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Finally, things click for Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (CI) Finally, Sri Lanka won. It's been a tough ten days for the hosts. It has been an even tougher last couple of months where they have been put through a grueling schedule. "I would be lying if I said we are not tired," Mahela Jayawardene said at the start of the series. Today, the Sri Lankan captain reiterated it again while putting a positive spin about how it had been a nice challenge to face India. more..

Mahela relieved, but aware of predicament

Feb 9 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene was a very relieved captain at the end of the fifth and final one-day international when his team eventually got the better of India and avoided a rare 5-0 whitewash. Sri Lanka's 68-run victory in the last match stopped India's run of consecutive wins at nine, but Jayawardene was all to aware that his team needed to up their performance. "We had to get it right in the last game and we managed to do that. I am pleased with the guys, but disappointed with the series," more..

Farmers change Sri Lanka's airport site

Feb 9 (NN) H M Premachandra, a 52-year-old farmer in Sri Lanka, doesn't come across as someone who would take on the country's first citizen-President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But he, along with 800 families in the southern coastal district of Hambantota, succeeded in stalling the country's plans to build an international airport in Hambantota town, the capital of the district. "There was no agenda. It was not a personal battle; I fought in the national interest. more..

Elegy for Tamil Eelam

Feb 9 (Himal) Kilinochchi, then Elephant Pass and finally the Mullaitivu ‘command hub’ – and where is Velupillai Prabhakaran, anyway? Over the course of the past month, the LTTE ‘strongholds’ have, one by one, been shown to be weaker than presumed. Only two years ago, in March 2007, the rebels floored onlookers around the world by unveiling an ‘air wing’ – the Air Tigers, thus becoming the first insurgent organisation anywhere in the world with such a capability. more..

Sri Lankan Diplomat’s outright humiliation of Sri Lankan Tamils

Feb 9 (GV) This article concerns an article entitled “Tamils must sell something Sinhalese will be willing to buy at affordable price”, by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, an eminent Sri Lankan scholar, who is currently the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva. The position occupied by Dr.Jayatilleka is one of the highest-ranking diplomatic postings, and many may concur that he has been rendering valuable services to his country since he was appointed to the high office. more..

Cutting edge scientific research in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (GV) With the drawn out military campaign against terrorism in its last phase, the Sri Lankan government has taken a decision to divert the country’s defence budget to fund science & technology, education and research. Economists point out that the move will power the Sri Lankan economy out of it’s recent set-backs and place Sri Lanka right at the centre of the world map – a position it had secured millions of years ago thanks to a geological phenomenon called ‘ plate tectonics’. more..

Prayer rally held for peace in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (Hindu) Church of South India-Diocese of Madras organised a prayer rally here on Sunday for peace in Sri Lanka. “We are deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka and the immense distress that the Eelam Tamil people are undergoing,” said Bishop V.Devasahayam of the Church of South India-Diocese of Madras. The members from 160 pastorates and 1,000 congregations, schools, hospitals and other institutions of the Church participated in the rally. more..

Arjuna exposes government corruption at 'Corruption Watch'

Feb 9 (LeN) Former Chairman of the Cricket Interim Committee Arjuna Ranathunga, MP, says that he is unhappy since massive corruption like selling cricket transmission rights to 'Taj TV' took place under his government. Ranathunga expressed these views participating in a press conference on the future of cricket organized by Corruption Watch that held in SSC auditorium. He said that he would not point finger at the Minister of Sports and the other members of the Cricket interim Committee. more..

Major General Parakrama Pannipitiya arrested while hunting treasure

Feb 9 (LeN) A group that was hunting treasure in Weliweriya area was surrounded and handed over to police by a group residents of the area. The leader of the group introduced himself as Major General Parakrama Pannipitiya. He was held in police and interrogated since morning. The suspect will be produced in court today (08) by Weliweriya police, says police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara. more..

Are they coming or, have they come ?

Feb 9 (TC) It was one lazy Saturday morning, after the 61st Independence Day celebrations held under heavy security. I was online, reading President Rajapaksa's address to the nation from a bullet proof glass podium at the Galle face green, once a free and a casual expanse for any and all who flocked to Colombo. "This 61st anniversary of independence has given us the opportunity to realize the pride and dignity of our freedom. more..

