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Jayalath prevented going to Mannar

Feb 4 (LT) UNP Parliamentarian Jayalath Jayawardene and TNA Parliamentarians C. Chandranoru and Suresh Premachandran who were travelling to Mannar to meet Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph were not permitted to go beyond the Police check point at Medawachchiya and had been turned back. Dr. Jayawardene and other Parliamentarians had been detained at Medawachchiya police check point for more than 3 1/2 hours and had turned back as they were not granted permission to proceed further. more..

Independence Day celebrated in Chennai

Feb 4 (AT) The 61st anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence was celebrated on 4th February 2009 at the premises of the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai. The morning celebrations began with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp followed by the hoisting of the National Flag by the Mr. P. M. Amza, Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Southern India. Thereafter, religious dignitaries representing the Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian faiths offered prayers and more..

UNP Leader ’s Independence Day message

Feb 4 (LT) "Today, we face serious threats including the suppression of our right to life and the freedom of expression, our innocent citizens repressed by state terrorism and our entire society struggling under the burden of living. Today corruption, fraud and deceit have reached unimaginable heights. "The people are uncertain as to what exactly we are celebrating in the name of freedom. Meanwhile, others are rejoicing and freely celebrating the repression of our basic rights and more..

India as the Villain

Feb 4 (oI) In a desperate attempt to secure a pause in the fighting in the Vanni area of Northern Sri Lanka in order to be able to regroup, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been emulating the tactics of human shields or human buffers used by the Hizbollah in the Lebanon in 2006 and by the Hamas in Gaza recently to slow down the Israeli military strikes. more..

Nation celebrate Independence in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (LNP) Over 4,200 Security Forces personnel from the Tri Services, Police and Civil Security Force will display their military might as all arrangements have been finalised to celebrate the 61st Independence Day in a dignified and colourful manner under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Galle Face Green today at 8 am, organizers said yesterday. All arrangements have been made to celebrate this event giving top priority for the achievements of more..

Area under LTTE control shrinks to 200 square kilometres

Feb 4 (LNP) As the armed forces rehearsed in Colombo for Sri Lanka s 61st Independence Day celebration, the 58 Division yesterday notched another significant battlefield victory when it captured the seventh and the last LTTE airstrip north-east of Piramantharukulam in the Puthukudirippu area. The LTTE had abandoned the two-kilometre long airstrip situated west of Sundarapuram, Thirivilaru after a series of confrontations in the area, the army said. more..

LTTE Torture Camp found

Feb 4 (LNP) Troops uncovered today (04) a far-fetched colossal Torture Chamber cum an Open Prison of the LTTE in the west of Visvamadu area said SL Army. The Army further said, the entire LTTE Prison complex spreading over five acres in extent has been fenced with barbed wire rolls to a height of about 10 ft and includes tiny cells, made of concrete and cement with only thin openings for ventilation. more..

It is now or never! in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (LNP) Post-independence Sri Lanka has witnessed two internecine insurrections and a protracted armed conflict, which is nearing its end. Bloodletting is nothing new to this country its chequered history is replete with ravages of war as well as rebellions since time immemorial. Today, Sri Lanka stands bloodied yet victorious and resilient as ever. It has at long last, successfully vanquished, in all but name, a formidable enemy. more..

Moves to arrest Range Bandara: UNP

Feb 4 (SAMN) The UNP Tuesday charged there was a move to arrest Puttalam District Parliamentarian Palitha Range Bandara by fabricating evidence against him. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told a news conference yesterday that moves were afoot by a senior police officer in the North Western Province to arrest Range Bandara on false evidence. Kiriella said one of the charges that was made against Range Bandara was that he had harassed one of his security personnel. more..

'SL role model to tackle terrorism'

Feb 4 (SAMN) The biggest achievement of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime after the liberation of the North-East from terrorism was the change of attitude on Sri Lanka among the International Community, Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. Minister Alahapperuma said there was a time when foreign leaders, peace envoys and diplomats advised and even went to the extent of dictating terms to the Sri Lankan government as to how the ethnic problem could be resolved and peace talks should be conducted. more..

