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Sri Lanka takes Tiger chief's bunker, airstrip: military

Feb 3 (AFP) The Sri Lankan army said Tuesday it had captured an elaborate underground bunker complex believed to have been the home of the leader of the Tamil Tigers as well as the rebels' last jungle airstrip. Soldiers seized the facilities amid a fresh escalation of fighting in the northeast, where government troops are pressing on with an all-out assault on the remaining patch of jungle held by the ethnic guerrillas. more..

Memories a War No One Wanted

Feb 4 (LG) “Meet this Army officer. He is the man who killed our son,” the middle aged man pointed at me as he introduced me to his wife. My wife was shocked. But I knew his pain, so I was nonchalant. It happened in 1989 in my own home in Chennai. I knew them quite well in Jaffna. In fact, their house was the first one I visited when I set foot on the red earth of Jaffna on August 5, 1987 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force. His 18-year old son was also there. more..

Sri Lanka Assessment 2009

Feb 4 (LG) Mullaitivu Town, situated in a narrow stretch of land between the Nanthikandal lagoon and the Indian Ocean, the LTTE 'military capital' as well as the strongest Sea Tiger (sea wing of the LTTE) base, and the last of the urban settlements under the Tiger's control, was captured by troops of the 59th Division in the afternoon of January 25, 2009, heralding the imminent termination of "Eelam War IV", which began with the Mavil Aru operation in July 2006. more..

Indian students attempt suicide on Sri Lankan Tamils issue

Feb 4 (PTI) Three students of a higher secondary school at Periyankulam near here on Monday attempted to commit suicide by consuming poison to express solidarity with the plight of Tamils in neighbouring Sri Lanka, police said. The three were rushed to hospital where their condition was stated to be serious. This is the second such case in the state, with a youth earlier committing suicide in Chennai on the issue. more..

'Govt. to help troubled financial firms'

Feb 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka is developing a policy support package for registered finance and leasing companies that are facing liquidity problems, the Central Bank said. "It is a joint Treasury and central bank policy package," Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "We are working on it and it will be announced in a matter of days." more..

Investors to get new trading floor

Feb 4 (LBO) Stock exchange is to setup an 'investor centre' in the heart of Colombo to provide investors and brokers a facility with easier access than the existing bourse. The proposed centre will replicate all trading floor facilities for investors available at the present site which is in a high security zone to which access is restricted owing to threats by Tamil Tiger rebels. On April 01, 2008, the entrance to the Colombo Stock Exchange trading floor was closed to investors, due to security concerns. more..

Sri Lanka bent upon military solution: Karat

Feb 4 (EB) Though everyone believes that the Sri Lankan crisis can be resolved only by pro­per political approach and diplomacy with the intervention of United Nations, the Sri Lankan government appears to be determined that the Tamils can be suppres­sed only with armed military might, Pra­kash Karat, general secretary of CPM said. Karat spoke to reporters during his visit to Dindigul to release a book on N Varadharajan, the State secretary of the party. more..

Yuvraj and Sehwag set up series win

Feb 4 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan equalled Wasim Akram's world record of 502 one-day wickets, but there was little else for a voluble crowd to celebrate as swashbuckling centuries from Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag led India to a comprehensive 147-run victory at the Premadasa Stadium. There was a big-hitting cameo from Yusuf Pathan and four wickets for the promising Pragyan Ojha as the series was wrapped up with two games to spare. more..

Sri Lanka rest key players for Twenty20 clash

Feb 4 (CI) Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga has been included in the squad for the Twenty20 international against India after an absence of nearly a year due to a knee injury. The selectors, however, have rested important players from the match on February 10, including captain Mahela Jayawardene, vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara and bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara. more..

Lankan food fiesta to mark I-Day

Feb 4 (GT) GULF Paradise Hotel, in association with the Sri Lanka Embassy, is organising a Sri Lankan Food Festival from February 5-14. ‘Flavours from Sri Lanka’ is part of the festivities marking the 61st National Day of the island state. The promotion offers the finest experience of the Sri Lankan dishes that will be prepared by chefs flying in especially from Trans Asia Hotel in Colombo. more..

