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Sunday July 13th, 2008

APRC awakens from deep slumber
The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) will end yet another snoozing epoch this week when it recommences sittings... (See Inside)

Trade unions to fight government hounding
National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) Convenor K.D. Lalkantha warned of a massive strike campaign in collaboration with the private sector if the government attempts... (See Inside)

Security boost for Kataragama, Kebithigollewa
Security in and around Kataragama and Kebithigollewa has been given a fresh boost to ward off any future attacks similar... (See Inside)


                     Warm welcome               

Newly-appointed IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne enjoys a light moment with colleagues last morning at the Special Task Force (STF) Headquarters in Colombo

(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)


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Govt. to work out its own security for SAARC
The government has worked out its own security network for the forthcoming SAARC Summit to be held in Colombo during the... (See Inside)

Harry J. facing fresh crisis as partners go to court to sever all ties
Business tycoon Harry Jayawardene is facing a fresh crisis, with his business partners taking him to courts seeking to sever all ties with the tycoon. (See Inside)

Top JSS members shown the door for alleged double game
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) Chairman and Vice Chairman have been removed from... (See Inside)



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Hasan Ali to be an MP, again
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) General Secretary Hasan Ali will be sworn in as a Member of Parliament (MP) on July 22.
Ali, who quit Parliament to contest the May 10 Eastern Provincial Council election, was elected with the highest number of preferential votes to the council.
SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem was the other member from the SLMC who, along with Ali, quit Parliament to contest the Provincial Council election, early May. (See Inside)

Energy Ministry now wants LECO to handle Moragolla project
Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) trade unions once again are up in arms against the Power and Energy Ministry, which has approached Lanka Electricity Company (LECO), asking it to manage the Moragolla hydropower project.
According to a CEB source, Ministry Secretary M.MC. Ferdinando had sent a letter to the CEB last week, requesting the CEB to grant permission for LECO to manage the Moragolla hydropower project. (See Inside)

Weakened Sri Lankan rebels seeking Indian support
Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels are seeking the support of neighbouring South Indian state of Tamil Nadu for survival in the face of the present military onslaught, the state radio announced on Saturday.
Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said in its morning news bulletin that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) now hit by military campaign in the north is engaged in an attempt to drag Tamil Nadu to intervene on their behalf in order to see an end to military operations. (See Inside)

HRW blames govt. for making Lankan women slaves in Saudi
The New York-based right organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised the Sri Lankan Government for failing to protect and help Sri Lankan migrant women in Saudi Arabia, who have been virtually treated like slaves for years.
After releasing a 133-page report titled ‘As If I Am Not Human: Abuses against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia’, in Jakarta on July 8, the author of the report, Nisha Varia told The Nation... (See Inside)

GMOA wants Blood Bank investigations fast-tracked
The Government Medical Officers’ Association has requested the Healthcare Ministry to fast-track investigations relating to the Blood Bank attached to the Castle Street Hospital, citing it as a vital institute.
GMOA Spokesman Dr.Upul Gunasekara told The Nation that he could not see any justifiable reason for delaying the investigation.
“I am not personally blaming any party, but I don’t understand the reason to delay the investigation. The inquiry board has to go to only one place to get statements from witnesses, since none of the staff... (See Inside)

Consultants in rural areas nowhere to be seen
Several consultants and surgeons who were posted to difficult areas have gone missing, according to a spokesman from the Health Ministry.
According to the latest information, it is learnt that these medical experts have migrated to foreign countries without informing the Health Ministry.
The Health Ministry spokesman said there is a severe shortage of psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, anesthetists and several other consultants and they have left the country after they were posted to difficult areas. (See Inside)



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Fully functional Constitutional Council need of the hour
As the composition of the Council shows, it is intended to be impartial. Unfortunately, the Council was stymied because there appeared to be no agreement on the last slot-that reserved for the person to be nominated by the other political parties where the JVP and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had differences of opinion. Now, that too appears to have been resolved but the work of the Council is yet to get off the ground.
Why the Constitutional Council is so significant is because of the impact a properly functioning Council would have on the body politic of the country especially... (See Inside)

