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More civilians kills and wounded in SLA attack- LTTE

Jan 13 (LG) “Shelling attack by SLA on Thoddiyadi in Visuvamadu in the Mullaithivu District today at 11.00am killed four civilians, a brother and sister under the age of 16 and two more civilians, the political wing of the LTTE said in an official statement. According to the statement, “fifteen more people were injured in the attack. Among them were three people over the age of 80 and a thirteen year old child.” more..

After Prabhakaran-what next?

Jan 13 (AT) A Prabhakaran dead can be more menacing than a Prabhakharan alive. Prabhakaran missing could be still worse. The call to surrender laying down arms is to place the pill under his tongue - Prabhakaran fears to face Tamils without arms and ammunition. Prabhakaran dead or alive would not matter, if the legitimate grievances of the Tamils are attended, without leaving it in the freezer. more..

Challenging Western perceptions of the Sri Lankan conflict

Jan 13 (PISL) Western press coverage of the conflict in Sri Lanka often demonstrates the ignorance of the journalists sent or usually just assigned to write on it from the comfort of their offices. A recent piece in a British newspaper was particularly ridiculous, and we carry below a reply sent in by the Peace Secretariat. It has not been published, as is so often the case in the Western media. more..

Rise in diabetes among children

Jan 13 (SAMN) The latest findings of the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry have revealed that diabetes among Sri Lankan children has increased from 15 per cent to 17 per cent during the recent past. This was an alarming increase and steps should be taken by parents and teachers to control the situation. At present a majority of schoolchildren are only focused on studies and do not engage in any physical activities at all. more..

More powers for Elections Chief: NEM

Jan 13 (SAMN) Network for Election Monitoring (NEM) set up by Intellectuals for Human Rights Monday warned that violence might increase when provincial council election campaigning begins in earnest and stressed the need to provide the Elections Chief with more power to handle the situation. NEM secretary Anura Karunatilleke told a news conference that it was essential to enforce the existing election laws and more..

Top schools block AIDS awareness efforts

Jan 13 (SAMN) Attitudinal barriers have hindered the battle against HIV/AIDS through awareness campaigns in Sri Lanka, a workshop attended by doctors, health activists and journalists from South Asia heard. Prabu Deepan, Project Manager of the NGO, Save Lanka Kids said: "We had sought permission from 90 school heads to conduct awareness campaigns but only 21 responded positively. Even highly westernized international schools declined the request. more..

Protection of rights of the disabled

Jan 13 (SAMN) Deputy Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Lionel Premasiri, speaking at the opening ceremony of Social Care Services and accessibility facilities to the Railway commuters with disabilities at Maradana Railway Station, said that of the total population of the world about 10 percent or 675 million were persons with disabilities and therefore they were a part of society that couldn’t be overlooked. more..

Oil derivative case takes new turn

Jan 13 (LBO) Public interest litigants who petitioned Sri Lanka's Supreme Court to halt payments on oil derivatives have said they are willing to terminate their cases, if court orders are not carried out, lawyers said. Supreme Court halted payments on oil derivatives sold by several commercial banks to state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and also order the government to bring down petrol prices on a formula. more..

'US Ambassador going beyond his mandate'

Jan 13 (DN) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday accused US Ambassador Robert O. Blake for going beyond his mandate issuing statements about media freedom in Sri Lanka. “He has no right to issue statements about the internal matters of the country,” Weerawansa added. Weerawansa said that it was strange that those who are issuing statements about internal matters of the country are keeping silent when LTTE terrorists are shooting at civilians. more..

Sri Lanka to build yacht marina in southern Galle harbour

Jan 13 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority will start construction work on a yacht marina in the southern Galle harbour this week as part of efforts to promote it as a tourism port, a senior official said. Galle is already a port of call for yachts but lacks adequate facilities to properly cater for existing users and to attract new ones. "We're going to build a cruise terminal and a yacht marina with repair and recreation facilities," more..

