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'Two of us fled. 75 other women killed themselves with grenades,' says Tamil Tiger

Apr 12 (Guardian) By the time Arulmathy and her fellow Tamil Tigers realised they were surrounded, it was too late. They had fallen asleep and now Sri Lankan soldiers were swarming into their bunker. Arulmathy watched aghast as 75 women she had fought beside for so many months reached for their hand grenades, pulled the pins and blew themselves to pieces, as they had been ordered to do. more..

Sports minister, who sacked Ranatunga, sought favours

Apr 12 (TI) Sports minister Gamini Lokuge, who removed Arjuna Ranatunga as chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), late last year, had in fact sought favours from him. There was interference in SLC’s functioning too. Ranatunga (a member of Parliament and a former deputy minister) didn’t oblige and, in his 35-page fundamental rights “application” before Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court, has listed instances when favours were asked. more..

Uncle Sam negotiates for ceasefire with Tigers

Apr 12 (LB) Powerful countries were exerting pressure on the government to initiate a ceasefire at week’s end. Meanwhile, the government has agreed to halt military operations for a period of 48 hours if the LTTE will release trapped civilians in the ‘No Fire Zone’. The ambassador for the United States in Sri Lanka, Robert O. Blake has told the government that the US had contacted the LTTE leadership through a third party and that the Tiger leadership was demanding a seven- day ceasefire if it was to release civilians. more..

Solutions based on 13th Amendment is not sufficient

Loping from camp to camp

Apr 12 (LB) Just when you thought Sri Lankan politics could not get any more meaningless, some fellows start making a career out of being members of more than one political party. Rohitha Bogollagama is still a member of the UNP because that party could not get him sacked after he crossed over to the government. We’ll let that go because this country no longer minds its politicians loping from camp to camp whenever it suits their individual needs. more..

Planned private sector labour laws irk unions

Apr 12 (LB) The government is hoping to amend labour laws in favour of company owners to exploit private sector workers, Trade Unions charge. The president of the Inter Company Employees Union, Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the government is planning to promulgate a large number of amendments to labour laws which are extremely unjust to private sector employees, including abolishing the eight hour work day and delaying the depositing of EPF and ETF by three months. more..

If times have changed, look at the UNP and the media

Apr 12 (LB) We do not know whether this is the fundamental problem of the UNP, but there is a telling comment in this newspaper, in an interview given by Western PC candidate Ruwan Wijewardene. Wijewardene tells our interviewer that the success of the government lies in the fact that it has bullied all media into submission! This is really quite telling because Wijewardene is the son of Ranjith Wijewardene, the owner of the Wijeya Group, more..

CM rejects criticism of his comparison of LTTE chief with Porus

Apr 12 (TOI) A resolution in the Tamil Nadu Assembly piloted in 2002 by then chief minister J Jayalalithaa, demanding the extradition of LTTE leader V Prabhakaran, has come in handy for DMK chief M Karunanidhi to debunk criticism from pro-LTTE parties for his remarks comparing Prabhakaran to Porus, a king defeated by Alexander. After Karunanidhi appealed to Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa to treat Prabhakaran with honour and dignity more..

A letter to all MP's from Lankan Christian leaders on anti-conversion bill

Apr 12 (TC) Christian church leaders both Catholic and Protestant have written a letter to all Parliamentarians in Sri Lanka on the controversial anti - conversation legislation. The full text of letter and list of signatories are given below: Dear Hon. Member of Parliament, We write as a group of Christian leaders of several Main Line Churches, who are deeply concerned about the implications of the above Bill which is now before Parliament. more..

New dawn and new independence

Apr 12 (TC) The stage is set for the elimination of the LTTE in Sri Lanka. The likely decimation of the LTTE and concerns for the civilians held hostage by it in the 17 square kilometer war zone (supposed to have been the safe zone!) have become emotive issues for the Tamil populations within Sri Lanka, the Diaspora and the world at large. The inability of the International Community to demand the LTTE let go the civilians it is holding hostage as part of its survival tactics, more..

