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University and school students increase in IDP camps

Jan 17 (Island) A large number of school and university students has escaped to government controlled areas. The Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services has identified them at the Menik Farm and Nelumkulama welfare centres especially constructed to accommodate persons entering the Vavuniya district from uncleared areas. "we identified approximately 15 students of Jaffna University and 244 school going children among the displaced. more..

Another blow to media freedom

Jan 17 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe charged yesterday charged the attempted arrest of MTV Channel 1 Chief Chevan Daniel was yet another blow to media freedom and the government and police should openly state there was no such move. He told journalists that neither the police nor the government had so far denied any move to arrest Mr. Daniel and alleged that he was asked to report to the police station after being labelled an LTTEer over the state TV station Rupavahini. more..

EPC languishing without funds

Jan 17 (DM) The recently installed Eastern Provincial Council is reported to be facing a severe financial crisis as only Rs.200 million out of a total allocation of Rs.836 million had been received by the council which even had no funds to pay staff salaries. EPC’s solitary JVP member Wimal Piyatissa yesterday charged that there were no funds to carry out any development work in the province. more..

Six for five, yet Bangladesh lost

Jan 17 (CI) Before Sri Lanka's chase began, few would have placed even a taka on Bangladesh defending 152. At the end of eight dramatic overs, unprecedented in Bangladesh cricket history, the score read 6 for 5 and the improbable seemed likely. As it happened, a freakish blitz from a tailender to settle the issue but, even in defeat, Bangladesh were not disgraced. Their level of commitment and body language and their overall performance in the field were remarkable but more..

Sri Lankan exporters cushioned by fall in freight rates

Jan 17 (LBO) A sharp fall in freight rates owing to the global recession and oversupply of tonnage is helping Sri Lankan exporters cope with slowing demand in overseas markets and high domestic costs, trade officials said. Randolph Perera, chairman of the Sri Lanka Shippers' Council representing exporters and importers, said the drop in freight rates has been considerable and comes at a time exporters have been hit by a downturn in their markets. more..

Situation Report (Jan 17th) - SL Army

Jan 17 (SLA) TROOPS of the 57 Division under the able command of its General Officer Commanding Major General JAGATH DIAS were able to defeat all resistance of terrorists in RAMANATHPURAM and capture the whole area, a heavily built up large township on the southeastern KILINOCHCHI district boarder Saturday morning. LTTE terrorists, after they were chased away from IRANAMADU and KILINOCHCHI, withdrew to RAMANATHPURAM which they had already converted to a terrorist fortress more..

LTTE using Tamils as 'human shields'

Jan 17 (PTI) Accusing the LTTE of using Tamils as "human shields" in the ongoing war with Lankan army, AIADMK Chief Jayalalithaa on Saturday demanded that the Tamils caught in the crossfire should be allowed to go to safer places. "If they (LTTE) allow the Tamils to go to a safer place, then there will not be any civilian loss," she said here, when asked on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. more..

Sri Lankan state bus operates in Kilinochchi after 20 years

Jan 17 (PTI) A Sri Lanka state transport bus ferried a group of passengers, for first time in last 20 years, from the captured defacto LTTE capital of Kilinochchi. A Bus of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) yesterday carried a group of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Kilinochchi to Vavuniya via the sensitive A9 highway route, Transport Minister, Dullas Alahapperuma said adding the trip was first such journey by a state vehicle in 20 years. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil parties want 'proactive role' by India

Jan 17 (IANS) A slew of Sri Lankan Tamil parties with diverse views on the country's protracted ethnic conflict has urged neighbouring India to 'play a proactive role' in finding a lasting political solution to the problem. The leaders of these parties met visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon separately here Friday. 'During our meeting with him, we asked India to play a proactive role that would ensure a just and permanent political solution to the Tamil national question,' more..

Sri Lanka rebels say kill 51 troops but army says lost 7

Jan 17 (Reuters) Tamil Tiger rebels said they killed 51 soldiers while repelling an army assault, a pro-rebel website reported Saturday, in an account which the military rejected. The rebel claim comes as Sri Lanka's military, energized by two major strategic victories since the new year, is converging on the Tiger's final strongholds across a small wedge of northeastern Sri Lanka, to finish a war that started in 1983. more..

