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'Do not give into oppression'

Feb 13 (LG) UNP M.P. Ravi Karunanayake speaking to the media at the UNP media unit today (12Feb), urged the voters to prove the power of the ballot by somehow exercising their franchise at the upcoming Central and North Western province . They must become more and more determined to do this to beat the burgeoning violence and intimidation stoked by the Govt. to preclude the voters from voting. more..

Crocodile tears from

Feb 13 (LG) The situation in Wanni is grim and ghastly. There is a bitter civil war on and unlike the brutal Tigers, the government forces have to ensure the civilians are safer, their moves surer and their determination to get rid of the Tiger menace once and for all is not compromised. In the midst of this, the Tigers as has been their practice all along use civilians mercilessly as human shield. more..

In Sri Lanka, tales of jungle terror

Feb 13 (WP) Trying to quiet her crying infant son, the young mother grabbed her 11-year-old's hand and told him to follow her. Starting out at dusk, they spent hours hiding in the jungle terrain, crouching amid the crossfire between the Sri Lankan army and Tamil Tiger rebels. Like thousands of other civilians stuck in the epicenter of the seemingly final battles of this civil war, Sashi Kumari Selvarajha's family was struggling to flee through marshlands and across the front lines, hoping for safety, she said through tears. more..

Sri Lankan peace activist abducted in Philippines

Feb 13 (AP) A Sri Lankan peace activist became the latest victim of a wave of kidnappings in the southern Philippines blamed on al-Qaida-linked militants, officials said Friday. Omar Jalil, 36, from the nonpartisan group Nonviolent Peaceforce, which has been monitoring a decades-old Muslim separatist uprising in the Philippines, was taken by nine gunmen from his residence in coastal Lamitan town on Basilan island early Friday, more..

Sri Lanka power utility pressured by poor rainfall

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run power utility, is under pressure from poor rainfall, but the utility is hoping to weather the dry season in the first quarter with higher reliance on thermal energy, an official said. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), which has hydro storage of 1,200 GigaWatt hours (1,200 million units) started 2008 with 800 GWh of storage, with the North-East monsoon effectively 'failing' compared to previous years. more..

Pigeons released as a gesture of freedom for the Sri Lankan Tamils

Feb 13 (TS) MEMBERS of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress (MCC) gathered at the Sri Sithi Vinayagar Temple in Jalan Selangor, Petaling Jaya, to pray for peace in Sri Lanka recently. The prayer session, between 4.30pm and 8pm, was part of the Sangathara Sathurthi and also part of MCC’s efforts to voice out the community’s concern for the safety and dignity of the Tamils trapped in the final stages of the ethnic conflict. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket gets new celco sponsor

Feb 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka's second largest mobile phone operator on Thursday agreed a three-year deal worth nearly five million dollars to sponsor the island's cricket team, Sri Lanka Cricket said. Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel takes over as main sponsor of the national team from April. The team is currently sponsored by Malaysia's Dialog Telekom, in a deal worth 89,000 dollars for a three-month period that ends in March. more..

Barbed wire villages raise fears of refugee concentration camps

Feb 13 (Times) Sri Lanka was accused yesterday of planning concentration camps to hold 200,000 ethnic Tamil refugees from its northeastern conflict zone for up to three years — and seeking funding for the project from Britain. The Sri Lankan Government says that it will open five “welfare villages” to house Tamils fleeing the 67 sq mile patch of jungle where the army has pinned down the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Near Sri Lanka’s war zone, wounded civilians struggle to cope

Feb 13 (NYT) The ravages of Sri Lanka’s civil war were on full display on Thursday in the crowded wards of the municipal hospital in this eastern port city, 40 miles from the front line. Catholic nuns with bullet and shrapnel wounds, infants as young as a week old, and men with amputated legs were arrayed on beds or lay on the floor. A total of 368 injured civilians were being treated in the hospital, and more were on the way. more..

