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Sri Lankan army says Tamil Tigers close to losing firepower

Jan 23 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops have advanced to a key area held by Tamil Tigers and are on the verge of destroying the rebels' artillery, a military official said Friday. Soldiers were on the verge of taking the village of Visuamadu in the district of Mullaittivu, where Tamil Tiger rebels have been forced to retreat in the face of a major military onslaught, spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Sri Lanka editor stabbed in latest attack on media

Jan 23 (Reuters) A Sri Lankan editor was stabbed in the face and beaten by a gang of assailants on motorcyles as he drove to work on Friday in the third assault on a journalist in the country this month. Upali Thennakoon, editor of the Sinhalese language weekly newspaper Rivira, told Reuters his wife saved him from death by wrapping her arms around him until the attackers fled. She, too, was injured. more..

'The Sri Lankan army has damaged the LTTE's military invincibility'

Jan 24 (Rediff) Colonel R Hariharan (retd), who served as the head of intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka 1987 to 1990, analyses the war on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in an interview to's Shobha Warrier. Q. The question often asked was, after Killinocchi, what? How significant was the fall of Killinocchi? more..

USAID funded career days in Ampara and Batticaloa

Jan 24 (USAID) he Accelerated Skills Acquisition Program (ASAP) is holding two Career Days for youth in Eastern Sri Lanka to strengthen links between local companies and training providers, as well as to help youth find jobs and training opportunities. The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided more than $2.4 million to support ASAP and help prepare school-leavers to better succeed in the workplace. more..

Sri Lanka destroying democracy from within

Jan 24 (UPI) A letter written by six U.S. ambassadors, in their personal capacities, to the president of Sri Lanka has expressed concerns over the deteriorating situation in the country and urged him to re-establish accountability and the rule of law by ensuring investigations into assassinations and human rights abuses. The letter, according to the authors, was prompted by the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunge, more..

Sri Lanka's bogey team, and boundaryless Jayawardene

Jan 24 (CI) When Sri Lanka swept to a convincing 129-run win in the second ODI in Karachi, they not only levelled the three-match series but also showed that they might finally be coming to terms with handling the team that has been their most troublesome opponent recently. All teams have struggled against Australia over the last decade and more, but Pakistan's blow-hot, blow-cold approach has allowed most teams to sneak up a fair number of wins against them. more..

Akashi says not to allow the LTTE to use civilians as a human shield

Jan 24 (GDI) Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Representative of the Government of Japan for Peace Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka, currently on an official visit to Sri Lanka, met with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Thursday. Briefing the visiting envoy on the situation in Sri Lanka, Minister Bogollagama observed that the humanitarian operations were being conducted by the Sri Lankan government in northern Sri Lanka more..

Yasushi Akashi called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Jan 24 (GDI) Government’s ability to completely liberate the East and strategically important locations in the North from the clutches of the LTTE is a major victory said the Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today (23). The peace envoy commended the Government for the ongoing reconstruction and development activities in the East. more..

Defeating terrorism must not be at cost of civilian killings - MIA

Jan 24 (TC) While there is no room in the world for terrorist organizations, their defeat cannot come at the expense of thousands of innocent civilian lives. The greatest failing of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” is not its inability to meet its prime objectives (e.g. capturing Osama Bin Laden, eradicating the threat of WMDS in Iraq, and removing Al Qaeda from Afghanistan). more..

Muralitharan eyes world record in Pakistan series-decider

Jan 24 (AFP) Muttiah Muralitharan needs five more wickets to become the highest wicket-taker in one-day cricket history as Sri Lanka take on Pakistan in the third and deciding one-day match here Saturday. The wily off-spinner needs two more wickets to become only the second bowler to cross the 500-mark in limited overs internationals. Another three would help him overtake Pakistan's Wasim Akram's one-day tally of 502. more..

Sri Lanka port in move to cut forex losses

Jan 24 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is awaiting government approval to operate a 'dollar account' to cut mounting foreign exchange losses due to a strong rupee and an appreciating yen, a senior official said. "We are planning to get a dollar account. If we can get permission from central bank to operate a dollar account, then we can pay our loans in dollars," said Priyath B Wickrama, chairman of the SLPA. more..

