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Haven for tsunami affected children

Jan 4 (SO) "I like to play with my brothers and sisters because it makes me happy", says 13-year-old Kalaivani. Ten-year-old Mayuri says that her favourite subjects are English and Art while 9 year old John says he likes to play cricket with his friends. Sashidaran, a seven-year-old says that his ambition is to be a computer engineer while eight-year-old Samson introduces his best friend 4-year-old Nimesh to us. more..

President wants media cameras to leave him alone

Jan 4 (NS) On December 30, President Mahinda Rajapaksa summoned his cabinet of ministers and presented his proposals for a ‘mini budget’ offering a host of relief measures for the public. The proposals recommended the reduction of the prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene oil, reduced the interest rates on loans and restricted charging penalties on those who are unable to make their loan payments. more..

Karuna says Prabha still in Mullaitivu

Jan 4 (NS) Scotching speculation that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has fled the country due to his inability to resist the present onslaught by the government troops, Tamil Makkal Vidudalai Puligal (TMVP) Leader and Parliamentarian Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran alias Karuna yesterday confirmed that the LTTE Chief was still living in the thick jungles of Mullaitivu. more..

Police downgrades entry requirements

Jan 4 (NS) Due to the inability to face the competition with the other armed forces, the Police Department has taken steps to downgrade entry requirements for their enlistments. Previously, six passes at the G.C.E. O/L examination including Mathematics, Sinhala, Tamil, English in the first sitting was required as educational qualifications to join the Police Service. But, the recent alterations permit candidates who fulfil the above mentioned requirements in not more than two sittings more..

Bomb was meant for SLAF Chief?

Jan 4 (NS) Security forces suspect that the suicide explosion which occurred in front of the Air Force Camp at Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha on Friday evening was originally meant to target Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilake. The Air Force Commander, who attended the special ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat in Fort along with top brass from other services that evening, where President Mahinda Rajapaksa made the official announcement to more..

'Who’s fooling whom?’ asks Ravi Karunanayake

Jan 4 (Island) Although the Central Bank and the Governor were always talking that Sri Lanka will not be effected by the Global Financial Crisis, the recent events have revealed that their predictions were dead wrong. The financial institutions in this country have been moving from a bad to a precarious position. Sakvithi Investments, Daduwam Mudalali, Golden Key and now Seylan only corroborates the claims we have made. more..

Rukman hails victory

Jan 4 (Island) UNP Assistant Leader Rukman Senanayake yesterday expressed his confidence of an outright army victory over the LTTE. Speaking to The Sunday Island from Kataragama, the Kegalle district MP said that Friday’s liberation of Kilinochchi close on the heels of army’s victory at Paranthan would give a turbo boost to Sri Lanka’s fight against terror. more..

Giving evidence against Potta Nauffer: Businessman seeks police protection

Jan 4 (Island) A businessman who is giving evidence in two separate court cases against Potta Nauffer, the notorious underworld kingpin jailed for life for the killing of High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya, has appealed for police protection. Fearing for his life, M. G. M. S. Zurfick, President of Falcon International, has written to the Colombo Chief Magistrate, the Defence Secretary, IGP and the Justice Ministry seeking more..

'Don’t use religious symbols in political campaign'

Jan 4 (Island) The Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya advised politicians to refrain from using religious symbols in their political campaigns. Most Venerable Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera of Malwatte and Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Mahanayake Thera of Asgiriya said that photographs of places of worship and pictures of objects of worship should not be used on posters and handbills in the political campaign during election times. more..

Advanced general elections post-Kilinochchi

Jan 4 (ST) It was arguably one of his biggest moments of glory since President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa took to politics 38 years ago. He surfaced in the hallowed halls of the stately old Parliament building following the 1970 General Elections, as the youngest Member of Parliament in the then House of Representatives, representing the southern electorate of Beliatte. more..

