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Sunday May 04th, 2008

Gajanayake INDICTED
The Attorney General has indicted Wing Commander Nishantha Gajanayake, who was in the midst of the controversy involving abductions of wealthy businessmen and extortions during the latter part of 2006. (See Inside)

Casino goons manhandle Magistrate
Several security personnel attached to a Colombo casino who manhandled the Kalutara Magistrate on Friday evening near his official residence have been remanded by the Kalutara Police.
Magistrate Anura Seneviratne had been on his way... (See Inside)

Government, LTTE make the list
LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and government’s top defence official have been identified as the new predators of press freedom by an international media watchdog based in Paris.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF),... (See Inside)

 

                     Remembrance                  

A young girl lights a lamp in memory of the 26 victims who lost their lives in the deadly Piliyandala bus bomb blast, during a commemoration held in Piliyandala at the site of the blast
                              (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)

                                                               

 

Fowzie takes on BOI, CB over oil blocks
Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A.H.M. Fowzie last week accused the Board of Investment... (See Inside)

Govt. to initiate fresh peace moves soon
The government is likely to initiate fresh peace moves soon after the Provincial Council elections in the east, scheduled for May 10... (See Inside)

Ministers lock horns
Two senior government ministers have clashed over an appointment made by one of them to meet Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee... (See Inside)

 

 

NEWS

2,520 observers to monitor eastern poll
Twenty international observers along with 2,500 local observers will be monitoring the upcoming Eastern Provincial Council election, said People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Chairman Kingsley Rodrigo. This move comes in the backdrop of the increasing number of election violence incidents.
“We have invited 20 international observers. Six of them have already been working in the Eastern Province for one and a half months. Another 14 will be deployed the week prior to the elections. Also 2,000 local stationary and 500 mobile local observers will be used to monitor the election where 250,000 voters are registered,” he added.
To date, 36 cases of election violations have taken place. These include the recent assassinations of two Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) members. (See Inside)

Rice crisis continues – Traders to appeal to Minister
The Old Moor’s Street Traders Association intends appealing to Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardene to let them increase prices of samba and nadu, which will help ease the ongoing rice shortage.
Old Moor’s Street Traders Association President N. Palaniandy told The Nation that they intend to ask Minister Gunawardene to allow traders to increase prices of samba and nadu.
Meanwhile, Pettah traders warned of a rice crisis due to a shortage of the commodity, which could even result in many wholesale shops closing down.
The traders said that they had not received the usual amount of rice from mill owners and as a result, rice businesses in Pettah were facing a huge crisis.
“Since we have not received the usual quantity of rice, most of the shops in the area are facing closure. When we informed... (See Inside)

Mother remanded for alleged killing of infant
The mother, arrested on suspicion of killing her infant child at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, was remanded by the Aluthkade Magistrate yesterday.
The baby had been born at the Anuradhapura Hospital on April 6, 2008. The mother of the child was identified as Warnakulasuriya Aarachchige Sujeewa Damayanthi, a resident of Nochchiagama. Due to some deformed conditions of the infant, the baby had been transferred to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, on the day of birth, for intensive medicalcare treatment.
“The child had been suffering from several deformed conditions; no ears had been formed in the body and there were issues related to the infant’s gender,” said O.I.C., Crime Division Borella Police station I.P. Hewawitharana. After being transferred, the mother had been with the baby for a few days before deserting the baby and... (See Inside)

Coming soon – Colombo-Kandy expressway worth Rs. 30 billion
The Sri Lankan Government is set to construct an expressway between Colombo and Kandy.
This Rs. 30 billion project is set to be completed by 2014. The users of this expressway, which will be built in partnership with a Malaysian consultancy firm, will be charged a toll.
“We have signed an agreement with a Malaysian firm called MTD Bihard to build this toll expressway. The government will not need to spend any money on the project. The costs of the Malaysian firm will be recovered from the tolls,” MBS Fernando, Chairman of the Road Development Authority (RDA) said.
“The RDA expects to charge a toll of Rs. 2 to Rs. 2.50 per kilometre from the users but the government will shoulder the cost of construction with MTD Bihard after Ambepussa.
“Since most vehicles don’t go further than Ambepussa, we have decided to bear a part of the costs after Ambepussa,” Fernando said. (See Inside)