'We will not allow LTTE to regroup'

Apr 12 (NS) Keheliya Rambukwella is the most prominent in his role as government Defence Spokesman. With the military operation to capture the territory held by the LTTE nearly drawing to a close, the remaining issue is the rescuing of Tamil civilians trapped in the No Fire Zone. According to the Minister, the military is not in a hurry to move into the stretch in order not to cause any harm to the civilians. more..

It will be nonsense to think of eradicating the LTTE

Apr 12 (TC) The government, while discarding all appeals for a ceasefire is hell bent on finishing the LTTE. The LTTE cannot be finished as it is a movement in the hearts and minds of the Tamil people. It represents the strongest commitment to the Tamil right to self determination and Tamil freedom. Even those who disagree with the LTTE’s violent methods or with its political programme for Tamil liberation, still hail it as the most formidable opposition to Sinhala repression. more..

Defence Ministry refuses to let 37 MP's visit IDP camps in Vavuniya

Apr 12 (TC) The defence ministry has denied permission to a group of 37 parliamentarians to visit camps for internally displaced persons in Vavuniya, raising a vital question: Can a government prevent elected representatives of the people from travelling to any part of the country? It is also being asked what criteria are applied when selecting who may gain access to certain areas of the country that the government considers “sensitive”. more..

The Idea of Constituted Democracy. – Part One

Apr 12 (LG) The world today is in a highly confused state. With diminished ability to resolve its problems, the hope for the future is fast eroding. A sense of insecurity and helplessness is slowly creeping in all walks of life at all levels. Extremism and terrorism have come to stay as instruments of conflict resolution. While insensitivity and disparity mark the international search for prosperity and equality, more..

400,000 NIC requests lying in limbo

Apr 12 (NS) With 2009 being considered as the year of elections and authorities attempting to make the national identity card mandatory to vote, it was, however revealed that around 400,000 applications for National Identity cards are left unprocessed at the Department of Persons Registration. The use of outdated technology and the lack of staff has lead to this situation and the fact that the Department has to give priority to 115,000 applications from the Western Province will only delay the issuing of identity cards. more..

WPC election violence and UNP’s changing stance

Apr 12 (NS) What was confined only to an assault, damage to election campaign offices and threats in the Western Provincial Council election violence list, was added a new leaf with the death of a political party supporter reported from the Gampaha District on the night of April 5. Full time member of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Nandana Balage was gunned down by a group of people on Sunday night (5). more..

‘UNP has an edge over UPFA’

Apr 12 (NS) One time Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia and a celebrity Rosy Senanayake stated that the UNP will certainly have an edge over the UPFA at the forthcoming Western Provincial Council (WPC) election. She says the people living in this province have already decided to vote UPFA out of power. “It is only through some sort of magic that the UPFA can win the WPC. Otherwise, it will be a UNP council,” she said. more..

Sangaree brands TNA decision foolish

Apr 12 (SO) The TULF leader, V. Anandasangaree has described the Tamil National Parliamentarian’s decision to reject Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon’s invitation for talks next week as foolish and detrimental. The following is the statement from the TULF chief: “Shree Menon would not have extended this invitation without a reasonable cause. more..

Southern Expressway ready by 2011

Apr 12 (SO) The first stage of the Colombo - Matara Expressway (up to Galle) will be completed in July 2010 and the total project would be ready by 2011. Total length of the expressway would be 126 kilometres, which is 34 kms less than the existing Colombo - Matara highway. The expressway costing Rs. 84 billion is Sri Lanka’s biggest development project in history and is also the first access controlled expressway (EW) in the country. more..

'Better employment, education for plantation community'

Apr 12 (SO) India was focusing on better employment and educational opportunities, the two main areas, for ensuring the future welfare of both the plantation community and the country as a whole, said Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad last Friday at the auditorium of the Handyman Vocational Training Centre at Kotagala after ceremonially handing over 20 of the 50 buses donated by the government of India to the CWC-owned Annai Kothai Entrepreneur Company for more..

