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Murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga: Another nail in the coffin of a free country?

Jan 10 (AT) Mr Lasanatha Wickrematunga may have, as some seem to be saying, been one of the worst kinds of gutter journalists. He may have been a mud-raker who exposed many shady deals of various government ministers and officials. Others may accuse him of a vendetta against the current President and his government, forgetting that he was an absolute irritant to the former President and her government as well. more..

This time Lanka means business

Jan 10 (EB) The initial public reaction in Sri Lanka to the proscription of the LTTE has been one of indifference. It is seen to be of little significance on the grounds that it will not materially change the ground situation in which the government and the LTTE are already fighting an all-out war. But a closer look at the events leading to the ban would indicate that the move is an essential part of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s broad politico-military strategy to deal with the LTTE and more..

‘No one cares for Lankan Tamils’

Jan 10 (EB) Tamil nationalist leader Pazha Nedumaran on Thursday lambasted both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for their failure to honour the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu on the island Tamils’ issue. “While the innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka are suffering and facing systematic cleansing in the hands of Colombo’s brutal Sinhalese regime, our leaders are busy attending several programmes being held in air-conditioned halls and more..

Anti-media violence a conspiracy: President

Jan 10 (LBO) Violence against media is a conspiracy to pave the way for international involvement in the island's internal affairs, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. He was announcing the capture of Elephant Pass, a narrow neck of land connecting the northern Jaffna peninsular with the rest of the island, from Tamil Tiger guerillas who are engaged in a three decade long separatist conflict. more..

Indian fishermen allege attack by Sri Lankan Navy

Jan 10 (IANS) Some Indian fishermen have alleged they were beaten up by Sri Lankan Navy personnel near the Kachchatheevu island in the early hours of Friday but there has been no official confirmation of the attack. 'We were fishing around Kachchatheevu island and the Lankan Navy suddenly surrounded us and beat us up. We were also attacked with bayonets,' K. Albert Raju, one of the fishermen, told reporters. more..

Is the end near for Sri Lanka's rebels?

Jan 10 (BBC) The Sri Lankan army's capture of Elephant Pass, the strategic causeway linking the Jaffna peninsula with the mainland, is arguably one of the military's greatest successes over the past two decades of war. It follows last week's fall of the town of Kilinochchi - the rebel's political and administrative centre - providing the government with two significant military and strategic breakthroughs within a fortnight. more..

Is Sri Lanka about to finish off the Tamil Tigers?

Jan 10 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops on Friday handed the Tamil Tiger rebels their second major defeat in a week, capturing the strategic Elephant Pass, the president said. That comes a week after the army drove the separatist guerrillas from their self-proclaimed capital of Kilinochchi, an event that had many asking if the quarter-century war is over. Not yet, but here are some scenarios of what could happen: more..

Another media assassination: A spiraling descent into hell

Jan 10 (LG) Terrorism has far too many faces in Sri Lanka. There is hardly any doubt it has come to stay firmly rooted where all pretense of peace and harmony chanted in the halls of temples, churches, mosques and other places of worship have absolutely no meanings. This tragic state of affairs prevails across the entire Sri Lankan community of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Moslems and even atheists and agnostics. more..

Sri Lankan Ambassador to Poland passes away

Jan 10 (LG) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces with profound sadness the sudden death of Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Poland, Mr. Clarence Felician Chinniah in Warsaw yesterday (08 January 2009), following a cardiac arrest. He was 58 years old at the time of his untimely demise. Ambassador Chinniah, a career Foreign Service officer joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1985, prior to which he had served with distinction as a member of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service since 1977. more..

Terror suspect stays in Canada

Jan 10 (MN) A Malton man ordered extradited to the U.S. for his alleged connection to a North American network that police say provides weapons to a terrorist group in Sri Lanka will remain in Canada for the time being. It will take several months for Ramanan Mylvaganam, 31, to appeal the extradition order imposed last fall by a Federal Court judge, according to Justice Canada. In the meantime, he'll remain here, out on bail. more..

