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First Person: ‘internal enemy’ run the gauntlet in Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (Times) On May 22, 2008, Keith Noyahr was driving home from work. As he arrived he was dragged from his car, abducted and subjected to a six-hour assault. He was returned to his frantic family just before dawn. He was a journalist on an English-language newspaper, in which he had criticised the Government. He was also my Editor. For the three months in 2005 that I worked in Sri Lanka as an aspiring reporter recently out of university, he was my mentor: more..

Sri Lanka: Attacks highlight threat to media

Jan 9 (HRW) The killing of a prominent newspaper editor today and the bombing of a private television station on January 6, 2009, highlight the Sri Lankan government's failure to stop violence against the media, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said. The groups said that past investigations into attacks on journalists have led nowhere, and that the government should act quickly to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice. more..

LTTE kills Lt. Col. Nalinda Kumarasinghe in Jaffna

Jan 9 (TC) The LTTE currently withdrawing from the Jaffna peninsula delivered a big blow to the army on Thursday Jan 8th as a high – ranking army officer was killed. Lt. Col Nalinda Kumarasinghe RWP, RSP was killed in a booby trap explosion in the Puloppalai area of the peninsula. Lt. Col Kumarasinghe was the commanding officer of 5 Gemunu watch which is attached to the Air Mobile brigade that is a component of the 53 division. more..

Army takes Pallai, Soranpatru and Puthukkaadu Junction on A-9 Highway

Jan 9 (TC) Soldiers of 53 and 55 divisions stationed in the Jaffna peninsula gained some more territory on Thursday January 8th by moving into areas vacated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE that had fallen back from its earlier positions along the Kilaly – Muhamaalai – Nagarkovil axis and set up new positions north of the Puthukkaadu junction on the Jaffna – Kandy road known as A – 9 highway. more..

59 Takes over Vatraappalai Temple while 58 Seize Murasumoddai

Jan 9 (TC) The Sri Lankan armed forces made two significant gain on the Wanni northern mainland front on Thursday January 8th. In one move soldiers of the 58 division who entered Murasumoddai township on Wednesday progressed further and took over the main junction in Murasumoddai despite stiff tiger resistance. Thereafter the army began consolidating its grip on the town situated about five kilometres east of Paranthan junction along the Paranthan – Mullaitheevu road known as A – 35 Highway. more..

In Victory, Disgrace

Jan 9 (Times) The Sri Lankan Army appears to be on the brink of a military victory that would bring to an end one of Asia's longest and bloodiest civil wars. Yesterday government troops were advancing on Elephant Pass, the strategic former army base at the entry to Jaffna. Last week they captured Kilinochchi, the town in the far north of the island declared by Tamil Tigers rebels as their separatist capital. more..

A broad people’s front necessary to defeat present dictatorial mania – IUSF

Jan 9 (LT) A broad people’s movement that could defeat the present dictatorial mania and establish democracy is needed for the country today and Inter Universities’ Students Federation (IUSF) as the principal students’ movement in the country call upon all forces in this country to rally to achieve this states a statement issued by IUSF. The statement states the media repression has worsened so that journalists are shot and killed and media institutions are set on fire. more..

We’ll take legal action if attempt to sell Lanka Mineral Sands Corporation is not withdrawn!

Jan 9 (LT) Legal action would be taken if the government doesn’t stop measures taken to sell Lanka Mineral Sands Corporation within 14 days says President of Inter Companies’ Employees Union Wasanthe Samarasinghe. Speaking at a media meeting held in Hotel Nippon on the 7th Mr. Samarasinghe said a cabinet paper has been presented to sell the corporation before 3rd March and legal action would be taken before that. more..

When citizenship act was passed Thondaman & Chandrasekaran not in Parliament

Jan 9 (LT) When the citizenship act that grants citizenship to Tamil people who had been denied citizenship was passed in the Parliament the so-called leaders of Tamil people were not seen in the chambers says JVP Parliamentarian Ramalingam Chandrasekar. Mr. Chandrasekar said this yesterday (8th) participating at the second reading of the amended act of granting citizenship to people with Indian origin. more..

