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'Rivira belongs to my relative – attacking Upali is like attacking my relative'

Jan 29 (LT) ‘Rivira’ media institution belongs to his relative and attacking Mr. Upali Tennekone, its Chief Editor, is like attacking my relative said President Mahinda Rajapakse. He said this at a meeting of newspaper editors held at Temple Trees. ‘Rivira’ media institution had never acted against the police or the Security Forces, its editor Upali Tennekone followed an independent media policy and is one of his closest media persons said the President. more..

Lankans don’t expect Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha visit

Jan 29 (EB) Sri Lankans do not expect Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa to accept Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation to visit his country to see for themselves how peacefully and harmoniously the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese are living in areas of the island not under the yoke of the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

The grand plan of the LTTE

Jan 29 (LG) The LTTE blocked the return of some UN humanitarian workers with their families exiting the war-torn areas a few days back. Despite a strong protest by the UN, the LTTE did not release them or the civilians they are keeping as a shield inside non-liberated areas in the Wanni. A news report following the incident said that when enquired from the UN office in Sri Lanka as to if the non-release of the UN workers by the LTTE would qualify as a hostage situation, more..

SAARC Energy ministers to meet in Colombo

Jan 29 (LG) The Third Meeting of SAARC Energy Ministers will be held in Colombo on 29 January with the participation of all SAARC Member States, the SAARC Secretariat and the SAARC Energy Centre. The Meeting that will be chaired by Minister of Power & Energy of Sri Lanka, W.D.J. Seneviratne will be the first SAARC ministerial meeting that Sri Lanka is hosting since assuming the Chairmanship of SAARC in August 2008. more..

Cock-eyed Chris Morris files slanted report on Lanka for the BBC

Jan 29 (LG) Chris Morris, a senior BBC journalist, has been covering Sri Lanka from periodically from 1992 when he was first posted to Colombo as its correspondent. His latest broadcast from Colombo (January 7, 2009) is typical of the BBC slant on Sri Lankan issues. He is focusing on “civilians dying” in the last stage of the war. He opens his report with guns of Sri Lankan forces firing into Tamil Tiger targets in the jungle and more..

Don't listen to the failed west

Jan 29 (LG) The western diplomats, Akashi the Japanese special envoy on Sri Lankan matters and of course one or two Indians have visited Sri Lanka again in the last few weeks. They appear to come in procession. The Indians after a long time seem to have a good understanding of what Sri Lanka is doing at the moment. Sri Lanka unlike during the JR Jayewardene regime is not a threat to India directly or indirectly and India appears to be happy in respect of the present situation in the country. more..

End in sight for Sri Lanka conflict?

Norway says it is concerned over situation in Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (NP) The Norwegian Government says it is very concerned about what it calls “the unacceptable suffering" among the civilian population in the war-affected areas of Sri Lanka. It calls on both sides to protect civilians, and ensure that food and other humanitarian assistance reach the population. ”Norway condemns the current conduct of hostilities in Sri Lanka causing unacceptable suffering to civilians in the country,” more..

Tea prices firm despite weaker currencies of importing countries

Jan 29 (LBO) Tea prices at the Colombo auctions this week maintained their upward trend with demand strong despite the weakening of the currencies of key buyer countries like Russia, brokers said. Supply was tight because of dry weather in key origins while demand remained strong because of winter in the main consuming countries where stocks had also been run down, they said. Tea prices have been on the upswing for the past three weeks since more..

Shares up on retail buying, rupee at life low

Jan 29 (Reuters) Shares edged up 0.62 percent on Wednesday on retail buying, led by cement manufacturer Lanka Cement, expecting the company to resume operations after troops secured an area where it has a plant. The rupee closed unchanged at its all-time closing low due to a state bank intervention. The Colombo All-Share index rose 11.22 points to 1812.21. The bourse is 20.6 percent so far this year after falling 40.8 percent last year more..