Prabha's day-dream turns into Tiger nightmare

Jan 4 (ST) It was past 12.30 pm on Friday when Major General Jagath Dias, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Army's 57 Division, reached out to a secure telephone to give the Commander of the Army, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka the good news. Troops have entered Kilinochchi bringing to a close a three-pronged thrust. The fact that that the strategic northern town, 328 kilometres from Colombo, was within reach of the troops much sooner than expected, was known to the Army Chief. more..

Haven for birds in war - ravaged Mannar

Jan 4 (ST) Vankalai, in the Mannar district, with its numerous bird species has been declared a sanctuary by the Department of Wild Life Conservation (DWLC), a first in the area since the armed conflict erupted in the north several decades ago. This sanctuary, partly a Wetland, comprises Puliyantivu island, Tiruketiswaram, Pallimunai, Vankalai and the strips of land on either side of the causeway connecting the island of Mannar to the mainland. more..

Going back on a Tramcar ride

Jan 4 (ST) What triggered my memory was an old (very) studio photo of my childhood self staring glumly at the camera while my infant sister timidly leaned towards me. Proudly embossed at the photo’s bottom was “Terminus Studio”. I seem to remember this venerable institution yet standing, till the early 1950s, on the triangular corner where Panchikawatta Road turned into Skinner’s Road towards Technical College. more..

Sri Lankan violations taken to UN Secretary General

Jan 4 (LD) Citing several incidents, which are not only shocking but are, in their view, war crimes and gross abuses that violate all the basic norms of human decency and human rights, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has written to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, “calling for diplomatic engagement with all the members of the United Nations and the Sri Lankan government.” more..

Spinners put Sri Lanka in charge

Jan 4 (CI) Mashrafe Mortaza guided Bangladesh away from an embarrassing follow-on on the second day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong. His crucial 63, which came off 89 balls and included eight boundaries and two sixes, came at a time when he was joined by last man Shahdat Hossain, still needing 49 runs to avoid the follow-on. While Mashrafe undertook the bulk of the scoring, a resolute Shahadat helped Bangladesh save face by more..

‘LTTE men cannot enter india ’

Jan 4 (EB) There is no possibility of injured LTTE cadre infiltrating into Tamil Nadu after the fall of Kilinochchi town, intelligence officers said here on Saturday. The assurance comes in the backdrop of fears that wounded cadre would seek shelter in India, after the Sri Lankan forces captured the political capital of the LTTE. However, intelligence personnel says the Tigers may go to Indonesia or Malaysia. more..

UPA betrayed Sri Lankan Tamils cause: CPI

Jan 4 (PTI) Accusing the Congress-led UPA of "betraying" Sri Lankan Tamils cause, the CPI on Sunday asked the government to tell President Mahinda Rajapaksa to end the war and resolve the ethnic conflict through negotiations. "It is high time that the Central Government headed by Congress recast its policy towards Sri Lanka and send External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee as promised to a multi-party delegation from Tamil Nadu," more..

‘Expect LTTE to change tactics'

Jan 4 (EB) All major political parties remained silent on Friday, when Kilinochchi fell to the Sri Lankan Army, while some smaller outfits reacted with a sense of resignation. With the defeat of the LTTE at Kilinochchi, pro-Eelam and anti-war outfits now say that other methods of struggle will be adopted. Kilinochchi was the last stronghold of the LTTE and it is widely perceived that the fall of this town marks the defeat of the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka moves in on rebel HQ, vows to take Tiger supremo

Jan 4 (AFP) Sri Lanka's army said Sunday it was moving in on the jungle stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels, in a final assault aimed at ending the longest-running ethnic war in Asia. Flush with confidence after retaking their main city two days ago, the army vowed to capture rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran as troops pushed deeper into northern territory long under the complete control of the guerrillas. more..

Sri Lanka pushes ahead with war on rebels

Jan 4 (AP) Battle tanks rumbled north, attack helicopters flew overheard and artillery fire roared through the jungles as Sri Lankan forces pushed ahead Sunday with an offensive aimed at capturing the Tamil Tigers' last strongholds and crushing the rebel group. Two days after the military seized the rebels' administrative capital of Kilinochchi, the government led a victory tour of the newly seized areas in the north, providing journalists a rare glimpse of more..

