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Sunday July 12, 2009

Close fight in Jaffna
Contrary to claims made that it will be a cake walk for the UPFA in Jaffna at the forthcoming Municipal election, with Ministers Douglas Devanada and Rishad Bathiudeen spearheading the fight for the government, political observers said it is developing to be a close fight and the deciding votes could be cast by nearly 10,000 displaced Muslim voters from there living in other areas. SEE INSIDE

Minister P’nilame returns prized bird to the zoo
The issue over the controversial exchange of a highly expensive rare African grey parrot, a prized possession of the Zoological Gardens in exchange for several mediocre birds ended on a happy note... SEE INSIDE

Mobitel launches new innovative package
Mobitel has come up with an innovative tariff plan which will take away the activation fees, monthly rentals and claims over lower charges with per second billing. The innovative SMART pre-paid tariff offers the lowest call charges to Mobitel and any other network. SEE INSIDE



  Doing their bit to beat dengue  

With government giving dire warnings to the public to clear their surroundings of mosquito breeding places to combat the unprecedented spread of the deadly dengue epidemic, people everywhere are finally taking action. Here two young samaneras of the Makuluduwa Temple in Piliyandala doing their bit to tackle the problem

                         (Pic by Thushara Dasanayaka)


Massive solar stink in East
An apparent unauthorised order placed for a consignment of 5,000 solar powered lanterns by a top bureaucrat in the Eastern Province is now stuck in the Colombo Port incurring demurrage in addition to the landed cost.
Eastern Province Governor Rear Admiral (Retd.) Mohan Wijewickrema confirmed to The Nation that he had stopped releasing any funds for the Rs. 75 million shipment. SEE INSIDE

Tax Reform Commission appointed
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed a Presidential Tax Commission to probe the steep drop in revenue collection in the last few years and recommend remedial measures.
Former Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University... SEE INSIDE

Govt. expands IDP facilities
Ministry of Health has decided to increase the Chettikulam Welfare complex by two more villages in the near future as the already established five villages are inadequate to meet the basic needs of the displaced people there, IDPs Health Care Director Dr. Hemantha Herath...  SEE INSIDE




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Self employment for 49,000 widows
Social Services Director of the Eastern Province Nagarasa Manivannan said yesterday that plans aimed at ensuring a steady source of income for vulnerable women through self-employment are being successfully implemented in the Eastern Province. The activities planned under this project are being directed by the Social Services department of the Eastern Province through the Divisional Secretaries of the respective areas, he said. “There are around 49,000 widows primarily as a result of the war and the 2004 tsunami disaster in the Eastern Province and we are providing them with basic facilities for self employment,” Director Manivannan said. SEE INSIDE

Children asked to cough up money for term test papers
The Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) strongly objects to the collection of money from students for printing term test papers and questioned the Education Ministry’s sudden decision to cancel the pilot programme conducted last year based on school level assessments.
The second term tests in schools are due to begin early next month. According to Union Convenor Joseph Stelyn, each student from Grade 6-10 is being charged Rs. 60 while students from Grade 11-13 are charged Rs. 90, as costs for printing examination papers.
Last year, a pilot programme based on school assessment and
examination processes had been conducted by the Education Ministry in several provinces such as
Western, Wayamba, Sabaragamuwa and Central. SEE INSIDE

Five Army men remanded over killing of bank manager
Five military personnel, including a Captain were remanded by the Avissawella Magistrate yesterday for their alleged involvement in the killing of Gunasinghe Prematilleke, Deputy Manager of People’s Bank, Liberty Plaza branch. The victim was found strangled to death in April.
The body of murdered Premathilleke from Idamtota area in Ambalangoda, was found dumped near a bridge at Wakoya, Labugama
 Road in the Kosgama Police area on April 4, 2009. SEE INSIDE

Ambalangoda hails Army Commander
Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka was felicitated by the people of his home town, Ambalangoda and teachers and students of his alma mater Dharmasoka College during a ceremony on Friday (10).
The felicitation at Dharmasoka College included a Guard of Honour accorded to the Army Commander by cadets of the College and presentation of mementoes to the
Commander. SEE INSIDE

Visit by ministers to Jaffna
bears fruit

Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services, Bandula Gunawardene, has assured Jaffna consumers of the availability of consumer goods at fair prices with the setting up three Co-op City outlets by end of this month. The Minister stated during a ministerial delegation visit to Jaffna this week.
Speaking to The Nation Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Tissa Karalliadda explained that Minister Bandula Gunawardene had assessed consumer woes while Minister of Power and Energy Mahindananda Aluthgamage involved in finalising the timeframe for electrification of North and he was entrusted with the upliftment of indigenous medicine there. SEE INSIDE



