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Sunday November 15th, 2009

President’s Journey 4
Special supplement to mark four years of Rajapaksa Presidency

Two opposition horses in the race
A group of UNP front-liners have planned to pressurise the newly formed United National Front (UNF) leadership to field UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the common Presidential candidate after making arrangements for General Sarath Fonseka also to contest on the ticket of another party, UNP sources revealed. Full Story

Pranab says Elimination of terrorism a great opportunity
India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee delivering the Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture 2009 at the BMICH in Colombo yesterday said that the effective elimination of terrorism...  Full Story

Crucial SLFP convention today
Despite rising speculations that the President will announce which election would come first at the 19th SLFP convention today, a highly placed SLFP source told The Nation that it is unlikely that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa would make the much awaited announcement by this evening. Full Story

Premier honoured

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake admiring the first ever ranaviru felicitation conferred on him, to recognise the service he rendered to the country, by Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya at a special ceremony organised to honour the past pupils of the school who fought valiantly at the warfront to defeat the LTTE

(Pic by Thushara Dasanayaka)


Workers and govt. tug-o-war continues
The trade unions attached to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Ports Authority and Water Supply and Drainage Board threatened to go on strike from Monday... Full Story

Ongoing investigation into Park deaths
The Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the National Hospital stated yesterday that although the two autopsies was done in relation to the two people who died mysteriously while attending a healing session which had been conducted... Full Story

A separate court for child abuse cases
Justice and Constitutional Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda has decided to establish a separate court to hear child abuse cases and separate detention homes for juvenile delinquents.  Full Story

General Fonseka to bid farewell tomorrow
President Rajapaksa has accepted Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka’s resignation letter with immediate effect. The President’s letter accepting his resignation was sent to the CDS office just before lunch, said... Full Story


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New sandakadapahana recovered
A new sandakadapahana or moonstone has been recovered from the ancient Anuradhapura city.
Sandakadapahana is a unique stepping stone with artistic carvings on it and it was widely used at the entrances to shrines in the Anuradhapura era during the 10th Century AD.
However, the recovery had been made spontaneously
as a base pit was dug to build a shrine near the ancient Sri Maha Bodhiya. Full Story

Admiral Perera passes away
Admiral A.W.H. Perera, VSV, ndc, psc, who was Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy from 01.06.1979 to 31.05.1983, passed away after a brief illness on November 14, 2009. His remains lie at No. 83/1, Pagoda Road, Nugegoda.
 The funeral will be held today (November 15, 2009) at the General Cemetery in Borella at 10:30 a.m. with full military honours. Full Story

Arson suspects still at large
Suspects wanted in connection with the arson attack on the residence and the office of Puttalam District UNP Parliamentarian Palitha Range Bandara, at Madampe on October 4 are still evading arrest, Police said yesterday. “The Puttalam Magistrates Court has issued summons on the suspects to appear in courts, but they are evading arrest,” said Police Spokesman Senior DIG Nimal Mediwaka. Full Story

University could reopen if talks succeed
The Sri Jayawardanapura University Arts and Management faculties which closed down after an altercation between two student factions that grew out of proportions are yet to reopen. "
The University authorities have decided to bring the two factions for discussions on Monday. The fighting that erupted had nothing whatsoever to do with the campus authorities but was between the two factions over a disagreement. As a result of the clashes 5 students had to be hospitalised with injuries. Full Story

Cabinet approves H’tota investment zone land
The Cabinet approved a memorandum presented for the allocation of a land for the establishment of a new Investment Promotion Zone in the Hambantota District, seen as much needed infrastructure for the area.
Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, who is also the Minister of Investment Promotion and Enterprise Development, said the Lands and Land Development Ministry has been advised to make available 200 hectares of State lands for this project to be built. Those aspiring investors will be leased these lands on a 50-year basis. Full Story

Pakistan to invest in local cement factory
Pakistan’s second largest cement maker, D.G. Khan Cement Ltd. is planning to invest 10 billion Pakistan Rupees in starting a cement manufacturing plant in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Government, the company said. Full Story

Some Lankan asylum seekers may leave boat
(Bloomberg) – Some of the Sri Lankan asylum seekers on an Australian customs vessel moored in Indonesian waters are preparing to leave the boat, an Australian newspaper reported.
As many as 20 of the group of 78 may leave the Oceanic Viking as early as today for the Tanjung Pinang Indonesian detention centre, the first sign of an end to the four-week standoff, according to the Australian newspaper.  Full Story

A pavilion with a difference
A Pavilion to reflect the cultural and religious nature of Myanmar is to be established at the Sri Dalada Maligawa Museum for which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Shewedagon Chaitya administration in Myanmar and the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
This is to strengthen religious and cultural ties. The Memorandum was signed on behalf of the Shewedagon Chaitya by the Ambassador in Sri Lanka for Myannmar U. Ofu Thawin and on behalf of the Sri Dalada Maligawa by Diyawadana Nilame, Pradeep Nilanga... Full Story


For want of a challenger
Ending weeks of frenzied speculation, the Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka tendered his resignation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Thursday, thus demarcating a new battle line in the political landscape.
Theoretically of course, there is little more to this event because General Fonseka remains Sri Lanka’s highest ranking armed forces officer until December 1, when he has requested that he be allowed to retire. As the General himself repeatedly emphasised on Thursday, at the Kelaniya Temple, he would be deciding on his future course of action only after that date. But, only the naive and the ignorant will believe that General Fonseka will just fade away.  Full Story

