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The Indian stand

Feb 10 (FL) IT was no secret that New Delhi was initially against the Sri Lankan government’s decision to go all out for a military solution to the long-running civil war. The Indian government, like the rest of the international community, had consistently called for a political solution. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Parliament in October 2008 that “there was no military solution to the ethnic conflict” and urged the Sri Lankan government to find a peacefully negotiated political settlement. more..

Final act

Feb 10 (FL) ON the evening of February 5, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa received a telephone call from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It was an unusual call as neither Rajapaksa nor Ban Ki-moon was in their respective headquarters. Rajapaksa was away in Kandy and Ban Ki-moon was on a visit to New Delhi. The obvious topic of the conversation was the fate of an estimated 1.5 to three lakh civilians trapped in the war zone more..

What next?

Feb 10 (FL) WHAT next? That seems to be the question Sri Lanka watchers are asking as the defences of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) collapse like ninepins in the face of the aggressive military assault in the Wanni. It would be a mistake, however, to presume that the ethnic conflict will cease once the LTTE is reduced to an entity without a defined territory for the first time since the departure of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in March 1990. more..

New configurations and constraints

Feb 10 (FL) “Endgame for the LTTE.” That is how the media described the Sri Lanka Army’s entry into Mullaithivu town, seemingly the last stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It is clear that the LTTE’s military backbone has been broken decisively by the advancing military forces of the Sri Lankan state. At the time of writing, the remaining LTTE cadre, trapped in a small area in the Mullaithivu jungles, seem to be fighting a losing battle. more..

Political tension

Feb 10 (FL) WHEN the executive committee of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which rules Tamil Nadu, met in Chennai on February 3, the mood in the State was sombre. On that day, several newspapers had published on their front pages, reports on the bombing of the children’s ward of a hospital in Pudukudiyiruppu in Mullaithivu district of Sri Lanka, resulting in the death of many children and adults. more..

Red Cross to evacuate wounded from Sri Lanka war

Feb 10 (AP) The Red Cross began loading more than 400 sick and wounded onto a boat in Sri Lanka's northeast war zone Tuesday as the group tried to evacuate civilians stranded in a makeshift hospital for nearly a week. Meanwhile, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara accused the rebels of firing on a group of more than 1,000 civilians fleeing the war zone in Udayarkattu, inside what remains of rebel-held territory early Tuesday. He said they killed 17 and wounded 69. more..

Canadian MPs' genocide claims upset Lanka

Feb 10 (Rediff) Sri Lanka has expressed its anguish over remarks by some Liberal lawmakers in Canada, who termed the island nation's military offensive in areas held by the LTTE as 'genocide'. An emergency debate was held at the House of Commons on the worsening situation in Sri Lanka in which over 300,000 civilians, mostly Tamils, are trapped in the conflict. "There are a few Liberal MPs who used the word genocide in the parliamentary debate," Sri Lankan Consul-General Bandula Jaysekara told more..

U.N. experts decry 'climate of fear' in Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders are living in fear and need better protection from violence, United Nations investigators said on Monday. In a joint statement, 10 U.N. experts called on the government to act quickly to halt repressive practices. "The fear of reprisals against victims and witnesses, together with a lack of effective investigations and prosecutions, has led to a circle of impunity," they said. more..

Amnesty condemns Sri Lanka suicide bombing

Feb 10 (AFP) Rights group Amnesty International condemned Monday's suicide bombing at a camp for civilians who have fled Sri Lanka's ethnic war and said the attack should not lead to retaliation. The blast in the north-east of the island killed at least 20 soldiers and eight civilians, with 64 people also wounded. "The use of such attacks by one party to an armed conflict does not excuse unlawful attacks in response," more..

Civilians flee war zone despite suicide strike: govt

Feb 10 (AFP) Thousands of Tamil civilians streamed out of Sri Lanka's war zone on Tuesday despite a suicide bombing that killed 30 people at a centre for those escaping the fighting, a military official said. More than 6,500 Tamils crossed the frontlines in the northern Mullaittivu region on Monday, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said, as the military pushed on with its offensive to end the Tamil Tigers' separatist campaign. more..

