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Taking Sri Lanka protest from Winchester to D.C.

Feb 26 (BG) A Winchester teenager who went on a 12-day hunger strike to raise awareness about the plight of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka met with Senator John F. Kerry in his Washington office yesterday to discuss the country's ongoing conflict. Kerry jokingly offered to share a meal at Burger King with the student, Priya Suntharalingam, 17, whose last meal before her fast was a Whopper cheeseburger. more..

A Tiger-Made Crisis

Feb 26 (WSJ) The Sri Lankan government is steadily gaining ground against the terrorist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and an end to that country's 26-year-old civil war may finally be in sight. Now the United Nations, European Union and U.S. worry about a looming humanitarian crisis in the conflict zone. With the Tigers reportedly holding civilians hostage as human shields, Colombo has few good options. But the worst would be to stop now. more..

Canada Increases its support to the most vulnerable in Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (MW) Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced additional funding to help civilians being affected by the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka. "The Government of Canada is gravely concerned for those civilians in Sri Lanka adversely affected by the country's ongoing conflict in the north," said Minister Oda. "Once again, we call on all parties to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and unhindered access for international humanitarian agencies providing the needed assistance." more..

Fight to win over Tamil refugees

Feb 26 (FT) The aerial view of Manik Farm refugee camp from the military helicopter is bleak – a series of tin and thatch barracks surrounded by razor wire and closely guarded by soldiers. But on the ground the camp – which was opened a few months ago in Vavuniya, north Sri Lanka, to house thousands of refugees fleeing the island’s civil war between the government and ethnic Tamil rebels – is bustling. more..

Way out there

Feb 26 (macleans) Grammy night was, for millions of TV viewers, their first exposure to the explosive, frenetic, Day-Glo energy that is M.I.A. Some may have heard her mega-hit Paper Planes—nominated that night for Record of the Year—but this was their first glimpse of the woman herself: nine months pregnant, her dress a mash-up of a bug-themed bikini and a mesh body stocking, performing MC-style on T.I.’s Swagga Like Us, alongside Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. more..

As war nears end, Sri Lankans weigh peace dividend

Feb 26 (VoA) With Sri Lanka's economy stifled by 25 years of war, many here are weighing the benefits of a peace dividend, as the conflict nears an end - just in time for the global economic slump. Even here, at one of Colombo's five-star hotels on the white-sand beach of the Indian Ocean, it is hard to tell that the country is embroiled in a war - one of Asia's longest-running. Still, there are signs. For one, there is a noticeable lack of guests. more..

'More civilians may have died in Lanka than in Gaza'

Feb 26 (Rediff) Sunanda Deshapriya, a journalist, peace activist and the person behind the free media movement in Sri Lanka, has been in India from January 18. The killing of senior journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge has forced many journalists and activists from Sri Lanka to take refuge in Europe and India. Influenced by the French and the Cuban revolutions, the Vietnam war, the Naxalite movement, more..

Food crisis hits developing world farms

Feb 26 (BBC) Farmers in developing countries are struggling despite recent rises in the price of commodities they produce, the Fairtrade Foundation says in a new report. The report, which interviewed farmers' groups in Uganda, Malawi, Nicaragua, India, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean, reveals that many families are spending up to 80% of their entire household budget on basic food items. The rocketing cost of food, fuel and fertiliser prices have had a devastating effect on their livelihoods. more..

Rajarata Expo Shines at Polonnaruwa

Feb 26 (AT) Prof G.L.Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade together with Hon Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Agriculture Development and Agro Services has announced at the Press Conference held in Polonnaruwa on 23rd January 2009 that Sri Lanka Export Development Board under the purview of Ministry of Export Development and International Trade is planning to organize the second Expo Exhibition "Rajarata Expo" in Polonnaruwa more..

Indecisive India can never be considered superpower

Feb 26 (AT) All Sri Lanka expects of India is to take a firm stand on the LTTE issue – is it so difficult for India to do after all was not an Indian leader, that took a son of India’s Gandhi dynasty not assassinated on Indian soil? Yet, why does India desire to resuscitate a terror group listed first by India on the guise of emotional connections of the Sri Lankan Tamils to Tamil Nadu? more..

