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TNA to be invited for APRC

Feb 11 (DN) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to be invited to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) which is poised to complete their deliberations towards a future power sharing mechanism for Sri Lanka, APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana said. He said: "I feel that the TNA should now realise the genuine needs and aspirations of Tamils should be expressed, not just the needs of the LTTE." more..

UN Experts on Criticism, Impunity and Suicide Bombing

Feb 11 (PISL) SCOPP Secretary General Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, in his capacity as Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, replied to a statement issued by ten United Nations experts. His comments are carried in full below. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights regrets very much a recent statement of 10 UN Experts that is supposedly about the ‘suppression of criticism, impunity’, but more..

'We conceded too many extras '

Feb 11 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka's Twenty20 captain, admitted his side's indiscipline in the field cost them the first Twenty20 international played at home. India won by three wickets with four balls to spare after Sri Lanka had the game under control at the start of the 16th over, with India struggling at 115 for 7. "We bowled too many wides and we were not upto the mark on the field," Dilshan said. "We should have cut down many runs. more..

Situation report (Feb 11) by SLA

Feb 11 (SLA) JAFFNA &WANNI: TWELVE 60 mm bombs were found by the troops during search and clear operations in MANALKADU area in JAFFNA Tuesday (10). At the same time, troops serving in VISUAMADU area in MULLAITTIVU recovered ten anti personnel mines during a search operation conducted on Tuesday (10). Several soldiers engaged in clearing operations sustained injuries due to explosion of booby traps in the same area on Tuesday (10). more..

784 more Tamil civilians reach troops of 58 Division

Feb 11 (MoD) Seven hundred and eighty four Tamil civilians who were kept as hostages by the LTTE terrorists have crossed over to liberated areas from the north of Puthukudiyirippu in Mullaittivu yesterday, 10 February, amidst heavy beating and shooting by the LTTE terrorists, defence sources said. The innocent Tamil civilians reached troops of 58 Division, defence sources in battlefront said. more..

240 patients brought to Trincomalee hospital from non liberated areas

Feb 11 (MoD) Two hundred and forty patients who were in the hospitals in non-liberated areas between Mullaittivu and Chalai were taken to Trincomalee by the Sri Lanka Navy with the assistance of ICRC officials yesterday, 10 February. According to the defence sources 116 others to assist the patients, were also brought to the Trincomalee. The patients were later admitted to the Tricomalee hospital for immediate medical attention. more..

Troops gain more territory

Feb 11 (SAMN) The Security Forces poised to liberate the entire Vanni from the LTTE and rescue civilians from the Tiger clutches had regained the West of Kuruwilkulam in Mullaitivu Tuesday morning. Troops of the 57 Division in the Mullaitivu jungles captured Western part of Kuruwilkulam following a battle that continued from Monday night. “A small group of LTTE cadres facing the full brunt of the troops fled the area with the troops inflicting heavy casualties among the Tigers more..

'Without me, They couldn't win the war'

Feb 11 (WP) Dressed in their Sri Lankan army fatigues and clutching automatic assault rifles, a half-dozen bodyguards fanned out over the lawn of a seaside hotel to form a ring of security for their client: Karuna Amman, formerly a top commander in this country's rebel army. Colonel Karuna, his nom de guerre, was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in the now-beleaguered Tamil Tigers rebel group, also known as the LTTE, more..

'Majority could decide minority nominee'

Feb 11 (DN) The Supreme Court indicated to the Speaker that the nominee of the minority parties in Parliament for the Constitutional Council (CC) could be chosen on the basis of the majority decision if there was no consensus, when the rights application in connection with appointments to the CC was mentioned yesterday. The Supreme Court indicated to the Speaker that the nominee of the minority parties in Parliament for the Constitutional Council (CC) could be chosen on more..

Lankan does a Sakvithi in the UK

Feb 11 (Island) A Sri Lankan domiciled in the UK who resorted to collecting monies running into millions of pounds on the promise of high interest rates similar to what a fraudster by the name Sakvithi Ranasinghe did in Sri Lanka sometime ago is under Scotland Yard’s scrutiny. This suspect is said to have recently bought a palace that belonged to a member of the Royal family. He recently cheated a Sri Lankan domiciled in the UNK to part with 20,000 Sterling Pounds on the promise of more..

