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More Sri Lankan displaced go home

Jun 9 (BBC) Two thousand people are being resettled in their villages in Sri Lanka's north-west after being displaced by the civil war, which ended in May. The group is the third and largest batch resettled so far as part of an ongoing programme in Sri Lanka's north. Although they are returning to their original home areas in the Mannar district, some of their homes would be rebuilt, officials told the BBC. more..

Demand for all-party meet on Lanka, govt says will 'respond'

Jun 9 (PTI) Several MPs today expressed worries in Rajya Sabha over the plight of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, prompting the government to assure that it would give an "appropriate response" to the concerns of the members. The assurance came after a number of MPs demanded an all-party meeting on the issue. "Government will respond appropriately once the feeling of the House is conveyed to the Prime Minister on the issue," more..

'Tamils' problem larger than that of LTTE'

Jun 9 (PTI) Declaring the Tamil problem as "larger than that of the LTTE", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday hoped that Sri Lanka would show courage in meeting their legitimate concerns. "The Tamil problem is larger than that of the LTTE. We hope Sri Lanka will show imagination and courage in meeting the legitimate concerns and aspirations of Tamil people to live their lives as equal citizens and with dignity and self-respect," more..

Sri Lanka extends anti-terror laws

Jun 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's government on Tuesday extended tough anti-terror laws, arguing that remnants of the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels could still try to stage a comeback. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told parliament that the government wanted to extend the state of emergency by a month despite last month's defeat of the LTTE and the deaths of their leaders. "There could be fire beneath the embers," he said. more..

Political personages out to exploit trade opportunities in Jaffna

Jun 10 (TN) The minister of Industrial Development, paid a sudden visit to Jaffna Monday where he visited the CEYNOR fishing net production unit in Kurunakar and explored schemes to reactivate Kaangkeasnaththu’rai Cement Factory, sources in Jaffna said. Sri Lanka government has announced that the transport of goods to and from Jaffna through A9 road by lorries will be commencing from 16 June more..

IDPs occupying railway properties in Jaffna to be evicted

Jun 10 (TN) Jaffna Government Agent has instructed all IDPs presently occupying railway stations and other railway properties including living quarters and the railway track areas from Thellippazhai to Kodikaamam to vacate them before 20 June, sources in Jaffna said. The government decision to resume train service from Vavuniya to Kaangeasanththu’rai soon and its directive to the GA is the reason for the urgent eviction order. more..

Christians and Buddhists to rebuild post-war Sri Lanka together

Jun 10 (AN) “Christians and Buddhists must work together to promote ahimsa, the doctrine of non-violence, so as to reduce the suffering of all those who have experienced the brutality of war,” said Fr Sarath Iddamalgoda, a priest involved in defending human rights and promoting cooperation among Christians and Buddhists as a way to rebuild the country. The day Buddhists celebrate Poson, which marks the beginning of Buddhism on the island nation, more..

Anglican bishop seeks crisis aid for Sri Lanka war refugees

Jun 10 (Ekklesia) The Anglican Bishop of Kurunagala in Sri Lanka, the Rt Revd Kumara lllangasinghe, has written to Anglican churches throughout the world to appeal for crisis aid for refugee casualties following the bloody end to the war there. Explaining that the situation in Northern Sri Lanka has reached crisis point, the bishop writes from the the North Western Province of the country: more..

Take steps to rehabilitate Tamils: Jayalalithaa

Jun 10 (PTI) AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday asked the Centre to expedite immediate measures for rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka. "India should expedite immediate measures for the rehabilitation of IDPs in Sri Lanka as well as ensure equal status for them on the lines of the majority Sinhalese in the island nation," she said in a statement here. more..

Tamil campaigner Euro vote boost

Jun 10 (BBC) A Tamil rights campaigner won more than 50,000 votes in the European elections - making her one of the most successful independent candidates ever. Jan Jananayagam gained more votes than some political parties in the London region and more than all the other independents in the UK put together. The student, a spokesman for the Tamils Against Genocide campaign, was backed by some Sri Lankan community groups. more..