Prabhakaran's tryst with destiny

Jan 10 (CC) Now that Kilinochchi, supposed "capital" of the non-existent Tamil Eelam has fallen to Sri Lanka Government troops, will peace finally descend on the war-torn nation? Not just yet. Much will depend on the sagacity and farsightedness of political leadership in Colombo. In the near future Sri Lanka will once again descend into the sporadic terrorist bomb attacks that saw the beginning of the struggle by the LTTE for a homeland for the Tamils in the north and more..

For Lasantha and others

Jan 10 (GV)
Murder is a moment to point fingers
Murder is a moment to crawl into shells.
But moments don’t forbid,
there is no opportune time,
nothing auspicious
about standing up,
speaking out.

Caught in Sri Lanka's war zone

Jan 10 (GW) Government forces have wrested whole sections of northern Sri Lanka from the LTTE, including the rebels' unofficial capital Kilnochchi. Huge numbers of civilians are on the run from the fighting. CN Annadurai became trapped when government troops took over the town of Visvamadu. He doesn't know what has happened to his family, who are still in rebel-controlled territory. more..

Questions raised over editor's death

Jan 10 (RNW) Thursday's killing of a prominent investigative journalist in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo has once more raised concern and anger over the growing number of attacks on journalists in the country. Sunday Leader newspaper editor Lasantha Wickremetunga was shot by unidentified gunmen close to a security check point in the city as his car sat in rush-hour traffic. His death came just two days after heavily armed men attacked the studios of the private Maharaja television station using claymore mines and grenades. more..

Media attacks by 'army intelligence'

Jan 10 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has accused sections of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) of carrying out attacks on media. Leader of the opposition and the UNP, Ranil Wickramasinghe, said many SLA personnel are "appalled" by the actions of a few. "Security forces say that the whole country will be destroyed by the actions of a small group in the intelligence unit," he told the parliament amidst disturbances by the ruling party members. more..

Lasantha: Fearless editor who spoke truth to power

Jan 10 (DM) Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge was brutally assassinated in broad daylight on a public road. He was murdered on January 8 by cowardly minions for courageously speaking truth to power. Refusing to be silenced by the powers that be, the fearless editor of “The Sunday Leader” fought valiantly against overwhelming odds to expose corruption, nepotism, misgovernance, racism and militaristic triumphalism. more..

Priests claim media exaggerated abduction from orphanage in rebel area

Jan 10 (UCAN) Catholic priests in northern Sri Lanka claim the media distorted a recent incident in which Tamil rebels abducted youths from a Catholic orphanage but then returned them at the Church's request. Father Eric Roshan, director of Arobanam Boys Home, and priests and Religious of the Vanni jungle region, where the home is located, wrote Bishop Emmanuel Thomas Savundaranayagam of Jaffna a letter about the incident. more..

End-game for LTTE, says Army

Jan 10 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Friday said that with the fall of Elephant Pass, troops were now poised to capture the remaining LTTE strong points at Mulliyan, Chempiyanpattuwa, Chundikulama and Kaddaikadu, even as at least seven people, including three Air Force personnel, were killed in an attack by suspected LTTE cadre in Trincomalee district in the east. The Defence Ministry said here the “end-game of LTTE’s protracted separatist cause is reaching its final stages” as more..

Jamming BBC

Jan 10 (Island) Of late the SLBC has resorted to jamming certain parts of the BBC Sandesaya programme. These comments are made for consideration by those who are responsible for the move. 1. Sandesaya is the guest of the SLBC. If the host finds that the guest is misusing the privilege extended to him, he has the undisputed right to ask the latter to leave. Doing so would be more appropriate than humiliating him at home. more..

Come on Prabhakaran-Why this hypocrisy?

Jan 10 (AT) According to all news reports we see & hear, LTTE leader Prabhakaran is the most loyal person in his quest for a ‘Traditional Homeland” in Sri Lanka and the sole representative of the Tamil People in this country. The understanding people have of such leaders is that they will stick to their guns come hell or high water and lead their followers to freedom. more..