Civilians could fly to Jaffna again

Apr 12 (SO) Extending their services further, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has stepped into assist civil passenger transportation between Jaffna and Colombo. On the request of the Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda the SLAF have commenced transporting civil passengers in their routine flights to Jaffna from Colombo and return, during last week. "Depending on the availability of seats, SLAF will continue to assist in civil passenger transportation since more..

Foreign Minister’s Sinhala & Hindu New Year Message

Apr 12 (GDI) This year’s celebration of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year is taking place in our country in a new atmosphere of hope and anticipation that at last, the armed conflict is coming to an end. Traditional festivities are taking place throughout the country with our people united once again. This is a time for sharing with family and friends and for renewal of expectations for future success and prosperity. more..

Politicians views on the 13th Amendment

New Year festivities although LTTE likely to take ‘soft’ targets

Apr 12 (Island) Contrary to reports, the government hasn’t restricted propaganda events as well as Sinhala and Hindu New Year celebrations due to looming threat posed by the LTTE although the authorities are alive to the fact that with the imminent final collapse of its conventional fighting capacity, the LTTE is likely to try to grab headlines with some devastating attacks on ‘soft’ targets. more..

Home and home battles as poll approaches

Apr 12 (Island) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena has admitted that the ruling party campaign for the Western Provincial Council which polls on April 25 had been plagued by disputes among UPFA candidates. Addressing a recent gathering of candidates at Temple Trees chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he demanded an immediate halt to in-fighting among candidates and adverse comments against each other by members of the party. more..

'SLFP governments gave rural youth access to opportunity'

Apr 12 (Island) The SLFP has rendered yeoman service to the youth of this country by making opportunities for advancement in society available to talented young men and women from rural backgrounds, Professor G. L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, said last week. He was addressing a graduates’ seminar at the Mahaweli Centre, organized by the Sri Lanka Nidahas Tharuna Aruna 111 Upadidhari Sangamaya established by the public sector graduates recruited under more..

Central Bank intervenes to obtain full disclosure on Golden Key assets

Apr 12 (Island) The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has now intervened to ascertain the manner in which the directors and shareholders of Golden Key Credit Card Company Limited had dealt with the assets of the collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary. This follows the recent Supreme Court directive for, inter alia, a declaration of assets by Golden Key directors, office bearers, past and present, and others responsible in respect of this process, to more..

Ottawa may ask for relief from protests

Apr 12 (CN) A massive downtown demonstration that has continued into the Easter long weekend and threatens to carry on indefinitely will leave Ottawa taxpayers on the hook for mounting emergency services costs. Tamil supporters converged on the streets around Parliament Hill for a fifth-straight day yesterday to demand a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger fighters. more..

Treasury doles out more money to ministries

Apr 12 (ST) The Treasury has allocated more than Rs 300 million in February and March as supplementary allocations to various ministries including Rs 69 million to counter LTTE propaganda in the United States, according to documents presented to Parliament last week. The Rs 69 million supplementary allocation was made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in mid-February to build a positive image of Sri Lanka by implementing a broad publicity programme to counter the more..

'Prabhakaran agrees to rescue mission by a Western country'

Apr 12 (IANS) Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is said to be facing a military rout at the hands of the government troops, has 'agreed to a rescue mission by a western country', a state-run media report said Sunday. The report comes a week after the LTTE lost the cream of its fighting cadre, including a dozen battle-hardened leaders in the fight for Puthukkudiyiruppu. more..

Pro-Eelam lobby keeps protesting

Apr 12 (ST) A hurriedly dug up bund and thousands of trapped civilians have now become the 'fortress' for Tiger guerrilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his senior cadres. Contrary to reports that he had fled Sri Lanka, The Sunday Times has learnt from authoritative sources that he is very much in the Civilian Safe Zone, the CSZ. There were reliable reports that senior leaders close to him were making plans to surreptitiously move him out from the area. more..

