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Sunday August 31st, 2008

Death knell for Ranil
The leadership battle in the crisis ridden United National Party (UNP) is set to explode in the coming weeks, with a rigid Ranil Wickremesinghe unexpected to make... (See Inside)

Blast rocks Pettah, injures 47
The momentary lull in violence, in Colombo, was once again shattered last afternoon when a blast rocked the city’s commercial... (See Inside)

CWC wants NIC rule reversed
The infuriated Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) is looking at reversing recent legislation which compels all voters to produce their National Identity Cards... (See Inside)


       Blast rocks Pettah, injures 47       

Investigators search for clues at Olcott Mawatha, Pettah, after an improvised explosive device exploded at around 12:15 p.m. yesterday, injuring more than 45 civilians, including women and children

                            (Pic by Thushara Dasanayake)


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Plans underway for 20 flyovers, 15 bridges
Plans are afoot to construct some 20 flyovers around the country with assistance from the British Government.
“We have already... (See Inside)

Transfer order raises eyebrows
A transfer order given to a Government Agent (GA) on August 22 and then cancelled the very next working day has raised eyebrows... (See Inside)

Mass exodus by doctors expected
Many experienced consultants and surgeons might leave the country shortly due to the step-motherly treatment being adopted... (See Inside)



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ACHSU urges CIABOC to fast-track investigations
The All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) has urged the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to fast-track the investigations concerning the colossal amount of Rs. 500 million, which had allegedly been misappropriated in 2006.
ACHSU Chairman Gamini Kumarasinghe told The Nation that the union had requested the CIABOC to fast-track the pending investigations for the second time as it has already been a year after lodging a complaint against Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and several other officials in the Ministry. (See Inside)

Expelled student off to HRC
The Convener of the Inter University Students’ Council (IUSC), Udul Premaratne intends to lodge a complaint with the Humans Rights Commission this week over the violation of his fundamental rights after he was stripped of his student status.
“The administration has stated that the reason for expelling me is my inability to pass at least one exam in four years. I don’t know how that is possible when it has been only three years since I entered the university,”... (See Inside)

Sri Lankan peacekeepers help hurricane victims in Haiti
Sri Lankan peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti have helped victims of Hurricane Gustav in the aftermath of the storm.
Gustav passed through the Caribbean country early last week, killing at least 51 people. More than 7,000 people were placed in temporary shelters. The death toll is likely to grow. The resulting flooding and landslides have damaged towns, roads and critical infrastructure.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, members of the Sri Lankan battalion distributed food and water and provided medical support. Similar efforts were undertaken by peacekeepers from Jordan... (See Inside)

Teachers to strike again
The Principals’ and the Teachers’ Trade Unions have vowed that they would go in for a series of trade union action to win their demands and rectify salary anomalies, after the commencement of the new school term.
“We don’t accept the recent removal of the anomalies by Education Minister Susil Premajayanth, because it does not meet our demands. This proposal was rejected by the trade unions on June 26, at the meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” asserted the Convener of the Unions, Joseph Stelyn.
He accused the Minister of making false statements that the salary increment would amount to Rs. 2,200 per individual,... (See Inside)

Pottuvil mothers get new Maternity Ward
Kalanther Khadeeja Beebi was the first mother to give birth at the new Maternity and Children’s Ward facility in Pottuvil District last week, less than 24 hours after it was declared open.
Preparing to have her first baby, Beebi was nervous, but in excellent hands. “I liked everything I saw,” said Beebi, of the hospital that is part of the UNICEF-supported Tsunami Infrastructure Reconstruction Programme in Sri Lanka.
“It is clean and new and I felt very happy to be admitted to the Maternity Ward,” she said. At 12:20 a.m. on Tuesday, surrounded by trained medical staff, Beebi gave birth to a healthy girl, Fathima Safa. (See Inside)

Wasantha Samarasinghe to re-enter Parliament?
Speculation is rife that former Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Parliamentarian Wasantha Samarasinghe, who contested last Saturday’s North Central Province election as the JVP’s chief ministerial candidate, will re-enter Parliament shortly.
JVP MP Vijitha Herath told The Nation that the party was discussing the matter, but that no final decision had been made yet.
“We still haven’t arrived at a final decision... (See Inside)



