Incidents of rigging, intimidation, impersonation and
other election-related violence, including acts of thuggery,
overshadowed yesterday’s much-hyped Eastern Provincial Council
election, with independent election monitors asserting there was
an over 50% voter turnout in most areas.
Mihin’s antics compromise Lanka’s safety
budget carrier, Mihin Lanka, is at the final stages of bringing
in two Airbus A-320 aircraft to Sri Lanka in order to resume
Karuna to be deported?
Moves are afoot to deport LTTE
renegade leader Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan, alias Karuna
Amman, from the...
Bullet turns ballot?
TMVP chief ministerial candidate Pillaiyan steps out of a
heavily armoured vehicle at Vipulananda Maha Vidyalaya,
Valachchenai, to cast his vote at the Eastern Provincial Council
elections, which were overshadowed by several incidents of
(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)
Sri Lanka makes last-ditch attempt to
secure HRC seat
Colombo will make a frantic, last-ditch attempt on Tuesday to
persuade members of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to
re-elect Sri Lanka, overshadowed by allegations of gross human
CEB, SLPA and CPC fall victim to
Frontline state-run institutions, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority
(SLPA), Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Ceylon Petroleum
Corporation (CPC), have fallen victim to yesterday’s Eastern
|Election overshadowed by high-scale
The Centre for Monitoring
Elections Violence (CMEV) yesterday said that some 18 major
election related offences were reported, including murder and
attempted murder, out of a total of some 25 complaints.
The statement issued by the CMEV yesterday cited that the
offences in the latter category include murder, attempted
murder, assault, threat and intimidation, impersonation and
The CMEV pointed out that out of the major offences, three were
reported from Ampara and two were from Trincomalee. Among the
incidents that were highlighted in the CMEV report were the
systematic impersonations in Thambiluvil, Tirukovil in Ampara
TMVP supporters at polling station 52, AK/Thambiluvil Central
College were seen removing voter ink from their fingers
and returning to vote repeatedly with new polling
WFP suspends Food-for-Work ProgrammeThe World Food Programme (WFP) has temporarily suspended its
Food-for-Work Programme while also reducing the quantity of
rations given to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and
economically affected families.
WFP Deputy Country Director Jean Yves told The Nation that the
organisation had to suspend its Food for-Work Programme since it
did not have sufficient resources to fund the project.
“We do not have sufficient resources to fund the project so we
temporarily suspended the programme. There are around 140,000
people receiving aid due to this programme and all of them would
be affected by this suspension,” he said, adding that the
organisation had no choice in deciding to suspend the programme.
He further said that the Protected Relief and Recovery Programme
and Maternal and Children Nutrition Programmes (MCN) were forced
to reduce the amount of dry...
Postal strike on Tuesday unless Saturday
circular is withdrawn
The Post and
Telecommunication Officers’ Union yesterday warned of a strike
which could cripple the sector if Postmaster General M.K.B.
Dissanayake fails to immediately withdraw the circulation asking
workers not to work on Saturdays.
Union President Navaratna Bandara said that the circulation was
sent to all the departmental heads, requesting them not to allow
the employees of Postal Department to work on Saturday.
“People are working on Saturday so that they will be
able to reduce the weekday workload. They receive an
allowance for working extra hours. If they implement the
circular, people would be loaded with work and we won’t
be able to compete with our...
Invincible ship sunk in Trinco
An underwater explosion damaged and sunk a cargo ship,
Invincible, belonging to the Navy, which was docked in the
Ashroff jetty in Trincomalee, during the early hours of
The explosion, which occurred at about 2:30 a.m., had not caused
any harm to the ship’s crew.
“We found human remains near the explosion site, leading us to
suspect that a suicide cadre, diving underwater, had detonated a
bomb near the ship,” Navy Spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake
The ship named Invincible was first captured in 2003,
transporting 254 illegal Pakistani migrants to Italy and was
handed over to the Navy after it was confiscated in 2005
following a trial.
Dassanayake said that the Ashroff jetty was for...
