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A useful first step, says Ban Ki-Moon

Apr 13 (hindu) United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has welcomed the Sri Lanka government’s decision to observe a two-day pause in military operations in the war-torn north. Mr. Ban said: “This is less than the full humanitarian pause of several days I had pressed for but is nevertheless a useful first step and an opportunity to move towards the peaceful and orderly end to the fighting now so badly needed.” more..

Ottawa under stress as Tamil protest enters day 6

Apr 13 (CTV) Ottawa's city services are facing a mounting tab as a lengthy and disruptive downtown protest staged by thousands of Tamil supporters enters its sixth day. The protesters, many of whom have travelled into the city from Montreal and Toronto, vow to continue the demonstration until the federal government takes a greater role in ending the strife their native Sri Lanka. The protesters also want the government to lift a ban on the Tamil Tigers rebel group, more..

Sri Lankans in Germany write to Foreign Minister Steinmeier

Apr 13 (LG) The "Sri Lankan against LTTE Terror - Germany" (SLGLTG) group have written to Frank Walter-Steinmeier, the foreign minister and the next chancellor candidate from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany, about the deteriorating situation in Puthumathalan area in Northern Sri Lanka, and requesting the support of the German government to put pressure to the LTTE release the civilians trapped in the fighting. more..

Tiger Terror International has begun its march

Apr 13 (LG) Many parts of Tamilnadu, Oslo, London and Toronto will soon become the hubs of Tiger terrorism, if not already and let there be no doubt about it. In Tamilnadu mini-politicians like Vaiko Gopalaswamy and Nedumaran will play major roles in it and both would have been privy to the assassination of India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. What will stop them from helping the Tigers to terrorize India? more..

JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe’s New Year message

Apr 13 (LT) According to astrology the occasion when the Sun moves from Pisces to Aries or the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year has dawn. Sinhalese and Tamil New Year becomes the paramount cultural event in Sri Lanka due to its ability to motivate the society for economic and social interests. New Year is considered as a new beginning. We believe this is the most appropriate period in our history that this concept should be grasped. more..

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe’s New Year message

Apr 13 (LT) “The New Year marked by the transition of the sun from the Meena Rashi to Mesha Rashi is a time of rejoice for us. We have been accustomed from ancient times to consider the Sinhala and Tamil New Year as a festival linked to prosperity and joy. “But the New Year dawns this year at a time when people are economically affected since a large number had lost their jobs. The traders have seen a downturn due to the slow down in business and more..

President Mahinda Rajapakse’s New Year message

Apr 13 (LT) “Today our people from the North and South, East and West will observe the traditions of the New Year ushering in a new spring of abundance to the entire nation. The people of the East who already enjoy their freedom will greet the New Year with the traditional pot of boiling milk gathering the new harvest of liberation. Similarly, the people of the North will see in this New Year propitious signs of a new freedom and prosperity that awaits them. more..

Bilingual Musicians in Sri Lanka

Agriculture marketing program extended to N-E

Apr 13 (DN) The agriculture and food marketing extension program implemented by the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agriculture Research and Training Institute (HARTI) will be extended to Northern and Eastern provinces shortly. The monitoring office of the agriculture and food market situation of HARTI will also be appointed to these provinces. They will develop efficient agricultural methods and the food marketing system in those areas after three decades, more..

Sinhala New Year - a historical background

Apr 13 (DN) When the eminent playwright Simon Nawagattegama staged ‘Subha saha Yasa’, some years ago, little did one realize that it was based on a unique chapter in our history. The material for the play was derived from the description of the reign of King Yasalalakatissa and the usurper Subharaja as it appears in our national chronicle - Mahavamsa. Subharaja was overthrown by Vasabha whose origin, (according to the Mahavamsa) is obscure. more..

Despite investments agriculture declined by 10.3 percent

Apr 13 (Island) Despite growing above the national GDP growth rate during the post-cease fire era in 2005-07, the agriculture sector in the Northern and Eastern provinces have declined by almost 10. 3 percent, a fact that should receive the attention of government before planning investment strategies for the development of the war-torn regions, the Economics Director of the Government Peace Secretariat Rohantha Athukorala says. more..

UPFA, UNP lead the way in polls violence – CMEV

Apr 13 (Island) The two major political parties have been accused of carrying out 50% of the major incidents of violence during the run up to the April 25 polls for the Western Provincial Council. The CMEV yesterday called on the leaders of the UPFA and the UNP, to take immediate and effective steps to halt the violence perpetrated by their candidates and supporters which is a clear threat to the integrity of the electoral process and democracy in the country. more..