Mukherjee visit and 'Indian agents'

Jan 29 (AT) Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's reported arrival in Sri Lanka comes in the wake of Tamil Nadu jingoes strongly urging Delhi to pressure Sri Lanka to go for a ceasefire. Their aim is obviously to give breathing space to the cornered LTTE. Is this what Mukherjee has in mind? We earnestly hope it is not. However we now are hearing again the hackneyed "political-solution-to-the ethnic-problem" garbage if we go by the January 27 Daily Mirror report. more..

Age and weather hold no bar for Jayasuriya

Jan 29 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya, whose 107 made him the oldest centurion in one-day internationals, says he is happy to be scoring runs for Sri Lanka but sidestepped discussion over his future. Asked whether he would continue till the 2011 World Cup, he said: "I don't know, let's see how it goes." Jayasuriya, now 39 years and 212 days old, broke Geoffrey Boycott's record with his 28th century. Boycott was 39 years and 51 days when more..

Youngsters' radio program keeps parents off 'bad' entertainment

Jan 29 (UCAN) Sunday-school students in a coastal town conducted a two-day live radio program during their parish feast to divert attention from whisky, beer and dancing. "My 16-year-old son came over the radio to give a new message to our parishioners," said Marshall Ragal, 47, of St. Sebastian's Church in Moratuwa. His son, Denver Ragal, and other members of the parish's Sunday School Prefects' Guild broadcast religious programming over shortwave radio starting on Jan. 19 and more..

Statement by the External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee

Jan 29 (RW) I had detailed, useful and productive discussions with H.E. President Rajapaksa and am pleased with the comprehensive briefing by the Sri Lankan side. We covered recent developments in Sri Lanka, the entire gamut of India-Sri Lanka relations and regional issues of mutual interest. India-Sri Lanka relations are developing strongly. It is particularly important at this time of transition and change that we should continue to strengthen our ties. more..

Official: 250-300 civilians dead in war

Jan 29 (AP) A government health official said Wednesday that witnesses reported 250 to 300 civilians were killed in fighting over the past week in northern Sri Lanka and said hospital records showed that more than 1,100 were wounded. The report came as the government pledged to refrain from launching attacks inside a civilian refuge area set up in the war zone. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said no civilians had been killed in the fighting, though more..

RAW plotting Prabha's escape?

Jan 29 (DW) A secret plan to extract Prabhakaran and Poddu Ammaan from the battlezone has/is in operation. A team of influential Tamil expatriates had arrived in Chennai to coordinate this mission, which is being organized by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India. The plan was/is to extract Prabhakaran and Poddu Ammaan and bring them to safety and to coordinate disruptive attacks in Sri Lanka from abroad. more..

Thousands cornered by advancing army

'Rajapakse government attempting to betray military victories'

Jan 29 (LT) Mahinda Rajapakse government is attempting to betray victories achieved by the Security Forces in the military front to implement a devolution programme says JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe. He paid tribute to Security Forces saying, “When the three forces are achieving victories with tremendous sacrifices the pressure by international forces on the country has escalated. Indian Foreign Minister came yesterday. more..

Colombo's war crimes turn to rape of the fleeing - TNA MP

Jan 29 (TN) Civilians who have been caught by the Sri Lanka Army recently in Vadamaraadchi East in Jaffna and from Murasumoaddai in Ki'linochchi district, who are confined to the 'detention camps' run by the Sri Lankan military, have complained to their relatives that the Sri Lankan soldiers have taken several women into their custody and were sexually abusing them, said Jaffna district parliamentarian S. Gajendran on Wednesday. more..

Tamil Tiger's British head 'conspired to supply terrorists'

Jan 29 (Telegraph) Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, a "very prominent figure" in the Tamil community in the UK, co-ordinated the acquisition of material and funds for the benefit of the Liberation LTTE, a jury heard. But despite warnings to put a stop to his activities, the defendant continued to procure electrical components for the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers, some of which had "an obvious terrorist purpose". more..

UN 'prevented' from evacuating wounded

Jan 29 (BBC) UN Says that they will attempt to evacuate a convoy of critically Injured From Puthukkudiyiruppuri to Vavunia. On Tuesday, the government said the covoy of over two hundred patients were stopped by the Tamil Tigers. The United Nations in Sri Lanka says that it will attempt for the second time in three days to help evacuate by convoy hundreds of critically wounded civilians including at least 50 seriously injured children. more..

