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New global conventions needed to protect war affected communities

Mar 1 (TC) On Feb. 9, an LTTE suicide bomber killed herself inside a crowded transit camp maintained by the government for displaced Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka. She killed and injured scores of Tamil men, women, and children awaiting transport to safer areas. A day later, the LTTE shot and killed 19 civilians as they attempted to cross over to government held areas. The incident was not widely reported in international media, perhaps due to its low political appeal. more..

A Tamil Standpoint in Sri Lanka

Mar 1 (TC) In his book: Abiding by Sri Lanka, Qadri Ismail teases the eminent historian, K.M. de Silva, for the latter’s rendering of history that accounts for the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims contentiously co-existing but “finds no Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka”. The problem of finding Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka has become more than a matter of textual teasing as old divisions are hardened by the current war. more..

SAARC Foreign Ministers resolved to Combat Terrorism

Mar 1 (AT) The just concluded 31st session of the SAARC Council of Ministers, SAARC Member States and Senior Officials concentrated on two major issues that warranted their serious and immediate attention – combating terrorism and the global economic crisis and ways to end it in the region. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama when briefing the media personnel said heeding to the call of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Council of Ministers ably assisted by more..

An honourable celestial giant - the Sun God

Mar 1 (AT) Our forefathers used to worship the Sun, the Head of our Solar System, as the primary object for veneration, while extending the ritual to copious other secondary, inanimate things, ranging from massive trees to many more less-significant celestial objects. This was the era in which people thought the border of the horizon was the end of their world, something in turn may have led to the belief, that their world was flat indeed. more..

Eastern University suspends lectures, examinations

Mar 1 (TN) Eastern University administration informed Saturday that lectures and examinations in all its faculties are being suspended until further notice. The death of a first year student of the Faculty of Arts and Culture in the women hostel of the university causing tension among the girl students is said to be the reason for the suspension, sources in Batticaloa said. more..

Lanka Tigers stalk elections in TN

Mar 1 (AA) UNTIL A couple of weeks ago, the Congress heading the UPA at the Centre and the DMK running the government in Tamil Nadu were smug in their conviction that the Sri Lankan Tamil issue will not impact the coming Parliament polls. They cannot be blamed though, since the Eelam Tamils had never excited the TN voter with the 1991 Parliament poll being the sole exception, when the May 21 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by a LTTE woman suicide bomber during his election rally at more..

Colombo welcomes U.N. message

Mar 1 (Hindu) Sri Lanka on Saturday welcomed an appeal by the United Nations special envoy to the world community to influence LTTE to lay down arms and allow civilians trapped in the war zone to move to safer zones. The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry referred to the briefing given by U.N. Under-Secretary General for humanitarian affairs Sir John Holmes to the U.N. Security Council and maintained that the consensus at the Security Council was that Tigers must lay down arms. more..

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka Part 01

UNP fights its own battles as UN battle looms ahead for govt.

Mar 1 (SL) The crisis within the main opposition UNP has assumed gigantic proportions and it reached boiling point last Wednesday when the UNP's decision-making body, the Working Committee met. The Sirikotha meeting experienced frayed tempers coupled with gentle coaxing while the beleaguered party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe maintained stoic silence when members issued him an ultimatum to announce a voluntary decision to gracefully step down, the period being three weeks. more..

Show that will shake Sigiriya

Mar 1 (SL) With government attempts to convert the fabled Water Gardens of Sigiriya with its unique landscape into a gaudy night carnival, the Paris-based World Heritage Centre is now watching keenly how Sri Lanka manages its World Heritage Sites while Sri Lankan authorities appear to be turning a blind eye to the possibility of the country's environmental and archaeological laws being breached. more..

Workers paying the heaviest price

Mar 1 (SL) Sri Lanka is now feeling the pinch of the global recession with over 16,500 workers involved in the industrial sector losing their jobs. Given the present global conditions, economic analysts have warned that the country would be hard pressed to keep the economy ticking. They point out that the staggering number of people who have lost employment due to the present economic crisis is a warning signal of an impending economic disaster. more..

