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'Army needs to recruit more youth'

Mar 16 (DM) Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said that the army had to further recruit more youth to the force as the operational areas are getting broadened. “Army is gathering strength daily. Vis-à-vis the success of operations launched and the operational area would be broadened enhancing recruitments. Creation of a powerful army that can withstand any threat to the country’s security, independence and more..

'Use WPC polls against Constitutional Council delay'

Mar 16 (CT) The country has lost its democracy, people entertain doubts over free and fair elections and problems have arisen on law enforcement and freedom of expression. The recent abduction of Prof. Ganganath (Dissanayake) is a clear reflection of the country's present state of affairs, said opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. As a solution to all these, the 17 amendment to the constitution should immediately be enforced and the Constitutional Council established, more..

Lankan diplomats to meet UN HR chief

Mar 16 (CT) Secretary to the Ministry of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Prof. Rajeev Wijesinha and Sri Lanka's permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Dayan Jayatillake are to meet with UN high commissioner of human rights, Navi Pillay today over her recent remarks on civilians crossing over from uncleared areas. Prof. Wijesinha has said that attempts to meet Ms. Pillay soon after the press release containing her remarks was issued on March 13 were unsuccessful due to her busy schedule. more..

Taxi Abe interrogated over dispatching communication equipment to North

Mar 16 (LeN) CID interrogated Gamini Aberathna alias Taxi Abe to verify if he had ordered dispatching military and communication equipment to LTTE as Ranil Wickramasinghe was the Prime Minister. Aberathna was the director of security in the airport at that time. 'Lanka-e-News' learns that the CID questioned Aberathna for more than five hours yesterday (14). Aberathna is urging the present leader Ranil Wickramasinghe to quit. more..

Army discovers LTTE ware house containing thousands of bags of chemical fertilizers

Mar 16 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army soldiers who are continuing to venture into the LTTE held Pudukkudiyirippu area have discovered a large warehouse containing thousands of tons of chemical fertilizer issued to the Northern farmers for rice cultivation. Army sources said, "This is another discovery of chemical fertilizer supplied to the Tamil farmers in the North suspected to have been plundered by the LTTE to be used as explosives." more..

Life in the no firing zone

Mar 16 (MoD) The look on the faces of those coming from the No Fire Zone (NFZ) tells the story. It is a story of children. Aged and haggard, looking well beyond their age it is their stoic nature and the desire to live for the sake of their remaining children that kept them alive. As they alight from the packed buses to seek lodgings in the camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's) there are no young men among them. Where have all the young men gone? more..

Nalanda edge out Ananda by two wickets

Mar 16 (LNP) The underdogs Nalanda College edged out their traditional rivals and the more fancied Ananda College by two wickets in their 35th annual Battle of the Maroons inter school limited overs cricket encounter worked off at the SSC grounds in Maitland Place yesterday. The Nalandians also clinched the P. de S. Kularatne Trophy which was on offer for the first time. They also notched up their 13th victory in the one day series in which however the Anandians are ahead with a total of 19 wins to their credit. more..

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka Part 03

Security Forces enter Iranapalai

Mar 16 (DN) The Security Forces who are now on the final leg of their battle against the LTTE has entered the outskirts of Iranapalai, the last operational centre of the top rung Tiger leaders including Intelligence Wing leader Pottu Amman with the troops clearing the last section of the buildup area in Puthkuduyiruppu East by yesterday evening. The 58 Division was in the process of clearing the last section of buildings in the Puthukuduyiruppu East yesterday with the capture of LTTE’s last Court complex in Puthukuduyiruppu East. more..

Artistes gift Art Center for Jaffna

Mar 16 (DN) Leading film artistes have set up a project to collect funds to build an art centre in Jaffna. The initiator of the project is the queen of the Sri Lankan cinema and Golden Peacock Award winner Malini Fonseka. Ravindra Randeniya, Sangeetha Weeraratne, Sanath Gunatileke, Yashoda Wimaladharma and Nadeeka Gunasekara are also involved in this project. "Our aim is to sooth the minds of those who have suffered immensely due to the conflict," Malini Fonseka said. more..

