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Sunday March 30th, 2008

Subtle moves by TNA to halt Eastern polls
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has urged Tamil Nadu politicians to intervene on its behalf to stop the impending Eastern Province Provincial Council elections scheduled... (See Inside)

Elections in 2010, declares Rajapaksa
Laying to rest rumours that he would call for a snap general election, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that he has no intention of holding a Parliamentary election just yet. (See Inside)

Bogollagama wants Prabhakaran released
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is in negotiations with Indian authorities for the release of some 8,500 feet of negatives and the sound track of the controversial Prabhakaran movie from Gemini Studio... (See Inside)


               Violence wins the day            

Violence erupted at the Royal-Thomian 50 Overs match yesterday at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium, with supporters of both teams assaulting each other with chairs and other objects, underscoring the lack of discipline and breakdown of law and order in society at large                                  (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)



Samarasinghe confident of UNHRC seat for SL
Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe is confident that Sri Lanka will obtain a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seat in May.
He expressed this opinion after meeting more than 50... (See Inside)

Professional approach to fight bribery and corruption
The Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) has constituted a Committee to formulate a completely new statute to be enacted by Parliament, to deal with... (See Inside)




Boggles to meet Miliband on Monday
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is scheduled to meet British Foreign Secretary David Miliband tomorrow.
Minister Bogollagama is scheduled to fly to London today on a two day visit, and is also scheduled to meet with several other high ranking British officials there, including Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy.
Incidentally, this will be the first meeting between a high-ranking Sri Lankan official and Miliband following the scathing attack launched by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Dayan Jayatilleke, against the British Foreign Secretary in February, which reportedly caused immense embarrassment to Sri Lanka.
Following the scathing attack by Jayatilleke, the Foreign Ministry issued a stern warning to all its foreign missions abroad ordering them to obtain prior permission from Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona... (See Inside)

Food shortage in Jaffna
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday claimed that thousands of civilians in the Jaffna District were facing a severe food shortage.
According to TNA Parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah, there is a severe food shortage within the peninsula, due to the ongoing hostilities between government forces and the LTTE.
“The prices of goods, including essential items, are skyrocketing, and the people cannot afford them. It is with great difficulties that they purchase their daily needs,” he said.
He further said that there weren’t any economic activities in the peninsula, adding that instead, only killings and abductions... (See Inside)

Close call for scribes on risky balloon ride
A media delegation of foreign and local journalists narrowly escaped disaster on a balloon ride last week during the Balloon Festival. Reports claim that if the flight had advanced a further 300 to 400 metres from the original landing site of Yaudura, the Special Task Force would have shot at the balloon, mistaking the flyers for terrorists.
The festival commenced on March 26. The balloon ride commenced from Deberawewa and finally ended at the Yala National Park.
Although the sight of a flying balloon is not unusual in most countries, Sri Lankan soldiers who were surprised by the sight of a flying balloon were in two minds whether to fire on the unidentified balloon, which they suspected carried LTTE cadres to the army controlled area, taking into consideration the recent terrorist activities in the area. (See Inside)

CEB Chairman proposes pruning of employee benefits
Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) employees are up in arms against an alleged proposal by CEB Chairman Udaya Kariyawasam to prune employee benefits.
A spokesman of the CEB Engineers’ Union told The Nation that the new report by the CEB Chairman indicated that the engineers at the union were a problem to the institution.
“The new report indicates that the problems faced by the CEB are because of the engineers. The report is completely against the engineers. The Chairman should identify the problems prevailing at the CEB before he comes out with such a baseless report and distributes it to the Ministry or the Board of Management,” sources said. (See Inside)

Pre-dawn success for military
The security forces have advanced about 700 metres in the north of Illanthivan area, closer to Adampan in Mannar, while killing 10 LTTE cadres and capturing two LTTE bunkers, around 4 a.m. yesterday.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said that the soldiers confirmed having pushed forward and attacked the LTTE bunkers.
“Troops are consolidating their positions. So far, no LTTE bodies have been recovered. Security forces have not sustained any injuries during the predawn attack,” Brig. (See Inside)

Vasu snubs UPFA
The Socialist Alliance (SA) has decided to contest the Eastern Provincial Council elections after entering into an electoral pact with the Tamil Democratic National Alliance (TDNA).
SA Vice Chairman Vasudeva Nanayakkara told The Nation that the SA would contest alone in the Ampara District, and contest along with the TDNA in Batticaloa and Trincomalee Districts.
“We have decided to contest with TDNA in the other two districts as the majority of the population is Tamil and it will be easy for us to contest with the TDNA. However the situation is not the same in Ampara as the majority community is Sinhalese and therefore we will be contesting under the SA symbol and name,” Nanayakkara... (See Inside)




A no holds barred contest
The theatre of conflict in Sri Lanka’s ethnic war may be in the Palmyrah fields of the arid north: but for the next few weeks at least, the spotlight will be on a different region-the much disputed eastern province which will hold its own provincial elections in May.
The Provincial Council polls are a sequel to a Supreme Court ruling that de-merged the region from the north, ending nearly two decades of temporary amalgamation. More importantly though, the elections follow the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance ( UPFA’s) recent sweep of the local government polls in the Batticaloa district.
In announcing the eastern provincial election, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is clearly challenging the collective opposition. They are now being compelled to contest-or face the prospect of perishing into political oblivion in the region. And that is cause for concern not only for the United National Party (UNP) but also for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as well.  
For long... (See Inside)