Culture of impunity stalks media

Mar 1 (SL) Now officially held by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) for questioning on allegedly assisting the LTTE to carry out the air attack on February 20, the so-called arrest of Sudaroli Editor N. Vidyatharan raises questions about force being used on the Editor prior to arrest in violation of the law.As far as the Vidyatharan family goes, it is an abduction that is now conveniently being converted into an arrest. more..

A nation being bamboozled

Mar 1 (LB) Isn’t it awesome how President Mahinda Rajapaksa picks the best men for the best jobs? That chump who mindlessly drove a budget airline to the ground has just been made Galle district organiser for the UPFA. Some people are even saying that Sajin de Vass Gunewardene will be chief minister of the southern province after elections are held there. Imagine that? People with buckets of talent are going to waste while Sajin gets another chance. more..

State finances on life-support

Mar 1 (LB) This is the week in which Fitch Ratings, the international financial outlook index brought down Sri Lanka’s rating from a ‘stable outlook’ to a ‘negative outlook’ underscoring the financial morass the state may be getting into, even as the war is near an end and the LTTE is on life-support. Harsha de Silva, economist, had earlier in the week told TIME magazine that "it just doesn’t work" to fight a war at such an expense because the government is in clear financial trouble due to more..

Intellects call for restraint in ‘post LTTE rout’celebrations

Mar 1 (LB) A group of eminent Sri Lankans called on the government to refrain from any major show of ‘triumphalism and racial overtones’ once the Tigers have been militarily defeated. "It must be celebrated as a victory of democracy and freedom over a regime of terror and suppression, a victory in which all communities can share," said a statement signed by 26 reputed professionals and members of the clergy. more..

Photo shoot leaves Russians in hot water

Mar 1 (LB) A Russian model, a photographer and another Russian national were arrested by Polonnaruwa police when the model was allgedly seen posing near the ruins of Nissanka Latha Mandapaya wearing a yellow robe. The model was also carrying a fan usually used by Buddhists monks and was posing in a ‘sexually suggestive manner’, police said. The foreigners were released after a severe warning at the Police station. more..

LTTE predator not protector of Tamil civilian population

Mar 1 (TC) The LTTE’s treatment of civilians who came within its ambit calls for greater imagination and restraint in giving practical effect to the rules of war. Nominal government instructions to civilians to move into supposedly safe zones have been cited as a reasonable pretext for free shelling elsewhere, regardless of the life-threatening obstacles the LTTE imposed on them. more..

Human Rights Watch standard bearers of human rights extremism

Mar 1 (TC) Human Rights Watch, standard bearers of what Michael Roberts has characterized as HRE – Human Rights Extremism – seems to have decided that it has a special relationship with me. I am the only person quoted by name in the presentation made by their Senior Researcher Dr. Anna Neistat to the US Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee that dealt with Sri Lanka. more..

The dilemma of balancing humanitarian concerns with security requisites

Mar 1 (TC) As fighting rages further north, haggard civilians with tales of horror are continuing to stumble into Vavuniya. And with numbers growing, authorities are under intense international pressure to balance humanitarian concerns with security requisites — so that men, women and children traumatised by the LTTE are not victimised again by the government. “Civilians who manage to escape the Tamil Tigers and more..

Triple murder within Negombo prison needs proper investigation

Mar 1 (AHRC) Three prisoners were killed within the premises of the Negombo prison last week. One of the prisoners shot two others with a pistol he had in his possession. Thereafter, he climbed into a tree and announced that he would surrender only if the commissioner of prisons came to the scene. This was perhaps to avoid being assaulted or otherwise harmed when he surrendered. However, the prison authorities called the police and the OIC arbitrarily ordered him to be shot. more..

Tamils protest in Paris

Mar 1 (ST) THOUSANDS of Tamils marched in Paris on Saturday to denounce what they termed the Sri Lankan government's genocide of the island's ethnic minority in its bid to wipe out Tamil Tiger rebels. Police put the number of marchers at 2,500 while organisers said some 3,000 participated in the demonstration. The marchers shouted slogans such 'EU impose a truce", and 'The Sri Lankan president is a murderer", and 'Stop the Tamil genocide'. more..