Fines top Rs. 69.5 m from SP road rule violators

Mar 16 (DN) The Mobile Unit of the Highway Patrol of the Southern Province has collected Rs. 69,532,800 as fines from road rule violators last year. This amount has been charged only by "on the spot fine sheets". These road offences have been detected along the highways from Bentota to Kataragama and from Ambalangoda to Elpitiya. Driving without valid licence, vehicles plying without proper insurance cover and driving under the influence of liquor are some of the most common more..

UN worker injured in LTTE shooting

Mar 16 (MoD) UN worker, Sutharshani Tharmila and 13 others were injured when the LTTE shot at them when they arrived in the cleared areas of Puthukudiyirippu on Saturday (March 14) evening. More than 1,200 displaced people had braved Tiger attacks during the past few days seeking refuge with Government authorities in cleared areas. The injured had been admitted to the Vavuniya Hospital, military sources said. more..

What's up Rathu Sahodarayas' sleeve?

Mar 16 (Island) Rathu Sahodarayas of the JVP sinking in a political mire of their own making are desperately clutching at straws. If the outcome of the past PC polls is any indication, they won't be left with more than a handful of seats at a future parliamentary election. What a drop from the zenith of their performance to the nadir over a span of a few years signifies is that they are about to find themselves in the exalted company of the so-called name board parties this country abounds with. more..

Gota says progress slow but steady

Mar 16 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the army was engaged in close quarter combat with the LTTE on the eastern flank. "We are making significant progress although the civilian presence will cause delays," he told The Island yesterday. Responding to our queries, he said that battles were taking place in an area about five km north to south and about three km west to east in the Mullaitivu district. more..

Lanka agrees for UN raising US$ 155 for IDPs

Mar 16 (ANN) Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe Saturday assured that INGOs including UN agencies wouldn’t be allowed a free hand as far as the funding of their Sri Lankan operations was concerned. Responding to The Island queries, Samarasinghe said that their projects, too, had to be part of the overall plan launched in support of the war affected people in the northern and eastern provinces. more..

Kelaniya Campus to get a police post: Students up in arms

Mar 16 (Island) Undergraduates are opposing what they term a move to establish a police post inside the Kelaniya University premises to curb student violence. The Kelaniya University was closed on February 25 until further notice after two student factions clashed. President of the Student Council said that students were totally against a police post inside the university as it would be used by the university administration to stop student protests against academic and welfare issues as well. more..

Global recession hits Lanka: Companies cut workforce

Mar 16 (DM) Global recession which had taken a stranglehold on the world economy has spread its tentacles in Sri Lanka too forcing 16 leading business ventures to lay off their entire workforce while 29 companies have retrenched part of the staff, Inter Company Employees’ Union said. Among the companies which had laid off their entire work force are several garment factories and manufacturers of aluminium products and tiles. more..

Turmoil in UNP continues

Mar 16 (DM) UNP rebels charged yesterday the group meeting scheduled to be held today was postponed for Tuesday to prevent them from highlighting their grievances while others said it was postponed because party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had to attend another function at party headquarters. A UNPer lobbying for a leadership change said the rebels would definitely call for a vote to choose a new leader at the next parliamentary group meeting. more..

Two Sri Lanka players still in hospital

Mar 16 (AFP) Two cricket players remain hospitalised in Colombo, two weeks after the squad was attacked by militant gunmen in Pakistan, the team's doctor said. Thilan Samaraweera, who had a bullet removed from his left thigh, and Ajantha Mendis, who had shrapnel extracted from his head and back, are being treated at a private hospital. Tharanga Paranavitana, who had a bullet taken out of his chest, and the British assistant coach Paul Farbrace were discharged over the weekend. more..

LTTE base in Malaysia bared

Mar 16 (ANN) The Sri Lankan government is seriously concerned over a rapid LTTE build-up in Malaysia, now believed to be the major gathering point for top operatives. Sri Lanka also believes that Tharmalingam Shanmughan alias Kumaran Pathmanathan also known as KP had has set up base there after quitting Thailand. Authoritative defence and diplomatic sources told ‘The Island’ that a Colombo-based diplomat had been recently spotted in Thailand where he allegedly met with KP. more..