Prorogation was President’s face-saving
The United National Party (UNP) yesterday charged that
President Mahinda Rajapaksa resorted to the prorogation of
Parliament as a face-saving measure due to the ongoing
investigations by the Parliamentary Select Committee
investigating the LTTE-government deal, which allegedly led to
Rajapaksa’s victory at the 2007 presidential polls.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told The Nation, “The
President is merely trying to save face from these committees
because he knows that if the investigations continue, the
culprits will be known by all.”
He noted that with the prorogation of Parliament, all
vital Parliament Select Committees,...
Onus now on the Speaker to take action
Following the sudden prorogation of Parliament by President
Mahinda Rajapaksa early last week, which resulted in the
dissolution of the sitting committees, such as the Committee on
Public Accounts (COPE) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC),
the onus is now on the Speaker to take action on the submitted
Former PAC Chairman Rauff Hakeem told The Nation that the
reports that have been submitted to the House remain the
property of the House. “The PAC report is a complete report. The
new Parliament can always take it up. It remains a public
document. The onus is now on the Speaker to take action,” he
As for the ongoing PAC investigations – including
pending interim reports on the Customs...
Free and fair poll:
Bone of contention
The outcome of the Eastern Provincial Council elections will be known
when these comments are being read. Nevertheless, the run up to the poll
saw and interesting development: the Supreme Court was petitioned by an
organisation asking for a “free and fair poll,” and specifically
requesting that the use of arms by unauthorised groups be prevented.
Any action that promotes democratic mechanisms such as elections are
most certainly welcome, and the recent trend of seeking the intervention
of the courts of law indicates that we are indeed a vigilant society
where citizens are on the prowl, monitoring social injustices.
This has been made possible to a large extent by progressive steps taken
by the higher courts in recent times, promoting judicial activism. The
courts have been involved with a variety of issues such as regulating
gas prices, school admissions and teacher strikes. This policy has
encouraged more and more citizens to take their grievances...
Rajapaksa effectively bolts stable
door on crisis situations
Is Sri Lanka interested in securing the GSP+? After having
listened to Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal on the BBC’s
Hard Talk, where he said that Sri Lanka could manage its economy
without the GSP+, Sri Lankan entrepreneurs who benefit from the
GSP+ and the workers affiliated to those export-oriented
industries are up in arms, trying to fathom as to why Cabraal
had to make such a drastic statement, which would affect the
The GSP+, though some seem to think would only benefit the
garment industry, it only covers 65% of the GSP+ facility that
Sri Lanka is enjoying right now and 35% of the facility goes to
other agro-based industries and fish exports, including prawns
and ornamental fish, and other industries such as tea bags.
Since the garment industry takes the forefront in the fight to
secure the GSP+, the other industries which benefit from the
European Union’s GSP+ have not voiced their concerns and have
taken a backseat all this time.
But now it appears that they too would come forward
if the government doesn’t take...
UL crisis deepens
sharp differences SriLankan Airlines has been having with its
pilots reached volcanic proportions last week after Captain
Milinda Ratnayake, Senior Manager Flight Operations, was removed
from his post and given a fresh posting as Head of Service
Capt. Ratnayake will now be in charge of the cabin crew and
ground handling. The Airline Pilots Guild is furious.
For well over a decade, Capt. Ratnayake has locked horns with a
majority of the pilots attached to SriLankan Airlines.
Having held his position as Senior Manager Flight Operations for
11 years, and as Chief Pilot for three years, Capt. Ratnayake
has been accused of discrimination against local pilots, making
false allegations, lying to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA),
discrediting local pilots over their foreign counterparts
employed by UL, and allowing at least two foreign pilots to fly
SriLankan minus their licenses.
Pandemonium reigns in east despite
The Provincial Council elections in the east, which commenced
sharp on time at 7.00 am yesterday, was marred with intimidation
All fingers were pointed at government ministers who, according
to eye witnesses and independent poll watchers, had used their
clout with the intention of turning the results of the polls,
Reports reaching from Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara
strongly indicated that government ministers were responsible
for inciting and encouraging violence. Their supporters, who had
been brought to the east in bus loads, had been used to
intimidate voters and stuff ballot boxes as the police watched
the situation helplessly.
