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F7 jet squadron celebrates 30-year service to nation



…Over 600 strikes during 2006-2009 war

The No 5 Jet Squadron that carried over 600 air sorties celebrates its 30th anniversary today (Feb 1). The SLAF acquired Chinese jets in the wake of Eelam War II. SLAF headquarters yesterday (31) issued the following statement on the No 5 squadron: The No 5 was formed with the induction of two new FT-7 jet trainers based at Katunayake under the command of Sqn Ldr H.D. Abeywickrema. At the same year the fleet was enhanced by further acquisition a FT-7 trainer and four F-7 “Airguard” day fighters. These were the first jet aircraft added to the SLAF’s inventory since the retirement of Mig-17s and Jet provost T-Mk-51s which were used from 1970s. F-7BS was mainly designated for Battlefield Air Support for ground operations, Air Interception, Air Interdiction and Armed Reconnaissance roles.

“Sqn Ldr P Gunasinghe, Flt Lt SK Pathirana, Flt Lt IJI Wijetilleke and Flt Lt S Hendawitharane were first pilots in SLAF history to break the speed of sound and consider as the pioneers in the supersonic fighter age. The squadron’s initial operations commenced from SLAF Base Katunayake but was soon moved to SLAF China Bay in 1994 as measure of reducing the response time to act promptly for operational requirements. However, due to security concerns it was later resifted to its home Base Katunayake in 1996.

“As an extent of enhancing the No 5 Fighter Squadron’s Air Interdiction and specialized low level strike capability, six Russian MiG-27 and one MiG 23UB trainer were inducted to the squadron in 2000.

“2007 was a remarkable year to SLAF and to No 5 Fighter Squadron in terms of fleet enhancement. Modern F-7 GS which is the advanced version of F-7 BS in relation to avionics including an AI Radar, sophisticated weapons delivery system with Air to Air missile strike capability and user-friendly glass cockpit was inducted. 

“Much needed and well maintained SLAF air superiority over the nation was threatened with the emergence of LTTE air wing followed by the first air space intrusion in 26 March 2007. Newly introduced F-7 ‘Air guard’ fighter was called upon with expectations to live up to its literal reputation, being the first supersonic interceptor with air to air strike capability with PL-5E passive IR guided air to air missiles and 30mm cannon guns in its arsenal.

” In the course of the squadrons remarkable trail it has been commanded by ten Commanding Officers. Shouldering its responsibility as the cradle of fighter pilots the squadron has produced more than 25 pilots who were the front-line fighters to face the brutal enemy counter attacks, delivering tons of explosives to weaken the enemies’ moral to fight back in the prolonged Eelam war.

“No 5 Squadron has contributed its effort promptly and effectively whenever it was called upon with distinction and honour performing multitude Counter Air and Counter Surface Force Operations conducting an excess of 600 flying sorties during the humanitarian operation. The results of these efforts were clearly manifested in the nation’s ultimate victory over terrorism.

No 5 fighter Squadron continue to render its service to the nation as the leading air defence platform guarding the skies of our mother land and will continue to prosper in future with the newest updates and highly trained crew.”


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DG Information ignorant of basic election laws and regulations: ECSL




The Election Commission (EC) has expressed its disappointment at controversial statements made by some public officials about elections. It says some top government official, including the Director General of Government Information, are not familiar with the basic election laws and regulations laid down in the Constitution.

The EC says it may be due to his ignorance that the Director General of Government Information has issued the Special News Release, on 29 January, claiming that ‘the gazette notification, with the signatures of the Chairman, and other members of the Election Commission, required for the commencement of the Local Government Election process, has not yet been sent to the Government Press for printing’. The EC has said such notices have to be signed and sent by the relevant Returning Officers in accordance with section 38 of the Local Authorities Election (Amendment Act) No 16 of 2017, and not by the members of the EC.

The EC has confirmed that the notices from the Returning Officers were sent to the Government Press on Monday (30).

The EC’s Media release also points out that the DGI may be unaware that Article 104GG of the Constitution states that if any public official refuses or fails without a reasonable cause to comply with the Commission he or she has committed an offence.