Tigers arming civilians: Army

Feb 4 (Hindu) Even as it continued an all-out offensive to hunt down the LTTE cadres in their last two settlements in Mullaithivu district, the Sri Lankan military on Tuesday accused the Tigers of ‘arming civilians’ to fight the forces. There are reports of yet another shell attack targeting the operation theatre of Puddikkudiyiruppu hospital. The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed the attack. There is no word yet on casualties. more..

How Sri Lanka tamed its Tigers

Feb 4 (Time) The Sri Lankan army has Asia's longest-running insurgency on the ropes: The separatist LTTE movement, long been considered one of the world's most fearsome guerrilla armies, lost its last stronghold at Mullaittivu on Jan. 25, and government officials are now confident of a decisive victory in the civil war that has claimed some 70,000 lives and displaced over a million people since 1983. more..

'Hope better sense prevails on LTTE'

Feb 4 (Hindu) Independent observers here are of the view that “safe zone” is a misnomer for two reasons. Firstly, there is no agreement between the forces and the Tigers on the “no fire” areas. Secondly, the citizens caught in the crossfire have little knowledge about the zones. “It is a no-win situation for the ordinary citizens stranded in the fast-shrinking Tiger-held territory. We only hope and pray that better sense prevails and the Tigers keep out of the areas where the majority of the innocent citizens are stuck,” more..

Editorial: Looking forward to full devolution

Feb 4 (Hindu) Between them, the DMK government in Tamil Nadu and the United Progressive Alliance at the Centre have shown impressive political statesmanship and footwork in responding to the challenge of digesting and responding soberly to what is happening in Sri Lanka. It is now clear that the conventional military game is up for the LTTE. It is boxed in a narrow territory of 210 square km, with only two small settlements and an estima ted 120,000 vulnerable civilians under its control. more..

DMK calls for permanent ceasefire

Feb 4 (Hindu) The Centre should take immediate steps to ensure full devolution of powers to North and East Sri Lanka – where Tamils constitute a majority – within a specified time frame, and the Sri Lankan government should give full cooperation for this move, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam demanded on Tuesday. The DMK also called for a permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka. A resolution adopted at the party’s headquarters executive committee meeting here described this as the “first step” towards peace in Sri Lanka. more..

What will 'peace' bring to Sri Lanka?

Feb 4 (Telegraph) THE sadness in Sri Lanka seems to deepen every day, even as Sri Lankan forces prepare to celebrate the impending extinction of the Tamil Tigers as a military force. The inevitability of defeat seems implicitly recognized in the call by the Tokyo quartet - US, EU, Japan and Norway - for the Tigers to stop fighting in order to minimize the already dreadful situation for non-combatants in northeast Sri Lanka. more..

Carrying white man's burden for 61 years

Feb 4 (AT) Today is Sri Lanka's first Independence Commemoration Day in almost three decades that people have had the freedom to raise the Lion flag in all parts of the island. It also marks the final stage of the nation's second independence struggle. It is the campaign to defend the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity against a home-grown enemy aided and abetted by dubious foreign elements – some masquerading as friendly powers. more..

Dr. Swamy exposes the doublespeak of DMK on the Sri Lankan issue

Feb 4 (AT) The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam led by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has to stop playing double on the Sri Lanka Issue urged Janata Party Leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy. He added that while the party passed a resolution seeking devolution of constitutional power in Sri Lanka without any reference to ceasefire, Ms. Kanimozhi immediately issued a statement that there should be an immediate ceasefire. more..

'Support Centre’s stand on Sri Lankan issue'

Feb 4 (Hindu) Instead of accusing India of betraying the Tamils in Sri Lanka, political parties and other outfits, which have called for a bandh in Tamil Nadu tomorrow, should come forward to strengthen the hands of the Union government through the State for seeking a permanent political solution to the vexatious ethnic issue, said Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K. V. Thangkabalu. more..

