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Sunday September 28th, 2008

17th Amendment to be amended
A group of 29 MPs from virtually all parties represented in Parliament have handed over a petition to the Parliamentary... (See Inside)

Errant INGO manager ordered out
In the latest twist to the controversy over an INGO staffer threatening to quit his organisation and remain in Kilinochchi, flouting a Defence Ministry directive, the aid worker... (See Inside)

Britain tells LTTE, “Allow civilians to go”
Britain voiced deep concern Friday about the situation in Sri Lanka, where government forces have advanced to the outskirts..... (See Inside)


          President Rajapaksa meets       
                        British PM                           

President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday meeting UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the sidelines, at the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. President Rajapaksa also met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
                                             (Pic by Sudath Silva)


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DBW’s last request not fulfilled
One of the wishes of the late President D.B. Wijetunge could not be fulfilled, due to the written request left by him not being found on time. (See Inside)

Tiger arsenal netted with six suspects
Six suspects have been arrested in connection with recovering a large haul of military equipment from Kudapaduwa area in Negombo... (See Inside)

Ministry says ‘No’
The Government Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA) yesterday accused the Ministry of Healthcare of being responsible for the non availability of two of the most ... (See Inside)



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PhD vs. PhD
Amidst recent media reports that UNP’s shadow Secretary to the Treasury Dr. Harsha de Silva, is building up a somewhat cosy relationship with Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the UNP leadership seems to be taking some swift steps to reduce de Silva’s influence and to promote a new economic spokesman in his place.
The new man is Dr. Ranel Wijesinghe, a PhD from the University of Pittsburg and a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (a position previously held by the incumbent Governor as well). Wijesinghe made an impressive debut in his new position at a recent meeting when the Standard and Poors’ sovereign rating team met with the Leader of UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe. At this meeting, Wijesinghe dominated the conversation and overshadowed the others of the UNP economic team comprising de Silva, Dinesh Weerakkody, Mangala Boyagoda and Sarath Rajapathirana. Party insiders said that the Leader of the UNP seemed to give pride of place to Wijesinghe, who assumed the role of main spokesman, much to the disappointment of the two long-standing stalwarts... (See Inside)

Interim Order restraining Bank Union
The Colombo Provincial High Court Judge Mrs. W. Iranganie Perera issued an interim order Friday preventing the Ceylon Bank Employees Union from taking any trade union action in connection with the termination of service of S. B. Abeysekera until October 02, 2008.
Court made the order after considering the leave to appeal application filed by the Hatton National Bank Ltd of 479 T. B. Jaya Mawatha Colombo 10.
HNB filed action in the District Court of Colombo seeking enjoining order against Ceylon Bank Employees Union to prevent it from taking any trade union action in connection with the termination of the President CBEU branch of the HNB, S. B. Abeysekera. Earlier the DC refused to issue an interim order.
According to the plaint, Abeysekera was found guilty on certain charges and his services... (See Inside)

Recruiting public servants on ethnic basis violates SC directive – UNP Councillor
Recruitment of public servants based on ethnicity by the Eastern Provincial Council, has come under fire from PC member and UNP Working Committee Member Arasaratnam Sasitharan.
Writing a letter to the Eastern Provincial Council, he insisted that such a move would violate the Supreme Court order that was issued in 1998, declaring that public servants be chosen on merit and not ethnic basis. Speaking to The Nation, Sasitharan noted that he will raise the issue at the upcoming Provincial Council meeting on October 7, and if not given a satisfactory answer, he would petition... (See Inside)

CPC Chairman charges less for fuel supplied to ships – Unions allege
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation trade unions are accusing its Chairman, Ashantha de Mel of causing huge losses to CPC by supplying fuel to selected ships, at a lower price than the current market price.
On Friday, CPC Chairman had met with several trade union leaders and executives of the Corporation where he had allegedly disclosed that the CPC was selling diesel to foreign ships at Rs.95.14, as per world market price.
A litre of diesel that is sold at Rs.110 per litre locally is sold at Rs.95.14 to several ships on the Chairman’s instructions, causing a loss of Rs.14.86 per litre of diesel. Around 300,000 litres of diesel have been sold to those ships so far and the loss caused to the CPC is Rs.4,458,000... (See Inside)