'Lankan issue will not affect DMK-Cong ties'

Mar 1 (PTI) The DMK will continue to exert pressure on the Centre on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue but would not hamper the `smooth' ties prevailing between the party and the Congress, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi said here on Saturday. "There is no doubt that the DMK will continue to put pressure on the Centre to take up the cause of Tamils living in Sri Lanka... but that will not come in the way of the cordial ties we have with the Congress," more..

Is the world ready for Prabhakaran's death?

Mar 1 (DC) The Sri Lankan army has finally captured the last few square kilometres of jungle in Mullaitivu controlled by the LTTE. Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the all-powerful head of the LTTE, has been found dead in his bunker, pink froth around his lips, an empty potassium cyanide capsule on the floor near him. Dozens of surviving LTTE cadres have thrown down their weapons and melted into the civilian population that has been streaming out of the jungle, more..

'JVP will not allow electricity bill to be implemented'

Mar 1 (LT) The progressive masses in the country headed by the JVP will not allow the electricity bill that would destroy national resources, jeopardize national security and allow western powers to manipulate an important sector in the country to be implemented says JVP MP Anura Disasnayake. He said, “When considering the economy of the country Ceylon electricity Board should be owned by the government for, more..

Crisis creeps into Colombo Harbour – No ship in two weeks

Mar 1 (LT) The functioning of the Colombo harbour is deteriorating daily as a result of the world economic crisis say employees. According to employees not a single ship has berthed in ‘Samagi’ terminal during the last two weeks. 25th February is marked as the day that a single ship didn’t enter Colombo Harbour since the commencement of Port Authority point out employees. more..

Situation report (Mar 1) by SLA

Mar 1 (SLA) ARMY TROOPS conducting search operations in VISUAMADU area found one RPG (Rocket Propeller Gun) bomb, one thousand (1000) anti personnel mine fuses, twenty-three T-56 magazines, twenty hand grenades, two hundred and seventy (270) 120 mm mortar bombs, three claymore bombs of 12.5kg, 5 kg and 7.5kg, 18 kg of C-4 explosives, nine hundred (900) rounds of T-56 ammunition, seventy-six 81mm mortar shells, three Arul type bombs, two 60 mm mortar bombs, one TNT bomb, more..

Golden Key liabilities top Rs. 30 billion

Mar 1 (LNP) Ceylinco Golden Key Credit Card Company is yet to divulge actual position of their overseas depositors. With proper accounting, Company's total liabilities to the depositors would pass the Rs. 30 billion mark. The capital debt by Golden Key Credit Card to their customers was earlier estimated to be Rs. 26 billion. Unlike the Company's local depositors, most of the foreign customers estimated to be over 2,000 do not collect their interest monthly and more..

Delay in plan to rescue civilians

Mar 1 (SAMN) An imbroglio over the fate of civilians trapped in the northern battle zone is holding up a US-marines-led humanitarian task force operation to evacuate them. The government has insisted that the LTTE lay down arms and surrender. It has taken up the position that there will be no dialogue with the LTTE. However, the LTTE approached by diplomatic channels, has continued to maintain that talks should precede any civilian evacuation. more..

Monkey business rocks the zoo

Mar 1 (SAMN) The management and employees of the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwala have locked horns over the interdiction of two senior employees following allegations of serious misconduct and theft, which included the spiriting away of meat, meant for the lions, a senior official said Saturday. Zoo Director, Duminda Jayaratne said the two suspect employees with more than 20 years of service were sent on compulsory leave, pending further inquiries. more..

More arrests in Golden Key case

Mar 1 (SAMN) More arrests are expected to be made over criminal misappropriation of funds of the Golden Key (GK) Company after the fraud case took a different turn with the detention of powerful Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala on Thursday. Kotelawala was remanded by the Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Harsha Sethuga till March 11 while an open warrant was issued for the arrest of his wife, Sicile who has been in Singapore since the inception of the case. more..