BOI promotes peace and development in the Eastern Province

Apr 13 (Island) One of the greatest challenges the country will face after the current conflict ends, will be to take steps to begin the development process in the Northern and Eastern province. Keeping this in mind, the BOI has in recent years, developed a strategy to rebuild the areas devastated by the war. This strategy is heavily dependent on the participation of the private sector. more..

Britain bans ‘Mercy Ship’ bound for Wanni

Apr 13 (DM) The British government has banned the humanitarian aid ship ‘Mercy Mission’ from leaving the shores of Britain to deliver aid to thousands of civilians trapped in northern Sri Lanka until the appropriate clearance was given by Sri Lanka, government sources said yesterday. The ship was expected to carry over 2,000 metric tonnes of food and medical aid for the civilians in the Wanni collected by British politicians and celebrities, more..

Dudley Senanayake - the reluctant politician

Apr 13 (DN) ‘Dudley’ the second Prime Minister of Sri Lanka died on April 13, 1975, after a brief illness and was laid to rest on April 21, 1973. Dudley Senanayake was a man for all seasons, even homage to him like reminds us sadly that we ourselves are a Nation only seasonally; always in the winter of some personal tragedy. On April 13, 1973, we lost a great leader, guide and philosopher. more..

Former Galle MP Albert Silva passes away

Apr 13 (DM) Former Galle District Parliamentarian D. G. Albert Silva passed away yesterday at Karapitiya Teaching Hospital. He was 93 at the time of his death. Mr. Silva represented Galle in the 1977 J.R.Jayewardene government. He won the Galle electorate after defeating former Prime Minister W. Dahanayake in 1997 and became a Parliamentarian. The Galle Police station, Post Office and the main Bus Terminus were built when he was the MP in the area. more..

Okanda Finance told to sell assets and settle deposits

Apr 13 (DM) The Central Bank’s Monetary Board announced yesterday it had given permission to Okanda Finance Limited to sell its assets, for the purpose of repayment of deposits. The Monetary Board said Okanda Finance Limited was carrying on finance business without obtaining registration under the Finance Companies Act. Consequent to the said determination, the company submitted an application under the Finance Companies Act to obtain registration. more..

Sri Lanka state enterprises to get tax write-off

Apr 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's pampered state-enterprises, often overstaffed, and usually distinguished with poor customer service, are to get tax-write offs, a media report said, as the private sector is squeezed by yet new taxes. State institutions that will qualify for the tax write-off will include public corporations, government-owned business undertakings, ministries, and departments, more..

Australia urges talks in Sri Lanka

Apr 13 (AAP) Australia is again urging the Sri Lankan government to enter into political dialogue, and the Tamil Tigers to "lay down their guns" to resolve their deadly conflict. Sri Lanka's government says it is 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. But the government is under pressure to agree to a ceasefire, amid more..

Thousands seek refuge in Jaffna peninsula

Apr 13 (ANN) Although the focus is on internally displaced persons reaching government-run welfare centres in Vavuniya and Mannar districts, a sizeable group of people have sought refuge in the Jaffna peninsula by end of March. Over 5,000 men, women and children have reached the peninsula over the past few months as the army gradually liberated areas held by the LTTE. Almost 68,000 people have reached the government-held area more..

Now, CM finds fault with LTTE

Apr 13 (NT) Three days after he said that LTTE leader Prabhakaran should be treated with dignity if arrested by Lankan forces, Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi said that a solution to the Sri Lankan Tamils problem could not be found till now because the outfit had adopted ‘wrong ways’ going by the ‘wrong advice’ of some people in the State. In a statement here, he said, ‘a solution to the Sri Lankan Tamils problem could not be found yet because more..

Seeking peaceful solutions to Muslims grievances

Army says truce underway despite rebel attack

Apr 13 (Xinhua) Military Monday said here that the two-day truce in the northeastern battlefront got underway Monday despite the Tamil Tigers firing a shell and killing a soldier. The LTTE has fired a mortar shell and killed a soldier in sniper attack. Nanayakkara said the forces did not retaliate. "The LTTE has fired one mortar shell wounding one soldier and killed another soldier in a sniper attack in Puthukudiyiruppu area this morning, but we have not retaliated. more..

Dalai Lama hopes truce will pave constructive direction

Apr 13 (Phayul) Welcoming the New Year holiday truce declared in Sri Lanka with great relief, exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Monday expressed hope that the move would offer an opportunity for Sinhalese-Tamil relations to further take a new and more constructive direction. “It is with great relief that I welcome the truce that has been declared in the Sri Lankan conflict to mark the two-day Sinhala and Tamil New Year holiday,” more..

