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‘Take me to Elephant Pass; I want to see the bulldozer my son destroyed’

Jan 11 (ST) “My only wish is to visit Alimankada and see the LTTE bulldozer my son destroyed,” says 61-year-old Y. L. Juliet, the mother of Army Corporal Gamini Kularathne, better known as Hasalaka Weeraya, who, in 1991, sacrificed his life to save his comrades by attacking an explosives-laden bulldozer driven by an LTTE suicide cadre in Elephant Pass. more..

Navy on alert to thwart any Prabhakaran escape bid

Jan 11 (PTI) With troops advancing towards the last Tamil Tiger bastion of Mullaittivu, Sri Lanka has put its Navy on alert to thwart any possible attempt by LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran to flee the island through sea route. "The Sri Lankan Navy has been put on alert to prevent any attempt by LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran or other senior leaders from fleeing the country," a senior defence official told PTI on Sunday. more..

Sri Lankan air strikes hit retreating rebels

Jan 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military on Sunday launched air attacks against the last remaining jungle hideouts of Tamil Tiger rebels after driving them out of their main strongholds, officials said. Helicopter gunships supported ground troops advancing deeper into the Mullaittivu region, where the retreating LTTE forces are holed up. The defence ministry has said the security forces are ready to deal a "decisive blow" to the rebels after the capture of the strategic Elephant Pass on Friday. more..

Sri Lanka: Soldiers seize rebel training camp

Jan 11 (AP) Sri Lanka soldiers captured a Tamil Tiger training camp as government troops pressed ahead with their offensive against the guerrillas in the country's embattled north, the military said Sunday. The military has achieved a string of major victories against the rebels in recent months — including the capture of the Tamil Tiger administrative capital of Kilinochchi a week ago. more..

India can help resolve ethnic crisis: Sri Lankan party

Jan 11 (PTI) Asking India to intervene and play an active role in resolving the ethnic crisis in the country, a Tamil political party in Sri Lanka on Sunday said only New Delhi can help the island nation in bringing peace there. Up Country People's Front, which represents the Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) in Sri Lanka, said India can also play an important role in uplifting the economic status of the 1.5 million Indian-origin people in the island. more..

Sri Lanka army fights to finish off Tamil Tigers

Jan 11 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops fought toward the shrinking strongholds of the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels on Sunday, the military said, seeking a crushing battlefield victory to end one of Asia's longest insurgent ground wars. The military said it had killed at least 24 rebels after a series of confrontations on Saturday in the small northeastern wedge of jungle which is all that is left of the Tigers' self-proclaimed state. more..

Seven Lankan refugees going back home arrested

Jan 12 (PTI) Seven Sri Lankan Tamils registered as refugees in a camp have been arrested when they attempted to go back to their country illegally from nearby Thangachimadam coastal village. Acting on a tip-off that 13 refugees from the Mandapam camp near here were planning to return to Sri Lanka, the local police kept a vigil on Thangachimadam coast and nabbed seven refugees on Saturday night. Six others escaped on seeing the police, they said.

Sri Lanka ethnic strife leaves both parties defeated

Jan 12 (MN) THE SRI Lankan ethnic rivalry, was created by non-performing, short-sighted leaders of the majority Sinhalese-Buddhist population, who considered the minority Tamils as enemies deserving to be “put in their place permanently”. The rise of Indian nationalism was marked by large-scale Tamil participation, including the contribution of intelligentsia, like poets and writers. And there were no hints of Tamil nationalism within Indian nationalism. more..

Lasantha: A classic case of publish and be damned

Jan 12 (LG) Journalists in Sri Lanka, two to three decades and before, comprised all varieties from brilliant products of universities, dropouts, those fired from various posts of responsibility in state and private sectors to even seamen who had roamed the world in cargo ships. That was the mixture of grizzly old gentlemen of this 'profession' when I joined it in the '60s but gradually it has gained uniformity from O/L and A/L 'pass outs' to graduates in journalism from various institutes. more..