Sri Lanka lashes out at Britain over envoy

Feb 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Thursday rejected Britain's appointment of a special envoy to the island, accusing London of interfering in its internal affairs as security forces battled to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels. The diplomatic row between Colombo and London blew up amid mounting international concerns for the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone in northern Sri Lanka, with the Red Cross saying hundreds have died. more..

Open Letter to the President of Sri Lanka and the leadership of the LTTE

Feb 13 (GV) The undersigned are (a) citizen/s of Sri Lanka who are/is extremely concerned about the current plight of over one hundred thousand civilians trapped between the security forces of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. We appreciate the Government’s right and duty to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka and its people. We understand that the Government considers its current military initiatives integral to the fulfilment of this right and duty. more..

Tamil students protest outside school board

Feb 13 (TCN) Carrying signs and calling out chants, hundreds of high school Tamil-Canadian students from across the city are protesting outside the North York headquarters of Toronto District School Board. The 30-hour protest, which began Thursday at 10 a.m. and will wrap up Friday at 4 p.m., is aimed at bringing attention to the "genocide" being committed against Tamils in Sri Lanka, said Shoban Jayamohan, a Grade 10 student at Scarborough's Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute. more..

Vote for the Socialist Equality Party

Feb 13 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) calls on working people to vote for its candidates in provincial council elections on February 14. A vote for the SEP is a vote for a socialist program to end the government's communal war, attacks on democratic rights and deepening assault on living standards. The SEP is fielding two slates of 19 candidates—one in Nuwara Eliya district in Central Province and the other in Puttalam district in North-western Province. more..

More than 100 polling station officials not given letters of appointment

Feb 13 (LT) Without issuing letters of appointment to more than 100 officers in Kurunegala District who were to be in charge of polling centers at the election for North Western PC, a gang from Colombo have been sent instead to be in charge of these centers say reports reaching ‘Lankatruth.’ The District Returning Officer had informed the relevant officers to call at Royal College, Kurunegala to receive their letters of appointments and they had come to the school at 8.00 a.m. today. more..

Thousands caught in Sri Lanka's conflict

'Anti-social elements contest elections under the cover of military victories'

Feb 13 (LT) It is anti-social elements such as drug traffickers, womanizers, fraudsters who attempt to take power by displaying the military victories achieved by heroic armed forces says General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Mr. Silva said according to the way the election has been conducted so far it could never be a free and fair election. He said, “State media does not belong to the UPFA. more..

Minister of Environment admit selling Pulmoodai mineral reserve

Feb 13 (LT) The Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources R.A.D.B. Jayatilleke admitted that there was a proposal to hand over mineral sands reserves at Pulmoddai to a private investor when he was questioned by journalists at a media meeting held in the ministry. However, so far no agreement has been signed said the Secretary and when the agreement is signed the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources would be informed. more..

Brown + Browne = white imperialism

Feb 13 (LG) "I've asked Des Browne, our former defence secretary, to be an envoy for Sri Lanka," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told a parliamentary committee yesrterday. But who asked Gordon Browne to send his near-namesake, Browne, to Sri Lanka? Quite appropriately, Rohitha Bogollagama, Foreign Minister, has asked both Brown/es to go jump in the Thames. The arrogance of Gordon Brown to unilaterally appoint one of his unemployed cronies more..

Church faces great difficulty aiding people trapped in battle zone

Feb 13 (UCAN) Father Christopher George Jayakumar heads Jaffna diocese's efforts to help the people trapped in the battle zone in northern Sri Lanka. Many of them are filled with fear while having to stay in the jungle during fierce fighting between the army and rebels, he says. According to the government, its troops have cornered LTTE forces in the Vanni jungle region, in an area now reduced to about 200 square kilometers. more..

Wildlife film festival launches by Minister Champika

Feb 13 (GDI) "Films and photographs are a powerful medium of expression and we hope that they will play an increasingly important role in conveying message conservation," Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka said at the inauguration of the World's Largest Wildlife Environmental Film Festival in Sri Lanka that commenced at the British Council yesterday (12). more..

