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Railway commuters stranded during weekend

Jan 12 (Island) Railway commuters had to undergo numerous hardships due to a strike launched by the Railway Locomotive Engineers Union during the weekend. The union has decided not to report for work on public holidays as a protest against the suspension of some of its members including its President. Department sources said that only 90 train routes out of a total number of 290 had been operational during the weekend. more..

Opposition parties point finger at Govt. hit squads

Jan 12 (DM) Opposition political parties yesterday urged the government to seek the help of international intelligence agencies if there was an international conspiracy behind the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and the burning down of the MTV/MBC broadcasting station. The main opposition UNP, the SLFP (M), the SLMC, the New Left Front and the United Socialist Party at a joint news conference dismissed government claims of an international conspiracy and more..

Govt. pushes for UN ban on LTTE

Jan 12 (DM) The government has speeded up its action for lobbying at the United Nations (UN) to secure a UN ban on the LTTE with the world body yet to name the LTTE as a terrorist organization in keeping with its Security Council resolution on international terrorism. The Security Council resolution (1373), adopted shortly after the terrorist attack in the United States on September 11, 2001, laid down wide-ranging comprehensive steps and strategies to combat international terrorism. more..

Kulasekara, Mendis demolish Zimbabwe

Jan 12 (CI) Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis executed the perfect demolition job to not only complete the win against Zimbabwe in the second match of the Tri-Nation Tournament in Bangladesh, but also ensure a bonus point. In the process, Mendis became the fastest to 50 ODI wickets when he had Ray Price stumped by Kumar Sangakkara, as Zimbabwe surrendered tamely during their chase. more..

Washington’s criminal role in the Sri Lankan state’s anti-Tamil war

Jan 12 (wsws) The brief interval last week between the US repudiation of the "peace process" and the Colombo government's ban on the LTTE exemplifies Washington's criminal role—as both instigator and facilitator—in Sri Lanka's communal war. Last Wednesday, the US embassy in Colombo issued a statement that welcomed the Sri Lankan state's recent victories in the war with the LTTE and urged Sri Lanka's government and military to press forward with the annihilation of the LTTE. more..

Tamil Tigers: A roar till the last gasp

Jan 12 (EB) In the first week of December, less than a month before the LTTE abandoned Kilinochchi, two boats landed on the Eastern seaboard of Mulaitivu with precious cargo for the separatists. The boats, carrying arms and ammunition, had escaped detection and interdiction although intelligence had been passed on to the Sri Lankan navy. It was another indication that despite the loss, over a two-year period, of 10 cargo vessels the LTTE had been using to ferry arms, more..

Tigers turn on themselves

Jan 12 (AT) Even as it is suffering serious blows inflicted by the Sri Lankan armed forces and the ground beneath its feet shrinks by the day, the LTTE appears to be gripped by a serious internal crisis. If Sri Lankan intelligence is to be believed, all has not been well between the two most powerful men in the LTTE - leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and intelligence chief, Shanmugalingam Sivashankar, better known as Pottu Amman. more..

A voice cries freedom from beyond the grave

Jan 12 (TMG) Back from Beijing to report, with the heaviest heart, the murder of one of Sri Lanka's bravest and most controversial journalists. Lasantha Wickrematunge was stabbed and shot to death in broad daylight last Friday as he drove to work at The Sunday Leader, the liberal Colombo-based newspaper he edited. His death - conveniently obscured in the news agenda abroad by events in Gaza and and at home by Sri Lankan army's gains against the LTTE in the Elephant Pass more..

Tamils issue: TN CM to hold talks with PM, Sonia

Jan 12 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Monday said he will again hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue to bring about a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in the island nation. "I will once again speak to Prime Minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the Lankan Tamils issue," Karunanidhi told reporters here. more..

'Culture of violence getting ingrained in society'

Jan 12 (IPS) One of the worst legacies of the decades-old civil war in this island country is the culture of violence and impunity that many fear has become ingrained in Sri Lankan society -- once known for ‘serendipity’ and respect for Buddhist virtues. While some believe that the country is currently going through yet another periodic cycle of violence and uncertainty, others think that the situation has reached a nadir. more..