In search of a messenger of Avurudu

Apr 12 (ST) Only two more days to Avurudu, heralded by the song of the Koha and the blossoms of Erabadu. The Koha’s sweet melody fills the air, but where is the Erabadu - the bright red beauty that symbolizes the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, asks Malaka Rodrigo. Pic by B.A. Ulhas “There was a big Erabadu tree near our playground when we were kids. In April, the tree would be bedecked in red blossoms, reminding us of the forthcoming Avurudu. Sadly the tree was cut down few years ago,” more..

Uncollected Colombo garbage gets in the way of festivities

Apr 12 (ST) Garbage left uncollected in the streets of Colombo will be marring the Avurudha holiday mood for thousands of residents, who can expect the usual problems associated with piles of rubbish and heavy rains – blocked and overflowing drainage and mosquitoes by the million. Caught up in the middle of the garbage crisis is the presently suspended Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), which is being prevented by thugs from using the officially designated dumping ground in Peliyagoda. more..

Sri Lanka may sue owners of sunken Turkish acid carrier: report

Apr 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka may sue the owners of Turkish ship which sank off the island's northeastern coast with a cargo of sulphuric acid, under marine pollution laws, a media report said. The Turkish ship Motari Magnor Granba carrying a cargo of 6,250 metric tonnes of cargo sprang leak near the Trincomalee port last Tuesday. The Sri Lanka Navy rescued the crew and towed the ship 80 nautical miles off the coast after emergency repairs failed to save the ship and it sank on Wednesday night. more..

'New years' halt to Sri Lanka fighting'

Apr 12 (Reuters) President on Sunday ordered the military not to attack the Tamil Tigers during a two-day holiday in order to allow thousands of civilians to escape a no-fire zone where they are being held by the separatists. Soldiers have encircled the remnants of the LTTE in a 17 square km no-fire zone on the northeast coast, and are close to crushing them as a conventional force and ending Asia's longest-running civil wars. more..

Sri Lanka to suspend offensives against rebels

Apr 12 (AP) Sri Lanka's president ordered a two-day suspension of offensives against Tamil Tiger rebels to enable tens of thousands of trapped civilians to leave the war zone, his office said Sunday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed the armed forces to restrict operations during the April 13-14 Sri Lankan New Year to a defensive nature and renewed his call to the rebel group to "acknowledge its military defeat and lay down its weapons and surrender," a statement said. more..

'Three insults to Tamils for the traditional New Year'

Apr 13 (TN) Disguised insults meant against Tamil struggle this week bring out a picture of the attitudes operating in Colombo, New Delhi and Chennai, writes a political analyst in Colombo. “It is not exactly the Sri Lankan government, but the Sri Lankan state that is the core symbol of oppression in the island. Ethnic chauvinism is the cornerstone of this state. No liberation can come to Eezham Tamils unless this symbol is deconstructed. more..

David Cameron asks "Will Colombo make Peace" ?

Apr 13 (LG) The TNA in Sri Lanka has rejected invitations (10 April) for talks with the Indian Foreign Minister Shivashankar Menon. The TNA rejected a similar invitation from the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa. David Cameron teaches "political science" at the University of Toronto and took part in Sri Lanka's peace talks from 2002 to 2004 as a member of the Forum of Federations. So he his far more informed about the Sri Lankan situation than the typical "citizen of the street". more..

A momentous New Year this will be to all of us

Apr 13 (LG) As we celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, we are conscious of the reality that after a period of far too many tragic events that were propelled by extreme racist and religious groups most unfitting for a country like Sri Lanka, we are about to embark on nation building towards peace and harmony in the country. We also learnt very bitterly that racial and religious dissonance and discord beget on its devastating path all kinds of evils especially corruption. more..

Will the real Prabhakaran ever come forward?

Apr 13 (LG) When the military personnel had a “tour” of the luxury bunker of Velu’s son and the 'Beloved Leader' of the Tamil terror enthusiasts now performing on the streets of London, Ottawa and other cities in the west the final ceremonies of rancor, venom and acrimony, there were some incredible finds. This was at Puthukudiyiruppu, a city prepared as a Tiger fortress devastating whatever that was traditional to Wanni. more..

