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Sunday June 15th, 2008

Cold war hits Ranil
With a fresh coup attempt distressing United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the seemingly nervous UNP Leader was seeing attempting to lure party members and also approaching... (See Inside)

General strike on the cards?
Leading trade unions are set to go on a general shutdown in the coming weeks, possibly commencing early July, with the date for... (See Inside)

Somawansa pleads for GSP+
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has pleaded for the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences... (See Inside)


                     Trigger happy!                 

Armed with a camera, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona is seen clicking pictures at the Udawalawe National Park Elephant Orphanage yesterday, shaded by an armed commando soon after eight baby elephants were released to the wild
                              (Pic by Nissanka Wijerathne)



Cooray, Mowlana to be hauled to court
Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana and Chief Minister Reginald Cooray are set to face a major legal battle later this... (See Inside)

Energy Minister lashes out at JVP
Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne yesterday lashed out at the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya (LVSS), accusing... (See Inside)




Doctors threaten to strike over fingerprint issue
The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has warned of island-wide trade union action if the Health Ministry continues to compel GMOA doctors to use the fingerprint machine to mark their attendance.
GMOA Committee Member Dr. Upul Gunasekara told The Nation that although they met with the concerned official of the Ministry and requested the non-implementation of the fingerprint machine, the Ministry officials were yet to comply with the request.
“We are not going to use the fingerprint machine. (See Inside)

CPJ calls on government to reverse its direction
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reverse the direction in which his government has turned, and restore to journalists throughout the country the right to freely report without fear or intimidation.
In a letter sent on Friday, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon stated, “President Rajapaksa, we recognise that your government is involved in an ongoing conflict with Tamil secessionists. But the security of the nation will not be enhanced by policies that curtail one of the most basic rights guaranteed in Article 14 of Sri Lanka’s Constitution — the right to freedom... (See Inside)

CBK’s security at it again!
Security personnel of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga were at it again on Wednesday, reportedly barring several media personnel from covering the inaugural congress of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – Mahajana Wing at the New Town Hall.
Kumaratunga’s security, which has been notorious for giving a hard time to journalists on many occasions, were seen at the gate turning a blind eye when some of the journalists had stretched out the Media Accreditation cards issued by the Government Information Department and refusing... (See Inside)

President yet to decide on dissolving remaining PCs
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is yet to make a final decision on whether or not to dissolve the remaining provincial councils, including the Western and Central Provincial Councils.
Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon told The Nation yesterday that the government had no plans to dissolve the remaining provincial councils yet.
“It is up to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to decide on whether or not to dissolve the remaining provincial councils. We don’t know what he might decide on suddenly. (See Inside)

LTTE sympathiser held in Tamil Nadu; goods seized from boat
A suspected LTTE sympathiser was taken into custody and goods, including batteries and medicines, were seized from a high speed boat in the sea off Devipattinam in Rameswaram, police said on Saturday.
The ‘Q’ branch of the Police dealing with militant activities seized Indian Rs. 1 million worth of batteries, Army uniforms, medicines and gloves from the boat around midnight, sources said.
Inspector Thiagarajan said that the occupants of the boat had jumped into the sea upon seeing the Police but that they managed to catch Vijayan, an LTTE sympathiser... (See Inside)

Teachers give authorities three-week respite
The Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) has decided not to resort to any action until June 30, giving nearly three weeks for the authorities to come up with a solution to the salary discrepancy issue.
CTSU General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe told The Nation that they had already sent a letter to Education Minister Susil Premajayanth, notifying him about this decision.
“If they fail to produce a solution to this problem by June 30, we will take action,” said Jayasinghe. (See Inside)




Never a dull moment!
Of late, there has hardly been a dull moment in Sri Lankan politics. And just when one thought that the dust was about to settle after the hullabaloo over the Eastern Provincial Council elections, the Provincial Councils in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces were dissolved last week.
This would mean elections in these two provinces, probably in mid-August. That, however, would be subject to a decision in the courts of law, as the premature dissolution of the two councils has been challenged by the opposition.
But therein lies a tale. It is a reflection of the sense of insecurity the collective opposition has been plagued with in recent times. It is also a reflection of the government’s confidence that it could pull off yet another win – and set the stage for other elections.
Decision makers in the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) are obviously playing their cards well. And they wish to strike while the political iron is hot. (See Inside)

