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Congress feels Lanka situation will not affect its TN alliance

Jan 3 (TOI) Congress is hopeful that barring a sudden and sharp deterioration in the humanitarian situation, the Sri Lankan offensive against LTTE will not rock the party's Tamil Nadu alliance too hard ahead of general elections due to get underway in April. Congress is of the view that the LTTE storm has been "hamdled" by foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Colombo and the subsequent window offered to civilians to reach safe zones. more..

Letters from two priests on Wanni civilian predicament

Jan 3 (DBJ) The continuing war in the Northern mainland known as Wanni has brought in its wake immense destruction of life, limb and property not to mention displacement and chaos. Innocent civilians for no fault of their own have been victimised in the most horrible and cruel manner. As someone who anticipated such a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding long time ago before many even thought about it and as one who wrote about it in newspapers many, more..

Sri Lanka conflict spurs demonstrations in France

Jan 3 (GP) Black posters depicting bloody images of Sri Lankan war victims — dead and wounded, young and old — have been plastered on the windows of just about every storefront in a vibrant neighborhood of the French capital throughout the past week. Thousands of miles from the violence gripping the northeast part of the island nation, the signs were in protest of what many expatriates here called apathy toward the suffering of Tamil civilians. more..

Civilians trapped in Sri Lanka conflict zone

LTTE, Sri Lanka and struggle for controlling Indian Ocean

Feb 3 (AT) Finally LTTE got routed out when Sri Lankan army ran over its last bastion and main operation center, Mullaittivu bringing an end to their decade-long domination of the country's North. The Sri Lankan army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said the 25-year-old bloody ethnic separatist war was 95 percent over. It is a big reason for Sri Lankans to be jubilant specially when they are about to celebrate their Independence Day on February 4th but more..

Sri Lanka's civilian hostages - how valid are these numbers & how were they derived?

Feb 3 (AT) The last census of Mullaitivu population was taken in 1981. The population was no more than 77,189, since then with the LTTE dominating the North population census has been only "estimated". The quotes of civilian hostages have shot up from 250,000 to a staggering 400,000 in an area not more than when the Sri Lankan Tamils’ total population is around 2.4million. more..

Erroneous assertion of LTTE exposed

Feb 3 (AT) The erroneous assertion of the LTTE as involved in a 'Liberation war for self determination' was exposed. Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Pretoria pointed out that the recent statement by the African National Congress has erroneously termed the terrorists activities of the LTTE as a War of Liberation for Self Determination. Sri Lanka's High Commissioner Anura Rajakaruna in missive said that the recent statement made by the ANC is against the aspirations of a friendly country which more..

Top US Senators worried over Sri Lanka violence

Feb 3 (AFP) Two senior US Senators on Monday jointly urged Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels to safeguard civilians and ease humanitarian access to areas affected by the deadly conflict. Democrat John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Richard Lugar, the panel's top Republican, said they were "greatly concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation." more..

Why New Delhi fiddles when Lanka burns

Feb 3 (Rediff) When I was in high school, the then Tamil Nadu government used to shut educational institutions for a few days as a mark of protest against the genocide in Sri Lanka. Closing down schools and colleges was supposed to be our 'strategy' of dealing with the Lankan government; our version of 'shock and awe'. This practice continued even when I was in college. more..

As war nears end, India's power blunted in Lanka

Feb 3 (KT) After decades of strong-arming tiny neighbour Sri Lanka, India finds itself jostling for influence as the civil war nears an end, its power blunted by the island nation's growing ties with Pakistan and China. While domestic political sensitivities over the fate of Sri Lanka's Tamils forced India to ease its leverage, rivals China and Pakistan stepped into the breach, offering Colombo military assistance in its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Tough battle fighting Tigers in jungles

Feb 3 (ST) Sri Lankan troops have stumbled on munitions left behind by the retreating Tamil Tigers that include thermobaric weapons which produce more explosive energy than other conventional explosives, as fighting centres on the impenetrable tropical forests in the north — known as the Wanni. The well-prepared fortifications, underground settlements and booby-trapped approaches into the jungle may allow the LTTE to hold off the troops for months, people with expert knowledge of the terrain say. more..

