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Chronicle of a death foretold

Jan 16 (Economist) The good that men do is not always interred with their bones. This week saw the publication of a remarkable posthumous column by Lasantha Wickrematunge, a Sri Lankan newspaper editor. He had written it in anticipation of his own murder. That duly came on January 8th, when gunmen on motorcycles shot him on his way to work in the capital, Colombo. He was a brave campaigning journalist. And like too many brave campaigning journalists in Sri Lanka, he is now dead. more..

Defeating Terrorists

Jan 16 (WSJ) For all those who argue that there's no military solution for terrorism, we have two words: Sri Lanka. This week, the Sri Lankan army said it had captured the last piece of the northern Jaffna Peninsula, one of the few remaining strongholds of the LTTE, a terrorist organization that has waged a 26-year civil war that's claimed tens of thousands of lives, including those of a Sri Lankan President and an Indian Prime Minister. That's a huge turnaround from only three years ago, more..

Democracy and Dynasty (Part 01)

Jan 16 (LG) The murder of Lasantha Wickremetunga dealt the Lankan democratic system a blow from which it is unlikely to recover in the foreseeable future. Relieved of the ‘anxiety psychosis’ created by Lasantha’s amazing capacity to reveal the concealed, the Ruling Family will pursue its dynastic project to its tyrannical conclusion, with increased vigour and a greater sense of impunity. Lasantha’s brand of journalism was controversial, to say the least; at times it went beyond the parameters of good taste. more..

Prabhakaran is tactically withdrawing into the Sea

Jan 16 (LG) Ever since Velupillai Prabhakaran lost Mavil Aru he has been tactically withdrawing. Curiously enough we understand that the sun Sun God now has decided tactically to withdraw into the sea. He came to this original decision after reading ‘Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Sea’ by Jules Verne. The plan is brilliant in its elegance and simplicity. more..

Heads of foreign mssions in Lanka on a tour of heritage sites

Jan 16 (AT) In a bid to showcase Sri Lanka as a tourist destination with diverse attractions, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau stepped forward recently to invite the Colombo based heads of foreign missions in the country, to visit heritage sites of special interest. In the first of a series of tours and other specialized activities to continue into 2009, several ambassadors and other members of the delegations representing countries such as more..

HRW determines 'end of ceasefire' in Sri Lanka cause for deterioration of human rights

Jan 16 (AT) The Human Rights Watch annual report released here in Washington on Wednesday, January 14 in its assessment on Sri Lanka faults the Government of Sri Lanka’s unilateral withdrawal from the ceasefire agreement with separatist Tamil Tigers deteriorated the human rights situation in the country. While mentioning the excesses of the LTTE in passing the report blames the government using emergency regulations for widespread arrests and detentions. more..

U.S. govt renovates seven schools and one hospital in Eastern Province

Jan 16 (USE) To improve the lives of Sri Lankans affected by the conflict, the U.S. Government, through the USAID and the U.S. Pacific Command, is rehabilitating five schools in Trincomalee District and one hospital and two schools in Batticaloa District. U.S. Government officials joined national, provincial and local education and health officials, community leaders, school and hospital staff, students and their families, and more..

Conference of Heads Sri Lankan Mission in the Middle East held in Dubai

Jan 16 (AT) The first ever two day regional meeting of Sri Lankan Ambassadors in the Middle East was held in Dubai on 14 - 15 January, under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Eleven Sri Lankan Envoys participated at the meeting along with several government and private sector agencies having a broad range of interests in the region. The objective of the meeting was to prepare an Action Plan which would more..

Editor’s murder puts govt in the dock

Jan 16 (Hindu) Pressure continues to mount on the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to bring to book those behind the assassination of Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of Sunday Leader and a fierce critic of the government, on January 8. Failure of the authorities to make any headway into the investigation a week after the murder has not only strengthened suspicions of possible involvement of elements within the establishment in the crime but also overshadowed the impressive gains made by the military against the LTTE, more..

