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Sri Lanka conflict kills 16,700 people in three years

Jan 29 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan military Wednesday said 13,000 Tamil Tiger rebels and 3,700 soldiers have been killed since the armed conflict between the two sides began to escalate in July 2006. 'In the last two months alone, 1,500 Tamil Tiger rebels and 150 soldiers were killed,' military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara, said. The government earlier said 95 percent of the task to eliminate terrorism from the country has been achieved. more..

Building bridges by train to Jaffna….

Jan 29 (LG) Military victory does not ensure permanent peace. Successes in battlefields would not mean much in the long run if people do not feel secure. Also, moderate Tamils are still not ready to come forward to participate in public life and provide an alternative to the Tamil Tigers and other paramilitary groups. Analysts point out that the problems are larger and deeper than the LTTE and should be addressed immediately at a national level. more..

Senior LTTE leader Balakumar badly injured

Jan 29 (LG) A senior leader of the Tamil Tigers has been seriously injured in an attack by advancing government troops. 'A senior leader and special member of the LTTE K.V. Balakumar was seriously injured during an attack by the Sri Lankan army at Udaiyarkattu area in Mullaithivu Monday and is admitted to the intensive care unit,' source from the LTTE said. more..

Lanka’s war against LTTE

Jan 29 (LG) What the IPKF could not do – defeat the LTTE – the Sri Lankan forces have done, demonstrating that insurgency can be subdued with the right mix of strategy, resources and political will. India’s coercive diplomacy failed due to the lack of political will. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s sudden visit to Colombo after the Republic Day celebrations in the aftermath of the human crisis arising from the war was designed to placate the government’s key allies in Tamil Nadu. more..

LTTE denies reports of preventing patients leaving combat zone

Jan 29 (TN) LTTE's Political Office on Wednesday categorically denied a news originated in Colombo government's media, the Daily News, and was highlighted in the International media that LTTE prevented UN convoy transporting injured patients from Mullaiththeevu district to Vavuniyaa hospital. Director of LTTE's Peace Secretariat S. Puleedevan described the news as mischievous. more..

Watch out for Vaiko's warships!

Jan 29 (LG) Those people who are so quick to write off the LTTE have overlooked a powerful factor that can still revive the fortunes of the Tiger Supremo. Or so it is being said among the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora. Not so long ago Y Gopalaswamy alias Why Ko of the Marumalarchi Dravida something - whatever it is - said he has the capacity to raise an army in Tamilnadu and invade Sri Lanka and sack the capital of Colombo. more..

Govt. media conceals Mukherjee’s statement

Jan 29 (LT) ‘Dinamina and ‘Daily News,’ two main publications of the state media have concealed the true facts of the discussion between President Mahinda Rajapakse and Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee. At the discussion between the two, President Rajapakse has assured the Indian Foreign Minister that he would move as quickly as possible to implement the 13th Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution. more..

Deyata Kirula from Feb 4 to 8

Jan 29 (GDI) The Government has taken steps, to hold the third 'Deyata Kirula' exhibition at the BMICH from February, 4 to 8 under the theme of "Eka Mawakage Daru Kela", Deputy Minister for Finance and State Revenue Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said at the media conference yesterday (28). He stated that the event would be flagged off by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the afternoon of the Independence Day (Feb 4). more..

President is king of jungle law

Jan 29 (LT) The President, by rejecting implementation of judiciary decisions and directives and undermining them, repressing media and denying democracy, is moving towards a despotic mania where jungle law would hold sway says Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake, Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP. Speaking at a media meeting held today to apprise the media regarding the situation that has arisen regarding the ‘hedging’ agreement more..

'No leader or government has supported the co-operative sector so much'

Jan 29 (LT) Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardhana said that no other leader or government has given so much support to the co-operative sector as the present one. In Mahinda Chinthana it says that co-operation sector would be involved in building a new Sri Lanka, Minister Gunawardhana said while giving salary increases to the empoyees of the co-operative sector in Kurunegala District. more..