CEB workers threaten to picket over salary

Feb 11 (Island) Nearly 15,000 Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) employees will resort to a lunch hour picketing campaign today (11) if the management fails to solve their salary grievances, CEB trade union leader Ranjan Jayalal warned yesterday. "If they continue to be lethargic, the future action would be more drastic" Jayalal said. CEB management sources told The Island that they were quite aware of the grievances of the CEB workers but more..

Karuna yet to show cause

Feb 11 (DM) Parliamentarian Karuna Amman has yet to show cause for his comments made to the international media couple of weeks ago, which was critical of Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, General Secretary of the TMVP A. Kailesvararajah said. He stressed that the deadline for Mr. Amman to explain his action still remains as February 17 and failure to meet this deadline would result in Mr. Amman being removed from the party as earlier announced. more..

Mahela to step down

Feb 11 (CI) In a surprise move, Mahela Jayawardene has announced that he will resign as Sri Lanka captain after the upcoming two-Test series against Pakistan. The decision, announced on Wednesday, comes three days after Sri Lanka lost 4-1 to India in their home ODI series. Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Duleep Mendis said Jayawardene's decision had been accepted and a new captain would be appointed for more..

Do what I did: Pillayan tells LTTE

Feb 11 (DM) Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivenesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan himself a former terrorist front-liner, said the LTTE should lay down arms and enter the democratic mainstream. “This is the last chance to show its commitment towards the Tamil people and take an example from the changes that are taking place in the Eastern Province,” he said adding that civilians should not be used as human shields in the Vanni. more..

Sri Lanka tourism outlook brightens as war ends

Feb 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's long-suffering hotel industry faces better prospects as the ethnic war that has kept visitors at bay is almost at an end, while depressed valuations and investment needs may trigger take-overs, an equities researcher has said. Srimal Liyanage of Lanka Securities said he believes the hotels listed on the Colombo stock exchange are ripe for a re-rating, having hit rock-bottom. more..

East Timor president offers help for Sri Lanka peace

Feb 11 (AP) East Timor's president warned Monday that a military solution in Sri Lanka will not bring peace unless it is accompanied by dialogue between the government and Tamil Tiger insurgents. Jose Ramos-Horta, who shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Bishop Carlos Belo for leading a nonviolent struggle against the Indonesian occupation, offered to help the country achieve a settlement. more..

More civilians killed in Sri Lanka fighting

Feb 11 (AI) More civilians are being killed in north-east Sri Lanka, as the fighting continues between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). A female suicide bomber is reported to have killed 28 people and wounded dozens of others on Monday, when she blew herself up at a checkpoint for civilians fleeing the conflict zone. According to the Sri Lankan military, the woman was dressed as a civilian. more..

Sri Lanka civilian attacks denied

Feb 11 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels have both denied accusations of inflicting civilian casualties in the north-east. The army said it was not responsible for the shelling of a makeshift hospital which the Red Cross (ICRC) said had killed 16 people on Monday. The Tamil Tigers denied shooting dead 19 fleeing civilians. Meanwhile the ICRC says a boat carrying 240 wounded civilians from the war area has arrived safely in Trincomalee. more..

Govt denies shelling that killed 16 patients

Feb 11 (AFP) Military Wednesday denied it had shelled a makeshift hospital killing 16 patients, as concern grew for civilians trapped in fighting between government soldiers and Tamil rebels. "We did not fire at this location on Monday and it is quite possible that the LTTE attacked them," said military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, referring to the LTTE. The guerrillas, cornered in the north of the country in an area of less than 100 square kilometres more..

'Prabhakaran will have to pay for attacking temples'

Feb 11 (PTI) With the Sri Lankan troops closing in on the last bastions of LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said Tiger supremo V. Prabhakaran will soon have to "pay" for attacking various religious places in the island nation in the past 25 years. "Prabhakaran will have to pay for carrying out attacks on religious places, including Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic," Rajapaksa told more..

