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Sunday May 18th, 2008

Muslims to revolt against Pillaiyan?
The simmering crisis over the new Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillaiyan, reached new heights yesterday with several Muslim ministers threatening to revolt against President Mahinda Rajapaksa for allegedly... (See Inside)

MP Hakeem?
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauff Hakeem is likely to return to Parliament later next month, when sittings resume after a month long prorogation.
Hakeem,... (See Inside)

Tilvin, Wimal pooh-pooh each other
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday declared that Wimal Weerawansa’s new party, the National Freedom Party (NFP), would have absolutely no impact on the JVP in any manner. (See Inside)


                  What next, Ranil?              

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was the first to arrive at the wedding of Provincial Councillor Niroshan Padukka held last week at a leading star class hotel in Colombo. Wickremesinghe, who has often been bashed by the government for his losing streak, appears to be in a contemplative mood just days after his party suffered defeat at the Eastern Provincial Council elections
                                   (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)



Ranil alleges Pillaiyan hand in Friday’s blast
Police apprehended 11 suspects for questioning following the bomb blast at the Sangabodhi Viharaya, Fort, which claimed 11 lives on Friday.
Five male Police constables, three female Police... (See Inside)

FM gets realistic in New York
Amidst continuous rhetoric and timelines set by various government members over the conclusion of the war, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama sounded more realistic in New York recently when he said that it was difficult to estimate a date when the war would actually finish.
The statement... (See Inside)




UNP, SLMC off to courts over EP polls
The United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) are in the process of collecting necessary data and finalising a draft to be submitted to the Court of Appeal within the next few days, seeking the cancellation of last Saturday’s controversial election.
The parties will seek the annulment of the results of Batticaloa and Ampara Districts, citing mass irregularities – including rigging, ballot box stuffing, impersonation and failure by the respective authorities to take action when incidents were reported.
The respondents will include Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, the returning officers of Batticaloa and Ampara and the candidates.
UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that they were... (See Inside)

Postal coffers empty, no OT payment from June
Due to the lack of funds, the Posts and Telecommunication Ministry has decided not to make Over Time (OT) payments to its staff beginning June. According to Post and Telecommunications Union President Navaratna Bandara, Ministry Secretary W.M. Piyasena has informed them that from June onwards OT payments would not be made for Postal Department staff.
“The Secretary informed us that they only have funds to pay OT for the months of May and June and afterwards they would not be able to pay us OT since the Treasury has not allocated funds for this purpose to the Ministry,” he said.
He further added that if the government did not provide them with their allowance, they would take tough trade union action, which might disrupt the work of the department. (See Inside)

AsiaSat falls victim to LTTE’s airwave piracy
The latest global satellite company to be affected by airwave piracy of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is the Hong Kong based AsiaSat, which has unilaterally terminated the contract it has with NTT, the television channel of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Paris said. AsiaSat’s termination of the contract was effective from April 1, 2008.
Although AsiaSat terminated the contract NTT continues to blatantly violating the international satellite transmission regulations. “This is nothing but airwave piracy and the international satellite regulatory bodies should take firm action,’’ a leading EU treaty expert said in Paris. (See Inside)

Vesak gets security boost
A security boost has been implemented for the forthcoming Vesak season, which commences tomorrow.
Police Spokesman Senior DIG N.K Illangakoon told The Nation that special security arrangements have been made to ensure public security in the areas covering 11 Vesak zones and eight Vesak pandols, along with 52 dansals in Colombo.
Eight Vesak pandols are scheduled to be exhibited at Thotalanga, Pettah, Dematagoda, Cinnamon Gardens, Sathutu Uyana, Bastians Mawatha, Gangarama, Peliyagoda and Nawaloka while Vesak lanterns will be displayed at Kos Gas Handiya, Thotalanga, Dematagoda, Bastian Mawatha, Sathutu Uyana, Bauddha Sammelanaya and several... (See Inside)