Thousands mourn Sri Lanka editor

Jan 12 (BBC) Thousands of mourners have attended the funeral of a leading Sri Lankan newspaper editor and fierce government critic who was shot dead last week. Security was tight in Colombo as crowds paid their last respects to Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramatunga. Reports say some 10,000 people attended a Christian service ahead of a burial ceremony at Colombo's main cemetery. Journalists in Sri Lanka have suffered a string of attacks as the war with Tamil Tiger rebels has intensified. more..

'Suppression of media rights to free expression of ideas need to be condemned'

Jan 13 (LG) Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, Secretary General of EPDP, issuing a statement on the attack of “Sirasa” Media Institution and brutal slaying of Mr. Lasantha Wickramatunga, has stated that at a time a war is waged against terrorism, the media needs to act responsibly exercising care and caution paying due concern to the society we live in. more..

Thirteen-Plus and Thirty-one-Plus

Jan 13 (LG) The Sri Lankan Government's decision to proscribe the LTTE after a six-year gap comes in the wake of a similar ban existing already in 31 other countries, starting with the immediate Indian neighbour. Accompanied by the oft-repeated promises that the Government would simultaneously work on a power-devolution package based on the Thirteenth Amendment, the ban raises both questions and hopes of a political solution to end the ethnic war and violence. more..

Congratulations Sri Lanka Guardian

Jan 13 (LG) Today’s (January 11) Sri Lanka Guardian carries a rich variety of features that are a credit to the media in Sri Lanka and that too at a time when a brave and brilliant journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge was gunned down by unknown gunmen on a very busy street in Colombo. There were features on this horrendous assassination, every one of them so passionate in their tribute to such a great exponent of the Fourth Estate of the Realms, more..

Farewell to Lasantha

Jan 13 (LG) The last time I met Lasantha Wickrematunge was on board the plane to Geneva. We both were on assignment to cover the peace talks held between February 22 -23, 2006. This was the first round of talks between the Tigers and President Mahinda Rajapakse. The new administration had hardly any time to settle in. It was still adhering to the Ceasefire Agreement signed by Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was still committed to a negotiated settlement. more..

Sri Lanka to ease tight monetary stance in 2009

Jan 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank said on Monday it would ease its tight monetary policy stance this year, and cut the penalty rate on reverse repurchase transactions to 17 percent from 19 percent. The central bank has been maintaining a tight monetary policy with a reserve money targeting method to curb inflation that hit a record level in June 2008, by releasing only necessary cash required to the market. more..

'Cinnamon industry which brought Rs.9000 million income has collapsed'

Jan 13 (LT) The cinnamon industry which brought more than Rs.9000 million income for Sri Lanka has collapsed says convener of Cinnamon Producers United Union, Parliamentarian Ajith Kumara. He pointed out that developing cinnamon industry would be a big boost to Sri Lankan economy. “A main issue that the cinnamon industry is confronted with is the absence of a fixed price. There is no fixed price in the country and no one knows what price a kilo of cinnamon is sold in the world market. more..

Lawyers protest Lasantha murder

Jan 13 (BBC) Lawyers in Sri Lanka have protested the killing of Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga. Marching from Supreme Court complex to the headquarters of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) in Colombo, they called for a thorough investigation into the murder. Mr. Wickrematunga, a lawyer himself was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen on Thursday. President of BASL, W Dayaratne, urged the government not to let the assassins to go unpunished. more..

Soldiers seize rebel camps

Jan 13 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured two Tamil Tiger rebel camps amid heavy fighting while the air force launched attacks on retreating rebels as government troops pressed ahead with their offensive against the guerrillas in the 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..