Sri Lanka summons Norwegian envoy after embassy attack

Apr 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has summoned its Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo to lodge a protest over Tamil Tiger supporters in Oslo attacking the Sri Lankan embassy in the Norwegian capital. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's foreign ministry secretary told reporters that Torre Hattrem the Norwegian Ambassador was called to foreign ministry in Colombo. Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo was stormed into by supporters of LTTE rebels on Sunday. more..

Sri Lankan military begins two-day ceasefire

Apr 13 (AFP) Sri Lankan security forces began a two-day ceasefire on Monday, as the government called for the Tamil Tiger rebels to allow trapped civilians to flee the conflict zone. The United Nations estimates that 100,000 people are packed into the small strip of coastline in the northeast that is the last remaining territory held by the rebel fighters, who have been pushed close to defeat. more..

'Sri Lanka strip Norway of peace-broker role'

Apr 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Monday stripped Norway of its role as broker of the island's moribund peace process, a government official told AFP. The decision comes as the Sri Lankan government says it is on the verge of totally crushing Tamil Tiger rebels, and ends a decade-long effort by Norway to bring an end to one of Asia's longest-running civil wars. "The government of Sri Lanka perceives that there is no room for Norway to act as (peace) facilitator," the official said, more..

Inconvenient questions answered

Apr 14 (TC) In the last few weeks I have received a number of questions from readers for which there are no simple answers. I have tried to answer some of these inconvenient questions, although my answers may not satisfy all. Q: You have been writing only about the war situation, in utter disregard to the humanitarian crisis. And your analysis is also based upon Sri Lanka defence sources reports. Don’t you think it would mislead the readers? more..

Time to Rewrite the Sri Lanka Agenda I

Apr 14 (TC) The Sri Lanka security forces appear to be completing out what they set out to do in early 2006 – militarily defeat the LTTE. After three days of fierce battle they captured of the last of the LTTE stronghold in Anandaapuram in Puthukkudiyiruppu area on April 5 the LTTE are left with only the 20 sq km “No fire zone.” Ideally, they would like to get out of the area by both land and sea to safer pastures. more..

LTTE supporter causes flutter in Karaikudi

Apr 14 (PTI) An LTTE supporter caused a flutter when he rushed to the dais during a speech by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram here and started to shout slogans, hailing the banned outfit's leader V Prabhakaran. Mr. Chidambaram was addressing a meeting here late Sunday evening, when Ramu, rushed towards the dais as soon as the minister got up and started addressing the gathering, police said. more..

UN Envoy visits Vavuniya IDP camps

LTTE reiterates need for permanent ceasefire

Apr 14 (TN) The LTTE Political Division, in a statement issued in Tamil on Monday called the Sri Lankan announcement of restricting military operations for two days as an eyewash to create an impression of engagement on false premises. Condemning the move as a "political drama" aimed at "deceiving the International Community and the Tamil people", the LTTE said the Sri Lanka Army was continuing indiscriminate shelling and gunfire on civilians. more..

Imbalance of balanced criticisms of masters -The modern court of King Kakille

Apr 14 (AT) Every thing needs to be in balance. Take for example food intake. Our criticisms need to be in balance. Our judgements need to be in balance. I assure readers that I have nothing against balance. I am all for balance. Suppose that on the tenet that every thing needs to be in balance, in an attempted murder case the judge gives equal jail terms to both the victim and the victimiser. Isn’t this a summum bonum example of ultimate balance? more..

Baby brigade’ versus seasoned troops

Apr 14 (AT) Even in their final hours, the LTTE have not mended their brutal ways and are pushing innocent youths to face battle hardened troops after five days of weapons training, according to the security forces. Amidst a major effort by the security forces to free the civilians held hostage by the LTTE and an international attempt by terrorist sympathizers to gain a last minute respite for Tiger leader Prabhakaran by taking to the streets in several western capitals, more..

Editorial: Humanitarian pause

Apr 14 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s directive to the Sri Lankan armed forces to observe a 48-hour pause in their victorious offensive operations against the LTTE may be “less than the full humanitarian pause of several days” pressed for by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon but it will be greeted with relief worldwide. Coinciding with the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, this concession from a position of total military dominance is aimed at securing safe passage for an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 civilians. more..

'Two-day ceasefire could become permanent if LTTE cooperates'

Apr 14 (PTI) Terming the two-day ceasefire declared by Sri Lankan Government in the country's embattled north as an "important success of India's foreign policy", Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the truce could become permanent if LTTE too reciprocated. India wanted the ceasefire, which came into effect today coinciding with Sinhala and Tamil new year, to be extended and would continue to press Colombo to agree for it, he said more..

The last days of Prabakaran

Apr 14 (AT) Already one government minister has suggested that Prabakaran should write his Last Will. That means the prognosis for Prabakaran is not good but it is also most unlikely that Prabakaran will commit suicide because he has so much wealth and his family and he also loves the desires of the sense pleasures as you can see by looking at the man. He will therefore hold on praying to his God to protect him till Solheim and the IC nations save him for another assignment. more..