PMK questions 'silence' of PM, Sonia on Sri Lankan Tamil issue

Jan 5 (PTI) Questioning the "silence" of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, the PMK, a partner of ruling UPA, on Sunday sought immediate steps to ensure that the Sri Lankan military offensive against the LTTE is halted. "What is the reason for the Indian Prime Minister's silence?" PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss asked. more..

Remember Baby 81 of Dec 26th 2004 Tsunami?

Jan 5 (TC) It’s true that children live in a world of their own. One such child lives in Kurukkalmadam in Batticaloa, is four years old, playing the character of bold knight using an old broomstick as a jousting stick. He camouflaged himself among the wide-branched coconut tree in the middle of his tiny garden. His cousin, of the same age soon comes over to fight with him and there’s a roar. more..

LTTE After Kilinochchi - Q & A

Jan 5 (TC) I have received many questions in response to my article on the capture of Kilinochchi, the so-called administrative capital of the LTTE, by the Sri Lankan Army on January 2,2008. I will attempt to answer some of the questions: Q.What will be the next move of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA)? A.One of the reasons for the continuing success of the SLA during the last two years has been its ability to deny to the LTTE an opportunityfor an offensive action. more..

Sri Lanka plans new rules for mobile commerce

Jan 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka will issue new rules covering financial transactions through mobile phones, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said, as the island's fast growing celcos join banks to offer new payment methods. "Given the increased usage of mobile phones for financial transactions, the Central Bank intends to issue new operating guidelines for mobile payments during 2009," Cabraal said more..

UNP - duplicate of ruling political alliance?

Jan 5 (LG) On December 4, 2008, Mano Ganesan issued a statement under the title “Thoughts to share” which concluded with the following paragraph: “UNP is the party which proposed peace for this country while in government. It is the party which brought the one and only power devolution law (13th Amendment) in the history of Sri Lanka. But look what is happening, today? The UNP today has no guts to challenge the fruitless war. more..

Sri Lanka investors wooed by Maldives

Jan 5 (LBO) The new government in the Maldives, in move to privatize the economy, is looking at selling state-owned businesses and becoming more investor friendly, the Maldivian leader said on a visit to Colombo. “We come here to open the country for business. We are looking at an ambitious decentralization program. We have some state-owned 'white elephants' that we are looking at offering to Sri Lankan businesses that are interested in investing in Maldives,” more..

IUSF opposes new circular to admit students to G.C.E. A/L classes

Jan 5 (LT) The new circular presented by the Ministry of Education regarding admission to G.C.E. A/L classes is highly unjustifiable says convener of the Inter Universities Students’ Federation Udul Premaratne. He said the circular No.2008/17 issued on 30.04.2008 is unfair to the students seeking admission to A/L classes. According to the circular the students have to get passes to all compulsory subjects at the G.C.E. O/L examination to get more..

'JVP opposes making English compulsory to enter A/L classes'

Jan 5 (LT) The circular 208/17 issued by the Ministry of Education denies educational opportunities to students states the JVP in a press release. The press release in full: By the circular 2008/17, issued by the Ministry of Education on the admission process for students into Advance Level Classes, it has been made compulsory to pass English as a pre-requisite. more..

Sri Lanka plans splitting Pakistan tour to host India

Jan 5 (CI) Sri Lanka are looking at splitting their proposed tour of Pakistan in order to squeeze in a home five-ODI series against India. Under the plan, Sri Lanka will visit Pakistan for the limited-overs leg of their tour later this month, return home for India's visit and head back to Pakistan to play three Tests. "I have told [Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive] Duleep Mendis to look at the option of touring Pakistan first for five ODIs and a Twenty20 match," more..

The need for a new alliance for democracy and rule of law

Jan 5 (AHRC) The defeat of terrorism calls for the shift of attention in resolving lawlessness, corruption and the loss of authority of the public institutions of democracy. The government's declaration that the terrorism represented by the LTTE has been substantially defeated, despite of a small area which remains under LTTE control, should provide a much needed opportunity to deal with the widespread lawlessness in all parts of the country, more..