Government ban imported rubber

Jan 29 (LP) The Government decided to ban imports of Natural Rubber. An addtional Tax of Rs.5 per kilograme of rubber will also be imposed on imports of Artificial Rubber. The decision was made at a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on 21st January 2009. The imposed tax will be activated through the Director General Department of Fiscal Policy. The Government took these steps to provide concessions for the Rubber industry which is facing difficulties due to the world economic recession

Visa racket accused to confess

Jan 29 (LP) Gihan Pilapitiya, Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge allowed an application by a suspects in a visa racket case yesterday (28th). They are to make a confession before the Judge today (29th). After allowing the application for a confession the Judge remanded the 10 suspects, in the visa racket case. They were remanded till 10th February. The dossier of the investigations into the visa racket was forwarded to the Attorney General for more..

Bruce Fein skulking in Chennai

Jan 29 (PISL) The American lawyer Bruce Fein, who specialises in making grave charges against distinguished Americans and Sri Lankans, is currently in Chennai. He seems determined to dodge the debate to which he grandly challenged the Secretary General of SCOPP. First he imposed some conditions, and then failed to respond to the Secretary General’s expression of keenness about the debate. more..

Plans to extend Yaldevi train service

Jan 29 (GDI) The Government is planning to extend the Yaldevi train service from Vavuniya to Kankasenthurei, the Railways Department sources said. The Yaldevi train currently operates from Colombo to Vavuniya and with this extension; commuters living in the North will be vastly benefited. The railway track from Vavuniya to Kankasenthurei will be constructed by using local funds and resources and with the fullest support and blessings of all communities living in the North Province. more..

Development plan for Dambulla town

Jan 29 (GDI) The Government has launched a massive development scheme centralizing Dambulla town called the Maha Dambulu Development plan. Rs. 5000 million has been allocated for the first stage of this project by the Government, the Urban Development Authority sources said. In accordance with that, road construction activities have commenced in the Dambulla town limits. The main roads connecting the town area are being widened under this program adding four road strips. more..

Stipulated maximum retail price for samba varieties

Jan 29 (GDI) The Government has decided to stipulate a maximum retail price of Rs.70 per kilo for all varieties of samba rice to prevent the unfair trading of errant traders, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development. The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has received a number of complaints by consumers in this regard. The CAA has been instructed to carry out islandwide raids to nab the errant traders who sell samba rice at higher prices violating the stipulating maximum retail price of Rs.70. more..

'Don't mix Tigers with civilians'

Jan 29 (SAMN) While the ICRC made an urgent appeal to prevent further civilian bloodshed in the north, the government yesterday questioned on what basis did international organisations identify the difference between civilians and LTTE cadres who may be operating in the guise of civilians. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that despite several media reports and statements from international organisations that civilians had been killed or wounded in the confrontations no proof had been obtained by these organisations to identify them as civilians. more..

EU MPs discusses Lankan crisis

Jan 29 (SAMN) Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Wednesday joined forces to demand EU assistance to help tackle an escalating humanitarian crisis in war-torn Sri Lanka. The appeal came as the Sri Lankan army continued its offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the country. The international committee of the Red Cross warned this week that the battle is causing a humanitarian crisis. more..

De-mining to begin in North

Jan 29 (SAMN) The government will start de-mining operations in the cleared areas of the North next month. Several foreign countries, including Japan and the United States, have already provided US $ 32 million for the service, which will be carried out by NGOs. The NGOs involved in the de-mining process are the Danish De-mining Group, the Federation of Swiss De-mining, the Mining Advisory Group, the Milinda Moragoda Institute of People’s Empowerment, Hello Trust, Horizon and SARVATRA. more..

An LTTE Submarine recovered

Jan 29 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army Task Force 3 found an LTTE underwater vehicle along with 3 other smaller underwater vehicles which are still under construction from the Udayarkattukulam area in Mullaittivu. Military sources said that this was the most startling recovery made by troops so far during the on going counter terrorist operations against the LTTE. Three suicide boats and a large haul of LTTE maritime equipmentwere also found at the location more..

Kandy City Centre phase II stayed

Jan 29 (SAMN) Kandy Mayor L.B. Aluvihare yesterday said that a three judge Supreme Court Bench presided by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva had stayed the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Phase II of the Kandy Municipal Car Park and had also ordered the lessee of the Kandy Municipal Car Park to pay the dues to the Kandy Municipal Council by March 3. Mayor said that the court order was a victory not only to the Kandy Municipal Council, but to all citizens of the country. more..