UNP calls for 17th Amendment

Feb 4 (SAMN) The UNP reiterated its call for an independent Police Commission and Constitutional Commission through the 17th Amendment, claiming that blatant violations of the law are taking place in the run up to the North Western and Central Province Elections. With claims that innocent supporters in the Central Province have been ordered to be arrested, and claims of threats made by the Police to UNP supporters, more..

Union wants Motor Comm. moved out

Feb 4 (SAMN) The Graduate Employee’s Union (GEU) has urged Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma to take disciplinary action against the Motor Traffic Commissioner for allegedly assaulting employees attached to the Motor Traffic Department or face serious consequences. The GEU in a letter addressed to the Transport Minister has said Commissioner, B. Wijeratne had allegedly assaulted many employees working in the department for their failure to perform duties over more..

Jaffna Church demands halt to attacks

Feb 4 (UCAN) The Church in Jaffna has appealed to the government and Tamil rebels to stop attacks on civilians and church centers following an aerial attack on a local Caritas office on Jan. 29. The Justice and Peace Commission of Jaffna diocese and the diocesan Human Development Centre (HUDEC), or Caritas Jaffna, sent a letter on Jan. 31 to the government and the Tamil rebels, with a copy sent to the United Nations. more..

Situation report (Feb 4) by SLA

Feb 4 (SLA) More Civilians Arrive in Army Controlled Area: A GROUP of seventy-seven civilians including twenty men, twenty-two women and thirty-five children belonging to twenty three families who escaped from the grip of Tiger terrorists reached the government controlled area of OMANTHAI Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, another group of civilians consisting of thirty males, thirty-two females and thirty children sought protection from the 58 Division troops operating in CHALAI west the same day (3). more..

58 Div overruns largest LTTE suicide bomber training facility

Feb 4 (MoD) Army troops of the 58 Division led by Brigadier Shavendra Silva have made another vital breakthrough in the Wanni battles, as troops seized control over what is identified to be the largest LTTE suicide bomber and advanced combat training facility following hours of fierce fighting that ensued with LTTE, yesterday. LTTE terrorists had fled suffering heavy damages during the intense gunfire exchanges also leaving a jeep, more..

Independence celebrations at Wanni: 58 Div declares open a 'peace park'

Feb 4 (MoD) The 58 Division troops celebrated the 61st Independence Day, during a charm event organized in the recently liberated Pooneryn Town, in Kilinochchi today. The event was organized simultaneously with the official Independence Day ceremony at Colombo. Brigadier Shavendra Silva, the 58 Division Commander hoisted the national flag at the event followed by a guard of honor and an inspection parade. more..

Cumulative effect of the LTTE’s terrorism

Feb 4 (DN) Being a Professor of English may not seem the best training available for heading a Peace Secretariat, but it has certainly proved invaluable in trying to understand the way people function. Unfortunately I have generally had to have recourse not to the more sophisticated literature I have taught, but rather to fairly simple works. Thus I could not initially understand why so many statements by those who purport to be well wishers of the Sri Lankan people so sedulously avoid mention of the LTTE. more..

APRC registering ‘good progress’ and ‘entering final stages’

Feb 4 (Island) There is no truth to current rumours that the APRC would be finalizing its proposals on February 16 and 17, APRC Chairman, Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana told the ‘The Island’. Rather, the factual position is that the APRC having made ‘good progress’ is entering its ‘final stages’. While no exact date could be specified for finalizing the proposals, ‘I could only say that it should not be too long’ before the deliberative process is concluded, he said. more..

Posters displaying UPFA candidates with President, illegal – UNP

Feb 4 (Island) The UNP has complained to the Elections Commissioner, that UPFA candidates contesting the Central and North Western Provincial Council Polls, were violating election laws by displaying in public, pictures of themselves along with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. A UNP spokesman said that according to law, the President cannot campaign for any political party and exhibiting his pictures along with UPFA candidates is illegal. more..

Independence messages

Feb 4 (DN) The possibility of commemoration of 61st anniversary of National Independence Day is a special event at a time we have reached the turning point of liberation of the motherland from the brutal terrorists. At this juncture the world is making enormous endeavour towards the total eradication of terrorism. It’s apparent that the anticipation of liberating the country from the brutal terrorists is being fulfilled gradually as more..