Lankan Tamil legislators urge India to initiate peace talks

Jan 13 (ANI) A Sri Lankan lawmakers delegation belonging to the Tamil National Alliance Party, on Monday, appealed to the Tamil Nadu and Indian Governments to intervene in the military offensive against the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the island nation. The team of five legislators asked the Indian leadership to mediate and save the lives of thousands of innocent Tamils. more..

Sri Lankan editor points finger from the grave

Jan 13 (AP) Lasantha Wickrematunge, a prominent Sri Lankan journalist and outspoken critic of the government's war on ethnic Tamil rebels, knew he was marked for death — and thought he knew why. Three days after he was gunned down execution-style, Wickrematunge's newspaper published a haunting, self-written obituary Sunday in which he says he was targeted for his writings and adds: "When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me." more..

Mass protest at funeral of slain Sri Lanka editor

Jan 13 (Reuters) Thousands marched in the funeral procession of a slain Sri Lankan newspaper editor in the capital Colombo on Monday, demanding the government punish those responsible to ensure media freedom and democracy. A packed crowd gathered at the entrance of Sri Lanka's main cemetery in one of the largest protests in recent memory, blocking roads and vowing to fight until democracy was restored. more..

BCCI officials to visit Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (CI) Senior Indian board (BCCI) officials will reach Colombo on January 13 to discuss and possibly finalise a short Indian tour of Sri Lanka next month. The Indian delegation will be headed by BCCI secretary N srinivasan, who will also meet Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse and the sports minister Gamini Lokuge. The tour, to be held between January 27-February 14, will comprise of five or seven ODIs and a Twenty20, more..

LTTE holds over 200,000 captive

Jan 13 (AA) New Delhi's silence was as welcome for Colombo as it was worrying for ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. As Sri Lankan fighter jets and attack helicopters pounded LTTE positions on Monday, the Tamils feared for the safety of civilians in the Wanni area and those others trapped behind LTTE lines in the jungles of Mullaittivu. While the pro-LTTE TNA appealed to New Delhi and Chennai in the same breath to intervene and save the lives of civilians caught in the conflict zone, more..

Exclusive Interview: M.I.A.

Jan 13 (DH) The heart of Sri Lanka's civilians, the soul of United Kingdom, and the memories of being a Sri Lankan refugee are all parts of what creates M.I.A's flow! Maya Arulpragasam, better known as her stage name M.I.A., experienced a journey that is heard through her music. The Grammy Awards nominated artist was born in the UK. Six months after her birth, she and her family moved to Sri Lanka where M.I.A spent the next ten years of her life. more..

Christians join media protest against TV studio attack

Jan 13 (UCAN) Christians joined a protest against attacks on a TV studio, voicing concern about freedom of the press. About 100 protesters from media groups, the National Christian Council, Protestant priests, and Catholic journalists and laypeople rallied on Jan. 6 to protest against an attack the previous night. They gathered in front of Colombo's main railway station, a common place for rallies. more..

Winners and Losers in Crushing the LTTE

Jan 13 (AT) The most obvious winners in this are the genuine indigenous native born Tamil Hindu people who have from time immemorial been living off the land working all day in the fields and drawing water by hand from deep wells. It is hoped that the government will supply electricity to these people so that water could be pumped to their fields as is being done throughout the Ganges plain. more..

Tamils found a haven in Canada, but so did Tigers

Jan 13 (National) Amid the strip malls and industrial areas of this city’s east end stands the former office of the World Tamil Movement, a front for the LTTE. Its mirrored-glass exterior betrays none of its past as a fundraiser for the Tamil Tigers or a social agency for Tamils living in the Toronto area. The only sign of past occupancy is a real-estate lockbox clamped to the mailbox, crammed with copies of Viduthalai, a nationalist Tamil daily newspaper. more..

Hamas and Tamil Tigers — violence, justice and peace

Jan 13 (WT) Thousands of miles of ocean and years of history separate Gaza and Kilinochchi. But the fall of the “capital” of the Tamil Tigers [LTTE] in the early hours of 2009 has vast portent. The significance is not only for Sri Lanka, its Sinhalese [Buddhist] majority, its large Tamil [Hindu] minority and the country’s variegated spectrum of other religious, ethnic and social groupings. more..