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All aboard Yal Devi, next stop Jaffna
Is the arid political landscape in the North and East finally changing? That was the question that many sought an answer to in the past week, as signs of a transformation appear to be emerging in the diverse political forces that contribute to the new found democracy in that region.
Several positive developments - each a small step in its own way - have contributed to this sense of cautious optimism. Local elections are to be held on August 8 in Jaffna and Vavuniya. Most Tamil political parties are in the fray, and they have also attended the All Party Conference for Reconciliation summoned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. SEE INSIDE

Talks with Indian leaders yield results
The Indian government has set apart Indian Rs. 500 crore (SL Rs. 11.9 billion) for North East reconstruction and resettlement of IDPs in the annual Budget, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee unveiled in Indian Parliament recently.
This was another outcome of talks that President’s Senior Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga held with the Indian leaders in New Delhi last month. SEE INSIDE


Uva-optimistic of a new era
Although the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is set for a landslide victory at the first election after complete elimination of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), inability and failure of the Uva Provincial Council to address the most pressing needs of Badulla and Moneragala and allegations of wide-spread bribery and corruption, haunt the minds of the people.
The UPFA was elected as ruling party of the 34-member Fourth Uva Provincial Council in 2004, and Wijith Wijithamuni Soysa was made the Chief Minister, while Nanda Matthew was made the Governor of Uva. UPFA won 21 seats along with Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s seven seats while the main opposition United National Party- UNP won 12 (with Ceylon Workers Congress-CWC obtaining two) while Upcountry Peoples...  SEE INSIDE

13th Amendment and
International System

My young friend and critic Malinda Seneviratne just has to be kidding. He writes in The Nation of July 5, 2009 that “Dayan not only thinks the 13th is great, but trusts the President to deliver his (Dayan’s) Utopia.” Now that’s wrong on all three counts. I don’t think the 13th Amendment is “great.” It is not the President I “trust” to deliver on it. And the present Sri Lanka with an activated 13th Amendment is a far cry from any notion of Utopia I might have.
I think the Sermon on the Mount is “great.” I think that the US Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776 is “great.” I think that Mao’s ‘On Contradiction’ is “great.” I think that Fidel’s Second Declaration of Havana and Che’s Message to the Tricontinental are “great.” I do not think the 13th Amendment
 is “great.” SEE INSIDE


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Lanka looking at historic series win – wary of Pakistan backlash
A historic Test series win will be furthest from the mind of captain Kumar Sangakkara as his team prepared to defend the 1-0 advantage they took in the three-Test series at Galle after a sensational turnaround on the fourth day.
“Any victory gives you a psychological advantage, slightly more confidence than if it was a draw or a loss. But at the end of the day it’s a new Test match and the Pakistanis will come out fighting. We have to be good to absorb the pressure as best as we can,” said Sangakkara ahead of the second Test which begins at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium today.

Why do superstars lie? Part II
On December 16, 2007 when this column ran a headline titled ‘Why do superstars lie?’ it created quite a furore with Sri Lanka’s master blaster Sanath Jayasuriya who was the individual in question.One and half years later we have another similar case with Sri Lanka’s fast bowling star Chaminda Vaas who was in the news throughout the first Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Galle denying to the media that he never said that he was giving up Test cricket to concentrate on ODIs and Twenty20 internationals to chairman of selectors Ashantha de Mel. Vaas drew a lot of sympathy from his supporters and the media for this statement that made De Mel look as if he had jumped the gun and tried to force the veteran cricketer into retirement. SEE INSIDE


Police busted LTTE network long before final victory
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jayantha Wickramaratna reveals that there has hardly been any terrorist bombing outside the battle zones for about a year, due to them having busted all LTTE terror cells from July last year. As a result of such efficient actions of the Police, the citizens have been able to walk the streets freely. According to the IGP, in the process, they had recovered more than 3,900 kilos of high explosives from these terror cells, and all suspects had been produced in courts according to the law of the land, without any complaints of torture.
Following are excerpts of the interview
Q: The latest incident involving the sudden transfer of a Chief Inspector from Peliyagoda, after he allegedly accepted a complaint against the area political heavyweight,... SEE INSIDE

Povincial Councils are a workable system
Nearly 22 years have elapsed since the 13th Amendment to the Constitution has been passed in Parliament. It envisaged power devolution at the province level while keeping to the unitary nature of the state. Since the Amendment became part of the country’s supreme law, it has been subjected to various criticisms by diverse groups; some even claimed that it ultimately leads to separatism. The most vehement censure came from once revolutionary Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) who termed the Amendment that was introduced as part of the Indo-Lanka Accord signed in 1987 as India’s strategy of intervening into Lanka’s internal affairs. Hence the Amendment that was introduced as a possible solution to the raging ethnic strife during the late 1980s was left without being fully implemented. Until 2008, it was functioning only in seven provinces in the country, sans the most important Northern and Eastern Provinces, the geographical areas that were mostly affected by the war. SEE INSIDE

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