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Sunday June 29th, 2008

Lanka calls for int’l support
The Sri Lankan Government last week urged the international community to recognise that democracies could not take extra constitutional measures and that political solutions to conflicts required discussion,... (See Inside)

Wimal-Pillaiyan in ‘historic’ pow-wow
National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday appeared to have found a new political ally in the shape of Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai...  (See Inside)

Nimal gets tough
Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has warned that employees working on casual basis, temporary basis and contract basis in the... (See Inside)


                    Bosom buddies?                

National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa and Eastern Province Chief Minister Pillaiyan illustrate the typical portrait of bosom buddies, beaming and holding hands for longer than usual when the unlikely duo met in Colombo officially for the first time on Saturday, taking many by surprise
                             (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)


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SriLankan to slap on massive fuel surcharge
SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lanka’s national carrier, is set to slap on a fuel surcharge beginning next month in order to cover rising... (See Inside)

Crucial Rajapaksa-NTUC meeting today
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting with all key trade unions in the country at Temple... (See Inside)

Security to go high-tech for SAARC
With a considerable sum of the SAARC Summit’s Rs. 2.8 billion budget set aside for security arrangements, the government has... (See Inside)



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TN fishermen may take up arms over Sri Lanka: CPI
Even while DMK Leader M. Karunanidhi and MDMK Leader Vaiko are vying with each other to capitalise on the growing anger in Tamil Nadu against the Sri Lankan Navy’s attacks on state fishermen, the CPI yesterday went a step further and warned that fishermen would be forced to take up arms if the Sri Lankan Navy continued its attacks on them.
Speaking at the Fishermen’s Rights Conference at the coastal District of Napattinam, Pandian alleged that the Sri Lankan Navy was deliberately shooting at Tamil Nadu fishermen and killing them.
“It is the duty of the Indian Navy to protect the fishermen. But it is not doing so. If such a situation continues, Tamil Nadu fishermen will be forced to take up arms,” he warned. (See Inside)

Army gains full control of village in Mannar
The Army gained full control of the village of Parappakkadanthan in Mannar yesterday afternoon.
Parappakkadanthan is a village located north of Giant’s Tank in the east of the Andankulam area, which the Army captured on Friday. According to information, the captured area is a developed area
Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said that the troops were able to capture this area after heavy fighting with the LTTE and the 58 Brigade was engaged in the attack. He said that the Army had gained the control of a large area belonging to the rice bowl of Mannar. All LTTE ground access from the north to Mannar has been cut off.
The captured area includes the Alkaddiweli Cemetery, located between Andankulam and Parappakkadanthan, used by the LTTE and several building complexes. (See Inside)

Jaffna University to enjoy its very own swimming pool
The Tharunyata Hetak organisation led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa has taken steps to provide a fully-fledged swimming pool for the Jaffna University.
Tharunyata Hetak Chairman Namal Rajapaksa handed over the cheque to fund stage one of the project to Army Commander Sarath Fonseka recently at Temple Trees, who in turn handed it over to Jaffna GA K. Ganesh and Acting Director of the Physical Training Section of the University, K. Ganeshanathan.
The proceeds of the Carlton Super Cross Tournament at Tangalle will be used to fund the project.
The object of the Tharunyata Hetak organisation is to provide opportunities to young men and women, regardless of their communal, religious or political differences, in order to improve their talents and... (See Inside)

US Embassy to reopen this week?
United States Embassy in Sri Lanka Spokesman Terry White announced that the embassy would hopefully be reopened to the public this week, although no final decision had yet been made to this effect.
He told The Nation that they were yet to receive the lab reports on the suspicious powder found at the embassy, which led to its closure last week.
“We hope that we will be able to reopen this week. The lab reports need more time so there’s no new information at the moment,” White said.
Meanwhile, the embassy has postponed all appointments of visa applicants and will reschedule the appointments as soon as the embassy reopens.
“The appointments will be postponed until we reopen. They will be rescheduled as soon as possible on an individual basis – considering an individual’s availability, etc.,” said White. (See Inside)

Wimal to continue enjoying his ‘crown’
National Freedom Front (NFF) Chairman Wimal Weerawansa claimed that Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake had assured him that there was no problem with the NFF using the crown as its party symbol.
“We met the Elections Commissioner and discussed this issue and he told us that we could continue using the crown as the party symbol and that it is not an issue,” Weerawansa said.
He also added that they hope to receive confirmation soon that the Elections Commissioner would accept the NFF as a registered political party. The NFF had met with Dissanayake mid this month.
Last month several concerned parties, including the National Movement for the Protection of Sri Lankan Heritages, asked the Elections Commissioner not to allow the use of the crown as the symbol of a political party. (See Inside)



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Ranil’s last battle?
Even before proper nominations have been accepted for the elections to the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils, the polls have been enveloped in controversy, indicating the significance of this tussle in the context of the larger political landscape of the country.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, being victorious at the recently concluded Eastern Provincial Council Poll, is keen on establishing the domino effect, hoping that one win would lead to another, until all provincial councils come under the purview of the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), thereby setting the stage for general elections.
The first by-products of the UPFA victory in the East are already self evident. The major opposition party is in the throes of an internal crisis with an influential section of Parliamentarians seeking the ouster of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe from the United National Party (UNP) leadership,... (See Inside)