Lanka-LTTE war a lesson in use of force

Jan 13 (AA) AT A time when India is struggling to find the right policy mix to deal with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, two other terrorism-related struggles are drawing global attention. The more high-profile one is the Israeli counter offensive against Hamas but another equally significant development is the gradual rout of the LTTE by the Sri Lankan armed forces. The Sri Lankan military is hoping that 2009 would be the year that would finally witness the demise of the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka seeks closer economic integration

Jan 13 (TP) Sri Lanka’s visiting Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has invited businessmen from the Middle East to invest in his country for greater economic integration. “There is much potential to invest in infrastructure development, petroleum and petroleum-related products, electronics, textiles, banking and the service sector in Sri Lanka,” Bogollagama said while making a presentation on the Middle East region as a partner for Sri Lanka’s economic development, more..

Sri Lanka offers Qatar land for farming

Jan 13 (GT) Sri Lanka has offered farm land to Qatar to grow food on the fertile island. The offer was made when Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama called on Qatar’s authorities, including HH the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani. The minister noted that Qatar had been seeking to invest in agricultural land in foreign countries to more..

Don’t ignore plight of Lankan Tamils, Karunanidhi tells Centre

Jan 13 (TOI) Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi said he will ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to intervene on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and ensure a ceasefire. ”The killing of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka has afflicted our collective conscience. I will again take up the matter with Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting them to speed up proactive moves to solve the problem,” more..

'Our key objective is to re-establish democracy and democratic governance'

Jan 13 (AT) Bringing A-9 Road and the railway line under the control of the Government after a lapse of many years was a historic event. Though the victory on the battlefield gives comfort and reassures of the future direction of the country, but must also be aware of the challenges that will confront, particularly from the perspective of this Foreign Affairs Ministry. more..

Sri Lanka bombs rebel leaders' hide-out

Jan 13 (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets and attack helicopters pounded rebel positions, including a hide-out used by top rebel leaders, as infantry clashes killed at least 19 rebels, the military said. The new fighting came as government forces pressed ahead Monday with their offensive to crush the Tamil Tiger rebels and seize the insurgents' last stronghold in the north. The military has won a string of major victories against the rebels in recent weeks, more..

Dying for free speech in Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (Guardian) While driving to work on 8 January Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor in chief of the Sunday Leader, was assassinated by four gunmen on motorcycles. He was shot at point-blank range after being forced to stop at a traffic light. He was rushed to the Kalubowila hospital where he later died. His death came just two days after a major arson attack on the privately owned MVC/MTV television studios in Colombo. more..

Sri Lankan nationals detained at McAllen airport

Jan 13 (TM) A man accused of aiding three Sri Lankan nationals to enter the country illegally is set to make an early court appearance this morning. U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Suresh Suntharalingam, 38, of Canada, on Wednesday, after customs inspectors at McAllen-Miller International Airport found him holding plane tickets for the three illegal immigrants carrying fake Canadian identification cards. more..

Sri Lankan death squads kill editor and ransack TV station

Jan 13 (wsws) Two brazen attacks on the media in Sri Lanka last week constitute a sharp warning that the government and the military will not tolerate any, even limited, criticism of its communal war against the LTTE. Last Thursday, Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of the Sunday Leader, was shot dead in broad daylight as he drove to work on a busy suburban road. According to eyewitnesses, four masked gunmen rode up to his car on motorbikes. more..

SEP and ISSE public lecture in Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka will hold a public lecture on January 15 to discuss the impact of the global financial crisis across South Asia and internationally, and its revolutionary implications. The global crisis has exploded all the myths of the "free market" and exposed the bankruptcy of the anarchic profit system. more..

48 doctors for North East hospitals

Jan 13 (GDI) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has appointed 48 doctors for Northern and Eastern Province hospitals and this is the first step of upgrading the free health service in liberated areas. After handing over appointment letters intern doctors, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva provided medical equipment worth over Rs. 80 million to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital to ensure a quality service to war heroes. more..

