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At least 100 killed in Sri Lanka shelling - official

Jan 23 (Reuters) Nearly 100 civilians have been killed in artillery exchanges between Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tigers since the weekend, a top government official working in the area controlled by the rebels said on Thursday. The report of casualties came on a day the United Nations said the LTTE had violated international law by stopping its local staff and their families from leaving the war zone in an aid convoy. more..

TN Assembly to make "final appeal" to centre on Lankan issue

Jan 23 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi would move an official resolution in the state Assembly tomorrow making a "final appeal" to the Centre to "save the Tamil race from annihilation in Sri Lanka." The government's resolution comes at a time when the Sri Lankan army is poised to make a final push against the LTTE in the outfit's last bastion of Mullaithevu in the island's north where a large population of Tamils are said to have been stranded. more..

'Centre should take efforts to end war in Sri Lanka'

Jan 23 (Hindu) The Central government should take efforts to end the war in Sri Lanka and facilitate talks between Sri Lankan government and Tamil leaders other than the LTTE for finding a political solution to the ethnic crisis, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said on Thursday. In a statement here, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the LTTE should be excluded from peace talks. more..

School children introduced to be successful entrepreneurs

Jan 23 (AT) At the awards ceremony of the Most Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 two exceptionally outstanding entrepreneurs were invited as the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honor which was held at the BMICH. Ranjith Page, CEO, Cargills Ceylon Ltd, speaking as Chief Guest, elaborated the difficult path he had to take to climb to the top. He said that he first started as a guest relations officer receiving guest at the Airport and selling air tickets, more..

Six former US ambassadors write to President on Lasantha’s killing

Jan 23 (LG) Six former US Ambassadors to Sri Lanka have expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the country following the murder of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. The ambassadors, Marion Creekmore (1989-92), Teresita Schaffer (1992-95), A. Peter Burleigh (1995-97), Shaun Donnelly (1997-2000), Ashley Wills (2000-03) and Jeffrey Lunstead (2003-06), while accepting that the government was engaged in a necessary fight against terrorism, more..

At last UN worries about Tamil children held by Tamil Tigers

Jan 23 (LG) Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, has said in a press release that she is worried about children who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and child combatants used by the LTTE. Though late (press release was issued yesterday -- January 21, 2009), the Special Representative appealed to the LTTE to immediately release its child fighters. more..

TNA Calls for Immediate Ceasefire and Talks

Jan 23 (LG) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) wishes to bring to the urgent attention of the international community the current dire situation facing the Tamil civilian population in LTTE administered areas. Currently there are over 360,000 IDPs out of a total population of nearly 500,000 people in LTTE controlled areas. This entire population is living within an area of about 400 square kilometers. more..

'Lenin is a model for rulers who cannot accept criticism'

Jan 23 (LT) Lenin’s character is a model for present day leaders who cannot bear criticism against them said Mr. Pubudu Jayagoda, Central Committee Member of the JVP. He said this addressing the 85th Lenin Commemoration held by Socialist Students’ Union at Mahaweli Centre today. Speaking further Mr. Jayagoda said, “We should first clarify why we commemorate Lenin. more..

Geologists asks President not to privatize Pulmoddai Ilmenite eposits

Jan 23 (LT) Plans have been finalized to privatize the Polmuddai mineral sand reserve, accordingly, the cabinet approval has been given to hand it over to an Austrian company, 49% of the shares and the administration of the Mineral Sands Corporation would be handed over to the relevant company and this would be a danger for the mineral sands reserve states a petition that would be sent to the President by the Geologists’ Front to Protect Ilmenite Reserve (GFPIR). more..

Letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse to free journalists unfairly held

Jan 23 (HRW) Dear President Rajapakse, Human Rights Watch is writing this open letter to urge your government to drop all charges and unconditionally release journalist J.S. Tissainayagam and publisher V. Jasiharan and his wife V. Valamathy, who have been in detention since March 2008. J.S. Tissainayagam, an ethnic Tamil columnist with the Sunday Times newspaper and editor of the Outreach website, was arrested by the police Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) on March 7, 2008. more..

