General election next year declares Basil
Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse on
Thursday asked SLFP organisers to get ready
for a general election next year.
announcement was made by Rajapakse at the
Presidential Secretariat at a meeting of
SLFP organisers from the districts of
Colombo, Gampaha and the Kalutara.
the government cannot disclose at this time
whether elections for the remaining
provincial councils will be held before the
general election, but that a general
election will be held next year.
get ready and let us know if you have any
suggestions to increase our vote bank. The
party headquarters is already working on
that," Rajapakse had also said.
with Rajapakse at the meeting were General
Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, Treasurer
Dulles Alahapperuma and People's Bank
Chairman, Attorney Karunajeewa.
sources said the meeting also saw tension
between Rajapakse and Sirisena with several
organisers calling in what the General
Secretary saw as an orchestrated move for
the Senior Presidential Advisor to take the
leadership role in the Colombo or Gampaha
sources said Rajapakse also announced at the
meeting that the UNP defectors would be
contesting with the UPFA at the next
said there were five UNP MPs from Colombo
who would have to be accommodated on the
UPFA list and sacrifices would have to be
made by the SLFP organisers.
learned several organisers had asked whether
the UNP defectors would be contesting as
SLFP members and were told that they would
contest as alliance partners on the UPFA
ticket.Informed sources also said there was
a proposal for Basil Rajapakse to take over
the Gampaha District leadership and contest
from the district but that he had said while
he was handling the development efforts in
the district no decision was yet taken on
contesting from the area.
learned Western Provincial Council Member,
R. Kodikara had proposed that Rajapakse
contest from the Colombo District but that
he rejected the offer stating there were
already many leaders from Colombo.
Warning for those
aiding child soldiers
Bush signs into law the CSA Act
President George W. Bush on Friday signed
into law a bill that would allow the United
States to track down, prosecute and deport
military commanders, including those in Sri
Lanka, found guilty of using children in
LTTE and the TMVP have been accused by the
UN and other international agencies of
recruiting children into their military
ranks for use in combat.
Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008", passed
with support from both American political
parties, makes recruitment of children under
15 a federal offence and allows the US
government to file charges against both US
citizens and non-citizens who are in the
United States.The law allows the US to
deport individuals who have recruited child
soldiers, or impose penalties of up to 20
years imprisonment for offenders.
American court may also sentence to life
imprisonment, a person found to have caused
death by recruiting a child combatant.
exploitation of children as soldiers
persists in many armed conflicts because
child recruiters are rarely held
accountable," said Jo Becker, children's
rights advocate for Human Rights Watch.
tells military commanders worldwide that
they cannot recruit children into their
forces and then seek safe haven in the
"International tribunals are beginning to
prosecute individuals for recruiting child
soldiers, but almost no national governments
have done so," said Becker. "The United
States is giving real leadership to efforts
to end the use of child soldiers."
Richard Durbin authored the bipartisan bill,
which he introduced together with Senators
Tom Coburn, Russell Feingold, and Sam
Brownback. Countries in which children are
known to have been used in hostilities
between 2004 and 2007 include: Afghanistan,
Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic,
Chad, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic
Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Iraq,
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian
Territories, Nepal, Philippines, Somalia,
Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, and Uganda.
Tells CWC to lobby
SB asks for UNP deputy leader post
National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake has
offered to contest for the Central
Province chief minister post and sought the deputy leader post of the party.
Leader learns Dissanayake has solicited the
support of the CWC and asked the party to
lobby for him for the two posts with the UNP
learned Dissanayake had met CWC Leader,
Minister Arumugam Thondaman and Senior Vice
President R. Yogarajan and said he was
prepared to contest for the chief minister
post of the
Central Province with CWC
also said the CWC must tell the UNP
leadership to appoint him as deputy leader
with his assurance that he will not
challenge Wickremesinghe for the leadership
at any point.It is further learned that
Dissanayake has sought a position in the
party higher than Hambantota District MP
sources said the CWC has communicated to
Wickremesinghe Dissanayake's proposals and
extended the party's support.
the UNP is working out a formula for the
appointment of a deputy leader on the basis
of party seniority.
is to also create a post of assistant leader
though there is no decision yet whether
there will be an election for the post or
President decides to
withdraw retirement Gazette
Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday decided to
withdraw the Gazette notification, which was
introduced in August giving him the
authority to extend the retirement age of
any public servant he considered necessary.
