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Fraudulent concept of a 'fire-free, no-fire, safe zone'

Apr 20 (DBJ) Nowadays there is a lot of media focus on the terms “Safe-Zone,” “fire-Free Zone,” and “No-Fire Zone” in the Northern mainland known as the Wanni. All terms refer to a designated tract of territory where the warring parties namely the armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE are not supposed to fire from or fire at each other. The underlying reason being to afford the helpless civilians a safe haven away from the fighting where they could literally and metaphorically experience “breathing space”. more..

The gates of heaven

Apr 20 (LG) Even by air , Jaffna is a much as 8 hours away. There is over three hours of wait on both sides which includes checking of personal belongings twice and loading and unloading oneself into two buses to be taken to the destination. Once in Jaffna, each traveller is snapped off a digital camera and provided with a pass which allows stay for not more than a month. Interestingly, a photo is snapped on the return journey too making us wonder how all this information was being documented. more..

Big cache of LTTE weapons seized: Army

Apr 20 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military said on Sunday troops engaged in clearing operations in the North had recovered a large haul of weapons left behind by LTTE cadre retreating into the No Fire Zone (NFZ). The Defence Ministry said the troops collected 30 T-56 rifles, one multi purpose machine gun, a stock of 4,90,000 small machine gun ammo, 750 ammo for T-56 rifles, 48 hand grenades, three suicide jackets, 23 RPG bombs, 10 artillery bombs (130 mm), more..

Sri Lankan issue comes to the fore in TN polls

Apr 20 (PTI) The Sri Lankan Tamils issue has been pitchforked to the centrestage in the run up to the May 13 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu with political parties bringing into sharp focus the "humanitarian crisis" in the embattled north of the island nation. With the Sri Lankan Army penetrating deep into the LTTE strongholds and several lakhs of civilians trapped in the war zone, more..

Vaiko seeks UN intervention in Sri Lankan crisis

Apr 20 (ANI) MDMK founder V. Gopalswamy on Sunday urged the United Nations' intervention to solve the Sri Lankan crisis. Gopalswamy, commonly known as Vaiko, said that the ban on the LTTE in India should be lifted and the UN should send troops to Sri Lanka to stop the war. "When the world is ready to pressurise Sri Lanka on war, even then the Indian government is not ready to put pressure on the island nation. more..

Congress rejects Karuna's comments on Prabhakaran

Apr 20 (PTI) Congress on Sunday rejected Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi's comments that Velupillai Prabhakaran was "not a terrorist", saying the party viewed him as a terrorist and the LTTE an extremist outfit. Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal termed the DMK chief's remarks as his "personal opinion" and said the party will ask for Prabhakaran's extradition if Sri Lanka captures him alive. more..

Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera: part 3

Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera: part 2

Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera: part 1

Civil war fuelling Sri Lankan surge

Apr 20 (TA) Sri Lanka could soon rival Afghanistan as the main source of Australia-bound boatpeople, with senior international officials warning regional conflict and the global financial crisis will unleash a fresh wave of asylum seekers. As the Rudd Government continues to warn Australia to brace for an upsurge in unauthorised arrivals, there had been a steady increase in people leaving the island nation by boat. more..

'Govt. without caring for law and order is dragging the country towards anarchy'

Apr 20 (LT) The present government without having any respect to the law is dragging the country towards a villainous administration state. Government Parliamentarians and close associates of the President have been involved in several incidents that have had furious outbursts in the society. However, no one has been arrested or any statement recorded regarding these incidents said JVP Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake. more..

Fishermen fear wrath of people-smuggler

Apr 20 (TA) Sinhalese fishermen detained on Christmas Island claim they fled Sri Lanka in fear of Tamil Tiger rebels, but say they have a new problem if deported - a people-smuggler holds them responsible for the loss of his boat. "The people-smuggler is very angry," said 31-year-old Sujith, who is appealing against a decision by the Immigration Department to send him home. Sujith and four fellow passengers on last year's journey from Sri Lanka have been attending the island's Catholic Church each day, more..

Interview with Karuna, Sri Lanka's 'Reconciliation Ministry'

Apr 20 (TC) For a man charged to bring reconciliation to Sri Lanka, Minister Karua is certainly a divisive figure. As a guerilla commander he is alleged to have been responsible for serious crimes. As a politician, it is alarming as how quickly he's fallen out with his former LTTE comrade and political rival Pillaiyan, The Chief Minister of the East. This is a familiar theme in Sri Lankan politics. more..

Driver flees to Sri Lanka after grandmother struck and killed

Apr 20 (HS) The family of a Melbourne grandmother killed by a speeding driver has called for justice after discovering the offender fled Australia scot-free. Pensioner Concertta Mammino, 66, died after she was struck by a car that allegedly had run a red light metres from her Malvern East home. The driver had allegedly been talking on his mobile. The driver, an international student, was interviewed by police in relation to more..