Sri Lanka vows to enhance ties with RI

Feb 4 (JP) Despite being caught up in a war at home, Sri Lanka has shown a strong commitment in recent years to build an enhanced and deepened partnership with Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia Maj. Gen. (ret) Nanda Mallawaarachchi said. "We have had excellent relations with Indonesia since our independence. Besides enhancing economic ties, we would like to have a strong relationship in defense, political and cultural fields," more..

Canada's responsibility to lead

Feb 4 (TS) He is known as "Nada," short for his full Tamil name, Nadarajah. He is a well-organized and hard-working man who never complains about the weather or the challenges posed by his carefully planned ventures. After starting a new career as a side-order cook in a downtown restaurant 15 years ago, he never looked back. It was hard work, toiling from dawn to late into the night in the kitchen. But today he owns a neighbourhood restaurant and more..

Group slams Tigers' Toronto 'terrorism'

Feb 4 (TS) Intimidation and extortion continues in Toronto's Sri Lankan community despite a government ban on fundraising for the Tamil Tigers, an impassioned group of Sri Lankan Canadians said yesterday. "There is homegrown terrorism here against people. The collection of money is still going on," said Hasaka Rathnamalala of the Sri Lankan United National Association of Canada, which called a news conference to counter claims of Tamil genocide made last week during a massive demonstration in Toronto. more..

Snow Tigers at the doorstep

Feb 4 (DM) It was Tuesday the 20th. Another cold winter day in Toronto, described sadly as the capital of Eelam by Lenin Benedict diehard member of the Democratic Tamil Cultural Association who has stood against the Tamil Tigers in Toronto for many years. Time was 10.30 and I was in my office and the staff members came running and told me that 20 LTTE members had pushed them and forcibly entered the Consulate and took the seats reserved for the public. more..

Tamils will enjoy equal rights: President

Feb 4 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an Independence Day message yesterday assured that the Tamils living in the North would be liberated and would be entitled to the rights and privileges provided by our Constitution. He asked all Sri Lankans to be united as a single nation in an undivided country, and exercise tolerance, trust and understanding -- the foundations on which our nation was founded and existed throughout its glorious history. more..

President urges diaspora to return

Feb 4 (LBO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged Sri Lankans who left the island because of war to return to help rebuild the nation and revive its economy, saying Tiger terrorism was about to be completely crushed. The Tamil Tiger separatist insurgency that had retarded the nation's economic development was on the verge of being defeated, Rajapaksa said in a speech broadcast live islandwide to mark the country's 61st independence celebrations Wednesday. more..

Tamils fearful for the future

Feb 4 (IPS) As Sri Lanka celebrate 61 years of independence from British colonial rule on Wednesday, the enthusiasm is understandably not shared by minority Tamils living under the military jackboot in the north of the country. "We just want to be left alone to get on with our lives," said a retired teacher, speaking with IPS over telephone from the northern, government-controlled town of Jaffna, reflecting the common views of Tamils living in the embattled region. more..

Tamils to march on Canada's parliament, stage candlelight vigils

Feb 4 (IANS) Tamils in Canada will march on the nation's parliament and take out candlelight vigils across cities to mark Sri Lanka's Independence Day Wednesday in protest against ``genocide'' in the island nation. Top political leaders are likely to address the rally being organized by the Canadian Tamil Congress and supported by 70-odd national bodies. There are over 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada, with most of them concentrated in the Toronto area. more..

Victory near in Sri Lanka's relentless war on rebels

Feb 4 (DPA) Fighter jets thundered off the coast of Sri Lanka and tanks fired their guns into the blue sky while an armada of warships sailed on the Indian Ocean. The military parade held Wednesday on the 61st anniversary of the island's independence harkened back to the Eastern Bloc displays of military hardware during the Cold War. The message sent by Sri Lanka's government was aimed at the separatist rebels of the LTTE as the once mighty guerilla group, appears to be close to defeat. more..

Partial strike in India Tamil Nadu state on Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (Reuters) Protesters called a strike on Wednesday in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu to protest Sri Lanka's military offensive against Tamil Tigers, but many people ignored the call. Buses, trains and planes were unaffected, while government offices, banks and most offices were open, as people disregarded the protest by a newly-formed coalition of pro-Tamil Tiger parties, the Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement. more..