Apparel exporters look East as Western markets slow down

Jan 24 (LBO) Sri Lankan apparel exporters are looking for new markets like India, China and Japan as demand slows down in established markets where recession has begun to bite, an industry official said. Ajith Dias, chairman, Joint Apparel Association Forum, said they want to market high value garments in India with a delegation from JAAF and the Export Development Board visiting Mumbai next week. "India is one place we're targeting," he said. more..

With a trip back to Sri Lanka, Hasi holds on to her new life

Jan 24 (BG) Most weeks, ballet class is a joy for 4-year-old Hasi. On a recent Thursday, however, the little girl from Sri Lanka sprawled in her leotard on the floor near the door, clinging to Liz Smith's ankle, while her classmates rode imaginary horseys and did the Hokey Pokey. After nearly a year living at Smith's house in Groton, Hasi had two days before returning to her homeland for an extended stay at the orphanage that cared for her there. more..

LTTE-sponsored Rally in Washington

Jan 24 (AT) LTTE professionals, operatives, acolytes and sympathizers in the Western World especially in the United States have stepped up their psychological warfare against the Sri Lankan state to induce policy-makers in the West that Sri Lanka government’s current battle is nothing but a genocidal onslaught against the country’s Tamil minority in the guise of combating terrorism in holding a rally in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington on Friday, January 23. more..

BOI toy manufacturing project to produce educational baby toys

Jan 24 (BOI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to Toymakers Limited to manufacture educational toys. Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to Mr. Arnold Fehn, Director of the company. Toymakers Limited signed the agreement to manufacture baby educational toys for children aged between 0-3 years. more..

Soldiers' relatives speak of loss

Jan 24 (BBC) Parents and relatives of soldiers in Sri Lanka have given moving accounts of the loss of their loved ones in the ongoing war. While admitting great loss to their families, some parents and family members however, say that it was an honour for members of their families to join the armed forces. "He was my only strength," weeps Padma Bandara, the spouse of Sri Lanka army (SLA) soldier Ekanayake Bandara, who was killed in Kilinochchi. more..

Sri Lanka faces demons beyond the war

Jan 24 (Age) Sri Lanka's military spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, normally speaks in a deep, measured tone. But when asked to explain the army's progress in its war against the Tamil Tigers, his eyes light up and his voice quickens. He reaches for his briefcase, pulls out an extendable pointer and turns to a map of Sri Lanka mounted in his office inside a Colombo high-security zone. more..

Prabhakaran may use LTTE aircraft to flee Lanka

Jan 24 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government has taken steps to ensure that the top LTTE leadership, including its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, do not flee the country amidst fears that the Tamil Tigers could use their recently acquired aircraft to make their gateway. "The four-seater planes with a normal range of over 1000 km could be tried as a getaway vehicles for LTTE's top leadership," officials said. more..

Galle: Jewel in the crown

Jan 24 (Age) In the shade of a 300-year-old mango tree, I read the words of Michael Ondaatje, best known for The English Patient, his tapestry of longing for dry places. The writer was born here, on this cartographical teardrop, and it's through his stories I have imagined this island, its terror of bombs, aroma of tea leaves and monsoonal rains so heavy they scatter whole cities. I read of Tamil homes on Jaffna peninsula, each with a garden of three trees: mango, murunga and pomegranate. more..

Ex-Tigers say no more child soldiers soon

Jan 24 (Reuters) A breakaway Tamil Tiger rebel group now allied with the government will release the last 20 child soldiers it has in its ranks within two weeks, the group's leader said on Friday. Under a deal struck with the U.N. children's agency UNICEF last year, the TMVP group led by ex-Tiger commander Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan had agreed to let go all child soldiers. On Friday, Muralitharan said the TMVP had freed 14 child soldiers and pledged to remove the rest quickly. more..

Timely revival hands SL the edge

Jan 24 (CI) Sri Lanka's resounding victory in the second ODI in Karachi showed all the indications of their commitment to improve on the areas in which they faltered the day before, when they lost by eight wickets. Their middle-order built on a good start provided by the openers, putting behind them the collapse in the first match, and their spinners ensured a comprehensive win - they took seven of the ten wickets - after the Pakistan batsmen had negotiated them well in the series opener. more..

JVP condemns attack on ‘Rivira’ editor

Jan 24 (LT) The JVP has issued a statement condemning the attack on ‘Rivira’ Chief Editor Upali Tennekone by a gang of thugs. Full text of the statement: The Chief Editor of ‘Rivira’ newspaper has been attacked by a gang of thugs. We, as the JVP, condemn with disgust this attack on a senior journalist in the country. Minister Dinesh Gunawardene admitted in the Parliament two days ago that 09 journalists have been killed and 7 others have been assaulted since year 2006. more..

'Slumdog' gives India a shot at Oscar glory

Jan 24 (Reuters) India woke up on Friday to news of "Slumdog Millionaire" bagging 10 Academy Award nominations as the media toasted the success of a critically acclaimed film the country claims as its own. The rags-to-riches story about a boy from one of the Mumbai's teeming slums competing on a TV gameshow has been nominated for best director, best adapted screenplay and best picture at the Academy Awards, and in seven other categories. more..

Why is fight against terrorism winning? Part 2

Jan 24 (LR) When western colonial masters left this country in 1948, they have gradually transferred political power in to the hands of hand picked local comprador agents. They were not natural born leaders, but spoon fed local Muppets with Western Anglican head. Not only political power, but control of media was with those elite families. Therefore, People only had a choice to pick one among them. more..

Woman doctor’s infertility worries led to suicide

Jan 24 (CO) A Shrewsbury inquest has been told how a Wrexham doctor, upset at failing to conceive, stabbed herself in the groin as she was parked on the A525 at Whitchurch in September. Pathologist Dr Mark Otter told the inquest that Dr Surangi Ratnaweera, 34, of Cross Lanes, Wrexham , would have bled to death within minutes after cutting her femoral artery. Dr Ratnaweera left a note saying: “No-one needs to be suspicious about the incident. This is my own decision.” more..

Indian gov't ally renews Sri Lanka resignation threat

Jan 24 (Reuters) The ruling party of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu threatened on Friday to pull out of India's federal coalition unless New Delhi pushes for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. "If giving up power will lead to the birth of Tamil Eelam, we shall only be too glad to do so," Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi said in the state capital Chennai, referring to a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka. more..

A proper feel of a local derby

Jan 24 (CI) History is on Pakistan's side, the momentum with Sri Lanka and the recent form of both uncertain. You could not ask for more going into the deciding match of a series. Somehow, since 2003, a period in which Pakistan have been particularly unreliable, they have consistently had the wood over Sri Lanka. It is strange, given that the visitors have prospered more than they have failed in that period, but it gives the rivalry, and the decider, a proper feel of a local derby. more..

‘Tamil Tigers get weapons from Ukraine’

Jan 24 (RT) A Ukrainian weapons baron has been selling arms to Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka, according to a former warlord with the terrorist organisation. Vinayakamurti Muralidharan also claims Ukrainian specialists were teaching the separatists in their battle for an independent homeland in North East Sri Lanka. Muralidharan, also known as ‘Karuna’, is believed to be the former right-hand man of the leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

2nd Successive Travel and Tourism Awards Ceremony

Jan 24 (AT) Continuing on the success of the inaugural Travel and Tourism Awards held last year, the Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with Sri Lanka Tourism, has organized the Travel & Tourism Awards 2008, which is awaited with much enthusiasm by the industry. The Minister of Tourism, Milinda Moragoda identified the need to award the tourism sector for its contribution, as there was no award scheme prior to this. more..

Foreign Ministry to recruit a new batch of Foreign Service Officers

Jan 24 (AT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has planned to recruit a new intake of 25 officers to Grade III of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in order to meet the human resource requirement of the Ministry and its overseas Missions. Upon a request made by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama the Public Service Commission had given approval to increase the number of officers to be recruited from 15 to 25. more..

CID questions 'Lanka-e-News' editor

Jan 24 (LeN) A special wing of the CID questioned 'Lanka-e-News' Chief editor Sandaruwan Senadheera for more than six hours today (23) based on a complaint lodged by the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse. The interrogation took place at the CID headquarters in Colombo Fort. The interrogation was regarding a news post on February 21, under the heading ‘International intelligence service suspends providing information to Sri Lanka; Gota is responsible for the losses since December 31.’ more..