Situation report (Jan 29th) by SLA

Jan 29 (SLA) MULLAITTIVU: A 152 mm artillery gun of the LTTE was found buried by the 58 Division troops in the general area east of VISUAMADU this morning (28) during their search and clear operations in captured areas. 10 GR (Gajaba Regiment) troops commanded by Major JANAKA UDAOVITA found this heavy weapon when it had been set to be shifted to elsewhere by the LTTE at the time of the recovery. Seventy empty artillery rounds were also recovered from the area. more..

Summary of cabinet decisions

Jan 29 (GDI) Cabinet approved a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Feliex Perera to construct of 3 anchorages and 18 fish land sites under the post Tsunami Coastal Rehabilitation and Resource Management Programme (IFAD funded) in Kalutara District and Eastern and Southern Provinces. enlist the service of the United Nation Office of Project Services (UNOPS) as implementing partner for more..

'Tsunami guardians' not real angels

Jan 29 (DN) Children affected by the 2004 Tsunami face problems because of their `Guardians'. Many female children have been forcibly given in marriage while some have been manipulated in different ways to acquire their inherited properties and money granted by the State and donors, NCPA Chairman, Jagath Wellawatta said. he said after the tsunami, many 'guardians' came forward to take care of affected children but according to latest findings this was done with hidden agendas. more..

'Sri Lanka cyber crime fighting a failure'

Jan 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's computer crime fighting has failed with more than three quarters of cases ending without convictions or not being investigated, despite new laws being devised, Chief Justice Sarath Silva said. In 2007, there had been 17 cyber crimes but only 76 percent had been investigated. "Now the alarm signs are there," Chief Justice Silva said at the opening of a South Asian forum on information and communications technology (ICT) law more..

Museums for North, East, too

Jan 29 (Island) The ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka cannot be settled only by means of war there should also be a merging of cultures between communities. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs will establish these ties to promote harmony within the population, Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane told a media conference in Sigiriya. He said his ministry planned to establish museums in the North and East in which the communities could represent their cultural heritage. more..

'Govt’s disrespect for judicial directives has increased peoples tax burden'

Jan 29 (Island) The sum effect of the government’s disrespect for Judicial directives, was that the tax burden heaped on the people has increased further, the UNP said yesterday. General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake told a news conference in Colombo that the government’s total disregard for the Supreme Court order on the CPC to reduce the price of petrol from Rs.122 to Rs.100 a litre, has resulted in the oil hedging contracts becoming operative and the CPC having to pay the banks billions of rupees. more..

Of crafty Tigers and weird boats

Jan 29 (DM) The LTTE has a long and successful history of improvising and developing new tactics and specialist equipment for its separatist terror campaign. From its inception the LTTE experimented and manufactured various mines, grenades, mortars, boats and in recent times even equipped civilian sports planes with improvised bomb racks. It is my belief that the LTTE had reached its pinnacle in improvising and manufacturing weapons and platforms in the equipping of their naval wing, the Sea Tigers. more..

Troops reach Vishvamadu

Jan 29 (DM) The Defence Ministry announced yesterday that troops had reached Vishvamadu junction, a key stronghold of the LTTE, located in the Mullaitivu district. “LTTE resistance was rattled during the multi-front military assault, scores of LTTE cadres were killed and many injured,” the defence ministry said. The troops of 58 division, who reached Vishvamadu junction had captured a factory run by the LTTE that had manufactured bombs, including ‘Arul bombs’. more..

End Sri Lanka killings - UK

Jan 29 (BBC) Sri Lanka should go for a political solution that safeguard the rights of the Tamil community, British Foreign Secretary David Milliband has said. Both Mr. Miliband and his deputy, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown reiterated British government’s serious concerns of the plight of the civilians caught in the conflict in Sri Lanka’s north. “We are calling for every right of the Tamil people; political, cultural and religious rights are respected. more..