Sri Lankan national held

Feb 12 (PTI) A Sri Lankan national was arrested here on Tuesday when he arrived under the guise of a refugee after working in Malaysia from where he was deported for overstaying. Enquiries by police revealed that Kumar, 35, was not a refugee, but a native of Kottayana area in Colombo. Actually Kumar had gone to Malaysia and worked there. When Malaysian authorities ordered his deportation after he overstayed in the country, Kumar was sent to India because more..

Activists take Lankan issue to Delhi

Feb 12 (EB) About 150 activists of the “Voice for Lankan Tamils” left for New Delhi on Tuesday morning to protest against the Centre’s “indifference” to the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils and to raise awareness on the issue. The group will also meet MPs of various political parties and urge them to speak in favour of their cause in Parliament. The group, comprising mostly students, boarded the train from the Egmore railway station with several supporters gathering at the platform to see them off. more..

Sri Lankan SEP campaigns in Puttalam

Feb 12 (wsws) As part of the Socialist Equality Party's campaign for the February 14 provincial election, SEP candidates and supporters spent several days in the fishing villages of Thoduwawa and Iranawila in Puttalam district, north of Colombo. The party is standing a list of 19 candidates in this district and another 19 in the Nuwara Eliya district in Central Province. Puttalam is one of the poorest districts in Sri Lanka, lacking basic facilities and services. more..

Q+A - What is fate of civilians in Sri Lanka's war?

Feb 12 (Reuters) At least 30,000 civilians have escaped Sri Lanka's war zone this year, nearly all of them in the last week as the military has surrounded the Tamil Tiger rebels and is trying to deal a death blow to their separatist rebellion. Here are some questions and answers about their situation: HOW MANY ARE TRAPPED? The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross say that around 250,000 people, nearly all Tamils, are trapped by the fighting in the north. more..

Sri Lanka lures East Europeans

Feb 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's national airline has teamed up with the tourism authorities and trade to lure visitors from what is seen as a lucrative market in Eastern Europe. Sri Lankan Airlines said in a statement a series of carefully targeted campaigns were done recently in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic targeting leading members of each country's outbound travel trade and travel media. more..

Habitat for Humanity celebrates 10,000th family served in Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (HH) Fourteen years ago, Habitat for Humanity started building and renovating homes of families in need in Sri Lanka. Recently, Habitat celebrated the fruit of its labor by marking the 10,000th house built in a ceremony in the capital, Colombo. The celebration marked the earlier handover of the milestone house to the family of carpenter Arthur Fernando from Modera village, Egoda Uyana city in Moratuwa. more..

Tamil diaspora united in anger

Feb 12 (BBC) The bloody progress of the conflict in Sri Lanka has united many diaspora Tamils across the political spectrum. The Sri Lankan military has made major gains in its attempt to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels (LTTE) fighting for a separate homeland. But Tamils around the world have protested in their thousands about the fate of civilians trapped amid the fighting and among those taking to the streets are Tamils profoundly critical of the Tigers. more..

Govt clearing 1000 acres of forest for 'relief village'

Feb 12 (AIR) With reports of more and more people crossing over to the government controlled territory, the issue of their resettlement is now gaining ground. 8000 semi-permanent dwellings are being planned in the first phase of the proposed Vavuniya "Relief Village" to be set up by the Government for the displaced civilians. Talking to AIR, Re-settlement Minister, Mr. Rishard Bathiudeen said around 1000 acres of jungle land is being cleared for the purpose. more..

Rupee at unchanged at life low; shares muted

Feb 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee closed unchanged at its all-time closing low on Wednesday due to intervention by two state banks, despite depreciation pressure because of heavy trading in the local bond market. Shares were barely changed. The rupee closed unchanged at 114.10/114.20 per dollar at its all-time closing low, currency dealers said. Four analysts from four banks Reuters spoke to said two state banks intervened in the market at various levels, more..

Authors celebrate freedom of expression in Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (Guardian) For the book-readin' fugitive from winter, there were additional reasons to be glad of a successful escape from the snow to Sri Lanka last week. The Galle Literary Festival is now in its third year, with most of its events staged among the drowsing lanes of the venerable Portuguese fort, where the traces of three successive colonial powers remain standing in atmospherically dusty condition. more..

