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Sunday September 21st, 2008

Co-chairs meet in NY
Amidst intensified battles in the north and growing concern for the thousands of civilians trapped in the embattled Wanni region, Sri Lanka’s Donor Co-Chairs will hold an emergency meeting in New York... (See Inside)

Census chaos
The mass registration drive aimed at registering people who have lived less than five years in the Western Province is to take... (See Inside)

President confident war will finish before year ends
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has informed his close confidantes that the war will be finished before the end of the year... (See Inside)



Police fanned several key areas of the capital Colombo yesterday in three-wheelers to make loudspeaker announcements regarding the mass registration drive to be held today
                            (Pic by Rukshan Abeywansha)


Mangala’s ‘Grand Alliance’ a non-starter?
With the main parties not being invited to join the ‘Grand Alliance’ proposed by the SLFP(M), it is fast turning into a ‘Grand Farce.’ (See Inside)

Neville to Bangkok
Veteran journalist and The Sunday Times columnist Neville de Silva is now tipped to be appointed as Minister Counsellor in the Sri Lankan Embassy in Bangkok, authoritative... (See Inside)

SLAS launches struggle to protect its posts
Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association (SLASA) has begun a struggle to prevent the government from appointing... (See Inside)



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Never mind Poya, we are cops
Police spokesman recently publicly denied the generally held belief that the Department had gone to the dogs. He maintained that what had happened was, a few dogs had got into the force.
But khaki coats themselves point out that, despite last Sunday being a full moon Poya day, considered sacred by Buddhists, the Department thought it fit to have its annual sports meet and all the revelry... (See Inside)

President to decide on pardoning SB after UN meeting
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to consider the pardoning of United National Party (UNP) National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake, soon after his return from the Annual General Meeting of the United Nations.
Presidential Advisor A.H.M. Azwer told The Nation that the President will be giving considerable thought to pardoning Dissanayake, in deference to the request made by Asgiriya Chapter Mahanayake Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera last Tuesday (16).
“The final decision lies in the hands of the President, therefore, we have to wait and see what steps the President will be taking once... (See Inside)

Lanka Mahapola sustains massive damage
The cost of repairing the massive damage caused to Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) vessel Lanka Mahapola due to an explosion last week, has been tentatively estimated at Rs. 40 million.
A 20-foot container aboard the vessel containing liquid gas exploded while a consignment was being shipped from Dubai to Doha.
According to a CSC official, the actual cost of the damage was still to be determined by the Corporation. The vessel was moved to Abu Dhabi for inspection and repairs. It would take at least 10 days... (See Inside)

Elephants take two more lives
Wild elephants killed two people in the Damana Police area yesterday. According to Damana Police, this is the second instance where humans have been attacked by elephants in the area recently.
“The elephants have attacked and killed two individuals in the early hours, in a place called Rahman town and the bodies have been sent to Akkaraipattu for magisterial inquiries,” a senior Police officer there said adding that the attacks on humans by elephants have risen in the area dramatically in recent months.
“This is the second incident this week. Another...  (See Inside)

Megawatts at mega interest rates
The controversial Kerawalapitiya power plant in the Gampaha District is expected to commence operations in the first week of October, the official in charge of the US$ 420 million project M.J.M.N. Marikkar said.
Meanwhile, Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) President Jayawilal Meegoda claimed that the government depended entirely on commercial loans, instead of concessionary loans, to fund the project, adding a huge burden to the already indebted economy. (See Inside)

Galle teachers to fall ‘sick’ tomorrow
Teachers of all schools within the Galle educational zone will conduct a sick note campaign on Monday (tomorrow) to protest against what they term state suppression of their profession.
A teacher attached to Hapugoda Maha Vidyalaya Galle, P. Widanage, was taken into custody last Wednesday by the Police accusing him of disrupting some evaluators in a paper marking centre. “If he actually committed such an act, the teachers would not protest regarding him being taken into custody,” Principals’ and Teachers’ Trade Union Alliance... (See Inside)