English and IT knowledge a compelling necessity - President

Feb 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to mark the occasion said, the declaration of 2009 as the Year of English and Information Technology is a significant step in the policy of my Government to move towards a Knowledge Based Society in Sri Lanka. The message: Adequate knowledge of both English and IT is a compelling necessity as tools to access the many opportunities available in today’s society, more..

Soldiers of humanity

Feb 13 (MoD) The plight of Sri Lankan Tamil citizens held in captive by the LTTE terrorists has been the most discussed topic these days among local and international bodies in the country. Many foreign bodies and international media are continuing to make weird comments on the situation with an unconcealed effort to detach the LTTE terrorist from the plight of the civilians. more..

President’s picture for posters & cut outs prohibit

Feb 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has prohibited the use of his photograph along with any of the candidates contesting the forthcoming PC elections. The statement was released by Derector of Information Department Anusha palpita last night. The position parties recently called for the Elections Commissioner's immediate intervention to prevent ruling party taking advantage of the president's popularity. more..

Summary of cabinet decisions

Feb 13 (GDI) Cabinet approved a Memorandum submitted by the Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Rishad Bathudeen. To Construct of Semi Permanent Houses for IDPs arriving from Killinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts, except from payment of VAT on this project as granted to "Gama Naguma" and "Maga Naguma" Programs. In view of above, it has been decided to put up 8000 semi permanent houses according to the needs at the five welfare villages. more..

The plight of the Human Rights Community

Feb 13 (DW) There is mass speculation regarding the number of civilians trapped inside LTTE areas. Human Rights groups who make a living out of such situations have claimed that 250-000 (MSF) to 300,000 (AI Report) civilians are trapped in these areas. How these organizations arrived at these figures is a mystery, or is it? A careful observation of these agencies' information extraction process reveals that there is much to be desired in terms of their methodology for more..

LTTE trying to hold on through harassing technique

Feb 13 (DW) An LTTE video was released recently showing what seems to be a Mechanized Infantry-style attack. A few soldiers were killed in the attack at Puthukudiirippu and the LTTE is obviously making a huge deal out of it, as you can see in the video. The video first shows what looks like a Chinese YW-531H (T-85), an older version of the T-89, which the SLA Mech Infantry Division uses extensively now. more..

Oceans' full harvest now ours - President

Feb 13 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday asserted that along with the eradication of terrorism and the consequent expansion of the sea area, the nation's youth, inclusive of that of the LTTE, could now be fruitfully utilized for the uplift of the Motherland. President Rajapaksa made this assertion when he presided and addressed the second annual convocation ceremony of the National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering (the Ocean University), more..

Troops recover an LTTE armour plated Caravan and Pajero

Feb 13 (LP) Troops attached to the 58 division of the Sri Lanka Army discovered two LTTE vehicles on Wednesday from the Visuvamadu area in Mullaittivu. Troops recovered an armour plated van and a camouflaged 'Pajero'. It is believed that these vehicles were used to transport the senior leaders of the organization. The van which was found looks ordinary from the outside but its inside was prepared using bullet proof metal and both vehicles were used by LTTE leader Prabakaran. more..

Government channels 62 billion for education

Feb 13 (LP) The Fiscal Management Report 2009 presented by the Ministry of Finance and Planning Sri Lanka stated, that the Government channeled over Rs. 62 billion by end August 2008 ccorded high priority for education. In 2008, 75 schools were selected to be developed under the "Isuru School Programme". This programme was designed to upgrade one school from each Divisional Secretariat to a fully fledged secondary school. more..