New Foreign employment opening in Korea

Jan 13 (GDI) Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare has organized a special foreign employment Pilot Project in collaboration with the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training for those seeking foreign employments. Recruitments are carried out in accordance with the service given by the Human Resources Development Service Division attached to the Labour Ministry of the Korean Government. more..

Govt. provides relief to those coming from un-cleared areas

Jan 13 (GDI) The Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services, Abdul Risath Bathiyutheen has made all arrangements to provide relief to those coming from un-cleared areas in accordance with President’s instructions. People coming from un-cleared areas into government controlled areas will be provided with cooked meals, dry rations, drinking water, health and sanitary facilities, electricity, cooking utensils, clothes, infant food and all other essential items. more..

'Government sells war to win elections'

Jan 13 (LT) The present government is using victories achieved by the Security Forces to bring victory to their political agendas says Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. When the heroic soldiers are fighting in the North with tremendous sacrifices and while the masses are enduring burdens on behalf of the war the government, without making any sacrifice but engaged only in fraud, corruption and waste, more..

Credit for liberation of northern should accrue to the forces

Jan 13 (GDI) The Government believes that the major portion of credit for liberation of northern areas should accrue to the heroic security forces that have relentlessly and at great risk and cost taken on the world's most ruthless terrorist organization and triumphed, Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said at the special news briefing held at the Government Information Department today (13). more..

University of Vocational Technology in future- Piyasena Gamage

Jan 13 (GDI) Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training has taken steps to establish a University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTECH) and to upgrade nine technical colleges, one from each province as Colleges of Technology (COTs), Minister of Vocational and Technical Training Piyasena Gamage said at the media conference held at the Government Information Department today (13). more..

APRC determined for politcal solution despite calls to scrap

Jan 13 (PSM) APRC is determined to go ahead in seeking a political solution amidst calls for scrapping it by extreme politcal parties in the South who withdrew from the APRC process. The APRC which met yesterday after recent military advances in the North is to meet again next week, 19th and 20th of January. The APRC chairman Prof. Thissa Vitharana at yesterday's meeting stressed the need to meet through out the month of January and February and finalise the package for the political solution. more..

Needy schools in Jaffna get new equipment and furniture

Jan 13 (LP) As the first step to distribute equipment to needy schools in Jaffna District Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, distributed equipment and furniture. Black boards, white boards, computers, photocopying machine, library books, desks and chairs, were among the distributed items. Mattuwil Central College, Kaithadi Maha Vidyalaya, Mattuvil St. Nayakie College, Kalvasal Sri Shanmuganatha College, Mattuwil Government Mix College, more..

Solidarity demo by BASL – not politically motivated

Jan 13 (LP) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) unreservedly and vehemently condemned the assassination of Attorney-at-Law Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremetunga yesterday. President of the BASL W. Dayaratne speaking at a demonstration attended by Attorney-at-Law against the assassination of Wickremetunga organised by the BASL held in front of the BASL at Hulftsdorp called upon the authorities to bring the perpetrators before justice without delay. more..

India to play five ODIs in Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (CI) Sri Lanka will host India for a five-match ODI series in addition to a Twenty20 game prior to heading off for the second leg of their tour of Pakistan. BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said the tour would take place between the end of January and early February, with the tour itinerary to be issued in the next two days. Sri Lankan sports minister Gamini Lokuge said the Indian tour would not clash with Sri Lanka's tour of Pakistan. more..

Slain Sri Lankan editor an Australian resident

Jan 13 (ABC) Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says he is concerned about "systematic efforts" against Sri Lankan media, following the killing of a newspaper editor who was an Australian permanent resident. Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wikrematunga was shot dead by gunmen. He had been critical of both the Sri Lankan Government and Opposition. This morning Mr Smith confirmed Mr Wikrematunga was a permanent resident of Australia and said his death was deeply regrettable. more..