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Navy assists evacuation of 20th batch of patients under LTTE hostage

Apr 14 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy has assisted evacuation of the 20th batch of patients who had been under LTTE hostage in the No Fire Zone in Mullaittivu yesterday (13 Apr). The batch consisting of 474, patients and their bystanders was evacuated to Pulmudai, onboard MV Green Ocean sailing under the ICRC flag. Sri Lanka Navy has provided safe passage for evacuees on humanitarian grounds. more..

Jaffna Bishop thanks Govt

Apr 14 (DN) The Catholic Bishop of Jaffna Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savuntharanayagam while thanking the Government for taking care of 60,000 Internally Displaced Persons in Vavuniya, urged the LTTE to allow the remaining innocent civilians trapped in the battle hit areas to move into safer locations. Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savuntharanayagam also stressed the need to stop fighting and creating a peaceful atmosphere with the dawn of Sinhala and Tamil New Year. more..

Govt to pay compensation to the victims of suspected LTTE attack

Apr 14 (LNP) Sri Lanka government has taken measures to pay compensation to all the families of the victims in yesterday`s suspected LTTE attack on Mahagodayaya in Buttala. Ministry for Disaster Relief Services and Resettlement will grant Rs. 100,000 to the family members of the victims killed in this attack and Rs. 50,000 for the injured under President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s directive. more..

Bank of Ceylon to open branches in North and East

Apr 14 (LP) Bank of Ceylon will open eight branches each in the North and the East provinces by the end of the year. Chairman of the BoC Dr. Gamini Wickremasinghe said that at present there are 17 branches in each province. The bank in addition has installed nine ATMs in the North and seven ATMs in the East while five ATMs for each province will be added during the year to service the liberated areas as well. more..

LTTE supporter hurls wooden missile at Chidambaram

Apr 14 (IANS) An LTTE supporter shouted slogans hailing the banned outfit and hurled a wooden object towards the stage where union Home Minister P. Chidambaram was seated during an election rally in Karaikudi town of Tamil Nadu. The man, identified by a single name Ramu, Sunday evening caused a flutter when he rushed to the stage when Chidambaram was addressing a meeting. Ramu was immediately whisked away to a police station, according to police officials. more..

We are not afraid of LTTE: Priyanka

Apr 14 (DH) Congress’s star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi on Monday said that her family was not afraid of threats from the LTTE. “We have been victim of the LTTE...we are not afraid of it,” Priyanka, who is currently campaigning in her brother Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Amethi, told reporters. In reply to a question she said that the Congress would stand to gain this time around since it was fighting on its own. more..

'Sri Lanka will be more attractive for investors after IMF bailout'

Apr 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka will be become more attractive for investors once an International Monetary Fund stamp of approval comes with a bailout package, a top central bank official has said. "Once the IMF come in there would be more confidence, where you will find more development partners and foreign investors who would come in and invest," Nandalal Weerasinghe, chief economist of the Central Bank told reporters more..

Editorial: More than a pause

Apr 14 (TOI) The two-day ceasefire announced by the Rajapaksa government is unlikely to change the course of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, it is a welcome gesture. No formal response has come from the LTTE so far, but sources close to the Tigers have described the initiative as an "insult to the Tamil community". We hope that the ceasefire will help civilians caught in the war zone almost a lakh people, more..

Tamil parties squabble over Lankan war

Apr 14 (TOI) As a two-day ceasefire called by the Sri Lankan government to allow civilians to move out of the war zone got underway, the Sri Lankan issue continued to dominate the political discourse in Tamil Nadu. While DMK and Congress have gone on the defensive and highlighted the steps taken by the UPA government on the matter, AIADMK and other opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have not held back in criticising the more..