Crouching Tigers

Jan 10 (Tehelka) The dream of an independent homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka, or Eelam, still burns bright in Tamil Nadu, despite the fall of Kilinochchi, the de-facto capital of the LTTE controlled territory in north Sri Lanka. In Tamil Nadu, a state where the LTTE continues to enjoy some political support despite it being a banned outfit in India, the LTTE’s retreat from Kilinochchi is seen as a tactical move. more..

Sri Lanka joins hands with Gujarat to set up 'Rama trail'

Jan 10 (TOI) Legend has it that when Lord Hanuman was flying to Lanka armed with a mountain from the Himalaya ranges laden with Sanjeevani booti to save the life of a critically injured Laxman, a piece of it fell right here in Gujarat’s Dangs district at Anjani Parbat. Which is why Dangs is believed to be the only location outside of the Himalayas where some precious and rare herbs are found. more..

If the Tigers proscription had been made earlier many sad instances could have been avoid

Jan 10 (LG) Mr. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, General Secretary of EPDP and Chairman of Special Task Committee Northern Province, expressing his views concerning the proscription of the Tiger Organization stated that whilst the EPDP appreciated and valued the decision arrived at by the Government of Sri Lanka to ban the Tiger Organization, it was a decision of extreme importance. more..

What Lasantha wrote in his editorial on last Sunday?

Jan 10 (LG) In paying homage to one the most fearless Sri Lankan journalists, the least we can do is to publish his last editorial, a brilliant exposition of his intellect, integrity, forthrightness and his dedication to the principles that he stood for as a journalist and humanist. It is indeed very unfortunate, that despite President Rajapakse taking over also as minister in charge of the media, apparently to instill greater freedom and independence within it, more..

What if LTTE were Hamas & the GOSL were Israel with powerful friends?

Jan 10 (AT) The high cost of international favoritism has been perfectly depicted in the state of chaos that is presently taking place in the State of Palestine, now under siege by Israel forces in almost 2 weeks of air and ground onslaughts that has left over 780 dead, 3500 wounded, 1.5million in darkness, no water, shortage of food and lack of and inaccessibility to proper health care. more..

Conversion craze vs. Anti-Conversion Bill

Jan 10 (AT) For the past several years the Catholic Bishops Conference and other Christian organizations have been resisting the introduction of legal measures to prevent proselytizing and unethical conversions. With the presentation of the Anti-Conversion Bill in Parliament by the Jaathika Hela Urumaya on January 6, the issue has surfaced again. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera has requested for two debates on the Bill since more..

Stranded Two Sri Lankan Housemaids Leave Gaza

Jan 10 (AT) After the exposure by ‘Asian Tribune’ on 11th December 2008 about the Sri Lankans stranded in Gaza, Sri Lankan missions in Israel, Palestine and Jordan went into action and managed to get two of them out on day- before yesterday. When inquired about the other three employees it was revealed that papers are being processed to get the third one out. She surfaced late and as such there is a delay. more..

Many promotional activities scheduled for Sri Lanka tourism

Jan 10 (AT) Bernard Goonetilleke explained measures the Tourism Promotion Bureau and Tourism Development Authority, have taken to cushon off the adverse effects of the global economic meltdown to make Sri Lanka continues to remain internationally a much sought tourist destination in Asia. He also said in an interview that the Tourism Bureau has decided to promote not only tourism internationally but also to promote domestic tourism in the country. more..

Ramasamy slams Indian PM over Sri Lanka war

Jan 10 (MI) A Malaysian Tamil politician came down heavily on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not condemning the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka in the ongoing ethnic war and, instead, referring to Gaza and sympathising with Palestinians. Penang Deputy Chief Minister P. Ramasamy, who was the guest of honour at the session on media and entertainment at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, said: “Hundreds of Tamils are being killed in Sri Lanka. more..

Book on Fidel presented in Geneva

Jan 10 (LG) On the 50th anniversaries of the Cuban Revolution and the triumphant entry of Fidel Castro into Havana, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations in Geneva hosted a commemorative event, the centerpiece of which was the presentation of the book Fidel’s Ethics of Violence by Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka. more..