President extended the retirement age of
Attorney General C.R. de Silva in terms of
the said Gazette No.1563/7.
validity of the Gazette was subsequently
challenged in the Supreme Court by the
Centre for Policy Alternatives with the
Chief Justice informing court that an order
on the validity of the Gazette would be
given on Monday, October 6 unless it is
withdrawn by the government.
also indicated that all indictments signed
by the Attorney General from August 26, the
day the Attorney General was due to retire
would be rendered a nullity if the Gazette
is invalid.It is learned the Attorney
General on Tuesday met President Rajapakse
and informed his decision to resign without
coming into conflict with the Judiciary and
with a view to maintaining the dignity of
President, it is learned decided Friday to
repeal the Gazette and introduce a new
Gazette which was earlier in force giving
the Chief Executive the authority to retain
a public servant in office after he retires
from service. The Attorney General however
had indicated he does not wish to continue
in office under controversial circumstances
and submitted his papers to retire from
learned the intention of repealing Gazette
No. 1563/7 and introducing the new Gazette
is to save at least 125 indictments, which
were filed after August 26 including the
case against journalist J.S. Tissainayagam.
Informed sources said if the indictments are
declared invalid those in custody on the
basis of the indictments will have to be
legal sources said the President will have
to make an acting appointment for the
Attorney General's post by October 9.
sources said outgoing Attorney General de
Silva will leave a void in the department
that would be hard to fill.
SL likely to be hit by
global economic crisis warns CCC
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
chambers have voiced concern over the US
economic crisis, as the impact on the real
side of the Sri Lankan economy would be much
more significant than that on the financial
Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC),
Dr. Anura Ekanayake says that the US and EU
are the two main traditional export
destinations of Sri Lanka and any recession
or growth slowdown will have a definite and
significant impact on demand for Sri Lankan
industrial exports have already felt this as
orders have declined. Although the commodity
exports are doing well at the moment, a
global slow down and higher domestic
inflation could affect this sector as well.
On the services side, tourism will be
affected. But since these markets have been
declining due to the security situation for
some time, the impact would be limited," Dr.
Ekanayake said.As for the sectors that would
be affected by the present US economic
crisis, Dr. Ekanayake explained that the
apparel and rubber products account for
about 86% of Sri Lanka's exports to the USA
and these are the two main sectors that
would be affected. "Other high value added
exports to US will also be affected. On the
services side, tourism will be affected
although the impact would be less," he
said that on the financial side, the impact
would be minimal, as Sri Lanka is not
heavily integrated with Western markets. The
foreign investors who have invested in the
domestic stock market may pull out if they
are squeezed for liquidity in foreign
markets. "But since the total foreign
investment in CSE as a percentage is low,
this effect if at all is likely to be
small," he said.
the credit crisis will affect Sri Lanka's
borrowing in the international market, in
terms of having to pay a higher risk
premium. In the present global context, Sri
Lanka could also be seen as a good frontier
market and this may work in favour. The
probability of the former effect dominating
is higher," Dr. Ekanayake further added.
on the strengthening of the dollar, Dr.
Ekanayake said that in international
markets, the dollar was depreciating fast
(due to fundamental factors) previously and
this resulted in investors taking positions
in Euros and other currencies. As investors
began reversing their positions (the
speculators have taken the dollar too low),
the dollar started to appreciate but was
stopped short due to the financial market
temporary appreciation that we see in the
market now is because of this fundamental
correction process resuming as investor
confidence increases at the prospect of a
bail out," he said.
appreciation pressure on the dollar against
the rupee however comes from a different
angle as the domestic banks run out of
dollar reserves and tries to buy dollars in
the market to make use of an arbitrague
as a remedial measure, Dr. Ekanayake
explained that the Central Bank could
intervene in the forex market to stabilise
it and prevent fluctuations that are not
consistent with underlying fundamentals and
however means that the Central Bank would
lose reserves," he said
Govt. says UN agencies
refused to stay in Wanni
government initially had requested two UN
agencies, the World Food Programme (WFP) and
the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
to continue to remain in the Wanni, a
suggestion that was rejected by the UN
office in Colombo.