Alarming journalistic prejudice prevails
It is an extremely difficult period for journalists or scribes working in Sri Lanka, especially because of the ongoing military campaign against the LTTE.
Journalists who collect information on various characters in the theatre of war, most of the time are being harassed or questioned as if they are part of a terrorist outfit.
There had been numerous occasions where journalists have been subjected to harassment by the law enforcing agencies of the government without verifying matters or looking at the nature of the job the respective journalists are involved in.
One such case that went out of proportion was the case involving Parameswari. Finally, Parameswari was released without any charges framed against her. At present the government law enforcing agencies are holding J.S. Tissainayagam in custody, allegedly for his purported links with the LTTE. Here we are not trying to argue a case for Tissainayagam but, what we are telling the law enforcing authorities is to expedite... (See Inside)


In the aftermath of the death of Anura Bandaranaike, speculation was rife over the contents of his last will and testament. Many tall tales were doing the rounds, with several false assumptions being made and close relatives staking claims.
Some who couldn’t care less when he was alive started flocking around, with their hands outstretched for a piece of the Bandaranaike pie, including people who didn’t take the trouble to pay their last respects to the son of the “People’s Prime Minister,” who also walked the corridors of power in several capacities.
Dashing their hopes, however, is the much-anticipated last will and testament, which is finally in the public domain. At the end of the day, it is apparent that loyalty was a trait that was much valued by Bandaranaike – and accordingly repaid, as apparent in... (See Inside)

Good English for better prospects
The lack of adequate and appropriate communicative English language skill in Sri Lanka is finally being felt by the powers that be.
The historical circumstances of Sri Lanka, being governed by the British in the first quarter of the century, afforded Sri Lankans easy access to master the English language. In the past, many Sri Lankans were skilled in the English language, that they even won many international awards for creative and comparative literatures.
There were times when Sri Lankans boasted of their ability to speak the Queen’s language with accurate pronunciation, when even the British couldn’t do.
However, rash political decisions and nationalistic ideologies of local leaders, fast contributed to the decline of the usage of the English language.
And today, the English language is confined only to the elites in the cities and towns in Sri Lanka. (See Inside)



Sri Lanka humiliated at HK Sevens
Sri Lanka Sevens Rugby team was relegated to the Bowl Championship quarterfinals at the Hong Kong Rugby Stadium yesterday. The Lankans were humiliated by the little known Canadians when they were thrashed by a record score of 53-0. On the opening day the Sri Lankans put up a good show by containing the defending champions Samoa to 35-7 and in their second game went down to a tougher England outfit by 47-7. In the three outings Lankans conceded 135 points and scored only two goals in return.
Sri Lanka vs Canada
Canada exposed a number of chinks in Sri Lanka’s armoury as they rattled the Asian team by a huge 53-0 defeat. The Canadians Simply dominated proceedings from the kick-off and gave no chance for the Lankans who looked like mere passengers. At the short breather they lead 24-0.
In the second half too, it was one way traffic as the Canadians went on the try spree. In the end the Canadians scored 9 tries. (See Inside)

Point Blank
Lankans prove their mettle
For the detractors who criticised the captain and his team for their lacklustre performance in the VB Series in Australia, Sri Lanka’s historic maiden Test win on Caribbean soil must come as a bitter pill to swallow. Sri Lanka’s 121-run victory over West Indies in the first Test at Guyana was all the more creditable because it was achieved sans three of their key fast bowlers – Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando and Farveez Maharoof, all through injuries. In such circumstances, Sri Lanka’s most experienced fast bowler Chaminda Vaas rose to the occasion magnificently to bowl his heart out and achieve that elusive victory displaying his outstanding talent not only as a new ball bowler with eight wickets in the match but also contributing a valuable half-century to show his prowess as one of the game’s leading all-rounders. It is a pity that Vaas is blossoming out to be batsman of Test class rather late in his long and distinguished career. The turn around was witnessed during Sri Lanka’s tour to England in 2006 where he topped the Test batting with an average of 92, well ahead of Sri Lanka’s most established pair of batsmen Kumar Sangakkara (38.50) and Mahela Jayawardene (38.33). Since then he has averaged over 40 with the bat in his last 10 Tests adding a maiden Test hundred and a 90 along the way. (See Inside)


“All political parties have letdown this country”
Alleging that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has intentionally violated the Constitution by failing to appoint the Constitutional Council, the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) intends to move a resolution for President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s impeachment.
The resolution, which will call on all political parties to impeach Rajapaksa, will be moved on April 8. The move comes in the wake of several hard-hitting letters to the President over the non-implementation of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
In an interview with The Nation, OPA President Elmore Perera outlined the mechanics behind the move, and asserted that the only sanction against the President for intentionally violating the Constitution was to bring a motion of impeachment.
However, he acknowledged that the attempt to impeach the President would be a futile exercise. “What I want the country to know, and what I want him to know, is that he is committing an offence for which he is impeachable. There is a difference between being impeachable and being impeached,” he pointed out.
Following are excerpts:
Q: The OPA is moving to impeach the President. What are the mechanics behind this?
The only remedy, the only sanction, against the President for intentionally violating the Constitution, is bringing a motion of impeachment. Article 38(1) says the office of President shall become vacant upon various things, one of which is if he is removed from office as provided in the next succeeding sub paragraph. That is what 38(1)(e) says.
The next succeeding paragraph, that is 38(2)(a), says any Member of Parliament may, by a writing addressed to the Speaker, give notice of a resolution alleging that the President is permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office by reason of mental or physical infirmity, or that the President has been guilty of one intentional...  (See Inside)




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