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The truth here is one-sided

Feb 6 (Tehelka) Sri Lanka is among the most dangerous places in the world for a journalist. During the last three years, the media has come under unprecedented pressure. Journalists have been killed, abducted, assaulted, arrested and labelled as traitors. Media institutions were forced to close down, set on fire, and branded anti-national. Since 2006, 18 journalists and media workers have been killed. The majority of journalists killed had been Jaffna-based Tamils. more..

The crisis in Sri Lanka: Canada's role

Feb 6 (NP) As Sri Lankan military forces try to overrun the last remaining strongholds of the LTTE rebel group (better known as the Tamil Tigers), how should Canada respond? Canada once had a low-profile relationship with Sri Lanka. But that changed after the country's 1983 pogrom, when thousands of Tamils and Muslims were killed. More than 250,000 Sri Lankan Tamils have come to Canada as refugees since then, making Canada home to the largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the world. more..

Karunanidhi regrets 'disunity' on Lankan Tamils issue

Feb 6 (PTI) Regretting the 'disunity' among political parties on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Friday appealed to all parties to speak in one voice and adopt a united stand on the subject. Writing in the DMK's mouthpiece 'Murasoli', Karunanidhi said a solution to the issue was elusive because of infighting among Tamil groups in the island republic. more..

Sri Lanka army 'closes rebels in'

Feb 6 (BBC) The Sri Lankan army is closing in on remaining Tamil Tiger positions, confining them to an area of about 200 sq km, officials say. Troops are near Puthukudiyiruppu village, which officials describe as the last major rebel position. State media say 2,500 civilians managed to flee the conflict zone recently. The Red Cross, which says scores of civilians have died in the fighting, reported on Friday that its Colombo offices had been stoned by protesters. more..

Sri Lanka troops seize more Tiger bases

Feb 6 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops on Friday captured more Tamil Tiger bases, including a camp of the rebel leader's security unit, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon raised fresh concerns for civilians trapped in the war zone. With government forces pressing forward, more than 2,500 civilians managed to flee the small area of jungle still under rebel control, state radio said, adding that another 3,000 were "waiting to come over." more..

Sri Lanka promises it will not endanger civilians

Feb 6 (AP) President promised to safeguard civilians caught in the war between government and Tamil rebel forces as the U.N. warned Friday that the entire conflict zone is facing a massive food crisis. The humanitarian crisis was building as the military continued its relentless offensive, which has almost routed the Tamil Tigers, virtually ending their 25-year war for a separate Tamil nation in this Sinhalese-majority country. more..

Can’t press Lanka beyond a point: PC

Feb 7 (EB) Sri Lanka has rejected the international community’s call for a truce and the opening of peace talks with the LTTE. Sri Lankan Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Island daily on Thursday that “nothing could be as ridiculous as this call.” Nothing short of an “unconditional surrender” could bring an end to the Sri Lankan army’s offensive in the Wanni region of north-eastern Sri Lanka, he said. more..

Editorial: Be magnanimous in victory

Feb 7 (AN) While it is easy to understand why the Sri Lankan government is determined to capitalize on its military advantage and crush the surrounded rebel Tamil Tigers unless they surrender unconditionally, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake is wrong. In the eyes of the international community, he runs the risk of bearing a very heavy burden of blame for needless slaughter among the 120,000 civilians trapped with the remaining Tigers. more..

Sri Lanka bent upon eradicating Tamilians, says survey

Feb 7 (IANS) A premier educational institution Friday said that 86 percent of the people surveyed in Tamil Nadu feel that the Sri Lankan government was bent upon eradicating the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka by using the alibi of fighting terrorists. The Loyola College conducted the opinion poll and results were announced Friday by an official. Ninety percent of those surveyed said that an immediate ceasefire and start of a peaceful political process are necessary. more..

India, Lanka release detained fishermen

Feb 7 (IANS) Indian and Sri Lankan authorities today handed over to each other more than 20 fishermen who had strayed into their waters, the police said. While 22 Indian fishermen were handed over to coast guard officials earlier in the day, 21 liberated Sri Lankan fishermen are on their way home, police sources added. The fishermen had strayed into the other nation's maritime boundaries late last month and had been detained for violating immigration rules. more..

