The crisis within the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) appears to
have reached boiling point, with the party showing signs of more
splits, breaking it into three factions.
While JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe was seen leading the main
faction of the JVP, former Propaganda Secretary and
Parliamentary Group Leader...
In a shocking disclosure on Thursday, COPE Chairman Wijeyadasa
Rajapakshe revealed that the Committee on Public Enterprises
(COPE) is partially defunct at present.
He attributed the sorry state of affairs to the non-cooperation
of the majority of members.
Govt. moots plans to
In a bid to nullify the UNP’s list of candidates who will
contest from the Trincomalee District at the upcoming Eastern
Provincial Council election, government Parliamentarians are
mooting to take former Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC)
Leader Rauff Hakeem’s...
New Year greetings!
It might not be the most
prosperous New Year that many Sri Lankans wished for, given the
spiralling cost of living and the deterioration of the country’s
security situation. Yet, it is an auspicious season, a time to
rekindle many a traditional custom; more importantly, it is a
time to renew family bonds and forgive one’s foes. The Nation
wishes all Sri Lankans a happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year, and
hope it ushers in the long-awaited peace and the much needed
prosperity in this island
(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)
Sri Lanka gets 10,000
missiles from Slovakia
An arms trade monitoring
group has criticised the sale of 10,000 military missiles by
Slovakia to Sri Lanka.
The missiles are designed to be dispatched from multiple rocket
There are concerns that the sale could constitute a violation of
the spirit of the European Union (EU) Code of Conduct on Arms
Shady pill deal puts
heart patients at grave risk
The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has allegedly imported
substandard medication used for the treatment of heart patients.
The All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) claimed that the
Ministry had imported poor quality drugs worth US$ 52,250 from a
South Asian pharmaceutical company in September 2007.
|Over 2,500 LTTE cadres killed in three
Security forces have been successful in eliminating about 2,517
LTTE cadres within the last three months, Military Spokesman
Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told The Nation.
It is estimated that, there were around 5,000 fighting cadres in
the LTTE at the beginning of this year. According to Brigadier
Nanayakkara, the security forces had killed 834 LTTE fighting
cadres in January and another 874 cadres were killed during
February, while 678 LTTE cadres were killed last month. Another
131 LTTE cadres were killed by troops by April 4.
Brigadier Nanayakkara however claimed that although they had
been successful in eliminating a large number of cadres, it did
not mean that they had only a few more cadres to finish off, as
there was a huge possibility that the LTTE may have commenced
enlisting new recruits to its cadre base.
Brigadier cautions media
Stating his extreme displeasure over a news-feature, that
appeared in our sister paper The Bottom Line, Military Spokesman
Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara has cautioned the writer of the said
In a telephone conversation the Brigadier said that in future
the military would not consider inviting journalists from the
The Bottom Line paper, for government sponsored tours.
The news-feature titled ‘An uneasy normalcy,’ which appeared in
April 9, 2008 issue of The Bottom Line, is a report on the
impressions of the writer, during a recent tour of the Jaffna
Peninsula, organised by the Media Centre for National...
Pro-LTTE movie screened in US
Sri Lankan Ambassador in the United States Bernard Goonetilleke
has lodged a strong protest over the screening of the film My
Daughter The Terrorist at a premier US film festival recently.
The film, a documentary on the lives and faiths of two female
Black Tigers produced by Norwegian filmmaker Beate Arnestad, was
featured in a documentary film festival in Durham, North
Carolina on April 4.
Over 100 documentaries were screened during the four day film
festival held from April 3 to 6.
Ex-Air Force Chief Harry Goonetileke
Vice Marshal Harry Goonetileke who served as the fifth Commander
of the Sri Lanka Air Force passed away on Friday at the age of
The funeral, with military honours, was scheduled to be held on
Saturday at the General Cemetery, Borella (1:30 p.m. from
Jayaratne’s Funeral Parlour).
Goonetileke served as the Commander of the Air Force from
November 1, 1976 to April 30, 1981.
Educated at Royal College Colombo, young Goonetileke joined the
Air Force as a Flight Cadet in 1951 in the first batch of
locally trained recruits. Goonetileke was awarded his Wings in
1954. Four years later, he was promoted Squadron Leader.
He was a versatile fixed wing pilot, who was part of the team
that flew to the UK and back, ferrying the RCyAF’s new Heron
aircraft to Ceylon. He had a stint as Commanding Officer of
China Bay, being responsibility for the Cadet training there.
