Victim Of Peace

The man who is seeking re-election as Sri Lanka's prime minister at April 2 polls halted an ethnic war raging for decades, but his handling of the peace process may have landed him in trouble. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe, 55, has turned the vote into a referendum on his internationally-backed bid to secure a permanent peace deal with Tamil Tiger rebels after establishing a truce in place since February 2002.

"The main issue at this election campaign is the peace process and the handling of the economy," Wickremesinghe said after unveiling a six-page document setting out his United National Party's program earlier this month.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga had accused him of risking national security and conceding too much to Tigers.

That was the basis for sacking the parliament controlled by him and calling polls four years ahead of schedule.

A nephew of Sri Lanka's first executive president, Junius Jayewardene, Wickremesinghe wooed the West as well as neighbouring India to win unprecedented support for ending the island's ethnic bloodshed that has claimed over 60,000 lives since 1972.

The dividends came in June last year when the international community promised US$ 4.5 bn in support of his peace drive to rebuild Sri Lanka.

But while he was in Washington to meet President George W. Bush, Kumaratunga pulled the rug under his feet by taking away his control over security forces in November last year.

What Wickremesinghe lacks in charisma, he makes up with his management skills.

"His public relations is almost non-existent, but his conflict management skills are very sharp," said a close confidant referring to his talks with the Tigers.

He managed to revive the economy in 2002 to record 4.0 percent growth, pulling the country from its first ever recession in 2001 when the GDP growth hit a negative 1.5 percent.

The markets also love Wickremesinghe. It was when he was effectively managing the economy that the country's stock exchange became the world's best gainer in early 1994.

It was set to establish another record last year just before the political crisis erupted and stockbrokers say the bourse is looking for a Wickremesinghe win. (Source: AFP)


Testing is the Focus of MSDN Magazine for April. Read articles on testing your code, including extreme programming with C#, stress testing, instrumentation, code coverage analysis, and lots more. [Read more]

Port Reporter

Yesterday, Microsoft released the nifty "Port Reporter" utility (here). The doohickey tracks and logs traffic on TCP and UDP ports. The tool isn't fancy, but potentially useful, considering recent worms like MyDoom open up ports to listen for hacking programs.

[Microsoft Monitor]

The Benefits of Going Local

Last week Microsoft announced the local language program, which provides tools that would allow governments and volunteers to adapt Windows XP or Office 2003 to the local lingo.

The program makes sense for a number of reasons:

* Microsoft can open new markets to its products without the investment of additional resources.

* Microsoft can demonstrate to local governments its commitment to cooperating with them and transcending language or cultural barriers. I see the latter point as more important, considering that Microsoft is an American company and that America is regarded in some countries as a local culture killer.

* By allowing locals to do the work, Microsoft increases the likelihood that Windows menus and other features will use the language in the right way and reflect dialectical differences among regions.

* The program creates an alternative to local Linux or other open-source software development. Microsoft software is already baked, so to speak, while, in many instances, local Linux and open-source development would be at the recipe stage. By providing tools to localize Windows, Microsoft can provide baked goods that locals can consume right away rather than write their own recipe and bake something new.

* Likewise, Microsoft can make its software a more appealing alternative to countries looking to build up indigenous software industries. Almost no company partners better than Microsoft, which is one reason for the company’s success. Microsoft hopes to woo more local government and developer support for building solutions on top of Windows, Office System or Windows Server System. Microsoft’s worst nightmare would be a China, India or Russia building a robust, indigenous software industry around Linux and other open-source code and begin to export lower-cost products that are as good as, say, Windows or Office.

[Microsoft Monitor]

Process Explorer

Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.

The Process Explorer display consists of two sub-windows. The top window always shows a list of the currently active processes, including the names of their owning accounts, whereas the information displayed in the bottom window depends on the mode that Process Explorer is in: if it is in handle mode you’ll see the handles that the process selected in the top window has opened; if Process Explorer is in DLL mode you’ll see the DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded. Process Explorer also has a powerful search capability that will quickly show you which processes have particular handles opened or DLLs loaded.

The unique capabilities of Process Explorer make it useful for tracking down DLL-version problems or handle leaks, and provide insight into the way Windows and applications work.  [Free Download]

Vaas & Murali

I thought this was really funny.

‘Sri Lanka's batting was hardly better than Australia's. It took a last-wicket stand of 79 (a national record) between Vaas (who played genuine cricket shots) and Murali (who'd obviously been watching plenty of golf and tennis) to take them into a 91-run lead.’ [CricInfo]

IrfanVIew – simpler, faster, and FREE

 Scoble recommends ACDsee to view your digital pictures, and I partially agree. I used it for a long time, but then.. somehow, it got big, and clumsy and heavy and bloated. Guess what? I use IrfanView now. It's free, and it shows you the picture much faster (like blinking fast) than ACDsee, and it's simpler and less bloated. Like Office, I'd only use like 2% of ACDSee's features anyway.


Your Vote

In the next election that you are going to vote, I would like to ask you to vote intelligently. Find out information yourself on which party is the most forward thinking and can guide the country through. We cannot rely on weak economic management that has marked Sri Lanka’s post-independence history.

Do some research and find out about the party your going to vote for and also about the other parties. Find out which party can actually lead the country. The party that you are going to vote for should not only have good intentions (like peace and improving the economy) but also be able to carry out on that.

So as someone who has access to the internet, you readily have a lot of information available to you. Please use them and decide. Your vote counts!

FYI: Websites that you should visit, read, be informed and then decide.


Political Parties

UNP Website:

PA Website:

JVP Website:


Related Pages

UPFA Manifesto:

UNP Manifesto (Regaining Sri Lanka):



ISGA (Tiger Proposal):

Ceasefire Agreement (MOU):


Peace Process: