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Stocks rally in anticipation of military triumph

Jan 3 (LBO) Retail investors pushed the market up sharply in moderate trade Friday in anticipation government forces had captured the northern Tamil Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi. The All Share Index (ASI) index shot up 5.02 percent to close at 1,578.46 points while the Milanka Index went up by 4.01 percent to close at 1,696.81 points. Foreigners were net sellers with foreign buying at 8.6 million rupees and foreign selling at 24 million rupees. more..

'Inflation seen falling to 8-9% by mid-2009'

Jan 3 (LBO) Inflation rate expected to fall to 8.0 - 9.0 percent by mid-2009, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. Cabraal said inflation has been coming down since July 2008 and that inflationary expectations also show signs of moderating. "Also, interest rates are expected to follow the decline in inflation," Cabraal said. Cabraal said that with the decline in inflation the central bank may have to ease its monetary policy "to a certain degree in 2009" to stimulate the economy. more..

Kilinochchi's fall a major setback to LTTE

Jan 3 (IANS) Ten years after they captured the northern Sri Lankan town of Kilinochchi in a blitzkrieg that stunned the world, the Tamil Tigers have finally lost it to a military determined to crush the rebels. The fall of Kilinochchi after months of fighting is a huge blow to the LTTE. Kilinochchi is a small but strategically located town that served as the political hub of the once sprawling LTTE territory in the north and east of the island. more..

Key loss will test Tamil Tigers

Jan 3 (BBC) The Sri Lankan army's capture of the northern town of Kilinochchi marks a new phase in the fighting between the security forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels. With its fall the rebels have now lost the biggest township they had under their control for more than a decade. For the security forces, it will enable them to consolidate their domination of the key A9 highway, which links the Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the country. more..

Is Sri Lanka's quarter-century war near its end?

Jan 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military on Friday said it had seized Kilinochchi, which the separatist LTTE had claimed as capital of the nation they want to create for Sri Lankan Tamils. With that, the military has struck a strategic and symbolic blow that shows it has made the most battlefield progress at any time since the war began in 1983. That has analysts asking if the ground war could soon be over. more..

LTTE -- a ruthless militant organisation

Jan 3 (TT) LTTE, which suffered a body blow today when it lost its stronghold Kilinochchi, gave a new dimension to militancy in the world by using suicide bombers and other guerilla attacks to maintain their struggle for separate Tamil Eelam. LTTE, led by Velupillai Prabhakaran a school dropout from the secret jungles of Wanni in northern Sri Lanka for the past 30 years, has been accused of killing many Sri Lankan Sinhalese and Tamil leaders and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. more..

Timeline of the violence in Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (AP) Major developments in Sri Lanka's conflict: • 1975: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group forms. The group demands a separate state for minority ethnic Tamils in the island's north and east. • 1983: Civil war begins. • 1991: Tamil Tiger suicide bomber assassinates then-Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, apparently in revenge for sending Indian peacekeeping troops who ended up fighting the rebels. more..

Sri Lankan troops capture Tamil Tiger HQ, demand surrender

Jan 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Friday its troops had finally captured the unofficial capital of the Tamil Tigers and urged the rebels to lay down their arms and end their decades-old struggle for a separate homeland. But just hours after President Mahinda Rajapakse announced the news, a suspected Tiger suicide bomber attacked Sri Lanka's air force headquarters in Colombo, killing at least two airmen and injuring more than 30 others. more..

Sri Lanka faces a grim new year

Jan 3 (GN) The loss of Kilinochchi, is a major blow to the Tamil Tiger movement fighting for autonomy in the Sinhalese-dominated country. But the army's success in capturing the town yesterday does not mark the death of the LTTE. Kilinochchi was the LTTE's political headquarters, strung out on the main tarmac road from Colombo to Jaffna. The government could always strike it at will by air, as it did just over a year ago when aircraft bombed the offices of SP Thamilselvan, more..

Bring in political solution - TNA

Jan 3 (BBC) The TNA has called on the authorities to bring in a political solution if the government is genuine in winning the hearts and minds of Sri Lankan Tamils. TNA parliamentarian Chandrakanthan Chandraneru told BBC Sandeshaya that Tamil people will not gain anything from government capturing territory from the LTTE. He was responding to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement that government troops captured the former LTTE political headquarters, Kilinochchi. more..

