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Sunday September 14th, 2008

Mihin to get new lease of life
In a bid to revive the ailing budget carrier Mihin Lanka, the Aviation Ministry last week reconstituted the airline’s Board of Directors, largely made up of engineering and aviation professionals, The Nation learns.  (See Inside)

Recalling injured Indians, a matter between govts
Air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara has said that re-calling Indian technicians working with the Sri Lanka... (See Inside)

If Ranil goes, we’ll return - Lokuge
The group of original UNP ‘reformists’ who crossed over to the government last year claim their re-entry would entirely depend on... (See Inside)


            Thank you for the smiles         

President Mahinda Rajapaksa was presented with a copy of a compilation of newspaper cartoons featured on Mul Pituwa by Host of the programme and Lake House Chairman Bandula Padmakumara at Temple Trees last week. The book features cartoons by renowned newspaper illustrators in Sri Lanka and the cartoon on the book cover was illustrated by The Nation’s own Graphics Editor, Wasantha Siriwardane
                                             (Pic by Sudath Silva)


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Election reforms to eliminate preferential system
Parliament Select Committee on Electoral Reforms in its interim report has recommended the elimination of the preferential... (See Inside)

Medical doctors to launch token strike
Medical doctors attached to the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Hospitals... (See Inside)

SLAF bombards LTTE hideouts in Iranamadu
Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets launched an air strike on a heavily reinforced concreted building complex concealed 1 km north... (See Inside)



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Lak Sathosa sets 200 outlets target by 2009
The government has earmarked Rs. 450 million to fund Lak Sathosa next year.
According to Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ministry Secretary Dr. R.M.K. Ratnayake, the money is to be obtained through a transfer of a building for Rs. 150 million to the Central Bank, in a bid to expand the Lak Sathosa branch network.
An additional Rs.300 million is being set aside to provide purchase and administrative costs to the company.
The six-storey structure, which is located at the top of Chatham Street in Fort, would be transferred to the Central Bank within the next month to finance a proposal to increase Lak Sathosa Branches... (See Inside)

No schools will be closed for A/L paper marking — Exams Chief
No schools will be closed due to A/L paper marking sessions, Examinations Commissioner Anura Edirisinghe has assured.
“Instead, we have worked out an alternative arrangement with the principals of the respective schools where the marking will be conducted. We would reserve a separate section in those schools for the evaluation process so that the usual activities of the schools can be carried out,” said Edirisinghe.
The fourth stage of the paper marking session commenced on the September 9 and the Commissioner assured that it is being... (See Inside)

Railways on strike, today
Railway workers are to launch a 24-hour strike, commencing from midnight today, Railway Services Trade Union Joint Alliance Secretary Sampath Rajitha said.
Rajitha told The Nation that they were forced to resort to trade union action because the authorities had failed to address their grievances, despite repeated complaints.
“The Railway workers have been facing many problems including salary increments, promotions and loans. Although trade unions have informed the relevant authorities on many occasions, nothing has... (See Inside)

Gas Prices to come down by November
The price of Laugfs Gas is to come down by Rs. 120 per cylinder by November.
According to Laugfs Gas Chairman W. K. H. Wegapitiya, the Automatic Import Parity Pricing Formula is taken into account and the domestic gas prices are structured according to the world gas prices.
“Therefore we take into consideration only the past two months gas prices. Thereafter, a 30 day period is left aside to order it to be imported, as well as releasing it into the domestic market. On the whole, it takes three months for the gas prices to show a change for consumer benefit” he said. Wegapitiya emphasised... (See Inside)

Ravi demands Rs. 1 billion from ANCL
UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake has threatened to sue Silumina newspaper of Lake House to the tune of Rs. 1 billion, following a news item that appeared in its issue of September 7, titled ‘UNP leadership rejected by the people’ quoting Karunanayake as saying it.
Attorney-at-Law G.G. Arulpragasam, writing to the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd, ­ — Lake House on behalf of the Parliamentarian, has said that the report under the said headline is absolutely false and has been made with the intention of creating a rift between the Leader... (See Inside)

Tamils will not be sent back - SSP Gunasekara
The government has no intention of sending back civilians, who have entered Colombo to escape from the north and east conflict, Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara has said.
Within the month of August alone, about 6,950 people have arrived in the Colombo Police Division.
These people have found accommodation in lodges, houses and various other places.
However, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa commenting on the substantial influx of people from the eastern areas, has declared that anyone remaining... (See Inside)