More civilians flee as fighting escalates in Sri Lanka: army

Jan 17 (AFP) Some 170 people have fled rebel-controlled areas in northern Sri Lanka as fresh fighting erupted across several fronts, the military said Saturday. It said the 170 men, women and children had sought shelter in government-controlled areas in the north on Friday. The International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday warned of a "massive displacement" of civilians, many of whom had already been forced to move numerous times. more..

Menon, Rajapaksa discuss bilateral ties, political situation

Jan 17 (IANS) Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday discussed the prevailing political situation in the island nation, a day after India announced the second instalment of humanitarian assistance amounting to 40 million (Sri Lankan) rupees for the war-affected Tamil civilians in the country's north. The meeting took place Saturday morning in the central hill district of Kandy, official sources said. more..

Pakistan prepare for Mendis

Jan 18 (CI) Already the name is on everyone's lips and in everyone's minds. It is inevitable as the freak-bowler show that is Ajantha Mendis tours countries of the cricket world. Already he is a dream for headline writers and reporters; Mission Mendis, Solving the Mendis Mystery; how do you tackle him? how good is he? Do you read him from the hand or off the pitch? How many videos of him have you seen? more..

I left tiger organization as I knew that security forces could not be defeated – Karuna

Jan 18 (LT) He left the tiger organization when he knew that tiger organization could not achieve victory over the government Security Forces says former leader of tiger organization’s armed units Parliamentarian Vinyakamoorthy Muralidharan alias Karuna Amman. He said he rejects claims by the UNP that he severed connections with the tiger organizations due to ceasefire agreement. more..

'Govt expedites relief measures for IDPs'

Jan 18 (GDI) Following a meeting held at the presidential secretariat with Key Line Ministers, Governor of the North and Provincial council secretaries, Government agents, Divisional Secretaries and security officials Mr Basil Rajapakse stated that, The Government has made all arrangements to provide relief to IDP’s those coming from Vaunia, Manner, Mulative , Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts, MP Basil Rajapakse said more..

Minding Mountains

Jan 18 (AT) My bags are empty except for the medicine box, razor and toothbrush- wearing all the clothes carried to avoid the cold which stands at -5 C. From midday the cold winds hit the marrow though bright sunshine bathes the valley. I am nearly the last in the streets of Jomsom (9300 feet) in Nepal on New Years eve, the last outpost before the final ascent to Mukthinath(13780 feet). more..

Sri Lanka-based Burmese political weblog wins "Best Asia Blog" award for 2008

Jan 18 (AT) If one's life is threatened for expressing ones views of one’s country of birth through the mass media get into another country to create a 'weblog' or 'internet newspaper' which can have an impact on the international community. Here in the United States the Department of States’ research and intelligence unit 24/7 keeps track of all the newspapers published in every corner of this globe and more..

In Sri Lanka- Tobacco kills 20,000 people annually

Jan 18 (AT) "About 11,000 prosecutions have been made in regard to violation of the regulations of the Tobacco and Alcohol Act during the year 2007 and about 17 million rupees have been collected in the form of fines," said, Professor Carlo Fonseka, the Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA), addressing a gathering at the BMICH at a ceremony held parallel to the exhibition organized by more..

Nilusha Fonseka wins CIAM World Prize

Jan 18 (AT) It was a pleasant surprise for Ms Nilusha Fonseka when she heard that she has become the only World Prize winner for the May, 2008 CIMA exams, her greatest achievement, so far. Twentyone year old Ms Fonseka is an old Ladies Collegiate and studies for CIMA along with her Bio Science (B.Sc) Degree at the Sri Jayawardenapura University. Ms Fonseka acknowledges that CIMA is a course of study that is agreeable to the Average student, since a person can do it at his/her own pace. more..