Lunstead incites International Community against Sri Lanka at Senate Hearing

Feb 26 (AT) Painting a dismal picture about Sri Lanka, advocating what this South Asian nation should do in terms of constitutional reforms, while denouncing Tamil Tiger terrorism, but indirectly connecting the terrorist outfit with Tamil grievances, projecting a doomed future for minority ethnic Tamils and the re-emergence of the Tamil Tigers if Tamil grievances are not met former American ambassador to Sri Lanka Jeffrey Lunstead almost incited the International Community and more..

The hypocrisy of a political solution

Feb 26 (AT) Because of the talk that has been spread around that the government of Sri Lanka was killing Tamil civilians, our president with all good intentions invited the UN chief Mr. Ban-Ky Moon to personally come and see for himself what is happening. There was hesitation for a few days during which it was said that the UN chief has still not decided anything about it. Some days later, instead of the UN chief came Mr. Holmes who was warmly received at the highest places and more..

Mahela takes positives from stalemate

Feb 26 (CI) With a draw always on the cards on a flat deck, Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, said he was pleased with the way his team performed at the National Stadium, barring the minor blip in their second innings in the final session on the final day, when they lost half their side in quick time. "I think we always knew that the way wicket played it would be tough for a result," Jayawardene said after the fifth's day's play. more..

NTPC in final talks for 500 mw Lanka plant

Feb 26 (TOI) State-owned generation utility NTPC Ltd is in the final leg of talks for sealing a deal with Ceylon Electricity Board to construct a 500 mw power project in Sri Lanka. A team of executives from the Lankan utility is going to be here shortly to iron out last-mile glitches before signing an agreement. "The differences over how the agreement will be carried out have been narrowed down to the issue of operating the escrow account for the project. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil war protester sets himself ablaze

Feb 26 (AFP) A Sri Lankan Tamil committed suicide by setting himself on fire to protest civilian casualties in Colombo's military offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels, Indian police said Wednesday. B. Gokula Rathinam, who had lived for a number of years in in Chennai, capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, walked to the crowded offices of a senior city administration official with a can of kerosene, witnesses and police said. more..

Carl Muller comes up with fourth book

Feb 26 (SZ) Award-winning Sri Lankan writer Carl Muller has come up with the fourth book in the popular Burgher family series. The author, who was awarded the Kala Keerthi (Exponent of Literary Arts) by the Government of Sri Lanka in 2005, has written a wonderful tale – ‘Maudiegirl and the von Bloss Kitchen’, in the fourth serving of his famous Burghler chronicles. more..

Tableware exports hit by over-valued rupee

Feb 26 (LBO) Tableware exporter Dankotuwa Porcelain, which has just reported the loss of a big American customer, says its competitiveness is being severely eroded by an overvalued rupee. Dankotuwa is struggling to compete in a fiercely competitive global market where consumer buying power and sales have been hit by recession. The rupee has not depreciated enough to compensate for high domestic cost increases at a time when the currencies of rival tableware origins and more..

An incredible monocular view of a professor!

Feb 26 (LG) University of Ceylon’s Professor M Sornarajah’s treatise “The responsibility to protect Tamil civilians” is a brilliant focus on Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem. He has very effectively garnered all the negative factors that have contributed to the current nightmare into a feature that gives a deadly verdict against successive Colombo governments which he has opportunely labeled as Sinhala governments. more..

No peace talks

Feb 26 (LG) Why should India all of a sudden get interested in so called peace talks between the government and the LTTE? Is it to appease Tamil Nadu where lawyers, actors, politicians and other middle class elements get together to agitate on behalf of the trapped personnel in Mulativu? If Tamil Nadu intellectuals are genuine and if they believe what they have said, then next time some terrorists hijack an Indian plane, let these humanitarians get together in Chennai to organise a demonstration demanding more..

Other battles still to be won

Feb 26 (LG) As I stood at my bedroom window looking out at the red tracers and searchlights crisscrossing the sky on Friday night, I wondered how things had come to such a point. The LTTE hasn’t been very popular amongst its own community for a long time. After the suffering it has imposed on Tamils during all these years of fighting and the appalling number of Tamils it has felt compelled to kill for refusing to accept its leadership, the LTTE has been reduced to more..