2 Sri Lankans executed in Saudi Arabia

Jan 3 (AP) Authorities in Saudi Arabia have beheaded two Sri Lankans convicted of robbing and killing a Sudanese man. An Interior Ministry statement says the two approached Mohmed Abdul Rahman as he left his office in Riyadh, walked him to his car where they shot the accountant and stole his money. The beheading Friday is Saudi Arabia's first in the new year. The kingdom follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which more..

The end of Prabhakaran?

Jan 3 (Rediff) There have been understandable scenes of jubilation in Colombo and other Sinhalese majority areas of Sri Lanka over the occupation of Kilinochchi, which used to be the administrative capital of the LTTE , by the Sri Lankan army on January 2. These scenes bring to one's mind similar scenes one witnessed after the US army moved without resistance into Baghdad vacated by Saddam Hussein's army in 2003 and more..

Military successes will create new set of dilemmas for President

Jan 3 (TC) Sri Lanka security forces have started the year 2009 with the capture of Paranthan, the key road junction located on the A9 Jaffna-Kandy lifeline between Kilinochchi and Elephant Pass. The fall of Paranthan adds a new dimension to the war because it splits the mutually reinforcing Kilinochchi-Elephant Pass defence complex. It is a moot point now whether the LTTE was right in concentrating on strongly defending Kilinochchi when tactically Paranthan was more vital for this very reason. more..

Maldives to support Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism

Jan 3 (AT) Visiting President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed expressed his appreciation of the efforts being taken by President Rajapaksa to restore peace in Sri Lanka, and congratulated the President and Sri Lanka on the success in the Kilinochchi Operation, and also assured Sri Lanka of the fullest support of the Maldives in the fight against terrorism. It was agreed at the bilateral talks, that Sri Lanka and the Maldives looked forward to the further improvement of more..

US renews call for peaceful dialogue in Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (AFP) The US State Department on Friday urged the Sri Lankan and Tamil Tigers to start negotiating over the "legitimate" demands of the Tamils after Colombo announced a key win over the rebels. Sri Lanka said Friday its troops had finally captured Kilinochchi, the unofficial capital of the Tigers, and urged the rebels to lay down their arms and end their decades-old struggle for a separate homeland. more..

Bangladesh prepare for Mendis threat

Jan 3 (CI) Bangladesh's brave attempt at pulling off a record-breaking chase of 521 in Mirpur rounded off one of the most memorable months of Test cricket in recent memory. It also dispelled the notion that anything over 450 is unattainable in the fourth innings, even if it involves the weakest Test nation. Though the result didn't go their way, Bangladesh's effort has sparked some life and anticipation into the short series, which Sri Lanka were overwhelming favourites to sweep. more..

Explainer: Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers

Jan 3 (CNN) The Tamil Tigers have been invited by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to lay down their arms after government forces retook the city of Kilinochchi Friday, once the center of power for the rebel group. But while Colombo celebrated the government success with fireworks, within an hour a suicide bomber abruptly shattered whatever hopes the president may have had for immediate peace. more..

Tigers begin withdrawal from Elephant Pass

Jan 3 (TC) The LTTE have begun withdrawing from entrenched positions in the strategic Elephant Pass region. The narrow Isthmus that links the Jaffna peninsula to the Northern mainland known as Wanni by land is often described as the “gateway to Jaffna”. Preparations are also afoot to vacate tiger positions in other key places in Eastern Wanni like Mullaitheevu, Oddusuddan and Vatraappalai. more..

Tensions in Colombo after woman bomber explodes herself near Air Force HQ

Jan 3 (TC) The triumphalist mood in Colombo underwent a drastic change after news of a suicide bomber strike in the heart of Colombo city in a high – security area became known. The attempt by the Rajapakse regime to project the capture of Kilinochchi as a “national” triumph through orchestrated propaganda began to sour as news of the explosion began circulating The Govt hired lumpen elements going around Colombo streets waving flags and tooting horns and more..