UNHCR were initially requested to continue
in the Wanni, but they quite reasonably felt
that it would place too much of a burden on
their staff. As a result, the government has
now come to understandings with these
agencies that will ensure supplies of food,
medicine and other necessities in the weeks
ahead," the Government Peace Secretariat
said last week in a web posting.
government on September 5 informed all UN
and other INGOs working in the Wanni to
relocate to government controlled areas
since their security could not be
guaranteed. When the agencies finally
relocated on September 16 and 26, they also
said that the security situation in the
Wanni had deteriorated that they could no
longer work there. The government however
allowed the ICRC to remain in the Wanni.
relocation last week the government and UN
were able to send the first convoy of food
into the Wanni on October 2. Thirty WFP
trucks and 21 trucks organised by the
government agents transported 650 metric
tonnes of food. Nine trucks from a total of
30 organised by the government agents were
detained in Vavuniya when banned items
including C-4 explosives were recovered from
international staff members and Nagalingam
Vedanayagam, the government agent for
Kilinochchi accompanied the convoy from
Vavuniya. The UN officials would monitor the
distribution and remain in the Wanni till
the distribution of supplies concludes.
Commissioner General of Essential Services
S. B. Divaratane said that the government
planned to organise at least one weekly
convoy with UN participation - "that is the
plan, to move one supply convoy per week."
took a northeastern route through
Puliyankulam and Oddusudan, circumventing
Kilinochchi to reach the over 221,000 IDPs
now remaining north east of Kilinochchi.
GMOA to resort to trade union action
By Nirmala Kannangara
Health Ministry takes action against those
who harass doctors and arrange for the
safety of doctors, the Government Medical
Officers' Association (GMOA) will be
compelled to take strong trade union action,
GMOA sources told The Sunday Leader.
recent killing of a female doctor in
Hambantota the GMOA has decided to take
action against the relevant authorities in
order to safeguard its members whose lives
are in danger.
consider the very recent incidents where the
government doctors were either killed or
assaulted, the Health Ministry should take
deterrent action to prevent such incidents
happening in the future. If the authorities
concerned are not ready to safeguard their
own employees there is no other way but to
take stern action," Committee Member GMOA,
Dr. Chandika Hathurusinghe told The Sunday
to Dr. Hathurusinghe although the recent two
assaults on doctors in Kandy and Ragama by
the security personnel have been intimated
to the Health Ministry nothing has been done
so far to apprehend the culprits.
air force personnel who were drunk had
assaulted a doctor in front of the
Katugastota Police Station; and in Ragama,
some army recruits have assaulted yet
another doctor travelling in the train.
These incidents were brought to the notice
of Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on
several occasions but to no avail," added
Hathurusinghe further stated that although
the GMOA does not want to initiate trade
union action they would have no other option
but to resort trade union action to get
the government to ensure their safety.
Army declares no fire zone in Wanni
The Army yesterday declared a 10 km no-fire zone east of
the A9 to facilitate civilian movement out
of areas of fighting safely, military
spokesperson Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said.
“We will not engage any targets on the zone that runs from
Visvamadhu (in the north) to Oddusudan (in
the south). People can make use of the road
to come down to government controlled
areas,” he told The Sunday Leader yesterday.
Most of civilians who have fled the fighting now remain on
the Paranthan-Mulaithivu highway that runs
through Visvamadu. The latest humanitarian
reports filed by the UN said that of the
220,000 IDP’s in the Wanni, over 140,000 now
remained in the Mulaithivu District. There
is a minor road that connects the Visvamadhu/
Puthukudirruppu area with Oddusdan that lies
on the southern Mankulam-Mulaithivu highway.
Defence Secretary Gottabaya Rajapakse too had earlier
suggested that civilians take a route out
that would take them to Oddusudan and then
south to avoid fighting that has now centred
on Kilinochchi. The first aid convoy into
the Vanni since the relocation of UN and
other agencies that travelled from Vavuniya
under UN flag on October 2, also took the
eastern route through Oddusudan
circumventing Kilinochchi to reach the tens
of thousands of IDP’s. The military had
directed the convoy to travel east even
before Mankulam as planned earlier due to
fighting. However, yesterday there was no
confirmation from the UN and the ICRC, the
only international agency still with a
permanent presence in the Wanni, that they
had been officially informed of the no fire
Mahatma Gandhi's visit to Nainamadama
Gandhi's visit to Suwarajapura in
Nainamadama in 1927 and 1941 was
commemorated in Nainamadama recently. Prof.
