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Sunday August 23th, 2009

Govt. tells off nosy diplomats
Responding to accusations of undue delays made by representatives from several Western countries, a senior governmental spokesman said yesterday that unless complete safety in the former conflict areas is ensured, the government... SEE INSIDE

Green-light for Kerawalapitiya LNG power plant
The controversy regarding the 1,000 MegaWatt (MW) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) private power project at Kerawalapitiya...  SEE INSIDE

Mihin Air proves critics wrong
It was sheer irony that Mihin Lanka had been dragged through the dirt in parliament on Tuesday over more than Rs 3000 million in losses it suffered from April 01, 2007 to March 31, 2008, while...  SEE INSIDE

Commuters galore on A9
Hundreds of passengers are now daily commuting between the north and south using road and rail transport with the limited air transport being prohibitively expensive. SEE INSIDE



   All smiles at awards ceremony  

It was all smiles when politicians from all parties and hues converged at the Business Today Top 10 Awards ceremony to honour the best corporate performers held at the Colombo Hilton on Tuesday. From left are National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa, UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera, UNP spokesman and Galle District MP Gayantha Karunatillake and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
                                        (Pic by Ishara Kodikara)


Report on disruption of Mangala’s speech expected on Tuesday
A report is expected on Tuesday into the hooting incident at the Nidhahase Vedhikawa (Freedom Forum) meeting at Kurunegala on August 18 allegedly by some disgruntled UNPers, Tissa Attanayake, UNP General Secretary and spokesperson said yesterday. SEE INSIDE

New foreign Sec.
The High Commissioner in New Delhi, Romesh Jayasinghe has been asked to come to Colombo to be the new Foreign Secretary with incumbent Dr Palitha Kohona expected to be posted as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York next month, authoritative...  SEE INSIDE

Massive credit card scam
under CID microscope

The investigations into the massive credit card scam busted by Wellawatte Police early this week with the arrest of its mastermind outside a state bank in the area, has been handed
over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) SEE INSIDE




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Armed struggle will not solve Tamil problems – Devananda
Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda told a meeting in Jaffna recently that the problems facing the Tamil people could be solved by democratic means and not through an armed struggle.
Speaking at the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Jaffna Nurses Training School, Minister Devananda said that the armed struggle had thrown the Tamils from the frying pan to the hearth itself. “They are entangled in a bush of thorns and they have to be disentangled at least now,” he said. SEE INSIDE

CCD gets acting director
Superintendent of Police Ravindra Karawita had been appointed as the new Acting Director of the Colombo Crime Division (CCD), newly appointed Police Spokesman Senior DIG Nimal Mediwaka said.
SP Karawita took over the post with the transfer given to the former Director of the CCD, SSP Vaas Gunawardene to Police Headquarters. SEE INSIDE

Three districts to get technology institutes
The Higher Education Ministry has planned to set up Institutes of Higher Technology in Ratnapura, Vavuniya and Tangalle under a World Bank-funded project.
“The Higher Education Ministry has set apart Rs. 295 million to construct the three institutes and the Sri Lanka Institute of Higher Technology (SLIHT) headquarters building complex at Malambe,” SLIGT’s Director General Kamal Padmasiri said.  SEE INSIDE

£1.26m awarded to researchers to discover how compromise is reached after conflict
Even in some of the world’s most hostile conflicts, where great violence has been inflicted, those involved have to try to live along-side one another in peace.
What makes compromise easier in some settings than in others, and amongst certain sorts of victim?
This is the subject of a new £1.26 million research project by a team from the University of Aberdeen. SEE INSIDE

Over 100 water supply schemes for Hambantota
The National Water Supply and Drainage Board has completed the construction work on 100 of the 124 water supply schemes planned for the arid Hambantota District where safe drinking water is a perennial problem.
“While 100 schemes are ready for commissioning, construction work on 12 other schemes is proceeding apace. The work on the balance 12 schemes will be launched shortly,” Water Supply Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. SEE INSIDE

Training course in high quality rice production begins tomorrow
The course of training in producing high quality rice conducted by the Institute of Post-harvest Food and Technology (PHFT) will commence tomorrow.
Paddy, milling, paddy and rice storing, methods of paddy boiling for commercial purposes and personnel management are among the subjects that the trainees are to be taught under this five-day training programme. A course fee of Rs.2,500 is charged from the prospective trainee. SEE INSIDE