Lasantha’s last hurrah! A clarion call for racial unity

Jan 10 (LG) Lasantha Wickrematunge’s last editorial in the Sunday Leader of January 4, 2009 is a journalistic classic of our time that spoke from his heart a vision of a nation that could live in peace and harmony but for the evil forces that have become entrenched in the country. This relatively young journalist, warm, brave, courageous and to whom Sri Lanka’s is a blessed isle and its people whether Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays or Burghers are more..

Resettle all Muslims in Jaffna – Athaulla

Jan 10 (GDI) Highways Minister A. L. M. Athaulla yesterday called on the government to resettle all those Muslims who were evicted from Jaffna in July 1991 and are now living in refugee camps in Puttalam or with their relations in the South. Addressing a news conference at the Presidential Secretariat, he said that the Muslims have also undergone severe hardships due to the LTTE’s actions and the time had come for those wrongs to be rectified. more..

'We are eunuchs if we abide by court orders'

Jan 10 (LT) All 225 Members of Parliament would be reduced to rubber seals if the directives by the judiciary are adhered to and the government would become a mere puppet and all members would become eunuchs says Minister of Port Development Dilan Perera. He had said this in an interview he had with ‘Irida Lankadeepa.’ He said he had to say this even if he had to wear a jumper like Mr. S.B. Dissanayake. more..

'Govt’s mediation in Palestine issue is inadequate'

Jan 10 (LT) The government’s opposition to the offensive acts against people of Palestine by Israel is not adequate states the JVP. Making a special statement in Parliament the leader of the group of JVP Parliamentarians Anura Dissanayake said government of Sri Lanka has not carried out an adequate mediation regarding the Israel attacks against Palestine people in the Gaza strip for the last two weeks. more..

Why no one bothered about Mahela’s 100th Test?

Jan 10 (TC) In 1968, Colin Cowdrey became the first cricketer to play 100 Tests. His achievement was greeted with much revelry. The English public thronged to watch him play at Edgbaston. The Queen sent him a congratulatory letter. He reciprocated the accolades by scoring a 100 in his 100th Test. There were few who could fault Cowdrey’s sense of timing of both the ball and the occasion. more..

Halt Zionist attacks on Palestine!

Jan 10 (LT) A massive agitation was held in Colombo yesterday condemning the attacks carried out by Israel against Palestine since 27th December. A large number of people representing political parties and mass organizations including Sri Lanka-Palestine Solidarity Union, Friends of Independent Palestine, JVP, IUSF, Students’ Organization to Defend Human Rights, Lebanon-Palestine Solidarity Committee and World Peace Council Participated in the agitation. more..

Opposition sure to lose polls: Minister

Jan 10 (SAMN) The Opposition that devalues the role of soldiers fighting in the Northern front will definitely meet their Waterloo at the forthcoming Provincial Council Elections, said Health and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. The Minister was addressing a meeting after opening the Wayamba district office of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at Kurunegala. more..

Cuban Film Festival

Jan 10 (SAMN) The Cuban Embassy in Sri Lanka will conduct a film festival to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its revolution. The festival commences on Monday (12) at 4.30 p.m. Briefing the press at the Cuban Embassy yesterday (09), Cuban Ambassador Nirsia Castro Guevara, said the film festival would be conducted also to mark the Cuban National Day which was celebrated on the first of January. more..

Prelates express support for Animal Act

Jan 10 (SAMN) The Mahanayke of Asgiriya Chapter, Most Ven. Udugama Buddharakhitha Thera told a deputation headed by the President of Animal Welfare Trust, Mrs. Iranganie de Silva (wife of Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva) that he would speak to the President and the Minister C.B. Ratnayake regarding the Animal Act, which had been stalled in Parliament. He said this piece of legislation was necessary to keep cows and calves out of slaughterhouses. more..

No faith motion against Govt. stillborn

Jan 10 (SAMN) Pandemonium reigned in Parliament Friday as Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the No-confidence motion by the UNP had lapsed just as UNP MPs trooped in wearing red and black coloured saatakas (shawls) round their necks accusing the Government of killing Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge. The House was in turmoil for nearly 45 minutes. more..

