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India should stop military assistance to Sri Lanka: LTTE

Jan 10 (PTI) Under pressure following serious losses, the LTTE has asked India to "stop providing military assistance" to the Sri Lankan Government and vowed to take back it de facto political headquarters Killinochchi. "India should stop all military assistance to Sri Lankan Army and recognise our struggle for liberation", the LTTE political head B. Nadesan told more..

Sri Lanka to 'positively consider' extraditing Prabhakaran to India

Jan 10 (IANS) Sri Lanka will 'positively consider' extraditing Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran to India if he is captured, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said in remarks published Saturday. The Daily Mirror quoted Bogollagama as saying that although there was no extradition treaty between India and Sri Lanka, Colombo would react positively if New Delhi sought the extradition of the elusive chief of the LTTE. more..

Hambantota Port work to be completed ahead of schedule

Jan 11 (MN) Hambantota Port near the main shipping route across the Indian Ocean is part of a Chinese effort to enhance trade activities, news reports say. It is being built mainly with a Chinese loan and by two Chinese construction firms. It is envisaged first as a bunkering facility and later a port for general cargo vessels and eventually to tranship containers. Hambantota was chosen as the site for the new port because of its proximity to the main shipping lane across the Indian Ocean. more..

Lasantha killing, a savage assault on media independence - TNA

Jan 11 (TN) Condemning the assassination of Editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunga, and extending deepest condolence to his family, the TNA, in a press release issued today said, "Mr. Wickrematunga has been an ardent critic of the incumbent government," and "the manner of the assassination of Mr. Wickrematunga bears the same hallmarks as the manner of the assassination of the much respected late TNA parliamentarian Hon. N. Raviraj. more..

Before and after Kilinochchi, and now Elephant Pass

Jan 11 (TC) It is possible and it is necessary, morally and politically, to defend the rights of the Tamils and Muslims to political equality in Sri Lanka, and criticize at the same time the LTTE’s destructive intransigence and the government’s deliberate inaction towards a political solution. Those who are thus disposed would view the fall of Kilinochchi, on the one hand, as LTTE’s deserved comeuppance and, more..

Wining on war front and losing on other fronts

Jan 11 (TC) In just a week after the fall of Kilinochchi, the Sri Lanka security forces captured Elephant Pass, the last stronghold of the LTTE on the A9 Kandy-Jaffna highway, the vital lifeline of the Northern Province on January 9. This was not unexpected as Elephant Pass was becoming unviable to defend as the security forces pressed on their offensive after capturing Paranthan in the south on January 1. more..

USG Washington statement condemns media attacks in Sri Lanka

Jan 11 (AT) The United States Government issuing a statement in Washington through its State Department spokesman has almost pointed the finger on the direction of the Government of Sri Lanka when it condemned the assassination of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and the attack on SISIRA TV media outlet expressing shock to a situation emerged in this South Asian nation to silence independent and dissenting voices. more..

Nugegoda Flyover and The problems that it could create

Jan 11 (AT) No one would think that a flyover could create problems. That is in a normal world but Sri Lanka is not a normal world. There are two reasons for this which the writer will soon explain. Only the people who have to frequent the area around the new flyover know the difficulties they have been undergoing everyday due to the lack of space in sidewalks and the dangerous driving of buses within a few inches of the pedestrians. more..

Gotabhaya wants mandatory registration

Jan 11 (LB) The Ministry of Defence has launched a programme to register all citizens of the country in order to trap LTTE cadres as the Government fears that thousands of them would go underground soon to save their lives. When contacted, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa confirmed that his Ministry had launched such a project. “The pilot project of the programme was launched in the Western Province and put into operation with immediate effect. more..

I So we live in a democracy

Jan 11 (LB) Moments after learning of Lasantha Wickrematunga’s daytime murder, one of my colleagues fervently combed through the intrepid editor’s last column to see what he might have written that got him killed. “Do you think it is safe for me to continue my column?” he asked. “I am scared to criticise the government....” It was a predictable reaction. Independent journalists around the country— those not associated with or employed by state media— more..