COPE to probe joint ventures
Financial irregularities of institutions jointly owned by the government and the private sector will be examined by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in the recent future said United National Party (UNP) MP Dayasiri Jayasekara speaking to The Nation. “Some companies such as Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) have refused to appear before the COPE citing legal reasons. COPE is a collection... SEE INSIDE

Stop police brutality, says Bar Association
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has expressed its shock and horror over what it describes as numerous instances of police brutality against unarmed civilians, in particular the killing of two youth by police officers attached to the Angulana Police Station last week and the violent attack on a young student of the Sri Lanka Institute of Technology in Malabe. SEE INSIDE

SLMC awaits report on Southern PC election
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is awaiting the report of a committee set up to ascertain from its membership in the Southern Province, as to whether it will contest the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council Election.
Speaking to The Nation, SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hassan Ali said the committee was to handover the report by this week and based on it the party high command would take a decision within the course of next week. SEE INSIDE

Karuna claims TNA muslim members want to work with govt.
With the recently concluded elections in the North leaving mixed results and instilling confusion, it has been alleged that the members of several minority parties are considering crossing over to the government.
Speaking to The Nation, Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman said that he...  SEE INSIDE

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What of the Executive Presidency?
The leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), still regarded widely as the ‘third force’ in politics in this country, despite a string of dismal electoral performances in recent provincial polls, raised eyebrows last week by proclaiming that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had no moral right to seek re-election.
This, the JVP said, was based on an undertaking that then Prime Minister Rajapaksa had given the party to abolish the executive presidency, when he was seeking their cooperation in the run up to the 2005 presidential election campaign.
The JVP is right in claiming the moral high ground here, for President Rajapaksa does say in his ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ manifesto that, “with the consensus of all, I expect to present a Constitution that will propose the abolition of the Executive Presidency, and provide solutions to other issues confronting the country. SEE INSIDE

Cake walk for MR as Opposition wavers and West’s double standards
Following recent announcements by several government high- ups about a possible Presidential Poll early next year, most political parties have begun bracing for the big event that could determine their political future.
However, the dissention-wracked – UNP has found itself in the grip of another crisis over the question of picking its Presidential candidate. The JVP has begun an island-wide poster campaign with two slogans: ` Abolish Presidential system ‘ and `Say `no’ to another Presidential election’. The JVP usually remembers their aversion to the Executive Presidency only when a Presidential election is round the corner.
When Chandrika Kumaratunga came forward as the candidate of the United People’s Front in 1994, The JVP obtained a pledge from her that she would abolish the Executive Presidency if she were elected. SEE INSIDE


Public enterprises like public conveniences
Yet another Parliamentary Committee On Public Enterprise (COPE) report was presented in Parliament last Wednesday, revealing massive corruption and fraud within 20 public institutions. It was referred to the Bribery and Corruption Commission by the Speaker, following the approval of the House.
The report, overall, has identified various lapses within the public institutions investigated, that ultimately resulted in massive frauds and losses. For instance, the COPE has observed that many public institutions have failed to achieve their objectives as stipulated in the relevant Gazette or Company Act issued due to negligence. SEE INSIDE

Question paper crisis
I think the school examination papers fiasco by the Provincial/Zonal Education Offices raises a constitutional issue. This matter first came to light when it was raised in Parliament the other day by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Of course, thereafter the media highlighted that the problem existed in many other provinces too. When Dissanayake brought this up in Parliament, an embarrassed Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told the House that this will be looked into and the miscreants will be dealt with.
Now the question is whether Dissanayake raised the issue in the wrong forum and whether it was unnecessary that the Education Minister Premajayantha be embarrassed because education is a devolved subject? Should the Education Minster at the Centre be held accountable for a lapse on the part of the Southern Provincial Council administration over which the Minister at the Centre has no control? SEE INSIDE

Police cop it
‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s’, or is it a case of Sri Lanka’s Police continuing to violate its designated task of ensuring public order? That is the ‘talk of the town’ at present. Two incidents, namely the alleged attack on Nipuna Ramanayake by the son, goons and wife of an SSP and the Angulana tragedy where police played the central role, have convinced people that their taxes may indeed be flowing into the wrong pockets. Many call for wide ranging reforms while others said that these incidents occur due to the absence of an Independent Police Commission. Here is what a small section of the masses had to say The Nation. SEE INSIDE