Article 104GG of the Constitution says: (1) Any public officer, any employee of any public corporation, business or other undertaking vested in the Government under any other written law and any company registered or deemed to be registered under the Companies Act, No. 7 of 2007, in which the Government or any public corporation or local authority holds fifty percent or more of the shares of that company, who – (a) refuses or fails without a reasonable cause to cooperate with the Commission, to secure the enforcement of any law relating to the holding of an election or the conduct of a Referendum; or (b) fails without a reasonable cause to comply with any directions or guidelines issued by the Commission under sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (4) or sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (5), respectively, of Article 104B, shall be guilty of an offense and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand rupees or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

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AKD says no improvement at Sapugaskanda oil refinery since it went into production in 1969



The capacity of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery (SOR) has not increased since it was established in 1969, National People’s Power (NPP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake says.

Speaking at a public rally recently he that in 1969, the SOR used the most advanced technology available at the time.

“CPC started construction in 1968 and SOR started operations, refining oil, on August 5th, 1969. During that time, the CPC could refine 50,000 MT of crude oil. 55 years later, the capacity remains the same. In 1969, the CPC started with the most advanced technology available at the time. Technology has improved now. We are still refining oil with 1969 technology,” he said.

Dissanayake said that Sri Lanka built a fertiliser factory to use the byproducts of the refinery and, in 1982, a newspaper reported that 5000 MT of urea, produced by that factory, was exported to Pakistan. Today, that factory is closed.

“The CPC also had a nylon factory, as a subsidiary. We built our own nylon thread fish nets. By-products of the refinery were used as pesticides and insecticides for our pineapple and flower production. Those factories were closed, too. We had a candle industry from the by-products, we produced lubricant oil. It was sold to American Caltex. Refinery produced fuel for airplanes. It has the capacity to sell USD 1.4 million worth airplane fuel per day. We can buy crude oil, refine, and sell to ships. These are opportunities we must use to earn foreign currency. Recently this section of the CPC was privatized,” he said.

The ruling class has failed to secure even the most important assets, he said. Agriculture, land, gems, ilmenite, our natural resources, so will these rulers protect what is left, he asked.

“They have absolutely no plan to build this country. Selling our resources, closing down factories and selling valuable machinery is what they know. Every government has taken part in the destruction of the refinery. This is why we need a change in the economy. We need to transform our economy. Only NPP can do that,” he said.

The NPP leader said that the existing constitution concentrates too much power in the hands of the executive president. Sri Lanka has had this executive presidential system for 40 years and executive power was used against the people, repressing them.

“Our economy was destroyed. It has done no good to this country. One man cannot develop the country. Individuals have capacities and limitations. We need to unite our capabilities to govern this country. It’s a collective effort and the NPP is the only party to undertake it. That’s the point of difference. There are talented people from all fields like history, economy, mathematics, law and so on. There are lawyers, university academics and professionals. The government has to unite these capacities and talents to bring optimum results for the country. NPP will do that. For that we have to abolish executive presidency and rewrite the constitution vesting more powers in the Parliament. We will bring about this change,” he said.

Dissanayake said an NPP administration will limit the number of Ministers to 18. He added that crossovers have distorted the democratic system and corrupted the political culture.

“People vote for them in one party but for money and positions they change political allegiance. This has become a public nuisance. Some MPs demand ransom to stay in the party. We will add a provision to the Constitution to ban crossing over,” he said.

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JVP: Where are President’s influential foreign friends?



By Rathindra Kuruwita 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who assumed duties, claiming that he had very influential friends overseas, now claims he can hardly afford to pay government servants, National People’s Power (NPP) MP Vijitha Herath says.

“If anything, things are worse than before. The government is afraid of the people and is trying to postpone elections,” Herath said, adding that the March 09 local council election would mark the beginning of the end for the Ranil-Rajapaksa administration.

Herath said so addressing an NPP election rally recently.

 “They will no longer be able to pretend that the people are with them. Not that they have any legitimacy, locally or internationally, but the level of their unpopularity will be seen on 10 March,, when the poll results are announced” he said.

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