Lanka’s faustian bargain

Jan 18 (AT) Total subjugation to the LTTE is the price Vellupillai Pirapaharan demanded of and extracted from the Tamil people, in return for taking on the Lankan state. Is an equally self-destructive quid pro quo being imposed on the Sinhalese by the Rajapakse administration? Is the South being asked to consent to the steady undermining of democracy, rule of law and civilised norms, in return for the regime’s willingness to take on the LTTE? more..

Military action in Sri Lanka will lead to nowhere, says Ahamed

Jan 18 (Hindu) “A political solution within the constitutional framework work of Sri Lanka alone will help resolve the ethnic crisis in the island nation and military action will lead to nowhere. This has been the consistent view of the Indian government,” said Union Minister of State for External Affairs E.Ahamed, who is also the national president of the Indian Union Muslim League, here on Saturday. more..

'LTTE using Tamils as shield in the war'

Jan 18 (Hindu) Accusing the LTTE of using the Tamils as a shield in the war against the Sri Lankan army, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa rejected the argument that the outfit was the sole representative of the Tamils. “The killing of the innocent Tamils can be avoided if the LTTE allows them safe passage,” she told reporters at the party headquarters here on Saturday. She argued that the Sri Lankan army’s intention was not to kill the Tamils. more..

Lasantha's killing places all of us in common dilemma

Jan 18 (TC) When faced with someone’s violent death, the question inevitably arises, why him or her and not me? It is a question we dare not try to answer. To do so is to seek false comfort. We have to face it with humility, as a duty and debt cast on us. One day perhaps we might understand. The divine economy has no place for personal vanity -something the killers of this world have in abundance. more..

Left front not for Left Bloc government with UNP

Jan 18 (TC) The political atmosphere of France is pervaded with the idea of the “Left Bloc.” After a new period of Poincare-ism which represents the bourgeoisie’s attempt to serve up to the people a warmed over hash of the illusions of victory, a pacifist reaction may quite likely set in amongst broad circles of bourgeoisie society, ie, first and foremost among the petty bourgeoisie. more..

Indian Foreign Secretary meets Rajapaksa, discusses 'political' situation

Jan 18 (AT) Amidst indications that LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has escaped to a coastal hideout in Penang, Malaysia, Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon Saturday discussed the 'political' situation with President Mahinda at Kandy, a day after he arrived in Sri Lanka on an unscheduled 2-day visit to the Island country. more..

SEP and ISSE hold meeting in Colombo to launch election campaign

Jan 18 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka held a public meeting in Colombo on January 8 to launch the party's campaign in two provincial council elections on February 14. The SEP is standing a list of 19 candidates each for the districts of Nuwara Eliya in Central Province and Puttalam in North-Western Province. more..

Selling the FMM for the good life

Jan 18 (SL) The Free Media Movement (FMM)set up in 1991 by a group of journalists and freedom of expression activists is been shaken to its foundation by allegations of financial fraud and mismanagement. For over a decade the FMM functioned as an activist organisation on a voluntary basis with no full time paid employees or even an office. Its annual income was entirely from the Rs.100 membership fee. more..

Murder most foul and a Govt. running scared

Jan 18 (SL) While the government attempted to drown out the cries of outrage and sounds of weeping over the brutal murder of The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge with the pounding of bombs in the north, its claims of victory on the military front may now not be enough to hold the regime together. Hours after news of Lasantha's murder rocked the entire country, government ministers and other SLFPers were already jittery, privately blaming the government for more..

Mihin again losing millions per day

Jan 18 (SL) Mihin Lanka is crashing once again with regular empty or barely half full flights causing the airline to run at a loss of over Rs 1 million per day. Several flights have flown empty with zero passengers leaving the airline far short of the three million rupees in revenue required per day in order for it to just break even. Two flights had actually flown with zero passengers, and only three out of the 38 flights flown thus far by Mihin Lanka's new aircraft have had a load factor of over 50%. more..

'No hope without 17th Amendment'

Jan 18 (SL) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said that he weeps for what Sri Lanka has become in recent times with democratic freedoms of the people no longer being ensured. In a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Leader, Jayasuriya said he joined the government only for a period of two years in order to assist the war effort but claimed he was truly happy to be home. Jayasuriya noted that his priority was to unite the UNP and to ensure electoral victory at the forthcoming elections. more..