Sri Lanka rupee at new life low; shares barely up

Feb 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee hit a new all-time closing low on Friday due to importer demand for dollars, while shares rose 0.38 percent from a two-week closing low on bargain-hunting. The rupee hit its new life closing low of 114.10/114.20 per dollar, from Thursday's 114.05/114.15 due to importer demand for dollars, currency dealers said. "The rupee is at a lifetime low as a state bank is covering an import bill," more..

Editorial: No support for Tigers

Feb 7 (BS) Tamil Nadu politicians have begun speaking up on the plight of civilians caught in the crossfire between the Sri Lankan army and the guerrillas of the LTTE; they should be careful and make a clear distinction between non-combatant civilians who need to be taken out of the danger zone where they are trapped (and for which a time window has been agreed upon), and “tigers” who should be eliminated. more..

Britain says Sri Lanka hospital attack 'unacceptable'

Feb 7 (IANS) Britain has said the recent repeated bombing of a civilian hospital in Sri Lanka is 'unacceptable' and called for an investigation into it. 'To put it bluntly, the situation in Sri Lanka is nothing short of shocking,' Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Rammell told the British parliament Thursday. Rammell said that a hospital that had been declared a no-fire zone was shelled three times Sunday and further shelling has taken place this week, more..

250,000 people in war zone need food

Feb 7 (WFP) Around 250,000 people are in need of food assistance in the northern Vanni region of Sri Lanka due to conflict and crop failure caused by flooding. People have been forced to flee their homes in the region since the upsurge in conflict between Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tiger rebel movement. Livelihoods have been almost completely lost, exacerbating the general food insecurity, and traditional coping mechanisms have been exhausted. more..

Over 3,000 civilians cross to govt areas

Feb 7 (PTI) More than 3,000 civilians crossed the frontlines to the government-designated safe zones as Sri Lankan troops captured the personal security headquarters of Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran at Visuamadukulam in the island's north today in their final push against the beleaguered LTTE. Officials said that 600 people came to the army-controlled region today, taking the total number of civilians who had moved to the government areas to over 3000 in the last few weeks more..

BJP demands India's intervention in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (PTI) The BJP on Friday demanded that India intervene and halt the killings of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka and said only a political solution will bring an end to the ethnic conflict in the island nation. The party also said India should ensure the safety and security of Tamils civilians who are trapped in the crossfire between Sri Lankan Army and LTTE. "The plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka is miserable and an immediate intervention from India is needed to halt the killings of Tamil civilians," more..

Red Cross office attacked in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (AFP) A stone-throwing mob attacked the offices of the Red Cross in Colombo on Friday as the government accused the agency of inciting panic over civilian deaths from fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels. Keheliya Rambukwella said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had placed an order for 35,000 body bags to be used in the northeast where Tiger rebels have been cornered by the military. "There is no need for 35,000 body bags or for that matter 3,500," more..

What next as Sri Lanka strives to end war?

Feb 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's quarter-century war is racing toward an end as the military closes in on the last patch of land the separatist Tamil Tigers control. In the first six weeks of this year, soldiers have racked up a string of victories and taken all the major towns the LTTE had controlled. When hostilities reignited in 2006, the rebels held 15,000 square km (5,792 sq miles). Now, the military says that space is 175 square km (67 sq mile) of jungle with a tiny bit of coast more..

Sri Lanka says international campaign underway to tarnish its image

Feb 7 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said Friday that an international effort is underway to tarnish Sri Lanka's image, but its campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels will not be stopped. Keheliya Rambukwella, the government's defense spokesman and minister of Foreign Employment told reporters that several organizations who are part of this sinister campaign have been identified. more..

Demise of the Opposition and Sinhala future in nation building

Feb 7 (TC) What should eventually happen, did happen. The UNP finally curled up meekly to make an official statement on 27th January which said, "The UNP salutes the Sri Lankan armed forces for its military victories in the North" adding that the UNP acknowledges it was "the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers who were responsible for overseeing the conduct of these military operations". more..