'Lankan Tamils feel humiliated by India'

Jun 10 (ANI) Sri Lankan Tamils are unhappy with India's stand on Sri Lankan military action against the LTTE in the island nation. These were the views expressed by a team of Sri Lankan journalists of Tamilian origin at a meeting hosted by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) in New Delhi on Monday. They contended that Sri Lankan Tamils feel India cooperated with the Sri Lankan government rather than doing something for them. more..

Sri Lankan workers comment on victory celebrations

Jun 10 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government has been conducting an intense victory campaign since the army’s defeat of the LTTE. There have now been weeks of rallies, parades and special Buddhist religious festivals that again demonstrate the Sinhala supremacist nature of the war. At the local level, small-scale celebrations have been organised by ruling party MPs and local politicians to honour even colonels, majors and captains. more..

Grief and despondency in Sri Lanka's camps

Jun 10 (AN) She stood in the door frame of a former clothing factory in northern Sri Lanka. A tiny little woman with long, slightly grey hair pulled back in a ponytail. In her hand she held a small plastic photo album. She showed it to everyone who passed. There was no way I could understand what she said in Tamil but as I looked at the photos of three children, I understood the tone. It was one of absolute grief. more..

Attacked journalist still in hospital

Jun 10 (BBC) The journalist union leader who was brutally assaulted in Colombo last week says he still feels severe pain and headaches and still unable to walk as a result. Poddala Jayantha, the Secretary of SLWJA, was abducted and assaulted by unknown assailants on 01 June. He is still being treated in Colombo General Hospital. The journalist has underwent a surgery on his ankle and he says he still feel pain in the right leg that was burnt by the assailants. more..

'Prabhakaran was obstacle for Tamil's future'

Jun 10 (IE) Velupillai Prabhakaran was an "obstacle" for the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka and with his death the road is now clear for the government to address the "genuine political" grievances of the community by devolving powers to northern region, a senior Tamil leader said. Minister Douglas Devananda said the government should now hasten the process of resolving the decades-old ethnic conflict by implementing more..

Sri Lanka launches massive manhunt to recover LTTE weapons

Jun 10 (PTI) Having vanquished the LTTE, the Sri Lankan Army has launched a massive manhunt to recover their weapons, especially claymore mines and other destructive explosives, in the northern areas to facilitate the early resettlement of displaced Tamils in their towns and villages. "The army fears that LTTE has buried stockpiles of explosives and weapons in the thick jungles of Wanni," military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara told visiting Indian journalists here. more..

'Displaced Tamil civilians can vote in local elections'

Jun 10 (PTI) For the first time, displaced Tamils and Muslims currently living in relief camps in northern Sri Lanka will be able to vote in the Jaffna and Vavuniya local elections to be held in August. The civilians displaced due to the 30-year-old civil war will be able to vote in the local elections as earlier they were eligible to vote only in the presidential and parliament elections. more..

TMVP mayoress of Batticaloa joins SLFP

Jun 10 (CT) The mayoress of Batticaloa, Sivagita Prabhakaran has joined the SLFP, leaving the TMVP with several others. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, who is TMVP leader and chief minister of eastern province, will remain in the party. Their decisions were announced after a meeting of the central committee of the party. Three others, including Kanakasabey Prabhakaran who is husband of the mayoress, have also become members of the SLFP. more..

"Let's find Pillay another job" - Divaina editorial

Jun 10 (CT) The editorial of 'Divaina' newspaper in its June 09 issue, titled "Let's find Pillay another job", stresses that Navanetham Pillay is not suitable to hold the position of UN human rights commissioner. It says the conduct of UN human rights commissioner Navanetham Pillay shows to what extent the concept of communalism has spread in the international arena. more..