Speaker unable to cope
The first Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) report, of the fourth session of the sixth Parliament was the centre of attention above all other issues being discussed in Parliament, as several opposition MPs, who are also members of the COPE, opposed the report presented in the House, for its veracity.
The report exposed multimillion rupee frauds of 20 public enterprises for the period July 8, 2008-December 31, 2008, during which the COPE had met on 20 occasions. The opposition members’ bone of contention was that the Sri Lanka Press Council (SLPC) be reconstituted at a very early date as it is... SEE INSIDE


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Murali, Thushara condemn Kiwis to heavy defeat
If New Zealand harboured any thoughts that the capricious Galle weather would come to their rescue in the first Test they were wrong. The weather which had forced delayed starts on each of the four days and deprived the Test of 66 overs in that period was at its best yesterday with play getting started on schedule at 9.45 am.
That was all Sri Lanka needed to wrap up the Test, 30 minutes before tea on the fifth and final day to win by 202 runs and take a step towards moving into the No. 2 spot in the ICC Test rankings behind South Africa provided Australia lose the Ashes to England at the Oval. Sri Lanka’s win yesterday gave them a 1-0 led in the short two-Test series. To move up the Test rankings they need to win the second Test starting at the SSC on Wednesday as well. SEE INSIDE

Is it a wise choice?
How wise is it to allow a young up and coming bowler in the calibre of Ajantha Mendis to go and expose his art of spin bowling in English county cricket?
The news that Hampshire has signed Sri Lanka’s mystery spinner Mendis as their overseas player for next season is certainly not a good omen for Sri Lanka cricket. Mendis is to replace leg-spinner Imran Tahir of Pakistan who is to return in 2011.
The county has welcomed the news and is waiting to accept Mendis with open arms. Hampshire’s chairman Rod Bransgrove was quoted: “Ajantha Mendis is the most exciting new bowler to explode on to the world stage since Shane Warne. Anyone fortunate enough to witness his mesmeric effect on batsmen in this year’s Twenty20 World Cup will eagerly await his arrival in English county cricket.” SEE INSIDE

A new day, a new wonder
If that’s running tired, keep me awake for weeks. 19.19 seconds? 19.19 seconds? Usain Bolt has created a new art form: Scoreboards We Thought We’d Never See.
Available in a series of four, limited-edition prints, each adorned with the artist’s unique archer’s motif. Value: Golden.
Has there ever been a sequence of runs like this? Like most things Usain, never before.
Four major finals, four gold medals, four astonishing world records. 9.69 seconds in the Olympic 100m, 19.30 secs in the 200m just days later, 9.58 secs in the 100m on Sunday and now 19.19 seconds. You want to include the relay? Then make that five, with a sixth maybe to follow at the weekend. SEE INSIDE


Opposition Alliance yet to be finalised – Hassan Ali
With the three-decade-old bloody civil war ending last May, along with the two main ethnic groups - Sinhalese and Tamils, Sri Lanka’s third largest community, the Muslims too, are hopeful that their grievances would be resolved. M.T. Hassan Ali, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the largest Muslim political party in the country, said that the grievances of the Muslims have yet to be addressed.
Ali quit Parliament to contest the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) election of May 10, 2008, where he was elected with the highest number of preferential votes. He again stepped down from the EPC, along with SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem, in order to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament (MP) on July 22, 2008.
Asked whether the SLMC would join the highly talked about opposition alliance, he said it was still premature to comment on it, as discussions had not yet touched on core policy issues. SEE INSIDE

No successors after KP
The Nation interviewed Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan on his thoughts on the elections and the support that the LTTE still has (if at all), his thoughts on KP and his future plans etc. Following is the interview
Q. What are your thoughts on the recently concluded elections in the North and East?
A. There was a fairly low turnout indicating that only few people showed interest. This is because these elections were taking place after a very long time in the area. We witnessed the same situation in Batticaloa, where only a handful of people turned out to vote in the initially and it gradually increased leading up to the provincial councils. It’s only a sign that people are starting to take an interest because they realise they have a choice. SEE INSIDE

“My resignation will force leadership to find solutions to party issues”
UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara says the party leadership has failed to implement decisions taken, and he won’t return to the UNP Working Committee unless these issues are resolved
Q: You resigned from the working committee of the party on August 12. Has the leadership accepted your letter of resignation?
No. Ranil Wickremesinghe told me that he will not accept my letter, and he told me that he is not even willing to read it. But that does not mean that I will be returning to the Committee unless the issues I pointed... SEE INSIDE

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