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A wake-up call for the UNP
Where to, from here? That is the question the opposition United National Party (UNP) must be asking itself after yet another election defeat at the provincial council polls in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces last week.
Despite the run up to the elections being marred by bloody and brutal violence, the poll itself was relatively peaceful. Indeed, most opposition parties have been muted in their criticism of what transpired on election day, focussing instead on pre-election violence, and the abuse of state resources for the campaign.
If anything, the elections must serve as a wake-up call for the UNP. The party was beaten convincingly, highlighting the fact that its grassroots level organisation is inept and ineffective, especially in regions not dominated... (See Inside)

Rajapaksa stepped in when his stalwarts were in doubt
President Mahinda Rajapaksa realised that the party stalwarts were uncertain about the election and several others neglected their responsibility. Under the circumstances, the President decided to lead the election campaign himself. The President, who attended the Election Operations Committee, told the committee and advised the members not to have any doubt about their victory.
“We are sure to win the election and no one should create trouble or fall a prey to the attempts of others to create trouble” he told the committee. In the early hours of the day following the election, the President learnt that the government was winning and that it was a landslide victory. He called the ministers and thanked them for the government’s victory. The Parliamentary group or the Cabinet did not meet last week. (See Inside)


Army breaks through Tiger defences in three key areas
The Sri Lankan armed forces, fighting on multiple fronts, made three significant breakthroughs on Wednesday, August 27, and Thursday, August 28, in the key areas of Aalankulam, Palamottai and Ulaathuveli.
These breakthroughs came in the wake of earlier successes over the past two weeks, where the armed forces took places like Mulangaavil, Uyilankulam, Kalivilaan, Thunukkaai and the southern and south western environs of Thannimurippukulam.
From a military-strategic perspective, the ‘prize’ of great value was the key area of Vavuniya North, consisting of places like Navvi, Kunchukulam, Navatkulam and Palamottai. (See Inside)

Opportunity never knocks twice!
If, ‘opportunity knocks once,’ is a common axiom, then certainly a few chosen senior state sector employees have lost a fortune forever.
The selected senior state sector employees, who were rewarded for their valuable services to the nation by way of giving them an opportunity to import tax free motor vehicles, are today deprived of this facility, for no fault of their own.
The much respected bunch of government servants, who include senior university lecturers and medical doctors, are furious and are even willing to go to the extent of staging a public protest against those who have been responsible for the blunder.
The selected 54 top level government servants were considered as the ‘most suitable... (See Inside)


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We need to be consistent —Mahela
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene admitted that his team had to work hard towards achieving a degree of consistency in their performance in one-day international cricket after they had lost the five-match series 3-2 to India.
Speaking to the media at the end of the series Jayawardene stated that he would like to have consistency going throughout the year instead of in patches.
“Winning the Asia Cup was great but in between we had our ups and downs. Its not that we were outplayed we were still winning matches but not finishing the series off or not winning the crucial games. That’s something we really have to work hard at,” said Jayawardene. (See Inside)

Point Blank
Batting - Lanka’s Achilles’ heel

Sri Lanka has lost another one-day international home series 3-2 - the same margin as they did to England a year ago. Coincidentally the results bear a strange resemblance because Sri Lanka won the first and last matches of the five-match series and lost the middle three to India as they had against England.
What this result reflects is that home advantage does not always help when it comes to obtaining winning results in one-day internationals. The spectator support is always there but most crucial has been the toss. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni called correctly in the first four matches and won three of them. The first match which India lost he admitted he made a mistake of misreading the Dambulla pitch, but he got the next three right by batting first when... (See Inside)


Analysing the political winds of change
Government Defence Spokesman and Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, in a wide ranging interview with The Nation talked about the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council election results, his reasons for leaving the UNP and the tasks taken on under his ministerial portfolio.
Following are excerpts:
Q: Would you call the Saturday election a decisive election, in terms of affirming the government’s position?
A: Well, it appears to be so. We had to dissolve the provincial councils, since the JVP... (See Inside)

Did the concerted war effort win the election?
The North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections were expected to be tightly contested elections. But the UPFA won the elections by a large margin exceeding the expectations of many. The Nation met Minister of Mass Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena who was in the forefront of the UPFA election campaign, to learn what he thinks about the election in hindsight
Q: Opposition parties claim that the mandate the UPFA got at the recently held Provincial Council election was due to the gains made by the Army and because the government unleashed a systematic campaign of violence and intimidation... (See Inside)

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