UNP: Finally waking up to smell the coffee?
With the dissolution of the Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Councils (PC) the political realm heated up again last week. The UNP and the JVP are incensed at the decision to dissolve the Councils, with the Reds claiming that it was criminal to spend so much money on another election, because of a Government whim, especially, given the ongoing economic crisis and soaring prices of essential items in the country.
Basil rebuffed
So, when Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa called up the JVP Leadership last week to request them to come on board with the Government, to contest the Council polls, he was met with a stinging response.
“As a party, we oppose this dissolution. Kindly refrain from holding this election now,” the JVP strongman is reported to have responded. However, Rajapaksa refused... (See Inside)


Last TULF Leader standing Sangaree at 75
Eighteen members were elected to Parliament from the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1977. This was an election of historic importance, where the TULF contested on a separatist platform, saying a victory at the polls was a mandate for Tamil Eelam.
Three decades and more have passed since then. Thirteen of the 18 MPs elected in 1977 are not among the living now. Of the remaining ex-MPs, three have retired from politics. They are K.P. Ratnam, C. Rajadurai and P. Soosaithasan.
The two veteran TULF leaders who are in active politics at present are Rajavarothayam Sambandan and Veerasingham Anandasangaree.
Both are at loggerheads with each other, though Anandasangaree is the TULF President and Sambandan its Secretary General. A legal dispute concerning the party has rendered it virtually inactive.
Keeping... (See Inside)


Johnson’s Test best gives Aussies edge
Mitchell Johnson captured a Test career best four wickets for 41 runs from 11.5 overs to help Australia take a 35-run, first innings lead over West Indies in the third and final Test against West Indies on Friday.
Left-arm fast bowler Johnson bowled easily his best spell in the series to allow Australia to dismiss West Indies for 216, replying to the visitors’ first innings total of 251, on the second day of the Test at Kensington Oval.
Australia’s fast bowling spearhead Brett Lee gave Johnson support with three for 64 from 15 overs.
But it was Johnson that triggered a dramatic West Indies batting collapse which saw the home team lose their last six wickets for 48 runs in the space of 86 balls. (See Inside)

Lack of foresight – bane of Lanka cricket
The lack of foresight by Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) administrators has left the country’s cricketers with no longer duration matches to play in preparation for the forthcoming three-Test series against India. One has only to look at Sri Lanka’s international cricket engagements for the next three years leading up to the World Cup in 2011 to see how farsighted our administrators have been.
Take a player like Thilan Samaraweera whose is a specialist Test cricketer. Since playing his last Test against the West Indies in the first week of April he will not have played a single first-class game going into the first Test against India starting at the SSC grounds on July 24. Even for the rest of the players they will also be left woefully short on playing... (See Inside)


“There is no move to oust Wickremesinghe”
The United National Party (UNP) is in a muddle. Many party members are of the opinion that present UNP Leader and Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is the stumbling block in the party’s forward march. Under Wickremesinghe’s leadership, the party has not been able to win elections and some think he should be ousted. However, the question of replacement is one that then needs an answer since the party is seriously short of potential leaders who could carry the policies of the party forward. Wickremesinghe, therefore, is viewed by another section as the only one who could possibly lead the party.
However, laying to rest allegations that the country’s only single political party, the UNP, was sharply divided due to a leadership crisis, UNP stalwart Lakshman Kiriella said there was no truth in the statement. Kiriella, who is dubbed... (See Inside)

Primary task to build people’s confidence in the UNP: SB
There are many who believe that S.B. Dissanayake could be the saviour of the UNP, if only he were allowed to play his part to his optimum potential. Always conscious of his immense grassroots appeal, Dissanayake envisions a serious facelift for the UNP that involves being more in touch with the man on the street. In an interview with The Nation this week, Dissanayake outlined what he thinks are the reasons for the UNP’s loss at the Eastern Provincial Council and made light of another impending struggle within the party.
Following are excerpts:
Q: There have been many reports that, some kind of struggle has begun again within the UNP, calling for a change in leadership and policy. The last political affairs committee meeting had been tense. What is this about?
A: I wouldn’t necessarily call it a struggle. (See Inside)




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