Breaking news for budding journalists – new vistas in financial journalism

Jun 10 (GDI) Finances and economics are measurable, quantifiable and qualitative, and, one plus one is definitely two in financial journalism. “If you are not comfortable with such qualitative concepts, then you have to get comfortable and you have to do what it takes to get comfortable,” said Channa de Silva, Director General Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) in a press statement. more..

Our release a miracle says escaped POW

Jun 10 (MoD) Our release from LTTE clutches is really a miracle. There are no words to express our joy, G. H. Chaminda Kumara Hewage of the Sri Lanka Navy who was among the five servicemen freed after three years in LTTE custody told the Daily News. "On November 9, 2006 there was a threat of an LTTE attack on the Green Ocean ship. We became captives when we went to defend the ship. "On that day we went in a Dvora gun boat. We had to abandon it due to an engine failure. more..

Historical heritage of Sri Lanka - Part 1

Postal services in north will be developed soon

Jun 10 (GDI) Sri Lanka government is to expand the postal services in the Northern Province with immediate effect, Postal Department sources said. As the first step of this scheme, a new post office will be set up at same locations where there were post offices earlier. The Postal Department expects to develop the service as soon as possible to provide a more efficient service to the Northern Province, sources said.

The passing out parade of 19th basic Airborne course

Jun 10 (MoD) The passing out parade of 19th Basic Airborne Course was held colorfully at the Parachute Training School Air Force Base Katunayake. On 09th June 09 Air Vice Marshal PB Premachandra grace the occasion as the Chief Guest, while other Sri Lanka Army Sri Lanka Navy Sri Lanka Air Force and special task force senior Officers were also among the distinguish guests. The proud parents of the trainees were also present with great honour to witness the function. more..

Sri Lanka, Windies look ahead to the Super Eights

Jun 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka and the West Indies will enjoy a contest without pressure when they clash in their last group C league match of the World Twenty20 here on Wednesday. What should have been a virtual knock-out game in the group will hold nothing more than academic interest after both teams knocked mighty Australia out of the tournament. "This was the only group that had three Test-playing nations in it, so to come out it pretty well is a huge bonus," more..

Political and cultural relationship between Sri Lanka and Portugal reminded

Jun 10 (AT) Sri Lankan Ambassador Lionel Fernando presented his credentials to Portugal President Anibal Cavaco Silva at the Presidential Palace in Lisbon. Ambassador Fernando, who is the Ambassador to France and Permanent Representative to UNESCO, and is also concurrently accredited to Portugal and Spain. The ambassador Lionel Fernando, during his discussion with President Silva recalled the more..

'A calamity is an opportunity'

Jun 10 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday urged M.S. Swaminathan, father of the Indian Green Revolution, to help the nation finalise a road map for early rehabilitation and resettlement of the war displaced in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. In the course of a meeting at his office, Mr. Rajapaksa told Prof. Swaminathan the need of the hour was to give hope to the people who had suffered immensely under the “tyranny” of the LTTE and more..

Battle for top Tiger spot begins

Jun 10 (AT) With the entire top brass of the LTTE eliminated in the final stages of the Sri Lankan government's military offensive last month, a succession struggle for the leadership of the LTTE is underway among Tigers abroad. The LTTE's chief of international relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, believed to be the senior-most Tiger alive, is the frontrunner for the top job. It was Pathmanathan who, in the days preceding the military defeat of the LTTE, more..

Prosecution proposed against Sri Lanka attack culprits

Jun 10 (Dawn) The National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports on Monday recommended criminal proceedings against all those security officials who showed incompetence and negligence while performing their duties at the time when the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked. The members also asked the Interior Ministry to speed up their investigations to arrest all those terrorists who were involved in the attack. more..

Tamils want Black Caps cricket tour called off

Jun 10 (Stuff) New Zealand-based Sri Lankan Tamils want the Black Caps' cricket tour of their home country this year cancelled. They point to reports that at least 20,000 civilians were killed in the Sri Lankan military's final offensive against the separatist Tamil Tigers last month. They say about 300,000 people are being detained, with thousands still missing. Led by the Wellington Tamil Society, they wrote to Prime Minister John Key asking more..