Stocks revive after rate cut, tea tonic

Jan 13 (LBO) Shares rose almost across the board Tuesday with fresh interest in plantations although trading volumes remained modest, after a central bank rate cut and a recovery in tea prices, brokers said. But only renewed fund buying could sustain the gains while fears remain that recession could erode company profitability, even if military gains against Tamil Tiger rebels pave the way for a domestic economic recovery, they said. more..

Mass exodus expected

Jan 13 (DN) The Government yesterday reiterated that it was fully prepared to handle the mass exodus of civilians from Vanni, and Vavuniya was being readied as a humanitarian assistance hub to cater to their needs. “Arrangements are underway to provide relief for those coming from uncleared areas seeking shelter and safety,” Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishard Bathuideeen said. more..

Drug blunder doc banned

Jan 13 (AN) A Doctor who prescribed a drug containing penicillin to two patients after they told him they were allergic to it has been suspended for six months. Both patients at the Ashton under Lyne surgery ended up in hospital after they suffered a serious allergic reaction. Dr Saddanather Rajendram, 66, prescribed them amoxicillin when he treated them at an out-of-hours surgery. more..

JVPers pasting posters against media suppression arrested

Jan 13 (Island) Two JVPers were arrested by the Dematagoda Police, while pasting posters against media suppression yesterday morning, to coincide with the date of the funeral of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. The party is call ing on people to witness the level to which media freedom has deteriorated. "Putting up a poster against media suppression and calling upon people to rally round us to protect democracy is no crime. It’s our right. more..

WDJ orders CEB to pay no more than Rs 18 for K’pitiya power

Jan 13 (Island) Power Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne has instructed the CEB Energy Purchasing Branch not to pay more for electricity produced by the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant. "I have informed the chairman of Lanka Transformers Limited to provide electricity at Rs,18.00 per unit though the cost is nearly Rs. 40.00," he told The Island. They agreed to provide a unit at Rs. 18.00. more..

LTTE leaders to surrender?

Jan 13 (DM) With the security forces closing in on the uncleared areas in the North, TMVP leader Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman yesterday said there would be a possibility of secondary level LTTE leaders leaving the organization and surrendering to the military in the future. However, he ruled out the possibility of those in the LTTE hierarchy such as Susai, Bhanu and P. Nadesan doing so. more..

Call came after 16 hours: Lawyer

Jan 13 (DM) Nugegoda Magistrate’s Court ordered the remanding of Kotte Municipal Council’s UNP opposition leader Suraj Jinadasa Perera till January 16 in connection with the burning down of MTV/MBC broadcasting station. Maharagama police told Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa that their investigations were directed towards confirming whether the defender-vehicle belonging to the suspect was involved in the incident. more..

Cornered Tigers

Jan 13 (FL) Ever heard of an engineered, programmed and designed earthquake, cyclone or tsunami? The idea sounds ridiculous and funny. However, that is perhaps the only way to describe the scenes in Kilinochchi town, the administrative and political capital of the LTTE since it lost Jaffna in 1995, hours after it fell into the hands of the Sri Lankan military on the morning of January 2. more..

Muffled media

Jan 13 (FL) The New Year began on an ominous note for the already jolted journalistic community in Sri Lanka. The killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga, the editor of Sunday Leader and a fierce critic of the government, in broad daylight on January 8 following the daredevil attack on the studios of Maharaja Television, one of the largest television networks in the country, on January 6 by unidentified persons have shocked the media world. more..

Sri Lanka to promote coastal tourism in Gujarat

Jan 13 (GG) With its expertise in coastal tourism, Sri Lanka has signed a MOU with Gujarat to promote tourism in the state having 1600 km long coastline. Gujarat is the first state with which Sri Lanka has signed MOU even as Sri Lanka has separate MOU with the Government of India. Announcing this, Sri Lanka Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda said that Sri Lanka and Gujarat will set up working groups to thrash out modalities and areas for the development of tourism. more..

Secretary Defence visits Indonesia

Jan 13 (MoD) Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and a special delegation including Military Liaison Officer Major General (Rtd) W.P.P Fernando and DIG Keerthi Gajanayake made an official visit to the Republic of Indonesia recently, from 4th Jan 2009 till 9th Jan 2009. The visit was aimed at further strengthening bilateral defence cooperation including intelligence sharing for coordinating counter terrorist operations and exchange of training and development programs for military personnel. more..