India on alert against Tamil Tiger attacks

Feb 4 (MI) Rising anti-India anger on websites linked to the Tamil Tigers is causing concern in New Delhi, which has alerted Tamil Nadu and other Indian states to increase vigilance against a terror threat from the Sri Lanka-based separatist group. It may also put a crimp in the campaign outings of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, and her son and political heir, Rahul. India is bracing itself for nationwide polls tipped to begin in April. more..

Celebrating independence in a poisoned paradise

Feb 4 (ML) As the government hurls itself into the final stages of a war that will have scarred the people of this country as never before, President Mahinda Rajapakse perhaps realises that in the eyes of the world he has now gone too far. As news of civilian casualties and horrific deaths reached the world, aid agencies were appalled as the Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK) Hospital in Mullaitivu came under shell attack on at least three occasions more..

Colombo shifts to shutdown mode

Feb 4 (ML) Shutting down many parts of Colombo over the past couple of days in view of the 61st Independence Day celebration rehearsals at the Galle Face Green, has caused immense inconvenience to the people. The business community especially has had to suffer innumerable difficulties owing to the closure of roads in the city. Among those most affected have been the train travellers. more..

Over 70% turnout at postal voting

Feb 4 (ML) More than 70% turnout has been recorded during the postal voting during the last two days, election monitors said. Chairman, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Kingsley Rodrigo told The Morning Leader that the postal voting in the North Western and Central Provinces concluded without any problems. "The turnover for the voting was very good. More than 70% had cast their votes," Rodrigo said. more..

Media Freedom In Sri Lanka releases damning report

Feb 4 (ML) Media Freedom In Sri Lanka has released a damning monthly report on the island’s horrendous record of media freedom violations in January including the murder of The Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge and dozens of other serious violations. The report recorded three significant incidents overshadowing others — the arson attack on MBC/ MTV stations, the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge in close proximity to a high security zone and the attack on Rivira Editor Upali Tennakoon. more..

How Tamils are being pushed further and further

Feb 4 (BL) Today marks Sri Lanka’s 61st year of Independence. It is also the 48th anniversary of the Day of Mourning observed by the Tamils of the North and East. The following paragraph culled from my biography of Appapillai Amirthalingam, a former leader of the TULF, The Murder of a Moderate, summarises the events that took place on February 4, 1961. Independence Day, February 4, was observed as a day of mourning throughout the Northern and Eastern Provinces. more..

Sri Lanka renews hope

Feb 4 (BL) “Independence is loyalty to one’s best self and principles, and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes” said author Mark Twain. As Sri Lanka stands at the threshold of a new chapter in its history, it would be prudent to ponder these words and dig deep within the collective conscience of our nation to understand what independence really means to the multitude. more..

Make ‘Independence’ meaningful to ‘all’ citizens

Feb 4 (BL) Sri Lanka’s 61st anniversary of Independence is celebrated today at a time when remarkable gains have been made on the military front. After nearly three decades, the country seems to be finally under the writ of one central authority. Since the inception of ethnic violence, many have sacrificed life and limb to achieve this feat. It could be safely said that this year marks the defeat of separatism in the country at least for another generation. more..

Togetherness calls for tolerance

Feb 4 (BL) As Sri Lanka celebrates 61 years since gaining independence from the British, The Bottom Line approached a cross section of the minorities to see what they feel about ‘independence’ and what it truly signifies to the masses. Ceylon gained independence from their colonial conquerors in 1947 but things have been far from peaceful in this island nation since the ethnic conflict began in 1983. And today, Sri Lanka may be on the brink of peace after more..

US-led warning for Sri Lanka's Tigers to surrender

Feb 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka's key international backers led by the United States Tuesday warned the island's cornered Tamil Tiger rebels to surrender and avoid a bloodbath as they were running out of time. The US, European Union, Japan and Norway told the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to negotiate terms of a surrender with the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse, who has vowed to crush them. more..

Investors’ paradise called Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (AN) HOME to some of the most unique cultural icons, abundant with it’s own specific natural resources, a spectacular landscape of natural beauty and a very fast evolving and adapting economy with equally unique work force, Sri Lanka could be described in many ways an enigmatic fusion of cultural attraction that forever retains it’s identity and modern day advancements that never keeps slowing down. more..