Utter impudence of the Sampanthan clowns

Feb 26 (LG) Can any politico have the heart to announce with such audacious tenor and temerity that he will seek political representation of the Tamil people on behalf of an avowed terrorist entity described as the most brutal terrorist in the world? This is an impertinent and insolent insult on the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that was subjugated at gunpoint by Velupillai Prabhakaran for over three decades now. more..

Sri Lanka needs a humanitarian pause

Feb 26 (TOI) New Delhi’s policy of benign indifference to the gathering humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka’s Mullaitivu district is not sustainable. The crisis in Sri Lanka will spill over to Tamil Nadu via inflamed Tamil sentiments and to the rest of the country by way of creation of a southern outpost of militant Islam and spread of Chinese strategic influence in India’s southern neighbour. more..

The overlooked Lankan genocide

Feb 26 (TS) The world should rightly be outraged by the horrors inflicted on civilians caught in Sri Lanka’s war zone, but in Malaysia do we care? BY ALL accounts, the end looks nigh for a bloody conflict which has gone on for a quarter of a century. The Sri Lanka army has all but caged in the LTTE into a tiny strip of territory in the north-east of the island. The world has been weary of this war long before the 2002 ceasefire collapsed in 2005. more..

Sri Lankan envoy says conflict is over terrorism not ethnicity

Feb 26 (BN) Sri Lanka’s conflict with the LTTE is to defeat terrorism and isn’t about Tamil ethnicity, the country’s ambassador to the U.S. said. “It is a struggle to rid Sri Lanka of a globally recognized terrorist organization -- the LTTE,” Jaliya Wickramasuriya said in a statement in Washington to coincide with a Senate hearing on the conflict. Most of the Tamil population lives in harmony with Sinhalese, Muslim and other ethnic groups, he said. more..

"Die with us" rebels tell refugees

Feb 26 (Reuters) The Tamil Tigers gave V. Rasamalar no choice in how she would die -- the separatist rebels told her she would die alongside them in Sri Lanka's war zone. But the mother of two escaped heavy fighting and fled to an army-controlled area. She and her children are now living with about 1,000 other refugees in a military-run transit camp in the northern city of Vavuniya. "The organization said we were going to die anyway if we crossed to the army-controlled area and told us to die with them," more..

'Short term gains should not endanger long term stability'

Feb 26 (FI) Full Text of Media release by National Peace Council of Sri lanka: The LTTE has issued an appeal to the international community to support a ceasefire that will safeguard lives and create an environment for political negotiations with the Sri Lankan government. This call has come even as the Sri Lankan government is on the threshold of capturing the last remaining LTTE territory. more..

Economic stimulus package for finance and leasing companies

Feb 26 (GDI) “Financial and leasing companies seem unwilling to hold financial facilities to the common man, and the government accepts the fact that the system is in trouble to some extent. As a remedial measure, the treasury will allocate Rs. 4250 million to fix it,” Minister G. L. Peris revealed today (26) in the weekly cabinet briefing held at the Government Information Department. more..

Destroying Tamil Tigers won't lead to peace in Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (FI) THE greatest mistakes are made on the morrow of the greatest victories. Sri Lanka is now approaching a decisive victory in its 26-year war against Tamil separatism, and it is about to make a very big mistake. “While separatist terrorism must be eradicated,” wrote Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of the Sunday Leader, “it is important to address the root causes of terrorism, and urge government to view Sri Lanka’s ethnic strife in the context of history and not through the telescope of terrorism. more..

Gunmen kill 16 Sri Lankan villagers

Feb 26 (wsws) An unidentified group of gunmen killed up to 16 people, including three children, and left 20 more injured in a rampage through the village of Karametiya in Sri Lanka's eastern province on Saturday. Whoever carried it out, this criminal attack on ordinary working people plays directly into the hands of Colombo government, which is anxious to deflect criticism of its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

Maya, Varnakulasingham and Dayan

Feb 26 (TC) As I stood at my bedroom window looking out at the red tracers and searchlights crisscrossing the sky on Friday night, I wondered how things had come to such a point. The LTTE hasn’t been very popular amongst its own community for a long time. After the suffering it has imposed on Tamils during all these years of fighting and the appaling number of Tamils it has felt compelled to kill for refusing to accept its leadership, the LTTE has been reduced to stealing children to more..