UN official concerned over shelling of hospital, worsening civilian plight

Feb 3 (UN) A United Nations humanitarian spokesman in Sri Lanka today voiced concern over the shelling of a hospital in the zone of fighting between the Government and rebel forces, emphasizing the ever-increasing threat to the lives of some 250,000 civilians trapped by the conflict. Gordon Weiss of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the hospital, in the north-east of the island nation, was shelled numerous times over the past day, more..

Civilians trapped in Sri Lanka fighting

Special school for displaced children

Feb 3 (GDI) The Education Ministry officials have established a temporary school for the children who are living in the Manik Farm IDP camp in Vavuniya. The new school was established for the benefit of the fleeing children to provide them with an education said P. R. A. Oswald, Zonal Education Director of the Vavuniya District. There are classes from Grade one to twelve, the director added. more..

More civilians come over

Feb 3 (GDI) Civilian arrivals are on the rise to the cleared areas from the LTTE dominated areas as a result of the safe passage provided by the Security Forces. Around 96 civilians from the uncleared areas have reached the Security Forces controlled area crossing the Omanthai entry/exit point over the weekend. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said 96 civilians had reported to the cleared area crossing the Omanthai entry/exit point in two groups on Sunday. more..

Deyata Kirula exhibition tomorrow

Feb 3 (GDI) The ‘Dayata Kirula’ exhibition, organized for the third time to coincide with Independence Day, is scheduled to be held at the BMICH tomorrow and will continue till February 8. According to the Ministry of Finance the theme for this year’s exhibition is ‘Eka Mawakage Daru Kela’ (children of one mother). State, private, and international sectors will be manning over 1,000 stalls at the exhibition. more..

'Fishermen can soon fish in any port of country'

Feb 3 (GDI) Fishing without fear would become a reality soon so that fishermen could go to sea for fishing. Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera said at a Wayamba provincial council election rally held at Kurunegala. The Fisheries sector should be proud of the liberation of the North and East as a large number of fisheries resources could be exploited in these provinces. more..

'Landslide victims will be resettled soon'

Feb 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued instructions to Livestock Development Minister C. B. Ratnayake that action be taken to resettle the Walapone landslide victims within three months. The villagers who lost their homes should not be allowed to remain in tents any longer. They should be resettled in suitable lands, let lands belong to anyone. There is no question of the ownership of the land, more..

Twelve new Investment Zones

Feb 3 (GDI) The Government will set up twelve new Investment Promotion Zones (IPZ) to make Sri Lanka a preferred destination for investment in Asia catering to the needs of local and foreign investors. Of them four will be set up this year. The major objective of this project is to create a globally competitive entrepreneurial culture in Sri Lanka for investment through a conducive policy regime that stimulates growth and development. more..

President requests clergy to return

Feb 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday requested members of the clergy in the conflict ares in the North to return to Government controlled areas along with the trapped civilians as the Government has taken all measures to cater to their welfare. The President made this appeal when the Papal Pro Nuncio in Sri Lanka Monsignor Mario Zenari called on him at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Critical choice facing Sri Lanka: Throwing out the failed medicine of Vadukkoddei

Feb 3 (LG) Renuka Sharma (RS) and Satchi Sithananthan (SS), writing in the Sri Lanka Guardian on Feburay 01, 2009 (read) discusses what they call the "Critical choice Sri Lanka cannot shun anymore. This article must be taken in conjunction with the article by Susantha Goonatilleke (SG) which appeared in the Sunday Times on January 18, 2009 and reproduced in the TamilNet on the 30th of January. more..

Patriotism the need of the hour !

Feb 3 (LG) Ceylon obtained independence from the British Rule in 1948 by smooth transition after India gained its independence. We honour our Patriots who contributed towards that endeavour. But the crucial factor is the independence gained by defeating terror by the Rajapakse Regime in the midst of so much interference from Developed countries with vested interests is far greater achievement in the history of this country. This is an event to celebrate. more..

