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Sunday September 07th, 2008

Int’l cricket to reach Batti
The reawakening programme of the Eastern Province, initiated by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to culminate with the setting up of an international cricket stadium in Batticaloa.
While sports in the east will be given a facelift, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will also pump in development... (See Inside)

Govt. to tap state banks to upgrade oil refinery
The government has sought a loan of US$450 million from the People’s Bank and the Bank of Ceylon to fund the proposed expansion of the Sapugaskanda oil refinery, which is 30% of the total US$ 1.5 billion needed for the project. Some officials expressed fears that this would add more strain to the two state banks while adding to the debt burden. (See Inside)

TUC wants gazette annulled
Trade Union Confederation (TUC) has requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to annul the gazette notification which states that President has the sole authority to extend the age of retirement of the state employees.
In a letter addressed to the President, TUC... (See Inside)


              If only mom was here!            

Islamabad, PAKISTAN: Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, daughter of slain former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto weeps as she celebrates the victory of her father Asif Ali Zardari in the Parliament House in Islamabad on September 6, 2008. Zardari secured a large win in Pakistan’s presidential elections capping a remarkable rise from jail, exile and his wife Benazir Bhutto’s assassination just nine months ago. The controversial front-runner swept a poll among lawmakers to become the 14th president in Pakistan’s short but turbulent history, taking power in the world’s only nuclear-armed Islamic state and frontline “war on terror” ally (AFP)



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Mangala refutes allegations
Leader of the SLFP ‘Mahajana’ Wing, Mangala Samaraweera refuted claims that he would compete as the UNP Chief Ministerial candidate at Provincial Council elections. He also denied media reports which state that he has send a letter to the Opposition Leader that he would resign from his seat in Parliament.
“There is no truth in the media reports which claim... (See Inside)

Indo-Lankan mountaineering expedition flagged off
To enhance cooperation with the Sri Lankan Army and keeping with its tradition of scaling new heights over newer regions, the Indian Army today set on a mountaineering expedition to Mount Stok Kangri in Leh region in Jammu and Kashmir with the neighbouring island nation. (See Inside)

“Monks not above law”
Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Udugama Buddharakkitha Thera yesterday said that Buddhist monks are not above the law of the land and they should respect the courts of law like everyone else.
He made this comment regarding the controversy surrounding the Buddhist monks who were asked to leave the Supreme... (See Inside)



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Return of Army’s ‘prodigal sons’
About 75 deserters have surrendered themselves each day over the past week, according to the military.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told The Nation yesterday that, over 3,000 deserters had returned voluntarily, since the crackdown began a fortnight ago and that, they expected the remainder of 5,000-6,000 to return in the coming weeks.
Already, soldiers who have left the Army without leave, have been warned to surrender themselves to the nearest police station to avoid court martial. “If they are arrested, they can be given prison sentences ranging from one year and three... (See Inside)

Reimburse cost of free education
A resolution by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to the World Health Organisation (WHO) appealing to the developed countries to pay a compensation for medical doctors from developing countries, when they migrated, has been severely condemned by the Government Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA).
Member of the GMOA, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that not a single developed country will employ a Sri Lankan Consultant or Specialist for employment, if they are compelled to pay a massive sum of money to Sri Lanka. (See Inside)

Postal unions protest over reforms
Trade unions attached to the Postal Department are up in arms against a proposal by the government to convert the department into an authority.
The unions have warned of serious consequences, if the government decides to go ahead with the proposal.
They said that this move, if implemented, would only make matters worse because it would open up more avenues for the higher authorities to interfere into the administration of the postal services.
Post and Telecommunication Officers’ Union President Nawaratna Bandara told The Nation... (See Inside)

Canadian Tamil Diaspora meets Dr Palitha Kohona
An exclusive meeting with Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona was arranged by the Canadian Democratic Tamil Cultural Association at Scarborough Civic Centre. President of the Association, Dr. Rajendran, in his welcome speech, made reference to the problems of the Tamil Diaspora, which has been threatened and intimidated by the LTTE. He also brought out that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) needs to address the problems of Tamils living in Sri Lanka and to find a solution acceptable to all communities living in Sri Lanka, within the framework of the Sri Lankan... (See Inside)

HR Commission collecting dust
Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate & Inquire into Alleged Violations of Human Rights (HR) is unable to proceed, due to a delay in passing the Victims & Witnesses Protection Bill in Parliament.
The Bill is still at the Committee stage, and only with the passing of the Bill, the Commission will be empowered to conduct video conferences and provide facilities and protection to the victims and witnesses.
The Commission was established in November 2006. (See Inside)