How to kill civilians in the name of “Human Rights”

Feb 26 (LG) After a conflict of more than a quarter of a century of terrorism and civil war that killed 70,000 people, Sri Lankans finally think they have defeated the LTTE, perhaps the world’s most murderous terrorist organization. Why and how a small country of 21 million succeeded in defeating such a group where much bigger powers have failed is a good lesson for those who study terrorism and counterinsurgency. more..

We need pacifists and peace-makers; no more gun bearers

Feb 26 (LG) The tragic irony of the Wanni situation is that the man who was principally responsible for the development of this region has been unable to visit it ever since the LTTE became the masters there. Whatever good that happened there when V. Anandasangaree was its Member of Parliament have been destroyed and laid to waste. The enormous cost to lives, properties and infrastructures are beyond count and Wanni, the granary of Sri Lanka, will take a long time to recover from the LTTE menace that broke its backbone. more..

Moneragala crosses poverty line

Feb 26 (GDI) The Moneragala district will no longer be under the poverty line with the completion of over 559 projects under the Gama Neguma and Maga Neguma development programs which are aimed at overall development of the people. The Government for the purpose ensuring better living standards for the people in the district last year allocated Rs. 301 million for these projects. They include infrastructure and livelihood development programs. more..

Who’s plan is Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan voicing?

Feb 26 (AT) It is common knowledge that India’s RAW was instrumental in forging the Karuna-Prabakaran deadlock and ultimate breakaway that served the interest of the Rajapakse Government and greatly assisted in liberating the East of LTTE domain. Thus, when calls for the implementation of 13th Amendment comes from this democratized former LTTE leader, it naturally raises eyebrows to wonder who’s thinking is being vocalized by more..

Ayurveda clinic opened at Manikfarm for IDPs

Feb 26 (GDI) An ayurveda clinic was opened for internally displaced persons of Manikfarm welfare village and the villagers of Chettikulam. The clinic had been opened in collaboration with the Department of Ayurveda. Ministry of Indigenous Medicine sources said yesterday (25). There were around 800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Manikfarm centre. The ayurveda doctors serving under the provincial council have been assigned to serve in the clinic. more..

'Ocean resources must be harnessed'

Feb 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka possesses a sea area eight times the size of its landmass and it should be properly harnessed for the benefit of the people. Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera said. He stated that modernization of the Valachchenai Fishery Harbour is another project implemented by the Thotupala Aruna development drive. He was speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the renovation of the Valachchenai Fishery Harbour at a cost of Rs.300 million recently. more..

National campaign against child soldier recruitment

Feb 26 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will launch a national campaign against the recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, the president's office said on Wednesday. The campaign will be launched on Thursday under which child soldiers will also be rehabilitated with the assistance of local and foreign organizations, the office statement said. "This special initiative is necessary for preventing child recruitment, in tandem with the freeing of all children already recruited and brutalized. more..

SAARC painting exhibition

Feb 26 (GDI) The SAARC Painting Exhibition would be inaugurated in the presence of Minister of State for External Affairs of India Shri E. Ahamed, Minister of Culture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Ministers from SAARC countries attending the 31st Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers in Colombo at the National Art Gallery, Colombo 7, tomorrow (27) at 6 p.m. The exhibition would remain open for public viewing between 10.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. from more..

Govt compensates, cuts off Rs 500 m Co-op loans

Feb 26 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to write off the prevailing loans amounting to Rs. 500 million in the Co-operative sector, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Consumer Affairs and Co-operative Bandula Gunawardena said at the National Co-operatives Conference held at the BMICH. The Minister stated that the memorandum to write off the loans in Co-operatives across the country will be forwarded to Cabinet next week. more..

Jaffna railway to be upgraded with southern support

Feb 26 (GDI) People living in Hambantota have pledged their support to rebuild railways in Jaffna. This is on a special request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said the Minister of Transport Dullas Alahapperuma. People of Matara expressed their unainanimous support to reconstruct the railways destroyed by the terrorists. "We will reconstruct the northern line and refurbish all stations by mobilizing our strength, wealth and time as Sri Lankans," he said. more..

