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Sunday June 08th, 2008

CPC, Mihin lock horns
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Mihin Lanka have locked horns over the non-payment of debts.
Casting a dampener on Mihin Lanka’s plans to resume flights in July after acquiring aircraft on a lease basis, CPC Chairman... (See Inside)

Enough time for GSP+, says GL
There would be no delay in the submission of the written application to the European Union (EU) for the renewal of GSP+ tariff concessionary scheme, International Trade Minister... (See Inside)

WFP pleads for funds to help flood victims
The World Food Programme (WFP) has pleaded for donor assistance for it to continue with its aid work to assist flood victims in the Kalutara, Ratnapura, Gampaha and... (See Inside)


                        East erupts                    

A Tamil civilian being rushed to the Batticaloa General Hospital with cut injuries, following the outbreak of violence in Kattankudi on the day following the inaugural session of the Eastern Provincial Council on June 5. Ethnic riots broke out between the Tamils and Muslims after a Muslim was allegedly cut by a TMVP cadre in the outskirts of Kattankudi

                                    (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)



UNP’s internal conflict escalates
The internal conflict within the UNP took another twist when plans to appoint S.B. Dissanayake as the deputy leader of the party surfaced. The move has created much dissension among the top ranks in the party. (See Inside)

Stay away from SL, cautions Britain
Britain has issued a travel warning against its citizens travelling to Sri Lanka following the bomb blast that occurred in Moratuwa on Friday.
The warning note has indicated that British citizens should avoid travelling to the north and east, Army camps, government departments... (See Inside)




JVP seeking legal advice
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is seeking legal advice to sue the government for trying to build a coal power plant in Sampur before resettling the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in Sampur.
JVP MP Vijitha Herath told The Nation that the party was seeking legal advice to go to courts against this issue shortly.
“It has been more than a year now, since the security forces liberated Sampur from the LTTE. But the IDPs are still living in camps. There are more than 4000 people living like that. And the government is planning to build a coal power plant in the area with the help of an Indian company, without helping those people first,” Herath said. (See Inside)

SLMC, UNP challenge Eastern polls
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the United National Party (UNP) filed two Petitions before the Court of Appeal, praying for an order declaring that the Eastern Provincial Councils election held on 10.05.2008 for the administrative Districts of Batticaloa and Ampara, as void.
Mohamed Thamby Hasen Ali, Division No. 13, Nintavur, Daya, Dharmapala K. Gamage No. 1, Dudley Senanayake Mawatha, Ampara, were the Petitioners of the Ampara District.
A.L.M. Marssok, Al Ameen Road, Kattankudy 06, M.H.S. Ismail, Public Road, Valachchena, L.T.M. Furkan, M.P.L.S. Road, Meeravodai, were the Petitioners from the Batticaloa District.
In both Petitions, Petitioners alleged incidents of general intimidation, impersonation, ballot stuffing, threats by supporters of UPFA candidates and forcibly taking away identity cards and polling cards. They have also said that UNP... (See Inside)

GMOA cracks down on quacks
An estimated 40,000 quacks will be taken to task by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) shortly.
The GMOA has sought an early appointment with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the issue.
GMOA Member Dr. Upul Gunasekara told The Nation that many patients, including infants, had been affected due to such unqualified doctors prescribing drugs.
“For an example, an 18-month-old baby was killed due to overdose of Paracetamol prescribed by an unqualified doctor at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital,” Dr. Gunasekara said.
He further pointed out that unqualified doctors were freely working in the country since the Healthcare Ministry had not taken strong steps to prevent the illegal practice. (See Inside)

Teachers to go sick
The Ceylon Teachers’ Union plans to launch an island-wide sick note campaign to protest against their salary discrepancies on June 11 and 12.
Union Convenor Joseph Stelyn said that even though the Education Ministry introduced an interim wage proposal last year, it had not been implemented so far.
“This is one of the main reasons why the teachers refrained from participating in A/L paper marking. However, last year, when the teachers decided to abstain from participating in the paper marking sessions, a court order made it compulsory for them to carry on the procedures,” Stelyn said.
He added that around 12,000 teachers were required to mark answer papers and so far only 500... (See Inside)

Police to produce Katubedda blast suspects to courts
Nearly 50 suspects, arrested in connection with Friday’s claymore explosion attacking a crowded bus in Katubedda, will be produced in courts shortly.
Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara told The Nation that further investigations were still being carried out regarding the incident.
“After Friday’s claymore blast 58 people were arrested and later eight were released. However, 49 suspects will be produced in courts soon,” SSP Gunasekara added.
He also said that investigations were being carried out on the three dead dogs that were found on Friday morning just before the blast... (See Inside)

SLTourism, SriLankan to showcase SL to Germans
Sri Lanka Tourism together with SriLankan Airlines and ground handling agents will host a mega Familiarisation Tour and Workshop for 100 German travel agents of Thomas Cook, REWE Touristik, Berger & Meer and Sun Trips in Sri Lanka, from June 8 to 14.
These agents were chosen on their performance in generating tourists to Sri Lanka.
Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism, Renton de Alwis, commenting on the mega event said, “This indeed provides an opportunity for us to showcase and push our products and services in the German market, where, we have seen a setback in the recent past. There is no better alternative than experiencing what the destination... (See Inside)