'Sri Lankan rebels gun down civilians'

Feb 10 (AFP) Tamil Tiger guerrillas on Tuesday shot dead 17 civilians and wounded nearly 70 others fleeing territory still under rebel control, military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said. Survivors of the attack who arrived at a military post told how Tiger fighters had fired on a group of 1,000 people trying to cross the frontlines to safety, he said. "The civilians came to an army position carrying the 17 dead and 69 others who had gunshot injuries," Nanayakkara said. more..

The brothers Pathan clinch India victory

Feb 11 (CI) On a day when the Hussey brothers did the winning act for Australia, India found their answer in the two Pathans, with Yusuf and Irfan scripting a thrilling three-wicket win in the one-off Twenty20 game. Set a challenging 172 for victory, India seemed to have botched up the chase when Sri Lanka's spinners reduced them to 115 for 7, but then came the last twist in an evening which had several: a 59-run partnership off 25 balls, more..

IGP orders investigation into assault of female students by police

Feb 11 (LT) IGP Jayanthe Wickremaratne has ordered an inquiry into the incident when several male police officers dragged female students of Kelaniya University by their hair and showed them to police vans. The police had come to settle a dispute between two groups of students in the university. The IGP has ordered the inquiry on a complaint made on the incident. The IGP has ordered the special police investigation unit to take down statements from more..

Fishermen in Batticaloa prepared to agitate against Govt.

Feb 11 (LT) The government is avoiding solving the issues of the fisher folk in Batticaloa states All Ceylon General Fisheries Federation. If the government does not mediate in finding solutions for issue confronted by the fishermen in Batticaloa the All Ceylon General Fisheries Federation would amass all fishermen in the whole of Eastern Province for a trade union action said convener of All Ceylon Fisheriess Federation Premasiri Manage more..

Don't take him lightly

Feb 11 (TOI) National attention is today focused predominantly on the 26/11 terrorist attack. There is little understanding of how India's security environment is going to be made even more complex by recent developments in Sri Lanka, where an embattled LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and around 2,000 of his supporters are engaged in a desperate battle for survival with the Sri Lankan army. more..

Who is telling the truth then?

Feb 11 (LG) INGOs, international media should not hide main fact - LTTE keeping civilians hostage It is unfortunate that spokesmen for INGOs, UN Agencies and other organizations hide most important facts when commenting on the plight of civilians in the Wanni, Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa said during an interview with the 'Daily News' yesterday (Feb 6). more..

West 'trying to save LTTE'

Feb 11 (BBC) A group of Buddhist monks and Sinhala nationalist leaders are accusing the West of trying to save the LTTE as the rebel group is facing 'imminent defeat'. The Patriotic National Movement (PNM) said the West as well as the local and international Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) of interfering in Sri Lankan affairs. On tuesday, PNM activists protested in front of British high Commission in Colombo urging the Western leaders to stay away from Sri Lanka's internal affairs. more..

State media is manipulated according to will of govt – NEM IHR

Feb 11 (LT) Manipulation of state media according to the will of the government has a great impact on the election campaign states ‘Network for Election Monitoring of Intellectuals for Human Rights (NEM IHR). The news bulletins of state electronic media are filled with news of the propaganda campaigns of UPFA and malicious mudslinging campaigns against opposition political parties and independence groups are being carried out point out NEM IHR. more..

61st Anniversary of Independence was celebrated in Washington

Feb 11 (AT) With more than 1,000 guests in attendance, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, the Ambassador for Sri Lanka to the United States, called for the LTTE terrorists to release civilians currently held in the war zone in the northern part of Sri Lanka. It was the largest Sri Lankan Independence Day celebration ever in the United States. "As we celebrate a very special Independence Day", said the Ambassador in his remarks, more..

God No. 330,000,001

Feb 11 (ML) Recently on TV, we saw and heard the amiable Minister of Health and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva tell us that although many people believed that there were 330,000,000 gods, he was having trouble with a new one, not known hitherto, namely, the Public Service Commission (PSC). Minister de Silva went on to say that this new god was more powerful than the cabinet (which includes the President) and was solely responsible for the delay in the appointment of dentists. more..