Warmongering Sinhala chauvinism is opium of the masses in Lanka

Feb 7 (TC) I am thankful to Tissa and other organizers for making this event a reality. As a present day leader of the Sama Samajist movement which made a special contribution to the independence struggle, I have neither shame nor fear to step into this stage to speak of freedom. At this time there is a celebration in Colombo, a shameful event where Lion flag is hoisted to cover up genocidal killings, abductions, corruptions, fraud and ransom taking. more..

ICRC denies 'causing panic'

Feb 7 (BBC) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has denied accusations by the Sri Lanka government of inciting panic over the military assault on Tamil Tiger rebels in the north. Defence spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said the Red Cross had ordered thirty-five-thousand body bags for the battle zone, in order to create what he called a fear psychosis among the international community. more..

'Some LTTE militants may try to seek asylum in Europe'

Feb 7 (AT) The European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday passed an urgent resolution on the "Situation in Sri Lanka" with the support of all major political groups, with the exception of the socialists, calling on the LTTE to lay down their arms and participate in the democratic political process. Speaking on the resolution Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman MEP Charles Tannock cautioned that "Some LTTE militants may try to seek asylum in Europe". more..

'LTTE cannot stop civilians fleeing for their safety to Govt controlled areas'

Feb 7 (AT) Around 2500 civilians have already reached today to security forces controlled area though the LTTE limited the civilian movement cutting off all possible escaping routes available. "Another 3,000 are said to be waiting to come over today," Security sources told Asian Tribune. Hundreds of Tamil civilians trapped as human shield, have begun to flee from areas controlled by Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka’s war zone and sought shelter with the security forces. more..

Kadapatha will be launched in Anuradhapura, on the 13th Feb

Feb 7 (AT) Kadapatha (The Looking Glass-Sixty Years of Independence), a collection of articles from the Sunday Lankadeepa weekly column of the same name written by Milinda Moragoda and edited by veteran Editor Mr. Edmond Ranasinghe, will be launched in Anuradhapura, on Friday, the 13th February 2009. The first copies of the book will be handed over to members of the Maha Sangha by Mr. Edmond Ranasinghe more..

Sri Lanka independence celebrations at UNESCO in Paris

Feb 7 (AT) A mega musical show held to commemorate the 61st independence anniversary attracted more than 1000 Sinhalese, Tamils and Malays living in France and foreign ambassadors and senior officials. The UNESCO Salle 1, which is the most prestigious auditorium in Paris was packed to its 1350-seat capacity when the Embassy of Sri Lanka in France celebrated the anniversary of independence on February 3. more..

India "will" & "will not" interfere in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (AT) Addressing a public rally in 1927 Ceylon, Mahatma Gandhi referred to Sri Lanka as "India's daughter state", years later Jawarhalal Nehru desired to make Sri Lanka a "Protectorate" of India and then Sri Lanka's fate became sealed no sooner his daughter Indira Gandhi ascended office and instilled the Indira Doctrine leaving Sri Lanka a war-ravaged nation. Her son Rajiv, continued the doctrine but had his life cut short by the very monster created by his mother and more..

Sri Lanka media caught in the crossfire

Tamil People Crushed Between Rebels, Military

Feb 7 (HC) The 35-year Sri Lankan civil war has reached a critical point, with the government taking control of all major towns in its harsh war against the Tamil Tigers, who demand a separate state. The Sri Lankan government has achieved these massive territorial gains by not caring about the welfare of Tamil civilians in battle zones. A Jan. 29 news release from the International Committee of the Red Cross stated: more..

Power of sovereignty, standards of life and education

Feb 7 (GV) In 1948, Sri Lanka attained independence from colonial domination of the British. Sixty years later, Sri Lankans are on the verge of declaring another form of Independence- defeating terrorism and assuring territorial integrity of the country - for territory is an important aspect of Independence. National address of the President at the 61st Independence Day celebrations, focused on several crucial issues such as human security, social justice and dignity of the citizen. more..

Families hurt by Sri Lanka war view Army offensive with Hope

Feb 7 (WP) When Margaret Nanayakkara heard Friday that the Sri Lankan military had seized the headquarters of a rebel detention camp, she sent a prayer of thanks to Buddha. Her son, an army major, had been captured by rebels 15 years ago when his tank was ambushed. "My heart is saying he's still alive," said the 74-year-old mother of three, who wore a brown, swirl-print house dress and her gray hair in a braided bun. more..