'While destroying terrorism in the North the govt nurtures terrorism in the South'

Jan 23 (LT) While terrorism is being destroyed in the North the terrorism in the South is being nurtured says UNP Parliamentarian Luxman Kiriella. He said this when the Parliament discussed the reason for not appointing the Constitutional Council. Mr. Kiriella said, “The 17th amendment was brought to stop political interventions. However, the government has failed to implement the 17th amendment. more..

Chief Minister stops admissions to school

Jan 23 (LT) On a directive by Chief Minister of Sabaragamuwa PC Maheepala Herath admissions to Dharmapala Vidyalaya at Eheliyagoda have been stopped. About 400 students have been inconvenienced as a result of this decision. When inquiries were made from the Provincial Ministry of Education it has been stated that the admissions were stopped on a directive by the Chief Minister. The Minister had said a decision would be taken after consulting politicians and other people’s representatives. more..

Sri Lankan military 'makes advances'

Britain endorses war on LTTE while emphasizing human rights and political solution

Jan 23 (TC) The full text of the written Ministerial Statement by the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs on Sri Lanka, issued on 21 January 2009, follows: The Government has long standing concerns with the promotion of peace in Sri Lanka, where the conflict has claimed at least 70,000 lives during the past 26 years. We are now at an important moment. more..

TNA’s despicable stance against the civillian shield of LTTE

Jan 23 (LG) I was appalled to read a statement in the Sri Lanka Guardian (Read) by the Tamil National Alliance, which demands an immediate ceasefire from the State and entering into negotiations with the LTTE. The statement vividly explains the plight of the trapped civilians in Wanni and laments about it but conveniently misses mentioning the LTTE as the perpetrator of that terrorist-made plight. more..

Gotabhaya losing temper is natural; I can’t find fault, says Media Minister

Jan 23 (LeN) Minister of Media Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says that he cannot find fault in what angry Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse said in a TV interview regarding a statement made by Sirasa Media Network official Shevon Daniel who said that the arson attack was conducted by Army. The Minister responded in this way when a journalist asked if the behavior of the Defense Secretary who branded Sirasa as voice of Tigers and threatened to arrest Daniel was right. more..

A terrorist holding a media identity arrested at the airport

Jan 23 (LeN) Media spokesman on national security, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said at a press briefing that a suspected hardcore terrorist was taken into custody with a media credential issued by the Government Information Director at Bandaranaike International Airport. He said that according to information, a chief of a media office in Colombo 07 had helped the suspect Prakash Sathyawel to obtain the disputed identity card. more..

'President’s hope to disqualify me via the Courts failed'

Jan 23 (LG) The UNP Chief Ministerial candidate for Central Province , S.B. Dissanayake addressing the media at the UNP media unit, said the President has become so panicky about the forthcoming Provincial Council elections that he has himself taken over the role of the UPFA candidate Sarath Ekanayake in the election campaign. There are two reasons for the President’s shameless stooping : more..

Kotte Municipal council employee disappears

Jan 23 (LT) An employee of Kotte Municipal Council who had prepared banners and posters for a protest campaign held on the 21st against an attack on the Municipal Council was abducted yesterday and has been murdered says his wife. Inoka Sampath Kumari, his wife, has made a complaint to Welikada Police stating her husband hires a three wheeler at night and on 21st night he had parked his three-wheeler at Dharmapala Place at Rajagiriya from where he has disappeared. more..

Praba in Cambodia – ‘Lanka Irida’

Jan 23 (LT) Unconfirmed reports of international intelligent services have revealed that Velupillai Prabakaran, who had been cornered in Pudukuduiruppu area in Mulaithivu due to offensives carried out by Security Forces and due to deterioration of his health condition, fled on board a fast attack crafts of the tigers on the 19th to Phnom Penh in Cambodia states ‘Lanka Irida’ issue of 25th January. more..