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All eyes on Kilinochchi as final battle looms
In making headway against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and aiming to regain control over the terrorists’ powerbase of Kilinochchi, the Government and the military is treading through a minefield, both literally and metaphorically.
While capturing and holding onto territory is a daunting task which the combined Forces are doing with commendable courage, a different kind of battle is emerging on the sidelines: the propaganda war. And this is the battle which the Government must handle with extra care.
Already, Colombo has made its stand unequivocally clear: all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the United Nations agencies operating in the battleground... (See Inside)

UNP rebels throw down the gauntlet
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is struggling to keep an internal party crisis in check, is continuing with his campaign to create a grand opposition alliance, with the first meeting of the alliance partners allegedly scheduled for next week.
However, the ‘grand coalition’ is unlikely to make any headway, since Wickremesinghe appears once again to have garnered only the support of the minority parties for the move. The JVP last week claimed it had no intention of forging any electoral pacts with any other opposition party but would consider supporting issues raised by such a coalition on a case... (See Inside)


Is ‘pay and pollute’ the answer to polythene issue?
Polythene bags which were introduced in the late 1970s became quite popular with Sri Lankans, and completely ruined the traditional shopping bag industry for a variety of reasons. Not only were they easy to carry, they were versatile because even liquids could be carried in them. The most important factor for us Sri Lankans, was that they were inexpensive.
Considering the immense environment damages caused by the usage of polythene, the Central Environment...  (See Inside)

Arm twisting tactics of politicos under fire
Encroachment of state lands is a punishable offence. Yet despite severe penalties being introduced by the state against offenders, encroachment has continued in Sri Lanka unabated.
The majority of the land cases have ended up with the state being forced to give into the demands of the encroachers.
Encroachment on large tracts of reserved lands for state cultivation has been going on for several years in Sri Lanka.
Though the country has stipulated a specific set of rules and regulations to govern state lands, often, lack of transparency... (See Inside)


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Sprint queen Susie to call it quits
Local sprint queen Susanthika Jayasinghe is finally calling it a day. The Nation reliably learns that Jayasinghe, 33 is quitting to start a family.
She is expected to make her plans for retirement public very shortly ending a glorious 17-year athletics career the highlights of which were her winning an Olympic medal and also a medal in the IAAF World championships.
In 2000 at the Sydney Olympics, Jayasinghe became only the second Sri Lankan athlete and the first female athlete to win an Olympic medal. She also won two World Championship medals – silver at Athens in 1997 and a bronze at Osaka ten years later. All her medals were won at her pet event the women’s 200 metres where her personal best timing is 22.28 secs. In the 100 metres her personal best is 11.04 secs. She also won several gold medals in the Asian... (See Inside)

Point Blank
Lankan cricket at the crossroads

The already strained relations between Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) took a further turn for the worse when SLC decided to lift the ban on the five Sri Lanka cricketers and an umpire who had taken part in the rebel ICL tournament in India last year.
The decision taken by SLC at the request of the cricketers to allow them to play in domestic cricket was like a slap in the face to BCCI who run the ICC recognised official IPL tournament.
It seems that SLC has fallen into the trap of the ICL whose Twenty20 tournament has not been recognised by the ICC and in a bid to pressurise the world body the ICL has brought over 13 top Bangladeshi cricketers and now got SLC to lift the ban on the five players. Interestingly, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has slapped a 10-year-ban... (See Inside)


Absence of consensus drags 17th Amendment
A conspicuous lacuna, in the search for peace in the country has traditionally been the lack of understanding, between the two major political parties in Sri Lanka, namely the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP). For instance, these two parties have still not reached a consensus to find a solution to the ethnic crisis. D. E. W. Gunesekara, a seasoned politician, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee to look into the 17th Amendment and Minister of Constitutional Affairs, explains how crisis after crisis is faced due to the same reason - a lack of understanding and commitment by various political parties. Admitting that only both the major political parties could solve all the problems that threaten the integrity of the country, he says it is a pity that these parties have still not realised this fact. He pointed out that even the much debated 17th Amendment could not be implemented due to lack of understanding among different political parties. “The President is awaiting the report of the Select Committee, but I am not able to deliver it.  (See Inside)

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