Scores of people in this region have been deprived of their
polling cards. Most of the voters in...
|India favourites, Lanka
Sri Lanka expressed confidence of turning tables on India in the
4th Asia Cup Women’s cricket final at the Welagedera Stadium,
Kurunegala today despite keeping a close tab on the fitness of
one of their key fast bowlers Sreepali Weerakkody who is
recovering from a hamstring injury.
Frankly speaking, Sri Lanka had fitness question marks on both
their fast bowlers with Chamani Seneviratne also nursing a
hamstring injury, but coach Chitral Mendis said that she was fit
to play in the final and their only concern was the fitness of
Weerakkody whom he considered a key player in the side if they
are to end India’s dominance in the tournament.
Weerakkody and Seneviratne were injured in the return match
against India and had to sit out Sri Lanka’s final league game
against Bangladesh which they won convincingly by nine wickets.
“The girls are confident they can get the better of India
provided we are able to play our full side. The first game
against India we lost by 29 runs and in the second game we
misread the wicket and lost by a big margin,” said Mendis, a
former club cricketer and coach. He lamented the lack of
Wisden honour for four
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, universally
accepted as the cricketers’ ‘Bible’ has honoured four Sri Lankan
cricketers in its 2008 edition.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, vice-captain Kumar
Sangakkara and champion bowlers Muthiah Muralitharan and
Chaminda Vaas have been picked among Wisden’s top 40 cricketers
for their performances during the 2007 calendar year.
All of them along with Sanath Jayasuriya have been featured in
the past four years with Sangakkara being the only Sri Lankan to
appear regularly in all five years.
‘Wisden’ says: “The Wisden Forty, including the Leading
Cricketer in the World, have been selected by Wisden as the top
40 cricketers in the game on the basis of their class and form
shown in all cricket during the calendar year 2007. The
selections were made in consultation with many of the world’s
most experienced cricket writers and commentators. In the end
though, they were Wisden’s choices, guided by the statistics but
not governed by them. The selection panel is no more
infallible than any other...
Making the most of it
Twenty20 cricket, the latest version to hit the
century-old game is catching on fast especially in India where
the platform has been laid for the world’s greatest entertainers
to perform their skills at a very high price. In its over 100
years of existence cricket has undergone several changes in its
format and Twenty20 is the quickest and shortest form of
entertainment which the followers of the game are subjected to
witness. In an era where time flies Twenty20 is a more profound
way of keeping pace with the times.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian Cricket League (ICL)
which preceded it has in a way given young Indian cricketers the
chance to rub shoulders and compete on equal terms with the best
players in the world. It is for them a once in a lifetime
opportunity. They are not only learning the skills and tactics
of how superstars prepare themselves both physically and
mentally for a contest, but also on how they handle pressure
situations in the middle which is a vital element in today’s
Political expediency and military
Asymmetrical warfare is not confined to well defined boundaries.
As such, the time-frames announced are unrealistic and
impracticable. The reasoning behind the Army Commander’s
statement that the military campaign against the Tamil militants
would be won by the end of 2008, is a manifestation of this
reality. Having committed himself twice before, obviously he has
not even learned from experience of the basic tenets of the art
of war. What excuses will he give a day after the deadline?
Remember those who did? General Hakirat Singh boasted that he
would take Jaffna in 72 hours and planned “Op Pawan” on this
premise. It took the IPKF more than 72 days of fighting with two
Infantry Divisions supported by Armour to take full control of
the Walikamam area of the Jaffna Peninsula. It is interesting to
note the psyche that prevailed and prompted General Hakirat
towards such an ill-planned battle. On first meeting with young
LTTE cadres, who had volunteered to surrender their weapons
subject to an amnesty being offered, he exclaimed to the Sri
Lankan Security Forces...