Forum to take up Tamils issue to international organisations

Feb 13 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Tamils Welfare and Rights Forum, an umbrella organisation formed by the DMK recently, has decided to take the Sri Lankan Tamils issue to various international forums, including the United Nations, to put an end to “genocide of Tamils” and garner the support of international rights forums in finding a lasting solution to the ethnic problem. A sub-committee formed by the forum with PWD Minister Durai Murugan as organiser met here on Wednesday and more..

2002 Vs 2009 Wanni Operation

Chinthana economic policy: Saves Lanka

Feb 13 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan economy would have been badly affected if UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was in power, Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. “The world has today rejected neo-liberal economic policies and citizens in the United States too are being educated to buy their own products,” he said. The Regaining Sri Lanka introduced by the UNP would have plunged the country into bankruptcy if people had allowed the UNF Government to stay in power, more..

China irked by Mano’s statement

Feb 13 (SAMN) China's ambassador to Tonga has denied a claim made by a Sri Lankan media boss, at a broadcasting conference in the South Pacific island state, that the Beijing government suppresses freedom of the media, Radio New Zealand International reported Thursday. Ambassador Fan Quijing walked out of the British Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's (CBA) regional conference in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa more..

All ready for PC polls

Feb 13 (SAMN) Announcing a series of measures to protect voter franchise and ensure a free and fair election at tomorrow’s Central and Northwestern provincial council polls, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka warned that in case of reported violence or malpractices he would take action to nullify results in the affected polling stations, if any. more..

Great demand for technically trained manpower

Feb 13 (DN) There will be a great demand for technically trained manpower when massive development projects are launched after the conclusion of humanitarian operations in the North. The Vocational and Technical Training Ministry has launched a program to meet this demand, said Minister Piyasena Gamage. He was addressing the gathering at a ceremony held at the Aruppola Technical College in Kandy to mark its upgrading as a College of Technology in the Central Province. more..

The modern TV channels are full of discussions seeking aspects of spiritual quest. But will it help the survival of mankind?

Feb 13 (DN) It is indeed fascinating to watch certain discussions on religious topics on our popular TV channels. In them often we see well known personalities, particularly those who have attained some eminence in worldly professions rhapsodising on the various aspects of the spiritual quest. God knows we need all the spiritual direction available. more..

Govt. promises ‘province of opportunity’ in North

Feb 13 (Island) With major ground battles on the eastern flank in the final stages the government yesterday expressed confidence that re-settlement of civilians in the war ravaged areas could start as early next month. Senior presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa said 20 per cent of the displaced would be moved back to their villages before end of April. He said that the government had launched "a cohesive four-stage plan" to restore normalcy in the Northern Province. more..

EC vows again to stop rigging

Feb 13 (SAMN) Elections Chief Dayananda Dissanayake Thursday pledged again to invalidate the votes at polling booths where there was sufficient evidence of rigging, intimidation or violence, and requested political parties to extend their co-operation to ensure he would not be compelled to resort to such action.Mr. Dissanayake referred to tomorrow’s Central and Wayamba Provincial Council elections at a news conference and more..

UPA government should be sensitive to Sri Lankan Tamils: BJP

Feb 13 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of being ‘insensitive’ towards the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils. “The decades-old ethnic conflict of the country (Sri Lanka) can not be resolved by using brutal force and the central government is behaving insensitively towards the issue,” BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani said. more..

Fleeing LTTE abandons more heavy artillery in final showdown

Feb 13 (Island) The LTTE rapidly retreating on the Vanni front had abandoned four more 120 mm and two 81 mm mortars as its once renowned ‘artillery and mortar units’ gradually collapsed under relentless military action. The army is now poised to overrun Puthukudirippu, the last major town situated along the Paranthan-Mullaitivu A 35 road. The 58 Division advancing on LTTE bases north of A 35 road on Wednesday them along with one 120 mm mortar tube, more..

Iran-Sri Lanka hold political consultations

Feb 13 (DM) Sri Lanka and Iran have had its first round of political discussions on matters of mutual interest, in the political, economic and cultural domain and to oversee the implementation of the bilateral agreements signed between the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said. The discussions were in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Establishment of the Political Consultations Mechanism signed between more..