Sri Lankan students set to join Commons hunger strike

Apr 14 (ES) Dozens of Sri Lankan students are ready to join the Parliament Square hunger strike if the original protester is taken to hospital, the Evening Standard has learned. Paramesweran Subramaniyam has gone without food since last Tuesday and says he plans to die in front of the House of Commons unless the UN acts to stop the Sri Lankan government's offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Army chief vows to eliminate terrorism from island nation

Apr 14 (PTI) Claiming that LTTE has lost 18,000 cadres and most of its heavy weaponry in the fighting with security forces over the years, Sri Lankan Army chief Sarath Fonseka on Tuesday vowed to eliminate terrorism from the island nation and crush the Tigers' "dream" of a separate state. "We have destroyed their (LTTE's) weaponry, planes and sea craft," Mr. Fonseka said in a message on the occasion of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. more..

Mangrove swamps declining in Lankan waters

Apr 14 (PTI) Commercial considerations are taking an heavy toll on the popular mangrove swamps of the lush green and picturesque Sri Lanka, with environmentalists asking for effective measures to preserve them. Mangrove plants, covering a consideration area in the Island country have provided habitat for the oysters, a tourist attraction here, besides helping in water flow and enhancing the possession of sediments in the water system. more..

Anandasangaree urges President to restrain armed forces

Apr 14 (TC) Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) President Veerasingham Anandasangaree has in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse urged that the armed forces should not try to move in further into tiger controlled territory so as to prevent civilians being killed and injured. He has asked that the Govt should get the UN to intervene and evacuate the entrapped civilians immediately. more..

Sri Lanka's axing of Norway shows uneasiness with West

Apr 14 (IANS) Sri Lanka's move to dump Norway as the peace facilitator marks the end of a tortuous peace process that showed promise at one time, and points to Colombo's uneasiness with the West as it prepares to militarily overwhelm the Tamil Tigers. Colombo declared Monday that it no longer desired Norway as a facilitator vis-a-vis the LTTE following an attack by a Tamil mob on the Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo Sunday. more..

Pro-LTTE delegation to meet Indian leaders this week

Apr 14 (IANS) A delegation of Tamil MPs from Sri Lanka allied with the Tamil Tigers will meet Indian government leaders here this week to discuss the plight of civilians trapped in a small area the cornered rebels still hold. The TNA team will arrive in the capital Wednesday, a day before India's general elections start, for talks with National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. more..

Sri Lanka ceasefire 'a deception'

Apr 14 (BBC) Tamil Tiger rebels have said that a two-day ceasefire called by Sri Lanka's government is an attempt to deceive the international community. The rebels called for a permanent internationally supervised truce as the ceasefire entered its second day. The government announced the halt in fighting to allow civilians trapped in the conflict zone to leave. The rebels' statement said they were ready for open political talks to end the decades of bloodshed. more..

Sri Lanka and Tigers trade blame over fighting in truce

Apr 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger rebels traded blame on Tuesday over combat during a two-day holiday fighting pause, which the separatist rebels said fell short of the full cease-fire they are demanding. With more than 50,000 soldiers surrounding a 17-square km no-fire zone where the LTTE are holding tens of thousands of civilians, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday ordered troops into a defensive stance for the next two days. more..

Sri Lankan rebels say ready for truce, peace talks

Apr 14 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels said Tuesday they were ready to negotiate a ceasefire with government forces and restart peace talks to halt decades of ethnic bloodshed. The LTTE, cornered in a narrow strip of jungle in the northeast and vastly outnumbered, said they wanted a long-term truce supervised by the international community. "Such a ceasefire should also contain a base for political negotiations," the rebels said in a statement. more..

Did Canada Help Dismantle Sri Lanka’s Peace Process?

Apr 15 (DP) Canada’s 300,000-strong Tamil community, the largest Tamil diaspora on earth, has been mobilizing for months in major cities in Canada to draw attention to the dire situation in Sri Lanka. “There is a collective grief amongst the Tamil community in Canada right now,” says David Coobalabillai, national spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC). In recent months this "collective grief" has brought sections of at least two Canadian cities to a standstill. more..