A ‘symbolic’ Opposition, if anything
Factional fighting within the main opposition party, the UNP, appears to be reaching a climax, with various groups trying to establish themselves as the most legitimate one.
Broadly, there are three factions right now, agitating to introduce reforms into one of the oldest political parties in Sri Lanka, which, except for between 2001 and 2003, is languishing in the opposition since 1994.
Ranil Wickremesinghe has been the undisputed leader of the UNP since 1994, albeit an abortive attempt to oust him by some of the rebels, when he was in Oslo sometime ago.
Since the departure of President D.B. Wijetunge, Wickremesinghe has held the reins of the party, with hiccups here and there,... (See Inside)


India seeks clarification about ongoing war in Sri Lanka
The Bible relates the tale of how three wise men of the east travelled more than 2,000 years ago to Bethlehem and paid homage to the infant Jesus with gifts such as gold, frankincense and myrrh.
In a replay with a twist, ‘three wise men’ of India boarded an Indian Air Force plane in New Delhi and paid a 36 hour visit to Sri Lanka.
The Indian wise men who arrived in Colombo were not seers or sages but experienced, senior bureaucrats from the upper echelons of Indian officialdom.
The Indian trio comprised M.K. Narayanan, the National Security Adviser, P. Shiv Shankar Menon, the Foreign Secretary and R. Vijay Singh, the Defence Secretary.
Narayanan led the delegation, as in terms of protocol the National Security Adviser position... (See Inside)

Who is to blame?
The education institution, the most important followed by the family, that helps in shaping a child’s character and moulding a well-rounded individual, is on the verge of ruin, for want of discipline.
Although the notion that schools are disciplinary institutions that instil values with the help of caning and a sound beating has long been outlawed. the schools are still expected to inculcate a considerable degree of respect for manners and good behaviour in students.
Have our schools been successful in this task? Do we see today a student community that is well disciplined? If not, where have we gone wrong?
Education Psychologist, Dr. Thilokasundari Kariyawasam believes that disciplining a child should start at home. She opines that an individual should be socially and intellectually sound, and also physically fit. Such a person can be considered a normal person. (See Inside)


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We’re not 2nd class, says Serena
Serena Williams believes the seismic shocks which saw Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova crash out of Wimbledon prove beyond doubt that women’s tennis is more than a match for the men’s.
World number one Ivanovic lost to China’s Zheng Jie, the world 133, 6-1, 6-4 on Friday in the third round, just 24 hours after third seed Maria Sharapova was dumped out by fellow Russian, and world 154, Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-2, 6-4.
“Everyone seems to be out to win these days. Everyone wants to beat a top player,” said Williams, the champion in 2002 and 2003.
“Whenever I go out to play everyone wants to win. They seem to bring their A game against me.”
Wimbledon women’s matches have always divided opinion.
In 2006, 45 of the 64 women’s first-round matches were won in straight sets. In the second round of 32 matches,... (See Inside)

Point Blank
Finance no longer an excuse

It was quite amusing to read that the Ranatunga led Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee had settled ‘all financial liabilities with banks including, pending overdrafts over 600 million (no currency mentioned) on June 20 with payments received from the sale of TV rights for the upcoming India tour of Sri Lanka 2008’.
What everyone should realise is that it is this very same administration that not so long ago had made attempts to cancel the existing contract Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had with Ten Sports and replace it with one of their own choice. Soon after assuming office Ranatunga stated that the TV deal made with Ten Sports by the previous administration needed to be investigated due to the lack of transparency and wanted the Sports Minister to intervene. An inquiry is still going on by a three-man committee appointed by the Minister comprising secretary... (See Inside)


Health Minister in optimistic overdrive!
Health Minister and the newly appointed World Health Organisation (WHO) President, Nimal Siripala de Silva has given his reasons for the UPFA’s anticipated victory at the forthcoming North Central and Sabaragamuwa provincial council elections. He says though the government could not contain the rising cost of living, due to international oil price hikes, the government has been able to develop the rural economy. Citing... (See Inside)

"I entered politics to serve the people"- Ranjan
From the turmoil within the United National Party (UNP), another issue cropped up last week, regarding the Chief Ministerial (CM) candidate for the Sabaragamuwa Province for the forthcoming Provincial Council (PC) election. Famous tutor, Upul Shantha Sannasgala, backed off from the post suddenly, creating a vacuum for the UNP leadership to fill. Meanwhile, famous actor and UNP organiser for Katana, Ranjan Ramanayake, expressed his desire to contest in the election. The Nation met with him to find out why he wishes to vie for the CM’s post from the UNP. (See Inside)

"I need to ‘overtake’ myself’, hence CM is inadequate"- Upul Shantha
When offered the candidature of the United National Party’s (UNP) Chief Minister (CM) for the Sabaragamuwa Province, Upul Shantha Sannasgala declined, saying that he would rather “leapfrog” that step and serve the UNP as its national organiser instead, a position presently held by S.B. Dissanayake.
The following is an excerpt of a brief interview with The Nation during which Sannasgala clarified his stance on declining the UNP’s invitation.
Q: When you declined the offer to be the UNP candidate for the position of CM of Sabaragamuwa, you said that you would rather be the UNP’s national organiser; (See Inside)

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