India steps up support for Sri Lanka

Jun 10 (BL) India is stepping up political, financial, social and moral support for Sri Lanka to successfully win the challenge of creating lasting peace following the successful crushing of terrorism. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday pledged in Parliament that the Indian Government will immediately extend a fresh US$ 110 million, or Indian Rupees 5 billion (over 12 billion Sri Lanka rupees), more..

Kerawalapitiya LNG plant caught up in power struggle

Jun 10 (BL) Although the newly proposed 1,000 Mega Watt Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) power plant at Kerawalapitiya is expected to generate cheap electricity, the project may not take off the ground due to regulatory barriers. In its latest development, Ministry of Power and Energy has ruled out against the setting up of the LNG power plant as a private venture, stating that such a project would be inconsistent with provisions of the newly enacted Sri Lanka Electricity Act no 20 of 2009, more..

UNP admits “we are weak” but insists it will keep fighting

Jun 10 (BL) The UNP is yet to decide whether it will contest at the Local Government elections in the North as a single party or by forming a coalition admitting that at present they are weak as an opposition due to the politicisation of the war. “We admit we are weak as an opposition,” UNP MP Johnston Fernando said yesterday, “And that is because the war was turned into a nationalistic movement and anyone who spoke against it was suppressed.” more..

APRC must be dissolved: Wimal

Jun 10 (BL) The National Freedom Front (NFF) claimed yesterday that the devised final set of proposals of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) is unethical and therefore, requested the government to dissolve the group immediately. NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa stated that the committee has no right to suggest political changes within the country as their mandate is no longer relevant. more..

SL Embassy in USA launches Tamil classes for its staff

Jun 10 (LG) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC has recently commenced Tamil language classes for its staff in order to improve their language skills and, thereby, facilitate a closer interaction with the Tamil Diaspora. This initiative will also help enhance mutual understanding between the Embassy officials and the expatriate community and share their cultural commonalities. more..

The solution

Jun 10 (LG) Finally what is the solution we offer to the so called ethnic problem? In order to have a solution it is necessary to have a problem. The so called ethnic problem is nothing but a problem due to the unwillingness of the English speaking Jaffna Vellala Tamils to recognise the significance of the Sinhala Buddhist culture, instigated by the British. The Vellalas inspired and instigated by the British wanted to become the leaders of the country by creating a mythical history going back to thousands of years. more..

Can Tamils Seize a new opportunity ?

Jun 10 (DBS) Ajith Ratnarajah is one of the enthusiastic readers of this blog. Apart from posting some pertinent comments under pseudonyms Ajith also sends me e-mails frequently. I discovered to my delight that he and I had similar thoughts on matters concerning the long term future of Tamils in Sri Lanka. I have gone on record that the destiny of Sri Lankan Tamils is inextractably inter-twined with that of the Sinhalese. more..

A national research centre on countering human trafficking opens in Sri Lanka

Jun 10 (AT) The Immigration and Emigration Department (IED) of Sri Lanka has opened a National Resource Centre to counter human trafficking with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The centre, which is housed at the IED, is to offer comprehensive training to IED staff, promote research and enhance information sharing among stakeholders on human trafficking. more..

Tamils conference: ‘forget differences; create public opinion for devolution of powers’

Jun 10 (AT) The Sri Lankan Tamils’ rehabilitation conference, organised by International Tamil Centre ("Pannattu Thamizh Naduvam") here on Monday, dwelt on the future of the Eelam henceforth, and urged the Lankan Tamils to forget differences and create public opinion in favour of devolution of powers to the Tamils in Lanka. Dr. Boyle, professor of international law at University of Illinois College of Law, said more..