Wounded Sri Lankans describe chaos in north

Feb 12 (AP) Patients evacuated from the war zone in northeastern Sri Lanka landed Wednesday in a government-controlled town after days of navigating artillery shells and gunfire. Until Wednesday, the group was trapped in the sliver of territory still held by the Tamil Tiger rebels. Some described trying to cross over to government territory after going hungry for days, only to face a barrage of gunfire from rebel militias. more..

The fate and freedom of Civilians caught up in war

Feb 12 (FI) Two recent incidents of violence unleashed against innocent and defenceless Tamil civilians by the LTTE must be condemned unreservedly by peace loving Sri Lankans of all communities. The suicide bomb attack at a check point at Surantanpuran killed ten civilians and twenty soldiers engaged in receiving Tamil civilians who had crossed over and injured many more. more..

Minister of Tourism to meet the Maha Sanga

Feb 12 (AT) The Minister of Tourism, Milinda Moragoda, will hold discussions with the Maha Sanga at the Sanga Advisory Council meeting to be held at the Mirisawetiya Maha Viharaya, on Friday, 13 February 2009. The ancient Mirisawetiya Maha Viharaya in Anuradhapura received a fresh coat of paint recently, under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism, in a project that exceeded a budget of Rs 1 million. more..

TNA MPs facing an unpredictable political future

Feb 12 (AT) Members of Parliament belonging to the Tamil National Alliance are in a big quandary as they are in a nonplus state and remain rudderless, as they face an unpredictable political future in the country. The TNA, the proxy party of the LTTE – a banned entity in Sri Lanka, since of late have failed to receive the usual instructions from the Tiger leadership and are unable to decide about their next course of action. more..

'LTTE Is Preventing Civilians Leaving War Zone'

Feb 12 (AT) Despite the Sri Lanka Government’s best efforts to encourage the civilians in the north out of the battle zone, the LTTE is continuing to use them as a human shield risking the lives of the Tamil people, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said here today. Mr Wickramanayaka was briefing Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva who inquired about the current situation in Sri Lanka during a courtesy call paid by the Sri Lankan visitor. more..

Independence Day Celebrated in Italy

Feb 12 (AT) "Today is a historical and important day for all Sri Lankans living in Italy. It is the happiest day of my new career as Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Italy, as on this day, I have been able to forge unity between the two major Sri Lankan communities living in Italy, the Sinhalese and the Tamils. Both communities suffered because of terrorism, and have polarised themselves into various cities, as they thought there would be a safe haven for them" more..

Fishing in Palk Bay: Contested Territory or Common Heritage?

Feb 12 (LG) The India-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Agreement of 1974 and 1976, concluded between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka in the spirit of good neighbourly relations, have adversely affected the livelihood of thousands of Tamil Nadu fishermen. The rich fishing grounds, especially lucrative on the Sri Lankan side of the maritime boundary line, have become a bone of contention between Tamil Nadu fishermen and the Sri Lankan Navy. more..

Professor Chomsky on Sri Lanka and American Affairs

Feb 12 (LG) As the Sri Lankan Civil War's military aspect slowly but surely draws to a close, questions about Sri Lanka's future are becoming more and more pressing. What should happen to former rebels, especially those who may have committed war crimes? What will be the fate of the Tamils in Sri Lanka as a people and will their rights be protected? more..

Nudist Colony

Feb 12 (LG) In the outset, I like to say that there is no denying Tigers have lost significant ground and they are against considerable odds. But to say that Tigers are done forever is bit presumptuous to say the least. At the risk of sounding like a cockeyed optimist or a romantic fool, I am compelled to respond the article regarding Sri Lankan assault on Tamil heartland [Sri Lanka Closes in on Tamil Tiger Rebels, February 7, 2009]. more..

Terror advocacy and music do not meet

Feb 12 (LG) While Maya Aruplpragasam is making a great name for herself in the world of music and has won prestigious nominations at the peak of the film world, she has soiled and smudged her name rather sadly with her public relations effort to stand up for the most brutal terrorist organization in the world. This amounts to “slumdogging” humanity’s relaxing means of melody and rhythms and replacing them in her mind to promote terror and violence. more..