Fall of LTTE ‘capital’ not end

Jan 3 (IE) Will the fall of the ‘capital’ make the ‘king’ a deadlier force, even more difficult to contain? Even as the Sri Lankan Armed Forces claimed a decisive victory by capturing the northern town of Kilinochchi, the administrative and political capital of the rebel LTTE, analysts and experts point to the immediate future, one filled with guerrilla and terrorist tactics launched by the rebels. In fact, this is not the first time Kilinochchi has become the benchmark for proving supremacy on the battlefield by both sides. more..

Kilinochchi captured in devastating blow to LTTE

Jan 3 (Hindu) In a major blow to the LTTE, Sri Lankan troops on Friday captured the northern town of Kilinochchi, which has been the Tigers’ administrative and political headquarters. The military victory came after a phase of intense fighting that lasted several weeks. Kilinochchi has been under Tiger control for over a decade. In a special address to the nation on state television hours after the troops smashed into the town through three different points, more..

Mahinda is the people’s prez

Jan 3 (EB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa must be the happiest leader in Sri Lanka’s recent history. Despite serious and debilitating flaws in governance, he is riding a wave of popularity even three years after taking office. Undoubtedly, at the root of it all is the public perception that the military campaign against the LTTE is going great guns. A recent survey conducted by LMD-TNS Lanka in areas other than the war-affected Tamil-speaking parts of the country, more..

Editorial: Look beyond war

Jan 3 (TOI) The fall of Kilinochchi, the administrative headquarters of the LTTE, will be a major victory for the Sri Lankan army. The LTTE had administered areas under its control from this town, which had been outside the ambit of Colombo's writ for over a decade. The capture of Kilinochchi will leave the LTTE without a base and change the course of war in the region. The Tigers are most likely to revert to guerrilla tactics and keep on fighting. more..

Sri Lankan victory evokes mixed reaction

Jan 3 (TP) Sri Lankan residents here had mixed reactions to the capture of the Tamil Tiger rebels’ headquarters by the Sri Lankan armed forces yesterday, with several minority Sri Lankan Tamils refraining from making a comment on the issue. Situated 330 kilometres north of capital Colombo, Kilinochchi has served as the de facto capital of the Tamil Tigers’ mini-state in northern Sri Lanka for the past 10 years. more..

School writing books offer moral guidance too

Jan 3 (UCAN) As Sri Lankan children prepare to begin the new school year in January, a top seller in bookstores has been an exercise book with a maxim or Bible quotation at the top of every page. The initial print-run of 10,000 copies of the 80-page, lined exercise book, priced at 20 rupees (US$0.20), arrived early in December and ran out within a few days. Parents and children snapped them up from bookstores in Colombo including the one in the Archbishop’s House compound. more..

Sri Lanka to give incentives for foreign remittances

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka will give incentives to expatriate citizens to bring their saving home in the form of higher interest rates and lower taxes, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Authorities were also planning to offer an additional 'bonus interest' to supplement the interest income provided by commercial banks to foreign currency account holders, Cabraal said in his annual policy speech. more..

'We will too celebrate when the root causes to the ethnic issue and armed struggle are eradicated'

Jan 3 (LG) We will too light crackers and celebrate when the root causes to the ethnic question and subsequently to the violent armed struggle are eradicated. The noble need of the hour is a honest political solution. But it looks that we are far away from nobility. Whatever said and claimed the reality is that even the 13th amendment is not being implemented after 21 years since it became law. more..

IPKF vets fear influence loss

Jan 3 (LG) The fall of Kilinochchi to Sri Lankan government troops is being described by Lanka watchers here as an eclipse of the LTTE’s conventional fighting capabilities, leading to a corresponding diminution in New Delhi’s influence over Colombo for ensuring that the political cause of the Tamils was met. "We’ve lost the game (to the government of Sri Lanka)," Maj. Gen. Ashok Mehta (Retd), who served with the IPKF in Sri Lanka, told this newspaper. more..

Military victory meaningless without efforts to negate racial discrimination

Jan 3 (LG) The year 2009 has begun for Sri Lanka with the president, the Honourable Mahinda Rajapakse claiming a major military victory against the LTTE with the reported capture of their de facto enclave capital of Kilinochchi. There is no doubt this has been an extremely costly venture in respect of loss of lives especially for the state forces, unaccounted rebels who must have perished, the civilians affected both by death and displacement and more..

It's not over yet...