Sri Lanka secret: New tactics, arms

Jan 16 (AA) A combination of factors such as a determined political establishment, tactical changes on the battlefield and military hardware from China and Pakistan, coupled with depleting rebel cadres, appears to have paid rich dividends to Sri Lanka as it inches ever closer to exploding the myth of the LTTE’s invincibility. Sri Lankan minister Keheliya Rambukwella attributed Colombo’s recent military successes over the LTTE to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s more..

How "fair" is Sri Lanka's media?

Jan 16 (AT) Media can be defined in many ways and for each of us it will have different and varying connotations. By and large what we aspire to gage from media is information leaving us to decide and derive at our own conclusions. Yet, most often media attempts to enlarge their "informative" mandate to coerce the readers or viewers to "buy into" their line of thinking and their views only. There is at present a massive surge to depict Sri Lanka as depriving media independence and media freedom. more..

Killings out of control: Sri Lanka’s loss of innocence

Jan 16 (AT) Sri Lanka had an eventful entry to 2009 creating a lot of emotions among the countrymen and women who live inside that beautiful island and those who have left the island and live elsewhere. Depending on the location of the people in terms of their ethnicity, political party affiliation, level of education, beliefs in terrorism, democracy, justice and rule of law, some enjoyed positive emotions and others very negative emotions. more..

Minister Moragoda expressed his intention of bringing the expatriates together

Jan 16 (AT) Minister Milinda Moragoda expressed that Sri Lanka too like to evolve the Indian pattern of bringing expatriate Sri Lankan community together and strengthens further their commitment to personally promoting Sri Lanka as a destination for investment and for tourism. Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda was in Delhi after attending the "Vibrant Gujarat Investors’ Summit 2009" in the city of Ahmadabad, more..

Sri Lanka's military victory puts peaceful settlement in question

Jan 16 (IL) The conquering of the ghost-town of the LTTE's administrative headquarters, Kilinochchi, in the north has raised concerns about the integrity and effectiveness of future peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE as equal partners among observers. Sri Lanka's President Rajapaksa celebrated the military victories by his armed forces in the North and East of the island as these victories served his personal political fortune but, more..

Sri Lanka trying to make regional ports profitable

Jan 16 (LBO) All Sri Lankan regional ports are loss-making and supported by earnings from Colombo harbour, Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman Priyath Wickrema said. He urged dock workers to set aside political and other differences and work to make ports profitable, saying they too would ultimately benefit. "Only if the ports become profitable can you protect your livelihoods," Wickrema told workers in the southern harbour of Galle more..

‘Java Sri Lanka 2009’ commences today

Jan 16 (LT) ‘Java Sri Lanka 2009,’ Sri Lanka’s first ever national software exhibition and conference will commence at the BMICH today and concludes on the 18th. ‘Java Technology to build the Nation for the Knowledge Economy’ is the theme of the exhibition which is a showcase for all IT professionals in the country to introduce their innovations to the world. Java technology is the most powerfully advanced and widely used technology which more..

Sunanda defrauded millions – FMM begins investigation

Jan 16 (LT) Free Media Movement (FMM) has begun an investigation into a million rupee fraud by Sunanda Deshapriya. Several international and local organizations have complained to FMM regarding his financial dealings. Meanwhile, citing security reasons Sunanda Deshapriya has resigned from all the posts he held in FMM. He held the posts of Project Director, Media Spokesman and coordinator on International Affairs in the Movement. more..

British Prime Minister wants ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (LG) British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, on Wednesday in Britain’s parliament said that there is a need for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka and he would raise the matter with French President Nikolas Sakorzy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mr. Brown was replying to a question, during the first Prime Minister’s Questions of 2009, by Keith Vaz MP about the plight of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka and the killing of Sunday Leader editor. more..

Sri Lanka's war on journalists

Jan 16 (LG) A journalist is attacked by kidnappers in the middle of the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, in broad daylight, and beaten savagely. He locks himself in his car and desperately hangs on to avoid being taken. Another is targeted in an eastern town, Batticaloa, and shot three times but miraculously survives. Others disappear from a town in the north, Jaffna, and are never seen again. A newspaper editor is shot in Jaffna in an act that brutally curtails circulation; more..

