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Sunday May 17th, 2009

Tigers make dramatic about turn
As the troops were about to deliver the knockout blow to the LTTE yesterday, the Tigers in a dramatic about turn offered to surrender, stating that they were ready do anything as demanded by US President Barack Obama early in the week.
“The situation in the Wanni has reached colossal proportions and what is happening there is unprecedented human carnage. At this juncture we are ready to do anything... SEE INSIDE

Massive mandate for Congress
The leaders of India’s Congress party have thanked the people for returning them to power with a “massive mandate.”
Congress President Sonia Gandhi said they had made the “right choice” and PM Manmohan Singh vowed the party would “rise to the occasion.”
Earlier, the main opposition BJP and the Third Front... SEE INSIDE


         Receiving “good news”          

President Mahinda Rajapaksa seems all smiles as he receives a telephone call, presumably from his Defence Secretary and brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa delivering “good news,” during his visit to Jordan. The President cut short his visit and will be returning to the country today
 (Pic by Sudath Silva)



MTNL drops plan to acquire Sri Lankan telco Suntel
Updated on 18/05/2009 at 11.12 a.m.
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has pulled out from acquiring a majority stake in Sri Lankan telecom company Suntel, citing legal issues and high liabilities, Indian news reports say... SEE INSIDE

Rumpus at UNP meeting
Acting Leader of UNP Karu Jayasuriya, Party Secretary Tissa Attanayake, MP Vajira Abeywardane and Sagala Ratnayake were allegedly abused by some UNP supporters during the party district meeting held in Matara last evening.  SEE INSIDE

No fresh visa for UN spokesman
The Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry summoned the Acting United Nation’s Resident Representative in Colombo Amin Awad on ... SEE INSIDE



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Power crisis due to CEB bungling
With water levels receding in reservoirs and the delay of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to connect Lakdanavi Power Plant at Kerawalapitiya to the national grid, has driven the country towards a power crisis, despite having the capability to generate enough electricity.Lakdhanavi Ltd Chairman U.D. Jayawardene told The Nation that although the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant was capable of generating power, it had not been in operation as the CEB had failed to install a permanent connection to the grid.  SEE INSIDE

NFF appoints district leaders
Sri Lanka should give LTTE sympathisers in foreign countries a chance to contribute to the national development, claimed National Freedom Front (NFF) General Secretary Nandana Gunathilake addressing a media briefing yesterday. The briefing was held after NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa appointed five new district leaders.“We should give them a chance to come back to the country and live like ordinary citizens. While people who supported the LTTE materially should be punished we should not view all who were sympathetic towards the LTTE as enemies. We should use their talents and experience for the country’s benefit,” Gunathilake said. SEE INSIDE

UN offered new role in post conflict phase of the country
With the imminent end to the three decade old war, with the government troops having secured the entire coastal line in the North, in the early hours of yesterday, the government is now planning to seek UN involvement in the post conflict rebuilding phase in Sri Lanka.
Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who is expected to meet the visiting United Nations Secretary General’s Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar today, is likely to make this request.
Nambiar’s visit was originally aimed at ascertaining for himself the actual situation of the civilians trapped in the ‘no fire zone’. However, Minister Samarasinghe’s contention is that if all the civilians... SEE INSIDE

Welisara leprosy hospital to be converted to a centre for disabled
Hendala Leprosy Hospital will soon be converted to a Rehabilitation Centre for the military personnel and IDPs disabled in the conflict.
Director General of Health Dr Ajith Mendis said, that the decision of the Ministry of Healthcare to convert the hospital in to a Rehabilitation Centre was in order to give proper guidance and care to those disabled from the on-going war. “Not only the IDPs even the military personnel will be treated in this centre. We have transferred, 150 to 160 remaining leprosy patients to the Kandana Hospital, where they will be well taken care of,” he said. SEE INSIDE

Sally-Muzammil feud heading for showdown
The feud between two leading Muslim members in the UNP, Former Deputy Mayor Azath Sally and newly elected Provincial Council member A.J.M. Muzammil is heading for a showdown with the latter threatening to bring forth a party disciplinary inquiry against the former. Azath Sally told The Nation that he is ready to face any kind of disciplinary inquiry against him as he is not guilty. “I am not afraid of facing any action. In fact I love challenges so let’s see who is going to win this battle,” he said. He said that, he has not fallen into such low depths as to send SMS’s or distribute leaflets requesting people not to vote for Muzammil. People were wise enough to understand whom they have to vote for or not, irrespective of whether they received thousands of SMS’ or leaflets. SEE INSIDE

Maligawatte Mosque shooting incident
Police are on the trail of twelve suspects alleged to be involved in a daylight shooting incident near the Maligawatte Jumma Mosque on May 8, which had left one dead and nine injured.
A senior police officer conducting investigations told The Nation that three teams, from the Maligawatte Police, Colombo Crime Division and Intelligence have been deployed to arrest the suspects. According to available information, the suspects had fled their homes after the incident.
Sources disclosed that the wanted suspects are all Muslims and the incident was a result of a long standing rivalry between two underworld groups who have been feuding for many years. The suspects are residents of Grandpass and Keselwatte areas. SEE INSIDE