Anglican Conspiracy contention fictitious and fallacious

Jan 12 (LG) An Anglican Conspiracy by Lenin Benedict from Toronto is pock-marked with far too many inaccuracies. In the north, the Anglican Church is a small entity, the third in strength in relation to the other Protestant churches, the American Mission and the Methodists. The Anglican Church hardly wielded any political influence; in fact none. It is like a broody hen that keeps its chicken under its wing. more..

Prabhakaran stuck in a bombed boat without a paddle

Jan 12 (LG) What is Velupillai Prabhakaran fighting for now? After the fall of Killinochchi on January 2, after the fall Elephant Pass and after the relative ease with which the Security Forces are advancing into Tiger territory he is now trapped inside 40 square km (15 sq miles). Equally debilitating is the ban re- imposed on him. Besides, even within that limited space he is shrinking like Alice in Wonderland. So what is he hoping to gain by fighting? more..

Anglican Conspiracies – Naked Communalism from Canada

Jan 12 (LG) At a time when Sri Lanka is rent by Sinhalese-Tamil communalism, I was aghast to read a poorly informed, unsupportable and malicious diatribe on Jaffna Tamil Anglicans by Mr. Lenin Benedict who has been cited elsewhere as the Secretary of the Canadian Democratic Tamil Cultural Association (CDTCA) based in Toronto. Communalism in any form must be put down wherever it raises its ugly head. more..

We have nothing to celebrate but much to shed tears for

Jan 12 (TC) "Special program to mark conquest" said the headline of front page news item of the Sunday observer 4 January that gave the details of celebration. Who the conqueror is clear, though it is not so clear who the conquered is. Disposing few hundred LTTE rebels cannot be a conquest. It must include a territory, property and subjects. So apparently celebrations are for the conquest of Tamil land by the Sinhala army. more..

E.D. Wikramanayake- Appreciation

Jan 12 (AT) President Chandrika Kumaranatunga, at the pinnacle of power, invited a small group of distinguished lawyers for dinner before she presented the disastrous "package" to the nation. Among them was naturally "ED", who had appeared so caringly for her mother when she was out of power. Yet when the dreaded package was introduced and we were looking for a personality to chair a public meeting at the YMBA to protest against it, more..

'Tamil Nadu is partly responsible for the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka'

Jan 12 (AT) Tamil Nadu which is partly responsible for the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, must now wakeup present from its deep slumber and persuade LTTE, if in case unyielding, warn them to release the people to go anywhere they want V. Anandasangaree said. He added that the LTTE has lost the war and it is ridiculous for anyone to still believe that they will regain all what they have lost. more..

Opposition calls for 'unity'

Jan 12 (BBC) Opposition parties in Sri Lanka say every body should unite to protect press freedom and democracy in Sri Lanka. United National Party Leader Ranil Wikcramasinghe invited everyone to attend the funeral of slain journalist Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickremetunge on Monday. “By attending the funeral we can show the government that we will not surrender to its oppression and we will protect the democracy,” he said. more..

UNHCR says situation worsening in East

Jan 12 (VoA) The U.N. refugee agency says it is concerned about the worsening situation in the eastern part of Sri Lanka. It says there has been a significant increase in recent months in the numbers of killings, abductions and injuries in places where Tamil internally displaced people and refugees have returned. During the past two years, most of the more than 200,000 people displaced by fighting in the eastern districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa have returned home. more..

Killing dissent: Lasantha, violence and impunity

Jan 12 (GV) In a country where, it seems, shooting the messenger has become the norm, yet another journalist who sought to highlight everything that is wrong with Sri Lanka today, has been brutally gunned down. Lasantha Wickramatunge is the latest victim of a long list of assassinations of media personnel in Sri Lanka, yet another sorry statistic which has made Sri Lanka one of the most dangerous countries for journalists more..

Sri Lanka urges Middle East to cash in on ‘Asian prosperity’

Jan 12 (GT) Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama was making a presentation on “the Middle East as a partner in Sri Lanka’s economic development to achieve prosperity through connectivity and complementarity”. Sri Lanka, the first country to liberalise its economy in 1977, has continued its policy continuously and consistently, the minister said. more..

Airtel commence operations in Sri Lanka on Monday

Jan 12 (PTI) Ending its long wait, Indian telecom giant Airtel is commencing its Sri Lankan operations on Monday after days of aggressive marketing featuring advertisements of bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan. TV channels or the newspapers, Airtel communication managers have spared no efforts in announcing the arrival of India's telecom giant into the Island country with Khan appearing in all the commercials. more..