'Govt calls elections and allows respite to tigers'

Jan 16 (LT) “The government, claiming all the credit of military victories achieved by heroic Security Forces and being ecstatic is holding elections. When the necessity is to rally the whole country against tiger terrorists the people are engaged for canvassing and police and Security Forces are deployed to give security to election meetings. This is not what should be done. more..

President exposes Lasantha

Jan 16 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapakse gave two hints to the print media editors and publishers whom he met wednesday, that slain Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramathunga was one of his informants. According to the President, one clue Lasantha gave to him was that Karu Jayasuriya was quitting the government and joining the UNP. When the matter was discussed in the cabinet, the majority said that Karu Jayasuriya would not quit. But the President confirmed that he would go. more..

Massive road development projects in Wayamba

Jan 16 (GDI) The Government has allocated Rs. 270 million to construct rural roads in 2009 Highways and Road Development Minister T. B. Ekanayake said in Kurunegala. He stated that under this programme, the Kurunegala Anuradhapura road is being widened to accommodate two lanes and Ministry has opened a new Road Development office in Kurunegala last Tuesday. He emphasized that 70 % of rural roads in North Western Province have already been completed up to now.

Internal Container Terminal in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (GDI) Running on a similar track to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) expansion project, the Sri Lanka Railways Department is making plans to construct an Internal Container Terminal (ICT) close to the commercial hub of Sri Lanka for the first time in the country's history. The necessity to obtain Customs clearance at the Colombo Port will be circumvented once the terminal has been constructed and as a result of this the congestion at the port premises will be reduced, more..

President launches British HC 'Go Green' campaign

Jan 16 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the British High Commission's `Go Green' campaign by planting a Na tree at 10.50 a.m. at the Westminster House, official residence of British High Commissioner yesterday (15). The 'Go Green' campaign involves a survey of the environmental aspects of the High Commission's office buildings, all associated operations, policies, two residential houses and the transport fleet.

New BOI Projects will develop Cocoa production and Jewellery for Export

Jan 16 (BOI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to Cooperation for Industrial Development Lanka and Serendib Jewellery Corporation. Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to the investors. Cooperation for Industrial Development Lanka Limited signed the agreement to process and export Cocoa. more..

Sri Lanka Post services modernized by new electronic services

Jan 16 (BOI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to iTopia Lanka to provide modern communication services through Sri Lanka Post. Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to Mr. Ng See Nguan, Managing Director of iTopia Lanka. iTopia Lanka signed the agreement that will transform Sri Lanka Post by adding new services. more..

The kind of Liberation offered by the LTTE

Jan 16 (PISL) While LTTE propaganda constantly drones on about the supposed repression of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government, the world occasionally catches a glimpse of reality. And it is very different. The fact is that the Sri Lankan government is working hard to provide the basic needs of all its citizens, particularly those affected by the fighting in the Vanni, and the LTTE is doing everything possible to deprive them of their basic rights. more..

Defence Ministry launches housing projects for soldiers

Jan 16 (GDI) It is the duty of the Defence Ministry to look after the well-being and uplift the needs of soldiers who work tirelessly to defend and protect the country, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said at the 15th stage in the project to present loans for soldiers by the Defence Ministry at the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order yesterday. Forty two Armed forces and Police personnel were presented cheques and more..

Ponnambalam Arunachchalam memorial Oration

Jan 16 (GDI) Dr. Brendon Gooneratne will deliver the Sir Ponnambalam Arunachchalam memorial oration at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism Auditorium, 78, Galle Road, Colombo 03 at 6.00 PM on Monday (19), under the patronage of Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda. This event has been organized by the Sir Ponnambalam Arunachchalam Trust has been formed by All Ceylon hindu Congress, more..

Joint front to fight media suppression

Jan 16 (SAMN) Amid moves being made to form a common front consisting of several political parties to fight media suppression and the culture of killings in Sri Lanka, the main opposition UNP in a major policy change Thursday empowered every active member to recruit people to the party. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told a news conference this initiative – which is quite different from its previous membership drives -- was being launched under the theme ‘Stop suppression’. more..