'Govt not prepared to reverse ongoing operations'

Feb 9 (GDI) The Government is not prepared in any way to reverse the ongoing action against terrorists till they disarm themselves, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kurunegala on Saturday. The President was addressing a rally at the Maligapitiya grounds in Kurunegala in support of UPFA candidates contesting the February 14 North Western Provincial Council election. more..

The end of the Sri Lankan “peace process”

Feb 9 (wsws) If there were an international prize for political cynicism, then the co-chairs of the so-called Sri Lankan peace process—the US, the European Union, Japan and Norway—would be leading contenders. In a joint statement issued last week, the four co-chairs—pushed on by the new Obama administration in Washington—abandoned any pretence of neutrality and called on the LTTE to put down their weapons and surrender to the Sri Lankan regime. more..

Mega funds for road development

Feb 9 (GDI) The Government will carpet the stretch of the road from Kohuwala to Kesbewa (120 route) spending Rs.200 million, Highways and Road Development Minister T.B.Ekanayaka said. He pointed out that this move was pledged in the Mahinda Chinthanaya to build new roads and to rehabilitate the roads to accelerate the economic growth. Meanwhile, the road from Jaligoda to Kesbewa will also be rehabilitated at a cost of Rs.200 million. more..

Development projects launched at Kalpitiya

Feb 9 (GDI) A series of development projects were launched at the Mohantuwarama Fishery Island in Kalpitiya on Saturday under the guidance of Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa. This fishery island made up of some 2000 people comes under the Kalpitiya tourist zone. The construction of a jetty connecting the fishery island and the Kalpitiya town, a power scheme to supply to the island, more..

Project to explore gem deposits

Feb 9 (GDI) The Gem and Jewellery Research and Training Institute (GJRTI) will launch an islandwide project to explore and map the gem deposits available in the country. Areas identified as harmful to the environment will however, be excluded. The project which will span for four years has been estimated to cost Rs. 36 million, GJRTI Director Thilak Dharmawardane said. more..

UNP to take legal action against UPFA nominations

Feb 9 (LT) All arrangements have been made to take legal action against frauds, corruption and irregularities carried out by the candidates of the UPFA to prevent the victory of the UNP in the Central Provincial Council election says Secretary General of the UNP Tissa Attanayake. He said the victory of the UNP is certain and the voters have been asked to go to the polling booth early morning and cast their votes without any fear of fraud, terror or suppression. more..

20 rehabilitated tiger members to Kuwait

Feb 9 (LT) A programme is being implemented by Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment to send members of tiger organization who surrendered to Security Forces for foreign employment after getting them rehabilitated. According to Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment the first such group consisting of 20 rehabilitated tiger cadres would be sent to Kuwait within the next few days. more..

Basil Rajapaksa condemned the suicide bomb attack in Dharmapuram

Feb 9 (GDI) Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian together with the Government strongly condemned the suicide bomb attack Today 9th February 2009 by the LTTE in Dharmapuram. This attack was carried out against the internally displace persons who have fled from areas of Mullathive while taking refuge in one of the centers. more..

'President is implementing Indo-Sri Lanka pact'

Feb 9 (LT) He was agitating for the implementation of the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement for more than twenty years and now President Mahinda Rajapaske is going ahead with the implementation of this agreement and a provincial council for the north would be established after holding an election for the province like it was done for the Eastern Province said Minister Douglas Devananda. more..

The devious self-righteousness of Bobby Rae

Feb 9 (PISL) The last couple of weeks have seen much attention to Sri Lanka on the part of politicians in the Western world. This attention is based on what they claim to be concern for suffering civilians in the North, and such concern is welcome. However, it would have been more convincing, and thus more effective, had it not followed on months of neglect, and had it not been accompanied by gross misrepresentations of the situation. more..

Seeking solace in Statist Socialism

Feb 9 (PISL) One of the more entertaining aspects of the current situation is the strange combination of bedfellows it has propelled out of the woodwork. I was struck by this aspect when I saw a report to the effect that the Socialist Group in the European Parliament had boycotted a vote on Sri Lanka, on the grounds that they would not vote 'on an imbalanced text'. The comments came from Robert Evans, who had previously been implicitly condemned for in effect fibbing, when more..