Teachers’ increment still in shambles
A crucial meeting that took place between the Teacher Trade Unions and the Education Ministry ended inconclusively on Friday, September 5th.
The meeting between the unions and the Ministry centered on the salary anomaly, in the teachers’ service sector.
However, both parties agreed to resume talks depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court verdict scheduled for tomorrow, September 8th.
This agreement was made at the meeting held on... (See Inside)



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General elections – To be or not to be?
The dust has now settled on the provincial council elections in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces and even the new ministers of the respective regions have been sworn in. The question now is what’s next on the cards, in the always busy political calendar of this country?
At first glance, considering the comfortable margin of victory for the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at the provincial polls, conducting a general election would appear to be the logical course of action for President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Even if this is not an immediate necessity, it could still be done after holding more provincial elections in the remaining six provinces - the Northern province included. If these polls are also secured by the UPFA, that could deal a killer blow to the collective... (See Inside)

Budget vote crucial for Govt’s future
Having used the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections as a litmus test, the Government it appears has made a decision to refrain from dissolving any more councils. Despite the resounding victory at the Polls, election analyses have indicated that the opposition UNP’s vote bases have not eroded as badly as the incumbent administration had hoped. Government insiders claimed that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was planning to dissolve the Wayamba or North Western Provincial Council on September 18. But that plan has been deferred for the time being, and the crucial budget presentation normally scheduled for the second week of November, has been brought... (See Inside)


To make the National Identity Card (NIC) mandatory for voting, was applauded by all, but it is also evident that some citizens of this country face difficulties in acquiring an NIC due to several reasons. During the recently held Provincial Council (PC) elections, a large number of people (according to some estimates 30,000) in the two Provinces, were deprived from voting, because they did not posses ‘officially’ acceptable document of identity.
Stumbling blocks
The biggest stumbling block is that many people... (See Inside)

A recent decision by the government to enforce a ban on migration of mothers with children under the age of five, has stirred a hornet’s nest, with some supporting the ban while others oppose it.
The ban is said to be introduced shortly, mindful of the social and psychological trauma children undergo in the absence of their mothers.
While a plethora of organisations and institutions are in favour of the ban, there are others vehemently opposed to the move.
Arguments and counter arguments have already begun to surface after Minister of Child... (See Inside)


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Lanka keeps hopes alive with facile wins
Sri Lanka’s hopes of winning the coveted Singer-SriLankan Airlines Cup title for the first time in the tournament’s history are wide open after recording comprehensive wins over Singapore and Kazakhstan in their Group ‘B’ matches at Nittawela yesterday. Sri Lanka opened the day with a comprehensive 24-nil win over Singapore in the first match of Group B. In their next match just before lunch the hosts recorded their second straight win beating Kazakhstan by 34-nil.
With two matches completed in style, Sri Lanka would be hoping to put the finishing touches in their matches against the rest of their group opponents Chinese Taipei and China. Though coming in as hot favourites in Group B, China recorded their first win of the day but not in a way many would have expected them to perform. They beat Kazaks by 19-7 but committed mistakes which gave their opponents much room to capitalise. Chinese Taipei looking consistent in the shorter version of the game took early charge in the tournament by winning their first match of the day against Singapore by 31-5. (See Inside)

Point Blank
World cricket faces uncertain future

By postponing the Champions trophy which was scheduled to have been held in Pakistan from September 12 to 28, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has set a dangerous precedent to allow member countries to pick and choose the venues they are comfortable with and not abide by the decision taken by the sport’s world ruling body.
Matter of fact the Champions trophy should have gone ahead as scheduled come what may and the ICC should have had the strength to convince its member countries to fulfill the commitment they have already made with the Pakistan Cricket Board and the television broadcaster ESPN. But instead the ICC chose to postpone the tournament till October 2009 thus playing into the hands of western countries like South Africa who pulled out of the tournament sighting security concerns and Australia, England, New Zealand who were mulling whether to go to Pakistan or not hoping the decision would be taken off them by the ICC... (See Inside)


Poverty eradication-grave concern to OPA President
President Elect of the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA), Upali Bulumulle has expressed concern about the growing unrest in the country. One area that has irked him hard is the prevailing poverty. His concern to eradicate poverty is reflected in the forthcoming technical session of the OPA, scheduled for next month. Themes for the annual sessions are picked up by the Presidents themselves and Bulumulle, has therefore made ‘Eradication of Poverty and Hunger’ as the theme for the 21st annual session of the OPA. Bulumulle, a qualified chartered engineer and a product of St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota, says no country can prosper if the starving people are not fed properly. The OPA that has been in existence since 1975, he says has made tremendous contribution towards the development of the country but, he admits now, due to poor governance many professionals were... (See Inside)

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