Federal solution is not a racist option

Feb 3 (LG) My guru and colleague Satchi Sithananthan and I noted with interests the observations of Sebastian Rasalingam of Toronto in his feature “Critical choice facing Sri Lanka; Throwing out the failed medicine of Vaddukoddai” which appeared in the Sri Guardian February 3, 2009. We noted the sentence in his feature: This is the "Tamil-Nation mindset". This mindset gives NO PLACE to basic economic needs of the deprived people. more..

Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin Attacked

Feb 3 (LG) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin was attacked by some unknown persons around 9:10 P M on Monday (2.2) night while two senior diplomats were still at the Embassy. The attackers threw huge stones at the premises and smashed double glass windows of 3 rooms including Ambassador's office room on the first flow. Within minutes a police squad with 8 Vans were at the crime scene, cordoning off the area and started investigations. more..

Families of 26 Muslims in remand start fast unto death

Feb 3 (PSM) Family members of the 26 Pottuvil Muslim prisoners have commenced a hunger strike from yesterday demanding the release of the victims, speedy disposal of the case against them and equal and fair treatment to them in the remand. The 26 fire wood collectors are in remand since 18th August 2008. They were originally produced before the Moneragala magistrate and their case was sent to the High Court Moneragala upon filing the indictment on them by the Attorney General. more..

New BOI venture to assemble vehicles

Feb 3 (GDI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to W T L Automobiles for a project to assemble motor vehicles for the local market. W T L Automobiles signed the agreement to assemble vans in the same class as the Hiace. The vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka will be sold under the trade name WTL. The venture will utilize parts imported from China as well as parts manufactured locally in the assembling process. more..

Battle private sector corruption: AG

Feb 3 (SAMN) Attorney General Mohan Peiris Monday launched an unprecedented attack on private sector corruption and asserted that anti-corruption initiatives targeting only the public sector wouldn’t help Sri Lanka to overcome the scourge of corruption. Addressing a press conference, Peiris pointed out the absurdity of turning a blind eye to corruption within the corporate sector. more..

Troops capture 7th and final LTTE AirStrip

Feb 3 (LP) Troops captured the 7th and last airstirp of the LTTE this morning (03) in Puthukudirippu Mullaittivu. The 2km long runaway was located west of Sundarapuram, Thirivilaru, northeast of Piramantharukulam, Puthukudirippu and was captured by the troops of the 58 division operating in the area. Although the entire airstrip is 2km in length, the tarmac was only a 350km long and 50m wide strip. more..

Tamils are bodily down but undefeated in spirit

Feb 3 (TC) With the end of the war in sight Sinhala opinion on the next step of the Nationalities Question (or “ethnic issue”, if you will) is firming up. At best it is in favour of the implementation of the 13th Amendment with the Concurrent List being devolved without conditions. At worst it is for the unitary state intact and inviolate. I have had intimations from several quarters some of them being my very dear friends that Sinhala opinion is hardening on this issue. more..

Sri Lanka's rupee hits life low on dollar demand

Feb 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee edged down on Tuesday to its all-time closing low on importer demand, while shares closed flat as the fall of top conglomerate John Keells Holdings JKH.CM offset gains in some blue chips. The rupee edged down to 113.99/114.05 per dollar to its life closing low, from Monday's 113.95/114.05 due to importer demand for dollars, currency dealers said. more..

Tight air cover over Colombo

Feb 3 (SAMN) In addition to the usual security measures in place on land and sea, a tight air cover will be in operation over Colombo and its immediate suburbs during the Independence Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green Wednesday. “We will use our air capabilities to protect the skies over Colombo during the celebrations,” Air Force spokesman Janaka Nanayakkara said, adding, the Air Force would thwart any threat at any required time. more..