Is it the end for the Tamil Tigers? Part 2

Is it the end for the Tamil Tigers? Part 1

India's dilemma in Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (BBC) Any military victory in the civil war in Sri Lanka will almost certainly see pressure for the re-emergence of India in contributing to a settlement. Since the emergence of full-blooded Tamil militancy in Sri Lanka in the 1980s, the two neighbours have circled each other in an uncertain diplomatic tango, sometimes seeing eye to eye but more often holding each other at arm's length. It was more more than 20 years ago that the then Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, first assumed the mantle of honest broker. more..

UN: staff came under fire in Sri Lanka 'safe zone'

Jan 29 (AP) Dozens of U.N. workers and their relatives spent a terrifying night huddling in hastily built bunkers as artillery fire pounded a civilian "safe zone" in Sri Lanka's war-wracked north, according to an internal U.N. memo. The memo, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, said the artillery shells killed nine civilians in a nearby bunker and were apparently fired by government forces. more..

In Pictures: Vanni humanitarian crisis

Jan 29 (TC) The office of the Regional Director of Health Services in Kilinochchi said in a communiqué today Jan 28th: “Disaster situation is at peak. Civilians are running to find safest place. Staying at Bunkers is the maximum safety. But unfortunately heavy rains flooded the bunkers. Deaths and injuries are common among IDPs living places. Many feel they should not be the next victims. People are hopeless on outside help. They are praying for better life”. more..

Hoax about dead and injured in Mullaitivu exposed

Jan 29 (AT) An "urgent appeal" doing the rounds in the media and diplomatic circles, UN and relief agencies, and as a widely distributed e-mail message referring to a "Human Catastrophe and Medical Emergency" in the Vanni, reporting the alleged deaths of more than 300 and injury to 1000 in Mullaitivu is found to be a total fabrication. This is issued as an “Urgent Appeal” to the Govt, the ICRC, the UN and the international community for medical supplies and medical teams to be sent to the Mullaitivu district." more..

Belgium was warned of the dangers of LTTE

Jan 29 (AT) Foreign Minister pointed out the danger of LTTE front organizations operating within the territory of Belgium and in Europe as a whole, which collect funds on behalf of the LTTE, carry out illegal smuggling operations and other criminal activities. In a meeting with the recently appointed Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama pointed out that with the steadily diminishing fighting capabilities of the LTTE, more..

Mullaitivu "capture" - the truth revealed

Jan 29 (LG) Sources in Ceylon indicate that the Singala people of the island are euphoric about the "capture" of the small fishing hamlet of Mullaitivu. SLA units from the 7th Gemunu Watch (7GW) moved into the hamlet on Sunday while the LTTE were preparing to tactically withdraw. Unfortunately, some of the LTTE cadres were caught off guard and were unable to withdraw in line with orders, around 200 of them are said to be trapped in the hamlet, their fate is unknown. more..

'LTTE to be blamed for all deaths in Vanni'

Jan 29 (AT) LTTE should take the blame for every death that occurs in Vanni Today. The LTTE, once acclaimed by some as very brave, have now become cowards. At this desperate hour they will not hesitate to do anything with venomous intentions of putting the blame on the others. V. Anandasangaree pointed out that Sri Lankan armed forces has the moral duty to safeguard the innocent people, who are trapped in the LTTE held area or more..

Wilting Tigers & tilting Quixotes

Jan 29 (LG) Tigers are among the fastest dwindling animal tribe on the globe. They abound in human form too in Sri Lanka, but here again extinction seems imminent, having been cornered and confined to a few hundred square kilometres now, thanks to some relentless hunting by the military. But rational TN remains oblivious to all that: here, walking around in tiger skin is still a popular political pastime and, worse, the rhetoric remains shrill despite the shrinking tiger terrain across the Palk Straits. Who said paper tigers don’t roar? more..