LTTE would stoop to anything in the face of imminent defeat - Karuna

Jan 11 (LB) With the army’s latest victories the citizenery hopes for an early end to the war, our staff reporter interviewes parlimentarian Karuna Amman for his insights. Q. The LTTE has now lost Kilinochchi to the army. How do you see this defeat? A. Kilinochchi is an important centre politically. Kilinochchi was the biggest town under LTTE control. Therefore, I feel that the loss of Kilinochchi will completely destroy the LTTE. There are several reasons for this. more..

Another dissenting voice silenced forever

Jan 11 (LB) Even before the dust settled down from the attack on the Sirasa studios at Depanama, the media was dealt yet another death blow with the brutal murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga. The shooting took place around 10.25 am on Thursday close to the Attidiya Junior College along Attidiya School Road. Wickrematunga’s killing marks the first time that a senior editor of a national newspaper was assassinated in the recent past. more..

A scientifically verified means to end protracted violence in Sri Lanka

Jan 11 (LG) Despite the recent successes of the Sri Lankan troops, an editorial in the 4 January 2009 issue of the Sunday Observer warns that: "The victory should not let us relax our vigilance about sinister attempts of the enemy to destabilize society and create mayhem. Yesterday's suicide attempt is a stark reminder that the war on terror is not over." Such attacks show that Sri Lankan troops, despite their valiant efforts, still struggle to eliminate violent extremism and cannot guarantee lasting peace. more..

Sri Lanka says rebel group on brink of defeat

Jan 11 (AP) When Hamilton Wanasinghe was Sri Lanka's military chief in the early 1990s, he tried to buy desperately needed weapons from Russia to fight the Tamil Tiger rebels. Money was so short he offered to trade crates of tea for arms. The Sri Lankan treasury rejected the deal, Wanasinghe says. Then, three years ago, a new president took office and the coffers burst open. Military recruitment swelled, training improved and hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on new hardware to crush the rebels and more..

'Centre failed to take efforts to resolve Sri Lanka issue'

Jan 11 (Hindu) The international general secretary of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Praveen Togadia, has accused that the Central government failed to use its good offices to stop the killing of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka. Speaking to reporters at Rameswaram on Saturday, he said that there were reports of innocent Tamil civilians being killed every day in Sri Lanka in the ongoing war between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE. more..

Lanka conflict: The road ahead

Jan 11 (AN) For many years, it was widely assumed there was no military solution to the Tamil Tiger insurgency in Sri Lanka. Suddenly that would seem to be all wrong. The capture yesterday of Elephant Pass by government forces indicates that the Tiger occupation of much of the north of the island is on the verge of collapse. There is now a road route open to Jaffna that government forces recaptured from the Tigers in 1995. more..

Lankan foreign minister arrives in Doha

Jan 11 (TP) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama arrived here yesterday on a two-day official visit. During the visit he will make a presentation on Sri Lanka’s ties with the Gulf countries on the sidelines of his meetings with a number of dignitaries, said the Sri Lankan embassy in Qatar. Bogollagama will hold discussions with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani; the Deputy Prime Minister and more..

The Christmas season and Sinhala triumphalism

Jan 11 (FI) Being the season of goodwill and in an effort to display a tangible commitment to the spirit of that season, the writer’s partner organized, for the third year, a Christmas party for those who’d worked for us in the year past. As is traditional at that time of the year, the gathering was replete with soft drinks, cake, short eats, party favorites and all the other trappings one has come to expect at that time of year and at a gathering of this nature. more..

'Not only Tamils but Muslims and Christians also live in fear'

Jan 11 (FI) Full Text of speech by Dr. Vickramabahu at a joint meeting on 7 January Hyde Park: We are forced to come together by the actions of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Initially we were discussing the plunder made through petrol prices. Then came the cruel blow given to the Sirasa media. A crime that earth could not bear. more..

Threats against the media

Jan 11 (LG) The brutal killing of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and the brazen pre-dawn raid on the MTV/MBC complex is a reflection of the tough times journalists are going through. While threats are not new to the media – many journalists have faced such intimidation in the past – the manner and professionalism in which these killers get about their job is a chilling reminder that journalists, mostly in the independent media, have to be awake and alert all the time. more..