Civilian death toll rises as fighting continues

Feb 4 (IRIN) As Sri Lankan government troops close in on the rebel Tamil Tigers, the UN has reported a rising number of civilian deaths in the northern battle zone. At least 52 people were killed in shelling in Suranthapuram village in the northeastern district of Mullaitivu when the area came under 16 hours of heavy shelling, including a cluster bomb attack, on 3 February, UN spokesman Gordon Weiss said, quoting UN staff stationed in the area. more..

UN: 52 civilians killed in a day in war

Feb 4 (AP) Unrelenting battles between Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan troops killed at least 52 civilians over the past day and cluster munitions struck Wednesday just outside a hospital that has been battered by artillery strikes, the U.N. said. After days of shelling sent patients fleeing the Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital, the Red Cross evacuated the staff and wounded Wednesday, effectively closing the last remaining medical facility in the war zone, more..

Sri Lanka predicts imminent victory over rebels

Feb 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president predicted Wednesday the total defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels within a few days, as the United Nations reported 52 civilians had been killed in a single shell attack. In a national day address, President Mahinda Rajapakse said the "shadows of terrorism have almost been wiped out" with the last remnants of the LTTE cornered in the jungle. "I am confident that the Tigers will be completely defeated in a few days," he said. more..

President's speech at the 61st Independence Day

Feb 4 (AT) "let us extend the cooperation of the entire nation to the people of the north and the east who suffered under the grip of separatist terror for many years, to once again step towards satisfaction and freedom in life. Let us come forward both in word and deed to bestow upon them the kindness, friendship and prosperity they deserve" – declared President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

LTTE plans to abduct Indian fishermen, boats

Feb 5 (EB) The LTTE is planning to abduct Tamil Nadu fishermen and hijack their boats to use them as shields against Sri Lankan forces, according to sources in the fisheries department. The department has directed all fishermen setting out to sea to carry their identity cards and registration books. The department sources said that the LTTE is also planning to use the Indian fishing boats for suicide attacks on Lankan Navy vessels. more..

Sydney traffic stops for Tamil protest

Feb 5 (SMH) Sydney's afternoon traffic was brought to a standstill as thousands of Tamil protesters marched through the CBD on Wednesday. The rally was held to coincide with Sri Lankan Independence Day and to put pressure on the Australian government to support a ceasefire in the civil war in the north of the Indian Ocean island nation. The United Nations says up to 250,000 civilians are caught in the remaining pockets of territory still held by the LTTE. more..

4 protest over Sri Lanka war

Feb 5 (ST) THERE were no placards, banners or chanting; and fortunately there were only four 'protestors' as five would have constituted an illegal assembly in the eyes of the law. The march on Wednesday morning from Little India to the British High Commission in Tanglin Road was to appeal to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to try to stop the conflict in Sri Lanka. Leading the group was Mr V. Thamizhmaraiyan. more..

"Year of English and IT – 2009" declared by the govt

Feb 5 (AT) The year 2009 is already declared as the "Year of English and IT" by the Sri Lanka government and the official launching of it would take place on February 13, 2009, at 11.00 a.m. at the Presidential Secretariat by the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse and Mr. Narayana Murthy, Chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd., India. The official launching will also be complemented by a media conference on the same day more..

Independence - is there any meaning to Sri Lanka?

Feb 5 (AT) When the average politician apparently does not know the true meaning of democracy, can anyone in Sri Lankan could have the inclination to find out the true meaning of Independence, because independence is part and parcel of democratic set up. When one speaks of democracy various people have different connotations as the worst dictator would proclaim that his government is the best democratic government. more..

'Sri Lankans' should know that they have a friend and partner in the United States'

Feb 5 (AT) Barack Obama, President of the United States of America in his Sri Lanka’s Independence Day message reminded that the people of Sri Lanka who celebrate National Day, should know that they have a friend and partner in the United States. In his message Barack Obama pointed out: "The United States values its enduring friendship with the people of Sri Lanka. I hope that the coming year will see advancement of our shared beliefs in democracy, liberty, pluralism, and respect for human rights. more..