Raspal Malhothra, an Indian High Commission
official, former Archbishop Frank Marcus,
Catholic priests, Buddhist monks, Muslim
religious leaders, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation
members, politicians, opposition members and
foreign delegates participated in this event
at the premises of the Church of Our Lady
of Sorrows on October 2 at 4 p.m.
event at the celebration was the presence of
an old lady who first welcomed the late
Gandhi when he paid a visit to this place.
The old lady and Prof. Malhothra unveiled
the memorial of Gandhi. Brother Charles
conducted a choral service.
NCPA office in Vavuniya yet to start work
By Shezna Shums
opened National Child Protection Authority (NCPA)
office in Vavuniya is yet to begin its
office was opened in Vavuniya late last
month. Plans are also afoot to have
counselors at transit camps to provide
counselling services to the displaced
families and children.
branch was establishedin expectation of the
needs of the displaced persons making their
way to Vavuniya.
Chairman, NCPA, Jagath Wellawatte told The
Sunday Leader that the office is yet to
receive any displaced persons who needed its
said that a special child
protection-monitoring unit was set up to
meet the needs of the displaced persons who
were making their way to Vavuniya.
Railway strike a success claim unions
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Railway unions that launched a strike
from yesterday claimed it was a success with
the Railway Department being able to run
only 15 trains yesterday morning and
The Locomotive Operating Engineers Union,
Sri Lanka Railways Engine Drivers Union and
Sri Lanka Railway Guards Union launched a
strike from midnight Friday to highlight the
faulty signaling system in use in the
country and the need to conduct a full
inquiry into the matter as well as last
week’s train crash in Ganemulla and to
reinstate the four railway employees who
have been suspended from working following
the Ganemulla crash.
According to the unions, the Railway
Department has managed to run 15 trains
yesterday morning and the same numbers in
the evening using the services of retired
employees, district railway supervisors and
The unions further claimed that the
Railway authorities without conducting a
complete inquiry into the Ganemulla railway
rash and investigating into the faulty
signaling system unanimously decide to
suspend four railway employees.
Secretary, Locomotive Operating
Engineers’ Union, Mahinda Karunaratne told
The Sunday Leader that the faulty
signaling system was the key reason for the
Ganemulla railway accident where two express
trains operating on the same railway line
collided, killing one person while injuring
many others on board.
Karunaratne said that the four employees
who were suspended from work should be
reinstated as the fault for the accident lay
in the faulty signaling system.
Power sector affected due to brain drain
By Nirmala Kannangara
A brain drain in the Ceylon Electricity
Board (CEB) has resulted in many setbacks
with regard to power projects in the
country, the CEB Engineers’ Union (CEBEU)
The Power and Energy Ministry’s failure
to give a free hand to the engineers to
discharge their duties and curtailing
foreign training have led to the present
situation according to the CEBEU. The CEBEU
however said they are expecting the new
management to revert the trend, if the
government needs to retain the remaining
handful of electrical engineers with the CEB.
"This problem started a couple of years
ago and became worse during former Chairman
CEB, Udaya Sri Kariyawasam’s tenure. The
more our union tried to edify the superiors
of the consequences that would follow, they
imposed more restrictions," sources claimed.
According to sources, this problem has
badly affected the new recruitment drive as
well, where a steady decline can be seen
when electrical undergraduates join the CEB.
"Although the CEB is urgently in need of 190
electrical engineers to carry forward the
power project work, it has become difficult
to recruit them," claimed the sources.
The sources further added that a lack of
senior engineers mainly in the transmission
design branch has made it difficult for the
unit to function.
"This would become a serious issue unless
the government intervenes to settle the
matter. Earlier the engineers were given a
free hand to discharge their duties, and
proper foreign training was provided that
would be beneficial for the institution on
the long run. But of late it has been found
that it is either the ministry officials or
the officials attached to the Sustainable
Energy Authority, who do not have any
knowledge of electrical engineering who are
granted the foreign training which was
unrealistic," the sources said.