Tigers 'keeping civilians hostage'

Apr 15 (BBC) The foreign secretary has accused the Tamil Tigers of using the civilians caught in the conflict to build a bund during the two day ceasefire period. Dr. Palitha Kohona told BBC Tamil service that the LTTE's action of keeping the civilians "hostage" amounts to a criminal act. "Holding anybody hostage is a criminal act," he said. The Sri Lanka government announced a 48-hour ceasefire for the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the safe zone to flee fighting. more..

ADB extends $160 million in loans for power program

Apr 15 (FC) The Government of Sri Lanka’s push to expand and improve its electricity services, especially to the poor and those living in conflict-affected areas, will receive support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB’s Board of Directors today approved loans of US$135 million from its Ordinary Capital Resources (OCR) and a further $25 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund (ADF) for the Clean Energy and Access Improvement Project (Sri Lanka). more..

The Tamil Cause and the LTTE: Is it two sides of the same coin?

Apr 15 (AT) The concern shown by the international community for the civilians held as human shields by the LTTE, is understandable, and to be expected. What is not understood is their prevarication to openly ask the LTTE to surrender. By not asking them to do so, the international community is equating the very organisation they banned in their own countries, with the legitimate government of Sri Lanka. more..

Tamil hunger strikers' relatives worry about their health

Apr 15 (CBC) Family members of the five Tamil demonstrators who have been staging hunger protests in Ottawa say they're worried about the health of their relatives. On Monday, Ottawa paramedics were called in to assist one of the protesters who had stopped eating five days earlier. But until the Canadian government calls for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka and recalls its ambassador to that country, Tamil supporters say they'll continue their demonstration. more..

Leading Swiss Tamil in protest fast

Apr 15 (SI) Several hundred Tamils started an open-ended demonstration in Bern on Tuesday to draw attention to what they describe as "genocide" in Sri Lanka. The coordinator of Tamil organisations in Switzerland, Krishna Ambalavanar, has written an open letter to the Swiss foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, warning that he will fast to the death unless their demands are met. The demonstrators gathered outside the offices of the foreign ministry to more..

Ambassador's New Year Message to Sri Lankan expatriates in the US

Apr 15 (IL) I am very pleased to extend my best wishes to all Sri Lankan expatriates in the United States who will be joining together to organize traditional festivities on this important occasion which is shared by the major communities. We warmly welcome the Sinhala and Tamil New Year which brings unity and prosperity. I also cordially extend an invitation to all Sri Lankans in the United States to join with the Government in more..

Commonwealth urged to pressure both sides and end humanitarian disaster

Apr 15 (TC) The Commonwealth and its members should use their combined diplomatic influence to press the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to cease attacks that violate the laws of war and end the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka’s northern Vanni region, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG). A two-day holiday pause in military operations was not long enough to address the desperate situation of trapped civilians. more..

A challange that no Chemist has ever done so far

Apr 15 (IL) Undoubtedly everyone would like to save energy and thereby money too, if only they knew the answer! How many are aware of such a scientific method? Being a qualified chemist with a PhD in Chemistry, I am bold enough to throw up an open challenge for anyone to invite me for a demonstration and reveal my 'chemical' secret . Not only that, I am prepared to 'throw out' Rs.100,000 in cash or equivalent, should I become a failure during an open demonstration. more..

‘LTTE continued attacks during lull in fighting’

Apr 15 (Hindu) With the 48-hour pause in the offensive against the LTTE due to end at midnight on Tuesday, the government reiterated that the Tigers holed up in the 17-sq. km. No-Fire Zone (NFZ) continued to fire at security forces stationed in the periphery of the NFZ. The LTTE, described the humanitarian pause ordered by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as an “act of hoodwinking” and said it favoured a “permanent ceasefire” brokered by the international community. more..