'Enough talk about the war'

Mar 1 (SAMN) The government has no solutions to the country’s social and economic problems, and many of the ministers can only talk about the war, said Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. While the UNP was grateful to the security forces for capturing Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu and helping to hasten an end to the war, the opposition had serious doubts about the government’s ability to solve the country’s other problems, Wickremesinghe said. more..

No more children on election posters, TV

Mar 1 (NS) The NCPA is looking forward to introduce new laws on children being used on election posters and advertisements on television. “At present there is no such election law as saying that it is forbidden to use children but we as the NCPA is looking ahead to implement new laws with regard to this matter,” said NCPA Chairman Jagath Wallewatte. According to Wellawatte, if the children are being paid for taking part in any advertisement including posters, it falls under child labour. more..

CMC ‘terminally’ ill?

Mar 1 (NS) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) continues to run into a series of problems, notwithstanding the Council being part of the ruling UPFA. This time around, it is all to do with the CMC Special Commissioner H. Sumanapala and the Commissioner Badrani Jayawardene, whose interests are in constant conflict. Both Commissioners are at loggerheads, and do not work hand in glove and this, according to many Council members, is increasingly affecting the day-to-day functions of the Council. more..

Four prominent LTTE leaders to be executed

Mar 1 (NS) Four senior LTTE leaders including the head of its Peace Secretariat Pulidevan who were caught by the Tigers while attempting to flee with civilians to government controlled areas have been placed under house arrest. This has been revealed by civilians who fled from LTTE controlled areas. LTTE Intelligence Wing Leader Pottu Amman has ordered that Pulidewan, Ilampar Dee, Pravi and Mama who attempted to flee to government controlled areas with the civilians to be detained and shot. more..

Ghost of Bush wishes 'fight to the end'

Mar 1 (TN) The lessons of history are that actually there is nothing called ethnicities winning and losing. It is always forces of oppression and liberation losing and winning. ‘Fight to the end’ is vantage of the vultures hovering above for the spoils of both losers as well as winners. If ‘fight to the end’ is thrust upon peoples then they can’t help it. They have to fight it until the interests of those who orchestrate it are affected to the contrary or civilized world prevail upon those international belligerents. more..

Karuna to make impact on SLFP

Mar 1 (NS) Founder of the TMVP Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran alias Karuna who has accepted the SLFP membership says he is no more the leader of TMVP. Karuna who is a Member of Parliament says since accepting the SLFP membership he has relinquished his responsibilities from the TMVP. He said one of the reasons to join the SLFP was to engage in active politics and bring about a change from within the party (SLFP) that more..

Anti-terrorist demonstration held in front of British MP Keith Vaz's office- UK

Mar 1 (MoD) Following the very successful protest in London against LTTE terrorism organised by Sri Lankans against Terrorism, SLAT UK, a further protest, initiated by Mr Anura Madagedera and Mrs Rani Bulathwela, was held in Leicester on Saturday in reply to MP Keith Vaz's request for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. The protest in Leicester started outside Mr Vaz's office with approximately 300 supporters in attendance. more..

Another 281 civilians rescued from terror clutches with navy assistance

Mar 1 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy has facilitated rescuing of 281 civilians held captive by the LTTE terrorists in Mullaittivu. Navy sources said that, the 6th batch of civilians including patients requiring immediate medical attention was transported to Trincomalee by the "MV Greed Ocean" yesterday. The Navy provided the safe passage for the vessel carrying civilians from Mullaittivu and received the passengers at Trincomalee harbour. more..

Troops foil Sea Tiger attack

Mar 1 (SO) Fierce fighting erupted in Chalai area on Friday night and continued till yesterday morning as troops of the 55 Division under the command of Brigadier Prasanna Silva advanced further south of Chalai along the coastal belt and destroyed the Tiger defence line south of Chalai, military officials from the battleground said yesterday. The 55 Division troops also foiled a major Sea Tiger attack on the ground troops amidst heavy fighting that continued in Chalai. more..