What ‘Political Solution’? ‘What’s the problem?’

Jan 5 (FI) Despite the disturbing developments since introducing the 1972 and later the 1978 nationally incompatible Constitutions that denied the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural island, peace, progress and prosperity, there are some Sinhala nationalists, who still question the need for a political solution to what many regard as a pressing national problem. more..

"We support war not devolution" - NPC

Jan 5 (BBC) LTTE should be ideologically defeated while defeating it by war, says National Patriotic Centre (NPC). President of the NPC, JVP MP Vijitha Herath in a media conference on Sunday said that there should be public support for the war and not for devolution of power. He said that the government is trying to bring in devolution proposals which "help strengthen the LTTE and separatism". more..

The endgame in Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (HT) The fall of Kilinochchi to the Sri Lankan army is of great symbolic value. The town was the “capital” of the LTTE. But more than the symbolism, it marks the quick collapse of an organization that had transformed itself from a guerrilla band to a force that could take on an army in open battle. That transformation has run its course and the dream of a separate motherland for the Tamils of Sri Lanka may well be at an end. more..

Editorial: Debacle for LTTE

Jan 5 (ET) While the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has undeniably dealt a severe blow to the LTTE with the capture of the latter’s de facto capital, Kilinochchi, the resolution of the conflict in Sri Lanka is far from over. Indeed, with this military victory, the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime is in danger of letting triumphalism further harden the Sinhala majoritarianism that is equally part of the problem. more..

Kilinochchi looks like a “ghost town”

Jan 5 (Hindu) To describe Kilinochchi, the administrative and political headquarters of the LTTE which fell into the hands of the Sri Lankan military on Friday, as a “ghost town” is an understatement. It is a town without a soul, roofs, windows and any conceivable civil and administrative infrastructure. For a bustling town that is home to an estimated 1,00,000 people, the destruction left behind presumably by the fleeing Tiger cadre as the military advanced is to be seen to be believe. more..

Strong Malaysian trade delegation visits FCCISL

Jan 5 (AT) A fifteen member strong trade delegation representing the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) met officials of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) at the FCCISL auditorium. The Sri Lankan Team was led by Kosala Wickramanayake, President, FCCISL while the Malaysian Delegation was led by Tan Sri Dato’Soong Siew Hoong. more..

'We give highest priority to civilian safety'

Jan 5 (Hindu) Post-Kilinochchi, President Mahinda Rajapaksa expects the Sri Lankan armed forces to make rapid advances and capture Elephant Pass, which controls access to the Jaffna Peninsula, and other key targets in a short while. He is confident that, in the near future, the fighting cadres of the LTTE will have nowhere to go outside the jungles of Mullaithivu district in northern Sri Lanka. more..

Kochi, a haven for LTTE fugitives

Jan 5 (EB) As the Lankan forces entered the Tamil-Tiger strongholds in northern Lanka scattering away the rebels, Kerala’s marine security agencies fear a large number of suspected LTTE cadres have infiltrated the Indian shore via trawlers to discreetly engage themselves as workers in fishing trawlers off Kochi coast. Senior officials at the Coastal Base Station in Fort Kochi said they had come across Indian trawlers with some of them, including women, speaking a Tamil dialect similar to that spoken in Sri Lanka. more..

After Kilinochchi: Victory within sight but there are pitfalls

Jan 5 (TC) With the liberation of Paranthan and Kilinochchi, the war has pivoted decisively in favor of the Sri Lankan armed forces and against the LTTE. We are winning a ground war, not against sporadic suicide bombers or home made rockets causing single digit casualties over long years, but against a ferocious insurgent foe fielding large formations, armed with heavy artillery, fast boats and light aircraft. more..

TNA accuses Colombo of war crimes

Jan 5 (TN) Describing several recent escalation in incidents where Sri Lanka Armed Forces have targetted Tamil civilian during festive days between Christmas and Thaipongal, TNA, in a press release issued today, said that the "stringent economic, food and medical embargos on the war affected areas," ..."are not only War Crimes in contravention of the Geneva Conventions but are also a part of a policy of Genocide that the Sri Lankan State has been carrying out against the Tamil people." more..