TNA says no to APRC

Feb 13 (DM) The TNA said it would not take part in the APRC even if an invitation was put forward at this late hour as they felt there was no purpose in the process. TNA MP Sivanathan Kishore told Daily Mirror the APRC was not recognised by the TNA as the party had not been included in the Committee when it was being formed. “Why do they need us now when 99% of the work is almost over? It is not possible for us to join as we do not believe in the work it is doing,” Mr. Kishore said. more..

Sri Lanka conflict-trapped civilians only 65,000: minister

Feb 13 (LBO) Contrary to claims that several hundred thousand civilians are trapped in a conflict area in the northeast of Sri Lanka, the latest official estimate is that only 65,000 people remain, a government minister said. Disaster relief services minister Rishad Badurdeen said 34,430 people have escaped from remaining Tamil Tiger controlled areas and have come to government controlled areas. more..

Teen fasts to publicize plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (BG) It's been eleven days since Priya Suntharalingam, a Winchester High School junior, has eaten a meal. The petite 17-year-old is the youngest of eight ethnic Tamils in the country who are fasting to call attention to the plight of their countrymen in Sri Lanka, an island nation off the coast of India where some 300,000 members of the Tamil minority are trapped in the fighting between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil rebel army. more..

Sri Lanka needs to emulate Indian poll panel model: EC

Feb 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka needs to revamp its "toothless" Election Commission by taking a lesson or two from the Indian poll body, which has been credited with holding the world's biggest ballot exercise, the island's Election Commissioner has said. Dayananda Dissanayake lauded the Indian election commission as an independent body and said there was a need to establish an organisation based on the Indian model in Sri Lanka to ensure free and fair elections. more..

Sri Lanka rupee edges up from all-time low; shares flat

Feb 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee edged up from its all-time low on Friday due to intervention by two state banks, while shares closed flat in thin trade with investors staying away on earning woes. The rupee closed at 114.10/114.20, edging up from Thursday's life closing low of 114.15/20, currency dealers said. Three analysts from three banks Reuters spoke to said two state banks intervened in the market at various levels, more..

Strangers In Familiar Land

Feb 13 (Tehelka) As Sahaya Malar’s feet touched Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu, her heart felt lighter. It didn’t matter that she had left her home behind and that she was now in a foreign land — a refugee. She and her family would soon be herded into a camp, where they would live the life of a refugee, like thousands of others who had come before them, and forced to survive on petty government doles. Yet, there was a sense of freedom. more..

'40 civilians die daily in Sri Lanka war'

Feb 13 (AP) Artillery shelling and gunbattles between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels are killing about 40 civilians every day and wounding more than 100 others inside Sri Lanka's war zone, the top health official in the region said Friday. Aid groups have estimated more than 200,000 civilians were trapped in a tiny strip of land still controlled by the rebels along the northeastern coast. The military and the rebels deny attacking civilians, but reports from aid workers, health officials and evacuees implicate both sides. more..

Civilians flee war zone as Sri Lanka snubs Britain

Feb 13 (AFP) Thousands more civilians fled Sri Lanka's war zone, the defence ministry said Friday, as Colombo angrily rejected Britain's appointment of a special envoy to address the island's humanitarian crisis. Men, women and children from the minority ethnic Tamil community crossed the front lines in the district of Mullaittivu where the army has cornered holdout forces of the rebel LTTE. "The people fled despite a series of barricades imposed by the LTTE to stall the civilian influx," more..

Sri Lanka's broken institutions

Feb 14 (UPI) In recent weeks there has been a convergence of ideas within and outside Sri Lanka that the most important obstacle to the achievement of human rights is the failure to investigate and prosecute crime. Many journalists have fled the country, realizing that justice and protection are impossible. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has come forward more strongly than ever to demand protection for its members so they may practice their profession without reprisals. more..