War with the LTTE has cost the economy over Rs.20,000 billion

Feb 11 (ML) The need of the hour for Sri Lanka is a private-public sector led robust post war growth strategy followed by a strong implementation plan at the ground-level, so that the country can once again bring back that lustre into the Sri Lankan economy and save many families from getting in to the poverty trap. This was stated by Director - Economic Affairs, Government Peace Secretariat, Rohantha Athukorala more..

Media activists concerned over BBC decision

Feb 11 (ML) Media activists have raised concerns over the BBC’s decision to suspend its broadcasts over the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) service. The BBC decided to stop broadcasting news over the SLBC due to ‘deliberate interference.’ Free Media Movement (FMM) Spokesperson Sunil Jayasekara told The Morning Leader that the people were deprived of their right to information due to the suspension of the BBC. more..

Political statesmanship need of hour

Feb 11 (ML) Some times the media does not help the reader. Particularly at times of war. Managers of military campaigns prefer to regulate the flow of news from the war front as a matter of strategy. Experience tells that telling the army commanders to speak to the media or to let the media gain access to the front is a futile exercise. By training and by temperament, commanders are not comfortable even with the shadow of media. more..

Boat rescue for Sri Lanka wounded

Feb 11 (BBC) The ICRC is evacuating 240 sick and wounded civilians who had been trapped by fighting in north-east Sri Lanka. An ICRC spokeswoman told the BBC the evacuees were being taken by ferry to the city of Trincomalee for treatment. The ICRC said the group had been stranded at a makeshift hospital in Mullaitivu district for nearly a week. It says that at least 16 patients were killed on Monday in shelling of a centre treating wounded civilians. more..

Mano Ganesan attacked

Feb 11 (BL) The Leader of the Western People’s Front, MP Mano Ganesan was allegedly attacked by a group of Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) supporters yesterday at Agarapathana. Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) Spokesman, Keerthi Tennakoon told The Bottom Line that this has been the latest attack on opposition political parties by CWC supporters. “Ganesan’s vehicle was attacked and more..

From Newton’s creation to Einstein’s creation On Knowledge – III

Feb 11 (LG) When Archimedes ran naked shouting "eureka" (let us assume he did so) he exposed not only his body but the nakedness of discovery. The run was symbolical and with hindsight we could say that instead of running naked he could have come out soberly from the bathtub and said I created the concept of density or specific gravity which is the density of an object relative to that of water. more..

How Gandhis and Karunanidhi made use of Lanka’s ethnic conflict

Feb 11 (BL) My colleague P.K. Balachandran, formerly the Colombo representative for the Hindustan Times and now working for the New Indian Express telephoned me on February 2 and asked: “Are the Tamils now weaker than earlier?” I answered, “Yes” and added that the Tamils were in a strong position when they agitated for their rights non-violently under the leadership of S.J.V. Chelvanayakam. more..

Govt. must take immediate measures to avert currency crisis - Economist

Feb 11 (BL) Sri Lanka should take immediate action in order to arrest the looming of a foreign exchange crisis or will have to face a painful full blown currency crisis. “There are several options available to us in order to avoid this potential crisis, which are all short term measures. However, if all these initiatives fail there will be a major painful depreciation, which we will not be able to control,” Dr. Sirimal Abeyrathne more..

Station Masters’ strike success debated

Feb 11 (BL) The Railway administration and Sri Lanka Railway Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU) have offered contradictory evaluations of the 48-hour strike that commenced on midnight Monday. While SLRSMU Chairman, K.V. Jayasena claimed that the strike was 75% successful, General Manager of Railways (GMR) Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan told media that only four stations were temporarily closed due to strike action. more..

For some Sri Lankans, dissonance in M.I.A.'s music

Feb 11 (IHT) To many Americans, Maya Arulpragasam, known as M.I.A., is the very pregnant rapper who gyrated across the stage at Sunday's Grammy Awards. Yet in Sri Lanka, where she spent her childhood years, M.I.A. remains virtually unknown. And some who do know her work say she is an apologist for the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels fighting in the country's long-running civil war. more..