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Electoral Reforms in limbo
The much awaited Electoral Reforms that mooted a hybrid between the Westminster style ‘First-Past-The-Post’ (FPTP) system and the presently operational Proportional Representation (PR) system were shelved by the Government last week, in the face of opposition from many minority political parties.The event may have passed relatively unnoticed in the midst of all the publicity surrounding the war, but it is significant nevertheless, in the implications it carries at a time when the nation is at a crossroads and political reforms aimed at ending ethnic strife in the country is high on the agenda. SEE INSIDE

...and now, the end is near
The three year long humanitarian operations launched by the Sri Lankan security forces are finally reaching its conclusion, with the fate of LTTE Leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran and his erstwhile lieutenants Pottu Amman and Nadesan to be decided in a matter of a few hours, according to senior military officials.
While its battle against the terrorists are nearing an end, the government has had to wage war on a different front, after the LTTE propaganda outfits have pitted several states in the international community against Sri Lanka and her humanitarian liberation mission. SEE INSIDE


Reflections at dawn of ‘post-LTTE moment’"
This is a momentous occasion for Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans, regardless of ideological persuasion and preferred Utopia. Whether or not, as some have (in my opinion injudiciously) predicted, the LTTE will revert to its guerrilla avatar, it is clear that a point of no return has been crossed. We are now officially in the post-LTTE era, in that the LTTE of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the LTTE capable of UDI posturing, the LTTE strutting around with a ‘Sole-Rep’ tag, the LTTE claiming authority over a de-facto state, the LTTE with something... SEE INSIDE

GL cautions EU for better understanding
I am privileged on this occasion, when the European Union celebrates its National Day, to pay tribute on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka to the quality of the relationship which our country enjoys with this region. The antiquity, intensity and depth of this relationship are without parallel to Sri Lanka’s relations with regions of the world outside South Asia.
I am deeply conscious of the strength of the ties which bind us together. Sri Lanka is appreciative of the support and friendship which the countries of the European Union have always extended to us. At this crucial time in the history of our country, when we turn a new page, overcoming the most formidable among the challenges... SEE INSIDE

Apprehensions about foreign exchange reserves
With foreign exchange reserves reaching a low level, and the expected IMF bailout taking time, there is some anxiety about the country’s external financial situation. The reserves are estimated at around US$ 1.2 million which is approximately adequate for about six months of imports in the conventional way of calculating foreign exchange reserve adequacy. Although there is serious concern about the low level of reserves, there are several factors that make the situation less serious than suggested by these figures. The decreasing trade deficit owing to the lower expenditure on imports, the reduction of imports and the effects of the rupee depreciation, and the adequate inflows of private remittances, are among these favourable factors. SEE INSIDE


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Army guns down Havies 34/0

Sri Lanka Army SC playing robust rugby started their campaign in a winning note when they trounced a depleted Havelocks outfit by 34 points to nil in a Caltex ‘A’ division rugby match played at Havelock Park yesterday. The soldiers collected their winning points from one goal, one penalty goal, one try and five penalties. At ‘lemons’Army led 9-0. In a game where both teams played scrappy rugby in the first half, Army had a clear edge where their forwards excelled and were terrific in loose play and were fast on to the break down points. Their backs too played an enormous game running the ball at every given opportunity. On the other hand much was expected from the Havies outfit to put up a good fight but they failed miserably. Havies never had a game plan. Their total outfit was in disarray.   SEE INSIDE

Senaka’s fight for recognition
The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to go ahead with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) once again opens up the debate to the origins of it.
The UDRS was first trialled by the ICC during the Sri Lanka v India Test series in August last year and was subsequently trialled in three other Test series within a period of seven months – New Zealand v West Indies, West Indies v England and South Africa v Australia.
The system afforded players the opportunity to request a review by the television umpire of a decision made by the on-field umpire they believed to be incorrect. The third official was able to view the available television pictures and relay information back to the umpire on the field who then had to decide whether or not to reverse his original decision. SEE INSIDE


We welcome constructive criticism
While the security forces were engaged in their last battle to eliminate Tiger rebels in the North, back in Colombo, Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe was fighting another equal battle – verbally, trying to put many things correct. His task was to counter the various allegations levelled against the government by a number of foreign governments and groups regarding the government’s human rights track record. Admitting that the human rights situation could be better if the LTTE is totally defeated, the Minister however justified the government’s position by saying that many things were magnified out of proportion due to heavy lobbying outside Sri Lanka. SEE INSIDE

“APRC proposal would be favourably looked at”
Being one of the oldest political parties in the country, and the largest single party representing Parliament today, the United National Party (UNP) has a pivotal role to play in the post-war era that the country is fast approaching. It has borne the repercussions of the brutal terrorist force of the LTTE, than any other political party, as a large number of its members became victims of Tiger suicide cadres, including President Ranasinghe Premadasa. During recent times, the party strongly advocated a political settlement for the ethnic problem. The time has come for them to stand by that stance, to bring about political solution. SEE INSIDE

Convince Tamil diaspora they have future in Lanka
–Wimal Weerawansa

Q: The last remaining areas under LTTE control will be captured by the armed forces in the next few hours/ days. But there is still a lot of pressure from the International Community?
A: This is the most important moment in our history after we gained independence in 1948. We did not win the independence via a true freedom struggle; the British just handed us independence to us, when Indians gained their independence. It took another 24 years for us to truly cut loose from the empire and become a republic. SEE INSIDE

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