Hundreds of dead civilians piling up in Sri Lanka war

Jan 29 (IANS) Hundreds of Tamil civilians, including children, have been killed and wounded in Sri Lanka's war against the Tamil Tigers, international relief agencies say, with some calling it a humanitarian crisis. Although Sri Lanka insists that civilian deaths have been nil or minimal, there is growing disquiet in world capitals. Even the usually reticent international aid agencies are starting to speak out about the killings but opinion is divided as to who is more to blame: Colombo or the LTTE. more..

'LTTE not opposed to individual right of a civilian to flee combat zone'

Jan 29 (TN) LTTE Political Head B. Nadesan said Thursday that the Tigers have been urging the UN, ICRC and other international actors through all available offices to facilitate transportation for the wounded civilians in need of medical treatment to the Vavuniyaa Hospital. Blaming that there were elements seeking to feed false reports to tarnish the image of the Tigers, Mr. Nadesan revealed that, more..

Indian man commits suicide over Lankan issue

Jan 29 (MO) A youth allegedly committed self-immolation Thursday in front of Shashtri Bhavan housing Central government offices, protesting against the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Eyewitnesses said the youth, identified as K Muthukumar, hailing from Tuticorin district and residing in the city, was seen distributing his four-page phamplet, condemning the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka. After that, suddenly poured petrol and allegedly set himself ablaze. more..

UN evacuates wounded civilians from war zone

Jan 29 (AFP) The United Nations evacuated hundreds of severely wounded civilians from behind rebel lines in Sri Lanka on Thursday as government troops fought to secure final victory over the Tamil Tigers. Human rights bodies have called for immediate steps by both the Colombo government and the LTTE to save up to 250,000 civilians trapped in the combat zone in the northeast of the island. "About 350 critically wounded civilians, including 50 children, crossed the front lines," more..

Prabhakaran living in a world of illusion like Hitler in the final days

Jan 29 (TC) An organisation headed by a leader, who understands only terrorism, is unlikely to rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the international community. Prabakaran is a liability for the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Tamils in the post-9/11 world. The time has come for the LTTE leaders and the Sri Lankan Tamils---including their overseas diaspora--- to do an introspection on their future course of action. If they have to preserve the gains made by thousands of their cadres since 1983, they have to find a new leadership. more..

Govt ignores Supreme Court

Jan 29 (IPS) Far from heeding charges of human rights abuses and stifling dissent, the government has, this week, added blatant disregard for judicial fiat to its list of sins. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court terminated proceedings in a controversial oil hedging case, saying the government was no longer implementing court orders on the issue. Sources said the court of Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva backed off from taking on the executive after a series of high-profile judgments it passed against President Mahinda Rajapakse’s administration were simply ignored. more..

'People should be happy that terrorism was eradicated'

Jan 29 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted that the people of the Puttalam district should be exceedingly glad and happy that LTTE terrorism was eradicated in toto, as otherwise they would have been living in fear as colonised citizens. President Rajapaksa pointed out that had the LTTE emerged victorious the people of the Puttalam district would have had to live without freedom, as citizens of a colony. more..

Sri Lanka says it captured key crossroad in north

Jan 29 (AP) Sri Lankan forces captured a key northern crossroads and several bases from the Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said Thursday, while the United Nations evacuated hundreds of wounded civilians who had been trapped in the war zone. Human rights groups expressed growing concern for the safety of hundreds of thousands of noncombatants, reportedly still trapped inside the shrinking patch of jungle and villages that remains under rebel control. more..

Red Cross humanitarian report angers Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (BN) Sri Lanka's government criticized as inaccurate a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross on a humanitarian crisis in the north, where the army is trying to defeat the rebel LTTE. The statement by the ICRC "fails to note the current ground realities," the Defence Ministry said on its website. It appeals to both sides to allow civilians to leave combat zones when it is the LTTE that is stopping their movement. more..

Sri Lanka rejects report implicating government soldiers

Jan 30 (IHT) Sri Lanka on Thursday rejected a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross that implicated government troops in preventing the aid agency from assisting and evacuating wounded civilians. The aid agency appealed "to both sides to allow and facilitate the safe and voluntary movement of civilians out of the combat zone." Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also blamed government troops and ethnic Tamil fighters for more..