'Mischievous media reports have distorted the international perception of developments in North'

Feb 12 (LG) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, a series of mischievous reports filed over the past two weeks based on LTTE propaganda, had distorted the international perception of the ground situation in Northern Sri Lanka. This had detracted from sufficient attention being paid to the difficult task being accomplished by the government and the security forces, more..

Sri Lankan Government must show its concern for civilians

Feb 12 (Times) A week ago David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, called for the Government of Sri Lanka to resume talks with the LTTE Tamil separatists in search of a political solution. Of course, this is right – to the point of banality. The conflict, which appears to be about to annihilate the Tamil Tigers as a military force, will truly end only with a settlement that recognises the hopes of the Tamil north for much more autonomy. more..

Doctors leave Mullaitivu

Feb 12 (BBC) The ministry of health has issued orders to doctors and other health staff to leave Mullaitivu district immediately. Director General of Health services Dr Ajith Mendis said that the staff was asked to leave as they would not be able to function as usual due to the on going conflict. He told BBC Sandeshaya that doctors from Puthukudiyiruppu hospital in Mullaitivu district have already arrived in Vavunia. more..

Sri Lanka plans to house war refugees for 3 years

Feb 12 (AP) Sri Lanka is preparing to house 200,000 civil war refugees at five huge "welfare villages" — complete with post offices, banks and libraries — where it expects them to stay for up to three years, according to a government plan. The draft plan, which the government has circulated among international aid groups and donors in recent days, surfaced as tens of thousands of civilians fled the northern battlefield where Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces have been waging heavy battles. more..

Rapper who wowed Grammys is labelled cheerleader for 'terrorists'

Feb 12 (Guardian) To her fans, MIA, or Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam, is rap's belle de jour who performed with hip-hop's hottest acts at the Grammys when she was nine months pregnant. Sheathed in a black net dress, MIA stepped out - bump first - to the strains of her single Paper Planes, from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which segued into Jay-Z's Swagga Like Us. more..

'I can't go back to sri Lanka'

Feb 12 (Guardian) In a bid to flee the fighting in Sri Lanka, ethnic Tamil Justin Fernando, 39, washed up on the shores of Timor Leste. But instead of starting a new life as a refugee he was duped out of his savings and left destitute in a country he now desperately wants to leave. From the small house in Dili that he shares with 16 other displaced Tamils, he explains what happened. There are 12 of us living in this house now. more..

Amnesty International achieves new levels of lunacy

Feb 12 (PISL) Over the last few months Amnesty International has, contrary to its previous more balanced approach, been running a campaign of increasing intensity to denigrate the Sri Lankan government. The process began with its so-called Sri Lanka expert, Yolanda Foster, engaging in underhand discussions with some members of the Coffee Club of Sri Lankan based NGOs to send a letter of complaint to the United Nations Secretary General. more..

Red Cross reveals another hospital shelling

Feb 12 (Hindu) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has revealed that it was forced to shift 240 sick and wounded persons from the Putumattalam hospital in Wanni on Tuesday after the facility was hit by shelling which killed 16 patients. The military maintained it was not responsible for the attack. ICRC, the only independent organisation which has a presence in the Wanni, has been in the eye of a storm following statements from more..

EDITORIAL: Taming the Tigers

Feb 12 (NST) ON the face of it, there could be no better person to tame the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam than Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose second name propitiously means the "King of Force" in Malay. True to his name, Rajapaksa has preferred a military solution over a negotiated settlement to the 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka -- and invested in the firepower to make it possible to defeat the Tamil Tigers. more..

Tamil Tigers fired on us as we fled, survivors claim

Feb 12 (TH) Civilians trapped by fighting between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels tried to flee villages in the war zone, but the rebels opened fire as they ran, survivors claimed. Manoharan Mahendran said villagers in Vishwamadu begged to be allowed to cross into government territory last week, but the separatist Tigers blocked their path and fired indiscriminately. "People were helpless," said Mahendran, 53, more..