Foreign Minister hands over compensation cheques worth of 52 million

Jan 23 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has commended the work carried out by Sri Lankan Missions in the Middle-East for the support they have extended by expediting claims for compensation for Sri Lankans who have died while being employed overseas. He made this comment when he addressed a simple ceremony held at the Ministry yesterday to hand over cheques for compensation to a batch of next of kin of Sri Lankans who more..

Centenary celebrations of the Holy Cross Church, Kalutara

Jan 23 (GDI) Centenary celebrations of Holy Mother of Lourdes at Holy Cross Church, Kalutara will take place on February 14 and 15. A discussion on patronage to be extended to make the celebrations was held, presided over by the Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Dr.Rajitha Senaratne. Minister pointed out that the Centenary celebrations of the Holy Cross Church, Kalutara will receive Government patronage. more..

Elephant conservation to be improve

Jan 23 (GDI) he Government has taken a number of measures to improve elephant conservation. The elephant population which was only 1,967 in 1993 has increased up to 5,350 in 2008, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka said at the Parliament yesterday (22). The Ministry launching the Gajamithuro program, expects to protect the elephant population of the country, he said. more..

Repeat G C E O/L Maths paper tomorrow

Jan 23 (LP) The mathematics paper of the 2008 GCE O/L examination will be held tomorrow. The admissions have been mailed to the relevant candidates while those who have not received the admissions can obtain their admissions from the Principals of the relevant schools. As the controversial G C E O/L maths paper, under the new syllabus was cancelled, the Examination Department decided to have the second maths paper on the 24th of January 2009.

Shared interests in combating terrorism – President sends good wishes to Obama

Jan 23 (GDI) Sri Lanka and the US share common democratic values and perspectives on a broad range of political issues, particularly in combating terrorism said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message of good wishes to Barack Obama, President of the US. “The Government and people of Sri Lanka deeply appreciate the principled stand taken by Government of United States that more..

President contributes towards the Pilgrims rest in Saman Dewala premises

Jan 23 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapksa donated Rs 80 lakhs for the pilgrim’s rest which is to be constructed in the historical and sacred premises of the Sabaragamuwa Saman Dewala. The estimated amount for the pilgrims rest is Rs 300 lakhs while the foundation stone for the building was laid yesterday (21). The proposed pilgrims rest will provide accommodation facilities for 200 local and foreign devotees. more..

Guaranteed price for rubber

Jan 23 (LP) The Government introduced a guaranteed price scheme of Rs. 150 and Rs. 175 per kilo of smoked sheet and rubber sold at auctions. This is to assist growers who are burdened with declining prices in the market. The Government will pay a subsidy of Rs. 20 per kilogram of rubber from 1st February, Deputy Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. He said that this subsidy will cost the Government Rs. 6,000 million this year and more..

Guinness Book thrown across House in Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (LNP) The government and the opposition in parliament yesterday conceded to each other places in the Guinness Book of World Records but for uncomplimentary reasons. While the government ridiculed the main opposition UNP that it had set a GWR by losing 15 elections in a row, the UNP hit back saying the UPFA government had killed 15 journalists, entitling it too to be placed in the Guinness Book. more..

Tigers' losing game

Jan 23 (DW) Many rumours are circulating about the escape of Velupillai Prabhakaran. The most recent one is where the LTTE supremo had escaped by plane. The Navy claimed its gunboats opened fire at an aircraft flying over Chalai. The Air Force has denied this claim. In another claim, Prabhakaran is now living in Malaysia. We have obtained definite proof that Prabhakaran was still hiding in the 400km2 area now under siege until the 12th. more..

Sri Lanka battles against blindness

Jan 23 (SAMN) Visual problems among Sri Lankan schoolchildren is on the rise, with around 160,000 students, amounting to four per cent of the total student population, reported to be suffering from some kind of eye defect. Deputy Director General, Public Health Dr. Palitha Maheepala said schoolchildren from all social classes suffer from visual defects, and added that avoidable blindness can be treated well and it is possible to save the eye sight in most cases. more..

Opposition support for land rights

Jan 23 (SAMN) The UNP and JVP Thursday agreed to give their support to pass the Land Development Ordinance (Amendment) Bill by a two-third majority in Parliament, thereby denying the provincial councils certain land rights. The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament after the opposition expressed reservations about certain provisions in it. Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the matters pertaining to the lands come under the concurrent list of the 13th Amendment, more..