133-member Health team to North

Feb 11 (BL) The Ministry of Healthcare will send a 133-member special Medical team to eight welfare camps in the North within this week. The Ministry will also establish a Medical Centre equipped with a Mobile Laboratory and an ambulance in each welfare camp. Health Ministry Media Secretary W.M.D. Wanninayake told The Bottom Line that the Ministry has decided to take this step in order to meet the Health demands of the 11,000 IDPs housed at all eight welfare camps. more..

Sri Lanka cuts policy rates

Feb 11 (LBO) Central bank has cut its discount rate that sets the upper limit of inter-bank transactions by 50 basis points to 16.50 percent and a restricted window by 25 basis points to 12.00 percent, amid falling inflation. "Inflation has been on a path of rapid deceleration, benefiting from the absence of upward pressures from international commodity prices and supported by the tight demand management policies put in place by the Central Bank," more..

Forum calls for solution to Sri Lanka issue

Feb 11 (Hindu) A massive rally was taken out by the Sri Lankan Welfare and Rights Forum, which comprises of the DMK, Congress, DK and Muslim Leauge, demanding a ceasefire to the war in Sri Lanka and a democratic political solution to the ethnic issue. Ko. Si. Mani, Cooperation Minister; S. S. Palanimanickam, Union Minister of State for Finance; S. N. M. Ubayathullah, Commercial Taxes Minister; Pon. Muthuramalingam, former Minister; G. Rangaswamy Moopanar, more..

Devolution of powers in Lanka only way out: Pranab

Feb 11 (PTI) India today underlined the urgent need for credible devolution of powers in Sri Lanka, saying it is the only way forward to ensure resolution of problems afflicting the island nation. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who received a telephonic call from Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, told him that India remains concerned over the condition of civilian population in northern Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka needs to make peace out of military victory

Feb 11 (FT) Will Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse replicate George W.Bush’s famous 2003 “Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier performance and declare “victory” when his forces finally defeat the last of the Tamil Tiger rebels? Does he, like Mr Bush after the Iraq invasion, assume that a victory by the military will be the end of the story, and that the great mass of the Tamils will quietly go about their daily lives, causing no problems for the majority Sinhalese who run the government? more..

Arjuna hearing on May 25

Feb 11 (TT) Unless he’s himself removed as the country’s sports minister, Gamini Lokuge will continue to call the shots in Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) till May 25-26, at least. May 25 is when the Supreme Court will begin hearing the “fundamental rights application” moved by Arjuna Ranatunga, challenging his sacking as SLC chairman by the sports minister. He was removed in late December, after being in the chair for less than a year. He has sought damages too. more..

'BJP not for LTTE'

Feb 11 (Hindu) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s participation in the 'Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement' is based on the understanding that the Movement will not support the LTTE, according to S. Thirunavukkarasar, national secretary of the party. “The BJP is not for the LTTE. There is no compromise on this issue,” Mr. Thirunavukkarasar said, in response to a query. Some of the constituents of the Movement are known supporters of the LTTE. more..

CaTpad strongly condemns the brutal suicide attack

Feb 11 (LG) The Canadian Tamils for Peace and Democracy (CaTpad ) denounces to the International community for murderous suicide attack of LTTE against its own Tamil civilians who fled form their clutches of the Wanni, during which more than 28 Srilankans lost their lives and 84 wounded in the Suthanthirapuram Transit camp. This criminal suicide strike against innocent civilians, against their own Tamil community who are more..

Are the Sinhalese Buddhist chauvinists any questions?

Feb 11 (LG) Not by a long shot! In fact the present triumph over the most vicious racist terrorists in the modern times is nothing short of a victory for democracy, tolerance, a pluralistic society, freedom of expression and above all, unrestrained scot-free movement of its citizens in the Island. Translated into real terms this would mean that, each and every Sri Lankan, be he Tamil, Sinhalese Burger, Malay, Catholic, Hindu Muslim, Buddhist or what have you, more..

The vision for a united Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (LG) Now that the Sri Lanka armed forces has brought the ferocious violence of the Tigers under control, prominent expatriates have already come forth to jolt the nation’s conscience into reaching the high axiological ideals that its multi-ethnic community professes as Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, or Christians. Two of these expatriates, Neville Jayaweera (“A draft manifesto for a Sri Lankan Obama,” Sunday Island, Feb 1, 2009), and more..