WFP urgently seeks US$ 12 million for IDP
The World Food Programme (WFP) is urgently seeking US$ 12
million to carry out operations for the next six months in the
North and East Provinces.
According to WFP Deputy Country Director Jean Yves, the
organisation is in need of funds for its operations in the north
and the east, especially for the Jaffna peninsula, for the
upkeep of a large number of displaced persons.
He noted said that due to the price hike in essential
commodities in the world, the organisation was finding
difficulty in purchasing such commodities.
“World prices of essential commodities have increased and fuel
prices in Sri Lanka are causing another problem as it adds up to
the overall cost. We are running out of funds and we have the
responsibility of taking care of more than 155,000 Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs),” he said.
Hassan Ali demands more security
The Sri Lanka Muslim
Congress (SLMC) has charged that if the government could provide
Special Task Force (STF) protection to SLMC dissident M.L.M.
Hisbullah, then the security provided for SLMC candidates too
should be enhanced forthwith.
SLMC General Secretary and chief candidate in the Ampara
District Hassan Ali told The Nation that the government was yet
to provide him adequate security.
He said that when he lodged his complaint with the Elections
Commissioner and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) regarding
the matter, the IGP promised to send him three Police officers
Ali was of the opinion that, with this action, the IGP intended
to further insult the SLMC candidates, in particular.
Ali pointed out that providing food and hiring vehicles
for these three officers would cost him heavily and
added that it was not...(See
|JVP faces battle of
once impregnable red fortress, the Janatha Vimukthi
Peramuna (JVP) suffered a shock setback last week
with its parliamentary group leader and propaganda
secretary, the colourful and often controversial
Wimal Weerawansa declaring in a special statement in
Parliament that there were moves afoot to strip him
of his responsibilities.
The extent of the damage to the JVP after this
disclosure remains to be seen, but it will be
significant, judging from the reaction of party
leader Somawansa Amerasinghe at his last press
briefing. Snapped Amerasinghe, “So, you have come to
report that the JVP has split into two?” at the
assembled scribes before any question could be put
to him. Clearly, the incident had riled the usually
There was news filtering in from the political
grapevine for some weeks, of dissent and discontent
within the main left oriented party in the country.
But given its past record of strict discipline in
its ranks, there was much hope that the issues would
be resolved, before it became a public slanging
Resilient rebel leaves irreplaceable
assassination of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle no doubt creates
a vacuum in the government benches in Parliament. He held the
opposition at bay at all times.
It is a personal loss for President Mahinda Rajapaksa since he
took forefront in all important debates in Parliament to defend
the government. At times he bulldozed the opposition and made
pre-emptive attacks on the opposition, in defence of the
government in Parliament
An erudite opposition Parliamentarian told this column, it would
be rather difficult for the UPFA government to fill the void
created by the demise of Minister Fernandopulle, who held fort
for the government at all important debates. The government and
the opposition both grieved over the death of Minister
Fernandopulle who was considered an asset to the...
Displaced Our Lady of Madhu statue in
danger of disappearance
Orders going out to the 57 Division in late March directed
that the area in and around our Lady of the Rosary Church in
Marudhamadhu (Madhu) be taken by the traditional April New Year.
There is optimism in military circles that the security forces
may accomplish the mission as directed by the fixed deadline of
Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
The ongoing fighting to seize Madhu has seen the 57 Division,
under Major General Jagath Dias, being engaged on three fronts.
The triumphal entry into Madhu is likely to be made by the 57-2
At present the 57-2 is entrenched in two fighting formations at
Sinnapandivirichaan, about two miles from Madhu Church junction
and Periyapandivirichaan, about three miles from Madhu Church.
The belief that the Army would enter Madhu before mid-April is
predicated on the basis that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) would withdraw completely...
Jeyaraj larger than life, in death
“My father always wanted to die a hero. He never wanted to
suffer, and prayed that he will not die an old man on a sickbed.