Power cuts on way

Mar 1 (SO) The Power and Energy Ministry yesterday warned the public that a power cut is imminent if the prevailing drought conditions continue till the middle of April. Speaking to the Sunday Observer, Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne said that 85 per cent of country's electricity requirement is being generated on thermal power and the CEB has to bear the colossal sum of money spent to provide the consumers, an uninterrupted service. more..

A visit to upper Kotmale

Mar 1 (SO) We arrived at the Upper Kotmale Hydropower reservoir dam having travelled via Avissawella, Yatiyantota, Karavenella, Kitulgala after staying overnight at Lindula. The downpour that lashed across Keleni Valley, the Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces on the previous night was a welcome sign to drought stricken farmers in those areas. The other benefit was that heavy downpours also fill hydropower reservoirs in the Central province. more..

Essentials to North via A-9

Mar 1 (SO) Social Services Minister and the Jaffna district parliamentarian Douglas Devananda has taken the initiative to transport essential items like food, medicine and fuel to the Jaffna peninsula via A-9 highway which will be opened for military transportation from today. Minister Devananda told the Sunday Observer that he has already discussed the matter with the Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa MP who has taken up the issue positively. more..

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka Part 02

Opposition parties grumble about 8-weeks to WPC polling day

Mar 1 (Island) The UNP and SLMC yesterday strongly protested at the eight-week gap between nominations and polling in the Western Provincial Council election to be held on April 25 accusing the government of attempting to exhaust them and their resources before the polling. They demanded that the polling day be advanced to April 4 but got no positive response. They alleged that the government was adopting a strategy of holding individual Provincial Council elections instead of more..

Political reforms should follow victory of democracy over terrorism

Mar 1 (Island) It is imperative that the end of the war be celebrated without a trace of triumphalism and without any racial or partisan overtones. It must be celebrated as a victory of democracy and freedom over a regime of terrorism and suppression of freedom, a victory in which all communities can share. All public and official events around the conclusion of the war must be sensitive to the aspirations of every community and become a means of forging a genuine foundation of national harmony, more..

Readying for the refugees

Mar 1 (Island) Whatever the debate on the numbers maybe, there’s no gainsaying that several thousand refugees are now trapped in the small sliver of territory the LTTE still controls in the Vanni. The figures vary depending on who presents them. Sir. John Holmes, the UNUnder Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, who was here a few days ago at the invitation of the government, in a briefing to the UN Security Council on Friday said that estimates on the number of civilians trapped in what he called a more..

Lanka marches into multiple crisis

Mar 1 (ST) There was more to last week's apparent shift in India's policy towards Sri Lanka, articulated by its acting Prime Minister Pranab Mukherjee. As revealed in the front page of The Sunday Times, the previous Saturday, he called upon the Sri Lanka Government and the LTTE to hold talks and come to a peaceful settlement. The appeal came in statements he made to the media in West Bengal. more..

Pethidine comes but crisis continues for war casualties

Mar 1 (ST) Even as a stock of the essential painkiller pethidine was urgently air-lifted into the country last week to meet a dramatic shortfall, doctors were concerned whether it was adequate to meet the needs of the war casualties, aggravated by the fact that some hospitals also did not have the substitute pain-killer morphine. While a health source assured that around 20,000 vials of pethidine were brought down on February 20 and more..

From tranquil village to great halls of fame

Mar 1 (ST) The Dumbara valley is one of the most picturesque places in Sri Lanka. Here in the village of Deegala, was born on April 24, 1930, a child, destined in later life to become a great artist. It was his mother's birthplace as well and he was given the name Sarathchandra Madduma Bandara Wickramasinghe Mudiyanselage Kirinde. According to Kirinde himself, his name actually should have been Kirinde Mudiyanselage Wickramasinghe Madduma Bandara Sarathchandra. more..

'Sri Lanka cannot be developed without first stamping out corruption'

Mar 1 (Island) JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe yesterday said that his party has consistently supported the defeat of terrorism. "At no time did we attempt to topple the government tackling the scourge of terrorism and we have always voted in support of the Emergency and Defence budge", he noted. "This is because the country and the people are near and dear to us and more..