A huge isle of hidden treasures

Feb 4 (AN) One of the greatest things about Sri Lanka, for the traveler, is the variety of places to visit. From the urban bustle of Colombo, to the beautiful mountains in the Central Hills, to the amazing beaches and islands of the sun-kissed coastline, Sri Lanka offers the visitor a wide range of alternatives when choosing a vacation. Most visitors usually want to experience Colombo before heading out of the city. more..

Major player in the world of tea

Feb 4 (AN) Ceylon Tea comes from the Republic of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, a green and pleasantly sunny island in the tropics, just 4 degrees north of the Equator, and 35 km off the southeastern tip of India. It is a moderately-sized island of 65,610 km; ascending from sea level to approx. 2,400 meters and has been blessed by nature resulting in a diverse array of climates and scenery. more..

Sri Lankan rebel leader's fate a mystery

Feb 4 (AP) At the height of his power, the Tamil commander ran a shadow state. His guerrilla force, backed by artillery, a navy and a tiny air force, reportedly took in hundreds of millions from donations and smuggling. Now he is hiding in a jungle. Or he has fled to Malaysia. Or maybe he is dead. With his rebel separatist group on the brink of defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan military, Velupillai Prabhakaran's fate remains a mystery. more..

A gem of an island

Feb 4 (AN) The gems of Sri Lanka are woven into history. The Mahavansa, the ancient chronicle of Sri Lanka, too records the existence of gems and jewelry. Indeed, Gautam Buddha is said to have had to come to Sri Lanka from India to settle a dispute between two kings, Chulodara and Mahodara, over a throne of gems. King Solomon is reported to have had gems brought from this island to win the heart of beautiful queens. more..

Kingdom-Lanka ties expand into new dimensions

Feb 4 (AN) SAUDI-Lankan relations have expanded into new dimensions for the benefit of the two countries, observed Abdul Ageed Mohamed Marleen, the island’s ambassador to the Kingdom, on the eve of Sri Lanka’s 61st Independence Day. Marleen, who came to the Kingdom in April 2008, said that he is happy that he was able not only to open new areas of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka, but also to introduce several measures for the welfare of Sri Lankans living in the Kingdom more..

Independence and Sovereignty - a time of renewal

Feb 4 (PISL) The 4th of February this year will be a very special occasion. It will mark the first occasion in about two decades when Sri Lankan sovereignty will extend over practically the whole country. From 1987, when the Tigers rejected the Indo-Lankan Accord and began their battle against the Indian army, then acting in concert with the Sri Lankan government, they held sway over a wide swathe of territory. more..

Karunanidhi sets up Forum for Sri Lankan Tamils' welfare

Feb 4 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Tuesday announced formation of the Forum for Welfare and Rights of Lankan Tamils (FWRLT) to demand 'power devolution in Sri Lanka for ensuring an honourable existence of the ethnic minority there'. The FWRLT comprises several parties, including the ruling DMK's main ally the Congress. Karunanidhi told reporters that the central government's actions in the matter were 'not satisfactory'. more..

Disregard for civilian safety appalling

Feb 4 (HRW) A Sri Lankan government statement that it is not responsible for the safety of civilians who remain in areas controlled by the separatist LTTE indicates an appalling disregard for the well-being of the civilian population and is contrary to international law, Human Rights Watch said today. There are continuing reports of high civilian casualties in the fighting between government forces and the LTTE in the Mullaittivu district of the northern Vanni area. more..

LTTE chief Prabhakaran lived in the lap of luxury

Feb 4 (TOI) LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran lived in the lap of luxury, even as his guerrilla force fought pitched battles with the Sri Lankan army. A look at the underground bunker which the advancing Lankan army discovered in Mullaitivu tells you how. A fully air-conditioned structure with four furnished compartments, the bunker had surveillance cameras, an oxygen plant, an insulin container and a deep-freezer. more..

President’s Message for the 61st Independence Day

Feb 4 (GDI) It is with an immense sense of pride that I send this message to mark the 61st National Day celebrations of Sri Lanka. This pride comes from the many achievements toward the strengthening of our freedom gained in recent months since we launched a decisive humanitarian operation to free our motherland from the clutches of terror. more..