'Prabhakaran has become irrelevant'

Feb 5 (AT) Velupillai Prabhakaran, the dreaded LTTE chief, has become irrelevant and there will be no more appeals for the surrender of Tamil Tigers, says Spokesman for Sri Lanka government. However Sri Lanka Government is now seriously contemplating to mount a rescue mission to secure the freedom of civilian Tamil hostages held as human shield by the Tamil Tigers. more..

Draining defeats rankle Jayawardene

Feb 5 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, has described Tuesday's 147-run defeat as among Sri Lanka's worst in recent times and called on his team to show character in the next two matches against India. India have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, only their second bilateral series win in Sri Lanka. "I've spoken to the guys. What has happened has happened and we just need to learn from it," Jayawardene said after the third one-dayer. more..

de Mel slams Sri Lanka's fielding, running

Feb 5 (CI) Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka's chief selector, has come out with a stinging indictment of the team's performance in the ODI series against India, which the hosts have lost 3-0 with two matches to go. de Mel criticised the fielding and the running between the wickets, and said the selectors would meet Sri Lanka Cricket's chief executive, Duleep Mendis, over these issues on Thursday. more..

Struggling Sri Lanka search for morale boost

Feb 5 (CI) How do lift your side less than two days after their worst-ever home defeat - that too for a dead rubber? That's what Mahela Jayawardene has to figure out ahead of the fourth one-dayer at the R Premadasa Stadium. Of particular concern is their bowling, which was toothless against the rampaging Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag on Tuesday. Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis were handled with ease and even the usually accurate Farveez Maharoof leaked runs. more..

Sri Lanka name two newcomers for Pakistan Tests

Feb 5 (CI) Sri Lanka have named two newcomers in their 15-man squad to tour Pakistan for two Tests, the first of which starts on February 22. Batsman Tharanga Paranavitana and fast bowler Suranga Lakmal force their way into the side, with opener Michael Vandort and fast bowler Dammika Prasad being cut from the squad that played two Tests in Bangladesh recently. Paranavitana, who captains Sinhalese Sports Club in Sri Lanka's first-class competition, more..

Sri Lanka looks at cutting 'day trading' costs

Feb 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka is looking at trimming transaction fees for 'day trading' in stocks to encourage more activity, a top official said, at a time when turnover at the Colombo Stock Exchange is low. Day trading refers to the practice of buying and selling securities within the same trading day, so that all positions are usually closed before the market closes. "We are looking to reduce the transaction costs for day traders," more..

Time has come for LTTE to end the war that it is not winning

Feb 5 (TC) The moment of truth appears to have arrived for the LTTE. Its fall could not have been more dramatic; a few days ago a few thousand people of Jaffna, on whose behalf the LTTE says it is fighting, wanted it to release the civilian population held as a human shield in a small area in the northeastern corner of the Northern Province. Far from saving the lives of over 2.5 lakh Tamils there as it claims to be seeking to do, the LTTE has put them in the line of fire that is directed against itself. more..

"War on Terror" has become license for state terror against minorities

Feb 5 (TC) The capture of Kilinochchi in late December and the Mullaitivu ‘command hub’ in late January by government forces marks another milestone in the unending saga of Tamil refugees. From mid-2007, the bulk of the LTTE was confined to the Vanni, fighting in the last block of land under its control. By now, this war running 30 years, during which the social fabric of the engaged societies has been shredded, has been shown to be futile. more..

Perception Correction

Feb 5 (OI) Angered by the reluctance of the international community, including the government of India, to exercise pressure on the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa to observe a ceasefire to protect the 150,000 Sri Lankan Tamils caught up in the conflict zone in the Wanni area, pro-LTTE web sites have kept up their attacks on the government of India and the Congress (I). These attacks are in the form of unsigned or pseudonymous articles and letters to the web site editors. more..

Tamils must sell something Sinhalese will be willing to buy at affordable price

Feb 5 (TC) On this 61st Independence Day the country and its peoples face a complex challenge. It is complex because it consist of seemingly contradictory aspects and calls for apparently antinomian qualities. This Independence Day needs to generate a tremendous emotional charge of popular support which can carry our Armed Forces like a tsunami over the last and toughest Tiger defenses, crushing all armed resistance and sustaining the military effort until the LTTE is destroyed as a fighting force. more..