This was what he wished for in life. He always said that I will
die when my time comes, and that no one can stop death. I’m very
proud of my father and I always will be… ”
These are the words of 16-year-old Samurdhi Fernandopulle,
daughter of the late Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who was
brutally assassinated by the LTTE last Sunday at 7.40 am, from a
bomb blast at Weliweriya, and the daughter fought back tears as
she said these words to The Nation, when we attended the funeral
ceremony of the late Minister at his residence in Katana.
The Minister was killed during a Sinhala and Tamil New Year
celebration at Weliweriya, where he participated as the chief
The final act
Along with Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, 14 other civilians were killed
while 83 were injured. The Minister’s wife, Sudarshini,
explained how Jeyaraj started that fateful day which...
|Chanderpaul’s perfect 10 stuns Sri
Chaminda Vaas lost his nerves, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul kept
his, and struck a four and a six off the last two balls to hand
West Indies a sensational one-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in
the first One-day International here Thursday.
Chasing 236 for victory from their allocation of 50 overs, West
Indies entered the final overat Queen’s Park Oval needing 13
runs to win.
Sri Lanka turned to Vaas, their most experienced bowler, to
deliver the last over, and he restricted the West Indies last
wicket pair of Chanderpaul and batting bunny Fidel Edwards to
three runs from the first four balls of the over.
But Vaas, whose line and length had been unerring throughout the
match, delivered a full length delivery and Chanderpaul drove
him through mid-off for four.
Sri Lanka would still have favoured their chances with West
Indies needing a six off the last ball when Vaas ran up and
delivered a full toss which Chanderpaul duly dispatched over the
wide long-on boundary to spark massive celebrations in the
Chanderpaul was undefeated on 62 from 63 balls which included
five fours and one six.
Not a good advertisement for
that black Sunday of April 6, sport it seemed was free of being
affected by terrorist activities. But the killing of a
high-ranking cabinet minister who was their target at the start
of an athletics marathon at Weliweriya took along with it the
lives of several innocent people including that of national
athletics coach Lakshman de Alwis and former Olympic marathon
runner KA Karunaratne.
To stoop to the level of eliminating a minister at a sports
event shows that the Tamil Tigers are adopting desperate
measures in desperate situations. The way they are being
confronted and beaten back by the government security forces in
their own territory has led to the Tigers adopting such measures
of elimination regardless of the lives they put at risk or the
event. The clear message the suicide bombing at Weliweriya
brings is that the war is far from over and this is not the last
time we will hear of such kinds of incidents.
What took place at Weliweriya is a dangerous precedent for sport
in this country. Even when sportsmen and sports
officials were not the target international sports teams
have shown reservation of...
Govt. has 80% support of SLMC –
Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa in an interview with
The Nation recently, said that the SLMC-UNP alliance is no
threat to the government, when contesting the Provincial Council
(PC) elections in the east.
“They have always been together. Even at the last Presidential
election and the Parliamentary election, they contested
together. This is not the SLMC, it is Rauff Hakeem who is doing
this,” he pointed out. Rajapaksa also said that 80% of the
SLMC’s representation in Parliament is with the government
Q: The main demand of the opposition political parties is to
disarm the TMVP, to ensure a free and fair election. It appears
that the government has not heeded to that call. Could you
A: There are numerous needs of the people of the Eastern
Province, such as development, than this issue. So, as an
opposition, they should demand to resolve more and more of these
issues. Disarming the TMVP is not an issue for the people of the
east. They have been under severe LTTE control. Now the east is
liberated. So, they are ready for a fair election.
Q: Don’t you think that the TMVP carrying arms is going to
have a bearing on the election?
“UNP-SLMC victory a foregone conclusion”
decision taken by the United National Party (UNP) to contest the
eastern polls along with the all-powerful Sri Lanka Muslim
Congress (SLMC) has sent shock waves through the United People’s
Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The
UPFA today stands in isolation, with its alliance partners like
the JVP, CP and LSSP opting to stay away without contesting the
election together. For the UNP, it is a good opportunity to
display the party’s power and might while at the same time
exhibit the party’s policies and agendas. The marriage with the
SLMC has given the party a boost and party strongman and
front-liner Ravi Karunanayake believes victory in the eastern
province is a foregone conclusion.
Speaking to The Nation, Karunanayake, a vociferous critic of the
UPFA government, said that the eastern election...