Pillayan-Karuna row resurfaces

Feb 3 (SAMN) Parliamentarian Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, the renegade LTTE leader has said that Pillayan is not fit for the post of Chief Minister because he does not have the talent needed to carry out the duties. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Karuna also said some Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) cadres still possessed barbarians’ mentality and needed counseling. more..

Situation report (Feb 3) by SLA

Feb 3 (SLA) LTTE’s Visuamadu ‘Auschwitz’ Uncovered: TIGER terrorists’ long list of bizarre network of underground bunkers, luxurious homes, storages, camp complexes, etc received a new dimension on Tuesday (3) morning when the troops uncovered a far-fetched colossal Torture Chamber cum an Open Prison of the LTTE in the west of VISUAMADU area, reminiscent of the yesteryear Nazi Era torture chambers, Auschwitz, the Jews death camp. more..

Weerawansa challenges Opposition

Feb 3 (SAMN) National Freedom Front Chairman Wimal Weerawansa Monday challenged the Opposition to obtain even 10 per cent of the votes at the upcoming North Western and Central Provincial Council Elections. Weerawansa said that the international Organisations and foreign envoys who came to Sri Lanka did nothing for the country except strengthen the LTTE. more..

Mahanayakes urge LTTE: Let civilians go

Feb 3 (DN) The Mahanayakas of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters called on the LTTE to release Tamil civilians held by them in the Vanni requesting them to let go of their grip on innocent civilians as human shields. A retinue of Buddhist monks from the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters, have called upon the LTTE to release Tamil people who have been held captive by them in the North so that they can move to safer areas, after returning from a visit to the Vanni yesterday. more..

DMK talks of Tamils,but focuses on PMK

Feb 3 (NT) Terming the Central government’s initiatives to bring a ceasefire in Sri Lanka to be ‘not satisfactory’, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, however, made clear that the DMK would never withdraw its support to the Centre nor lose power at the State. Speaking at the DMK general council meeting convened today amidst high tension developing over the Lankan issue in Tamilnadu, Karunanidhi claimed that the DMK would never support LTTE leader Prabhakaran nor more..

A glass of milk free for better nutrition

Feb 3 (DN) The Government has made arrangements to provide a free glass of milk to all malnourished children between the ages of 2 and 5 years. Rs.1500 million has been allocated this year to implement this program and it will cover 174,000 children. The children of Samurdhi recipient families qualify for this program automatically, Child Development and Women's Empowerment Ministry Secretary M. Sumanadasa said. more..

OIC’s Lorry transporting lethal cargo seized

Feb 3 (Island) Police have put an end to a series of journeys by the LTTE transporting suicide cadres, explosives and suicide kits to Colombo and certain other areas, using a lorry purchased from a police officer. Trincomalee police seized the lorry and arrested five suspects. The lorry was hidden in the garage of the official quarters of the Inspector. Though two police teams had been deployed to trace the lethal items transported in the lorry or more..

Compensation paid to State to be used to manage Waters Edge

Feb 3 (Island) Compensation of nearly Rs ten million paid to the State by the respondents in the Waters Edge case, will be utilized for the management of the Waters Edge Limited Hotel. The Supreme Court yesterday ordered that the Interim Management Committee invest this money in the operations of the Hotel, and its Conference Hall. Among the respondents were the former President Mrs. Kumaratunga and a few others. more..

State body fined Rs.300 m

Feb 3 (DM) A leading semi government institution was fined Rs.300 million by the Sri Lanka Customs, for a fraud committed by over-stating the value of equipment imported for a BOI-approved project, a senior Customs source said yesterday. The Customs Preventive Office found that the quoted value of the imported equipment was much higher than the price paid for. “The actual price paid for the entire consignment was in the region of US$ 600,000. more..

A short film on suffering Lankan Tamils

Feb 3 (IG) At a time when the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka is snowballing into a major crisis, V. Kalaivendhan, a documentary film-maker, has churned out a short film titled 'Pulam Eezham'. Kalaivendhan had earlier won accolades for his docu-drama 'Andhadhi', which was about child abuse. 'Pulam Eezham', being produced by Zhakaram Film Corporation, dwells in detail about native Tamils, who are being driven out of their homeland by the Lankan military following the civil war. more..