Jan 3 (LG) All over the world the news flash reads: "The Sri Lanka troops enter the rebel Head Quarters." It is reasonable to deduce that this move will bring about a psychological shift both among the Sinhalas and the Tamils. But one has to be tired and emotional to call this a sure victory. Far from it. The idea of the defacto Tamil state will have to be put on the back-burner. Oslo involvement is completely out of the picture. more..

Awareness on child abuse to be promoted

Jan 3 (GDI) The Probation and Child Care Department (PCCD) is to set up children's clubs around the country to educate children on the issue of child abuse and other child related matters, Commissioner of the Department, Sarath Abeygunawardena said. The Department will obtain the assistance of GS officers and Samurdhi Development officers and Sociology graduates specialized in psychology to implement the programme, he said. more..

15,000 policemen to be deployed for Provincial Council elections

Jan 3 (GDI) Around 15,000 police personnel will be deployed to maintain law and order during the Central and North Western Provincial Council elections scheduled to be held on February 14. A minimum of four police personnel will be deployed at each polling station and service personnel will be stationed at sensitive places as deemed necessary. Polls will open at 7.00 am and close at 4.00 pm on February 14th and more..

Scholarships to study in India

Jan 3 (GDI) The High Commission of India Colombo has announced that 40 scholarships are available for Sri Lankan students to follow undergraduate courses in Indian universities during the academic year 2009-10. Accordingly the Higher Education Ministry has invited applications from eligible candidates. Prospective students are required to submit applications within 7 days of the announcement of A/L results. more..

School textbooks distribution will complete tomorrow

Jan 3 (GDI) The distribution of school textbooks among schools throughout the country according to orders placed by the principals will be completed by tomorrow, Commissioner General of Educational Publications W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said. The Educational Publications Department will conduct mobile services to meet any shortage of books faced by schools due to lapses in orders placed. more..

More teachers for Central and Northwestern Provinces

Jan 3 (GDI) Moves are under way to recruit 364 graduate teachers by the Ministry of Education aiming to overcome the shortage of teachers in the Central and Northwestern Provinces. Under this scheme, the Education Ministry has planned to conduct interviews shortly based on the result of competitive examination held in 2007 for recruiting graduate teachers. Discontinuing the prevailing practice, the Education Ministry is scheduled to more..

Cuban Revolution commemorated in Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (LT) The 50th Anniversary of the great Cuban Revolution was commemorated at the Public Library Auditorium in Colombo on the1st of January. The celebration organized by the JVP was participated by the Ambassadress of Cuba in Sri Lanka Ms. Nirsia Castro Guevra, Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe, its General Secretary Tilvin Silva and a large crowd. more..

Priority for electrification in North

Jan 3 (SAMN) The government would prioritize provision of electricity to the newly liberated areas of the North. The Power and Energy Ministry had already drawn up a plan to supply electricity and expected to implement it commencing in January 2009. Power and Energy Minister W.D.J.Seneviratne told The Island that on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s "Uthuru Wasanthaya" (Northern Spring) programme meant to more..

Pension payment delay to end by Jan 31

Jan 3 (SAMN) The Director of Pensions K.A. Thilakarathne Friday assured that the delay in the payment of commuted pensions would ease by January end. Asked the reason for such a delay, he said: "It is a regular feature occurring at the end of the year." Public servants who retired during the course of last year are yet to receive their commuted pensions. About 15,000 public servants are eligible annually to full pension, more..

Mixed reactions to Kilinochchi capture

Jan 3 (SAMN) The fall of Kilinochchi – the headquarters of the beleaguered LTTE – drew a wide range of reactions from political parties Friday with some asking the people to take to the streets in celebration while the TNA – known to be a proxy of the LTTE – claimed it would be the beginning of a prolonged guerrilla war. NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa asked people not to underestimate this victory and said they should come out to the streets in large numbers to celebrate it. more..

Less than 2,000 Tigers left

Jan 3 (SAMN) Army Commander Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka said that the Tigers are fighting a losing battle and now they are besieged in an area even smaller to Thoppigala and there are only about 1700-1900 remaining with the organisation. The Commander was addressing the Cabinet ministers, top brass of the security forces, and government officials at the Presidential Secretariat expressed confidence that the war would come to an end in less than one year. more..