Bandula-Fowzie clash over Economic Centres
The token strike organised by the JVP was gathering momentum last week subduing other issues including the Provincial Council (PC) election. Many within the government were under the impression that, the strike would be a success in view of the spiraling cost of living. The JVP expected government servants to join the strike demanding a salary increase. Meanwhile, the JVP focused greater attention on the PC election in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. JVP Parliamentarian Lal Kantha who was responsible for organising the election campaign in the North Central Province (NCP), was not in apposition to devote much time... (See Inside)


The much hyped token strike on July 10 has given rise to mixed reactions on the part of the strikers, the Govt. and the public. The JVP calls it a success. The Govt. says it was a failure. The public on the other hand has mixed feelings with regard to the end result of the one day strike. The Nation attempts to find out which of the claims are true: the JVP’s or the Government’
Following are excerpts.
Following... (See Inside)

The CEB’s nemesis
Engineers attached to the CEB have warned the government that the proposed Kerawalapitiya Power Plant, if constructed and operated, would incur the country a staggering loss of Rs. 77 million a day. A confidential document with details of how the government would incur heavy losses due to this has already been submitted to the Power and Energy Ministry Secretary. The confidential report, prepared by some of the country’s leading power and energy consultants, has also been circulated to other relevant officials including President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne. (See Inside)



Bell chimes for England
Ian Bell fell agonisingly short of a double century at Lord’s but his Test-best 199 left England in a commanding position against South Africa on the second day of their series opener here Friday.
The Proteas, when rain forced an early close, were seven without loss in reply to England’s first innings 593 for eight declared.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who’d opted to field after winning the toss, was two not out and Neil McKenzie five not out.
Bell did something few England batsman have managed in recent years - upstage the South Africa-born Kevin Pietersen who earlier made 152 in his first Test innings against the Proteas.
His innings was all the more impressive as Bell had arrived at Lord’s under pressure for his England place after making just 45 runs in his four previous Test innings and knowing Andrew Flintoff’s return from injury was imminent. (See Inside)

Point Blank
A failed campaign
Those who carried out a campaign to oust Mahela Jayawardene from the one-day captaincy must be feeling rather sheepish and looking for a place to hide after he led his country magnificently to win the Asia Cup for a record-equaling fourth time at Karachi.
A morning daily went to the extent of inviting its readers to express their opinions on Jayawardene’s one-day captaincy and the majority who wanted him out must be regretting, rather shamefacedly, that they had jumped the gun rather prematurely to write him off. Were they so short-sighted and forgetful that not so long ago Jayawardene was the first recipient of the ICC Captain of the Year award?
The readers, sad to say, were led up the gum tree by an individual who had a personal grudge against the captain and who has a habit of stooping to the lowest levels of journalism to achieve his own ends. That the plan boomeranged on him is another case of how inexperienced and incompetent... (See Inside)


As a soldier, I have faced worse situations bravely:
Maj Gen Janaka Perera

The race between Berty Premalal Dissanayake and Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera will be the main focus at the NorthCentral Provincial (NCP) Council election scheduled for August 23.
The battle hardened Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera is going to be a major threat to Berty Premalal Dissanayake- the UPFA’s chief ministerial candidate, in the NCP. Gen. Perera, who is the United National Party (UNP) chief candidate in the NCP, has already carved out a niche for himself as the ‘saviour’ of the people, who are staggering in the face of the present skyrocketing cost of living. A confident former soldier, who had the gumption to take the LTTE by their horns in Jaffna and Weli Oya during several operations, says he never fears competitions. Though prevented from visiting the Army camps by the Army Chief, Gen. Perera says he could still muster the votes of the armed soldiers. “The very fact that, I am not allowed to visit Army camps, is a clear indication that the Government is ‘dead scared’ of my presence. This itself is a victory for me,” Gen. Perera told The Nation in an interview. (See Inside)

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