Milk powder sold in Sri Lanka is safe
By Shezna Shums
The Ministry of Health has said that the
milk powder sold in Sri Lanka is safe for
consumption and that there is no evidence of
The Health Ministry issued this statement
following the deaths of children due to
consumption of milk powder contaminated with
melamine in China.
Sri Lanka has sent 15 brands of milk
powder to Singapore to be tested for any
contamination, and hopes to carry out tests
locally at the Institute of Industrial
Meanwhile officials from the Chemical and
Microbiology Laboratory, ITI, stated that
any product could get contaminated if not
However the ITI is not a regulatory body
to carry out these checks independently and
ban any such products.
Kili Hospital to be shifted
The Kilinochchi Hospital is to be shifted
to another location following attacks near
its vicinity last week, hospital officials
Director of the Kilinochchi Hospital Dr.
Thangamuthu Sathyamurthi told The Sunday
Leader that he would write to the
Ministry of Health with regard to the
shifting of the hospital.
Hospital activities however continued
despite attacks around its premises and
nearby areas last week, Dr. Sathyamurthi
The hospital employees have been asked to
be in safe areas when there are air and
"They have been asked to be near the
walls in order to protect themselves from
fragments from the blasts."
Attacks targeting LTTE administrative
buildings in Kilinochchi increased during
last week. The LTTE Peace Secretariat and
the main office of the Tiger Police also
came under attack last week by the air force
on two consecutive days — October 2 and 3.
Easterners in the Western Province told
Persons who have come to the Western
Province from the east during the last five
years have been instructed by the police to
re-register themselves with the respective
police stations today (5).
Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith
Gunasekara told The Sunday Leader
that persons of all communities are expected
to register adding that it was not targeting
a specific community.
Civil rights organisations raised
concerns over the re-registering of persons,
stating that it was conducted on ethnic
lines. "So far these programmes are being
conducted on ethnic lines. Whatever the
police spokesman says it is only the members
of the Tamil community who are singled out
and queued up for registration. We call upon
the government to stop this ethnic
profiling," Convener of the Civil Monitoring
Commission (CMC) and Colombo District MP
Mano Ganesan said. "Tamils cannot as a
community face this public slur anymore."
"No. This is not only for Tamils alone.
All the people who have come to the Western
Province should re-register themselves with
their respective police stations." The
police said that the registering process is
carried out for census purposes.
Unions warn of complete standstill in school
By Nirmala Kannangara
Attempts to get the A/Level answer
scripts evaluated by force would hinder the
education process, the Ceylon Teachers’
Union (CTU) said.
Following the Education Ministry’s
directive to call for the explanation of
teachers who do not join the paper
evaluation process, government teachers who
have not applied for paper marking had to
adhere to the Ministry directive. According
to CTU sources, the teachers were not in the
best mental condition although they
evaluated the A/Level papers.
"This is the sad side of the episode as
those whose services were obtained by force
have not done their work properly. We were
told that they were not in a proper state of
mind and in such a backdrop the results
would certainly hinder the future of the
A/Level students," President, CTU, Joseph
Stalin told The Sunday Leader.
According to Stalin, the Examinations
Department has failed to hold seminars for
the teachers who did paper marking.
Stalin further said that the Education
Ministry’s failure to rectify the salary
anomalies in the teacher/principle service
would bring the school activities to a
complete standstill within the next few
However refuting the trade union charges,
Commissioner of Examinations Anura
Edirisinghe told The Sunday Leader
that the paper evaluation would end by
today, October 5, and said that only
qualified teachers were deployed for the
paper marking and guaranteed the accuracy of
CWC condemns Fonseka’s statement on
The CWC has condemned Army Commander
Sarath Fonseka’s claim that Sri Lanka
belongs to the Sinhalese and that minorities
should not make undue demands.
Senior Vice President of the CWC, R.
Yogarajan on Friday said it was medieval
thinking to believe one community is bigger
than the other.
"Today we are in a modern world where
there is citizenship and every citizen is
equal. For the Army Commander to say 75% of
the people are Sinhalese and others can stay
here but they can’t demand rights is totally
unacceptable and condemnable," Yogarajan
He also said an Army Commander is not
supposed to talk like he has done and has no
right to make political statements.