Six Tamil and Muslim civilians and an army soldier were killed, and 26 others, including four soldiers in civvies, were injured, when the bus in which they were travelling was blasted by a claymore mine in Parayanalankulam, 28 km North West of Vavuniya in North Sri Lanka on Saturday.
The government's National Security website blamed the LTTE for the attack and said that it was meant to disrupt the Security Forces' "humanitarian missions launched to free the civilian population from terror clutches."
However, according to the pro-LTTE website, Tamilnet the deed was done by Sri Lankan military intelligence.
Mahinda moves to check defections
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has swiftly moved to check the 18 defectors from the opposition United National Party (UNP) from going back to the UNP.
At a meeting with them on Friday, Rajapaksa promised each one of them SLRs.50 million for spending on special projects under their respective ministries.
Though all defectors were made ministers, none of them enjoyed real power and there was unrest. Earlier this week, one of them, Deputy Minister of Railways, Edward Gunasekara, went back to the UNP.
Political observers say that SLRs 50 million is "peanuts" and that the President has not addressed the main issue – concentration of power in his office and his the trio comprising himself and his two brothers, Basil Rajapaksa, the Advisor, and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary.
Most high value projects and programmes are directly under the President's purview and all major non-military decisions are taken by Basil Rajapaksa.
Multi-ethnicity and cricketing success
In an unusual message to mark Easter this year, the Anglican Bishop of Colombo, Rt.Rev Duleep de Chickera, has said that multi-ethnicity has been a "remarkable" factor in ensuring the success of the Sri Lankan cricket team in the on-going Word Cup tournament.
One of the two main reasons for the team's high performance was its ethno-religious diversity, he said.
"At this time of world cup fervour, we would do well to remember that it is not just the prowess of our team that is noteworthy. Its visible unity in ethno-religious diversity that enhances performance is also most remarkable," he pointed out.