Lanka warns its fishermen against straying into Indian waters

Mar 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka has asked its fishermen not to stray into Indian waters as rise in such incidents "will lead to problems" between the two countries, even as the fishing community issued appeal for release of about 80 of their people arrested by India. "These complications will not arise if fishing is carried out within local and permitted international maritime borders. When these keeps on occurring it will lead to a problem between the two countries (India and Sri Lanka)," more..

'I spent eight months in jail reading many English books'

Mar 16 (HT) Twenty two violent years in the LTTE. Followed by a bitter parting with rebel chief V Prabhakaran. Subsequently, floating a Tamil political party. Last week, rather ironically, appointed as minister of National Integration and Rebuilding in the Sinhala-majority ruling coalition -- Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, popularly known as Colonel Karuna, has indeed had a chequered career. more..

Sri Lanka closes in on Tigers, U.N. worker held

Mar 16 (Reuters) The United Nations said on Monday Tamil Tiger rebels forcibly recruited another of its local workers in Sri Lanka's war zone along with three dependents of U.N. staff, including a 16-year-old girl. The United Nations said the forced conscriptions came at the weekend, when nearly 2,000 people fled Sri Lanka's shrinking war zone as troops fought towards the final showdown in a 25-year war with the separatist Tamil Tigers. more..

'Rebel leader likely in war zone'

Mar 16 (AP) There is a chance the leader of the Tamil rebels is still in a shrinking war zone in northern Sri Lanka and has not fled the country, the military said Monday. Speculation has been widespread about the location of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who has vowed not to be captured alive, with local news reports speculating that he could be in South Africa and Malaysia. "There is a possibility Prabhakaran is still there," military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

UN accuses Sri Lankan rebels of recruiting worker

Mar 16 (AP) The United Nations on Monday accused the Tamil Tigers of seizing one of its staff members and pressing him into service, as the rebels struggle to avoid a defeat in a shrinking war zone in northern Sri Lanka. A statement from the U.N. in Colombo said it "fears for the safety of one U.N. national staff member, and three dependent family members who were forcibly recruited over the weekend by the LTTE." more..

It would take a long time for the Sinhala South to repent for what they have been doing

Mar 17 (TC) Far deep in the South, the Sinhala dominated Akuressa electorate in the Matara district with about 1,500 Muslims amongst a population of about 44,000 was completely shattered in a bloody orgy never before experienced and wholly undreamt of, just a week after the Buttala attack on security personnel in South Sri Lanka. In Akuressa, 06 government ministers together were participating in an Islamic celebration that marked the birth of Prophet Mohamed. more..

Thought-provoking Lankan film screened

Mar 17 (AN) “Aganthukaya — The Outcast,” a film by Vasantha Obeyesekere, was the Sri Lankan feature film screened at the 2nd Asian Film Festival organized by the Asian Consuls General Club here on Saturday night. The film depicts the personal conflict of a person who upholds justice, fair play and honesty as the prime values. Sampath is a school principal who is devoted to his vocation. He lives a very simple, exemplary life, struggling to give his wife, a music teacher, and more..

View: Lessons from Colombo

Mar 17 (DT) During a short tour, Colombo seemed remarkably calm for all the mayhem that has been taking place in Sri Lanka, especially in the northeast where the LTTE, the most ruthless guerrilla group in the region, gasps its last few breaths. From controlling an impressive one-third of the Sri Lankan landmass, the Tamil Tigers are now down to the last few square kilometres. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has led the war more by default than by design, through a policy of confronting terrorist with a commitment that has grown with time. more..

Roads to Development

'Close' cultivation inside sanctuary

Mar 17 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has ordered the closure of a cultivation within a nature reserve. The court ordered to close the farm run by HVA Farms limited in the forest after considering a petition by North Western Provincial Environmental Authority (EANWP). HVA Farms limited cultivates banana and papaw in a 25-acre enclosure in the Thabbowa nature reserve. The EA argued that the farm obstructed the habitat of elephants. more..

Clinton raises security fears for IDPs in north

Mar 17 (IRIN) International concern is growing over the security of tens of thousands of displaced people trapped in Sri Lanka’s northern combat zone where government forces are battling the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Both US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed strong concern for the safety of civilians in the combat zones. more..