With K'nochchi, govt. launches polls campaign

Jan 3 (LD) Supporters of the government in most towns in the south lit firecrackers to celebrate, as the president announced the capture of Kilinochchi town by the army yesterday. Reports from these areas say police had supported the celebrations organized by ruling politicians to target the upcoming provincial council elections. Ministers and other politicians in the government have taken part in processions and more..

Rs. 393 m to Kotelawala from People's Bank

Jan 3 (LD) The bank overdraft of Golden Key Credit Card Company has run into Rs. 393 million after it used the money in its two deposits with the People's Bank to pay for its depositors, 'Ravaya' reports quoting internal sources of the bank. GKCCC and Golden Key Trading Company had separate accounts maintained at BoC's Majestic City branch, which had reached this overdraft figure before the crisis spread to affect Seylan Bank. more..

Govt. to ban LTTE?

Jan 3 (LD) The president is considering a ban on the LTTE and the matter will be decided at the next meeting of the cabinet, a senior government minister told 'Lanka Dissent.' President Mahinda Rajapaksa had previously decided to proscribe the Tigers after the capture of Mullaitivu town, but the move is likely to be made earlier than that, due to the new lease of life the country is experiencing after the liberation of Kilinochchi town, the minister said. more..

UNP to courts over trishaw meter

Jan 3 (LD) The UNP says it will go to court against the decision that makes meters mandatory for trishaws to become eligible for receiving petrol at a subsidized rate of Rs. 100 per litre. Its general secretary Tissa Attanayake told 'Lanka Dissent' that this rule goes against fundamental laws, and that such a regulation could be imposed only under public transport laws. He alleged the measure is intended at giving a contract for an associate of the president to import trishaw meters. more..

JVP say their stand against separatism proved right

Jan 3 (LD) "Victory in Kilinochchi is a major defeat to all those who said the Tigers can not be defeated. It is also a victory for all those who stood against separatism, terrorism, stood for the unity of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people and wished for a Unitary state." Said General Secretary of the JVP, Mr. Tilvin Silva, at a media briefing held at the Solis Hotel, Pita Kotte, this morning. more..

Cold wave in N'Eliya

Jan 3 (DN) A severe cold wave is hitting the Nuwara Eliya district, thus affecting tea and other plantations in the low lying areas. Thick frost is falling throughout the nights and in the early hours hot sun is causing destruction to tea and other vegetation. Night temperatures have dropped to Zero to two Celsius. According to residents of Nuwara Eliya after a spell of heavy rains in the recent months, a severe cold wave is being experienced and the usual weather patterns have changed.

Guru Pooja to the incredible Upeka

Jan 3 (DN) Upeka the virtuoso dancer-daughter of the two legendary dancers icon dancers, Vajira and Chitrasena is endowed with the best of her parents. She inherited all this when she was barely able to walk, making her dance debut at seven years.... and fifty years later the ‘prima donna’ of Sri Lankan ballet was felicitated by her students, in a celebration that climaxed half century of dedicated service towards her beloved art. more..

Mahinda’s ‘daydream’ comes true Prabhakaran loses K’nochchi

Jan 3 (Island) Close on the heels of Thursday’s liberation of Paranthan, the army yesterday regained Kilinochchi, the LTTE’s administrative capital as Sri Lanka’s war against terror reached a decisive stage. The focus on the combined security forces campaign, spearheaded by the army, will now shift to Mullaitivu on the north-eastern coast where the 59 Division is within a couple of kilometres away from the town. more..

A blow to global terror

Jan 3 (Island) Last November Prabhakaran bragged in an interview with an Indian magazine that capturing Kilinochchi would be a daydream for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But, yesterday the President's daydream came true! Prabhakaran had to abandon that township which he used to proudly call 'the capital of Eelam' and run for dear life. The fall of Kilinochchi has sent the LTTE's spin doctors masquerading as journalists and more..

Elections Commissioner did not utilize his powers properly- CaFFE

Jan 3 (DM) The powers as stipulated in the Constitution were not properly utilized by the Elections Commissioner to check the malpractices which occurred during the pre election period of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa polls, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said in its final report on the polls which was conducted last August. According to the report polling day proceeded reasonably smoothly without any major shortcomings. more..