Sick and wounded flee hospital crossfire

Feb 3 (GN) Patients are braving repeated shellfire while trying to escape from a hospital struck four times by artillery shells amid fierce fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops in northern Sri Lanka, aid agencies say today. A dozen patients have been killed in the past two days in repeated attacks on the hospital in Puthukkudiyiruppu. Both sides deny the shelling. The Red Cross claims that people are running from the wards – the only medical facilities in the war zone – for more..

We never opposed military action: UNP

Feb 3 (DM) The main opposition UNP said yesterday it was absurd for the government to say the party was late in supporting military operations because UNP policy had always been to support the objectives of the security forces. UNP front-liner Lakshman Kiriella said his party did not agree with government policy but it was not opposed to the military operations to eradicate terrorism. more..

Deaf Leaders team visits Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (Hindu) Members of Deaf Leaders, a non-Governmental organisation (NGO) working for the welfare of people with hearing impairment in Coimbatore, recently visited Sri Lanka as part of their efforts to empower people with hearing impairment. K.Murali, Director of Deaf Leaders, and Kajal Dhawan, a young achiever from New Delhi, who is hearing impaired, visited schools exclusively for the hearing impaired and more..

Swamy for probe into Muthukumar’s death

Feb 3 (Hindu) Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has demanded an inquiry into the death of Muthukumar, who committed suicide in support of Sri Lankan Tamils here. Addressing reporters here on Monday, Dr. Swamy said he had strong suspicion that Muthukumar was made a scapegoat. He had reliable information that Muthukumar had been assured that he would be saved in time. The language used in the suicide letter had Sri Lankan Tamil slang. ate. more..

Commercial Bank seeks clarity on derivative deals

Feb 3 (LBO) Commercial Bank says the 'ambiguity' behind a suspension of payments on oil derivatives sold to state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is causing uncertainty, and leaving it in a tight position. The island's top court cleared CPC to honor derivative payments to five local and foreign banks on January 27, when it dismissed public interest petitions which had resulted in a temporary halt on payments by the petroleum utility. more..

Sri Lanka journalists 'risk death'

Feb 3 (BBC) They stormed into the building at about two o'clock in the morning. A group of heavily armed men, their faces covered, they smashed windows, broke down doors and tried to blow up the control room at the Sirasa TV studios on the outskirts of Colombo last month. This is the other side of Sri Lanka's war - a violent crackdown on dissent. Inside the control room there are shards of glass and bits of debris on the floor. The walls and ceiling are covered in thick black grimy soot. more..

India, Sri Lanka should jointly resolve Tamils' issue: DMK

Feb 3 (PTI) The ruling DMK on Tuesday asked the Centre to work with Colombo to find a permanent solution to the ethnic problem by ensuring full devolution of powers and autonomy to north and eastern areas of the island within a timeframe. It asked the Sri Lankan Government to extend full cooperation in this regard. "As a first step, the Centre should immediately take steps to workout a permanent solution which would more..

Can't ensure safety of civilians in LTTE areas: Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (IBN) The humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka is worsening with the government now saying they can't ensure the safety of civilians in LTTE controlled areas. Colombo has asked the over 2,50,000 civilians trapped in Mullaitivu to flee the war zone because the battle is in it's 'decisive stage' and civilians' safety won't be the government's responsibility. "The government calls on all civilians to enter the demarcated 'safety zone' as soon as possible. more..

Patients flee hospital under attack

Feb 3 (AP) Patients are fleeing a hospital that was hit four times by artillery shells in the war between the Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces in northern Sri Lanka this week, the Red Cross said Tuesday. Also Tuesday, the military said it had captured the rebels' seventh and final airstrip, effectively grounding their tiny air force as troops pushed ahead with their offensive to crush the guerrilla group and end Asia's longest-running civil war. more..