Reject devolution proposals that pave the way for Ealam! – JVP

Jan 9 (LT) The JVP in a statement says the government waited until the security forces drive away terrorists from Killinochchi to proscribe it and now what is needed is to reject devolution proposals. Full text of JVP statement: The government yesterday decided to declare tiger organization as a banned organization. The government took this decision not at the time it should have been taken but after a lapse of quite a long time. more..

To Your Excellency, the President; to take the nation’s victory forward

Jan 9 (LG) Sri Lanka, as a sovereign nation, has made significant strides forward in eliminating the LTTE terrorism from her own confines. Having being battered, ridiculed and reduced to the brink of being separated into two countries, the people’s force of this country has been brave and death-defying in its come back from the point of total kneel-down in the face of brutal terrorism, more..

Two more journalists are to be killed -says Ranil

Jan 9 (LeN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe charges that President Mahinda Rajapakse and his government is responsible for the assassination of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramathunga. He said that the killing was a part of a conspiracy to paralyze the democracy and the entire civilian life of the country. He says that this assassination signals that the government is eliminating all the opponents like clergy and layman politicians and trade unionists in the same way the LTTE did. more..

Lasantha was to expose a cabinet decision; Therefore he was killed, says Mangala

Jan 9 (LeN) “Lasantha had the files regarding the deals of Gotabhaya Rajapakse in his possession and he was to submit them to the courts. Lasantha was to expose a massive transaction of the Ministry of Defense and a decision taken at Wednesday (07) cabinet in his newspaper. Therefore, the decision to assassinate him was hurriedly implemented,” says SLFP People’s Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Protest against Gaza genocide today

Jan 9 (PSM) Muslims in Sri Lanka and Non-Muslims jointly are scheduled to protest against the Gaza genocide by Israel today after Jumm’a prayers, island wide. Political parties who met yesterday in Colombo have handed over a joint memorandum to the President and to the UN office in Colombo appealing for a ceasefire in Gaza. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) have also requested the Katheebs of all mosques to focus attention of the congregation on the Gaza issue in the Friday sermon. more..

Any organizations associated with LTTE too would be banned

Jan 9 (AT) Provisions regarding the banning of the LTTE pointed out that it also provides for the banning of other organizations that are connected with or which are representing or acting on behalf of the banned organization known as the LTTE. The provisions banning the LTTE clearly says,"in order to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the world, it is necessary for all sovereign states to criminalize terrorism and proscribe without exception organizations engaged in the perpetration of terrorism. more..

'Deny funds to anti-national NGOs'

Jan 9 (AT) The World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) has urged the Rajapaksa Government to deny foreign funds to any organization that has questioned the country's sovereignty and advocated power sharing with the LTTE. WAPS representatives made this appeal at a media briefing held at the Royal Asiatic Society office at Mahaweli Centre, Colombo on Wednesday – the same day the government banned the LTTE. more..

We will capture Kilinochchi – P.Nadesan

Jan 9 (AT) The political head of the LTTE has vowed to recapture Kilinochchi soon. He said that this was not the first time Kilinochchi has been captured. Kilinochchi has been in the possession of the LTTE and that of the Lankan army alternately in the past. P.Nadesan said that history repeats itself. When asked whether the loss of Kilinochchi a setback, P.Nadesan, the Head of the LTTE’s political Division said "We do not consider it a setback." more..

South Asia terrorism portal & The Sri Lankan campaign of denigration against me

Jan 9 (LG) "Some weeks ago a couple of Sri Lankan media sources had referred to me for comments articles received by them against me purporting to give details of my alleged role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. I told them it was rubbish. They asked me whether I would have any objection to their publishing the articles. I told them it was up to them to decide and that I would not give any advice. more..

President condemns the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga

Jan 9 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapakse has condemned the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of The Sunday Leader, which took place yesterday (08). Given below the full text of the statement of President Mahinda Rajapakse on the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of The Sunday Leader : "My government and I most vehemently and unequivocally condemn the murder of Mr. Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of The Sunday Leader, which took place today. more..