Sri Lankan troops seek to open new road access

Apr 20 (Hindu) The military on Sunday said its troops positioned in the vicinity of the no fire zone (NFZ) in the north, where an estimated 70,000 civilians were being held by the LTTE, were engaged in an operation to open up a new road access to the NFZ. Defence Ministry here said soldiers of 53 and 58 Divisions were just 700 to 800 metres away from the bridge on A-35 road (Paranthan-Mullaithivu) at Vellaimullaivaikkal on Saturday night. more..

Indian spiritual leader to visit Sri Lanka on peace mission

Apr 20 (IANS) Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will be in Sri Lanka for three days from Monday on a peace mission. During his April 20-22 visit, Sri Sri, as he is known among followers, will meet several dignitaries, diplomats, leaders of civil society including Sinhalese Buddhist monks and Tamils in Colombo, the Art of Living Foundation said in a release here Sunday. more..

Civilians held in Sri Lanka camps face disease threat

Apr 20 (Guardian) Thousands of civilians fleeing fighting in Sri Lanka have been interned by the government in cramped, makeshift camps with overflowing drains, water shortages and the threat of disease looming large in the sweltering, unsanitary conditions. The government allowed a small group of international journalists into Menik Farm camp, which is regarded by aid agencies as by far the best-equipped of the camps. more..

'We feared that our baby would cry, giving away our position'

Apr 20 (Independent) It was barely two miles across the no man's land that separated the rebel positions from the territory held by the government troops, yet it took Prabakhar and his family a full four days to make the journey. With just a bagful of belongings, they lived off biscuits and river water and stayed awake through the night. Prabakhar and his wife were terrified their five month old baby would cry and give away their position to rebel soldiers. more..

The gates of heaven

Apr 20 (LG) Even by air, Jaffna is a much as 8 hours away. There is over three hours of wait on both sides which includes checking of personal belongings twice and loading and unloading oneself into two buses to be taken to the destination. Once in Jaffna, each traveller is snapped off a digital camera and provided with a pass which allows stay for not more than a month. Interestingly, a photo is snapped on the return journey too making us wonder how all this information was being documented. more..

Red Cross 'worn out' in Sri Lanka

Apr 20 (BBC) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says government doctors working in the remaining area of fighting in Sri Lanka are "worn out". The ICRC says they do not have enough supplies to treat the hundreds, or thousands, of injured people there. The agency says it would like to help people escaping the zone by land, but it had not yet been given access. Up to 100,000 Tamil civilians are trapped in the tiny area where Tamil Tiger rebels still confront the army. more..

A Pause to the Pause?

Apr 20 (LG) One more ‘pause’ has come and gone in Sri Lanka’s ethnic war, but unlike the first time round, there was no escape for the trapped civilians, whatever be their numbers. This has put the burden back on the international community, for which the end of the precipitous stalemate will have lessons in fighting the ‘global war’ on terrorism, just as ‘hostage-taking’ by the LTTE has had. more..

Oprah Winfrey says No

Apr 20 (LG) The much-publicized ‘Walk to the Oprah Winfrey Show’ by a group of Sri Lankan Tamils from Canada has gone down as a ‘walk to nowhere.’ A spokesperson for the Oprah Show confirmed there were no plans to feature the walkers on the show. The announcement comes in the wake of an online petition opposing the walk reaching a count of over 16,000. The Oprah Show became an unwitting Eelam battleground after the group’s six men, more..

The hostages must be released immediately

Apr 20 (LG) We are deeply concerned and saddened by the current humanitarian crisis created by the ongoing war in Sri-Lanka’s Vanni region. Without further delay and excuses, the LTTE should release all civilians from the No-Fire Zone. More than one hundred thousand civilians are held against their will in that small piece of land, declared as the No-Fire Zone. This action by the LTTE is shameful and should be condemned unequivocally. more..

How low can they go…

Apr 20 (LG) Newspaper reports reveal that the US administration has had enough of Rajapaksha administration. The former is irked because however much they tried, the latter could not be stopped from successfully destroying Prabakaran and unifying the war-torn country. Many a above ground and subterranean attempt have been made during the last three years, but to no avail, as the Rajapaksha administration continued to enjoy the majority people’s backing and more..

Govt. MPs in shooting orgy at Homagama

Apr 20 (LT) The involvement of a lorry without number plates in election propaganda this morning at Homagama has led to unrest in the area say reports. According to reports reaching ‘Lankatruth’ there had been shooting and assaulting and a group of people wearing commando type uniforms has abducted one person in the area. Today morning a lorry without number plates had arrived in the area to put up posters of the UPFA. more..