The Beginnings of the End Game

Feb 11 (LG) At the beginning of the year 591 was positioned along the MULLATIVU coast at CHILAWATTA held back by two earth bunds connecting the sea front from the East to the lagoon at the West. Unlike the massive ditch cum bunds 57 and 58 has to contend with at AKKARAYANKULAM or PARANTHAN-IRANAMADU areas, these bunds were not so formidable. Primary reason can be attributed to the soft sandy soil of the area. more..

Journey from the Emerald Isle

Feb 11 (TOI) The Shekaran family spends most evenings watching television these days, glued to the India-Sri Lanka series. "We support India except when they play Sri Lanka. It's a matter of birth, you have to understand," explains Arun Shekaran. His father Shekaran, who is of Indian origin but born and bred in Sri Lanka, had to flee the country, like numerous Tamils, when the conflict grew out of control. "When the riots started in July 1983, I sent my children to Madras. more..

Plantation sector development projects

Feb 11 (GDI) Government has allocated Rs.653 million to develop estate sector infrastructure and for the issuance of national identity cards to the people living in plantation areas. The development projects are being carried out under the initiative of the Youth Ministry in Colombo, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale, Nuwaraeliya, Badulla, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Ratnapura and Kegalle districts. more..

'Bogambara prison to be shifted to Pallekelle'

Feb 11 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he would develop Kandy to what it was like in the year 1815 or even better within a Buddhistic framework. However, he said that development alone would not suffice and there should be discipline and social wellbeing among the people. The President was speaking at an election rally in Kandy yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka's fishing limits to be expanded

Feb 11 (GDI) Sri Lanka's current ocean jurisdiction for fishing covers only 200 nautical miles, but it will be expanded to cover 1,000 nautical miles, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera said. He pointed out that Sri Lanka had to experience three unexpected crises – Terrorism, food and fuel – that had created economic recession. But under the visionary leadership of President Rajapaksa the country was able to be resilient. more..

Health Minister raps foreign agencies

Feb 11 (GDI) Presently some International agencies are spreading totally inaccurate information, regarding medical facilities provided by the Government for the people fleeing into cleared areas from the LTTE held territory but the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has already provided all required medical facilities for the displaced people and is ready to provide all required medical facilities for any number of people arriving in the cleared areas, more..

Academic staff of Kelaniya University resigns from posts opposing police incivility

Feb 11 (LT) The academic staff of the Faculty of Social Studies of the Kelaniya University have resigned from all additional positions they hold protesting against the attack on two members of the academic staff by the police personnel who had arrived in the university to settle a dispute between two groups of students. The police have assaulted the two members of the academic staff and arrested them. more..

Govt. & banks in secret agreement to conceal hedging deal

Feb 11 (LT) The Supreme Court revoked the interim order suspending the implementation of the hedging agreement and all subsidiary directives related to the hedging agreement on the 27th of January and the inquiry into the fundamental rights petition filed regarding the hedging agreement too was suspended. However, the Governor of Central Bank had made a statement that the directive issued by the Central Bank on the relevant banks stating that they should refrain from more..

Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka's most awarded hotel

Feb 11 (LNP) Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka s most awarded hotel, was recognized as the Best 5-Star Resort at the Presidential Awards for Travel and Tourism for the second consecutive year. Held at the BMICH on Monday, the objective of this prestigious awards ceremony is to recognize and reward excellence among industry stakeholders of past and present and to encourage and ensure an even greater contribution in the future. more..

When a coward tries to escape death

Feb 11 (LNP) Prabhakaran`s terror campaign has manifestly got into a tailspin. He is now convinced that Eric Solheim, Bruce Fein, Karunanidhi, Keith Vaas, Vaiko and other terror backers won`t be able to throw a lifeline in time. Therefore, he does not give a damn about world opinion. Prabhakaran is stepping up terror attacks on civilians to arrest the rapid disintegration of his human bulwark which has stood in the way of the army`s final push the LTTE is not in a position to resist. more..