The indispensable book for our confused times – Part One

Jan 11 (LG) The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka – Terrorism, ethnicity, political economy -- Prof. Asoka Bandarage, Georgetown University, USA. (Publishers: Routledge – 2008). Prof. Asoka Bandarage’s latest book, The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka, Terrorism ethnicity, political economy, is a new academic evaluation of the diverse and salient issues that had bedeviled the Sri Lankan conflict. more..

Sri Lanka has rejected its basic responsibilities

Jan 11 (LG) Robert Muggah’s feature appeared in The Ottawa Citizen amidst two major attacks on the media by unknown goons and gunmen and in one of which a journalist who valiantly fought for human rights, Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed in broad daylight at a busy Colombo suburban junction at 9 30 AM. Sri Lanka is ranked as the second most dangerous country for media folks after Iraq. more..

What motives behind Sirasa/MTV attack and Sunday Leader editor killing?

Jan 11 (MN) There is something very fishy about the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and the arson attack on the MTV Broadcasting Station. Both incidents occurred within few days after the fall of Kilinochchi to Sri Lankan Forces. The government should forthwith launch a thorough inquiry into both cases and leave no stones unturned since the offences are bound to reflect negatively on the Rajapaksa regime although more..

“Inflows are more than the outflows” - Narangoda

Jan 11 (LP) Seylan Bank is stable and will be made one of the premier banks in the country, Eastman Narangoda Chairman Seylan Bank PLC said. The Bank is receiving the fullest support of the Central Bank and the Bank of Ceylon. The Bank will honour withdrawals and will continue to serve its customers as an indigenous bank Narangoda said while addressing the media on the Bank’s stability and its future strategic plans, more..

Murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga – Analytical View from a distance

Jan 11 (AT) "Murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga: Another Nail in the Coffin of a Free Country" by Raj Gonsalkorale in the Asian Tribune forced me to think in an analytical way, the reasons for this murder. In his opinion Raj thinks that this heinous murder may have occurred due to the break down of law and order in a country which likes to call itself the cradle of the Theravada Buddhism. more..

A Portentous Murder

Jan 11 (AT) The timing was perfect, one week after Killinochchi and one day before Elephant Pass. Consequently just twenty four hours after the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunga, that most heinous crime could not be the main item on the evening newscast of even the most anti-government of television stations, Sirasa; it was overtaken by the regaining of Elephant Pass and the reopening of the A9 road. more..

Playing Russian roulette with 'People's' money

Jan 11 (SL) Investigations stemming from a Central Bank probe have revealed a circus of brazen violations of banking regulations by the state-owned People's Bank in entering into its hedging contracts with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. The Sunday Leader's own investigations have found that atop the scathing seven point sheet of charges levelled by the Central Bank against People's Bank, has been hiring consultants at salaries of over Rs. 1 million per month plus perks, more..

Ministers who live it up while journalists pay the supreme price

Jan 11 (SL) While a December revision in the house rent payment to ministers has slashed the amount in half, the incurred expenses of some ministers still raises eyebrows, what with some ministers even purchasing their mattresses with tax payers' money. For example, Presidential elder sibling Chamal Rajapakse is not provided with an official residence from his current ministry, Ports and Aviation. However, he was provided with an official home while serving as Minister of Irrigation and Water Management and more..

When violence went in search of the media

Jan 11 (SL) Violence on TV they say is bad for society, but what happens when violence, devastation and destruction come in search of the TV station? Three days, 27 finger prints and a solitary suspect is the sequel to the attack on the country's award winning entertainment giant MTV/MBC broadcasting station in Depanama, Pannipitiya. If no one is going to do it for the love of Sirasa, they have to do it for the love of money. more..

Internal battles in SLFP, UNP over PC polls

Jan 11 (SL) The appointment of chief ministerial candidates for the forthcoming Central and North Western Provincial Council elections has resulted in several internal conflicts in the ruling party as well as the UNP. The UNP faced several internal conflicts in deciding the chief ministerial candidate for the North Western Provincial Council elections. As soon as UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake was named as the chief ministerial candidate for the Central Provincial Council, more..