Indian foreign secretary to meet Rajapaksa

Jan 13 (IANS) Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon will hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a two-day trip to Sri Lanka this week, government sources said Tuesday. Menon is scheduled to arrive late Thursday. He is expected to meet Rajapaksa Friday and discuss issues of bilateral nature, including the present situation in the island's north. Menon will also meet Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. more..

Army pressures Tamil Tiger base

Jan 13 (BBC) Heavy fighting is reported around the sole remaining Tamil Tiger stronghold of Mullaitivu as the army presses ahead with its offensive. The defence ministry said troops had captured one "administration base" with jets bombing jungle hideouts. Rebel sources have not commented on the claim, but say civilians have been wounded by artillery fire. The army is pressing ahead after capturing the rebel HQ of Kilinochchi and the strategic Elephant Pass. more..

Attacks on Media

Jan 14 (GV) Two incidents that happened within a period of 48 hours signified a major blow to media freedom and democracy in Sri Lanka. In the first incident, the main complex of Sirasa TV was attacked and its equipments were destroyed. According to reports, this attack was carried out by about group of 20 armed persons. The second incident that happened in day light on busy road in a Colombo suburb was the killing of Lasantha Wickramathunga, the editor of Sunday Leader by unidentified gunmen. more..

'Lankan Govt ready to hold talks with LTTE’

Jan 14 (EB) Governor of the Western Province of Sri Lanka S.Alavi Moulana (Jamal Al-Lail) on Monday said that the Sri Lankan Government was still ready to hold ceasefire talks with the LTTE. Speaking to mediapersons here on his arrival with a Sri Lankan delegation to visit Thekkumkara Juma Masjid at Kilikollur, he said the government had always opened its doors for talks. But every time the LTTE backed out from the talks. more..

The LTTE is falling down. So what should the Govt do?

Jan 14 (GV) The dawn of the New Year was indeed a special moment for the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. Within the space of 24 hours, the Army had overrun both Paranthan and Kilinochchi, effectively ending the LTTE’s de-facto state and setting the stage for control over the entire Jaffna peninsula. Indeed, the fall of Elephant Pass is only days away. The LTTE will be forced to retreat to Mullattivu but with the fall of Oddusuddan, it is a matter of time before this final bastion also falls. more..

‘LTTE has staged highest number of suicide attacks'

Jan 14 (EB) By carrying out 168 suicide attacks between 1984 and 2000, the LTTE had set a record for this form of terrorism in this period, the Sri Lankan Minister for Health, Nimal Sripala de Silva, said. He was quoted in the state-owned ‘Daily News’ as saying that the LTTE had carried out 346 attacks targeting civilians and had killed 3,262 of them between 1984 and 2006. Of these, 2,252 were Sinhalese, 309 were Tamils and 701 were Muslims. more..

Sri Lanka targets more Arab travellers from the Gulf

Jan 14 (MEE) A high level delegation from Sri Lanka, comprising Honourable Faizer Musthapha, Deputy Minister of Tourism, and SLTPB Managing Director, Dileep Mudadeniya will be visiting Dubai to participate in a two-day meeting with Heads of all Sri Lankan Missions in the Middle East called by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting will be chaired by Honorary Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs on January 14th and 15th. more..

Congress MLA receives threat to his life from LTTE supporter

Jan 14 (PTI) A Congress legislator from Tamil Nadu on Monday received a threat to his life, purportedly from an LTTE supporter, for his continued opposition to the banned outfit. K Hasan Ali, who represents the Ramanathapuram segment, received a telephone call warning him of "consequences" if he continued with his opposition to the LTTE, police sources said. The caller, who said he was speaking from London, identified himself as a supporter of LTTE. more..