Sri Lanka spinner leaves hospital

Mar 17 (BBC) Sri Lankan cricketer Ajantha Mendis has left hospital after recovering from wounds sustained in attacks on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Pakistan. Mendis had to have shrapnel extracted from his head and back after gunmen fired at the team bus as it made its way to the Gadaffi Stadium on 3 March. The 24-year-old spin bowler said: "I am glad to be going home. "I am also thankful to God for protecting the entire team at that difficult time." more..

Faheem steers Thomas' to safety

Mar 17 (CI) Royal College failed to capitalise on an excellent opening day and the 130th Battle of the Blues at the SSC ended in a draw. A battling 165 from Faheem Saleem after St Thomas' College slipped to 21 for 2 after being forced to follow-on 214 in arrears guided his side to safety. Royal dominated the first half of the match, racing to 313 for 9 in 76 overs before reducing Thomas' to 54 for 4 by the close of the first day. more..

Gowry’s story: Recovering from tragedy

Mar 17 (IFRC) The photos of two small children look down from the wall of Gowry’s new home, which was built as part of the tsunami reconstruction programme. Their smiling faces are surrounded by fairy lights, blinking from high up on the wall in case the waters rise again. Next to the photos a sea shell is stuck on the wall - a reminder of where the children are now resting. Gowry, 38, lives with her husband and their two surviving children in the small village of Nawalady, Batticaloa more..

Bringing Communities Closer in Sri Lanka

Mar 17 (MA) On Thursday 26th of February, a ‘Friendship Bridge’, built jointly by Muslim Aid and AmeriCares was opened to traffic between the Muslim village of Arafa Nagar and the predominately Tamil village of Amman Nagar. These two communities in Mutur were left displaced after 20 years of conflict where over 57,000 people were forced to flee their homes due to the bombings and gunfire. In 2006, the communities of Arafa Nagar and Amman Nagar decided to return to restart their livelihoods. more..

Kulasekara climbs to No. 1 in ODI bowler rankings

Mar 17 (CI) Nuwan Kulasekara, the Sri Lanka medium-pacer, has moved to the top of the ICC ODI bowler rankings, ahead of Australia's Nathan Bracken and New Zealand's Kyle Mills. Kulasekara has risen steadily up the rankings during the past 12 months after an impressive run of performances since his return to the team in April 2008. In that period, he has taken 47 wickets at 20.97 in 29 matches, more..

Wayamba and Basnahira North qualify for final

Mar 17 (CI) Upul Tharanga's maiden first-class double-century proved insufficient to carry Ruhuna to the final of the inter-provincial tournament as they went down to Basnahira South by four wickets at the Colts Cricket Club. Tharanga, whose indifferent form has shuffled in and out of the national side over the past three years, carried his bat out for 265 off 365 balls out of a total of 450. more..

Toronto's Tamil community forms human chain through downtown

Mar 17 (CP) Toronto's Tamil community is forming a human chain today to protest attacks by the Sri Lankan military on Tamils in that country's bloody civil war. Dozens of protesters are lining sidewalks in the downtown core on a sunny, balmy day, many of them waving flags and chanting slogans. Their numbers are expected to grow as the day goes on, as a similar demonstration in January drew about 45,000 people. The protest began at 1 p.m. and will likely last until 6 p.m. more..

South Africa to host Champions Trophy

Mar 17 (AFP) The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday officially named South Africa as the new hosts of the biennial Champions Trophy this year. South Africa was recommended last week by cricket's governing body in the wake of incidents in Pakistan which have effectively put hosting cricket matches in that country off the agenda. The elite eight-nation event was moved out of Pakistan after South Africa refused to tour Pakistan, more..

Thousands of Tamils decry Sri Lankan 'genocide'

Mar 17 (AFP) Thousands of supporters of a Tamil state protested in Brussels Monday against "genocide" by the Sri Lankan government, urging the European Union to send observers to see the situation on the ground. "The Sri Lankan soldiers are killing 50 Tamil every day, and that is just in the so-called 'protected areas'," said Siva Ram, a Tamil protester from Paris. Organisers put the turnout at around 30,000 although police put the figure at 5,000. more..