EPC not to debate: Parliament to debate

Apr 20 (PSM) The much expected adjourned debate on the proposed Local Authority Election Bill is not to be taken up today as announced on Friday 18th but is now postponed to 12th May. Sources said even the new deadline is unlikely to allow the adjourned debate in the EPC. Meanwhile, Parliament which is scheduled to debate this bill today is also in a dilemma after the turn of events that took place in the EPC. more..

Sri Lanka establishes diplomatic relations with Paraguay

Apr 20 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Paraguay have established diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level, guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 1961, and by the mutual desire to strengthen the existing friendly relations between the two States in political, economic, commercial, cultural and other fields. more..

17 rebels dead in clashes to clear road

Apr 20 (AP) Soldiers killed 17 Tamil Tiger separatists in fighting to clear a road that would give the military access to remaining rebel territory where thousands of civilians are trapped, the Defense Ministry said Sunday. More than 2,800 civilians were able to flee the war zone on Saturday. The rebels, who once controlled a de facto state in parts of the country's north and east, have retreated to a tiny slice of land that more..

'Govt. despite claiming they would build a righteous society has put forward criminals'

Apr 20 (LT) Despite claiming they would create a righteous society by suppressing corruption, fraud and all other vices in the society, the government has put forward womanizers, thieves, racketeers and fraudsters or those who are to be punished for such offences as its candidates for the Western PC election says General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. more..

SEP to hold final election meeting in Colombo

Apr 20 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka will hold a final election public meeting on April 21 after a month-long campaign for the Colombo district in the Western Provincial Council election. The provincial election is being held as the military attacks the last strip of land held by the LTTE. more..

Heed the UNP s call

Apr 20 (LNP) This country is feeling the chilly wind of the world financial and economic crisis but by no stretch of imagination could one attribute the collapse of a few financial institutions here to the global financial meltdown. Those institutions crashed as they stood on a foundation of lies and deception and their operations were akin to that of the infamous Pyramid Scheme. UNP MP, Ravi Karunanayake, on Friday warned that Sri Lanka's financial sector was teetering on the brink of collapse and more..

2 suspects of Akmeemana double murder shot dead

Apr 20 (CT) Two suspects in the murders of the two children in Nugekanda in Akmeemana were killed in a police shooting early this morning. The suspects had attempted to attack the police party accompanying him to recover hidden weapons used for the murder, when the incident occurred, police say. The two children - a 2 1/2 year old boy and a girl aged 10 years - went missing from their neighbouring homes at Nugekanda in Akmeemana. more..

Govt does not expect int'l intervention

Apr 20 (CT) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena says his government does not expect any international intervention in the national conflict in Sri Lanka. He also reiterates the government stance that the ongoing war in the north will continue until LTTE terrorism is eradicated Mr. Abeywardena's remark came in response to a move by Britain to send an envoy to the United Nations for urgent talks. more..

Comforting the stricken

Apr 20 (TS) War is always tragic. Sadly, our world has more than 20 conflicts, many of which we never hear about. Sri Lanka has been at war for decades. More than 100,000 people have lost their lives since 1983 and currently more than 500,000 have been displaced from their homes. The LTTE once controlled more than 15,000 square km of this tiny, teardrop-shaped island nation. A few years ago, there was hope in the form of a shaky ceasefire that was strengthened by the influx of humanitarian aid following the Tsunami. more..

Costs of policing Tamil protests raises concerns

Apr 20 (EJ) As the Tamil-Canadian vigil on Parliament Hill enters its third week, with a fresh wave of demonstrators expected on Tuesday, area politicians are calling on the federal government to cover the extra costs of patrolling the protest. “As a clear and pragmatic point, the federal government should be paying for these services that are provided from the City of Ottawa,” Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar said Sunday. more..

'UNP strengthened armed forces'

Apr 20 (CT) The present regime, under which the country is experiencing degradation in all fronts, has just one alternative - the war - to market itself, said opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The government is using the war at the propaganda platform for Western Provincial Council polls, as it had done at previous elections, to buy votes, he said. more..

LTTE doomed

Apr 20 (MoD) The sudden upsurge in the influx of civilians trapped by the LTTE in a bid for freedom with the ending of the 48 hour humanitarian pause is a clear indication of the desperation of these hapless souls to break out of the hell hole they have been consigned by those who claimed to be their sole representative. It is also the writing on the wall for Velupillai Prabhakaran to whom the genesis of the existence of his outfit was the liberation of the Tamil people. more..