Attack on Rivira editor similar to Lasantha assassination -UNP

Jan 24 (LeN) UNP general secretary Thissa Aththanayaka says that the attack on the Rivira editor is similar to the assassination of Lasantha Wickramathunga and these incidents show that the government is in massive media suppression. Although the affluent media persons and the academics leave the country amid the media suppression of the government, the less affluent have to undergo this kind of atrocities, said Aththanayaka addressing a press meeting held today. more..

Nugegoda flyover opened

Jan 24 (MN) The pre-fabricated flyover at Nugegoda to lesser traffic jams was opened on Friday at 10 am. The flyover built at the Nugegoda High Level Road junction is expected to reduce the existing traffic jam along the busy highway. The work on the flyover was commenced in October last year and completed within three and half months. Construction work commenced on a concept of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a plan of the late Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. more..

Thimpu Tamils and their Existentialist "Being-and-Nothingness"

Jan 24 (LG) I was astounded to read Roy Ratnavel's "true-to-form" article entitled "Tamil existentialism" appearing on-line in the "Sri Lanka Guardian", 22-Jan-2009:(Read). This came after my reading of Dr. Narapalasingham's article in the "" (January 03), where he takes issue with a writer who goes under the lias "Foxwatch". A number of other articles, by individuals like Mr.Sabaratnam, Mr Satheesan Kumaran, Arular Arudpragasam more..

Winning the 'media war', the SLA Way

Jan 24 (LG) I was reminded of this famous observation when I met Brig V Udaya B Nanayakkara, USP Hdmc, the Director of Media and spokesman of the Sri Lanka Army, at his office in the national capital of Colombo on Wednesday, 21 January 2009. It was a deep discussion on present situation in the 'ethnic war' with the LTTE, particularly on 'liberating' the tens of thousands of civilians being held as 'human shields' by the militant/terrorist outfit. more..

'Allow Media to work freely and safely' AI

Jan 24 (BBC) Sri Lankan authorities must ensure that the country's media are allowed to work without restriction and in safety, Amnesty International said on Friday. "The Sri Lankan authorities are doing little to ensure the safety of the country’s media, or to prosecute those responsible for murdering or attacking them. They are also directly responsible for subjecting journalists to harassment and interrogation," said Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International's Sri Lanka Researcher. more..

Russia and Sri Lanka to work together to enhance bilateral cooperation

Jan 24 (AT) Sri Lanka and Russia have expressed their firm commitment to the global fight against terrorism and agreed to enhance interaction in multilateral fora in this regard. It was decided in principle to work towards increasing high level visits between the two countries culminating at the highest level. In accordance with the Protocol on Inter- Ministerial joint consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Russian Federation, more..

Security along the coast of Tamil Nadu intensified

Jan 24 (Hindu) Security has been intensified along the coast of Tamil Nadu amid reports of possible infiltration by extremist elements. Director General of Police K.P. Jain said the entire police force was put on alert in view of the developments in Sri Lanka. “We are aware of what is happening in Sri Lanka and security has been stepped up accordingly,” he told The Hindu. In Chennai, Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi convened a high-level meeting on Thursday involving more..

'No solution to Tamils problem without Congress support'

Jan 24 (Hindu) Arguing that a solution to the Sri Lankan Tamils problem could not be found without the support of the Congress, the party’s whip Peter Alphonse said the Indo-Sri Lankan accord alone could offer a lasting solution. Speaking on a special calling attention motion in the Assembly, Mr. Alphonse said the accord secured some rights for the Tamils and could have secured more. “But the LTTE spoiled everything. They took assistance from the Sri Lankan Army and confronted the IPKF,” he alleged. more..

'Take steps to stop war in Sri Lanka today itself'

Jan 24 (Hindu) The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Friday made a “final appeal” to the Centre, urging it to take steps to stop the war in Sri Lanka “today itself.” Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi who moved the resolution said the ceasefire should be followed by a political solution to the conflict and permanent peace in the land of the Buddha. “I am moving the resolution expecting a positive outcome. If it fails to produce the desired effect, the DMK’s executive committee or general council will discuss the issue and take a decision,” he said. more..

