Clandestine EU mission in Colombo
A covert European Union (EU) fact-finding mission in Colombo has
warned that the government’s lukewarm response towards
addressing substantial issues in the backdrop of a worsening
human rights record...
US admonishes Sri Lanka
on ‘new friends’
The United States Government has sent out a strong warning to
Sri Lanka over the island’s rapidly growing close ties and
Red alert (again)!
An island-wide security boost has been imposed following
Friday’s bomb blast which killed 26 and injured more than 40,
including women and children.
Special steps have been taken to boost security...
A distraught woman waits
impatiently for the remains of a beloved family member at the
Kalubowila Hospital Mortuary yesterday. Relatives and friends
have been kept waiting for hours since Friday night but the
hospital authorities have failed to release most bodies, causing
sheer fury among the families of victims
(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)
Opposition shuns May Day
The country’s main two opposition parties, the United National
Party (UNP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)...
SriLankan crisis solved?
The most-recent crisis at SriLankan Airlines, which erupted with
some 18 pilots attached to the national carrier going on a sick...
Colombo in nuclear
In a desperate attempt to prevent a massive diplomatic row, the
Sri Lankan Government took speedy action to camouflage...
|Rice crisis escalates
Contrary to claims made by Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister
Bandula Gunawardene, traders have disclosed that there is a
severe rice shortage in the market.
According to a Pettah trader, there has been a large reduction
in the number of rice lorries arriving in Pettah.
“Usually we get around 30 lorries transporting rice per day but
this week there were only a handful of lorries entering Pettah.
We are worried that there might be a huge shortage of rice in
the coming weeks,” he said.
He further noted that despite the Minister’s assurance, the mill
owners were yet to release rice.
“The Minister told us that the mill owners would send
rice but so far we have only received very few stocks
from them. The Minister informed us that the mill owners
Opposition gangs up against
government for misusing state resources
Leading opposition parties have alleged that the government is
misusing state properties for the Eastern Provincial Council
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said that the
government was exploiting state properties for the Eastern
Provincial Council election. According to UNP Parliamentarian
Ravi Karunanayake, the government had taken 12 vehicles from
each state institution to be used for election propaganda.
“We have got to know that the government is using state vehicles
and officers for its election propaganda. We are monitoring the
situation and are hoping to take action against it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday said
that it was hoping to make a complaint to Elections...
JVP booms against India again
India is conspiring to plunge Sri Lanka into chaos by
unnecessarily interfering in the country’s internal affairs,
charged Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) strongman Vijitha Herath.
He added that India has supported the LTTE both directly and
indirectly in the past and is now conspiring with imperialistic
“India, along with other international powers, is trying to
destabilise Sri Lanka. Many countries in the region are being
influenced by India. India does this especially through its
economic might,” he asserted.
He added that neither India nor any other foreign power
should get involved in solving the...
RSF condemns government’s
‘preventive censorship’ moves
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders organisation yesterday
condemned moves to prevent the media obtaining information
following violent clashes in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka,
which inflicted heavy casualties to both sides.
The media watchdog charged that the government was trying to win
the news war by doing the utmost to keep journalists away from
combat zones and medical facilities and that it was also trying
to influence the editorial stance of both local and national
“The clashes and the evident losses have pushed the military
authorities into establishing ‘preventive censorship,’ such as
preventing photographers and reporters from reaching hospitals
and morgues to establish the death toll,” the worldwide press
freedom organisation said.
JVP changes letterhead to halt
Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has decided to change the format of its
official party letterhead, following the use of its letterhead
by a certain mysterious group to issue fake statements to the
JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that this decision was taken as a
measure to stop such acts occurring in the future and to prevent
any confusion among media organisations.
“There was an incident where our letterhead was misused by
another group. Following that incident, our Secretary Tilvin
Silva lodged a complaint,” JVP MP Vijitha Herath said.
“We have decided to change the format as a protective measure.
We hope that this change of format will prevent such incidents
happening in the future,” he added.
Dramatic malaria reduction fuels
hopes of quick elimination
Sri Lanka has seen a drastic reduction in malaria cases over the
last few years from a whopping 200,000 cases reported annually
in 2000, to a mere 196 cases last year.
This was revealed at a seminar held to mark World Malaria Day
organised by the Health Education Bureau on Friday.
The dramatic decline of Malaria during the last decade,
especially during the last four to five years, has fuelled hopes
for the Health Ministry that the debilitating disease which had
wiped out thousands of lives in the past in Sri Lanka can be
completely eliminated in the near future.
Speakers, who included a panel of malaria experts, described the
reduction of the incidence of the disease as “remarkable.”
Politics littered with sinister
theatre of conflict in Sri Lanka is ever changing and not least because
there are so many conflicts brewing. There is a war in the North, there
are pitched political battles in the East and, as if for comic relief,
there is a battle within the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna in the South.
After the JVP captured the headlines for a couple of weeks, the eastern
provincial elections regained its focus after a lull in campaigning
during the New Year holidays. But last week, even the polls were
eclipsed by news of fresh military offensives in the North resulting in
There have already been suggestions from opposition political parties
that the timing of the military thrust in the North-weeks before the
polls in the East-may be a political ploy of the government to sway the
eastern voter. Whatever the motive, the battles are real...
IIGEP viewed as conspiring against
The government is once again caught up in a human rights web
with the decision of the Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP)
to quit Sri Lanka.
The decision to quit was announced on Tuesday after the Chairman
of the IIGEP former Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagawati
addressed the media and said that the government had no
political will to get to the bottom of the human rights
violations in the country.