JVP warns of separatism plot

Jan 23 (SAMN) The JVP Thursday warned that there was a danger of the victory gained by the security forces being converted of into separatism. JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, in a special statement in Parliament, demanded that the government reveal to the nation what the special Japanese envoy Kosushi Akashi was doing in the country. "Our troops are achieving very decisive victories against separatist terrorism. more..

Monk leaves Kilinochchi after 38 years

Jan 23 (SAMN) A Buddhist monk, who had resided in LTTE-held Kilinochchi for over 38 years, had arrived in Vavuniya Thursday, along with another Sinhalese, the Army said. The 76-year-old Ven Gonapinuwila Wimalasara Thero had gone to Kilinochchi in 1971 as principal of the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya in Kilinochchi. After the school was closed in 1990 the monk had stayed on in an ‘Awasaya’ in Kilinochchi. more..

Situation Report (Jan 23th) - SL Army

Jan 23 (SLA) LTTE Explosive Items Found: ARMY troops conducted a cordon and search operation in the general area of KOOMANKULAM, northwest of VAVUNIYA, Thursday (22) afternoon and found 750 g of explosives, one electronic detonator, 10 m of flexible wire, forty-three hand grenades, twenty-six Arul type mortar bombs, one Rocket Propeller Grenade (RPG) bomb, ten 81mm mortar bombs and ten 60 mm mortar bombs. more..

Foreign Minister accuses JVP of conspiracy

Jan 23 (DN) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Parliament yesterday that the JVP is engaged in a conspiracy to prevent visits of foreign dignitaries to Sri Lanka. "Japanese Special Peace Envoy Yasushi Akashi has come to Sri Lanka aiming to hold talks with first level officials to seek lasting peace in the country," the Minister noted. "Part of the conspiracy of the JVP is to raise questions from the Government pertaining to visits by high ranking foreign officials and more..

Susil says he ordered probe into O/L English paper mistakes

Jan 23 (Island) Education Minister Susil Premjayanth told Parliament that he had instructed the Commissioner General of Examinations to take action against those who had prepared last year’s GCE O/L English paper, if there had been any negligence on their part. He was answering a question raised by a MP on whether the Minister was aware that there were spelling mistakes in the year’s English Language question paper given to students who sat the GCE (O) Level question paper last year. more..

GMOA threatens strike if Sri J’pura hospital not probed

Jan 23 (Island) The GOMA warned that it would resort to trade union action if an investigation was not carried out into the financial situation of the Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital. The government allocated Rs. 680 million in 2007 for the hospital. The Hospital also charges its patients – even for a paracetamol tablet. Spokesman for the GMOA, Dr. Upul Gunasekara, said a committee should be Appointed to look into the malpractices of the Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital. more..

No pressure from Co-chairs: Rohitha

Jan 23 (DM) Sri Lanka’s donor group Co-chairs – the United States, European Union, Norway and Japan -- while backing the ongoing humanitarian operations are in constant touch with the government with the common objective of bringing a speedy solution to the ethnic conflict, the Foreign Affairs Minister said. “We are continuously briefing the US, the EU, Norway and Japan through our missions in these countries and their representatives in Colombo on the humanitarian operations in the North. more..

Weerawansa meets Akashi

Jan 23 (DN) National Freedom Front Leader Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa told visiting Japanese special Peace Envoy Yashushi Akashi that in the same way the battle was won against separatist terrorist the people in the South would be able to win the hearts and minds of the people of the North. The duo met at the official residence of the Japanese Ambassador in Colombo. more..

Galle port lures round-the-world sailors

Jan 23 (LBO) Galle port is sprucing itself up with a new yacht marina in a bid to attract the high-spending sailors who sail past the island's south coast on their round-the-world voyages. "The facilities in Galle now are rather limited for yachts," declared Richard Bolt, head of Blue Water Rallies, a company which organises round-the-world voyages for yachtsmen. "We gain protection from the weather," he said more..