Kilinochchi Doctors seek support to treat civilians

Jan 14 (TW) Dr.T.Sathyamoorthy, Regional Director of Health Services in Kilinochchi District has written to Health Officials in Colombo seeking assistance to improve health care services to civilians being hit in Sri Lanka Army artillery fire in Northern Sri Lanka. Full Text of Dr.T.Sathyamoorthy’s letters to officials in Colombo as follows: Dear Sir; Hospitals need protection from attack. Displaced hospitals are functioning in the following places more..

Sri Lanka tightens snare on Tigers, rebel leader

Jan 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is tightening the snare around the Tamil Tigers and their elusive leader with air raids and a sea blockade in an offensive that is fast taking the separatist rebels' last territory, the military said on Tuesday. Air force jets hit a jungle hideout often used by LTTE founder Vellupillai Prabhakaran on Monday night, the air force said. The air force said the target had been hit, but it was not clear if Prabhakaran was there. more..

Executive 'should obey judiciary'

Jan 14 (BBC) The executive is bound by Sri Lanka's constitution to implement rulings of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice (CJ) Sarath Nanda Silva said. He warned that the rule of law in the country will be diminished if the executive does not obey court rulings. The CJ made the remarks as petitions against the hedging deals to control fuel prices were taken into consideration. more..

Modi wants a Buddhist temple in Gujarat

Jan 14 (IANS) Underlining the importance of the Buddha's teachings in the contemporary world, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said he wished to build a Buddhist temple in the state. 'Gujarat has ancient structures of Buddhist temples. The life and ideals of the Buddha are still relevant in today's material world that continue to inspire us one and all to seek a purpose of life and follow the path of righteousness,' Modi said more..

Bangladesh in knockout scenario

Jan 14 (CI) The instruction is straightforward for Bangladesh - go forth and win. After conceding their opening game against Zimbabwe with an inept display of batting, the final league game of the series now assumes a knock-out scenario for the home side. Sri Lanka currently stand on top of the points table with five, having gained a bonus point, followed by Zimbabwe on four. Bangladesh are yet to open their account and more..

Sri Lankan editor row escalates

Jan 14 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government has accused the opposition of trying to gain political advantage from last week's murder of a prominent newspaper editor. Engineering Services Minister Rajitha Senaratne said he did not know who had killed Lasantha Wickramatunga but it was the opposition that had benefited. The Sunday Leader editor was one of the government's leading critics. He was shot in the head by unknown killers. more..

Growing concern over civilians’ fate in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Air Force on Tuesday claimed it had carried out 10 raids targeting “observed LTTE gathering places and defence line” in Mullathivu district. The Air Force stepped up its offensive in Mullathivu, the last remaining stronghold of the Tigers in the Wanni region, to flush out LTTE leaders and cadre from their hideouts in the thick jungles. However, civil society within and outside the nation is concerned about the fate of civilians stranded in areas that more..

Defending Dissent

Jan 14 (ML) Defeating terrorism, as the ruling regime constantly reminds us is the overarching, national priority — everything else pales into insignificance in the face of this imperative. Most however, will understand this to mean the war against the LTTE, whilst too few, an insufficient number, recognise that this is a much larger fight, especially in light of the crimes that have been perpetrated in the last week. more..

No breakthrough in investigations

Jan 14 (ML) The police are yet to make a breakthrough in the assassination of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. Wickrematunge was brutally gunned down in broad daylight by unidentified gunmen on Thursday, but even after six days the police are yet to find a clue as to his assailants. Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said that the police are yet to trace some of the telephone calls that Wickrematunge had received moments before the killing. more..

Avenge Lasantha’s killing

Jan 14 (ML) The death of no other journalist has generated so much anger among the Sri Lankan people than that of Lasantha Wickrematunge. He was not a man adored by the masses and he never did attempt to be a demagogue. He was hardly known by the people apart from the public exposes he made of corrupt regimes and their leaders, communalists and racists. more..

AHRC alleges inquiries are ‘bogus’

Jan 14 (ML) A leading international human rights organisation has alleged that inquiries into politically sensitive crimes in Sri Lanka have turned out to be bogus and called upon the state and the judiciary to speed up such investigations. The Hong Kong based AHRC in a statement yesterday said that "in any rule of law system stopping assassinations is achieved through prompt, efficient and credible inquiries into any such crime. more..

