Political Column
Rajapaksa calms down India

On the eve of Tiger guerrilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's 53rd birthday last year, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, told Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency, "if all goes to plan it will be his last." Evidently, things did not go to plan. The guerrilla leader has survived that threat. His cadres are busy in the Mullaitivu district preparing for the 54th birthday on November 26. Notwithstanding the war, in practically every village there, civilian committees have been set up to devise plans for celebrations on a large scale.

5th Column
America, change we can! Lemme show you the door to Paradise!
“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about the budget?”
“Why,” Bindu’s father Percy asked, “who is fussing about the budget?”
Situation Report
Fall of Pooneryn: Crushing blow to Tigers

There are strong indications that the Tiger guerrillas are coming under heavy military pressure on many fronts. The latest came yesterday. Troops backed by main battle tanks and helicopter gunships made a pre-dawn foray southwards into Tiger guerrilla defences in the now shut down Muhamalai entry exit point. Heavy fighting broke out and both sides suffered casualties. The battles continue. There were reports that the guerrillas carried out gas attacks.

Thoughts from London
Linking arms in fight against terrorism
I was particularly glad to note Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's mention at the recent summit of BIMSTEC- some countries in the periphery of the Bay of Bengal and a couple farther away-that it represented the link between South Asia and South East Asia. It was a point I had made some months earlier in relation to Asian regional cooperation efforts and our own diplomatic neglect over the years to pay close and serious attention to bilateral relations with some of the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Economic Analysis
Tilting towards import substitution
Several critics have characterised the budget as one which was leaning towards socialism. This view was largely based on the budgetary measures to control imports, add new taxes and impose cesses on some imports. The government continues to insist on the policy of not privatising any state enterprises, though it persists in investing in the loss making non viable Mihinair for non economic reasons. Returning to socialism is a far cry today as it would be near impossible to gain ownership of the commanding heights of the economy.
What Budget debate! It’s time for that mud-slinging match
For months it was the high oil prices in the world market that was the excuse trotted out for the increase in prices of essential goods, which most people had to grin and bear. And now a global recession has set in affecting the most affluent of societies and people here are told that we have to consider ourselves fortunate that the country is not in the same predicament as any of our counterparts, at least not yet, all due to the wise economic policies set in motion by President Mahinda Rajapkasa.
Focus on Rights
Not issued with this week
Inside the glass house
United Nations of sinners finding refuge in religion

When the UN held a virtual summit meeting on "culture of peace" last week, most of the world leaders who addressed the General Assembly were from Muslim countries who were concerned about the spread of Islamophobia -- specifically in Europe. The meeting, which focused on inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding, was an initiative of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who apparently convinced his co-religionists to participate in the summit.
So, when the President of the General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, ......

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