Unidentified group hacks Mangala’s news website
An unidentified, unscrupulous group is alleged to have hacked into a news website maintained by former frontline Minister, now turned rebel, Mangala Samaraweera.
The website, www.lankadissent.com, updated on a daily basis and often carrying anti-government stories, was inaccessible for many hours on Friday, and sources close to the editorial staff of the website claimed that the website had been hacked and disrupted.
However, the site was back online after 5 p.m. on the same day.
Meanwhile, the Free Media Movement (FMM) in a release issued yesterday urged authorities to immediately clarify the existence and nature of the electronic media monitoring unit of the Defence Ministry. (See Inside)

ACHSU wants 300 midwives integrated to government health sector
All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) has threatened to take trade union action against the government’s failure to integrate midwives who are employed in the estate sector into the Government Health Service. 
ACHSU Chairman Gamini Kumarasinghe told The Nation that the midwives committee would decide what action should be taken after a committee meeting that’s scheduled for May 22.
“The Ministry of Health claims that the main reason for not integrating estate midwives to the government health sector is due to insufficient resources,” Kumarasinghe said.  
But he pointed out that the ministry had money to obtain low quality drugs for a higher price. “But when it comes to integrating these 300 midwives to the government... (See Inside)




EPC elections a contentious contest
Many interpretations could be given to last week’s Eastern Provincial Council election results.
While the conduct of the poll itself has been called into question and the opposition United National Party (UNP)-Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) alliance has protested at the outcome, the bottom-line appears to be that there are neither clear winners nor losers.
The ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), has won a contentious contest. In so doing, their credibility as a regime committed to free and fair polls, has been eroded. Moreover, the collective opposition will now know that they should imagine the unimaginable and prepare for such eventualities in future elections.
In fact, the win may also be a disaster in disguise, for the ruling party. At the time of writing, the dispute over the appointment of a Chief Minister shows no signs of abating with Tamileelam... (See Inside)

And the award goes to… MR, who else?
The Government is faced with yet another crisis, after having appointed Pillaiyan of the TMVP as the Chief Minister (CM), of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC)
The people of the east have chose their representatives on Saturday (10), and, at the same time, decided as to who should be assigned with the task of looking after their affairs, by taking over the reins of the EPC. Whether it was a genuine election or not, is another matter to be dealt with separately, but, under the prevailing circumstances, the people have spoken clearly and conferred a mandate on the UPFA to run the day to day affairs of the EPC.
Free and fair polls

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, who has, expressed his satisfaction over the successful completion of the election, has, however, stopped short of commenting whether the EPC election, held for the first time, was free and fair.
Most analysts feel that, there have been no free and fair elections in this country since 1994. (See Inside)


Pillaiyan, Hisbullah, Keerthi and the EPC
The Rajapaksa regime registered a remarkable achievement on Friday, May 16, when Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillaiyan, took oaths at President’s House before President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC).
The Rajapaksa regime, deeply influenced by Sinhala hawkish elements, has pursued an integrated politico-military strategy towards the Eastern Province, which has an ethnically mixed population.
Multilateral objectives

The essence of that strategy has been to ‘cleanse’ the province of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and prop up the eastern Tiger breakaway faction known as the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) or Tamil People’s Liberation Tigers.
Both the LTTE and TMVP are, in Tamil, ‘Viduthalai Puligal’ or ‘Liberation Tigers.’ The difference in nomenclature is slight. The LTTE ‘Liberation Tigers’ give pride of place to ‘Tamil Eelam,’ while the TMVP ‘Liberation Tigers’ give prominence to the Tamil people.. (See Inside)

JVP – A never-ending power struggle
Listening to the rhetoric of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna - post eastern elections - and some members of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), there is but, one overwhelming factor that emerges. And that is the JVP’s finesse, to lie.
Spurred by an un-quenching thirst for power and the undeniable fact that, it can never independently assume the trappings of complete power, the JVP has but only one end result, to its deadly game of cat and mouse. And that is to win.
Gold diggers and murderers forsooth, the JVP is easily the most corrupt, hypocritical party, that has walked the corridors of Sri Lanka’s parliament. Split by envy and hatred even against each other, the party is governed by humans, that can be described in one word – evil.
Having listened to the recent ravings of Wimal Weeravansa, spokesperson and former MP for the JVP, are easily the most abusive, contradictory and selfish statements made by any politician on present platforms. (See Inside)