Govt. rejects call for foreign probe

Jan 11 (SAMN) The government Saturday rejected a call to bring in a team of international experts to investigate the killing of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, saying the Sri Lanka police were capable of conducting the investigation themselves. Media Minister said President had already directed the Inspector General of Police, Jayantha Wickramaratne, to conduct a thorough and impartial inquiry into Wickrematunge’s death, and more..

APRC talks entering final stages

Jan 11 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) deliberations aimed at finding a political solution to the country’s conflict have entered their final and concluding stages, Committee chairman Professor Tissa Vitarana said Saturday. The APRC is scheduled to sit for the 100th time later this week. Professor Vitarana said President, who knows the importance of pushing through a political solution was firmly committed to the APRC process although more..

Tax net tightens

Jan 11 (SAMN) The Inland Revenue Department is exploring the possibility of formulating a scheme to probe investments of depositors in finance companies who are evading the tax net and to collect taxes from them ‘fairly and courteously’. A senior official of the department said most of these depositors had made investments ranging from Rs.10 million to Rs. 100 million and over in finance companies, in most cases to avoid paying taxes. more..

Controversy over baby elephant transfers

Jan 11 (SAMN) As controversy surrounded preparations to transfer two “babies” from the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) at Uda Walawe to the Pinnawela Orphanage, opinion among activists was divided whether this was a good or bad move. “We are hoping to move ‘Atlas’ and another baby elephant from ETH to Pinnawela on Sunday (today) or this week,” said W.A.D.A. Wijesooriya, Director-General of the Department of Wild Life Conservation. more..

A-9 opening pleases Jaffna Bishop

Jan 11 (SO) The Bishop of Jaffna Rt. Rev. Thomas Savuntharanayagam told the Sunday Observer that he was extremely happy about the opening of the A-9 highway and hoped that the route would now pave way for greater cordiality between North and the South. Rt. Rev. Savuntharanayagam commenting on the importance of the road said that all these days the innocent civilians suffered terribly due to its closure. more..

Sunday Crime: Poverty ends in murder

Jan 11 (SO) Eesha Anurudha Abeysekera was a small time businessman who lived in Kalutara North with his wife Rupika. He was a fruit and a vegetable dealer by profession. His business prospered as years rolled by and lived comfortably with his family. The couple purchased a three-acre plot of land at Horana and grew vegetables and fruits which they sold in the open market. But things did not work out well for him as planned. more..

Kilinochchi - LTTE’s ‘Waterloo’

Jan 11 (SO) Tamil United Liberation Front leader Veerasingam Anandasangaree represented Kilinochchi for more than a decade in Parliament since 1970. It was during his period in 1977 Kilinochchi was established as a separate district. He described that LTTE’s `jungle law’ prevailed since 1995 in Kilinochchi with its police and courts until the region was liberated by the Security Forces with the dawn of 2009. more..

Recognising excellence in A/L 2008 Exam

Jan 11 (SO) Knowledge is the precious gift of a human being. It does not matter in what field one excelled in, but how effective could the knowledge of that person could be used so that the country will be rewarded in turn. In that sense, students who received the highest marks in G.C.E A/L 2008, should also be appreciated for their performance at the examination. Kaween Weerasinghe of Royal College, Colombo received the highest marks in the stream of Bio-science. more..

Who done it?

Jan 11 (NS) A UNP Kotte Municipal Council member has been arrested on suspicion by the Police in connection with the recent attack on MTV/ MBC network at Depanama, Pannipitiya, inflicting heavy damages to the buildings and equipment there, running into hundreds of millions of rupees, and threatening its staff. The Municipal Councillor was produced before Gangodawila Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa, on Friday and remanded till tomorrow. more..

Sundays without Suranimala

Jan 11 (NS) As we waited, breath bated for three hours while doctors attempted to revive Lasantha Wickrematunga from fatal injury he had received last Thursday, there was communal anguish. We wept at the confirmation that he had succumbed to his injuries later that afternoon and as we marched in protest at his brutal murder, the anger and bitterness within the media community was tangible. more..