UNP still undecided on fielding Gen. Fonseka as COP
Chief of Defence Staff former Army Commander General Fonseka who made page one headlines in newspapers almost daily during the decisive war on LTTE terrorism, has again become the leading news maker just six months after the ending of the war. This is due to him being strongly tipped as most likely Common Opposition Presidential (COP) candidate.
General Fonseka, at the outset refrained from reacting to initial unconfirmed reports that he was to be fielded by the joint opposition as their Presidential candidate. However, he later began making remarks that people construed as hints, that there was a base for the widespread speculation. Full Story


‘Mr I-Can’t’ & ‘Mr I-Want’
Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have told the ‘Sudar Oli’ newspaper that in the event Sarath Fonseka contests and wins the Presidential election, he wants to be the Prime Minister. To me this is one of the most interesting statements to come out of the whole Sarath Fonseka drama. Worthy of comment, I thought, so here goes.
First of all, in entertaining the idea of Sarath Fonseka (or anyone else) as a ‘Common Candidate of the Opposition’ (CCO), Ranil Wickremesinghe is saying, ‘I don’t have what it takes to take on Mahinda Rajapaksa’. So he says, ‘Hey Sarath! Can you do the honours this time?’ Then, perhaps wondering what would happen to him in the unlikely event that Fonseka actually contests and wins, he throws in a caveat: ‘Promise to abolish the Executive Presidency’. Full Story

Lanka’s lessons for the world
Will Sri Lanka win the peace?” was a question posed by Singapore’s Minister of Law, K Chanmugam, opening the 5th International Conference on South Asia organised by the Institute for South Asian Studies (ISAS) of the National University of Singapore last week.
 The President of Singapore, SR Nathan closed the proceedings, launching South Asia Link, a hub for networking the 30 million strong worldwide South Asian Diaspora. Paper presenters included Sartaj Aziz former Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, and Mani Shanker Iyer former Minister of Rural Local Self-Government of India. Full Story

Liberalising foreign exchange capital account
There has been a spate of changes in financial policy in recent weeks. Some of these have been impelled by the large reserves of foreign exchange as a result of a continued stream of borrowing, investment funds, foreign credits and remittances coming into the country.
The foreign exchange reserves that have risen to unprecedented heights of over 5 billion US dollars have prompted the Central Bank to relax foreign exchange regulations to allow capital outflows for investment. Full Story


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We’ve got the balance to beat India - Sangakkara
Sri Lanka has perhaps the strongest bowling combination
ever to tour India in the 27 years the two nations have played each other at the highest level. Whether that combination is good enough to curtail the run-scoring abilities of the free-scoring Indian batsmen will determine whether Kumar Sangakkara’s team can create history by recording
their maiden Test victory on Indian soil. Full Story

PJ under pressure to perform
Not so long ago, almost eleven months to be exact Prasanna Jayawardene or PJ to his team-mates was being hailed as the best wicketkeeper in the world by no less a person than his captain Kumar Sangakkara. Jayawardene’s Test place looked assured on the strength of his captain’s assessment of his capabilities.
However on the current tour of India, although the assessment may still hold well, Jayawardene finds his Test place threatened by another young and talented wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva who has been knocking on the door for international recognition with some exceptional batting performances for his club SSC as well as for the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team. Full Story

A challenging task
The venues for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 were announced last Monday with Sri Lanka hosting 12 of the total of 49 matches. To many who are unfamiliar with the workings of the Sri Lanka cricket administration two venues Hambantota in the South and Pallekelle in the Central Province raised several eyebrows. Especially as such renowned stadiums as Galle, Asgiriya, Dambulla, SSC and P Sara Oval were overlooked for this mega event. The third venue, as expected, was the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Full Story
A barren run
Kumar Sangakkara’s team is in India searching for that elusive maiden Test win on Indian soil. They are the seventh team from Sri Lanka to make a Test tour to India in the past 27 years. Will seven prove to be a lucky number for Sangakkara? The past six unsuccessful tours to India are recorded below.
1982 [Drawn 1]
Sri Lanka’s inaugural tour of India in 1982 produced an honourable draw for Test cricket’s newcomers. In the one-off Test match played at the famous Chepauk Stadium in Madras (now Chennai), doubts about Sri Lanka’s ability to last five days had persisted...   Full Story


H’tota airport to take Lanka to new heights
Continuing with the hype and buzz, Sri Lanka is presently attracting, along with some of the island’s best infrastructure projects likely to come off during the next few years, the Sri Lankan Government is to launch another mega landmark project with the construction of the island’s second international airport, commencing November 27, 2009. Hambantota International Airport (HIA), at an estimated cost of US$ 200 million, and funded by the Chinese Government, is a basic eco-friendly airport in Mattala, about 15 miles from the new upcoming Hambantota Port. Full Story
Unions labour with Work-to-Rule
As the government tries to downplay the impact of the three-day work-to-rule campaign, the joint trade unions threaten to carry on with the campaign. The Nation spoke to the Minister of Labour Relations and Manpower, Athauda Seneviratne, to ascertain how the government proposes to bridge this rift between the workers and the administration
Q: The trade unions that planned to end the work-to-rule campaign last Friday night have decided to continue the strike. One of the reasons for that is because a Ceylon Electricity
Board (CEB) was assaulted on the last day of the work-to-rule campaign?   Full Story

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