However, Justice Bhagawati’s claims were countered and
contradicted by Attorney General C.R. De Silva, who claimed that
the IIGEP members did not attend the Commission of Inquiry
sessions properly and therefore were not in a position to make
statements at regular intervals.
The attendance of the IIGEP members was on a 10% average and, in
most cases, some members have not attended a single session.
The Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda
Samarasinghe also came out strongly against the IIGEP, stating
that it would be ridiculous for them to issue statements when
they have not attended the Commission of Inquiry sessions
Tigers demonstrate military prowess at
many, many moons, the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa
has been projecting an image that everything is going well for
the security forces on the military front.
The people of this country have been the targets of a sustained
propaganda barrage claiming that everything was hunky-dory for
the regime in the ongoing war against the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The scale of this propaganda has been so great that many people
in the south have been taken in and believed that ‘victory’ over
the Tigers was imminent.
This focus about winning the war instilled buoyancy in the
public mood, which has helped the Rajapaksa regime to help
contain resentment over the rising cost of living, inflation,
economic decline, corruption, mismanagement, nepotism, economic
Many faults of the government are being tolerated to some extent
because of the perception that the Rajapaksa regime is
The cruel sceptre of death stalks again
There is a saying that natural phenomena corresponds with the
events of the human world. Last Friday, along with the humidity
and darkness that crept in before the usual time, the heavy
rains and the cold winds also brought something deadly in their
wake into an outskirt of Colombo; death…
Again, another bomb went off at Piliyandala, a predominantly
Sinhala Buddhist area taking the lives of 26 innocent civilians
and injuring 49. Images of bodies being carried away in bags,
school children in blood soaked uniforms and people screaming
and shouting flashed across televisions horrifying a nation.
The Nation visited the Piliyandala and Kalubowila hospitals and
to our horror came across scenes of unimaginable chaos, loss and
|Rift in ICC: Malcolm
International Cricket Council’s chief Executive Malcolm
Speed has been sent on paid leave till July following rumours of
his reported rift with President Ray Mali.
Speed, whose contract ends on July 4, has been accused of not
taking any major step against Zimbabwe following an independent
forensic audit carried out by KPMG.
According to David Morgan, ICC’s President elect, “This ... is
the result of a fundamental breakdown in the relationship
between the CEO and a number of board members, including the
President, over a variety of issues that include Zimbabwe.”
David Richardson, the ICC General Manager - Cricket, will now
serve as interim CEO until Speed`s replacement.
Haroon Lorgat will assume the role of full time CEO at the ICC`s
annual conference at the beginning of July.
Speed, who also shared a strained relationship with some of the
top BCCI officials, had often been quite critical on some of the
issues involving India.
He had recently criticised the track prepared for the third and
final cricket Test between India and South Africa at the Green
Park stadium in Kanpur and had sought an explanation from the
Twenty20 a cash cow
Twenty20 is the name of the game today both
universally and locally. While the Indian version of the
shortest game of cricket is taking place in India with all its
razzmatazz, Sri Lanka is conducting its own form of it at
inter-provincial level. Where all this will end up is a matter
The saddest part of it is that such innovative competitions at
international level have begun as revenge for not being given
what a mogul wants. Take the Kerry Packer World Series for
instance. The Australian business tycoon signed up the cream of
cricketers from Australia, England, Pakistan, South Africa and
West Indies to play in a one-day format of the game devised by
him which introduced night cricket, coloured clothing, white
balls and black sightscreens. These are all today part of the
Why Packer started his World Series which was in direct conflict
to the traditional game was because the Australian Cricket Board
did not give him the exclusive TV rights to Channel Nine. The
‘Packer Circus’ as it was dubbed by the English press was staged
between 1977 and 1979.
After nearly 30 years a Packer-style war between a frustrated
television mogul and the Indian Cricket Board has led to the
introduction of the IPL (Indian Premier League) and the ICL
(Indian Cricket League) in India.
The Indian Cricket Board initially excessively tardy in
embracing the 20-over format swiftly formed the IPL in direct...
“TNA won’t campaign for any party in the
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Secretary
General and Parliamentarian R. Sampanthan has made clear his
party’s position, as to why it was not contesting the May 10
Provincial Polls. He explained that participation in the polls
would have justified the de – merger through a Supreme Court
order, and further justified all the harm inflicted upon the
Tamils by the present regime. Adding that the TNA will never
view the forthcoming Provincial polls as a legal election, he
said the election will not have any impact on the Indo – Lanka
Agreement signed in 1989. “By unilaterally abrogating the CFA,
the government has virtually renounced peace. And in this
background it would be the duty of the government to explain how
it proposes to commence a peace process,” he told The Nation in
Following are excerpts;
Q: The war in the north has intensified and many innocent
civilians have been impoverished. How does the TNA view the
A: It is a very sad situation. There are many persons dying
on both sides, young people, soldiers and cadres. It is very
tragic that they are being destroyed in this way. They are all
persons who could have served the country in a much more
constructive way. If the conflict had been resolved in a
civilised way, through dialogue and accommodation, which was a
distinct possibility over a long period of time, and which in my
view is still possible, the ongoing tragedy could have been
averted. Unarmed civilians, non combatants, men, women and
children are also caught up in this conflict. They are being
killed, and their assets destroyed. They have been displaced
from their homes, deprived of their employment and become
impoverished. Their children have been deprived of their
education. Large sums of money are spent on the war which is
bound to have a very adverse impact on the economy. The