General Elections 2009; a distinct possibility

Jan 11 (NS) Last week saw a momentous moment in Sri Lanka’s war against terror. The city of Kilinochchi was liberated sparking national celebrations and signifying that the Eelam war was being prosecuted to a finish. The significance of the fall of Kilinochchi was described by many analysts as being the hub of operations for the LTTE. It was the de-facto capital of the terrorists and the centre from which they administered the areas under their control. more..

Kilinochchi fall: Not end of political war

Jan 11 (NS) Democratic People’s Front (DPF) Leader and Colombo District Member of Parliament Mano Ganesan observes that the fall of Kilinochchi is not the end of the political war that successive governments have been waging since independence. Admitting that the fall was a military success, the MP said one cannot get carried away by military victories. He said that the entire nation could celebrate only when a concrete solution was found to the national question. more..

Top Indian delegation to review prevailing situation

Jan 11 (Island) A senior Indian government delegation led by Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka this week to review the prevailing situation in the country, authoritative sources said yesterday. Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, MP, told The Sunday Island this was one of the regular visits undertaken on a reciprocal basis. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils and LTTE cannot be equated: Brinda

Jan 11 (Hindu) CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat on Sunday said her party's concern about the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils should not be misused by any force to support the outlawed LTTE. "The CPI(M) is extremely concerned about the safety and security of Tamil population in Sri Lanka. However, the party would not like this concern to be misused by any force to support LTTE," more..

Remain focused on goals to eradicate terrorism - Gotabhaya

Jan 11 (Island) With the entire A-9 coming under government control after 23 years, Defence Secretary Gothabya Rajapaksa yesterday stressed it is crucial that "we remain focused on our goals and not deviate if we are to unite the country and usher in peace and prosperity by eradicating terrorism". "We must make use of this opportunity, which has opened up after almost three decades, to bring unity and amity to Sri Lanka", he told The Sunday Island from USA, more..

Why was Janaka Perera’s name left out?

Jan 11 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the nation following the capture of strategic Elephant Pass confirm suspicions about the circumstances under which Major General (retd) Janaka Perera was killed, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe asserted. He said that the President had omitted Janaka Perera’s name from the list of key figures killed and the violent incidents he catalogued during his address, and attributed to "an international conspiracy to discredit the government". more..

Lasantha and the shadows of culpability

Jan 11 (Island) It has certainly been a mixed-bag week in Sri Lanka. Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor of the Sunday Leader was shot dead and almost simultaneously we had the security forces liberating Elephant Pass and thereby connecting Dondra Head and Point Pedro for the first time in several decades; the former a cause for grief, anger and fear, and the latter a reason to rejoice, one indicating a diminishing and the other an expansion of democratic space and freedom. more..

Freedom day at Kilinochchi

Jan 11 (ST) The re-capture of Kilinochchi and the continuing military gains had placed the Government in an almost unassailable position. It was doubling up its efforts to convert those battlefield successes into electoral gains. The immediate focus became the upcoming elections to the North Central and Central Provincial Councils. With a package that gave more economic relief than a budget coupled together with military victories became the winning formula. more..

Mystery surrounds MTV mine; UNP sees police conspiracy

Jan 11 (ST) As a cloud of mystery hangs over the claymore mine allegedly found at the scene of last Tuesday’s attack on the MTV/MBC studio complex in Pannipitiya, the main opposition UNP said there was a conspiracy to pin the blame on the party. Earlier, Police spokesperson Ranjith Gunasekara had quoted the Government Analyst as saying an SM 96-type claymore mine weighing more than 8 kilograms was found in the wreckage. more..

Rapid development plan for Kilinochchi town

Jan 11 (ST) In the wake of recent military victories, the Government is venturing on a crash development programme in the newly-liberated Kilinochchi town, with the objective of getting civilians to return and begin a new life. Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa presided over a meeting on Friday in the wake of the security forces’ victory in Elephant Pass – a victory that helped the troops take full control of the strategic A-9 highway more..