England’s Sidebottom gets batting back-up
Ryan Sidebottom turned in a miserly spell of four wickets for five runs in 10.1 overs Friday as New Zealand were bowled out for 277 on the second day of the first Test here at Lord’s.
Openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook then built on Sidebottom’s good work and England, at stumps, were 68 without loss.
Strauss was 24 not out and fellow left-hander Cook 43 not out when a fifth stoppage in the day for bad light ended play prematurely, much to the annoyance of a crowd where some spectators had paid as much as 65 pounds (130 dollars) for a ticket.
Cook was particularly harsh on Tim Southee, striking the pace bowler for three fours in an over in what was only the teenager’s second Test.
Considering New Zealand had been 104 for five, in overcast, seam-bowler friendly conditions after losing the toss, theirs was a fine recovery.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori did his best to keep England at bay with 48 before he was last man out, bowled by Sidebottom. (See Inside)

Point Blank
Hobson’s choice
The intervention of the Sports Minister to include Sanath Jayasuriya in the Sri Lanka squad for next month’s Asia Cup maybe viewed with rose-tinted glasses.
Looking at it from the national selectors’ point of view they are helpless at the way it was done. The selectors appointed by the Sports Minister himself on recommendations made by Sri Lanka Cricket had to toe the line come what may especially when their term of office had been extended only for a period of one month till the end of May. It was very unfortunate that they sat a day before Jayasuriya rattled off a wonderful century in the shortest form of the game and picked a squad leaving him out. For upto that point the 38-year-old veteran had not done anything outstanding to justify his recall to the one-day team, failing to score a century for more than a year.
But having batted the way he did for Mumbai Indians in the ongoing IPL tournament, Jayasuriya left no doubt in the minds of everyone that he was back to his best form - the form which everyone universally and the opposition has come to accept him as one of the most feared... (See Inside)


Pillaiyan deserves the CM post -Basil
Chief Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa justified the appointment of Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillaiyan, as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province.
Countering allegations that Hisbullah was promised the CM post first and that it was bestowed upon Pillaiyan at the 11th hour, Rajapaksa said there was no truth in it. He said there was no plan whatsoever to make any one particular member the chief minister before witnessing the performance of both Hisbullah and Pillaiyan at the May 10 poll.
UPFA mastermind Rajapaksa told The Nation that it was clearly indicated to the contenders that they should perform well and that the chief minister’s post would be given depending on performance.
“Based on this guideline, I think Pillaiyan has scored well to top the preference list. We cannot give the chief minister’s post to a man who comes third in the list and ignore the man who comes first in the list. (See Inside)

CM post to Pillaiyan: a betrayal of entire Muslim community - Hisbullah
An archaic adage is that fate cannot be changed. It was proved beyond doubt last week when destiny struck a hard blow on M. L. A. M. Hizbullah. This was after he succeeded in obtained the required mark at the May 10 Eastern Polls, he was deprived of the plum post of Chief Minister (CM) in the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), contrary to his expectations.
On the other hand it has been Pillaiyan’s fate that he should ascend to the hot seat of the CM one day, despite having originally set out to fight in the jungle for freedom and liberation.
Hizbullah today is a dejected man. He feels he has been letdown and misled by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had, only a few weeks ago, portrayed him as a hero on the election platforms.
The promise given to Hizbullah was that he will be made the CM provided he secured a greater number of seats. And Hizbullah, a political strategist, did just that, securing more seats to be eligible for the CM post. But the tide turned against him when there was pressure on the President to appoint Pillaiyan as the CM. (See Inside)




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