Doors still open - Minister

Jan 9 (GDI) If LTTE lay down their arms, then the doors are open for them to talk peace with the Government, Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. The recent ban on the LTTE, does not in any way deprive the LTTE from entering the democratic process for a negotiated political solution, if they are prepared to lay down their arms. Government has made fervent appeals on humanitarian grounds, to the innocent civilian trapped in the Wanni, to more..

LTTE ban a timely decision - Mahanayake Theras

Jan 9 (GDI) The Malwatte and Asigiriya prelates yesterday (08) commended the Government decision to ban the LTTE. Mahanayake thera pointed out that it was a farsighted and timely decision taken in the national interest. This decision would expedite the total defeat of LTTE terrorism and could be considered as a decisive turning point which augured well for the country's future. more..

Govt. to protect small and medium scale industries

Jan 9 (GDI) Addressing a meeting of small and medium-scale industrialists at the Presidential Secretariat, the President stated that the Government has given priority to uplift the local producers and local industrialists. “Further, this Government is dedicated to create the necessary environment for re-establishing indigenous industries. It is a promise clearly indicated in the “Mahinda Chintanaya” during the last Presidential Election," he added. more..

UNP walks out of parliament

Jan 9 (SAMN) The 45 members belonging to the main opposition UNP walked out of parliament Thursday saying it would not participate in any debates in the future. The walkout resulted after the government repeatedly insisted that the UNP-sponsored no-confidence motion be taken up Friday. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Micheal Perera said as this was a motion introduced by the UNP, the debate should be held on a date agreed by the UNP. more..

Bus operators to seek legal action

Jan 9 (SAMN) Private bus operators have decided to seek legal action against moves by the National Transport Commission (NTC) to cancel the route permits of more than 50 private buses. The All-island Private Bus Company Federation also warned it would resort to a fast-unto-death next week if the government failed to mediate the issue. The route permits of operators who failed to comply with the price revision have been cancelled. more..

Murder accused goes missing

Jan 9 (SAMN) Colombo High Court Judge postponed for February 13, the case against former Parliamentarian Chandana Kattriarachchi and four others for unlawful assembly using fire arms, committing murder and inflicting injuries to two persons on or about August 24, 1996 at Nampamunuwa Galpatha in Piliyandala. When the case was called yesterday the accused G.D. Sunil Perera, D.M Ruwan Chandana Fernando, M. Mahesh Pieris and Chandana Kathriarachchi appeared before the court. more..

Pvt. buses want diesel price slash

Jan 9 (LD) Private bus owners have requested the National Transport Commission to reduce the price of a litre of diesel by six rupees. The request was made during discussions on a fare revision between the bus associations and NTC officials yesterday (Jan. 08th). At the meeting, the NTC has reportedly agreed to hold discussions with all bus associations before fare revisions in the future. more..

"Where are we heading to?" - Anandasangaree on the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge

Jan 9 (AT) "Where are we heading to? Is it not the responsibility of all of us, as citizens of this country, to help to track down the culprits responsible for this cowardly act? It is a shame on all of us, if the culprits are not arrested immediately and brought before the court of law and punished," said V. Anandasangaree, President – TULF. more..

Dilshan back in Sri Lanka squad for Pakistan ODIs

Jan 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's cricket selectors Friday recalled in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan for an upcoming three-match one-day series in Pakistan. The middle-order batsman, who played his last one-dayer at home against India in August 2008, has so far scored 2,994 runs in 152 matches with one hundred and 14 half-centuries. Dilshan was in impressive form during his team's 2-0 Test series victory in Bangladesh recently, more..

Rs. 100m allocated to redevelop Galle

Jan 9 (DN) A sum of Rs. 100 million has been allocated to develop the historic town of Galle, Minister of Ports and Civil Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa said. The Minister continued "The town of Galle will be developed retaining its pristine glory and nobility, at the gathering at the Gaalu Samaya Galle season exhibition at Galle. The Galle season exhibition is a realisation of a dream of Minister of Agriculture Hemakumara Nanayakkara. more..

Book review: Lifelike depiction of the island in all its moods

Jan 9 (DN) It is often said that a picture speaks a thousand words and after perusing through reputed photographer Tom Tidball’s latest book, this adage rings true. People Sri Lanka showcases Tom Tidball’s all encompassing passion for the island and is reflected in the spectacular collection of over 165 stunning photos that capture the cultural diversity and uniqueness of the people of Sri Lanka collected during the past 30 years. more..