Sri Lankan delegation to visit this month

Feb 4 (JT) A Sri Lankan economic delegation is expected to arrive in Jordan this month to sign agreements in various fields, according to Ambassador Andrayas Mohottala. “By bringing new products into the two markets, we expect commercial exchange to increase between Jordan and Sri Lanka,” Mohottala told The Jordan Times. Last November, a Sri Lankan trade delegation visited Jordan on a business promotion mission more..

Why am I setting myself on fire over the Eelam Tamil issue?

Feb 4 (TC) At a time when you are busy getting to work, I am pained that I have to meet you in this way. But there is no other way. My name is Muttukumar. I am a journalist. At present I am working in a newspaper in Chennai. Like you, I too have daily read the news reports and the internet of the daily killings of our fellow Tamils in Eelam. Like you I am also one of the countless Tamils who have been unable to eat or sleep. more..

Britain, U.S. urge ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (Reuters) The United States and Britain urged a temporary ceasefire in Sri Lanka to evacuate casualties and allow relief into the war zone as the Island nation celebrates independence from colonial ruler Britain on Wednesday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was due to preside at a parade of military might in the capital on Wednesday morning that will include fighter jets flying overhead and attack boats sailing by to mark the 61st independence anniversary. more..

Archbishp's Independence day message

Feb 4 (GDI) The anniversary of our National Independence is being celebrated at a time when we have reached a decisive moment in our history. While we claim victory over the militancy of the separatist LTTE there is the incessant plea of the moderate segments of the population that victory in battle is not victory in war. Victory in war has to be achieved through a political solution that is acceptable to the larger majority of our people on both sides of the divide. more..

Independence Day Message from Swami Sarvarupananda ji

Feb 4 (GDI) Today, 61st year subsequent to the achievement of Independence is a decisive year for the entire nation of Sri Lanka. We live in an era which immensely requires peace and harmony in a period which has reached escalation of dissension and disharmony among ethnic groups who had once lived in peace. Such disharmony which has severely affected the development process of our country for a period of 61 years has focused extremely adverse impacts on our progress. more..

Independence day message from All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama

Feb 4 (GDI) On this occasion of celebrating the 61th independence day of Sri Lanka, we honor those struggled to achieve this victory and pray Almighty Allah for a brighter future of united Sri Lankans respecting the solidarity of every community. It is remarkable that a significant group of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians united together as Sri Lankan to achieve such victory. All patriotic politicians, diplomatic, theologians and scholars of various professions should join together and more..

'LTTE lost DMK sympathy long ago'

Feb 4 (EB) DMK president and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Tuesday said the LTTE had lost the sympathies of the party way back in 1987 itself as its chief V Prabhakaran was planning to adopt a dictatorial form of government in Tamil Eelam for which they were fighting. The DMK chief made this remark while speaking at the party’s executive committee meeting here. more..

Independence Day Message from Malwathu Chapter

Feb 4 (GDI) Sri Lanka which existed as an independent country from the periods of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa which bestowed upon our country unique heritages of prosperity and culture claiming a proud history throughout a long period had been under the domination of Portuguese, Dutch and British for a period of 443 years since 1505 A.D. During this epoch we were engaged in numerous struggles for the independence of our motherland as a nation. more..

Sri Lanka’s independence anniversary: the emergence of a military/police state

Feb 4 (wsws) Open threats by Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse this week against foreign journalists and diplomats in Colombo are another chilling reminder of the abuse of basic democratic rights on the island. Under the guise of fighting a "war on terror", the regime is rapidly establishing the basis for a military/police state directed above all against the working class. more..

Independence Day message of the JVP

Feb 4 (LT) The 61st Independence Day celebration of the Sri Lanka Democratic Socialist Republic falls today (4th). February 4th is celebrated as the day Sri Lanka, which was enslaved by the Portuguese, the Dutch and British imperialism for more than four centuries, got independence and commenced its own administration. The value of freedom could be gauged only when it is compared with slavery. more..