Retrenchment, wage freeze on the cards

Jan 16 (SAMN) The Director General of Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) said domestic industries are facing the prospect of freezing wages as the global financial crisis deepens and its effect begins to make a deeper impact. "Businesses will eventually face the impacts of the global crisis, especially the export and manufacturing sectors, and may have to layoff some employees for a short term," Ravi Peiris, Director General, EFC, said. more..

2000 jumbo deaths from 1990 to 2007

Jan 16 (SAMN) A Wildlife Conservation Department survey has revealed that 2,241 elephants have died as a result of shooting, unknown reasons, electrocution, poisoning, accidents and natural and other causes from 1990 to 2007. The current elephant population is estimated at 3,500-4,000 and a gradual increase has been witnessed in Mahaweli and Wayamba regions during the last four decades. more..

Land for families from un-cleared areas

Jan 16 (SAMN) Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services has reserved an 80-acre plot of land in Vavuniya district and has cleared the area for construction of temporary shelters for the people entering government controlled areas, a statement issued by the ministry said. Already construction of 150 temporary shelters is underway. Out of this construction of 75 temporary shelters have been completed and 47 families consisting of 240 members have now occupied these houses, more..

'Buddhists can soon visit Solosmasthana without fear'

Jan 16 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday assured the Maha Sangha that the Government would soon create an environment in which Buddhists could go to worship Solosmasthanaya without fear. “Buddhists visiting Nagadeepaya, Deegavapiya and even Sri Maha Bodhiya would have been taxed by terrorists, if the Government had not initiated an action to liberate the areas forcibly held by them,” more..

Situation Report (Jan 16th) - SL Army

Jan 16 (SLA) HEROIC troops, now poised to smash almost all Tiger fortresses in the MULLAITTIVU jungles and the district recorded one more important phase Friday (16) afternoon when they dominated the one kilometer long LTTE’s sixth airstrip that has been constructed about 1 kilometer to the eastern edge of the IRANAMADU tank in the MULLAITTIVU jungles, the Army Headquarters declared at 3.00 p.m. today (16). more..

'Prescriptions should be properly dispensed'

Jan 16 (DN) Certain people in the Health Ministry who think that they are the superiors should ensure that prescriptions are correctly dispensed by the subordinates, Minister of Health Care and Nutrition, and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said recently. The Minister said this at the inauguration of the jointly sponsored program of training 1,000 pharmacists with the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority. more..

Child abuse tops NCPA complaints' list

Jan 16 (DN) Around 59 per cent of the complaints received by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) last year was related to violation of child rights. In 2007, 56 per cent of complaints were child exploitation cases. The percentage of complaints on sexual abuse was 50 per cent in 2006 and 62 per cent in 2005, NCPA sources said. The same sources said the oldest accused who had executed a crime on a child was a 82 year old man and more..

UNP membership drive will help fight state terrorism – Ranil

Jan 16 (Island) A UNP membership drive launched in Colombo yesterday, was not only aimed at strengthening the party but also ending state terrorism, Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. He said that new members joining the UNP would be doing a great service to its joint campaign with the like minded opposition parties, to stop the government from violating media freedom and the rule of law. more..

I was told to implicate Ravi-suspect

Jan 16 (DM) Counsel appearing for the suspects in the MTV/MBC case complained to the Nugegoda Magistrate that the police were trying to involve the Devram Vihara incident with the Sirasa incident with malicious intentions and thereby allegedly implicate UNP MP. Ravi Karunanayake to the Sirasa incident. He told Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa that the Police had asked the first suspect to involve Ravi Karunanayake with the Sirasa incident and if he did so he would be compensated for his deed. more..

Mangala receives more death threats

Jan 16 (DM) SLFP (M) leader and parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera has informed IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne in writing about threats on his life by some elements including the LTTE and requested him to provide him with trusted security officers trained in VIP security. Mr. Samaraweera told a news conference yesterday that there was increased death threats on his life ‘with the systematic unleashing of highly trained killer squads against dissenting democratic voices’. more..