Wanni war and the tragic plight of trapped civilians

Jan 24 (DM) Wise King Solomon when faced with the task of determining maternity of an infant had an innovative solution. He announced that the baby would be cut in half and given to both women claiming it. While the false claimant agreed, the actual mother was not ready to let her child die. She asked Solomon to hand over the infant to the other woman rather than let the child die. more..

'Resolution on Sri Lanka issue disappointing'

Jan 24 (Hindu) The ‘final request’ resolution, moved by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in the Assembly on Friday urging India to save Sri Lankan Tamils, is disappointing, according to S. Ramadoss, founder, Pattali Makkal Katchi. Dr. Ramadoss said that the resolution did not even set a deadline for the Union government to act positively, when the Tamils all over the world expected a strong move from the Chief Minister. more..

Sri Lanka visit visa facilities simplified

Jan 24 (AN) With the introduction of new facilities and services to Saudis, Sri Lankans, and expatriates in the Kingdom, visit visas to the island will be processed within 10 minutes. Announcing the mission’s improved services at the inauguration of an Information Center at the embassy, the island’s ambassador Abdul Ageed Mohamed Marleen said that the new services would include the issuance of visit visas to Sri Lanka within 10 minutes and more..

Tea and sympathy in the heart of Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (Independent) A distant rumble cut through the chatter of birds as I lay by the pool of the serene Park Street Hotel in Colombo, prompting a hasty avian exodus from the trees above. My companion looked up from his book; we exchanged uncertain glances then returned to our lounging. The notion that it could have been a bomb felt so incongruous in the gracious surroundings of the 250-year-old mansion-turned-boutique hotel that we swiftly dismissed the idea, until more..

Bring about ceasefire in Sri Lanka: CPI

Jan 24 (Hindu) It was high time political parties in the State made a “final decision” to put pressure on the Centre to intervene and bring about ceasefire in Sri Lanka, Communist Party of India State committee member P. Sethuraman said. Addressing a demonstration staged here on Friday to protest the killing of Tamils in the conflict-torn nation, he said that Indian government had in the past supported the Tamil organisations in Sri Lanka. more..

Continued attacks on Media -UNP

Jan 24 (LG) Speaking to the media today (23 Jan) , at the UNP media unit , UNP Gen. Secretary Tissa Attanayake said ,what is true of the limb is true of the whole. The Govt. ‘s continued failure to apprehend the culprits in the countless number of cases of murders and violence against media personnel, and attacks launched on media Institutions reflect very poorly on the Govt. more..

Congress sees no ultimatum on Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (Hindu) The Congress on Friday refused to see the “final appeal” made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to the Centre to make an immediate intervention to ensure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka as an ultimatum. Responding to questions on the resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly seeking India’s intervention in ensuring a ceasefire in the island nation, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said Mr. Karunanidhi’s statement was not couched in terms of an ultimatum. more..

Sri Lanka LNG power plant to Australian consultancy

Jan 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka has given tax concessions to an Australian consultancy to develop a 488MegaWatt liquefied natural gas (LNG) fired power pant for Sri Lanka's state-run electricity grid, the island's investment promotion agency said. The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) which gives tax concessions for foreign investors said a 600 million US dollar investment deal has been signed with Lanka Alokha AB (Pvt) Ltd. more..

Sri Lanka can build peace only with new spirit of the Obama Age

Jan 24 (TC) So the darkest hour was indeed just before the dawn – however dark the hour and however faint the dawn. I refer to the torment of the Gazans which was brought to a halt in time for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. It is a new dawn for the United States , and also, though not as brightly and unambiguously, for the world. more..

Sri Ravi Shankar to meet Lankan Tamils

Jan 24 (PTI) Concerned over the plight of displaced people from Sri Lanka, Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would visit Mandapam in Rameshwaram on Monday to meet Sri Lankan Tamils living in the refugee camps there. His visit assumes significance in the context of the current developments in the island nation, propelling a large influx of displaced Sri Lankan Tamils to the shores of Tamil Nadu, a spokesman of the Art of Living Foundation said in a press release. more..