Twist and turns of Sri Lanka Embassy attack in Oslo

Apr 15 (AT) No arrest on the attack on Sri Lankan Mission so far reported, but the present Sri Lankan Ambassador is leaving Norway on the 18th of this month as he has been already on a recall order. Meanwhile, Norwegian Police have already released the only suspect arrested in connection with attack on the Sri Lanka Mission. A spokesman in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that in case Norway adopts a dilatory tactics in arresting culprits involved in more..

In coastal Sri Lanka, post-Tsunami recovery project brings economic stability

Apr 15 (ADRA) The end of March marked the successful completion of the Livelihood and Infrastructure for Family Empowerment (LIFE) project, an initiative that targeted coastal communities in southern Sri Lanka that were directly affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami, said the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). The LIFE project, launched on October 1, 2006 by ADRA Sri Lanka, more..

Military or diplomatic action is the question

Apr 15 (DW) There seems to be an interesting tussle developing between military action and diplomacy in Sri Lanka. The main proponents of the two stances, incidentally are members of the Sri Lanka government. DefenceWire's sources indicated that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse is pushing for an immediate clean wipe-out of the LTTE surrounded in the NFZ whilst President Rajapakse is more in favour of a diplomatic approach to precede military action in this final phase. more..

WPC election violence

Waiting for 'Godot' that Prabhakaran promised

Apr 15 (TC) There is much to talk about the post "present conflict", by what ever name one calls it. The LTTE political boss Nadesan refuses to accept the coming period as a "post – LTTE" period. Could it be "post Prabhakaran" then? There are questions about Prabhakaran and what he would do next after this massive humanitarian debacle and the biggest military beating in his entire history. He first appeared as a promising guerrilla leader and more..

Does Britain have a right to intervene in Sri Lanka?

Apr 15 (TC) I have been asked by some British citizens of Tamil origin to give an opinion on the status of the British Government to intervene in the present humanitarian crisis caused in Sri Lanka by the shelling of safety zones declared by the Government of Sri Lanka by the Sri Lanka armed forces and the indiscriminate bombing of Tamil civilians. This shelling, as well as other indiscriminate targeting of objects, has resulted in massive civilian casualties. more..

Chinese & Libyan loans help Sri Lanka better than IMF

Apr 15 (PSM) The two USD 500 million loans pledged by China and Libya last week have made the controversial IMF loan that Sri Lanka has applied almost look redundant, economic sources said. From a point of desperation the government has now reached a stage from where it can tell the IMF that it can do well without its loan, the sources added. The govt. was unhappy with the conditions attached to the IMF loan from the beginning. more..

Last chance for Congress Establishment

Apr 15 (TN) "The Indian Establishment has an arrogant way of reminding that it is the Eezham Tamils who will be needing India and not vice versa. But it is time to tell that they also will need us," writes a political analyst in Colombo. “There is an increasing tendency among Eezham Tamils today to rely more on the West for solutions and the blame squarely falls especially on the present Indian Establishment. more..

Britain condemns LTTE massacre in Buttala

Apr 15 (GDI) British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, has strongly condemned the LTTE massacre of civilians in a remote village in Buttala yesterday. Denouncing the cold blooded killings of 8 villagers, including 3 women and 2 children, the British Foreign Secretary in a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama 13th April 2009, requested the latter to convey his condolences to the bereaved families. more..

'Karunanidhi staging a drama on Lankan issue'

Apr 15 (NT) Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was staging a drama on the Lankan issue and he would be taught a lesson in the elections, PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss has said. Ramadoss said Karunanidhi is shedding crocodile tears. The Congress has betrayed people on the issue and the DMK is supporting it. ‘If Karunanidhi has sincere concern for the sufferings of Tamils in Sri Lanka, he should come out of the Congress alliance and contest in all the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State.’ more..

'LTTE trying to mislead Intl community'

Apr 15 (LeN) The LTTE is attempting to mislead the international community by using government doctors, the Health Ministry said yesterday (April 14). The LTTE had attempted to spread false report through the international media making use of a statement made by the Provincial Health Directors of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu over alleged shell attacks in the No-Fire Zone. more..

