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Mobile phones: Is there an epidemic on hold?

The world’s most important study into the dangers of mobile-phone use raises serious worries, writes Geoffrey Lean.

It is as if the Pope were to advise us to disregard his past pronouncements as fatally fallible, Lord’s was to declare that umpiring decisions there had long been biased, or Gordon Brown were to confess that his 13 years of managing the economy were a disaster.

This week, the scientists who had completed one of the world’s biggest and most important health studies effectively admitted that it had wasted everyone’s time.

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Prabhakaran’s flawed strategy sealed LTTE fate: Rohan Gunaratna

The LTTE chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, was thought to be a military genius and invincible by most Sri Lankan and international analysts. Admittedly, he did hold the Sri Lankan state to ransom for three decades, and performed many military feats. But ultimately, he completely failed.

Asked to explain the dramatic turn of events in the course of 2008-2009, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna, Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological Universityin Singaporesaid that Prabhakaran made two strategic mistakes: One was to transform his guerilla and terrorist outfit into a conventional armed force. The other was to believe that the Sri Lankan state could be militarily defeated.

“Turning the LTTE into a conventional army was the single biggest mistake Prabhakaran had made,” Gunaratna told Express over the phone on Tuesday.

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Role of Sri Lanka Intelligence Services

One of the most important aspects in Sri Lanka’s successful war against LTTE terrorism has been its covert operations. In fact, clandestine operations, undertaken by different branches of the state intelligence apparatus, particularly the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Naval Intelligence, gave the military a hitherto unavailable edge to the government, though the LTTE Intelligence, too, scored significant successes during the conflict.

The police also in their investigations into LTTE activity made major breakthroughs, thereby helping the overall military effort against the LTTE.

As the country celebrates the first anniversary of the armed forces’ triumph over the LTTE with a series of events, culminating with an unprecedented military parade on May 20, it would be pertinent to discuss the contribution made by the intelligence services.

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Were the General and JVP Involved in a Coup Conspiracy?

A striking facet of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s intriguing personality is the candour he displays in some media interviews. Instead of bluffing, sidestepping or trying to wriggle out of answering tricky questions the Defence secretary responds directly and fields them in a frank, forthright manner.

This characteristic was very much evident in the telephonic interview given by the Presidential sibling on Wednesday Feb 10th evening to Ravi Velloor of the Singapore –based “Straits Times” barely 48 hours after the controversial arrest and detention of ex-Army commander and defeated Presidential election candidate General Sarath Fonseka.

Given the furore surrounding the arrest one may have expected the Defence secretary to be a little evasive or “diplomatic” in commenting about the retired four –star general but  Gotabhaya –true to form –  was  bluntly open and pulled no punches in answering.

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Deadline for Devolution - I

TNA leader R Sampanthan could not have put it better – that Sri Lanka should not miss the current opportunity to resolve the ethnic issue. Media reports have also quoted him as saying that his four-party Alliance would be willing to work with the Government to make progress in areas which would benefit the Tamil-speaking people and the country as a whole.

It is unclear – and would remain so, for tactical reasons for some more time – if the TNA is now ready for allowing the devolution process to evolve with the time, rather than wanting to have it all at one go, as the pre-war TULF and the LTTE later, had insisted. It would be tough however for the TNA in particular and the rest of the Tamil polity otherwise to start almost at the bottom, and expect things to take their shape in due course.

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