Demise of the Opposition and Sinhala future in nation building

Feb 9 (LeN) What should eventually happen, did happen. The UNP finally curled up meekly to make an official statement on 27th January which said, "The United National Party salutes the Sri Lankan armed forces for its military victories in the North" adding that the UNP acknowledges it was "the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers who were responsible for overseeing the conduct of these military operations". more..

The Bogollagama Doctrine

Feb 9 (LG) Peace and development remain the objectives of our era. Economic globalization is developing in depth, and science and technology are advancing by leaps and bounds. These developments have brought about new opportunities for all countries to develop their economies and improve the living standard of their people. The world is not yet a tranquil place. Terrorism continues to threaten the world despite global efforts to eliminate it. more..

“Gee pedura”- a musical fiesta for USJP Undergraduates

Feb 9 (LP) A musical fiesta called “Gee pedura” is organized by the past students of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura (USJP). The event will be held near the Sumangala Mandirya, of the university on the 12th of February at 07.00am and the show will be open free, to all students. The event is organized with the motive of promoting valuable music and instilling a taste among the students to appreciate better music. more..

Spanish design safety shoes made in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (BOI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to ICL Robusta for a project to manufacture footware for the export market. BOI Board Member Mr. Channa Palansuriya signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registrations to Mr. Zakir Abdi, Director, ICL Robusta. ICL Robusta is a joint venture project of Industrial Clothings, Sri Lanka and Calzados Robusta S.L, Spain. more..

The Ball is in TNA's Court

Feb 9 (LG) The days when the calls used to be made for the LTTE to let the TNA talk for it – not war, but peace – are gone. Today, there is an urgent need instead for the TNA to co-opt the LTTE if the two have to remain relevant to the ethnic proceedings in Sri Lanka in whatever way possible. The LTTE's guns and pistol gangs had controlled the Tamil polity and the larger society over the past decades. more..

Tamils are our brothers and sisters – not enemies

Feb 9 (LG) In times of distress the Sinhala people have always rushed to the rescue of the Tamils. In 1983 when the lunatic fringe ran berserk attacking the innocent Tamils many Sinhalese risked their lives to save the Tamils. When the tsunami hit Mullativu and the eastern coast, just at the time that Velupillai Prabhakaran was on the verge of launching his Eelam War IV, it was the Sinhala neighbours in the nearby villages that first rushed to the aid of the stricken Tamil people. more..

Situation report (Feb 9) by SLA

Feb 9 (SLA) Fighter Jets Pound LTTE Gathering Point: MULLAITTIVU: KFIR JETS of the Sri Lanka Air Force conducted an aerial attack on an identified LTTE gathering point in VELLAMULLA, VAIKKAL, MULLAITTIVU this morning (9) around 7.00 a.m.. According to the pilots, the target was precisely identified by them based on ground and technical sources and accurately engaged. Troops Recover Stocks of LTTE Arms & Ammunitions more..

'Parties look out for strong faces'

Feb 9 (SAMN) Three main political parties, the UPFA, UNP and the JVP are to finalize this week their lists for the Western Provincial Council, but they are yet to name the chief ministerial candidates for the crucial poll which will indicate the political trend in the country. The ruling UPFA is expected to hold interviews on Thursday and its list would be finalized on February 15. more..

'Ban the Tamil National Alliance'

Feb 9 (AT) Anandasangaree urges Government to ban the TNA for being a proxy party of the LTTE and advocating on behalf of the terrorist organization, even after it has been banned in Sri Lanka. The Leader of the TULF, V. Anandasangaree pointed out that in a statement recently released by the TNA in response to a statement issued by the Co-chairs; they emphasized that LTTE as the "authentic representative of the Tamil nation." more..

Token strike by A’pura doctors tomorrow

Feb 9 (SAMN) Doctors in the Anuradhapura district have decided to stage a token strike tomorrow to protest the assault on the North Central Province Health Director Dr. W. Attapathu last week. The Government Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA) denounced this attack and said unprovoked assaults of this nature would disrupt the smooth maintenance of health services. It urged the police to arrest the culprits without delay. more..