Embracing snakes and being bitten

Apr 13 (LG) There is a price to pay for naiveté. The West, for the most part, played the sucker to perfection. They were victims of an age old error: ‘the world must love a rebel, as long as the rebel is rebelling in some other country’. One could add, ‘never mind if that rebel is actually a terrorist using the vocabulary of rebellion’. And today, in London, Oslo and other unhappy places, the monster is out, demanding, demanding and demanding. more..

Tooth less Tigers and their final breath

Apr 13 (LG) Shanaka Jayasekara is an Associate Lecturer at the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT) at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He holds a M.Litt in International Security Studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and a B.Com with a double major in International Relations and Politics/Public Policy from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. more..

Suspected LTTE sympathisers damage embassy in Oslo

Apr 13 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan government on Sunday night said a group of hooligans suspected to be sympathisers of the LTTE raided its mission in Oslo and caused extensive damage. “It is a shocking incident and we are disappointed with the Norwegian government for not taking proper measures to protect a diplomatic mission right in its national capital. Luckily, no official in the mission was injured but the damage to the property is extensive,” more..

'Centre had taken up ceasefire issue with Sri Lanka recently'

Apr 13 (Hindu) Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the Centre had urged Sri Lanka to announce immediate ceasefire to prevent the death of innocent Tamil civilians in the ongoing war. He told reporters that a high-level meeting, attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, him and others, a couple of days ago in New Delhi, discussed the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. more..

Norway apologizes for embassy attack

Apr 13 (Xinhua) The Norwegian government apologized to Sri Lanka after several demonstrators of the Indian Ocean island country's minority Tamils broke into the Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo on Sunday, according to reports reaching here from Oslo. The Norwegian government condemned some unauthorized persons to enter the Sri Lankan embassy and would order the police to give better protection of the embassy, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement. more..

Lanka ban on scuba diving off Trincomalee

Apr 13 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government has banned Scuba diving fishing in eastern Trincomalee seas temporarily fearing the Sea Tigers attack. As Sri Lankan forces zeroed in on the remaining pockets of the Tiger rebels, the fisheries ministry has decided to temporarily ban scuba diving fishing in Trincomalee after recovery of incendiary material from one of the boats of the divers. more..

Derailment disrupts northern railway line

Apr 13 (Xinhua) The north bound train services from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo were disrupted Sunday due to a derailment, railway officials said. Vijeya Samarasinghe the Superintendent Services of Railway said that a train carrying fuel to northern town of Vavuniya was derailed near Tambuttegama in the north central province around 7 a.m. local time. The restoration work of the service was running late into Sunday evening. more..

Tamils protest outside PM's house

Apr 13 (AAP) More than 1000 Tamils are staging an all-night protest outside Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Sydney residence in Kirribilli as part of a global protest aimed at brokering a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers in north-eastern Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's government says it's in the final stages of defeating the separatist LTTE, who launched a campaign in 1972 to create a separate Tamil homeland on the Indian Ocean island. more..

International law on the "No Firing Zone"

Apr 13 (AT) The dedicated Tamil Diaspora with its travelling companions in the international NGO networks are synchronising a campaign to attract foreign intervention and commit Sri Lanka’s military to foreign tribunals in a desperate bid to save the LTTE leadership from annihilation. That is their contribution from across the seas, in truth, to further aggravate the sad plight of the civilians trapped in the No Firing Zone (NFZ). more..

LTTE responds govt's humanitarian pause with village massacre

Apr 13 (MoD) LTTE terrorists have responded the government offered humanitarian pause for the on-going counter-terrorist operations, with a brutal village massacre in the Island's South. According to the defence sources, the terrorists have butchered eight civilians including two children at Mahagodayaya village in Buttala last evening (Apr 12), just few hours after President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared a humanitarian pause, more..