Lasantha Wickrematunge speaks after death via editorial of Jan 11th 2009

Jan 12 (TC) No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. more..

Lasantha died for what? Who should reveal corruption and abuse?

Jan 12 (IL) We should all deplore the killing of the editor of the Sunday Leader, Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunge, another young life lost in the midst of war in Sri Lanka. In last three decades of the LTTE activities, the government and LTTE all have spent billions of dollars to buy arms from other countries to kill and get killed by fellow Sri Lankans. The corruption and misuse of power are a global phenomenon not just confined to poor countries or particular religion, region or race. more..

Emir to visit Sri Lanka in May

Jan 12 (TP) The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani will visit Sri Lanka during the first half of this year on an invitation by the Sri Lankan government, a Sri Lankan government official said yesterday. The decision was taken during a meeting held yesterday between the Emir and visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. “His Highness the Emir will visit Sri Lanka in May this year,” more..

Disturbing questions on media rights, advocacy and ethics

Jan 12 (TC) Media is one of the principal conduits supplying information to the people. It is also the main source that exposes misdeeds happening in the country. All important and powerful persons in the country are criticised more or less in the media. Media is also the watchdog that scrutinises the three arms of the government - the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. more..

Positive Zimbabwe search for upset win

Jan 12 (CI) The tri-series warmed up on Saturday with Zimbabwe edging out the hosts Bangladesh by 38 runs, a professional performance which would have given even the big shots a run for their money. One such team which nearly suffered an upset or two against the Zimbabweans in recent times is Sri Lanka. The five-match series in Zimbabwe in November threatened to end as one of the most dubiously one-sided contests after the first two games but more..

You can kill the messenger but the message will live on

Jan 12 (TC) In the corridors of power whether it be Temple Trees, or the lush temples of the JHU monks, there must be a sigh of relief that Lasantha Wickrematunge is dead. For at least for a while, those corrupt deal-makers running the country may feel safe to carry on regardless. Of course there were loud statements trumpeted from those very corridors condemning his assassination and yet more orders to the IGP to probe and pursue his killers. more..

In honor of Lasantha Wickrematunge

Jan 12 (LBO) I did not know the assassinated Mr Wickrematunge. So I do not know whether he would have been honored by mixed metaphors from Chairman Mao. But it does seem appropriate for a life that served the people; and a death that leaves a very large void. Imagine what the landscape would be without the Tai mountain; that’s what the mediascape in Sri Lanka is now. Those who did the killing; gave the orders; and promoted the totalitarian culture that created the conditions for his death and more..

Inter bank transactions mired in legal tangle

Jan 12 (LBO) The widening fallout on Sri Lanka's inter bank markets of petroleum derivatives suspended by court took a new turn this week with state-run People's Bank going to court against privately owned Commercial Bank. People's Bank won a restraining order from Colombo Commercial High Court against Commercial Bank stopping the private bank from taking over 15 million dollars or any other assets of the People's Bank, state run The Daily News reported. more..

The agenda of resurgent EROS

Jan 12 (LG) Whereas EROS was founded in 1975, has fought for the rights of Tamil people, has steadfastly remained pristine in its deeds and duty, held in high esteem by the Tamil people as a liberation movement, in the past, due to various historical circumstances, adopted strategic positions so as to maintain its status and self preservation in light of adversity, has now decided to reintegrate and re-emerge and unify in order to provide a more effective leadership to the Tamil people in the current circumstances. more..

A.R. Rahman wins Golden Globe award

Jan 12 (TC) India’s music composer maestro Alla Rakha Rahman (AR Rahman) created history on Sunday night as he became the first Thamizhian to win a prestigious golden globe award. AR Rahman won a Golden Globe award for Best Original Score for his music in British director Danny Boyle's uplifting underdog tale "Slumdog Millionaire" at "The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards" held on Jan 11th, 2009. more..