Divaina Editor Merril needs help
Editor of Divaina Merril Perera has been suffering from Lumbar Spine HNPs for more than two years.
As the pain caused by the ailment became unbearable, he underwent surgery in Colombo in November, 2007. The pain in Perera’s calf muscles has eased to some extent. However, the pain experienced in the thighs persists. This condition is extremely painful and has made life miserable for him.
In spite of being in severe pain, he continues to work as there is no other source of income to support his living.
Doctors in Sri Lanka recommended Lumbar Spine HNPs surgery overseas. The estimated cost of the operation, using advanced technology surgery treatment (7-10 days), at Mt. Elizabeth and Gleneagles Medical centre, Singapore, will be in the range of US $ 23,000-35,000. These figures have been submitted by Dr. Prem Pillay, Consultant Neurosurgeon Mt. Elizabeth and Gleneagles... (See Inside)

PBOA warns of hike in bus fares
Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA) yesterday warned of a prompt increase in bus fares after the conclusion of the Provincial Council Election, scheduled for May 10.
Chairman PBOA Gamunu Wijerathne told The Nation that bus fares would be increased in keeping with the ongoing price of fuel.
“The government was expected to increase the prices of the fuel after the New Year but they didn’t because of the impending election,” Wijerathne said.
He further pointed out that they couldn’t predict the increase in rates of bus fare as it would depend on the fuel increase. “We cannot say whether it will be increased by Rs five or six as the amount will depend according to the price of the fuel,” Wijerathne added.  (See Inside)

 


 



POLITICS

Rajapaksa sticks with divide and rule policy
Muhamalai and Piliyandala grabbed the headlines last week despite the elections in the east and fracas in the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sent another forceful message against the continued prosecution of the Eelam war.
Muhamalai was being called a military debacle where the Sri Lanka Army reportedly walked into a Tiger trap, losing a disputed number of lives in the process. The military hierarchy vehemently denies any such ‘defeat’ and, in fact, claims the Army advanced half a kilometer along their forward defence lines.
Such paradoxical versions of the same event have been a common phenomenon in the Eelam war as both the state media and the Tiger propaganda machine go into top gear in the aftermath of a military event. Nevertheless, even the military does not claim the Muhamalai incident to be a resounding victory.
There have, of course, been suggestions that Muhamalai was timed for the Eastern provincial council polls – again, a claim strenuously denied by those in authority. And even if that was not part of the strategy, the incident only served the purpose... (See Inside)

Stage set for final showdown
The stage is set for the final showdown on May 10 in the Eastern Province. The Provincial Council elections in the east, which will be held for the first time since the creation of provincial councils, will get underway next Saturday and a huge number of voters close to one million will cast their votes in three Eastern Districts – Digamadulla (Ampara), Trincomalee and Batticaloa.
The two main political parties have set-up alliances with political parties in the periphery to contest this election with a number of other smaller parties and independent groups, including the JVP and EPDP, contesting for the provincial council.
First eastern election
The provincial councils were created under the 1987 accord between Sri Lanka and India and the first ever elections were held soon after that for the amalgamated north and east. In the circumstances, this is the first time an election for the east is being held.
The ruling UPFA as well as the opposition UNP have launched house to house campaigns in these three districts to grab power in the province. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is not contesting since it feels that the elections are not valid under a de-merged east. (See Inside)

NEWS FEATURES

Tigers sustain three-pronged strategy
The chimera in Greek mythology was a fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body and a serpent’s tail. According to the mythical tale, the hero Bellerophon killed it with the help of the winged horse Pegasus.
Nowadays, the word chimera is used at times when referring to a thing of hybrid character. Chimerical is the adjective derived from the noun chimera.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organisation is ostensibly fighting for the goal of national liberation. The LTTE wants to set up an independent state called Tamil Eelam, comprising the Tamil dominated Northern and Tamil majority Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
Trilateral aspects

The Tigers are often chimerical in the methods used to pursue their goal. Their mode of armed struggle has trilateral aspects.
The LTTE adopts positional warfare like a conventional army or militia when it is trying to capture or defend territory. It engages in guerrilla attacks when it targets the armed forces or Police. And it indulges in terrorism when innocent civilians are killed in bomb attacks or while assassinating... (See Inside)

The JVP that was and now perhaps may not be!
If ever there was a political party in Sri Lanka that underwent such calamitous transformation, from being a radical Marxist entity to a hardcore democratic nationalist movement, it is the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).
From its formation in 1966, until today it has walked a tight rope, surviving two uprisings and total annihilation in the hands of the two major political parties – first by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led coalition in 1971 and then by the United National Party (UNP) in 1987-89.
However, it is undeniable that the JVP has made its presence felt – quite convincingly – in the political arena since its ascent to mainstream politics in 1994. Yet, there has always been one factor, which distinguished the JVP from other political parties that were clamouring for the prize of governmental authority: They never resorted to wash their dirty linen before the public and always stood as a group, in the face of dire criticism over their policies and stances. (See Inside)