As war nears end, India's power blunted in Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (Reuters) After decades of strong-arming tiny neighbour Sri Lanka, India finds itself jostling for influence as the civil war nears an end, its power blunted by the island nation's growing ties with Pakistan and China. While domestic political sensitivities over the fate of Sri Lanka's Tamils forced India to ease its leverage, rivals China and Pakistan stepped into the breach, offering Colombo military assistance in its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Jayalalitha, Left hold talks on Third Front

Jan 30 (IANS) AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha met Communist Party of India general secretary AB Bardhan here Thursday to give shape to a third national front ahead of the parliamentary elections. "There are indications of other parties joining our front. We have left the decision concerning their admission to our front and their terms to her (Jayalalitha)," Bardhan told reporters here. The CPI and the AIADMK share "strong common ground" on political issues - "an indication of a healthy relationship", Bardhan said. more..

We can't interfere in Lanka's affairs: TN

Jan 30 (NT) A friend in need is a friend indeed. The cliched proverb came true in the Assembly today as State Finance Minister and DMK leader K Anbazhagan batted for the alliance partner Congress over the Lankan issue, saying that a government could interfere only to a certain level alone in the affairs of another country. Irked by this, members of the CPI staged a walkout from the Assembly. The MDMK legislators to followed the suit. more..

Nothing secret about Pranab's visit: Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (PTI) Scotching speculation about External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's unscheduled visit to the country, Sri Lanka on Thursday said there was nothing "secret" about it, which was aimed at further strengthening bilateral relations and to support efforts against terrorism. "There seems to be many theories emanating on Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit. There is nothing sensational. It was a normal visit," more..

Indian Coast Guard on high alert

Jan 30 (EB) With the LTTE on the run in Sri Lanka following the fall of its last strong-hold Mullaittivu, the Union Government has put the entire eastern coast, including the Visakhaptnam harbour and port, on high alert. The move comes in the wake of intelligence inputs that LTTE members could sail into India hoping to find a safe heaven not only in Tamil Nadu but also the other parts. Several fishing boats with blood marks were found on the Tamil Nadu coast recently raising fears of an LTTE exodus into the country. more..

'Mendis no longer a threat to Indian batsmen'

Jan 30 (ZN) Star off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Thursday said Ajantha Mendis is no longer a threat to Indian batsmen and claimed victory against Sri Lanka in yesterday`s first one-dayer is a major step as Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men attempt to become the number one team in the world. "During last year`s tour, no doubt Mendis was really a threat for the Indian team. But the Indian batsmen have now learned how to tackle him, which was proved in the first match of the ODI series, where Mendis proved a flop," more..

Bourse up on retail trading, rupee at life low

Jan 30 (Reuters) Shares rose 1.25 percent on Thursday on retail buying, with cement manufacturer Lanka Cement dominating trade as the company announced reconstruction of a plant in military-captured area. The rupee closed unchanged at its all-time closing low. The Colombo All-Share index rose 22.73 points to 1834.94, its closing high since Nov. 11. The bourse is up 22.1 percent so far this year after falling 40.8 percent last year on earnings and economic woes including high borrowing costs. more..

Sri Lanka CIMA division to be advised by local group

Jan 30 (LBO) The Sri Lanka division of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants would be advised by a 5-member consultative group after the local divisional council was suspended, the accounting body said. CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) has appointed a local Consultative Group to advise on the affairs of its Sri Lankan Division during the period of suspension of the Divisional Council. more..

Outcome of Mukherjee's visit to Lanka disappointing: CPI

Jan 30 (PTI) Expressing disappointment over the outcome of the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's recent visit to Sri Lanka, the CPI on Thursday said he should have "persuaded and pressurised" the government of the island nation to end its army offensive against the LTTE. CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan told reporters in Chennai that his party was "very much disappointed with Mukherjee's discussions with Sri Lanka." more..

Sri Lanka's Phyrric victory over the Tamil Tigers

Jan 30 (Times) As you read this, around 250,000 civilians are trapped in 115 square miles of jungle in northeastern Sri Lanka, where government forces have pinned down the last remnants of the Tamil Tiger rebels. That's a quarter of a million innocent men, women and children cowering in an area smaller than the New Forest as fighter jets, helicopter gunships and heavy artillery thunder all around them. more..