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Will the broad alliance work for the UNP?
The Opposition United National Party (UNP), it was reported has mandated its beleaguered leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, to form a ‘broad alliance’ against the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) ostensibly for the purpose of facing future elections.
This may appear quite ironic, since Wickremesinghe is struggling to find allies in his own party so he could remain at the helm of the UNP. But nevertheless, the need for, and the possible implications of this ‘broad alliance,’ merits discussion.
The fact that such an alliance is being mooted, is in itself an indication that the collective Opposition feels, for all its sabre-rattling rhetoric, that it cannot march separately and strike separately at the UPFA or... (See Inside)

Ragged controversies of dissension plague UNP
The crisis in the UNP was continuing last week. Parliamentarians Lakshman Seneviratne, Johnston Fernando, and Thalatha Atukorala held several rounds of talks on the issue while the Pro-Ranil group held separate talks. However, Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who was not concerned about the things going on discussed the issues affecting the country and the party with his friends who visited him. The rival group met the UNP members of the Western Provincial Council and severely criticised the leadership. However, several Provincial Council Members expressed opposite views. (See Inside)


Although countries around the world have been fighting noise pollution for decades, it is a relatively new concept for Sri Lankans. Until few years ago, it was inconceivable that a Sri Lankan government would introduce legislation to deal with noise pollution.
The CEA talks
According to Chairman- Central Environment Authority (CEA), Udaya Gammanpila, the authorities decided to implement regulations regarding noise pollution after a Fundamental Rights application filed by a mosque in Weligama accusing the OIC of the Weligama police station of permitting another mosque to have extra time to operate their speakers during... (See Inside)

In Deadly Peril
The United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government’s fight to eradicate terrorism has reached its climax, with government troops determined to march into LTTE strongholds in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.
It was with the intention of taking the Tigers head on, that the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) two weeks ago dropped leaflets, requesting civilians to move out of LTTE controlled areas.
Following this, the government also gave instructions to aid workers, both local and international, to leave the Districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi – a request promptly complied with by the aid workers.
Whether or not all the civilians have moved out, in keeping with the SLAF request, is yet to be seen. (See Inside)


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Raheem sisters, Unamboowe grab the limelight
Two promising swimmers Mayumi Raheem and Heshan Unamboowe grabbed the limelight at the National Age Group Championships concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium swimming pool yesterday. Mayumi, the 16-year-old Sri Lankan swimmer back from Singapore took part in her first local meet after the Beijing Olympics and once again proved her brilliance to establish four meet records including two Sri Lankan records.
Trinitian Unamboowe who is the current local number one swimmer showed his excellent form by setting up seven new meet records to finish the meet in grand style.
In addition 12-year-old Machiko Raheem followed her elder sister Mayumi by setting up three new meet records. However the most dynamic performance came from Polonnaruwa Royal... (See Inside)

China tops 100 medals, Du Toit wins fourth gold
China pulled away from its Paralympic rivals Friday as the host nation’s medal tally soared over 100, while South African swimming sensation Natalie Du Toit grabbed her fourth gold.
Away from the sporting arena, International Paralympic chiefs were forced to defend the controversial banning of an Irish athlete and speak out against the doping problems in power lifting.
China’s total of 109 medals means it has a bigger haul in six days of competition than it won during the whole of last month’s Olympics, when it collected exactly 100.
Its 37 golds include 17 in athletics and eight in table tennis, elevating China well clear of second-placed Britain, on 33 golds... (See Inside)

Point Blank
Riding the crest of a wave

It seems these days young spin marvel Ajantha Mendis cannot put a foot wrong. Frankly he is riding the crest of a wave which doesn’t seem like subsiding. What he has achieved within the space of five months since April is something that any international cricketer would envy. Mendis introduced himself to international cricket in the Caribbean by appearing in the three-match one-day series and immediately caused problems for the batsmen with his ability to send down five different varieties of spin in one over. What made it difficult for the batsmen to pick him up either from the hand, wrist or off the pitch was his unusual grip of the ball. No bowler perhaps in the history of the game has held the ball on the tips of his fingers and done so much. What is unique with Mendis is that he not only has an unusual grip but he also has a ball delivered with the flick of his middle finger like a carrom player slicing... (See Inside)


There is a hidden hand behind the reformists: John A.
The United National Party (UNP), at present, is disunited for several reasons. It was sometime ago that, a contingent of 17, led by Minister Karu Jayasuriya, left the party, saying that, if they had to continue with the party, there should be reforms and a change in the leadership. However, similarly, again, a few others have begun to clamour for the same reforms and the UNP, apparently, is sharply divided over these demands for constitutional amendments by some stalwarts. While the reformists are threatening to tear the party to pieces, John Amaratunge, a senior member of the UNP, sees the squabble within his party as a mischievous one. He says that those opposing the constitution of the party, may possibly have obtained the blessings of the UPFA government. On the other hand, he points out that, the demands made by the so called reformists are not anything new, but have been in the pipeline for some time for implementation. “I don’t know... (See Inside)

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