EU issues Sri Lanka cease-fire appeal

Mar 17 (AP) The European Union appealed Monday to Sri Lankan authorities and Tamil Tiger rebels to agree to an immediate cease-fire to allow urgent humanitarian aid into a northern "safe zone" where civilians are supposed to be shielded from the fighting. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's external relations commissioner said the situation for civilians there is "very dangerous." "Approximately 170,000 people ... are being trapped in the northern part of Sri Lanka and more..

Innovative approach to improve children's healthcare in need of support

Mar 17 (IL) World Children's Initiative, a not-for-profit organization, is currently constructing an innovative new children's hospital in southern Sri Lanka. Located on the outskirts of Matara, the hospital, once completed, promises to significantly better healthcare prospects for children in the surrounding areas. WCI, started by a Sinhalese-American doctor, a Tamilian-American lawyer, and a South Indian-American doctor in the wake of the Asian Tsunami, more..

War will be over in 2-3 weeks – Military officials

Mar 17 (AT) Top military officials in the battlefront are now firmly convinced that the war against the now- battered- and-bruised LTTE will be over within the next two or three weeks. They also said that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran should be within a very limited area if he was still alive as there is no escape route for him now. Troops of the 58 Brigade have now entered Iranapalli town where more..

No political solution can satisfy Tamil-Eelam seekers

Mar 17 (LG) Sri Lanka needs a political solution. Let there be no doubt about that. However, a good number of Sri Lankans other than Tamils and the international community seem unaware of the real driving force behind the Tamil Eelam struggle and it’s most expensive tool – the LTTE. Can any political solution bring about Tamil Eelam? If yes, pending the commencement of border wars and ethnic cleansing, Tamil Eelamists would call off violence. If no, nothing will change. more..

Tongue of lie

Mar 17 (LG) Frightened by the immediate defeat when the civilian defense cover is removed, commenting on the demand of the world organizations from the LTTE to release the Wanni hostage population, Nadashen and his Sun God has further tightened the screws on civilians and are threatening the World. To this effect, Nadashen roared: “The LTTE calls this a calculated ploy by the Lankan government to uproot Tamils from their traditional habitat.” more..

Urgent humanitarian needs must be met

Mar 17 (LG) When the humanitarian needs of the country are immense and in the north thousands of people affected by the civil war are in dire need of medical services, trauma counseling and facilities in circumstances of extreme needs, the All Ceylon Medical Officers Association (ACMOA) seem shockingly insensitive to this crying need. They are today’s Neros playing the fiddle of the insensate Red Tape or being blasé, blundering bureaucrats. more..

Tamilnet forges letterhead of RDHS

Mar 17 (LG) On the 3rd of March 2009, Tamilnet published a letter by Dr.T. Vartharajah, the Regional Director of Health Services in Mulativu allegedly sent by fax to the GA of the district. The news itme said that the Heath Director has by that letter acknowledged the reception of 13 dead bodies of internally displaced individuals who have died of startvation (see letter 1). It was, however, intersing to see the Sinhala translation on the letterhead. more..

'Do not be enchanted by the Tigers'

Mar 17 (AT) The western world has been seduced by the LTTE and by their fairy tale of the national liberation struggle of the Tamil people. ‘Only after September 11th did the USA first and then European Union (in 2006) realise that the LTTE, the LTTE, is one of the most well-organised and ruthless terrorist groups in the world, the only outfit comprising of a navy and air force’. The reproach of Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Italy, is very severe, despite the polite tone. more..

FM says eradication of terrorism creates broader space to achieve MDGs in the health sector

Mar 17 (AT) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has underscored the importance of the Government’s ongoing drive to eradicate terrorism from Sri Lanka, as a means to creating broader space and a more positive environment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 target date set by the UN. The Minister made this observation, while delivering the welcome address today in Colombo more..

Impervious and insular members of Tamil diaspora

Mar 17 (GV) I listened to the interview of Tavis Smiley of the Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) with Mathangi (aka Maya) Arudpragasam; a hip-hop artist (stage name M.I.A. - Missing in Action) who has been nominated for Grammy and Oscar awards for 2009 (this interview was telecast on January 28, 2009 but I listened to it only in mid-February). more..