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KP speaks Out

In an exclusive interview with The Island in Colombo yesterday, Pathmanathan, former confidant of the slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and the outfit’s main arms procurer, discussed a wide range of issues, including his capture in Kuala Lumpur last August, breakdown of various attempts to negotiate peace and a desperate bid to thwart annihilation of the LTTE‘s military leadership in May 2009.

Pathmanathan, in a light brown kurta, black slacks and matching shoes could have easily walked the streets of the city without being identified as one of the key LTTE leaders, who had helped build the organisation as a ruthlessly efficient terrorist group over the past three decades. He sat on a couch asking the writer to fire away in what turned out to be a three-hour interview in which he spelt out his plans in support of on-going rebuilding efforts of the government.

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Why Maligawa Road should not be reopened

The current proposal to reopen the road stretch adjacent to the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy is being met with a show of approval as well as opposition, though on the whole the response on the part of the local Buddhist laity as well as the clergy has been rather lukewarm either way for some inexplicable reason. In any case, it appears that a final decision is yet to be taken in this regard. The delay affords the authorities an opportunity to reconsider the wisdom of restoring an anomaly on the sacred Maligawa premises that should have been permanently removed long ago.

Surprisingly, however, the Malwatte Prelate has no objection to the reopening of the road, while the Central Province Governor is opposed to the move as reported in The Island newspaper on July 6 and 8 respectively. We hope that the wiser counsel of the Governor will prevail.

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One on one with the Defense Secretary

Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Gotabhaya Rajapaksa spoke to Daily Mirror online on the trial of General Sarath Fonseka, the support of the international community in apprehending the remaining elements of the LTTE and other issues.

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UN Panel: Contradictions all over

The three member panel of experts that has been appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon on June 23 to advise himself on “accountability issues relating to alleged violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian law, during the final stages of the war against the LTTE” has created somewhat a crisis situation in Sri Lanka, with Housing Minister and National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa starting a protest and a fast in front of the UN compound in Colombo last week.

With the protest by the NFF on Tuesday taking a violent turn the UN has decided to temporarily close its Colombo office and to take UNDP regional office away from Sri Lanka. The reactions by the leaders of the Government to the UN Secretary General’s move to appoint a Panel on the issue and the counter reaction by the UN officials raise more questions than answers.

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Lanka must break the back of poverty to become Asian miracle

Import substitution would not help Sri Lanka create jobs, eradicate poverty and become the miracle of Asia, but by developing an export economy, making it easy for investors to do business, abandoning emotional nationalism and establishing the rule of law and integrity could take Sri Lanka closer to its goals.

J. Jegathesan, consultant to the government of Japan on African Development and a former top ranking official of the Malaysia Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), said Malaysia was where it was today because it abandoned import substitution policies and adopted an aggressive strategy to develop its exports.

"The (thirty year war on terrorism is over) now the war on poverty is the greatest war and everyone in Sri Lanka has to make a push and break the back of poverty within the next five years. This should happen not because someone wishes it so, no matter how senior the person is. Everybody should want it," he said, addressing the Sri Lanka Economic Summit and 24th conference of Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Colombo yesterday.

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