The naivete of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva

Jan 29 (LG) The Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights regrets a recent statement made in Geneva by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which fails to note current ground realities in Sri Lanka. The statement appeals ‘to both sides’ to allow and facilitate the safe and voluntary movement of civilians out of the combat zone’ and notes that ‘Hundreds of patients need emergency treatment and evacuation to Vavuniya Hospital in the government-controlled area.’ more..

Troops on Prabhakaran's trail find bulletproof car

Jan 29 (PTI) On the hunt for elusive Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran, Sri Lankan security forces have stumbled upon a damaged bulletproof car that could have been used here by either LTTE chief or other senior rebel leaders. The rugged-looking covered pick up wagon, fitted with double steel sheets to escape bullet hits, was found in thick jungles near here as Lankan forces scour the area for the LTTE topmen, a senior defence official said. more..

Rajapaksa’s invitation a drama, says Ramadoss

Jan 29 (Hindu) All “self-respecting” Tamils should “decide and act together today itself” to protect the Tamil race in Sri Lanka, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss said on Wednesday. In a statement here, Dr. Ramadoss said it was time for exposing the Sri Lanka regime’s “face of terrorism,” and those supporting the government. The Tamils in the island nation had lost “all the individual liberties,” and were being discriminated against. more..

Editorial: Need a Doosra

Jan 29 (TOI) Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Colombo was unremarkable. The minister for external affairs made it clear that New Delhi had no sympathy for the LTTE but cared for Tamil civilians caught in the war. That's the line followed by New Delhi for sometime. It's also the right approach. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured Mukherjee that his government will try its best to limit civilian casualties. more..

Identity of Sri Lankan fugitive established

Jan 29 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan fugitive, who landed at Serankottai near Dhanushkodi in a fibreglass boat on January 24, hails from Puttalam in the island nation. Police say Asir, 28, reached India after hijacking the boat equipped with diving gear. Information compiled by the security agencies in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka reveals that Mahathir had lodged a complaint with the Puttalam police that his boat had gone missing since January 23. more..

Sri Lanka's struggles stem from Mahela

Jan 29 (CI) There isn't a notice on the Sri Lankan dressing-room door but if there was one, it would read: 'If you find the old Mahela Jayawardene please return. We need him. Desperately.' The man responsible - if indirectly - for the debacle today, and for the team's recent struggles, is the man leading the side. It was a game India won as much because of Sri Lanka's middle-order problems as on their own strength. more..

Opinion: Sri Lanka situation

Jan 29 (Hindu) The long-drawn war between the security forces and the LTTE in Sri Lanka has almost come to an end. It is Colombo’s responsibility to ensure the safety of around 200,000 Tamils being held hostage by the Tigers. In the past two decades, the Tamils under the LTTE have been subjected to untold suffering and torture. President Mahinda Rajapaksa deserves praise for decisively beating the Tigers in the civil war. He should now draw plans for a smooth transition of power to establish normality. more..

Sri Lanka may win the battle, but lose the war

Jan 29 (National) When outlining his vision for the future of the United States’s national security policy in a recent speech, Robert Gates, the US Secretary of Defence, said that his country “cannot kill or capture its way to victory”. This is the crux of so-called counterinsurgency principles: an insurgency can be defeated only if military actions play a subordinate role to diplomatic, economic and propaganda operations. more..

New forum to spearhead stir on Tamils issue

Jan 29 (EB) In yet another development on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, four political parties - MDMK, PMK, CPI and VCK have formed the Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement (SLTPM) and decided to organise agitations to take the Central and state governments to task on the issue. The DMK, in the 1980s, spearheaded a movement called Tamil Eelam Solidarity Organisation (TESO), supporting the formation of Tamil Eelam in Lanka. The TESO urged India to intervene militarily in Lanka to liberate the Tamils. more..

Govt and Tamil Tigers violating laws of war, charges Amnesty International

Jan 29 (AI) Reports emerging from Sri Lanka suggest that government forces and the LTTE are violating the laws of war by targeting civilians and preventing them from escaping to safety. Amnesty International has received information that the LTTE has, in at least one instance, prevented injured civilians from moving to safer areas or accessing medical care--an act that could constitute a war crime. more..