Soldiers to contest PC elections

Jan 14 (BL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken a decision to nominate soldiers to contest future elections. In a bid to pay tribute to the war heroes who are on a steady march to capture northern territory held by the LTTE, President Rajapaksa has taken a decision to nominate soldiers at district level, to contest the forthcoming Provincial Council Elections. This decision was taken by the President recently and has been welcomed by party members and supporters, more..

Lasantha, the undaunted realist

Jan 14 (BL) This column joins the people of this country to salute Lasantha Wickrematunga the undaunted fighter for the establishment of a transparent, secular, liberal democratic Sri Lanka. I was one of his admirers who repeatedly warned him of the danger he faced. “Saba! Don’t worry,” he laughed out loud every time I cautioned. “It’s better to die than be silent.” He had been finally silenced. I am sure he would have been thrilled to see that so many people were with him. They stood by him. more..

Dullas warns UNP against using media attacks to garner votes

Jan 14 (BL) Transport Minister Dullas Allahaperuma warned the UNP against using media attacks to gain political points, insisting that the government was too strong for such ploys. He stressed, “We are strongly requesting the opposition to give us a good competition rather than pitting us against an undeveloped, weak, and collapsed election campaign. We expect and want the UNP to give us a good fight, which they were unable to do in the Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Council elections.” more..

JHU to muster Catholic Church support for Anti-Conversion Bill

Jan 14 (BL) The architect of the Anti-Conversion Bill, the JHU, is to muster the support of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy along with Buddhist and Hindu organisations for its ‘Prohibition of Forcible Religious Conversions Bill,’ which is scheduled to be presented before Parliament by February. JHU Spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that the Bill is to be submitted to Parliament next month for its third reading and vote, after completing its committee stage. more..

Why we don’t trust “Independent” and “Impartial” investigations in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (TC) Two incidents that happened within a period of 48 hours signified a major blow to media freedom and democracy in Sri Lanka. In the first incident, the main complex of Sirasa TV was attacked and its equipments were destroyed. According to reports, this attack was carried out by about group of 20 armed persons. The second incident that happened in day light on busy road in a Colombo suburb was the killing of Lasantha Wickramathunga, more..

From Richard to Lasantha: A tale of two assassinations

Jan 14 (TC) Eighteen years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Inquest on a System’ about the murder of Richard de Zoysa. Hearing of the tragedy that had befallen Lasantha Wickramatunga, my mind went back to that essay, because here too was an individual who was larger than life, whose political progress was a remarkable record of the recent political history of this country, and whose murder raised similar questions to that of Richard. more..

Editorial: Muzzling the press in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (VoA) The following are the words of Lasantha Wickrematunga, a Sri Lankan newspaper editor who for years exposed official corruption and voiced criticism of the Sri Lankan government: "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. more..

Thai Pongal message of the President

Jan 14 (LT) I am pleased to send this message of greetings to the Hindus of Sri Lanka as they join their fellow religionists the world over to mark the most widely celebrated Hindu Festival of Sri Lanka. Thai Pongal which falls on the first day of the month of Thai has a hallowed tradition as a festival of the Sun that is the source of good harvests, and a harvest festival that celebrates the rewards reaped by the hard work of cultivators. more..

Thai Pongal message of the JVP

Jan 14 (LT) Today is the Thai Pongal festival celebrated by Hindu devotees to express gratitude to Sun which give strength for agriculture throughout the year. According to Hindu almanac today is the first day of the year. Thai Pongal day this year is significant to Hindu devotees in Sri Lanka. By now the masses in the North imprisoned within separatism and separatist terrorism are unshackling themselves from that gloom. more..

Thai Pongal message of the UNP

Jan 14 (LT) Thaipongal is a day of celebration by all Hindus across the World who consider it a sacred day while also giving thanks to the Sun associated with a rich harvest of paddy. The Farmers also make this an occasion to show their gratitude to all and everything that helped them in reaping a good harvest. These include the animals, implements, the environment and others who have contributed to the success. A tradition that has come down throughout history. more..