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Judiciary steering nation on right path
Rising fuel prices often hit the headlines, but this week, it was falling fuel prices that captured the front pages with the opposition United National Party (UNP) filing a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court, alleging that the benefits of lower prices were not being passed on to the consumer by the Government.
This type of public interest litigation has increased in recent times, and this is indeed welcome. In any democracy, a system of checks and balances is vital and therefore a process that scrutinises the actions of the Executive or the Legislature through the Judiciary can only be commended.
Indeed, of the so-called three ‘estates’-the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary-only... (See Inside)

Military effort only a means to…
Even as Commander-in-Chief President Mahinda Rajapaksa returns to the island, following his historic address at the 63rd annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Sri Lankan armed forces this week will enter into a critical stage in their ferocious battle to retake the LTTE’s Wanni heartland up north.
As far as politicians and the public go, all eyes are on the northern theatres of battle, where the security establishment has claimed its troops are less than five kilometres away from the Tigers’ de facto administrative capital, Kilinochchi.
During his UN address, President Rajapaksa... (See Inside)


Sakvithi shock waves still swirling
The financial scam exceeding one hundred million, masterminded by the now infamous English teacher Sakvithi Ranasinghe has not only shocked the nation but has also created a massive panic among the citizens who have invested money in these unauthorised financial institutions. Over the last week, many of us were flooded by the tragic tales of the people who have invested all in the hopes of making easy cash and lost all; T. Nalaka Ekanayake is one of the victims.
“I saw the newspaper ads that Sakvithi Ranasinghe was offering a much higher interest rate than other banks. Since someone... (See Inside)

Late President Wijetunge defied popular political belief
Most people are of the opinion that former President D.B Wijetunge was a man who possessed an extremely sedate nature and consequently refused to ruffle any feathers with harsh decisions, even when he had the power to do so.
However, when scrutinising his long and distinguished career; a pattern, contrary to this popular belief, emerges. It is clear that he was man who was capable of taking and executing serious decisions. The main reason that he was silent, under the stewardship of former President Premadasa was because the premier’s position... (See Inside)


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ECB holds back ticket sales
Doubts over whether Sri Lanka’s Test series against England in May 2009 will actually take place have resurfaced after The Times reported that Durham, who host the second Test, have been told by the ECB to hold fire on selling tickets.
The series clashes with the latter stages of the IPL, and a number of the Sri Lankan squad have signed lucrative contracts to play in that. Sri Lanka Cricket, however, stands to earn around £1 million from the England matches and is keen for them to go ahead. The tour was arranged earlier this year after the scheduled visit by Zimbabwe was scrapped by the ECB.
Although the itinerary has been announced and both boards have said the trip will go ahead, there remain major question marks over who exactly Sri Lanka will send. If it is a weakened side then... (See Inside)

Point Blank
Vaas and the media

Chaminda Vaas achieved something unique in his illustrious career as a cricketer. Where no other Sri Lanka cricketer had dared to tread Vaas went to the extent of inviting the cream of Sri Lanka’s print and electronic media to dinner at The Waters Edge on Friday. The occasion was to celebrate his feat of taking 400 wickets in One-day Internationals and appearing for his country in 100 Tests.
What was so moving in the invitation were the words Vaas had used: “Without your support and guidance it would not have been possible for me to represent my country at 100 Test Matches and take 400 One-day International wickets. In appreciation of your encouragement in many ways which has inspired me, Vasana and I would be pleased to welcome you to dinner… (See Inside)


Cabraal allays financial fears
In the face of turmoil engulfing the international financial powerhouses, which can have spillover effects on Sri Lanka, and the collapse of one of the unregulated finance companies here, leaving several thousand depositors in the lurch, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal answers some pertinent questions arising from these happenings.
Cabraal says the Central Bank is looking into what impact the turmoil experienced by the international finance powerhouses is having on local companies like insurers who have, in particular reinsured with AIG.
He maintains that the Central Bank is taking certain prudential steps to lessen such impacts, but refused to divulge details. (See Inside)

Wanni Tamils feel abandoned and marginalised: TNA
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian and lawyer by profession N. Srikantha says that, with the exit of the aid workers from the north, there is a sense of being abandoned and marginalised among the Tamils who, today, are literally, caught in the crossfire of the LTTE and government troops. He also points out that, what is required at present is a halt to the ongoing military operation and the introduction of a political package as a solution to the dragging ethnic question. “We can’t go on fighting like this. Just think of the plight of the innocent Tamils. While both the LTTE and the government troops fight, it is they who are caught in between. This should stop immediately,” he told The Nation in an interview. (See Inside)

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