UNP’s strategies going nowhere
For many months now, the opposition United National Party (UNP) has been trying to get its act together. It hoped for a revival of its fortunes with the Eastern provincial elections but it was not to be, allegations of vote rigging notwithstanding. And now, the country’s major opposition party has launched a series of campaigns against the government, hoping to capture the imagination of the masses.
Their most recent attempts were to travel in bullock carts to protest the fuel price hike and then to stage a ‘toot the horn’ campaign to clamour for the same reason. Previously, they have tried smashing pots and pans to protest the rising cost of living, and there was also a campaign by the UNP to visit ‘pola’s and engage with the public on the same issue.
If the reaction of the general public is a yardstick to measure the success of these campaigns, even the UNP’s own rank and file-if not the leadership- will concede that these attempts have been a failure. If the party expected a swathe of public anger against the government to turn in its favour, the party has been terribly disappointed.
The UNP... (See Inside)

Trials, tribulations of paradise gone wrong
Hemmed in on all sides by popular rumblings about the cost of living and almost daily explosions that are rocking the capital and its suburbs, the government had one more thing to worry last week.
Floody hell
Incessant monsoon rains caused severe floods in several districts in the island, displacing some 400,000 people and killing 20.
Kalutara, Galle, Ratnapura, Gampaha and areas of Colombo were submerged, and some experts claimed that the construction of the Colombo-Matara expressway was in some ways responsible for the heavy flooding.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa found out about the flood situation back home, while he was in Rome to address the FAO summit on Food Security last week. He called up Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake... (See Inside)


Sun rises in east amidst turbulent skies

June 4, 2008, was an important, historic day for the Eastern Province. On this day, the Province saw for the first time, the birth of a separate Provincial Government – the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC).
The masses dwelling in the East, the ‘Easterners’ as they were referred to, felt liberated and emancipated for the first time after many years.
For them it was a victory that their dreams to function as a separate entity, as Easterners, or Kilakku Thamilargal (Tamils of the East), had been finally met.
Although it was a time to celebrate, there were no jubilations or celebrations, due to security reasons. Nonetheless, for the majority of the Easterners this day was considered as significant.
Most of the Easterners felt that they had now been given an opportunity to climb up the ladder, without anybody on top waiting to push them down. (See Inside)

Smoking: A social scourge fuelling the cost of living
“Old habits die hard”. This axiom is absolutely true for smoking. Leave alone the addicts, even the new ‘recruits’ find it very difficult to free themselves from its clutches that, unfortunately, has become the leading cause of preventable death in the world. It has also harmful impacts on people of all ages- unborn babies, infants, children, adolescents, teenagers, youth, adults and the elderly. Unlike other social evils, smoking, by and large, is an accepted activity or habit within society. However, a closer study of the latest research on smoking, clearly shows that it is a harmful and causes misery via deadly diseases and unnecessary expenditure to the smokers.
Shocking revelations

The BBC recently revealed that smoking mainly contributes to genetic changes that cause cancer. (See Inside)



Anderson’s six appeal overpowers Kiwis
James Anderson took a Test-best 6-42 as New Zealand closed day two of the third and final Test 268 behind England on 96-6.
Anderson struck with his third ball and produced a superb spell of swing.
Ross Taylor and Daniel Flynn fell in the same over to rock the tourists’ hopes of levelling the series, before bad light ended play at Trent Bridge.
Anderson’s dream day began with his highest Test score (28) in a 76 stand with Stuart Broad, who hit a first Test fifty as England added 91 to reach 364.
Broad and Anderson would no doubt have arrived at the ground thinking it was a good day to bowl, given largely overcast skies and the notorious swinging conditions beside the River Trent.
But they were first intent on giving themselves plenty of runs to bowl with as England, who lead the series 1-0, resumed on 273-7.
There was a fair amount of good fortune, and several shots came off the edge through the slip and gully area, but the left-handers dug in to produce an admirable... (See Inside)

Is the IPL here to stay?
The Indian Premier League or to put it more bluntly the IPL is here to stay. For how long maybe it is difficult to say. But probably until the money drains out or the spectators become bored of all the razzmatazz that goes with it and decide that traditional Test cricket is the best way to view the sport. But for the present the cricket world is caught up in a web of entertainment that will be difficult to dislodge for some time following the complete success of the IPL tournament in India.
It had it plusses and minuses. On the plus side India showed the world the depth of cricket talent they had. Some of these players who were unheard of in international cricket circles shot into prominence overnight by the vast worldwide TV coverage of the event. These average young cricketers who were nobodys became somebody by playing with and against some of the best cricketers of the world. It only helped to elevate their cricketing skills and cricketers like Yusuf Pathan, Mohammed Kaif, Swapnil Asnodkar, Manpreet Gony, Shikar Dhawan, Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir and Australia’s Shaun Marsh and Shane Watson who shot into prominence and became household names thanks to the IPL. Like Kerry Packer 30 years ago, the IPL helped enhance the pay packets of cricketers beyond even their wildest dreams.
To prove what strong back up teams they had India, immediately after the IPL, not only named a squad for the Asia Cup, but also an Emerging side to Australia to take part in a triangular which would also feature South Africa and New Zealand and another team of youngsters... (See Inside)


Third Parliamentary session erupts in turmoil
The first meeting of the third Parliamentary session convened last Thursday (June 5) with the House erupting in turmoil. The session, however, commenced with a celebratory mood as Leader of the House and Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was commended for his appointment as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
There were several notable absentees and among them were the leader of the newly formed National Freedom Front, Wimal Weerawansa and SLFP(M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera. However, the most conspicuous absence was that of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who did not appear for the ceremonial opening. This absence created an uproar among opposition members, who claimed that their Parliament privileges were violated due to the absence.
The calm and order began to gradually deteriorate while Opposition and United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe began to raise a privilege issue. He alleged that his passage to Parliament was obstructed by a mass protest organised by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led government. He added that the crowd, led allegedly by Duminda Silva and Hector Bethmage deliberately barred his vehicle from proceeding towards Parliament. (See Inside)




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