'Finance companies to overcome liquidity problem'

Jan 23 (LBO) Sri Lankan registered finance company sector (RFC) which has been shaken by recent collapses of unregulated institutions should be able to overcome liquidity problems, a rating agency has said. RAM Ratings say that the collapse of Sakvithi and Golden Key, two unregulated firms had affected public confidence. "So much so that even regulated financial institutions have reported marked reductions in new deposits and renewals," more..

Sri Lanka lawyers host ICT law confab

Jan 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's lawyers are hosting an ICT law conference in Colombo next week, to debate emerging legal issues with the heavy use of information technology (ICT), its organizers said. "Information and technology has captured almost every aspect of human life and that it is unfortunate to note that the law has not kept abreast of the latest developments and trends that have hit mankind as a result of ICT," more..

Sri Lanka tea prices on the upswing

Jan 23 (LBO) Prices of tea, Sri Lanka's main export commodity, rose again at this week's Colombo auction on strong demand from traditional markets like Russia and the Middle East. Brokers said there was good demand for both low grown teas, which make up for the bulk of the crop and are produced by small farmers mainly in the island's south, as well as high growns made mainly by listed plantations companies. more..

Hell is a very small place

Jan 23 (SP) As the LTTE is forced back into a corner (400 square kilometers) of northeast Sri Lanka (including about 40 kilometers of coastline). There, several thousand LTTE gunmen are accompanied by over 200,000 civilians (many involuntarily). In the last week or so, 300-400 of these civilians a week have fled to government controlled territory. The army has surrounded the coastal town of Mullaittivu, which is the center of LTTE operations. more..

Sri Lanka presses rebels, but at a mounting cost

Jan 23 (IHT) As a potent military offensive by the Sri Lankan government whittles away one of the world's shrewdest and most well-armed ethnic separatist armies, the cost of war is mounting, press freedom is shriveling and the political endgame remains as elusive as ever. Over the past several months, the army has trounced the feared LTTE in the country's north, wresting control of rebel bunkers, office buildings and airstrips. more..

'LTTE members have become paper tigers'

Jan 23 (DM) The government warned yesterday the LTTE members were now attempting to infiltrate the South under the guise of being journalists and said such a fake journalist was arrested at the Katunayake Airport while attempting to flee the country. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, told a media briefing that this journalist was carrying a ‘genuine’ media accreditation card at the time he was arrested by airport authorities. more..

22 Indian fishermen arrested by Lankan Navy

Jan 23 (ZN) At least 22 Indian fishermen on six boats have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly straying into the island nation's waters. The fishermen were arrested yesterday while they were were illegally fishing in Sri Lanka's northern sea waters off Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, an official with the Sri Lankan Navy told reporters. The Sri Lankan Navy has arrested the Indian fishermen who trespassed into the country's territory and more..

Sri Lanka journalism 'under threat'

Jan 23 (BBC) A spate of attacks on reporters, threats from unidentified groups and the murder of a leading newspaper editor are all jeopardising the future of journalism in Sri Lanka. Many bright young students say they fear taking up journalism as a career choice in the island nation and a number of experienced journalists have already left the country because of threats to their lives. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) group has called on the authorities to more..

UNICEF urges Tigers to ensure free movement out of conflict areas

Jan 23 (IRIN) The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has called on the LTTE to guarantee the free movement of hundreds of thousands of civilians - including as many as 75,000 children - out of conflict areas in the north. "We now have a high number of people concentrated in a small area and we are very concerned for their safety. They are close to the fighting and have poor access to healthcare and shelter as well as proper water and sanitation," more..

'India not stopping 'genocide' of Tamils'

Jan 23 (PTI) The besieged LTTE has accused India of not taking steps to stop the "genocide" of Tamils in the embattled northern Sri Lanka. Citing what it claimed was the "gist" of the opinion mails it had received, the pro-Tiger LTTE website 'Tamilnet' said "India and the so-called international community continue to demonstrate with adamancy and arrogance that they have no interest in stopping the genocide of Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka". more..