Bishops to discuss killings in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (Hindu) The Tamil Nadu Catholic Bishops’ Forum to meet in Chennai on February 7 and 8 to discuss the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue “in the wake of continuing attack on them and the unabated military assistance being extended by the Indian Government,” is likely to come out with “unwavering resolutions against the killings and those who support the move”. R.C. Bishop of Palayamkottai Diocese Most Rev. A. Jude Paulraj said the Sri Lankan Tamils, more..

Civilian flow continuing, says Army

Feb 7 (Hindu) Even as the Sri Lankan military continued to hunt down LTTE cadre in their remaining hideouts in Mullathivu district, a group of miscreants on Friday attacked the main office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) here. The attack came within hours of erstwhile leader of JVP Wimal Weerawansa being quoted by local media as saying ICRC station chief in Colombo, Paul Castella, should be deported for making exaggerated statements on the plight of the civilians in the war zone. more..

One more Sri Lankan boat found abandoned near Rameswaram

Feb 7 (Hindu) One more Sri Lankan fibreglass boat was found abandoned at a landing point near Rameswaram on Friday. Security agencies suspect that it could have come ashore in the early hours. Frequent arrival of Sri Lankan boats to the coast off Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi has raised concern among security agencies. On January 24, a Sri Lankan national escaped from the island after landing in a fibreglass boat at Serankottai near Rameswaram. more..

Immortalizing the spirit of Rajani Thiranagama; a gift to humanity

Feb 7 (LG) NO MORE TEARS, SISTER reflects Sri Lanka’s continuing nightmare and the struggle for deliverance says young Udara Soysa of Oglethorpe University in the US who interviewed the producer of this soul-tearing, soul-searching, soul ennobling documentary produced by Helene Klodawsky whose mother survived the Auschwitz horror. Udara: What inspired you to do this film? more..

Arrested Sri Lankan national has no LTTE connection, say police

Feb 7 (Hindu) Sri Lankan national, Tamileeswaran (24), who was detained the previous night on suspicions of being an operative of LTTE at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad, here, has no connection to that outfit, police clarified on Friday. A case was registered against him, however, on charge of fraudulently possessing passport with a fictitious name claiming as Indian and residing in India beyond the permitted period. more..

Sri Lankans ponder life after wartime

Feb 7 (VoA) With the 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka apparently coming to an end, many in this Indian Ocean island are starting to ponder what's next. In the busy seaside capital of Colombo, the local newspapers are focused on the latest news from the front lines. But more and more the headlines are about plans for reconstruction and development projects in Sri Lanka. But still the tourists who once filled the country's five-star hotels, sushi restaurants and high-end shops for jewelry and clothes are no longer coming. more..

Letter From Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (Nation) The port city of Mullaitivu, the last bastion of the LTTE, has fallen. The army has captured the rebel chief Prabhakaran's armored bunker and are looking to rout the LTTE. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's gamble to end the country's decades-old civil war through a military show of strength seems to be paying off. On January 2, after a long siege, the Sri Lankan Army captured the rebel capital of Kilinochchi--where the LTTE had established courts, tax and administrative offices, and even a bank. more..

Desire for an identity cannot be suppressed

Feb 7 (Gulf) In a way, what has happened to the LTTE in Sri Lanka is similar to what has happened to the Hurriyat in Kashmir. Both of them, "freedom fighters", have ceased to be relevant in their respective places. It does not mean that the alienation of people they represent, either the Tamils in Sri Lanka or the Kashmiris in India, has ended. But it does mean that the fight to project their stance has not met with success. more..

'Human rights are basic to good governance'

Feb 7 (LG) I don’t think even the TNA takes all these rhetoric seriously. My suggestion to them is to cut off their umbilical chord with LTTE quickly and work out a political package that is realistic in the present context and sell it to the APRC, President Rajapaksa and if need be India (I don’t know whether India would bet on them; they did that in 1987 and got burnt.) Otherwise they will be sidelined by Tamil people, said Col. R. Hariharan, more..