Muslims resolve to boycott products of Israel and allies

Jan 12 (PSM) Immediate closure of the Israeli interest section in Sri Lanka and boycotting the products of Israel and the products of multinationals supporting Israel are among the 12 resolutions passed at a massive meeting held in Colombo facilitated by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU). This meeting was attended by several Muslim and Non-Muslim organizations held at Gafoor Hall, Zahira College, Colombo. more..

Lasantha was to complain to Obama about killer squads -Mangala

Jan 12 (LeN) SLFP’s Wing leader and former Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Lasantha Wickramathunga had an audio recording of a confession made by one of the members of the killer squad led by the ‘Ugly American’ and a court injunction against Wickramathunga was obtained to prevent him revealing those facts. Addressing a press conference of joint opposition, MP Samaraweera charged that the same persons assassinated Lasantha Wickramathunga. more..

'If there is an international plot, hand over the investigation too to an international team'

Jan 12 (LeN) The Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe made an open invitation to the masses to participate in the funeral of Lasantha Wickramathunga to protest the brutal killings and to safeguard democracy. The Opposition Leader requested the people to come to Kirimandala Mawatha, Narahenpita at 2.00 PM. The cortege is to leave a cathedral in Kirimandala Mawatha following the funeral service for the General cemetery. more..

Two JVP activists putting up posters against media repression arrested

Jan 12 (LT) Two of its activists putting up posters against government’s media repression have been arrested by Dematogoda Police today at 6.30 a.m. said a spokesman for JVP to ‘Lankatruth.’ The police have said the two members of the JVP were arrested for putting up posters against the government. However, when ‘Lankatruth’ inquired from Dematagoda Police regarding the incident a spokesman said the arrest was made on an order they received from the top.

300 irrigation projects for NCP

Jan 12 (GDI) The North Central Province Irrigation Department has taken measures to implement 300 new irrigation projects costing Rs. 90 million to facilitate water to a large number of farmers using traditional methods, Department sources said. Sources expressed confidence that on the completion of the project a large number of abandoned paddy lands could be used for cultivation purposes. more..

Technical training for Ayurvedha doctors

Jan 12 (GDI) The Indigenous Medicine Ministry will offer technical training to Ayurvedic medical practitioners. The training program will be inaugurated this year under the supervision of Minister of Indigenous Medicine Tissa Karaliyadda. Promoting nutrition among children, lactating and pregnant mothers and prevention of diseases are among the activities to be initiated island wide under the patronage of the Ayurvedic Department for 2009.

Dolos mahe (twelve month) pirith near Ruwanmali Seya

Jan 12 (LP) A twelve month pirith which would be chanted for 365 days continuously began on the 10th at 10 p.m. near Ruwanmali Seya in Anuradhapura. Pirith is chanted to bless President Mahinda Rajapaksa, war heroes, the government and all Sri Lankans. Sacred water brought from three areas in Sri Lanka was taken from Isurumuniya Raja Maha Viharaya to Ruwanmali Seya in a colourful parade. more..

Calls for women to cover up at Cathedral

Jan 12 (UCAN) The clothing some young women wear to Mass at Colombo's main Catholic Church is attracting attention, judging by the messages on the notice board asking them to dress more modestly. Father Tony Martyn, appointed parish priest of St. Lucia's Cathedral in 2006, says Sunday Mass there has become something of a women's fashion parade. This may have silent admirers, but it definitely has others frowning. more..

Mualitivu students skip O/L exam

Jan 12 (LNP) One thousand three hundred students had not attended the recently concluded G.C.E. (O/L) Examination in Mullaitivu district. The reason to not attend the exam is yet to be found, the Zonal Education office in Mullaitivu reported last week. According to a UN based INGO, about 80 per cent of school candidates did not sit for the exam. There were 2152 students who to sit for the exam, however only 1741 sat for the exam while 411 students did not turn up. more..

Video: Largest LTTE Airstrip and Hangers captured in Mullaitivu

Jan 12 (MN) Troops of the 59th Division had been able to take control of the fourth air strip of the LTTE terrorists on January 10th. It is the first airfield found in Mullaitivu. It is two and half kilometres long and the width is 100 metres. The air strip is located within the thick jungles, West of Mullaitivu. Troops of the 9th Sinha regiment under the guidance of Colonel Jayantha Gunaratne of the 593rd Brigade and Brigadier Nandana Udawatte, more..