Attack on MTV station: Key suspect arrested

Jan 10 (DN) A key suspect behind the attack on the MTV/MBC station was arrested and the Government is requesting the public and media to be patient till investigations are complete. President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is a friend of the media has instructed the police to use maximum effort to bring to book culprits responsible for the attack on the Sirasa TV station and assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha. more..

I am threatened with death – Dayasiri

Jan 10 (Island) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara told Parliament that he has received anonymous phone calls threatening him with death if he continues to raise his voice against the Government. The MP said he received a death threat to his mobile phone around 10.19 p.m. on Thursday from a land phone number 0112889991. "A male person said that I would enjoy the same fate experienced by Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickremethunga if I do not stop criticizing the Government with immediate effect," he said. more..

Dr. Wimal Wickremaratna passes away

Jan 10 (Island) Former cabinet Minister, Planning and Parliamentary Affairs and Eheliyagoda MP Dr. Wimal Wickremasinghe died under tragic circumstances at the age of 66. He also functioned as the government Chief Whip at that time. Before entering politics Dr. Wickremasinghe served as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Export Credit Insurance Corporation which he initiated when he was the Central Bank’s Director of Research. more..

Tamils rejoice A-9 opening

Jan 10 (DN) Tamil political leaders, religious prelates, intellectuals and a cross section of the people of the liberated areas of the Vanni jubilantly welcomed the opening of the A9 Kandy-Jaffna highway by the Security Forces fighting to free the Tamil people of the North from the clutches of LTTE terrorism and to restore democracy, normal life and peace. more..

PAFFREL proposes measures for free and fair election

Jan 10 (DM) PAFFREL has proposed a series of measures to the Elections Commissioner to be implemented to ensure a free and fair election. The suggestions include the printing of photographs of candidates on the ballot paper, restriction of expenses incurred by candidates for propaganda purposes and disqualifying of candidates who had defaulted on payment of taxes and water and electricity bills and repayment of bank loans. more..

Probe to curb abuse in school vans extended: Jagath

Jan 10 (DM) A programme has been launched by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) to curb child abuse that takes place in school vans. Chairman of NCPA, Jagath Wellawatte stated that the plan initiated in February last year will be expanded island wide this year. Chairman Wellawatte stated that the action plan was first initiated in the Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara and Galle areas and it would be expanded to include the entire country this year. more..

India must work for 'lasting solution' in Sri Lanka: CPI-M

Jan 10 (IANS) India should step up diplomatic efforts to ensure 'a lasting political solution' based on Tamil demands for autonomy within a united Sri Lanka, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said Saturday. After discussing the military offensive in Sri Lanka's north at its Central Committee meeting in Kochi Jan 8-10, the party said the Mahinda Rajapaksa government should not deny a political solution to the Tamil problem. more..

'Lanka Dissent’ closed amid media suppression

Jan 10 (LeN) The editorial of ‘Lanka Dissent’ has decided to close its operations temporarily since today (10) amid the environment of assassinating the newspaper editors and issuing death threats to journalists. “This compassionate Sinhala Buddhist land does not tolerate "dissent". Those who would not want to learn that living would have to learn that in death. We, who live, would come back when "dissent" comes back as a democratic right, more..

Sri Lanka army ready for 'decisive blow' on Tigers after capturing pass

Jan 10 (AFP) Sri Lankan security forces were ready to deal a "decisive blow" to the remaining Tamil Tiger rebels following the capture of the highly strategic Elephant Pass, the defence ministry said on Saturday. After four days of fierce fighting, government forces on Friday established full control over the causeway, which links the Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the mainland. more..

Troops capture LTTE airstrip in Mullaitivu

Jan 10 (IANS) Striking another blow against the Tamil Tigers, advancing Sri Lankan troops Saturday captured a rebel airstrip in the jungle district of Mullaitivu, a day after dislodging the LTTE from the Jaffna-Kandy main highway in the north, military officials said. Claiming that this was the fourth LTTE airstrip to be captured by the troops in the recent past, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the troops captured the area lying 10 km west of Mullaitivu town. more..