No decision yet on handing over Prabhakaran to India: Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (IANS) Sri Lanka has said that it has not yet taken a decision whether or not to hand over Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran to India if he is caught alive by its troops, who are currently approaching the last major rebel bastions in the jungle district of Mullaitivu. Defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has said Colombo would consider the matter seriously if India was to make an official request for Prabhakaran's extradition, but more..

LTTE claims 53 Lankan soldiers killed in clashes Sunday

Jan 5 (PTI) Battling to defend their last remaining stronghold Mulaitivu, the LTTE claimed that 53 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in the Army's bid to advance towards the town Sunday. The rebel website TamilNet said at least 80 Lankan soldiers also sustained injuries in the clashes that occured to the east of Paranthan junction, as the Tigers repulsed the troops' fresh attempt to advance towards the town. more..

The end of war and the beginning of strife

Jan 5 (ON) As 2009 settles down, it looks as if Asia's longest running war is finally entering its death throes. The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) earlier this week captured Kilinochi, the de facto capital of the LTTE. The casualties are unconfirmed, but it seems from initial news reports that little resistance was put up by the rebel group, famed for its suicide attacks that have killed, among others, the former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. more..

Fall of Kilinochchi marks turning point in civil war

Jan 5 (wsws) After months of heavy fighting, the Sri Lankan military announced on Friday the capture of the northern town of Kilinochchi, the administrative headquarters of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The fall of Kilinochchi may be the prelude to military defeat of the LTTE, but, even if that proves to be the case, it does not augur a new period of peace and prosperity for the island. more..

Tigers after Kilinochchi: What can they do? What will thy do?

Jan 5 (TC) The often asked but seldom answered question "what after Kilinochchi?" has become more relevant after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) lost Kilinochchi on January 2 and along with it control over most of its domain in the north. After Kilinochchi, two major actors in the war scene – the government of President Rajapaksa and the LTTE -will be reworking their agendas to suit the emerging environment. more..

Whither Education in Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (LG) Now that the schools are closed for vacation after a tedious year and the new school year is about to start it is high time that the minister of education and the authorities concerned ponder on the drawbacks, mistakes and failures in the field of education during the past year and take action to rectify them. Looking back at 2008, we cannot call it a successful year education wise. Many factors contributed to this pathetic situation. more..

The era of the buffaloes

Jan 5 (LG) The feeling to be on the roof of a five star hotel is great. It was a tremendous sight seen rarely. The flood lit Galle Face Green was packed with humanity, all jostling to get closer to the hotel and to me. Buying the hotel for a mere (US$) 45million- peanuts - was all worth it. The Army Grounds was packed. People were swarming all over buildings. Foreigners were perilously leaning out of windows of the Taj and GFH. more..

Karuna won't form new party

Jan 5 (MG) The TMVP will officially announce its stance with regard to the internal rift on January 10, TMVP Spokesperson Azath Moulana last week said while the Karuna faction said there was no move to form a separate party by the former LTTE Eastern Commander. Moulana said that a meeting of the party high rankers was held recently and the issues within the party were discussed. more..

SLMC dissidents to stay back after disciplinary threat

Jan 5 (MG) Two of the three SLMC dissidents who recently accepted high posts with the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC), have now opted to remain with the SLMC, after the party threatened to take disciplinary action against them. Disaster Relief Services Minister Ameer Ali, Resettlement and Disaster Minister Rishard Baduitheen and Trincomalee District Member of Parliament M. Najeeb Abdul Majeed recently acceded to a call by the ACMC to join the party and hold high positions. more..

Voice of Tigers announcer nabbed

Jan 5 (MG) Puttalam police have arrested an alleged announcer of the LTTE’s clandestine radio, ‘Voice of Tigers’ (VOT) at a refugee camp in Puttalam. Police said she was apprehended on a tip-off and investigations had revealed that she had come to Puttalam from Kilinochchi. Army intelligence personnel and the CID had been called in for further investigations, police said.