False to say 3000 Tamil civilians have disappeared – Yapa

Jan 9 (Island) Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa dismissed allegations by WPF leader Mano Ganeshan that around 3,000 Tamil civilians who were residing in various parts of the country, including the South had disappeared in the last one year, as ‘false’. Responding to questions about Ganeshan’s allegations, he said "It is false and has no basis whatsoever. Mr. Ganeshan is making such statements to impress the international community." more..

Parliament summons Auditor General to ascertain how SPC members went abroad

Jan 9 (Island) The Auditor General is to be summoned by Parliament to clarify how 39 members of Southern Provincial Council went abroad utilizing funds allocated for the development of the Southern Province. Chief Government Whip, Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, answering a question for oral answer raised by JVP MP Premasiri Manage, told the House that Rs 163,956,538 in 2007 and Rs 109,155,692 had been provided to the members of the Southern Provincial Council. more..

Probe on MTV/MBC attack proceeding slowly?

Jan 9 (DM) The Government Analyst Department yesterday said they have not received the productions from the police, for them to conduct further investigations into the attack on the MTV/MBC transmission complex. Sources from the department said the process of investigations, was for the Department to visit the scene and gather material, and then hand over to the Police to be produced in courts. more..

Killing of aid workers: Bodies unravel secrets

Jan 9 (DM) An ICRC official had questioned the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) before he went on to conduct the post mortem on the 17 bodies of the Action Contre le Femme (ACF) workers and an UNDP representative had intruded the building where he was conducting the post mortem at the Trincomalee Hospital, the JMO who conducted the post mortem said testifying at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate and inquire into killing of the 17 aid workers in Mutur. more..

India flays editor's murder, asks SL to ensure media freedom

Jan 9 (PTI) India and the US today condemned the killing of the Chief Editor of a Sri Lankan newspaper known for its strong views against the government and asked the island nation to ensure the protection of press freedom. "We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the demise of the well-regarded Editor of Leader group of Publications of Sri Lanka, Lasantha Wickramatunga, following an armed attack in Colombo," an Indian High Commission release said here. more..

Vasu urges top level probe on Ceylinco

Jan 9 (SAMN) Following the controversy over Golden Key Credit Card company, Presidential Advisor Vasudeva Nanayakkara has asked the President to carry out a thorough investigation into the affairs of the Ceylinco Group of companies. “I refer to the shocking scandal of large public deposits taken by the Golden Key Credit Company of the Ceylinco Group and in this context, I urge the President to direct that top level investigations be thoroughly carried out more..

3 Air Force men among 7 killed in the blast

Jan 9 (PTI) Seven persons, including three Air Force personnel, were killed and six others injured in a landmine blast triggered by suspected Tamil Tigers in Trincomalee on Friday. The Claymore mine targeted a bus carrying civilians who were employed at an irrigation development project funded by the Government in Morawewa area. The Air Force personnel, who were providing escort, were also travelling in the vehicle when the blast took place. more..

UNHCR concerned over the deteriorating situation in east

Jan 9 (AN) UNHCR is concerned over the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka's east following a significant increase in the number of killings, abductions and injuries in areas of return during the last few months. In November alone, the United Nations recorded 24 civilian deaths in the Batticaloa district. We're also worried about the negative impact these security incidents may have on the sustainability of the return process. more..

Housing sittings adjourned as UNP protests

Jan 9 (LD) A protest by UNP members to condemn the killing of 'The Sunday Leader' editor Lasantha Wickrematunga resulted in the adjournment of Parliament sittings today. Wearing black and red bands and holding placards, UNP members gathered near the speaker's chair and shouted slogans against the government, accusing it of committing murder. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe demanded an international level inquiry into the senior journalist's killing. more..

Commonwealth journalists' outraged over Sri Lankan editor's killing

Jan 9 (IANS) The Commonwealth Journalists' Association (CJA) has expressed its outrage at the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor of the Sri Lankan newspaper Sunday Leader Thursday, and urged the government to protect those engaged in dissemination of news 'without fear of retribution'. In a strongly worded statement issued from its Toronto headquarters, it demanded that those responsible for Wickramatunga's death should be brought to book. more..