Govt rejects genocide charges

Feb 9 (SAMN) The government yesterday hit out at moves by certain groups which claimed there was genocide in Sri Lanka and said the operations in the North, though an uphill task was aimed purely at liberating the Tamils from the clutches of the LTTE. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said it was misleading for these groups or individuals to label the humanitarian operations in the North as genocide and by such claims were providing a lifeline to the Tigers who were on the verge of total defeat. more..

Health Secretary holds ICRC responsible

Feb 9 (SAMN) Health Ministry Secretary Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage in a letter to ICRC Sri Lanka Mission Head Paul Castella on Saturday said the International Committee of Red Cross should be responsible for the plight of patients and medical staff attached to Puthukuduyirrupu Hospital for having deviated from the best possible route arranged by the Government to evacuate them. more..

Independence Day celebrated in Sweden

Feb 9 (AT) Sri Lanka's 61st Independence Day Official Ceremony was held in the Sri Lanka Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden on the 4th Feb. 2009. In the morning, the Official Ceremony was held with the religious dignitaries and Sri Lankan community living in Swden. After hoisting the National Flag, lightning of traditional oil lamp and religious activities were performed. Speeches of the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were read by the Ambassador, more..

Despite LTTE attacks, Thousands come to Visuamadu

Feb 9 (DN) Thousands of civilians continue to flow into the Security Forces controlled areas in Visuamadu braving all forms of harassment of the LTTE for the second consecutive day yesterday foiling all attempts of the LTTE to stop them. Over 4,600 civilians had arrived to the cleared areas yesterday. The civilians in their thousands crossed Theravil Aru with their life long belongings to reach Government controlled areas and narrate the harrowing experience undergone in the LTTE controlled areas. more..

'Agro-Export Zones will re-distribute income'

Feb 9 (DN) Dividends from exports confined to a few individuals would be distributed among a wider section of the people, mainly from the rural hinterland with the establishment of Agro-Export Zones, Basil Rajapaksa MP said. He said under this scheme, the rural people will function not only as farmers but as stakeholders of the export drive as well. He was speaking at a meeting at Kandakkuwatte in the Bingiriya electorate to inaugurate the first Agro-Export Zone, more..

Nuwan Zoysa - Nobody's Child of Sri Lankan Cricket

Feb 9 (DM) To say that Nuwan Zoysa was just another average cricketer is to make the greatest understatement ever. Right from his early days at Isipathana College he showed rare talent which was destined to bring him into the National limelight. While at school from 1994 to 1997, Nuwan represented his College right from the U-15 level to the 1st eleven where he proved in no uncertain terms that more..

Asela loses Oslo mission to Paul Perera’s son

Feb 9 (Island) Hot on the heels of Foreign Ministry’s decision to recall Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Norway Asela Weerakoon for not being supportive enough of the country’s propaganda drive against the LTTE, the ministry had moved to send Rodney Perera to Oslo, well informed sources told The Island. The sources said that the ministry had already informed the Parliamentary High Posts Committee headed by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake of its decision. more..

Child auction centre raided: Ten-day-old infant about to be sold for Rs 25,000

Feb 9 (Island) A secret location at the Bodhiraja Mawatha in Maligawatte, where auctioning of infants had gone on for sometime, was raided yesterday (8) by the Colombo Central Intelligence Bureau. A mother of three children and eight other women suspects along with a 10-day-old infant girl were also taken into custody. At the time of the raid, the infant was about to be sold for Rs 25,000, the police said. more..

Polls violence on the rise: CMEV

Feb 9 (DM) The Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) yesterday said the total number of election related incidents of violence in both the Central and North Western Provinces had reached 80 by 12 noon yesterday. CMEV Co Convener Dr. P. Sarawanamuttu said in a statement yesterday that there have been a total of 48 major incidents and 32 minor incidents reported. There had been three incidents of the use of firearms reported. more..

