yet to be released. We
believe this is intimidation. They have even tried to intimidate
the wife of Tissainayagam by making several phone calls and
threatening her,” sources revealed.
Meanwhile, The Free Media Movement (FMM) also said that it is
planning to launch a protest campaign demanding the
Anura: A caricature
Last week saw the passing away of two distinguished citizens of Sri
Lanka: one a visionary who made the country his home and achieved more
than most men, and the other, a man expected to achieve more than he
If Arthur C. Clarke bid adieu in the fullness of time, Anura
Bandaranaike’s farewell was, despite his prolonged illness, rather
catastrophic. It is on the latter that we wish to dwell.
Appreciations and evaluations about Anura Bandaranaike’s contribution to
contemporary politics in Sri Lanka will flow freely. That befits a man
who could have been a colossus in the political arena yet remained only
a caricature of greatness. Instead, we aim to explore that unasked
question, after Anura, what next?
Anura Bandaranaike was, at the time of his death, just a Member of
Parliament and no one – probably including he
himself – was quite sure whether he was a government
MP or an...
UNP, government look for
allies as east is gripped with election fever
focus today is on the imminent Provincial Council (PC) elections
for the de-merged east.
The east was de-merged from the north after the JVP petitioned
the Supreme Court to look into the legality of the merged north
and east, which was done under Emergency by former President J.R.
Jayewardene in 1987.
The Supreme Court, which went into the issue, found that the
linking of the north and east was technically flawed.
De-linking the north east
After the 1987 July Indo-Lanka Accord, President Jayewardene
merged the north and the east temporarily for one year and
included a provision in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution
that a referendum should be held in the east after one year,
where the people of the east would be given an opportunity to
decide whether they should remain as one province or separate.
The ‘illegitimate’ appointment of the
north east governor
Council (PC) elections for the Eastern Province are scheduled
for May 10 this year.
According to the Gazette notification on March 13, nominations
for eastern PC polls will be accepted from March 23 to April 3.
It appears that the eastern PC stakes would attract more
political parties than the recently concluded local authority
polls for Batticaloa District.
With the spotlight focused solely on the east, the north is
being neglected in the current scheme of things.
When the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) changed
direction by shamelessly surrendering to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s
diktat and presented the President’s directives as APRC
recommendations, some mention was also made of the north.
It was said then that the north too would get its own elected PC
when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organisation
was dislodged from its present position and the whole province
came under government writ. Until that distant date, an Interim
Advisory Council (IAC) would be set up,...
Battle of hearts and minds
The medical profession in Sri Lanka, which has existed as one of
the most sacred of services in the country, has now come under
public scrutiny and criticism, for several different reasons. Of
all the allegations levelled at the medical doctors, the lack of
ethics in carrying out their sacred duty towards patients has
come under the most severe censure from various quarters of
In such a context, the battle between generic and brand names of
medicines, which has come to the fore since of late, presents
ample opportunity – especially for doctors themselves – to
examine their scruples with regard to carrying out their
services to the public.
“We must see this generics vs. brand name issue as a battle for
the soul of the medical profession. As a battle for how they see
|Short-sightedness puts Indian tour
India’s cricket tour of Sri Lanka in July hangs in the balance
after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials had
expressed displeasure to the remarks made by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)
interim committee chairman Arjuna Ranatunga about their IPL
tournament and for agreeing to a five-match one-day series in
Pakistan which would directly clash with the IPL matches.
Ranatunga who was on a private visit to Canada recently was
quoted in one of their local newspapers condemning the BCCI’s
IPL tournament saying that it was not a place for cricketing
greats and describing their Twenty20 matches as “three-minute
Maggie noodles”. “For me it is not cricket it is raw power. How
can any great players fit in it,” he was quoted.
Recipe for disaster
If what is appearing in the media these days and
the stories that are floating around have an element of truth
attached to it, then the interim committee headed by former Sri
Lanka captain turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga is heading for
When he was appointed by the President at the beginning of the
year, Ranatunga at his inaugural media conference stated: “I
have come here not to point fingers at anyone but to improve the
standard of our cricket. I didn’t come here to contest in an
election but to improve the cricket. Please don’t misunderstand
me. I will do my best for cricket to the best of my ability. The
day I am asked to go, I will step down.”
But it seems otherwise for elected officials of districts like
Puttalam, Matale, Ratnapura and Nuwara Eliya have been
unconstitutionally replaced giving hint of going for a
Winning Eastern PC elections a must –
several parties boycotted the Batticaloa local council elections
it seems that all political parties are keen to enter the fray
and fight to wrest the power in the upcoming Eastern Provincial
Council elections. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is one of them.
Although they did not do too well in Batticaloa senior SLMC
politician M L A M Hisbullah says winning in the East is a must
for the SLMC.
The Nation spoke to Hisbullah on the SLMC stance on the
forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council elections.
Following are excerpts:
Q: Is the SLMC going to contest in the Eastern Provincial
council elections separately or with the support of another
A: I do not think that we will compete on our own. We might
contest with the United National Party (UNP), United Peoples’
Freedom Alliance (UPFA.) Both parties have invited us to form an
alliance but we are still trying to decide what option is the
best. Currently we are talking with our organisers, councillors
and other local authority members in the East. Hakeem and I are
both in Trincomalee and we will decide whether we should compete
with the UNP or the UPFA.
Q: What is the main objective of the SLMC?
A: SLMC must capture this province. There is a Muslim
majority in the East and we believe that we should and can
capture the power and the appoint a member of the SLMC to the
post of Chief Minister.
Banks charging legal fees from
customers come under scrutiny
legal officers including Chief Legal Officer Mrs. Thulasi
Samarasinghe of the National Savings Bank have petitioned the
Court of Appeal charging that the National Savings Bank is
collecting legal fees which should be paid only to lawyers or a
The bank in question along with other commercial banks and
financial institutions collects an estimated Rs. 2 billion per
annum from legal fees charged to customers.
While the merits and demerits of this case will be left to the
Judiciary to decide, what is at issue here is not just the NSB
but all banking corporations in this country who charge legal
fees from customers, violating professional ethics and statutory
Legal fees can be charged only by an accredited notary or legal
institution. For banks to carry on with the practice to levy
legal fees charged on various instruments such as Bonds,
Transfer Deeds etc., is illegal and ultravires of the statutory
powers vested in the bank.
For the last seven years, the NSB had authorised its legal
department to attest transfer deeds and mortgage bonds during
office hours. It was agreed that 60% of fees paid by customers
would be given...