Journos flee country fearing for their lives

Jan 18 (LB) In a sudden turn of events some journalists have fled the country fearing for their lives. Four journalists have gone overseas due to the threats they received. It is reported that these journalists had left the country in the wake of the volatile situation following the attack on the Sirasa media network and the assassination of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. more..

Sirasa attack: who’s wrong who’s right?

Jan 18 (LB) Twelve days have now passed since the attack on the Sirasa media network’s premises in Pannipitiya. Various parties have presented various opinions as to who they think is responsible for this attack. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in an interview on ITN, claimed that serious questions have arisen about the attack itself as Sirasa was able to resume its normal programs within 3 hours of the attack. more..

Some media personnel living the high life

Jan 18 (LB) Inside sources from the Free Media Movement last week revealed to LAKBIMAnEWS new information pertaining to questionable financial transactions within media rights groups. According to sources, a few selected journalists have been receiving extravagant payments from foreign funding agencies. It is learnt that two individuals - Sunanda Deshapriya and Fredrika Janz - were tasked with “looking after the safety of journalists.” more..

'I’m a patriot, not a puppet of the govt'

Jan 18 (LB) Q. The NFF has signed an MOU with the SLFP. Why do you need to sign an MOU with the government because the JVP defectors are already President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s henchmen? A. We formed a coalition with the government in December 2008. If I didn’t cross over to the government at that time there would have been a big issue for the government as the government would have lost the last budget in parliament. more..

Gota instructs Police to arrest MTV News Chief Chevan Daniels

Jan 18 (TC) Moves are on to interrogate and then detain Mr. Chevan Daniels, the news director of MTV/MBC media network whose studio at Pannipitiya was attacked by a terror squad in civil garb two weeks ago. Instructions have been given by defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse to the Police that Daniels who is of Tamil descent should be interrogated and then detained on the grounds that he was a Tamil tigers. more..

Mangala to ask Barack and Hillary to investigate Gotabhaya

Jan 18 (TC) Moves are on to request US President elect Barack Obama and Secretary of state designate Hilary Clinton to investigate the conduct of a US citizen Gotabhaya Rajapakse in Sri Lanka. Opposition political leader Mangala Samaraweera is behind moves to investigate the Sri Lankan defence secretary for alleged acts of state terrorism in Sri Lanka. A detailed dossier outlining several instances of human rights violations by more..

Fears grow for trapped civilians as army advances on Tamil Tigers

Jan 18 (Guardian) International concern is intensifying over the fate of around 350,000 civilians trapped in a rapidly shrinking rebel-controlled pocket of land in Sri Lanka's north east, as the military steps up its campaign to end the civil war by crushing the Tamil Tiger forces. The Sri Lankan army this week announced that it had seized new swathes of territory from the separatist LTTE, forcing the dwindling guerrilla forces to retreat to their last remaining stronghold, the small coastal town of Mullaitivu. more..

Hindu communalism & Muslim extremism

Jan 18 (MN) Terrorism in all its manifestations is bad and so is communalism. But the question is which one of the two is more dangerous. I say, communalism as it is a long term deadly disease while as terrorism can be for a shorter period. Muslims have turned to terrorism in response to Israel and American aggression/policies. Hindus have hugged communalism which is a sweet poison and its roots could go deeper and deeper while more..

Only King Walagamba is free from charges of setting fire to Sirasa

Jan 18 (LeN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe urges to end the government’s melodrama regarding the arson attack at Sirasa and the Killing of Lasantha Wickramathunga and to hand over the investigations to the CID. Addressing a press conference, he recalled that Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had told in the parliament that setting fire to MTV was an act of MPs Karu Jayasuriaya and Ravi Karunanayaka. more..

Safe passage for trapped civilians

Jan 18 (SAMN) Amid calls by the UN, ICRC and the Indian government for protection of civilians, the government Saturday assured safe passage would be negotiated on their part and urged the ICRC to request the same from the LTTE. Army Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said civilians were arriving in government controlled areas safely and that government forces consistently support aid agencies to move between the Forward Defence Lines. more..