Archbishop appeals for civilian safety

Feb 9 (UCAN) The archbishop of Colombo has appealed to Tamil rebels and government forces to allow civilians seeking to flee the northern war zone to move to safe areas. Archbishop Oswald Gomis expressed his concern about displaced civilians and wounded children during a Mass at St. Lucia's Cathedral on Feb. 4 to mark the 61st anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence. The congregation of 2,000 included politicians, teachers and students invited to attend the special liturgy. more..

'Govt targets media under civil war cover'

Feb 9 (IPS) Sri Lanka’s ruling establishment has become increasingly intolerant towards the island country’s independent media, even as President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government steps up its military offensive against separatist Tamil militants in the north. Whereas the government has accused certain media personnel of favouring the outlawed LTTE, in recent weeks, prominent journalists have been killed or threatened apparently because they exposed corruption and nepotism in high places. more..

Defeated, not out

Feb 9 (TW) We have not lost our hopes yet," says Vaanan, a Sri Lankan Tamil living in Canada. "Like Jews who often greet each other with the 'we will soon meet in Jerusalem' phrase, we still greet each other with 'we will soon meet in Tamil Eelam'. This is a struggle and defeats are common. We are not going to give up." Vaanan may echo the sentiments of the Tamil diaspora. But those closer home know that the 25-year-long civil war is nearing an end. more..

'India not involved'

Feb 9 (TW) Confined to a lagoon on the northeastern coast after the Sri Lankan military captured their garrison town of Mullaiteevu on January 25, the Liberation Tigers are virtually caught between the Lion and the deep sea. Amid conflicting reports of their chief Prabhakaran's whereabouts, and that he may have escaped to Malaysia or Thailand, the military claimed 95 per cent of the war was over. more..

As war rages Sri Lanka celebrates wins over rebels

Feb 9 (AP) With the Tamil Tiger rebels on the brink of defeat in the north, hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans jammed a patriotic exhibition extolling the military's efforts to bring an end to the 25-year-old civil war. The exhibit — displaying weapons, boats and even submarines captured from the rebels in recent years — underscored the growing optimism that the seemingly interminable war is nearly over. more..

Suicide bomber kills 28 in refugee camp

Feb 9 (AP) A suspected rebel suicide bomber killed 20 soldiers and eight civilians when she blew herself up Monday at a facility where government forces were processing Sri Lankans fleeing the northern war zone. The bombing was the first major suicide attack in Sri Lanka in more than a month and led to fears the Tamil Tiger separatists — boxed in by the military and on the verge of defeat — will increasingly turn to guerrilla warfare in their battle against government forces. more..

Refugees eager to join LTTE

Feb 10 (EB) A number of youngsters in the refugee camps here prefer to go back to Sri Lanka and join the LTTE in the war instead of living in India ‘as slaves’. According to sources, the young refugees who have access to various daily newspapers and news channels are enraged over the atrocities committed by the Lankan army and are willing to strengthen the LTTE. Most of the refugees lead a miserable life at the camps and feel that they were enslaved by the various rules and regulations. more..

India to help remake northern Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (IANS) As it steps up pressure on Sri Lanka to halt killings of civilians in its war zone, India is preparing a major reconstruction package for the island nation’s troubled north. After initially keeping mum even at the cost of alienating a traditionally friendly ethnic group, New Delhi has given up its policy of not speaking out publicly against Colombo by repeatedly calling for an end to Tamil civilian suffering that has caused global outrage. more..

LTTE chief Prabhakaran's fate a mystery

Feb 10 (MSN) At the height of his power, the Tamil commander ran a shadow state. His guerrilla force, backed by artillery, a navy and a tiny air force, reportedly took in hundreds of millions from donations and smuggling. Now he is hiding in a jungle. Or he has fled to Malaysia. Or maybe he is dead. With his rebel separatist group on the brink of defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan military, Velupillai Prabhakaran's fate remains a mystery. more..

Conflicting reports on trapped citizens

Feb 10 (OW) The military on Sunday claimed that over 10,000 civilians trapped in the war zone have crossed over to safe zone in the first week of February. The military’s statistics of people crossing over from the last remaining stretch of land under the LTTE show a spurt in the movement of people caught in the war between the forces and the Tigers. As per the government estimates as of February 1, there were 120,000 civilians held up in the Tiger-held territory in the Mullathivu district. more..