Pope calls for political solution in Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (SAMN) With the conflict in Sri Lanka heading for a decisive final showdown between the security forces and the LTTE, the head of the Catholic Church Pope Benedict the XVI has stressed that a political solution for Sri Lanka was essential. The Pontiff had expressed his views on Sri Lanka during his annual address to the diplomatic corps where Ambassadors from 178 countries including Sri Lanka were present. more..

SL looks for new foreign job vistas

Jan 12 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is on the look out for new vistas in foreign employment, to face the challenge posed by the global economic melt down, which is threatening to cut down thousands of jobs held by Lankan migrant workers, Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said instead of lying low, Sri Lanka was ready to face the challenge and was already on the look out for new avenues and destinations to propagate the sector. more..

A’pura hospital buries Tiger bodies

Jan 12 (SAMN) Twenty four bodies of LTTE cadres that were in the Anuradhapura hospital mortuary were buried by the authorities Sunday as the LTTE had not come forward to accept them. These bodies belonged to LTTE cadres who had died in attacks launched by troops moving from the Welioya side to Mullaitivu. The police had earlier informed the ICRC to hand over the bodies to the LTTE after the post-mortem examinations were conducted on court orders. more..

Ramba Viharaya a sacred city

Jan 12 (SAMN) The historic Ramba Viharaya at Pallepota, Ambalantota and the area surrounding it is being developed to a sacred city area. The excavation work has already started with the funding of the Department of Archaeology and the Central Cultural Fund. Among the findings that are of historic, archaeological and religious value, so far there are ruins of ancient buildings statues, shrine rooms, Bodhigara, Sanghavasa, caskets of relics, begging bowls and clay ornaments. more..

Sri Lankan director plans film on Neruda’s poem

Jan 12 (Hindu) Sri Lankan director Prasanna Vithanage plans to make a film based on a poem by Pablo Neruda. Mr. Vithanage, who was here on Saturday to attend the Fifth International Film Festival of Thrissur, said the film was inspired by accounts of Neruda’s sojourn in Sri Lanka. Neruda lived in Colombo in 1930 and some of the poems in his book, ‘Residence on Earth’, were written in the island nation. more..

Vaiko’s call to save Sri Lankan Tamils

Jan 12 (Hindu) The general secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Vaiko, has called upon the international community to take note of the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Calling upon Tamils in other parts of the world to show concern for their brethren in Sri Lanka, he said here on Sunday the Tamils in the island nation were victims of a genocide that was being carried out in the name of war against the LTTE. more..

Ceylinco group offers hospital for sale

Jan 12 (LBO) Ceylinco group has put up a partly-built hospital for sale in a bid to raise funds to pay off depositors in an unlisted credit card subsidiary firm that collapsed. A company official said the project was started about one and half years ago to build a specialised hospital for women and children after market surveys revealed a demand in the niche health care sector. The planned 200-bed hospital was estimated to cost 40 million dollars. more..

'We are not owners of environment'

Jan 12 (DN) The Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER) concluded a Training for Trusteeship four-day residential workshop at the Subodhi Institute for Integral Education. Undergraduates who participated were drawn from Universities across the country Students were selected from among outstanding students nominated by Vice Chancellors of the various Universities. more..

Tigers shoot fleeing civilians

Jan 12 (DN) The LTTE is desperately trying to prevent a mass exodus of civilians from un-cleared areas of Mullaitivu, even going to the extent of shooting those defying their orders, as demonstrated in the killing of seven civilians in the Northern Wanni sector on Saturday, Military sources said. However during the last couple of days, more than 200 civilians had sought refuge with the Security Forces and the military was expecting more to arrive during the coming week, more..

Field trip ends in tragedy

Jan 12 (Island) A school field trip ended in tragedy as two students drowned in the Kotmale Oya at Vijaya Bahu Kanda in Kotmale, last Thursday. The victims were identified as Asiri Lankathilaka Bandara (13) and P. Chamara (13), two Grade Eight students of the Berawana Maha Vidyalaya in Kotmale. About 60 students of the school led by three teachers visited the Vijaya Bahu Kanda forest as part of an environment project. more..