Government spends Rs. 10 billion

Feb 26 (LNP) The Government has incurred a loss of Rs. 9,991 million of State revenue last year due to the removal of taxes imposed on the import of 12 essential consumer items as a relief measure to the public. Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardana told the Daily News that the Government had granted a huge tax relief sacrificing a vast amount of government revenue on the import of essential items. more..

How the global economic crisis affects Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (AT) We too have now begun to feel the heat of ill-effects of the world economic recession despite various optimistic statements made by politicians and the top brass at high echelons in the government. Hundreds of private sector establishments in a number of fields have been shut down and employees are facing challenges they never ever thought could be realities. Even BOI companies with foreign investments are steering in the direction of scaling down operations and more..

Husband killed: Wife sentenced to death

Feb 26 (LNP) A married woman, a mother of one child was sentenced to death on a majority jury decision by the Ratnapura High Court Judge in connection with the alleged homicide of her husband. The woman condemned to death was Wasanthi Wijewardena, a resident of Kalalella of the Kahawatte police division. She had been indicted by the Attorney General under the Penal Code for allegedly burning to death her husband Premaratne at Kalalella, Kahawatte on or around April, 24, 2006. more..

Situation report (Feb 26) by SLA

Feb 26 (SLA) Nineteen More Escape: MULLAITTIVU: NINETEEN more civilians escaped from the clutches of LTTE terrorists reached the Forward Defenc Line (FDL) 58 Division troops in the east of PUTHUKUDIYIRIPPU Thursday (26) morning. Soldiers gave them refreshments and directed them to Relief Villagers in VAVUNIYA. Further Advance Continues as Troops Collect LTTE Arms: VANNI: ARMY troops continuing their advance further into the LTTE territory confronted pockets of terrorists in more..

'Electricity Bill is to strengthen 13th amendment'

Feb 26 (LT) Whatever the government and ministers say the Sri Lanka Electricity Draft Bill is brought as a related programme for the enforcement of the13th amendment to the constitution says President of Sri Lanka Electricity Employees Union Ranjan Jayalal. Speaking on the electricity bill Mr. Jayalal said, “The government has finalized all arrangements to bring in the Sri Lanka Electricity Draft Bill. more..

Sri Lanka economy in crisis – Central Bank asked to find solutions

Feb 26 (LT) The Central Bank has been asked to take immediate measures to find solutions for the economic crisis the country is confronted with. At a cabinet meeting held yesterday (25th) chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Treasury Secretary Sumith Abeywickrama made special presentations regarding the economic situation in the country. more..

Clash closes Kelaniya Campus

Feb 26 (SAMN) The Kelaniya University was closed down until further notice, following a clash between two groups of students yesterday. According to KU Media Director Dr. Mapa Thilakaratne two groups of students backed by two political parties were clashing from morning to afternoon at the Kelaniya campus. "Police fired tear gas to disperse the clashing students", police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said. more..

APRC final document ready

Feb 26 (SAMN) The abolishing of the Executive Presidency and reverting to the Westminster System are the major proposals among others in the APRC’s final document, Chairman Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitharana said. Speaking to the Daily Mirror yesterday Minister Vitarana said the document that contains a political package to be implemented through a new Constitution needs to be ready when more..

'Conflict limits access to health care'

Feb 26 (SAMN) The ongoing conflict in northern Sri Lanka between the Government and a rebel group was limiting access to health care, putting the lives of tens of thousands of people at risk, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned. The agency called for a rapid assessment of health needs, improved preventive and curative care and enhanced coordination among all health partners. more..

UPFA hands in nominations

Feb 26 (SAMN) UPFA General Secretary and Education Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday handed over the nominations of candidates contesting the upcoming Western Provincial election under the UPFA ticket for the Kalutara, Gampaha and Colombo returning officers. Two candidates from the National Freedom Alliance have been accommodated on the UPFA list from each district. Former Cricket Board Chief Thilanga Sumathipala, former Provincial Councillors Nawzer Fowzie, Duminda Silva, more..