Intervention of Lankan Prez sought into killing of animals

Jan 9 (PTI) An animal rights group has sought the intervention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in protecting animals in northern Sri Lanka where the troops are engaged in a battle with the LTTE. "We have been inundated with calls, letters and e-mails from people who were shocked by the recent incidents in which Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets bombed herds of cattle,"a letter written to Rajapaksa said. more..

Anger rises over killing of Sri Lankan editor

Jan 9 (Reuters) Anger over the assassination of an outspoken Sri Lankan newspaper editor grew on Friday with the opposition forcing parliament to close early and hundreds of protesters demonstrating in the capital. The killing of Sunday Leader chief editor Lasantha Wickramatunga on Thursday prompted diplomats on the Indian Ocean island to express concern to the Foreign Ministry and sparked condemnation from rights groups and even the World Bank. more..

Families' fears realized

Jan 9 (NP) Ruki Navaratna had pleaded with her brother, a leading Colombo newspaper editor, to leave Sri Lanka after his exposes of government corruption put his life in danger. "We told him many times, please go, please get out," Ms. Navaratna said yesterday from her home in Ajax, Ont. "He was actually thinking of quitting everything and going to Australia. "But too late." Yesterday, her brother, Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor of the Sunday Leader, more..

Sri Lanka says it captured Elephant Pass

Jan 9 (AP) Sri Lankan forces captured the strategic Elephant Pass base from the Tamil Tigers on Friday, ousting the rebels from their last stronghold on the Jaffna peninsula and boxing them into a shrinking pocket of land in the northeast. In a nationally televised address, President Mahinda Rajapaksa praised the victory. "Our soldiers by this evening have been able to totally liberate Elephant Pass from the clutches of the" rebels, he said. more..

Govt under fire over editor's murder

Jan 9 (AFP) Hundreds of Sri Lankan journalists took to the streets Friday to protest against the killing of a newspaper editor, as the government came under local and foreign pressure to protect freedom of expression. The demonstration in Colombo demanded a halt to violence, threats and intimidation after Thursday's shooting of Lasantha Wickrematunga, chief editor of the Sunday Leader, which has been highly critical of the government. more..

Sri Lanka port workers children told to be more productive than parents

Jan 10 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has begun training the children of retired workers being hired for jobs in the port but stressed productivity improvements were needed in the hugely overstaffed organisation. The SLPA said in a statement it had launched a new phase in its professional training programme called ‘Piya Puthu Padanama’ to train the children of employees on their retirement. more..

Tea prices revive at auction, crop shortfall seen

Jan 10 (LBO) Sri Lankan tea prices revived at the first auction of the year this week with the industry saying a shortfall in the crop and the forthcoming 'quality season' should ensure better earnings in the first quarter. Brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said there was "strong demand" for low grown varieties, which account for the bulk of the crop and are produced mainly by small farmers. "In the large leaf catalogues most teas gained 10 to 20 rupees and at times more," more..

The Assassination of a Leading Media Personality

Jan 10 (FI) The assassination of the Editor of the Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunga, in broad day light on a public road in Colombo last morning, sent mixed shock waves of anger, fear and desperation through the Country. This deliberate and senseless act must be condemned by all Sri Lankans who value life and media freedom. It is part of a wider and worsening strategy to suppress and silence the media. more..

Will LTTE surrender?

Jan 10 (MO) The LTTE's northern lair in Kilinochchi is no more and its leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran is a man scuttling for dear life. As warplanes gave chase to the fleeing rebels after the military took over the guerilla's de facto state on January 2, Colombo was waiting with bated breath for the capture of the once elusive rebel leader. According to the military, it's anticipated trophy is a Prabhakaran captured alive. more..

It may well be the end of agony in Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (ST) This year may well see the end to the 30-year-old ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. To put it mildly, it has been awfully bloody. Thousands of people have been killed, and political leaders, including India’s young and charismatic Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, assassinated in the war between majority Sinhala speaking Buddhists and minority Tamil speaking largely Christians. more..