Sri Lanka army in ghost 'Tiger' town

Jan 29 (BBC) Heavy monsoon rains were falling as we approached the outskirts of Mullaitivu in a Sri Lankan armoured personnel carrier. "We had to fight here for one week or so," said Colonel Arun Aryasinghe, as he showed us a huge earthen defence line constructed by the Tamil Tigers. "It was a very hard battle." Mullaitivu used to be one of the Tigers' most important bases. Now the Sri Lankan flag flies overhead, and government troops are in complete control. more..

Urgent action needed to prevent civilian deaths

Jan 29 (HRW) The Sri Lankan government and the LTTE should take immediate steps to allow thousands of civilians trapped in a shrinking conflict zone safe passage and to ensure that they receive desperately needed humanitarian aid, Human Rights Watch said today. Intense fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the separatist LTTE has caught an estimated 250,000 civilians in deadly crossfire, and in the past week civilian casualties have risen dramatically. more..

Two pacts may be signed during Emir’s Lanka visit

Jan 29 (GT) Qatar and Sri Lanka are likely to sign two bilateral agreements during the proposed visit by HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to the island nation in May. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Qatar Vijayasiri Padukkage told Gulf Times that the proposed agreements were related to investment protection and promotion, and economic co-operation. The Emir is likely to visit Sri Lanka in May although no dates have been finalised. more..

Sri Lanka: When the whole world isn't watching

Jan 29 (AN) One of the harsh realities of the humanitarian field is that some crises capture public attention, while others do not. The patterns are rather rigid. Crises in Europe and the Middle East, especially Palestine, make headlines. Large-scale natural disasters, even in obscure places, attract interest due to the inherent human fascination with immense forces beyond our control. more..

Tamil Tigers boss was Special Branch informant, court hears

Jan 29 (Telegraph) Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, known as "Shanthan," was allegedly aided by two Tamil electronics experts living in Newport, South Wales, who helped decide what components to acquire. He was also close to Anton Balasingham, the Tigers' chief political negotiator, who moved to London in 1999 and died three years ago. more..

M.K.Sivajilingham MP in full swing in India carrying on anti-govt activities

Jan 29 (AT) A TNA Member of Parliament who is on leave of absence from the Parliament of Sri Lanka, is alleged to be running a well organized anti-Sri Lankan Government disinformation campaign in India. Not only he is involved with running his own campaign against Sri Lanka, sources said he is involved in arranging the funding of all anti-Sri Lankan campaigns on behalf of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu in particular and in India in general. more..

LTTE Propaganda at Boston Globe Exposed

Jan 29 (MN) An open letter from Robert Brown from London,UK to Editor of Boston Globe: Dear Editor of Boston Globe, You have accidentally published a false story titled "Sri Lanka allegedly kills 30 civilians" on January 23, 2009. This letter intends to show why this story is false and how the LTTE terror group is involved in killing civilians. There is evidence to show that this is a false report fed to the Boston Globe at by Tamil Terrorists. more..

'The War in Sri Lanka stopped and an immediate political solution found'

Jan 29 (AT) The war in Sri Lanka has to stop. A ceasefire between the concerned warring sections has to be entered. A political solution has to be found to the crisis that is plaguing the country, said, D.Rajah, Member of the Rajya Sabah and the National Secretary of the Communist Party of India. "Sri Lanka Government has to listen to the International Community. If the Sri Lanka Government does not want to listen to the International community, then it is its problem. more..

'LTTE prevented' evacuating wounded

Jan 29 (BBC) UN Says that they will attempt to evacuate a convoy of critically Injured From Puthukkudiyiruppuri to Vavunia. On Tuesday, the government said the covoy of over two hundred patients were stopped by the Tamil Tigers. The United Nations in Sri Lanka says that it will attempt for the second time in three days to help evacuate by convoy hundreds of critically wounded civilians including at least 50 seriously injured children. more..