 

SPORTS

Daredevils trip Super Kings
Skipper Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir put on a century partnership for the first wicket to power Delhi Daredevils to a commanding eight-wicket win against hitherto unbeaten Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament on Friday.
After restricting Chennai Super Kings, who won the toss and decided to bat first, for 169 for six in 20 overs, the Daredevils knocked off the runs in 19 overs after Sehwag (71) and Gautam Gambhir (50) provided them a solid start with a 115-run stand off just 68 balls.
For Super Kings, it was their first loss in five matches while Daredevils chalked up their fourth win.
The two teams, along with Rajasthan Royals are tied on eight points after five games apiece. (PTI Photo)
Sehwag and Gambhir set a hectic pace, smashing the Super Kings attack to all parts of the ground. Manpreet Gony, in particular, came for some heavy punishment, going for 29 runs in his two overs.Morkel too suffered as the Delhi openers went hammer and tongs. The South African all-rounder was spanked for 24 runs in three overs, including 19 in his third. (See Inside)

Point Blank
The unkindest cut
By sacking popular media manager Samantha Algama, Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee chairman Arjuna Ranatunga brought upon himself a load of needless criticism locally and internationally which he could have avoided at a time like this when his popularity in the high seat is on the wane.
No one is indispensable and Ranatunga had every right to terminate the service of Algama who was not a permanent employee of SLC, but worked in an honorary capacity. Where Ranatunga earned the wrath of the media was that his decision to remove Algama was ill-timed and the manner in which it was done. It came just two days before the start of the Women’s Asia Cup which Sri Lanka is hosting and with an important tour of Sri Lanka by India around the corner.
Algama was dismissed for being too friendly with the media and for not defending the ‘sins’ of the SLC over a shady tender issue. Now what is the role of a media manager? He is expected to keep the media informed of news connected to Sri Lanka cricket and at the same time have a good rapport with them, above all ensuring the integrity of Sri Lanka Cricket. In that respect one cannot find fault with Algama. (See Inside)

INTERVIEWS

“Govt. is engaged in a dangerous and divisive agenda”
The forthcoming provincial poll is gaining momentum in most parts of the east. The battle is between the UPFA and a combined UNP and SLMC. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) heavyweight and Party Leader Rauf Hakeem appears comfortable with news reaching him that the latest swing is towards his party.
Expressing confidence that victory is at his doorstep, he also suspects foul play by the government at the eleventh hour. “All indications are that the people are ready to throw this corrupt government out. But the government will be left with no option but to engage in rigging, intimidation and thuggery to win the election,” Hakeem told The Nation in an interview in Trincomalee, where he is currently based, until the election is over.
Following are excerpts:
Q: What is the progress of your campaign?
A: We have come to the final stages of the propaganda work. What remains is now to look at the logistical arrangements to be finalised for polling day. There is a massive swing, clearly indicating a victory for us, and the government will be left with no option but to engage in rigging, intimidation and thuggery.  (See Inside)

“We are confident. We will win the East, as well as the North”
Chandrakanthan Kuhaneson alias Pillaiyan, is the other leading candidate for the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), in Batticaloa. Pillaiyan, a battle hardened soldier, does not seem to get excited over his rivals’ rhetoric. He is willing to take them on, with his power base in the East. He says his strength is the people, and of course the UPFA government. “I say this today, because of the support, people have already extended to me and my party,” he told The Nation, in an interview from his Batticaloa head quarters. Admitting that his party – Tamil Makkal Vidudalai Puligal (TMVP), has no written manifesto, he said several developmental projects were in the pipeline and once elected, an accelerated programme would be implemented, to give what the people of the East have never gained, for the past 20 years. “The people deserve a better living. We are able to provide them that,” he said.  He said that, his only ambition was to fair well in this election, so that, his party could contest the future northern provincial council elections and also take control of that province, as well. “We are confident. We will win this province as well as, the North,” he challenged.
Following are excerpts;
Q: How far have you gone with your campaign in the East and are you ready for the May 10, elections?
A: We have so far, faired very well. Our campaign will come to an end on May 5. We have... (See Inside)



 
 

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