The fate of the Tiger looks sealed

Apr 14 (DW) The LTTE has started running out of ammo even for their small arms, ground sources informed DefenceWire as the 48-hour deadline to recommence operations approach. The Tiger leadership has ordered its cadres not to fire any bursts even on their T-56 rifles. LTTE's intelligence leader Poddu is coordinating the remaining group of LTTE cadres as the other "colonels" have either been killed or injured in battle. more..

Preventing crisis with drama

Apr 14 (UNV) To take disaster reduction messages to the people and engage local volunteers, one UNV volunteer found himself out on the street. People in Sri Lanka frequently suffer from natural disasters, from cyclones to floods and landslides: perhaps 32,000 died due to the 2004 tsunami alone. To enhance local capability to deal with the problem, UNV is working with UNDP and the Government of Sri Lanka on a capacity building for disaster risk management programme. more..

Britain urges against offensive after Sri Lanka ceasefire

Apr 14 (AFP) British Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged Sri Lanka not to return to all-out fighting against Tamil Tiger rebels after a ceasefire, in a telephone call Monday with his Sri Lankan counterpart. Miliband reiterated to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollogama his welcome of Colombo’s unilateral two-day ceasefire to allow trapped civilians to escape the conflict zone, and urged rebels to allow civilians to leave. more..

Civilians stay in war zone despite lull

Apr 14 (AP) Sri Lanka's army began observing a two-day cease-fire Monday in the war against the cornered Tamil Tiger rebels and used loudspeakers to urge thousands of trapped civilians to escape the war zone. By the end of the day just 18 people took advantage of the lull. The two-day cease-fire took effect after President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the military to restrict operations to a defensive nature only for the Sri Lankan new year. more..

Year of fresh hopes - Prime Minister

Apr 14 (GDI) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka in a Sinhala and Tamil New Year message has expressed the hope that the public will celebrate this festival in an unprecedented manner with the dawn of peace with the total elimination of terrorism from Sri Lanka. “Sri Lankans enjoy this pleasant moment thanks to the selfless service of our heroic soldiers. War heroes’ parents celebrating this festival without experiencing the more..

Tokyo Co-Chairs meet on Sri Lanka

Apr 14 (AT) Representatives of the Tokyo Co-Chairs - The US, EU, Norway, and Japan - convened a second conference call on Monday morning to discuss the humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher participated for the United States. The conversation took place during a conference call initiated by the State Department. more..

Thoughts on regional integration and state consolidation in South Asia

Apr 14 (GV) A case has been made by scholars better versed than myself, and continues to be so made, for a ‘South Asian Community’, centred on a single market. With a region that, with the remarkable exception of India, remains in impasse, such a regional integrative framework is ideal and essentially practical on various levels. Let us pull back from more specific observances to make some exploratory effort that more..

No Mr Chidambaram, No! There will be a ceasefire

Apr 14 (LG) The LTTE is a terror organization and it cannot be held as representing the Tamils in Sri Lanka. It holds a great threat to India too and is ranked as the most brutal terror force in the world. Under these circumstances, until and unless this force is wiped out, there is no chance for a just solution to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. They have been the sole obstacle to a resolution to the ethnic crisis over more..

Suicidal political action IV: LTTE Power & popular support

Apr 14 (TC) My previous essays have scrutinised the factors and ingredients that directed suicidal action for political cause among Tamil peoples. Special attention has been directed towards the LTTE project. Here it is critical to recall that all Tiger fighters bind themselves to suicidal action, not just the Black Tigers. Committed to armed struggle from the 1970s and initially working underground, the LTTE was necessarily a centralised organisation with a top-down command structure. more..

Interview with human rights activist - Part 2

Interview with human rights activist - Part 1

Women begin fast for Eelam Tamils

Apr 14 (EB) A group of around 30 women began a fast unto death, on Monday, to demand the cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka. The group headed by human rights activist Prof. Saraswati, who declined to reveal which college or university she is working at, claims to be unaffiliated to any political or social organisation and say that they simply are people who have come together spontaneously, concerned by the deaths of Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

Tamils tie up Ottawa for days in support of Tiger terrorists

Apr 14 (NP) It isn’t that I expect the Sri Lankan ethnic Tamils in Canada not to be concerned about the civil war in their country, nor am I surprised that they are lobbying the government of Canada to take a role in seeking a cease fire. But I am alone in wondering whether this should allow Tamil-Canadians to disrupt our nation’s capital for six days? It isn’t that I expect the Sri Lankan ethnic Tamils in Canada not to be concerned about the civil war in their country, more..