Swiss sledge tradition kept alive by Sri Lankan

Feb 7 (Reuters) When Kavithas Jeyabalan looks out at the snowy hills surrounding his workshop in the Swiss Alps, his work is dotted on the slopes all around him. The Sri Lankan-born carpenter followed in his father's footsteps in his choice of work, but his highly sought after handcrafted traditional Swiss sledges are a far cry from the kind of woodwork he might have done had he stayed in Sri Lanka. more..

12 count genocide indictment charges filed against top Sri Lanka officials

Feb 7 (PRN) A 12-count indictment on charges for genocide was filed with Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice yesterday, against Sri Lanka's president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Defense Secretary Sarath Fonseka. Bruce Fein, former deputy asst. attorney general during the Reagan Administration, filed the indictment yesterday under the U.S. Genocide Accountability Act of 2007 (GAA). more..

World’s largest wildlife and environmental film festival in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (LG) Nine environmental filmmakers from the UK will be coming to India and Sri Lanka in February as part of the British Council organised Wildscreen Festival. The festival will also see screenings of wildlife and environmental films from across the world, some of them winners of the Panda Awards, nicknamed the green OSCARS®. The Wildscreen Festival was founded by Sir Peter Scott in 1982 and has been organised every alternate year for the past 25 years. more..

LTTE ex-arms procurer 'KP' made new global Tiger chief

Feb 7 (DM) With the LTTE being cornered militarily in Northern Sri Lanka, there has been much speculation about the future of the movement that has been the determining force in Sri Lankan politics for more than two decades. Constant LTTE propaganda projected an impression that the Tigers possessed around 15,000 experienced, highly trained cadres, 10,000 new conscripts and about 25,000 civilians with military training. more..

As war in Sri Lanka ebbs, Tamils still feel mistreated

Feb 7 (MI) They can be seen on nearly every block in the centre of Sri Lanka's capital, the grim-faced young soldiers standing at their posts, checking faces, checking IDs, warily checking anything that seems out of the ordinary. And in nervous, war-weary Colombo, that means checking anyone who looks to be an ethnic Tamil. "We cannot move about the city, not at all, and it's only Tamils who are being stopped for checking," said a frustrated shopkeeper, more..

Dozens of civilians killed as army continues its onslaught

Feb 7 (wsws) Despite growing international outrage, Sri Lankan security forces have continued military operations in the northern district of Mullaithivu against the separatist LTTE. Indiscriminate artillery barrages and aerial bombing have resulted in the deaths of dozens more civilians over the past five days. Around quarter of a million people are trapped in the area without adequate food, shelter or medicine. more..

Galle literary festival; seeking freedom in prose

Feb 7 (LBO) "I happen to be in love with dictators," says Moses Isegawa, a Ugandan author whose life had been shaped by the likes of former dictator Idi Amin, and who eventually left his home country to write from abroad. "When they say 'Let there be rain', there is rain. When they say 'Let there be famine', there is famine, and 100,000 people will die." Though still only 46 years old, he worries constantly about old age, his prostate and the future or the lack thereof, of the 600-page novel. more..

Sri Lankans offered special fares by Emirates

Feb 7 (LBO) Emirates said it was offering special fares from Sri Lanka to eight destinations in North America, Europe and Asia following the fall in oil prices. The destinations covered by these special fares which are valid till March 31, 2009 are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Toronto, London, Milan and Singapore, an airline statement said. An Economy Class return ticket to Los Angeles or San Francisco will cost 125,000 rupees more..

The curious case of Ajantha Mendis

Feb 7 (TC) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is likely to win Oscars this year. In this film, Brad Pitt plays a man who was born old and becomes younger as he grows up. The Sri Lankan team is a real life version of Benjamin Button. The young players, such as Kandamby, Mathews and Mendis are unfit. The old, such as Murali, Dilshan and Jayasuriya are agile. The fourth ODI was the last straw. There were several dropped catches by the young brigade. more..

'LTTE should have sent out 'positive signal' to 48-hour ceasefire'

Feb 7 (LG) Despite various speculation to the contrary, I presume that President Rajapaksa is as keen as anyone else to usher in peace and prosperity, based on power-devolution that derives from a political solution. I guess he is alive to the political possibilities and even electoral necessities deriving from the Tamil constituency, said N. Sathiya Moorthy, Director, Chennai Chapter of the Observer research Foundation, more..