President’s Kilinochchi visit: Wide acclaim

Apr 20 (DN) Several political party leaders and members of the clergy hailed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Kilinochchi, not long ago the de facto capital of the LTTE’s so called Eelam state. They said the visit was a historic one which reinforced the Government’s writ in the entirety of the North and one which raises hopes among the Tamil civilians for a peaceful future. more..

President orders halt to second phase of Baseline road project

Apr 20 (DN) Considering the inconvenience caused to the residents of the area, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday ordered the relevant officials to stop the construction of the 7.5 km stretch of the roadway between Kirulapone and Ratmalana Maliban Junction, with immediate effect. This decision was taken following a special meeting he had, with a group representing those inconvenienced and displaced, by the loss of their house and property, due to the construction of the said roadway. more..

An opportunity for a new beginning

Apr 20 (DN) All indications are that Sri Lanka’s protracted war against the LTTE, the once formidable terrorist outfit, would soon come to an end. Hemmed in by powerful army units in a fast shrinking area north of Mullaitivu, the LTTE’s remaining cadre are either preparing for a hopeless last-stand or hurriedly deserting its depleted ranks. Its besieged leaders who stalked and killed so many, will sooner or later find themselves in the cross hairs of an army sharp shooter. more..

Sailors join hands with soldiers for rescue mission

Apr 20 (MoD) Navy sea units deployed in the northeastern coastal waters of the Island have rescued 92 boats with over 1500 civilians onboard. The navy units are now escorting 80 boats to the Point Pedro harbour whereas another 12 boats are being escorted to Pulmoddai. Sri Lanka Navy detected a cluster of small boats coming out of the No Fire Zone early this morning (Apr 20) with LTTE attack boats firing at them. more..

Convicted London-based LTTE procurement agent’s MI5 link bared

Apr 20 (Island) The alleged head of the Tamil Tigers in Britain was buying bomb-making equipment for the terrorist group while holding regular meetings with Special Branch, it has been revealed. Timesonline on Saturday reported Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, known as AC Shanthan, became the first person to be convicted of aiding the LTTE since the British Government declared them an illegal terrorist group in 2001. more..

Civilians suffer in Sri Lanka conflict

Now US threatens to block IMF loan facility to demand ceasefire

Apr 20 (Island) The Barak Obama administration has warned that it would block a USD 1.9 billion IMF loan facility sought by the Rajapaksa administration. This follows Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s rejection of a US inspired call for an immediate ceasefire on the Vanni front to facilitate a meeting between UN representatives and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in the civilian safety zone on the Mullaitivu coast. more..

The incredible challenge

Apr 20 (Island) In keeping with the spirit of the New Year that has just dawned, with malice towards none and charity towards all. Anyone who has boxed would tell you that when you throw a punch you should not leave yourself open for a devastating uppercut. RW ‘s challenge to debate the President is quite unwise He has quite unnecessarily left himself open to receive an uppercut. He of course knows that the President is no great debater and more..

UPFA blatantly violates Army uniform to carry out election campaign

Apr 20 (LT) UPFA blatantly violates Army uniform to carry out election campaignThe Army uniform is blatantly used for the election campaign of the UPFA. Such an incident has been reported from Maharagama area. The UPFA supporters who went on house to house campaigning at Pubudu Mawatha at Nampamunuwa at Maharagama were attired in clothes similar to Army uniform. more..

Lessons from the Eastern Province

Apr 20 (ICG) Violence, political instability and the government’s reluctance to devolve power or resources to the fledgling provincial council are undermining ambitious plans for developing Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. The east continues to face obstacles to economic and political progress and offers lessons for development agencies and foreign donors considering expanding their work into newly won areas in the Northern Province. more..

Karunanidhi now says LTTE is terror group

Apr 20 (IANS) A day after he reportedly said Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was not a terrorist, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Monday did a U-turn saying the LTTE was indeed a terrorist outfit. As Tamil Nadu was hit by a political storm after Karunanidhi made the initial remarks Sunday, the DMK chief said the Tamil Tigers began as a liberation group but turned terrorist later. more..

Govt. planning peace talks with Tigers: Ranil

Apr 20 (DM) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday there was a move by the government to resume peace talks with the LTTE. He told a UNP Western Provincial Council election rally in Negombo that a senior presidential adviseor had expressed his willingness to talk to LTTE’s newly appointed international spokesman Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. more..

Body of varsity student found

Apr 20 (DM) The Teldeniya police had found a body of a young woman by the roadside in the Putuhapuwa area in Teldeniya. The police said the victim was Aluthgedara Irangani Sarath Kulatunga (24) a resident of an 80-acre colony, Ambalagoda, Teldeniya, a third year external student of the Kelaniya University. The tragic fate had visited her while she was returning home after performing religious rites at Sri Dalada Maligawa on Saturday. more..