Desperate Measures

Apr 15 (SP) Expatriate Tamils, who have long supported (if not always voluntarily) the LTTE with cash, are now holding large demonstrations in Britain and Australia. This is part of an LTTE attempt to gain popular support and diplomatic pressure on Sri Lanka to agree to a ceasefire. If this can be achieved, the LTTE can rebuild and resume its fight to partition the island into Tamil and non-Tamil sectors. The Sri Lankan government refuses to even discuss a permanent ceasefire, and will only negotiate if the LTTE disarms. more..

Tamils need acceptable terms of surrender

Apr 15 (UPI) The rearguard action being fought out of Sri Lanka and in the Tamil diaspora to halt the further advance of the Sri Lankan military into the last remaining pocket of territory controlled by the LTTE, designated a civilian safety zone by the Sri Lankan government, appears to have yielded results. President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced a government decision to observe a no-fire period on the eve of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, more..

'US should intervene directly with GoSL, LTTE to protect civilians'

Apr 15 (LNP) With Norway`s ouster as a third-party engaging with the LTTE, the role of the United States in having direct access with the Liberation Tigers has become critical to negotiating a ceasefire and bring relief to the more than 250,000 Tamil civilians caught in the war. Ambassador Lunstead points out that legal restrictions imposed by US domestic laws do not prevent the U.S. taking that role, more..

Bombing Rajiv and `beheading` Nehru

Apr 15 (LNP) LTTE backers have given India Hobson's choice. They have told her in no uncertain terms that she should either rescue Prabhakaran and give the LTTE a new lease of life or risk her own territorial integrity. Vaiko may not have a massive following as such in Tamil Nadu but his threat to India that Tamil Nadu would face a 'river of blood' in case of Prabhakaran's death at the hands of the Sri Lanka military has found resonance with the LTTE activists both in India and overseas. more..

New Year customs and traditions

Apr 15 (DM) Sinhala Aluth Avurudda was celebrated in the Kandyan Kingdom as a national festival under the patronage of the kings. This was done in keeping with the rituals. The astrologers worked out Nekath (auspicious times) to perform the rituals in order to bring about prosperity and happiness to the people and country. Sinhala Avurudda dawns when the Sun moves from Meena Rashiya to Mesha Rashiya completing a cycle of a twelve-month period. more..

Sinhala and Hindu New Year: Time to foster national unity

Apr 15 (DM) Sinhala and Tamil New Year is an annual event that stimulates society, enlivens the nation and fosters national consciousness in Sri Lanka. Earlier, this festival was celebrated mainly by the Buddhists and the Hindus. Now Christians too participate in New Year celebrations and it has become almost a nation-wide festival. Both Easter and New Year come in the same time of the year. more..

How the IMF Swindles the Third World

Apr 15 (Island) It is reported that the Sri Lankan Government is about to accept a $ 1.9 billion loan from the IMF, and $ 0.75 billion from the Asian Development Bank. Our reserves are said to be at $ 1.4 million, barely sufficient for 5 weeks’ of imports. We fool ourselves by calling a bit of money that we hold ‘reserves’. No country in debt has any reserves. What Sri Lanka calls ‘reserves’ are merely some money we hold temporarily - money that we do not own. more..

An occasion which breeds unity

Apr 15 (Island) The oldest cultural and national festival of the world, the Sinhala and Hindu New Year whose customs, traditions and rituals bring the two major communities together, is round the corner. From the astrological point of view the New Year signifies the movement of the sun from the Zodiac of Pisces (Mina Rasi), into the Aries (Mesha Rasi), covering a period of one year; the sun traversing through the 12 houses of the Zodiac. more..

Behind the IMF bail-out - Part 3

Behind the IMF bail-out - Part 2

Behind the IMF bail-out - Part 1