“Api” (us)-”Owun” (them): A pictorial tugging at heartstrings

Jun 10 (DBS) Hello Friends, Several people both known and unknown have been forwarding a particular e-mail to me the last few days. It consists of some moving pictorial images contrasting the pathetic existence of internally displaced Tamils on the one hand and the comfortable lifestyle of some Sinhala people on the other. The pictures have Sinhala captions. I tried to trace the origin of this mail and nobody seems to know including those who forwarded it to me. more..

Historical heritage of Sri Lanka - Part 2

Four plead guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the LTTE

jun 10 (PRN) Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, defendants Karunakaran Kandasamy, Pratheepan Thavaraja, Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy, and Vijayshanthar Patpanathan pled guilty to, among other crimes, conspiring to provide material support to the LTTE, a designated foreign terrorist organization. The guilty plea proceedings were held before Chief United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie. more..

Media bytes on Sri Lanka

Jun 10 (LG) [Here are my answers to some of the recent questions relating to Sri Lanka from media representatives.] 1. Are you surprised at the decimation of the LTTE? Was it coming for them? No; it comes as no surprise. In the last three years of operation, the LTTE never regained military initiative. They could not launch a sizeable counter offensive. The army was bent upon causing maximum casualties; and the liquidation and decimation of [LTTE] leadership in the end was the only surprise. more..

Michael Roberts’s article finally arrived in time for North-South dialogue

Jun 10 (LG) Michael Roberts’s article finally arrived. With the sole representative of the Tamils unceremoniosly removed from the theatre it was unavoidably refreshing to read the acknowledgement by Roberts of the probability of a dialogue between the north and the south. That we lived to see that come out of his mouth is enough to send the barometer of hope spiraling towards a favorable level. more..

ASIA: Human rights in Sri Lanka and Pakistan

Jun 10 (AHRC) Thank you Mr. President, Firstly, we regret that NGO speaking times in this most substantive section of discussions are again being sacrificed due to unfortunate time management. The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) is gravely concerned that the Human Rights Council is abdicating from its mandate to protect individuals’ human rights, notably by failing to address impunity. more..

Crimes, dengue fever, attacks on journalists, problems of toilets and food and euphoric celebrations

Jun 10 (AHRC) Ankubura Seelaratne is a 25-year-old Buddhist monk who with youthful exuberance was engaged in campaigns to eliminate the sale of illicit liquor. Last week he was hospitalised in a critical condition after being poisoned. Some of his dayakayas (donors) poisoned the food given to him as part of the Buddhist traditional practice of providing food to monks. more..

"Small Miracle” tourism re-branding strategy introduced in Hague

Jun 10 (GDI) “Having successfully defeated terrorism, the Government of Sri Lanka is in the process of devising dedicated plans to address the post conflict issues to create a prosperous nation for all Sri Lankan citizens to live in harmony” said Ambassador to The Netherlands Grace Asirwatham. She made that observation at a function organized to brief the travel operators and travel writers on more..

Akashi happy with welfare progress of IDPs

Jun 10 (GDI) Japanese special envoy, Yashushi Akashi on his 18th visit to Colombo yesterday(9), visited several welfare camps housing the internally displaced in Vavuniya and expressed his satisfaction over the progress. He said that much progress had been made and appreciated measures taken by the Rajapaksa administration to speed up the resettlement process of the displaced. more..

Ranaviru Commemoration Day celebrated in Beijing

Jun 10 (GDI) The Sri Lankans living in China jointly with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing celebrated the "Ranaviru CommemorationDay" on 7th June 2009 at the Embassy premises. Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Karunatilake Amunugama stressed on the historic importance of this year's Ranaviru Commemoration Day as the dreams of the war heroes have finally become a reality today. more..

'UNP lauds President and heroic soldiers for LTTE defeat'

Jun 10 (GDI) United National Party never down plays government's great war victories, or hesitates to present with due honours to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and heroic soldiers for wiping out terrorism and to end the three-decade long brutal war, MP Lakshman Senevirathna said at the Parliament yesterday(09). MP Lakshman Senevirathna was addressing parliament while discussion the move to extend the State of Emergency. more..