Gota rules out amnesty to LTTE leadership

Jan 16 (Island) Ruling out a general amnesty to the LTTE, now rapidly losing ground on the eastern flank, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday emphasised that LTTE leader and his chief lieutenants would be tried for crimes they had committed, both here and abroad. Even if they surrendered to the army, the government would go ahead with legal proceedings, he said. more..

Three PDK activists try to set themselves afire on Sri Lankan Tamil issue

Jan 16 (PTI) Three Periyar Dravida Kazhakam (PDK) activists were arrested on Thursday, when they attempted to set themselves ablaze near the district collectorate here, to protest against what they called the Indian government's 'failure' to work out a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. The activists, Gopinath and Samboogan (both aged 26 and from Tirupur) and 31-year old E V R Jagan of Erode, doused themselves with kerosene they brought in bottles. more..

“Don’t do this type of foul acts!” – Judiciary cautions police

Jan 16 (LT) “Your sinister aims are obvious to the judiciary. Don’t do this type of foul acts,” warned Colombo Magistrate Kavindra Nanayakkara to police. Two JVP cadres who were putting up posters against government’s media repression were arrested by Dematagoda Police on the 9th and they were produced in court today. The police had filed action against the two suspects under clause 118 in penal code. more..

The two sides of Sri Lanka's violent struggle

Jan 16 (TS) Sri Lanka is not a war zone. Wars are fought between countries. The conflict in Sri Lanka is between a sovereign state and a group of terrorists trying to carve out an independent state for themselves in the north. This conflict has not produced refugees; the people have been internally displaced. The government of Sri Lanka is strongly committed to eradicating the brutal violence unleashed by the Tamil Tigers over the last 25 years. more..

Sri Lankan bishop pleads for peace

Jan 16 (CT) A bishop in northern Sri Lanka has appealed to the country’s president to stop bombing civilians after carrying out an undercover mercy mission to help people trapped in a war-zone. Denied formal access to the northerly Vanni district affected by fighting between government troops and rebels, Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam of Jaffna travelled incognito to see the situation for himself and assess the people’s needs. more..

Restoring education in the war zone

Jan 16 (BBC) A School which was closed for 21 years due to war was reopened by the Eastern Province minister of Education while the Zonal education director reported to the UNICEF about imminent closure of schools in Killinochchi. In the opening ceremony, Eastern Province Minister of education Wimalaweera Dissanayake said under the leadership of present president eastern province is taking all steps to develop education. more..

Shivshankar Menon to hold talks with Rajapaksa

Jan 16 (IANS) Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon who arrived in Colombo late Thursday will hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Foreign Minister and leaders of key political parties during his two-day trip, Government sources said on Friday. Menon is expected to meet President Rajapaksa on Saturday in the central hill district of Kandy to discuss issues of bilateral interest and exchange views on the current development in the war-ravaged north, more..

Murali cameo clinches humdinger

Jan 16 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan's late cameo clinched the trophy for Sri Lanka after a pulsating low-scoring match in Mirpur. Bangladesh were in control of the game when Shakib Al Hasan's double-wicket maiden left Sri Lanka needing 39 off 36 balls with two wickets in hand. Murali, however, blasted a 16-ball 33, including 32 off two Rubel Hossain overs to break Bangladeshi hearts. more..

Thousands of civilians flee rebel area

Jan 16 (AP) Thousands of civilians have fled Sri Lanka's northern war zone in recent days, crossing the front lines amid fierce fighting as the army closed in on the rebels' last stronghold, the military said Friday. The government says it hopes the exodus represents the start of a mass flight that will remove hundreds of thousands of bystanders from harm's way as the military tries to crush the Tamil Tigers' decades-old insurgency. more..

Central bank restructures tsunami tourism debt

Jan 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tsunami affected tourism sector is to get repayment extensions running up to three years for loans taken up under the 'Susahana' and Small Business Revival Program (SBRP) lending schemes, the Central Bank said. Under the extension program, those who took SBRP and Sushana tsunami loans would receive a repayment extension of two years, and a further grace period of one year. more..