Police yet to make a breakthrough

Jan 18 (SAMN) Police investigating the assassination of The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge are yet to make a breakthrough 10 days into the killing, informed sources said. However, police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said they have received several leads, but could not reveal the progress of the Police investigation to the public as ‘sensitive information’ would hinder the “secret” investigation. more..

SL’s largest coral region neglected

Jan 18 (SAMN) Environmentalists say neglect of Sri Lanka’s largest coral area located in Kandakuliya in the Kalpitiya peninsula will result in the loss of this cherished coral reserve. The reserve is said to be the most precious of all coral regions. In 1992 NARA intimated to the government the value of the 42 sq. km area which resulted in the department of wild life declaring it an ocean reserve on April 3rd that year. more..

President promises to formulate policy that’ll protect journalists

Jan 18 (NS) The funeral of slain The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge was held last Monday (12) amidst large crowds of protesters and mourners. Following religious ceremonies performed at the People’s Church, Kirimandala Mawatha in Narahenpita, the cortege of well over 7000 people marched with the body of the slain editor until it reached the Borella cemetery where the burial rites were to take place. more..

Bogus doctorates to be checked

Jan 18 (SAMN) All bogus doctorates awarded by various unauthorised bodies will be cancelled when the University Act of 1978 is amended, Higher Education Minister Prof. Viswa Warnapala said. He said the only authorised institute to award degrees in Sri Lanka is the University Grants Commission (UGC) and any institute awarding bogus degrees will be fined Rs. 250,000 with the introduction of the proposed amendment. more..

Road accidents - speed the killer

Jan 18 (SO) Several fatal accidents occur as a result of driving under the influence of liquor or driving recklessly due to extreme fatigue. According to the Police Media Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunesekera, highways have become death zones due to motorists not adhering to the highway code. He said last week's accident at Tholangamuwa between the 63 and the 64th milepost at Warakapola was tragic and shocking. more..

Huge Naval blockade around NE

Jan 18 (SO) The biggest ever Naval blockade has been thrown along the Northern and Eastern coastal areas, placing the Naval installations countrywide on red alert to trap the LTTE top rungers fleeing the island and also from thwarting any assistance they might receive through the seas. The Naval vigilance that had existed along the coastal belts of the North and the East has been now converted into a mega blockade with deployment of more ships more..

Ven. Dr. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Maha Thera appointed Anunayaka

Jan 18 (SO) Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Maha Thera, deputy chief incumbent of Bellanwila Raja Maha Vihara and Chancellor of Sri Jayawardenapura University was appointed as the Anunayaka of Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagi Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha. Ven. Wimalaratana Thera entered the bhikku order on 20th February 1956 as a pupil of late Bellanwila Sri Somaratana Nayaka Thera the chief incumbent of Bellanwila Raja Maha Vihara, more..

New power plant to light up Jaffna and suburbs

Jan 18 (SO) Over 650,000 electricity consumers in the Jaffna district will enjoy a 24-hour uninterrupted supply with the commissioning of its new 36 MV thermal power plant at Chunnakam, Jaffna on February 1. The power plant has been constructed at a cost of US $ 25 million, by the Northern Power Company (NPC), a subsidiary of a Malaysian firm. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ceremonially commission the plant more..

Mihin in unexpected boost

Jan 18 (NS) Sri Lanka’s newly revived budget carrier Mihin Air, which resumed its operations on January 1, 2009 might be in for an unintended bonanza with opportunity to start operations to three new destinations, airline sources revealed yesterday. The fledgling carrier, which is yet to build its route network and find adequate passenger loads to be economical has got a boost from Thursday when more..

'Kilinochchi people happy with liberation'

Jan 18 (NS) TULF President and Secretary General of the newly established Democratic Tamil National Alliance (DTNA) V. Anandasangaree is an advocate of the Indian model as a panacea for the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict. He says since the people of Sri Lanka are allergic to the term ‘federal’, the Indian model could be the ideal one to find an ultimate solution. more..